Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Early Years Of A Dxer In South Africa - Part 2

This vintage Pilot 293B radio was manufactureed in the U.S.A. in 1936 and was one of the first radios to include a "magic eye" tuning indicator (Photograph Gary Deacon).


My interest in radio was enhanced as a 12 year old while visiting a friend next door. An interesting looking vintage 1930's Pilot radio (similar to the pic above) used to occupy a corner of their garage. My friend's older brother used to listen to LM radio from Mozambique with the vintage valve receiver.

I recall being quite fascinated with that radio, especially the foreign radio locations displayed in the classic circular glass dial which seemed to indicate what one might expect when tuning in !

A wide choice of interesting radio stations from the Eiffel Tower to Drummondville as indicated in the glass dial display of the Pilot 293B.


In 1972 at the age of 14, I decided to try and tune in to foreign radio stations with the family transistor portable receiver. I set up a basic 10 metre longwire outdoor antenna along the side of our house and simply connected this to the receiver's whip antenna. I was pleasantly surprised to hear many foreign radio stations for the first time despite a certain amount of overloading !


I gained valuable information by listening to Radio Netherlands' excellent programme for shortwave listeners and dxers entitled "DX Jukebox" which used to air on Thursdays. I was also fortunate to receive a few of their free publications including a booklet entitled "Give Your Antenna Some Air" (pictured above).

A few overseas radio publications used to include a monthly shortwave column which I read with great interest. The reported reception of distant stations from exotic locations such as Ghana, Vietnam and Papua New Guinea really fired up my dxing enthusiasm !


I first heard about QSL verification cards in 1973 when Radio Netherlands issued a special QSL card in order to promote "World DX Friendship Year". I sent off a reception report for one of their relay transmissions from Madagascar and was rewarded with my first shortwave verification / QSL card pictured above.


Visit for photographs of a few more vintage radios which I've collected from a bygone era.

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