What Got You Interested in Radio? What Hooked You? (Story Time, with Video)

What got you interested in radio? What hooked you?

I’ve been asked, “What got you interested in radio, space weather, and the science of radio-wave propagation?”

Here’s a short answer as to why (and when) I became a radio enthusiast. It all started…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XBth62JgwA

The following picture is of my first shortwave radio, discovered in my home sometime between 1971 and 1973: a Sony portable transistorized four-band radio receiver. This was my very first shortwave radio (well, truthfully, it was my dad’s). This radio is responsible for my love of radio, electronics, and communications.

Sony Portable 4-Band Radio - the model 7F-74DL (my First Radio)

Sony Portable 4-Band Radio – the model 7F-74DL (my First Radio)

I still use this, sometimes, when listening to late-night AM-broadcast-band-radio DX. It is horrible for shortwave radio listening, as it has no noise blanker. For MW (Medium-wave) AM Broadcast DXing at night, it is excellent. The internal bar antenna is very directional so I can rotate the radio around until I get the best reception of some station. Back when I was a child, that made the radio very fun to use.

This next radio is a really capable military surplus radio circa WWII or shortly after (the late 1940s, early 1950s). This radio was my world starting around 1975. From Medium-wave to Shortwave, this radio could hear a pin drop around the world! Many late nights when I was supposed to be sleeping, I was up with the light dimmed and the tubes singing signals from exotic places.

Espey R366 Tube Receiver (my Second Radio)

Espey R366 Tube Receiver (my Second Radio)

What is your story?73 de NW7US

Addendum:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8bBM9Dy38o

Tomas Hood, NW7US, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Nebraska, USA. Tomas is the Space Weather and Radio Propagation Contributing Editor to 'CQ Amateur Radio Magazine', 'The Spectrum Monitor', and 'RadioUser UK Magazine'.

10 Responses to “What Got You Interested in Radio? What Hooked You? (Story Time, with Video)”

  • Dave NT9E:

    I started with walkie talkies at age 10, then a walkie talkie base station, then a tube type CB, and I was a SWLer for a while and then got my Novice license in 1969 but had no money for a radio(back then you had to upgrade after 1 year or your license was canceled). After waiting a year I got my Novice again and never looked back. Been licensed since 1971.

  • tom, KA4CSG:

    Military kid, living in Occupied West Germany (1954-1957). Friend of father lent me a Zenith TransOceanic radio. Many late nights listening to foreign broadcasts at the age of 10+.
    Always liked electronics. Mean Army Sgts taught me Morse (ex-05H). Passed Novice in 1964. Went overseas to country where amateur radio was not possible.

  • Ron Wright, N9EE:

    Radio got me into Ham Radio. I enjoyed working with radios of all kinds, AM, FM even TVs. And being able to not only listen also transmit. I had old 0.5-18 MHz rcvr, tube type, from 50s, no case just open chassis and I’d set for hours listening to the AM Hams on 80m. No BFO so no code or SSB, but was so excited. Those were fun times. Then I got Novice and worked all summer to buy my first Ham station, SX96 rcvr, DX100 xmtr and 40m dipole, had a ball.

  • Dave, WD8CIV:

    Like Tom, KA4CSG, it was my Dad’s Zenith Trans-Oceanic radio. Dad let me set it up in my room when I was 10 and I’d sneak out of bed at night to listen to it. I was as fascinated by the deedle and drone of RTTY and WEFAX as I was the spoken language broadcasts. Dad was a great resource, being a Navy radioman, and explained to me a lot about the technology. I tried several times to learn Morse so I could get licensed but I wasn’t able to get it done on my own. (Dad was away a lot and couldn’t help me.) Finally when I was 16 the local college hosted a Novice class and I got my first license there. Upgraded to Tech a year later, then Advanced 15 years after that.

    Mom & Dad encouraged me every step of the way, knowing radio & electronics could lead to a good career. I’m pleased to say they were right.

    I credit Dad with helping me get a career in electronics because I overheard him one night explaining to Mom that I was learning faster than he could teach it, and he thought they should encourage me to keep after it. When I got my license they saved up and got me my first transceiver, a Heathkit.

  • Ross KG5OED:

    I was always interested in ham radio, but the code always stopped me. When they got rid of code, I AM IN! And as they say, tyhe rest is history. 72/73`s

  • John, KD0JPE:

    My father flew Air/Sea Rescue in Grumman SA-16s out of Naha Okinawa in 1958. The only radio broadcasts (no TV on Okinawa in 1958) that could be heard were shortwave broadcasts. I spent a lot of evenings tuning around the dial on a Zenith Trans-Oceanic for entertainment. The Air Force trained me as a Ground Nav-Aids electronics technician and my son, who was licensed before me, finally convinced me to get my license 8+ years ago. That rekindled my interest in electronics and radio and I’ve been hooked ever since.

  • Melanie, AA0RV:

    I remember watching my grandpa restore antique radio when I was younger. Then as a freshman in high school, my science teacher, who was a ham, helped some of us make our first contact in class. After several years of thinking about it, I finally worked up the nerve to take the Technician exam in 2013. I passed it and the General exam in 2013 and upgraded to Extra in 2015. I’m glad I did.

  • Michel Homsi OD5TX:

    I started accidentally by listening to CB communications in 1978 while searching for DX stations on my father’s SW Panasonic receiver. I started afterwards listening to the airbands and marine traffic on a very old Philips receiver that had VHF on it.
    I did a lot of CB afterwards and got my ham licenses in several countries at a later stage. As John KD0JPE says “I’ve been hooked ever since”

  • John Harris K5AMO:

    A lot of us hams make fun of CB and cb’ers. I join many of you as a once proud cb’er starting about 1965 with a 2 channel walkie talkie. Like many of you, my interest in two way radio came in graduations: Graduated to a 5 channel Johnson Messenger 1 feeding a Super Mag antenna. I was so hooked I just wanted to quit school, middle school. Then on to 11 meter ssb, then on to a Drake TR4 and a 75 ft piece of RG 8 draped out the window for an antenna.
    Used to love to listen at night, the TR4 was right behind my bed and I could see the tubes glowing and the pretty blue frequency read-out.

    The rest, of course, is history and I’m still hooked. A great hobby and getting more interesting all the time.

  • Jamie N6JFD:

    For me it was search and rescue and then a buddy of mine taking me on a SOTA expedition. Making things work in the mountain environment, or planning activation time when on multi summit weeklong backpacking trips is a fun challenge

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