Doug Milligan

I was very interested in Jack Fox’s article in the December 2001 DX Times. I thought I might write about how I got into radio – it was back in the early 1940’s through my girl friend, who’s father was a motorman on the trams in Auckland. He was an amateur operator and he used to repair old valve radios as a hobby. I asked him what was a good radio those days – he said the Ultimate radios were very good.

My wife & I were married in 1945 and in 1946 I was working on a sheep station in Gisborne. That was when I bought my first 5 valve Ultimate broadcast & shortwave radio and I made up a Windom wire antenna 100 feet long with a lead-in tapped 70 feet from one end, which my father in law used for his amateur radio transmitter and it worked very well. I used to listen to the Armed Forces Radio Service with all the entertainment shows for the troops overseas, and to Switzerland on Sunday afternoons. Then I had a break for a while till
we shifted back to Auckland at the end of 1949. In 1952 1 bought a 6 valve Ultimate broadcast & shortwave radio off McCabes at the top of Queen Street in Auckland. It is now 49 years old and still going strong. I use it on my 3-foot medium wave loop antenna and have had American broadcast band stations on it but I haven’t tried the X band (1610-1700kHz) yet – I will have to use the Eddystone or the Sony 2001 for that band.

In 1956 we shifted back to Gisborne and I used to listen to Radio Australia and the Voice of America. I like Jazz so I used to listen to Willis Conover who presented Music USA, Jazz Sunday mornings and Music U.S.A. standards Monday mornings, which he did for 41 years. He passed away on Friday 17th May 1996 after a long illness, aged 75. I joined the New Zealand Radio DX League in March 1977. I used my Ultimate up to 1971 when I managed to buy a Phillips FM-AM Deluxe Portable L6X38T for $50 but no sideband then. I wrote to Arthur Cushen re a radio where you could dial up the frequencies and at that
time in 1976 the Barlow Wadley XCR-30 at $315 had just come on the market. So I purchased one from Tricity House Christchurch, a very good set on sideband. I now used a 60 feet wire dipole antenna. In 1978 I was able to buy a Eddystone EC10 second-hand off a friend in Gisborne for $150. In 1982 I purchased a Supreme Shortwave antenna from Tricity House for $95, which I am still using. In 1974 when we went over to Sydney to see our daughter, we managed to go to Melbourne for a few days on the train and I went to the ABC studios and met Keith Glover who used to do a shortwave listeners programme. I wrote a letter to him after we came back to Gisborne and he answered my letter on his programme in December 1974, which I still have on cassette tape. I know that older members will remember Keith Glover.

We shifted to Tauranga in September 1983 and all my radios are set up at the back of my garage downstairs. In 1987 1 bought a Sangean ATS-803A for $369 at Dick Smiths. In December 1984, one Saturday afternoon I was tuning around on my Phillips, which is very good on FM as it has an AFC switch and is coupled to a 4 element FM antenna – I had Radio Noumea on 96.4 booming in like a local station and the same afternoon I had a new FM station from Fiji as well. There’s no way I can get any FM stations DXing in Tauranga now – it’s virtually impossible with Auckland, Waikato and Tauranga stations coming in. There’s no
way I can get FM stations from Australia which I want to hear – Coast FM 91.7 and Radio Hope Island 94.1 which plays Jazz 24 hours a day. I got about 33 stations in this area. I recorded the Noumea station on cassette tape too.

In 1999 1 managed to acquire a Sony ICF-2001 from a friend for free so I have 6
shortwave & broadcast sets with the Philips, Sangean & Sony having FM as well. Would anybody have details of modifications for the Sony 2001 to narrow the FM band(width? Ed). I have an AOR1000 scanner for 500MHZ to 1300MHz. I have had CB radio since 1977 and when I was living in Gisborne I used to talk to Jack Fox when skip was running in the summer months. I had a few contacts after we shifted to Tauranga. Jack’s callsign was DN987 and mine was GS304. I met Jack in Tauranga back in the 80’s when he came up for a press conference. I worked Jack on skip over a period of 20 years on CB radio. That’s my story.