Nov 10, 2010

Echoes from the past

One of the treasures to be found in the underground command bunker of the Kemmelberg is a collection of communication gear from the Cold War era. Every known means of safely exchanging information with the world ‘out there’ is present: telephone, telegraph/telex and of course wireless radio.

Notwithstanding their age and their obvious obsolescence, such kind of toys still make a boy’s heart beat faster.
There’s something ‘retro’ about all those khaki boxes and antique dials, it’s like you can hear the frantic messages from the past flowing in the air around you (well, the museum’s carefully hidden sound systems may have something to do with that too).

I was most fascinated by the radio transmitters and receivers lined up on the shelves. Reminded me of my younger days, when I was a true licensed radio amateur (call sign ON1RQ). I owned a 2m FM/SSB rig connected to a large orientable antenna more than 100m above sea level, even built a portable transceiver from scratch (making the printed circuit board, coils etc. all by hand). Aah, the things that kept us up through the night before we had the worldwide web and digital photo post-processing!

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Who in those cold war days could have imagined the laptops, smartphones and iPads we so much take for granted today? Except for people like Arthur C. Clarke, that is…

Gear notes: D700, 24-70/2.8, 70-200/2.8

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