1960’s Adventurous Early Radio Experiences

valve radio

I learnt a lot about the technical side of radio from watching one of my father’s friends who had a hobby of repairing radio and TV sets.

This fellow would spend his time fiddling about with various valves and components to bring “dead” items back into service.

Remember, this was back in the 1960’s when just about everything was repairable!

I would often visit and watch in awe as he would nurse the equipment back to life. He realised my burning desire to learn this magic that he performed.

The gentleman gave me a complete set of books with all manner of information regarding valves and the circuits that they were built into.

I read the books and eventually tried my hand at repairing valve radios. It’s regrettable that I mislaid these books many years ago.

At first, I didn’t dare touch the TV’s due to my lack of confidence around the very high voltages used for the picture tube and flyback transformer.

Another, later, memory milestone was getting a picture on a TV after finding and replacing a failed valve.

As a teenager I would spend hours in my fathers shed just tuning around the bands, listening to all the different voices and music.

In the evenings I could receive the foreign stations on a valve shortwave radio that I got working.

My first antenna was just a simple length of wire strung from the shed up to the house guttering. I knew nothing of the relationship between frequencies and antenna lengths.

Nor did I know anything about propagation and the reasons why I could only hear those distant stations at night.

Hearing all those foreign stations really fascinated me.

I have fond memories of hearing the famous Radio Tirana Ident fading in and out behind behind what was then BBC Radio two on the medium wave band.

Listen to it here:

From shortwave listening, the next step towards gaining my amateur licence was » CB which allowed me to transmit