Quote Originally Posted by N8YX View Post
Many, many years ago (late 70s, to be exact) while tuning around on my DX160 I ran across Kol Yisrael broadcasting on 29.750MHz. This was back in the day when the country had an SWBC service, and when the spots/planets/stars actually aligned in a budding SWL's favor.

Sent a report in. Got a QSL card back.

That card - along with many others I collected - are relics of history, the issuing stations obsoleted in part by the medium we're now using.

Along those lines, here is an honest to God, no shit, it really happened situation that I found myself in, back in my early days of radio.(And no Gerry, it wasn't the spark gag era) It was a couple of years before I got my ticket. Christmas of '59 0r '60, found me asking Santa for a shortwave receiver. I was studying for the Novice exam and figured I could improve my code proficiency if i started copying real on air QSOs. I'm fairly well sure that Santa got a double hernia when deposited that used RME-84 under the tree. I strung a long wire from my room to the telephone pole in the alley, and hooked it up to the receiver. Although the radio had so-so sensitivity, and not so-so selectivity, I was able to find a lot of CW QSOs and it did help me get my speed and accuracy up to a respectable rate. I was also listening to "numbers" radio transmissions, and broadcast radio stations from all over the world. And, like you Luke, I would send signal reports to them and I would get either a QSL card, or a letter from the station thanking me for the signal report and they would tell me about the station and some even sent photos. It was a lot of fun for an 11 or 12 year old.

One night I was tuning around, which could be done by merely bumping the radio, when I heard radio Havana. They were really putting a big signal in to Arizona, and so I listened for awhile. I don't remember where I found their address, but I did, and I sent them one of my "home made" QSL cards. I made them out of 3x5 file cards, and I had my SWL call sign on the top in various colors that I used a template and colored pencils to make. Each one took quite awhile to make, but I had no money for a real store bought card from C Fritz or one of the other QSL print shops. But I digress.

About a month later I received a nice letter from them, and they sent a whole shit pot full of photos of their station. They were of the transmitters, antennas, control rooms, on and off air staff, and some others of places around the island. Pretty cool. About another month or so later, I received another letter from them explaining who the broadcasts were targeted to, and a bunch of commie propaganda. This continued for some time, and I couldn't get them to lay off. Somewhere around six or seven months later, I was in my room listening to the radio. I subconsciously heard the door bell ring and my Mom yelled "I'll get it". A few minutes later my Mom brought this guy who was wearing a black suit back to my room. I had no idea what was going on, but my Mom was visibly shook up, and her face had pretty much lost most of its color. She tells me that this guy wants to talk to me, alone. She leaves, and this guy shuts the door, slowly turns around, stares at me for what seemed like an eternity, and then whips out his badge and Id, making sure that I saw the rig under his jacket that held his pistol. Mr FBI it was. He tells me they have been monitoring Communist radio broadcasts and mail coming to me from Cuba. Now he wants me to explain, from the beginning, how it was that I was continuing to receive letters of propaganda from Radio Havana. I told him how it happened and that I was trying to get them to stop sending me all their bullshit letters, but that they wouldn't quit. He said that the FBI was keeping a close eye on letters of dubious origin from Communist countries. Needless to say, being "interviewed" by one of J. Edgar Hoovers' band of merry men scared the living shit out of me. It might have been different if the guy had a personality or sense of humor, but I guess the FBI doesn't issue those things out to their personnel. Anyway, he said to cease and desist any further correspondence with Cuba or any other Communist Country I might hear on the radio.

All I could think of as he was leaving was, what an asshole.