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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Tune in Moscow

My childhood best friend and I used to build all sorts of interesting things.  One project in particular makes me laugh to this day.  My friend and I had a radio for which we were continuously building better and better antennas.  Much to my mother's dismay, our newest antenna was mounted on the top of the house (I was in third grade and managed to sneak up there to install it).   The antenna was built from a steel plate that rotated on an axle powered by a DC motor.  I had seen plenty of rotating antennas so I figured (incorrectly) that the rotation had something to do with gain.  Well, we got this thing mounted and hooked up to the radio.  We turned it on just as the radio announcer was making a station identification.   It went something like this...

"Thank you for listening to the number one hit radio station in Moscow!"

We were thrilled!   I was a science buff but I knew even in 3rd grade that Moscow was like thousands of miles away.  Our antenna was a success.  Never mind the station identification was in English rather than Russian...

We were running around the house yelling about how we had tuned in Moscow Russia!   My mother patiently told us to go back and listen more because we were missing some important details.   Sure enough, the next thing we heard was a commercial for a tire repair shop located at such-and-such Moscow Idaho.

Still, the antenna did manage to pick up a broadcast from two hundred miles away!

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