I’ve been into radio for as long as I can remember. Before I became a ham, I was into shortwave and broadcast radio (back when there were things worth listening to). If you lived in the eastern USA in the 1960s and 70s, you may remember tuning in to WOR 710 AM – a clear-channel powerhouse that covered half the country at night. I did nearly every weeknight, so I could listen to The Jean Shepherd Show. He was a master storyteller, recounting events from his childhood, his military service, and more, as well as commentary on life in general. Perhaps you are familiar with the popular holiday movie “A Christmas Story” – Jean Shepherd wrote that story based on his own childhood experiences and it is his voice you hear providing the narration throughout the film.
Shep was also a ham! Originally licensed at the age of 14 in Hammond, Indiana as W9QWN (you can listen to him tell the story at https://youtu.be/P4TASsfEgO8 ) he later held various call signs as he moved about the country (you may remember there was a time when you were issued a new call sign if you moved to a different region) until he finally ended up as K2ORS when he moved to New York. He remained active with that call sign until he became a Silent Key in 1999.
Many of his on-air stories related to his experiences as an amateur radio operator (his story about building a modulator and making his first AM phone QSO can be heard at https://youtu.be/YabPko5m1-k ) and many more are about his various jobs in broadcast radio, as well as radio and technology (of the time) in general.
You’ll find these recordings to be of varying quality, as most were actual airchecks recorded by fans at home off the AM radio. To me, the imperfections add to the nostalgia and make it sound just like I remember AM radio of that era, as do the occasional commercials for Palisades Park (“come on over”) and Ballentine Beer. Excelsior!
After a bit of a hiatus, Afterburn Radio is back on the air and streaming online! It’s very much still a work in progress, but the basic format remains the same: Excellent music from multiple genres punctuated with intelligent talk, timeless comedy, and captivating drama. Give it a listen right here, hop on over to afterburnradio.com, or search for “Afterburn Radio” on your favorite radio app (TuneIn, Nobex, etc.).
When we hear the word “minority” we usually think of race, sexuality, or physical attributes. But many of us belong to self-chosen minorities. I’m a naturist, a full-time RV-er, and a ham radio operator. Any one of those is a minority group in itself. When you think of how many (few?) other people simultaneously belong to all three of those groups, that’s even more of a minority. Funny how we still manage to find each other, though. I can think of at least half-a-dozen other nude rv-living hams without even trying hard. What minorities have you chosen to belong to? How do you feel about being a minority? How do you feel when you find others like yourself? Call in and join the conversation.
OK, so that was over a month ago, and I’m finally getting around to writing about it. So sue me.
Seriously though, I had a good time there, at the Hamfest in Williams, AZ. For those of you who don’t know, a hamfest is a gathering and swapmeet of amateur radio operators. It was fun spending a few days surrounded by electronic stuff and fellow radio nerds. I sold some stuff I no longer needed, and, of course, wound up buying some stuff too. In the end, I left with more cash than when I arrived, and different, more useful (to me, anyway) stuff. What more could I ask for? Well, I suppose it would have been nice if I’d won one of the door prizes, like a nice shiny new HF transceiver, but I can’t complain.
Well, it was fun except for the fact that the drive up was marred by having a tire blow out on me. Right front. But I managed to maintain control and bring it gracefully to a stop. It was no fun changing a tire in the 110 degree heat, but I managed and got back on the road.
Would you believe I lost yet another tire on the return trip? Yep. Right rear, so not a control issue since the rears are duallies, but still, no fun. This time just at dusk. not as hot, but not fun in the dark either. Again, got back on the road and the rest of my return trip to Tonopah was uneventful. Time to replace the 12-year-old tires, don’t you think?