The Crotchet’s Corner

My perspective about all things inconsequential

The pre-digital age …

This is the age of digital radio transmission, satellite radio, and where one of the multitude of functions on your mobile phone is FM music. Well, we have taken this for granted.

Reminds me of my childhood when 8:00 am and 9:00 pm was radio news time and a deep voice would grandly announce, “This is ___ Radio, the news read by ____”. This, from a large wooden box that my parents owned – a 1950’s vintage Cossor radio that looked something like this.

I learnt that it cost a lot of money those days to buy one of these, and it was a prized possession in the house. That radio used valves – how many people remember this device today? It used to take a while for the box to emit sound after being switched on since it had to “warm up”. I recall my father and brother trying to pick up Radio Australia for live ball-by-ball cricket commentary, and the waxing and waning signal accompanied by sizzling static meant that the listener could barely make out how badly one’s team was faring Down Under. The radio packed up one day and had to be junked after my father discovered that spare valves were no longer available.

Then came the age of the transistor radio, and the first acquisition was a National transistor radio where the sound quality was a bit better. This spawned an entirely new generation of sound devices including what became known as “pocket transistors” that were carried by students to listen to film music and the occasional cricket commentary. Mind you, there was no FM those days.

The commentary part was hilarious. Since not many possessed this device, we had no option but to hang around in college with a friend who owned one. The reception on these radios, particularly on campus, was terrible, necessitating the device to be held close to the ear. And the rest of us would stand watching the facial expressions and body language of the guy who held the radio to ascertain whether the game was going satisfactorily or not. This classmate of mine would suddenly break out into a delighted smile and make actions signaling a boundary, or frown and raise his finger if a batsman was out. It was common to see people sticking their head half way out of the bus window to hear the radio transmission better.

My first digital radio was a Sony ICF7600, an expensive masterpiece in those days – I remember paying almost US$ 200 for it. I have it in my possession to this day, but it is almost like an antique.

Technology has developed at a fantastic pace, and devices that are getting smaller and smaller receive and play sound that is amazing.

I would like to buy one of those old Cossors and keep it on display. Sadly, despite searching everywhere, I have not been able to lay my hands on one.

The search continues.

 

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September 7, 2011 - Posted by | About this and that | , , , , , , , ,

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