My interest in radio started during the late seventies when I spotted my parents trying to listen to HF broadcast stations such as Voice of America (VOA), Radio Liberty (RL), and Radio Free Europe (RFE). Living in a Soviet-occupied country meant that listening to, or talking about, such "evil Western propaganda stations" was illegal and dangerous. Therefore, it was even more exciting for a school boy. RL/RFE programming was jammed by short distance white noise HF towers. Getting ideas from more experienced classmate listeners, led me to building directional antennas that allowed reducing the effect of radio jammers. I also got interested in radio electronics. Consumer receivers available in the Soviet Union did not have broadcast bands shorter than 25 meters. So I spent time trying to modify our radios for 19m and 16m bands. Living close to Finnish and Swedish borders made it also possible to watch TV programs from those countries. That was not illegal but required powerful directional antennas. They were not available so I started building yagis. Aluminum ski poles were excellent material for the antennas. TV receivers from the West were not available either. So our Soviet SECAM TVs had to be also modified for the PAL system.
February 17, 2019