Saturday, August 29, 2020

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Your "Other" Hobbies or Pastimes

Calling all Genea-Musings Fans: 

 It's Saturday Night again - 

time for some more Genealogy Fun!!

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music, please!):

1) What hobbies or pastimes other than "genealogy" do you have now, or had in the past as an adult?

4) Write about it in a blog post on your own blog, in a Facebook post, or as a comment on this blog post.

Here's mine:

I turned off my first adult hobby to start pursuing genealogy in 1988.  I have been full-time genealogy and family history since then when I have had free time to pursue it.  

Before genealogy, my hobby was radio station DXing (Distance Listening), and studying radio wave propagation.  
From age 20 to 45, I listened for distant U.S. and foreign radio stations on the AM band (540 to 1600 khz), kept a reception log, made tape recordings, and learned about radio wave propagation.  This was usually an evening (7 to 11 p.m.) and early morning (like 1 a.m. to 4 a.m.) activity.  I used a reel-to-reel tape recorder in the early days, and then a cassette recorder, to tape my DX as "proof" of a reception.  I also wrote to the radio stations I heard and received QSL cards (confirmations) and verification letters from the stations in the mail.  

From San Diego, I routinely heard Japan, Russia, China, Korea, Hawaii, Pacific Islands, Australia, New Zealand, Central America, Caribbean, and South America radio stations during a calendar year.  Occasionally, I would hear stations in western Europe, Thailand, western Africa, south Asia, and other distant countries.  This hobby was essentially trying to hear distant stations in between the local stations on the standard AM dial.  

For these receptions, I used a communications receiver, mainly a Hammarlund HQ-160 early on and an HQ-180 later.  These radios had selectivity and sensitivity to separate stations from stations on local or semi-local frequencies.  I started in the 1960s with long wire antennae strung up and onto the roof of the 30th street house.  By 1970, I was using a large loop antenna (3 feet by 3 feet) with a tuner that provided significant directionality so I could null a semi-local station (say in Los Angeles or San Francisco) on a specific frequency and hear something to the east or west on the same frequency.  Local stations were nearly impossible to null because they were ground wave.  Living in the city, I could not install really long (more than 100 feet) wire antennae.

The propagation of radio signals at these medium-wave frequencies (540 khz to 1600 khz, approximately 555 to 160 meters) at night is mainly via skywave refraction from the E-layer of the ionosphere about 90 to 120 km  above the earth.  During daylight, the sun's rays activate the D-layer (from 60 to 90 km) which causes skywaves to be totally absorbed.  So it is a nighttime hobby.  At sunset in the west, DXers can hear signals from distant station to the east already in darkness, and at sunrise in the west, DXers can hear signals from distant stations to the west from Asia and Oceania still in darkness.  

I was an editor of the DX Worldwide column for the International Radio Club of America (IRCA) newsletter, called DX Monitor, in the mid-1960s.  I wrote propagation articles for the newsletter during the 1970s and 1980s.  IRCA, and the other BCB radio club, the National Radio Club, held annual conventions all over the country, with speakers and radio station tours.  I hosted the 1965 IRCA convention in San Diego at the El Cortez Hotel, and attended others in Milwaukee, Denver, Boston, Montreal, Chicago, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, Sacramento, and several other places.

Before I was married, I was a member of the El Rancho Bar Association (ERBA) based in Sacramento composed of DXers who liked  to drink and tell tall stories.  We had meetings all over the state over several years.  They drummed me out when I got married in 1970.  I still hear from DXers from this period of my life in email and on Facebook.  Several of my best DX friends have died.

Several years ago, I found that IRCA had a DX message board so I subscribed to it, and read the messages every day via email.  The technology has really improved now - many DXers can set up a receiver, an antenna and a digital recorder overnight and digitally save signals on specific frequencies or even on all frequencies over a time span.  Then they listen to them during the day to try to identify distant radio stations through station identifications, often at the top or bottom of the hour.  Some of them go on multi-day expeditions to a remote area near the ocean (salt water paths really enhance signals!) - like Hawaii, Tahiti, Newfoundland, Bermuda, etc. -  to hear more exotic DX at sunset, nighttime and sunrise.  


Copyright (c) 2020, Randall J. Seaver

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Lisa S. Gorrell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Janice M. Sellers said...

Here's my post from 2017. The main difference now is no ASL classes. I'm even back to being disabled due to surgery.

Teresa said...

Here's my post :)

Lois Willis said...

Here's mine:

Seeds to Tree said...

I'll write up something quick here, instead of my blog. In the past my hobbies have come in waves. I had a needlepoint wave, a cross stitch wave (some projects were pictured in catalogs) a sewing wave (doll clothes, quilts, matching mommy/daughter dresses). Today, a good book, a long daily walk, and watching sports (especially the Cubs) are still still on my list. Not gardening - but thankfully that's my husband's summer hobby so we have a beautiful yard.

Lisa S. Gorrell said...

I forgot to post the link:

Linda Stufflebean said...

Here is my link:

M. Diane Rogers said...

This one wasn't easy :-) Here's my blog post, Randy:

Lacie Madison said...

I have a few other hobbies that I like to do, besides genealogy.
-> My post.