I was a radio amateur

I was a radio amateur. Superstar 3900

I used to be a radiaka (radio amateur). Actually, I still am, but only in a sentimental way.

It can be said that the amateur radio family can be divided into four types (five if we don’t forget the listeners) of radiakas:

Cebeistas or 27 Mhz users and the holders of C, B and A licences (those gentlemen Echo Charly and Echo Alpha who by then had to take their Morse exams as well)

I won’t go into more details, neither in historical polemics on whether or not the “27s” are radiophoned or notfor me they all are, to know all the legal stuff read around here.

I will focus on the curious and amusing aspects of this little world. It was quite a feat to install an antenna in your building if the neighbours were against it or if you “did TV” (interference when broadcasting) and an eternal fiddling with antennas and transmitters (called cacharreo in the slang) that could end up giving you surprises that would take your breath away, like this one:


Imagine the face of the addressee, whose details I have deleted, when he received a letter with a complaint from Italy warning him that he could be fined up to a million pesetas, a more than significant amount for those times.

As I recall, he told me that when he started the procedures to solve it, he was told that he had “interfered” with communications at an Italian airport, I don’t know what happened. “I don’t know what happened


Click to enlarge the notification of fear.

Nor should we forget the problems with the neighbours to be able to install an antenna or when “TV was being made” (interference in the TV signal)

After the fox

But it wasn’t all scares and problems, the possibilities for fun were inexhaustible, the “cebeistas” organised the traditional “fox hunt” almost every week


The fox was a hidden car with a transmitter broadcasting at intervals, a second car in a privileged place acted as a “base” to listen to the fox and make way for it and be able to receive all the participants in case one of them broke down, had an accident or got lost in those distant mountains or neighbourhoods.

The hunters, using all their ingenuity and homemade fox-hunting devices, had to find the hidden car by watching the “radio” signal (signal that was measured from 1 to +5, depending on the clarity and volume received) of their “cacharras” (a signal that was measured from 1 to +5, depending on the clarity and volume received) of their “cacharras” after the hunt, the prizes, if any, were distributed and everyone had a few beers. It was as simple as that.


Another fun activity when you got a bit bored of talking to your neighbours (making QSO’s) every day and every night, was to make contacts with distant countries.

Today we chatted with someone in Australia just by switching on the computer but with the 27th’s gadgets it depended on your situation and equipment, you could never know which country or person you were going to listen to or for how long as it all depended on the solar propagation so summer was the perfect time to practice it.

Diexism, or making DX (contact) was for many a vice. When talking to an operator in a country you “didn’t have” you tried at all costs to exchange QSL (confirmation of contact) cards. These cards were sent by post and included the details of each “station” and it was a joy to receive them and add them to your collection as a trophy.

This is one of the many cards I designed at that time, which now looks rather stale. To understand them you had to know the QRZ (alias) of the radiaka, which I omit also just in case, since most (all) of the baiters did DX on frequencies for which they did not have a licence.

Yo fui radiaka (radioaficionado)

A thousand stories could be told, a thousand anecdotes could be recalled, as well as words of baiting jargon and many curiosities, and although I am left with the desire, I prefer to leave it here to take it up again on another occasion.

Among the many photocopies with documents of all kinds that circulated among the radiakas, I found this photocopy of a nice profile of a radio operator. (The author of the drawing is unknown)

doesn’t the “potato” (micro) look a bit like a mouse? :D

Yo fui radiaka (radioaficionado)

Related radiakas speak Q

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Recibe contenido extra y adelantos desde sólo un dolarcito al mes como ya hacen estos amables lectores:

César D. Rodas - Jorge Zamuz - David Jubete Rafa Morata - Sasha Pardo - Ángel Mentor - Jorge Ariño - Vlad SabouPedro - Álvaro RGV - Araq