My love affair with shortwave listening goes back to the tender age of about 10. Not coincidentally this was the same age I received a really nasty shock from my Dad's Arvin console AM/SW radio receiver. I guess you could connect the dots and say that my involvement with shortwave and radios was "shocking"!
I started listening to SW with my Mom and Dad. Several nights each week we would spin the dial on that old Arvin (which I still have, by the way, although the cabinet is no longer functional) and explore the world via the various SW broadcasters. This was in the mid to late 1950s when television broadcasting was just starting to catch on in the Inland Empire. We had spotty TV coverage from Spokane, and no one liked staring at a snowy TV screen. These evenings in front of the old Arvin with my parents provided me with a great learning experience via the SW bands.
That old Arvin got a real workout. Not only did I DX (look for distant stations) on the SW bands, I also prowled the AM broadcast band (commercial FM stations just didn't exist at that time), especially after local sunset, DXing the various AM stations I could hear on a simple antenna. The really neat thing about DXing AM broadcast outlets after local sunset was the Midwest AM stations and, at times, stations east of the Mississippi River that would come booming in. I never tired of listening to the variety of programming available at a twist of the radio dial.
In 1962 I was in high school, John F. Kennedy was in the White House, and Hallicrafters radio company fielded their new S-120 AM/SW receiver. Mom and Dad were sympathetic to my "need" for a smaller SW receiver I could use in my bedroom (freeing up the TV set for their use), so a deal was struck. Dad picked up the tab for the new S-120 (about $70 at the time) and I signed my life into servitude in the form of doing non-stop lawn care work for my family as well as several other families in the immediate neighborhood.
While the S-120 is a horrible receiver by today's standards it is still my link to my early days of radio. What's yours?