First ‘real’ radio had AM

From our October 2012 Issue

By Trevor Jones – Dundas, Ont.

I was given a Crystal Radio Set when I was a kid and that started my interest in radios. It was like magic to wear a set of headphones and hear voices from such a simple radio.

My first ‘real’ radio had an AM band and short wave, and it sat beside my bed. Most nights when I went to bed, I tried finding as many different stations as I could, and I’d keep a record of them.

Summertime thunderstorms caused a lot of static so I was usually able to tune in to more distant stations during the winter months.

I wondered why some American stations started with a ‘W’ and others with a ‘K’. I learned that the Mississippi River system was chosen as a dividing line to have ‘W’ to the east and ‘K’ to the west.

In the early 1950s, television was becoming available. John Long, an electrician at Milden, Sask., had a TV in his showroom. Most mornings around 9:30 a ‘snowy picture’ would turn into a clear picture for about an hour before fading. It was amazing that this was a TV signal all the way from Amarillo, Texas – a long way from Saskatchewan.

About the same time period, transistor radios became available. Who could believe you would ever carry a radio in your pocket?! The world was certainly getting smaller.