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The Sears Silvertone Microphone
This is the microphone that Dad put in front of my face all those years ago. It was originally a carbon button mic, probably for Sears made by Electrovoice.

An Introduction

Updated 25 July 2004

I have always been fascinated with radio. It began over 50 years ago, when I was about two years old. My father put in front of my face the carbon microphone that was part of our Sears Silvertone family radio console and asked me to say something. Being much more contextual then than I am now, I said "There's a radio station in there." I knew it then as truth. There always was.
   You see, Dad's voice came out of that huge veneer box every day. It was to my young mind as if my father magically had become a miniature announcer in a miniature radio station that was part of the innards of that console. Of course, as I grew older, I came to understand just how all that magic worked.
   When Sputnik began circling my world on that October day in 1957, I heard the news on an old Zenith five-tuber that my parents eventually moved from the kitchen to my bedroom. Around 1957, Dad took me downtown to Custom Electronics,  the local radio store, and plunked down $71.75 for a Hallicrafters S38E short wave receiver. The entire world opened up for me with that radio. I could hear voices from other countries, voices in foreign languages, music, philosophies, religions and the extended thought of a global community.
    In the end, I came to speak Spanish with a Cuban accent, played tenor and alto sax with local jazz groups on "the black side of town," got two free copies of Chairman Mao's Thought and, by the beginning of 1966, forgot all about that magical radio station that hid inside the box, all its politics and music and Mexican beer commercials replaced by hippie hedonism.
   By 1968 I was in the US Navy, sent off to Norfolk, Virginia, to learn how radio teletype and cryptographic equipment worked in the defense of all the things that radio had taught me . . . or made me question.
    In Puerto Rico, I got interested in amateur radio again. I built a Heathkit receiver and transmitter and got my first ham radio licence. I talked to people in Sweden, Russia, France and  England. By the time I got orders sending me to the USS Saratoga, I was hooked, deepfried & wrapped in radio.
    When I got out of the Navy in 1972, I eventually ended up on the production line of the R.L. Drake Company,  testing, repairing and turning out 20 high-performance amateur radio transceivers a day. That led me to the job I have now, working in the educational media department of the same university from which I went to join the navy.
    There's a radio station in there . . . which leads to the next page.

Copyright 2004 Nils R. Bull Young