Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dad's Sony

My father grew up in the 'Radio Era' which made him more radio-aware than my children are now. He was by no means a hobbyist, but knew enough to tell good from bad. He knew that AM radios had to be turned for best reception, and a good swiveling whip antenna was necessary for FM reception. For him, the radio needed to be able to pick up his NPR stations, WCBS-AM, and get the Mets games when he was on the road.

I ran a sales territory for our family business. As Dad got older, he eventually came off the road, and ran the company from inside. Every now and then though, he would schedule to ride with one of his salespeople to keep an eye on things. He rode with me for few days once on my Northern New Jersey run. Thursdays on that run, I would sometimes stop at the offices of Gilfer Shortwave, and chat with Jeanne Ferrell and Paul Lannuier. I had purchased several radios there over the years, and would buy the various shortwave books and guides from them as they were released.

That one Thursday that Dad came along, he got a kick out of Gilfer, and all of the radios. He and Paul talked for a bit, and he purchased a Sony ICF-SW20. Partly because he really liked the quality of the little radio, and partly because I think he liked the folks at Gilfer as much as I did.

Dad had this radio from then, till he passed away in December 2009. It was his main radio. I saw it on his nightstand, in the bathroom, and on trips back east to visit us. Even with all of the selling and swapping I've done lately with my radio collection, I will never get rid of this radio. To me it was an acknowledgment from dad that my interests in radio were appreciated, and is a memory of the man I miss. It currently lives on my desk at work, sometimes called to duty for news, and music. Thanks for the radio Dad! I'll pass it down the line someday to Alec.


Anonymous said...

Excellent story Neil. Thanks for taking the time to write it down.
My "addiction" with radios started with my grandparents, from whom I inherited both their big AM, and the other AM/SW upright consoles. Both are in working order. I remember as a child I would visit and turn the knobs and pull in the stations.
Still doing it today, but with far to many other radios.
Thanks again,

P.S. I have a Sony quite similar to your father's.

Anonymous said...

Excellent story, loved it. What a great feeling it must be to hold that radio and tune stations in---knowing how many hours your Dad spent doing the same thing with that equipment. I'm sure he's smiling down and enjoying the fact that the Sony is being used by you.

Unknown said...

Neil, I miss Gilfer Shortwave, thank you for this story. I bought several radios from Gilfer, these folks spent a lot of time on the phone discussing radios.

Tom Welch
Mesa, AZ

WW2PT said...

Thanks for the kind words Neil. I remember your visits to Gilfer all those years ago. Hope you are doing well!

Paul Lannuier

Ravindran said...

An excellent write up Mr.Neil.
A true tribute to your Dad as wel as this cute, smart radio, SONY. Any lover of Radio Receivers will appreciate your story. May god bless you....K.M.Ravindran, Chennai, India

John VE3IPS said...

Thanks for the reminder about Gilfer. That Sony was a nice little radio. I remember listening to Radio Australia in the early morning on 9.580

Also Radio Netherland had a great show in the evening on 6.185?

Unknown said...

I also own this Sony, and have done so since my sad bought it at Tokyos Narita Airport around 1990. Been with me to China, Ireland, Russia, Poland and just last year, Greenland. And a number of other Places. Still going Strong, with a few broken plastic details after 31 years' use - but both SW and MW are getting more and more "empty". But great quality, this little Sony SW-20.