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“Radio Hams” in old cinema

This neat video about “Radio Hams” from 1939 has recently been circulating on the ham email lists. It’s neat to see the excitement and sense of adventure that people had for hacks or “kinks” as they called it way back when…

18 thoughts on ““Radio Hams” in old cinema

  1. Mac KF5DAF says:

    Individual technical accomplishment just isn’t covered by the media like it used to be. I was a teenager at the end of the Apollo program and the public appreciation of technical achievement seemed to dwindle after Apollo 11. Public awareness of individual technical achievement seemed to have an attitude of “Oh, just another nerd”. I do see things turning around in this decade, especially with the advent of the maker community. “Geeks” and “nerds”, if not cool, have at least become appreciated for the skills they have that many others wish they had.

    I really enjoyed the video. Thanks for posting it! Even though the dramatic style was from a day well gone by, I felt a little bit of a thrill watching the story unfold. Just having obtained my Technician license (September ’09) and my General license (October ’09), it has been a lot of fun. I built a simple direct conversion receiver and was able to receive stations from around the world. To name a few: Radio Sweden, Voice of Turkey, and China Radio International (not the neighbor next door, as in the movie, but Bejing China).


    Mac KF5DAF

  2. Inventorjack says:

    Well, that was really interesting, but really kinda depressing at parts.

    I did like the ending, though. Funny twist.

    Thanks for sharing this video.

    – KI6NVY

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hard to find this, but if you can, it’s great!

    Achille (born in Turin, 1933) and Giovanni Battista (born in Erba, 1939) Judica-Cordiglia (or Judica Cordiglia) are two former amateur radio operators and the source of some of the most dramatic and controversial claims of lost cosmonauts in the 1960s.

    In the late 1950s the brothers set up their own experimental listening station just outside of Turin, a place they named Torre Bert, in a disused German bunker. Working with scavenged and improvised equipment they were able to successfully monitor transmissions from the Soviet Sputnik program and Explorer 1, the first American satellite. Their receptions included telemetry, voice recordings, and visual data.

  4. Shadyman says:

    As for slightly newer movies involving hams… there’s “High Frequency” (1988):

  5. Pico N Alvarado says:

    Must have been quite a trick finding one’s position via celestial, inasmuch as there wasn’t likely much room for HO 217 or equivalent onboard a Jenny, much less calculate Height of Eye…

    Fun old flick, anyway.

    Today’s youngsters don’t much care how all this technical magic occurs, just so long as it all works when they want it.

    We gave our technological edge away to the Japanese when THEY encouraged young talent into their ham ranks at the same time as we were screaming, “Morse Forever!” and excluding the tone deaf, circa 1969-1972.

  6. Karen says:

    I didn’t understand this movie at all. What’s a Ham Radio? Is it because he made it out of kitchen appliances? Why didn’t they just call on their mobile phone?

  7. Alan says:

    The two preceding comments (Eglence and swatbolish) appear to be spam. Can a moderator please delete them?

    1. Diana Eng says:

      Thanks for the heads up!

  8. Wayne va3grp says:

    Did anyone realize just who the radio man was aboard ship in this short movie flick? He was seen in the second part of the flick….He was none other than Claton Moore, who later went on later to play in the 1949 TV series…..”The Lone Ranger” . He plays the part of the ships radio man seen after the plane went down. Take a closer look….He’s un-masked in this short clip.

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Fashion + Technology Diana was a contestant on Project Runway season 2, graduated from RISD, and currently lives in New York City.

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