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The Diary of a Radio Fan
D.R. Patterson, Popular Radio, September 1925

December 20 -- The papers say you can hear music and bedtime stories with a little box affair connected to telephones on the head, like a telephone operator. Oh, well! Just another fad.

December 22 -- Bill Parker says this radio stuff is good. Says he can almost distinguish words on a set he made himself. Think I'll get one for son Gordon.

December 23 -- Hooked up the radio set to clothes line tonight after Gordon had gone to bed. You have to monkey around with a little curly wire dinkus the clerk told me was a cat's something-or-other. Then you connect the clothes line to a water pipe or something, and a condenser (or was it a crystal?) has to be touched by the curly wire vari-coupler. Maybe I've got it wrong.

December 24 -- The darned thing works! Late tonight, after Parker fixed the wires up right and Friend Wife was in bed, I heard a chap saying, in the earphones: "This is station BVD broadcasting -- " Later on a heard some dots and dashes. It will be great sport for Gordon.

December 26 -- Tried all day yesterday to hear something on the radio but had no luck. Son Gordon, who has the modern idea of all children that they can do anything better than their parents, tried it. And purely by luck he got some nice music going. This should be good stuff.

June 4 -- Bill Parker says the new idea of vacuum bottles instead of crystals is better, but you have to use storage tanks -- or was that storage batteries? Will go over and see what his new idea works like when he gets it going, just so I can tell the young son about it. I have no interest in it myself.

June 10 -- Heard some great stuff at Parker's tonight. Must get Gordon a set like Bill's. Son must be kept up-to-date.

July 12 -- Tried all evening to hear something on new outfit; phoned chap who sold it and he showed me where I'd forgotten to put the vacuum tube in place. Stayed up to three A.M. listening to dots and dashes.

July 13 -- Must teach Gordon the Morse code so he can read the messages in the air. Dug up a code in the encyclopedia. Copied message I heard like this: "AXGP dnm 64k hsd mnli." Must have been an operator outside the three mile limit. Maybe I didn't get it right myself.

August 29 -- Had a lot of trouble on Monday -- that is, Gordon did -- until Bill Parker discovered it was the washing on the line. Friend Wife will have to hang the washing in the cellar.

September 1 -- Parker helped me put up an ariel wire from chimney to a tree, so it won't interfere with washing anymore. Now hear stations in the west but can't get southern ones.

November 5 -- Gordon wants to know why he can't work the set himself. Says I oughtn't want to listen to what Hoppity Rabbit did to Phewie Skunk. I don't like fussing with the darned radio but have to get it working for the sake of the kids.

January 8 -- Parker says aerial is in wrong direction. Took it down and put it up on another tree. Now hear southern stations but no westerners.

January 20 -- Gordon is now using the old crystal set all by himself, while I keep on experimenting with the big one until I get it working right for him. Heard three concerts tonight; got to bed earlier, two A.M. Willing to lose a little sleep for the sake of the children.

March 3 -- Got a new book which says a variable condenser is no good. Gave to old set to Gordon.

March 4 -- Bought a new set, regenerative variocoupler and variometers. Was telling boys at the office how to work it, and those big works came in fine. (Memo: find out what those words mean.)

March 15 -- Tried for an hour to get a station; gave it up. Put set away in attic.

March 30 -- Saw a good program in the paper tonight which was to be put in the air by station IOU. Some day I may did up that set and see if it works.

April 24 -- Bill Parker has a copy of Popular Radio that shows all the new radio stunts. No wonder my set wouldn't work! Bill showed me where I was wrong, and we stayed up to three A.M. tuning in different stuff.

April 18 -- This radio is great dope! Heard sixteen different stations tonight; heard a lecture on shoemaking and one on curing hay fever. Friend Wife says you wouldn't go to those lectures in a hall. Isn't that just like a woman?

May 15 -- Bought a new book which shows that all by trouble was on account of the aerial. Took it down. Building a set myself on plans in the book.

May 16 -- Took the day off to finish set. Got tangled up with the coils of wire and also bust the black panel. Finally hired a young radio enthusiast to finish it for me. Didn't cost much more than a factory build set.

May 17 -- Now using the new set with bedspring instead of outside aerial. With a loop hung on a miniature "Stop, Look and Listen" sign can hear western and southern stations now. No wonder the other set wouldn't work.

May 20 -- This new outfit is too complicated to bother with. Gave it to Gordon and hooked up the old crystal set. No batteries to bother about.

July 25 -- Off the radio for life. Had the boss in to hear the thing tonight and couldn't make it work. Boss wonders why I stay off work to monkey with it. After he left, young Gordon tuned in to Cuba on his set, just by chance.

September 8 -- The reflex is the thing! No more regenerative radio frequency for me. This new book says the sound goes in the vacuum tube and out, then dashes through it a few times more, picking up more sound each trip, with a final run through a crystal. Have to look up prices of these sets.

October 10 -- Friend Wife wants to know why we didn't by a flivver instead of spending all the cash on radio sets. No interest in science, these women.

October 25 -- Too much work getting new set working. Son objects to taking any more sets. I took back his old crystal set and bought him a tricycle. The crystal is the thing for me!

 

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