The Old Radio

February 23, 2022 –

I’m looking at the old 1940 model S9496809, Zenith radio in my living room. The 80-year journey with this radio brings back memories. The radio has a shortwave band, and I remember listening to the BBC in London, ship-to-ship radio conversations, and the Grand Ole Opry on WSM in Nashville.

My two favorite memories were listening to The Lone Ranger sponsored by Merita Bread. I sent many logos to Battle Creek, Michigan for silver bullets, decoder rings, and the famous black mask. I believe Battle Creek was the first out-of-state town I knew.

My second-best memory of listening to the ham radio was the operators’ classic call: CQ 20 meters. That meant the caller was attempting to connect with any other ham operator. QSL was a response used by ham radio operators that said I received the call. The term QSL is the CB equivalent of Ten-four (10-4).

I wanted to be a ham operator, but I could not distinguish between the dits and the dahs, though I memorized the Morse code. The dream of getting a Ham-operator’s license never happened.

My father surprised the family when in the late 40s, he bought a small turntable to sit atop the radio and play the recorded music through the radio speakers. I recall the first recorded song I heard, “Cool Water,” by the Sons of the Pioneers. I still have that 45rpm record.

The best thing I can say about my antique radio is I have a cell phone, laptop, digital camera, and a 50-inch HD Television, but, together, they don’t equal the memories of my father’s old radio.