Regardless of what one’s politics may be, it’s interesting to get a perspective on western values from the “other camp” – in this case from behind the Iron Curtain.
Radio is most definitely involved so we’re on topic…
As I and many other western hams were listening to Radio Moscow in the 1980′s (and earlier), Oleg Atbashian was listening to western radio via his shortwave receiver in the Ukraine.
Here is his story of a period that helped shape his values – and a heartfelt tribute to one person responsible.
Oleg now lives in New York and I thank him for permission to post this and for the interesting email aside from this article.
by Oleg Atbashian:
A story of how Margaret Thatcher brought down the Iron Curtain inside of me and how I paid her back.
It wasn’t just Margaret Thatcher’s steadfast economic and foreign policies that helped to defeat the Evil Empire and to bring down the Iron Curtain. She also changed hearts and minds — and this author, who grew up on the other side of the Iron Curtain, has a personal story to tell.
As many Soviet kids did in the 1970s and 1980s, I occasionally tuned my shortwave radio to Voice of America or the BBC Russian Service, hoping to hear their alternative take on world events and, if I was lucky, get the latest rock-music updates. One of the functions of the Iron Curtain was to keep us, the “builders of communism,” blissfully unaware of the outside world. All our news had to be processed by the state-run media filter and approved by the formidable censorship apparatus. Continue reading 'How Thatcher changed a Soviet man’s heart and mind'»
Kure Island, 1969. Click for larger image.
Here’s a method of activating a rare DX entity that I don’t think has ever been utilized before or since…..
In 1973, Gene KH6NR/KH6 (now W5LE) decided that the only way to initiate a long-term DXpedition to Kure was to join the Coast Guard for four years with the proviso that they assign him to Kure for one year!
So that’s exactly what he did.
Thanks to a LORAN station, Kure at that time had a 20-man contingent of Coast Guard personnel. And Gene had prior experience on the island thanks to his previous stint in the Navy when he and Marine buddy Don Chilcote KH6GKV (now VE6NN) staged a very brief 2-man DXpedition to Kure in 1969.
Gene – thanks for your informative emails, photos and the telephone QSO.
From Gene W5LE: Continue reading 'Kure Island – How far would you go to activate a rare DXCC entity?'»
Click for larger
Although ham radio transmission was suspended in the US during World War II, there were no rules regarding reception.
Throughout the war, hams and shortwave listeners alike used their capabilities and equipment to perform a valuable and heartwarming service to a great many family members who had a loved one reported as “Missing in action” in Germany.
This almost always involved a member of a bomber crew.
In order to get Americans to listen to their propaganda, the Nazis realized there had to be something of value injected into their program for the intended audience.
Calling Back Home was a nightly 30-minute broadcast on the 31 and 49 meter shortwave bands from German stations DXP and DXB in Berlin.
Ten names of American prisoners would be mentioned in each broadcast along with pertinent info that would allow their family to be contacted by those receiving the broadcasts.
Hams and SWLs throughout the US dutifully tuned in and logged what they heard – often in the prisoner’s own voices – and then they wrote letters. Continue reading 'WW2: From POW camps to Hometown USA…via SWL’s and hams'»
Depicted as operating from Le Chanbon sur Lignon with resistance fighter Edmund Lebrat operating the generator. (Click for larger image)
It’s not often that a portable QRPer operating CW captures the imagination of an artist.
The painter in this case is Jeff Bass and the woman at the key is Virginia Hall, aka “the spy with the wooden leg”.
Born in 1906, Hall grew up in Maryland and was educated in Radcliffe College & Columbia University before going to Europe to continue her education and study of languages.
She was in France when WW2 began, then left for England where she volunteered to serve the Allied Forces as a spy. The Brits sent her back to France for 8 months to help coordinate activities of the French Underground. To those not in the know, she was simply a journalist for the New York Post. Continue reading 'Portable CW operation under duress: A YL in WW2'»
Television’s first successful broadcast
Of all the people who had a hand in the invention of television, John Baird is by far the most interesting.
He was also the first to pass the litmus test of what constituted successful television – the transmission and reception of a recognizable human face.
This occurred in 1925.
In 1923, Baird came to Hastings, England from his native Scotland. He was in poor health, had little money and was soon rebuffed by a young woman who caught his eye. Seeing that he had little to offer her or any other woman, Baird wrote in his journals, “I must invent something!”
Baird’s first attempt at bettering himself was to market a hemorroid cream developed by a friend. After trying the white ointment: “I was unable to sit down for some days”. Continue reading 'How to pick up women, Baird-style'»
Readers of a certain age may remember shoving a tape into the 8-track player mounted beneath their dash and listening to Evil Woman, Mr. Blue Sky, Strange Magic and other tunes by the Electric Light Orchestra.
That band’s leader, Jeff Lynne, has just released a new solo album entitled Long Wave – a collection of “pre-rock standards”.
From Lynne’s website:
I call this new album Long Wave because all of the songs I sing on it are the ones heard on long wave radio when I was a kid growing up in Birmingham, England. Continue reading 'Long Wave: LF radio via a crystal set influences a pop musician'»