Saturday, February 07, 2009

Radio Days

I love Radio not just as a medium but as a device to have in the house; and one of my most prized possessions is the radio pictured above, a (by modern standards) ancient Sony 2010 shortwave radio. It has sat on my bedside table since before the first Gulf war. It's my companion at night, often the provider of the last and first voice I hear at the end and beginning of each day.

It's tuned by default to BBC Radio 4, but frequently gets picked up and pointed at all manner of other radio stations. It can hear the fleet of aircraft flying overhead; a galaxy of radio stations from across the planet on shortwave; it can switch to a sideband setting and hear strange covert radio stations reading ciphers, number by number to (presumably) agents across the continents. The radio is a madly powerful thing to have to hand, if patience is in supply and curiosity is your thing.

I bought it before the first Gulf War to listen to the Middle East as it reported itself; I heard the Voice of Iran refer to Israel simply as 'the Zionist Entity' then tuned across to hear that country's Kol Radio refer to the Iraqi scud attacks ranging in on its territory.

The internet of course has changed everything, and now that I've got an internet radio the old Sony has had to move up a bit. The web version of the radio can receive easily and cleanly all those stations I used to really struggle to get. It's less romantic but so much more practical.

I was really upset this morning when my Sony refused to respond when I turned it on. I had a good fiddle with it, checked its power supply but it wasn't having any. Disconsolate I took it down to the hall for recycling, wondering if I could ever find another because Sony have long since stopped making them. Then on an impulse I plugged it back in and gave it a sharp rap on the speaker panel. Bingo! I'm (hopefully) back in business with it for another few years.

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