Getting Started – Radio

This is a short narrative about how I got started in radio.

Computers, electronics, video games, and shortwave radios.  If it was interactive and did “something,” it sparked my curiosity.  The year was about 1983.  I was around seven years old and it seems like yesterday.  My parents would put me to bed not realizing that it would be quite a while before I would drift off into dream land.

Countless hours were spent turning dials and selecting bands on the Panasonic RF-3100L until I found something “interesting” to listen to. Realistically, I had no theory or clue how the radio worked, what bandwidth or BFO was.  It was a “tinker until I found something” sort of thing.  Stringing thin wire and coat hangers to my curtain rod often provided  better signals.  I distinctly recall listening to French radio broadcasts and broken English conversations from afar.  To a kid, it was simply amazing.  If it wasn’t a foreign broadcast, it was the old time radio shows.  You know, shows like The Adventures of Sam Spade, Dragnet, or my favourite – The Shadow.

Panasonic RF 3100L
Panasonic RF 3100L SW Radio

Fast forward thirty-three years.  I had recently started a new role in a R&D department that is full of software, electrical and hardware engineers.  The software end of the spectrum is easy for me as I had been in the industry for about 19 years.  Electrical and hardware – not as much as I thought.  I decided to immerse myself into this side of things and started tinkering with integrated circuits and sensors.  Ahh, the geek in me lives and it is so much fun.

One day, I had stumbled upon a YouTube video with Commander Doug Wheelock showing off the HAM radio and communicating from the ISS.  Cool stuff!  In fact, I just watched it again while I was writing this post.  When I watched the video initially, I figured that amateur radio would be a great way for me to brush up my electronic and hardware engineering skills.  Additionally, I have a huge interest in emergency communications and supporting that infrastructure.  My goal?  No specifics yet.  We will see where this hobby takes me.

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