In my past DX life, I was a sucker for getting my name mentioned on the radio. Thus, I flooded mailbag shows with letters and questions in an effort to hear my name beamed across the world.
My first mention was in the fall of 1984, when I would have been 13, during the Radio Earth program on WRNO. I had sent a letter in a few weeks earlier and listened anxiously, with a tape in the recorder waiting to hear my name. Not only did they read my letter, but I finished third in some kind of art contest and received a free copy of Larry Grove’s book (“Communications Monitoring” maybe?). The next day, I played the tape for some friends and explained that the station was in New Orleans, but could be heard all over the world. They weren’t nearly as impressed as I was.
Over the years, I flooded Moscow Mailbag with questions as I attempted to verify every Radio Moscow transmitter site. Chances are I sent a variation of the question “Do they play baseball in your country?” to every major European and Asian broadcaster.
So Monday night was a big thrill, as I heard my name on the radio for the first time since the 1980s. I decided to check 6925 kHz before heading to bed, on the off chance I would catch a pirate. Sure enough, there was something down in the noise. I switched to USB, fine tuned a bit, and heard some AC/DC booming in. A few moments later, the DJ announced that I was listening to Red Mercury Labs radio. I listened to a few more minutes, quickly searched for an email address, and sent off a message letting them know their signal was reaching central Indiana.
In the next break he acknowledged my email. My quickest QSL ever!
The excitement was doubled by the chance that this was my first ever American pirate. I didn’t chase them too often in the past, but I also don’t ever recall hearing one. Since I’m starting my stations/countries heard list over, I’ll go ahead and lock them in as my first American pirate.
Two thrills in one night, both reminders of why listening to shortwave is so much fun.