altMike Maghakian, of Spokane Washington, is not your average broadcast radio listener. Not by any measure.

Mike is a radio enthusiast, like me. That is where the similarity ends!

Okay, so we both work in I.T. in educational environments.

We were both is SPEEDX in the early eighties... and regular contributors. Mike helped coordinate the ANARC 80-81 convention in Southern California and was one of the regulars of S.C.A.D.S (SoCal area DXers).

My listening and equipment usage practices were pretty frugal in my earlier days. I tended to get the absolute last drop of performance out of every single radio that I have ever owned. Nothing wrong with that really.

Mike sounds like a similar sort of guy. His interest in Short-wave listening began in 1976 - college days. In 1976 Mike acquired a Sony ICF-5900W receiver. At the time, it was considered pretty state of the art. Frequency resolution to 5 khz for an analog portable, in the late seventies, seemed pretty neat. Alas, it wasn't for another couple of years before the phase-locked loop (in the Barlow-Wadley XCR-30 and the legendary FRG-7) turned radio receivers on their ear (so to speak!) Radio listening would never be the same.

Mike's collection represents the modern evolution of short-wave listening. Sorry folks, I did not see one cathedral style or boat-anchor radio anywhere in his collection. If the names Sony, Panasonic, Grundig, Drake, Heath, Barlow and Wadley mean anything to you in the radio collecting World, then Mike has it pretty much sewn up.

I asked Mike if his collection has grown since day one. To my surprise, this was not the case at all. Mike has been collecting in earnest over the last 5 years. Judging by the sheer number of receivers, this is a remarkable thing indeed.

In 5 years of collecting, modifying and repairing radios, Mike sounds like he has become a pretty savvy amateur electronics technician. Ironically, I have way more training in electronics (Federal and Provincial certification as well as journeyman status as an electronics professional), but I, too, work in I.T and "Hi-Tech". As a result, I find the component level stuff where I can (like repairing Sony SW1 receivers on a regular basis -- for free).

Although we did not get to the topic of actual radio listening, I did get a sense that Mike had a favorite radio - the Grundig 800. No, he does not have the Eton X1... Yet.

Mike's listening habits? Well, that might be in another chapter on, a hopefully continuing theme of, radio enthusiasts and their collections.

Update - Mike has closed down his website and sold off most of his radios -- and moved to San Francisco...


Colin Newell lives and works in Victoria, B.C. Canada and writes on many topics - International Broadcasting and radio technology is one such subject.