Dad’s Sony (re-post for Father’s Day)

My father was not a technical guy.  He knew numbers.  In the early days of our family business, my mother kept the books, and answered the phone at the house, while dad revolutionized the dental products business in the northeast.  My brother Paul ran the stockroom, and I would help, usually reluctantly in the beginning, with some of the basic tasks that a nine-year-old could handle.  My oldest brother Lee joined later, and became, and still is, one of the best Dental Equipment specialists in the business.  You see, dad took his skills as a supermarket manager, and combined it with the business model of SnapOn Tools, and created MoDent, and for more than 15 years, made the competition wonder how he pulled it off.  Dad passed away in California in 2009, and in his honor today, I would like to re-post something radio-related from my own blog I wrote about him.  Happy Father’s Day dad!

(Dad’s Sony was originally published here at my blog Fofio! in April of 2011)

My father grew up in the ‘Radio Era’ which made him more radio-aware than my children are now. He was by no means a hobbyist, but knew enough to tell good from bad. He knew that AM radios had to be turned for best reception, and a good swiveling whip antenna was necessary for FM reception. For him, the radio needed to be able to pick up his NPR stations, WCBS-AM, and get the Mets games when he was on the road.

I ran a sales territory for our family business. As Dad got older, he eventually came off the road, and ran the company from inside. Every now and then though, he would schedule to ride with one of his salespeople to keep an eye on things. He rode with me for few days once on my Northern New Jersey run. Thursdays on that run, I would sometimes stop at the offices of Gilfer Shortwave, and chat with the Jeanne Ferrell & Paul Lannuier. I had purchased several radios there over the years, and would buy the various shortwave books and guides from them as they were released.

That one Thursday that Dad came along, he got a kick out of Gilfer, and all of the radios. He and Paul talked for a bit, and he purchased a Sony ICF-SW20. Partly because he really liked the quality of the little radio, and partly because I think he liked the folks at Gilfer as much as I did.

Dad had this radio from then, till he passed away in December 2009. It was his main radio. I saw it on his nightstand, in the bathroom, and on trips back east to visit us. Even with all of the selling and swapping I’ve done lately with my radio collection, I will never get rid of this radio. To me it was an acknowledgment from dad that my interests in radio were appreciated, and is a memory of the man I miss. It currently lives on my desk at work, sometimes called to duty for news, and music. Thanks for the radio Dad! I’ll pass it down the line someday to Alec.

The Sony is still on my desk at work.  Another note here:  Dad always wanted me to get my ham license, and even bought me the equipment when I was a kid to encourage me.  I wish he was around to see how much I enjoy this hobby, and how it has helped me find some of the best people I have ever met.  73 dad!  


Neil Goldstein, W2NDG, is a regular contributor to and writes from New York, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

7 Responses to “Dad’s Sony (re-post for Father’s Day)”

  • Mike Ve3wdm:

    Good afternoon Neil, I am sure your Dad like mine is surly missed. It was nice that he went out of his way to encourage you in the hobby. I hope you have a fine dad’s day today.

  • Lyle VE5KKS:

    Neil, Thank you for sharing your story with us and it made me think of my dad.My father also grew up in the radio age and helped me with amateur radio. Having a radio period was a big deal then and being able to talk on it was unheard of. Yes I never though how much I did learned from him.We should all thank our fathers for the encouragement and believing that we could do anything spirit on this FATHERS DAY

  • Matt W1MST:

    Great story for Father’s Day, Neil! Thank you for sharing it.

  • Omer Fournier AD7DY:

    My father gave me my first radio, a Hallicrafter’s S-40-b. For many years, this radio brought me great joy, listening to everything from oldie’s on AM, to foreign broadcasts, and also Ham stations. I lost that radio in a move as a teenager, but obtained another one from eBay. It never fails to take me back to those early days, many years ago, and wonderful memories of the greatest man I ever knew- My father.

  • Alan KE4NU:

    Great story, thanks for sharing. My dad was the reason I got interested in radio and electronics even though he never was a ham he loved to tinker with electronics. I’ve restored a couple of the radios he owned and treasure them dearly. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t think of and miss Dad..73, Alan

  • Steve N5WBI:

    Thanks, Neil, for your great Father’s Day post! I just found it while reading my Yahoo! group email – it was included as a link in one of the messages. My father was a Warranty Service Manager for a Zenith Radio and Television dealership in Shreveport, LA. I grew up literally surrounded by Zenith radios! My father died in 1992 and I was very fortunate to inherit his radios from his office and from home. The one I cherish the most is his cream-colored Royal 500 (the owl-eyes design) that he kept on top of the refrigerator at home. I was free to listen to it as many times as I wanted to, as long as I returned it to the top of the ‘fridge tuned to “his” station, KWKH-1130, “The Gentle Giant.” Every time I listen to that radio (yes, it still works!), I think of the many hours that Dad and I sat at the kitchen table with that radio in the middle, talking about father-son stuff.

  • Neil G W2NDG:

    There were several radios in the kitchen of the house in Woodstock, where I grew up, that were always on. The one that was there the longest though, was a Grundig. My father bought what was called a “baby Grundig” at a Lafayette Radio closeout sale when I was about 4 years old. It looked just like the larger Grundig Majestic radios of that period, but shrunken down. We used it for about 10 years, eventually moving it to my mother’s office at work, and then finally it was retired to a storage closet. It disappeared at some point after we sold the family business and I moved on to a new career. I think I would have paid good money to have it restored though if it was still around.

    What did we listen to? Well, in the mornings my mother would flip between the 2 local AM stations in Kingston: WGHQ – 920 which had a morning news/talk program where they would read to school lunch menus. Based on what was being served I would let her know if I needed a lunch or not. The other station was WKNY – 1490 which had a similar program in the morning, but they eventually replaced it with a combination morning news / pop music format. Both stations are still on the air, and the DJ on WKNY that was there when I was in middle school is still doing the morning show. The local NPR station WAMC didn’t sign on until noon in the early 70’s, and still carried some medical-oriented programming since there were underwritten by the Albany Medical College (hence A.M.C.). We listened to All Things Considered in the evenings, back when it was hosted by Susan Stamberg and Bob Edwards. When WAMC broke away from the college and started signing on early (still not 24 hours, and still not in stereo) Bob Edwards started Morning Edition.

    Mom and Dad were huge Jean Shepherd fans, and we would sit together as a family and listen to his show which I think ran Friday nights. I can remember being in pain from laughing listening to some of the classic “Shep” routines which our kids only get a taste of every year when they watch “Christmas Story”.

    Radio in many ways left me with fonder memories than TV ever did, even though CBS Saturday Night was a family event too. Thank you Steve for pushing some of these old memories to the top of the pile for me. Mom, Dad, and my brother Paul are all gone now, but I’m still a “Radio Guy”

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