Great stories. Let me offer one of mine.
Back in 1959 I had built a one tube super regen RX and was really excited that I could hear people talking with one another. However, I had to adjust the feedback capacitor to be able to tune in the fellows (SSB was different than AM). Although the RX worked and I listened on it most of my free time, I was disappointed that I couldn’t hear some of the others they were talking with.
Well, sure enough one day there was an advertisement in one of the ‘shopper’ rags for a Hallicrafters shortwave receiver. I called the listed telephone number and found it was a model S-40B. The price seemed astronomical to a 14 year old ($35), but my mother ponied up the necessary cash and I was in business. I used that RX for 3 or 4 months before getting my Novice, KNØVXU in late August, 1959 (see attached).
I concur whole heartedly with your take on the S-40B. And, yes, I learned early in my amateur career to use that BTE filter. I used that RX for almost 2 years, even after getting my general. Well, Heathkit came to the rescue with the QF-1 Q Multiplier about that time which I bought and assembled and installed. It worked well enough for me to work some DX on 20 CW using a Heathkit DX-40 and an 80 dipole. (see K0VXU- 1961).
Back in 1959 it was magic. And it still is!
Thanks for stories…..they’re priceless.
Russ – KØVXU
It is possible that just tuning around the bands you will hear some folks engaged in conversation. Take a moment to find out if it is more than a 59, 73 QSO. It could prove fruitful. I was tuning across twenty meters one day and heard an Austrian station chatting with a ham in the US. The American ham acknowledged that he doesn’t QSL as ardently as when he WAS DX. He went on to say he had operated from Okinawa and told his call at the time. I typed that call into my log and discovered that I had worked him, way back in 1970 but hadn’t bothered to QSL. Of course, 40 some years later, I still had no confirmation for KR6. When they were done, I asked if he still has the logs, and Russ, K0VXU replied in the affirmative. Because I was listening (and Russ is a good guy) I now have 355 all time confirmed. It pays to listen, even decades later.
Thanks again, Russ.
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.