Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Welcome Back to an Old Friend

Back in the early 1980's I purchased a shortwave radio at a pawnshop for $35. I enjoyed many hours listening to it. As the years went by, I had acquired a few more radios though the demands of school and work took up much of the time I had once devoted to shortwave listening. Once, while spending the night at my grandmother's place, I'd got out the old radio and spent some time listening to it. My grandma mentioned how much she enjoyed listening to the music broadcast by Radio Havana, so I let her borrow the old pawnshop radio.
Many years went by. I forgot about that old radio until the August afternoon a few years back when I got the news that my grandmother had died. While going through her belongings, I saw the old radio and decided I may as well take it back. A quick tryout of the radio revealed that while it still picked up FM signals just fine, it no longer received AM or shortwave stations. I put it in a closet and forgot about it again.
Until a few weeks ago. While doing some internet surfing about another old shortwave radio I once had, I found that the radio I had sitting in the basement, a Panasonic RF-2200, was now considered a classic and was selling for upwards of $250 in eBay in working condition. Apparently, although it's an analog model, it had gained a reputation over the years as being one of the best-sounding AM and shortwave receivers ever made. I very seldom have that kind of luck! If that wasn't motivation to get the old beast working again, nothing was!
And so, I put my minimal experience to work trying to figure out what was wrong with it. To make a long story short (and to try to conceal the fact that I really didn't know what the hell I was doing) I finally - after the application of much compressed air and contact cleaner to some old dials and switches -got the old Panasonic to once again spring to life. And what I heard was lovely! Shortwave and AM stations were booming in with a warm tone unmatched by my more expensive digital radios. I've spent quite a bit of time recently getting reacquainted with this once-forgotten friend. It's like I'm in 1982 again.
Though much in my life has changed since I first listened to the RF-2200, it's nice to know that some things endure. And it's also nice to know that although life is often unfair, occasionally it's unfair in my favor.

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