” … a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant.” – Aldo Leopold
I’ve always loved and been drawn to radio. I remember being quite young when my dad showed me how at night you could hear AM stations from far away places.
There was magic in the air – listening to WKBW from Buffalo or WABC from New York, they sounded HUGE in my bedroom here in Quebec.. These were the days before cable TV, here were these big bold authoritative American stations, beaming tunes and DJ-patter at us with such power and energy, yet by dawn, they were gone.
It was literally a portal to another world opening up each night at sunset. I was hooked. Who knew what the magic would bring that night? Baseball games from Boston or St-Louis, tunes from New York or Chicago, traffic reports for roads I’d never seen. It seemed like there was no end to it. To this day I still listen for distant stations at night – though many stations sound alike now, the offerings are no where near as exciting as they once were.
One day, my dad showed me another radio in the house, with the strange “SW” (shortwave) band. Here was the whole world! Strange languages, accents, cold-war propaganda, jamming, stations that broadcast nothing but numbers! More magic!!
As I grew, my passion for radio started to include wanting to understand the technology behind it. I learned about waves and electronics as I built transmitter kits that let me BE a radio station, even if the range was only about 100 feet.
In my late 20’s, my father passed away, and I took some time to reboot. I discovered an old 1940’s radio at a market, and was hooked into antique radio repair/restoration. I’d discovered a new way to feed my radio addiction.
My journey into podcasting is directly related to my love for radio. Here was a transmitter-less, legal way to be radio. Since I had never worked in radio professionally, this was my opportunity to learn some of the craft behind producing radio-like content.
So here we are in 2011, and I’ve found yet another outlet for my radio passion. I’ve studied for and passed my amateur radio certification, and obtained my own call sign: VE2PDT. Now radio becomes a two-way communication device, and instead of just listening to the world, I’ll be able to interact as well.
Some of you may be thinking, “Dude, you can interact with the world here. It’s 2011 and called email/social networks/cell phones” .. Yes, that’s true, but none of these feed my passion for radio. Also, I still think it’s cool that I can converse with someone in Europe without there being any 3rd party between us. No telecoms, no Apple, no nothing – Just air. There’s magic in that air.
I’ll be blogging about my amateur radio adventures here, as I build out and use my “radio shack” and hopefully sharing useful information along the way.
CQ CQ CQ…