Walt, K1QS

Learning to Listen


I imagine that just about everyone has heard me say “You never know who’s listening.” That being said, how do we learn to listen? In 1957, armed with a Hallicrafter S-40B receiver, I ventured into the world of short wave.

Let me tell you about that radio. It was a super-het with a 455 kc IF, and if I dropped a pencil on the table, the frequency would jump an unknown amount. Still, I was able to copy “hams” on AM, and after learning CW, also in that part of the bands. After receiving my first callsign, KN1DWQ, I ventured into actual radio. Using a Heathkit AT-1 30 watt, crystal controlled, CW only transmitter, I would call CQ. Then, I would have to tune for a station calling me. Of course, even though we were on different frequencies, it wasn’t always necessary to tune due to the wide bandwidth of the receiver. It was, however, necessary to listen to only one of the many signals coming through. In those days, I knew nothing of roofing filters, or mechanical and/or crystal filters, but was restricted to the BTE filter (that’s between the Ears). Of course, we NEVER called anyone until we heard a callsign. That is primarily because in those days we had a “Banned List.” These were countries with whom we were prohibited communication. In those days, there were four that I remember: Indonesia, N. Vietnam, N. Korea, and Albania. I am happy to report that we now have the right to communicate with anyone, anywhere. The lesson here is :Don’t Trust the DX Cluster.” Be sure you hear a station’s call before calling, no more “you’re five and nine, what’s your call?”

Don’t be impatient.