Re: First Anniversary of Ultralight Radio Boom-- November 20


satya@...
 

Happy Birthday, ULR! And of course, a profound thanks to Gary for all of
his enthusiasm, generosity, and all-around support for making the
Ultralight Radio hobby what it is today!

Kevin S
Bainbridge Island, WA

Hello Guys,

With the Ultralight radio niche hobby now being enjoyed throughout
North America, Europe and many other areas of the world, some enthusiasts
may be
curious how this whole craziness started. It actually started on
November
20, 2007 with some startling TP receptions on a humble SRF-59, but was
fueled
by some amazing coincidences that gave the movement a massive surge
within
just a month.

On November 19, 2007, I was shopping for a Christmas present to give
my
son, Danny, an introduction to the joys of AM-DXing (which I experienced
as
a kid, with a transistor radio). At the local Fred Meyer store, I picked
out
an analog Sony Walkman, the SRF-59, which looked a lot like the portables
I
used in the early 60's. Upon returning home to ensure the radio worked
properly, I gave it a quick test on AM and FM. Everything worked OK--
but there
was something very unusual about the AM performance. A tiny, cheap
transistor portable like this wasn't supposed to be receiving California
stations
around noontime here in western Washington, 500 miles to the north. This
SRF-59
was a real shocker! Feeling somewhat guilty, I asked Danny if Daddy
could
get him another present instead of this one. To my relief, he quickly
agreed.

The daytime DX on this SRF-59 was astonishing, but even more
stunning
was the complete freedom from image reception, and almost complete
freedom
from spurious signals. On an $18 portable? What was going on here? Why
hadn't
anyone else in the AM-DXing hobby reported the outstanding performance of
this tiny wonder?

But the big shocker was yet to come. Just after local midnight on
November 20, a couple of Japanese TP stations (JOIB-747 and JOAK-594)
made a
decent appearance on this tiny SRF-59, completely transforming my casual
AM-DXing
attitude. This was revolutionary! Other AM-DXers had to experience this
excitement.

Upon getting up after reduced sleep (a common malady affecting TP
chasers), I excitedly attempted to send a report of the new SRF-59's
performance
to the IRCA list reflector. But probably due to lack of concentration,
the
email was sent to Colin Newell (of DXer.Ca) instead. This "mistake" was
actually one of the major reasons the Ultralight Radio boom got started,
because
Colin's support for the ULR concept (and his encouragement of a formal
SRF-59
review) helped spread the Boom throughout North America.

A formal SRF-59 review posted on DXer.Ca caused such a run on
SRF-59's
(in December) that even Amazon.com had trouble filling orders at times.
To
show appreciation for Colin's support, various free SRF-59 samples were
sent
to Canadians, including one to Rob Ross, who used it to log over 300
stations
in 30 days in January. In early December, the SRF-59 Boom was in full
swing,
and pocket radio DXing was catching on like wildfire (with SRF-M37V's and
DT-200VX units also popular). Also in early December, Kevin Schanilec
suggested that we designate a name for this new form of AM-DXing, and by
consensus,
Kevin's suggestion of "Ultralight Radio" was chosen. By late December,
the
Boom was the talk of AM-DXing circles, and established DXer John Bryant
was
showing interest (along with many others). A new AM-DXing phenomena had
begun,
which with John's organizational talents, became the established,
exciting
niche hobby that we enjoy today. Thanks to all who contributed, and
"Happy
Birthday" to all Ultralight Radio enthusiasts!

73 and Best Wishes,
Gary DeBock

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