I miss the radio receiver that I had when I was 16, an RCA AR88-LF. It was built like a battleship and I obtained it by chance.
It must have been about 1969 and my Uncle Charlie had given me a permeability tuned long/medium/VHF transistor radio. Somehow, by twiddling with the local oscillator coil I was able to receive the amateur bands: Top band and 80 meters. So I built a one transistor BFO and used to sit (in the cold and dark) in the glass leanto at the back of the house and listen in wonder to the radio amateurs.
I used to read, reread and read again my collection of radio magazines and dream of having 49 GBPs to buy a “proper” radio such as a Trio 9R59DS, or even 25 GBPs for a Codar CR70A. In about 1972 I had managed to save 20 GBPs from my summer job as a waiter at a local guest house, and then I saw an advert in a radio magazine.
A man in north Pembrokeshire (I think it was some-where in the region of Llys-Y-Fran north of Haverfordwest i.e. relatively local) was selling a R1155 receiver for 15 GBPs, no telephone number only an address. I talked my father in to driving me to the address about 25 miles away, a lonesome isolated farm on a windy wet hill. The farmer was a radio amateur and told me that the R1155 was already sold. Talk about being sad. But then he said that he had another receiver for sale, a RCA AR88-LF. But it was going for 25 GBPs. More sadness. The farmer, complete with the obligatory wellington boots and short wheelbase Landrover must have taken pity on me because he accepted my 20 GBPs and threw in a pair of ex-army headphones.
I ultimately passed the AR88 on to an amateur who I worked with in the early 1980s in Liverpool. At that time I had acquired a Collins TSC receiver from a chap that worked in the Plessey Edge Lane library. I could not get the Collins receiver to work, so I passed that on to the amateur as well. I think that his name was Dave Sweet.
I currently (Summer 2013) make do with: Yaesu FRG7, an Elektor IQ-SDR, an 8 meter fishing pole as a vertical antenna, and an ADDX AT-2 antenna system with a magnetic loop.
If someone has a picture of an AR88-LF (in the crackle black case, without a S-meter) that I can publish on this website without copyright issues, then please let me know.
GBPs = Great Britain Pounds
My current radio receiving equipment is modest, but it suits my needs, if not my dreams.
In the November 2013 I obtained a FUNCube Pro+ Dongle, a truly amazing SDR for under 200 €uros. The Yaesu FRG-7 and Elektor IQ-SDR have both vanished in to the cupboard!