On snow and Micah in trees, radio and balance

Thursday, November 11, 2010
It's -5C cool out there right now and it looks like there may be a touch of snow tomorrow sometime. That's why Micah and I got some more Christmas lights up on the house today.

Then I had him up in a tree, maybe 20 feet up, helping me install a long-wire antenna. I've got two wire leads into the house that we put up in spring and the one has an 80 meter dipole on the end of it and now I've got the 100 ft long wire coming into the house too. It's mostly just for listening to shortwave with, and so far it's been a treat. I fired up the old Realistic DX-400 and it worked and sounded better than the newer, smaller one I own. Sweet.

Radio was always one of those simple pleasures I enjoyed, listening to different cultures and people in different cities and countries and continents. I used to play with it much more in high school and college, and then when I worked at regular jobs it became something that I loved to do whenever I wasn't working.

As I moved into more ministry work I had less and less time for such things. Then family came along and they were way more fun than radio. I ended up boxing up most of my radios, but occasionally I'd pull out one or two and play a bit, looking for that spark of simple pleasure again.

These days I've unboxed my simple collection and I've been listening again. Many of the old powerhouses of radio are gone, but there are still a few treats to be listened to. The Voice of Russia is still fun and you can learn some other languages over on Radio Taiwan. Today I listened as an armed forces ham station in Alaska worked a bunch of hams in the southern states. Then a small treat as I listened to a ham operator from near where we used to live in London Ontario work a few stations. Almost like being there again.

I think it's all part of my journey of learning to be a balanced individual. When life takes on too much of one thing, be it work or play or hey even golf, we get out of balance and then we run the risk of falling.

I'm trying to remember how to play again, how to have fun and how to enjoy something simple. Today stringing up wires and sending Micah up into the trees, that was fun.

Hopefully it'll help us have some fun on the radio too.


  1. That sounds cool. Good stuff man.

  2. I apologize to everyone for the following shortwave geek talk:

    I had a DX-440 in the late eighties and foolishly sold it 10 or 11 years ago. I had been using a Kaito KA-1103 but there is something about it being all digital that took the fun out of it. I recently got a DX-66 analog portable on eBAY and it is awesome. I listen mostly to Cuba these days since there is not much else to pick up. I still love the Cuban music.

    I know a lot of the stuff that was on shortwave is now available on the internet but I agree that there is truly something special about hearing it over the air - knowing that the signal is coming from such a great distance.

    I also still keep a little AM portable by the bed for those nights when I wake up and can't get back to sleep. After all these years it's still a thrill to hear all of the far away stations on the AM band late at night.

  3. Oh Jason, buddy, you've been holding out on me.

    Even my 400 feels "too" digital for me. I'd love to get a radio with a dial again, and just hear and feel the stations whip by as I scan the dial, old school.

    I've got my little am/fm/shortwave Grundig by the bed for the same reasons as you, and I agree, shortwave these days is all about Cuban music ….. and freaky religious zealots telling us how many days we have left before the end of the world.

    How far north do you get in your work? Was it Cincinnati?
    Still too far for a meet up.

    And no apology needed.


  4. oh, and that DX-66 was what I saved up my nickels and dimes to get when I was in high school. That baby introduced me to the world of shortwave and got me through some long nights. With that up in Canada, I could pull in the heart of Africa, and Romania, China, Bolivia and everywhere in-between.

    Last I saw of that radio I had borrowed it to my boys. I wonder if It's still around here someplace. I'd love to get my hands on that again.

    Wow, thanks for all the good memories Jason.

    And send me a pic of that DX-66. Or better yet, a video clip of it in action.


  5. I'm about to email you pictures from my gmail account. Two of the DX-66, one of all the radios together (DX-66, KA-1103, Grundig G8, and my Toshiba RP-F11 that I have had since 1986).

    I travel with my G8 which I got on sale for $25. It is a great radio and handles going across time zones quite well plus it has automatic tuning so I don't have to search for AM and FM signals.

    The RP-F11 has become pretty rare. It's a solid radio but I usually keep it stored away just because of its age.

    The furthest north I get these days is Jackson, Michigan - about 70 miles west of Detroit. We also have offices in Burlington, Ontario and Kelowna, BC but I have not been to either of those yet. I do have my passport just in case!

    Finally, here's a link to a short video of the DX-66 I just put up on You Tube:


  6. Ha funny, I picked up a G8 about two months ago for about that same amount as well. I took it to the UK with me and it worked nicely.

    I did love the audio on the old 66. That was the best thing about that radio. And to think I used to sit there using that radio wishing I had a digital of some sort.

    That was a great video clip too Jason. Thanks a bunch.

  7. I would always listen to Deutsche Welle Radio (if that is how you spell it) on my short wave when I was in the Congo.... thanks for making me miss short wave radio. Now I need to buy one.


I'm moderating all the comments these days.

Copyright Randall Friesen. Powered by Blogger.