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Vintage Radio

Like many manufacturers, Kriesler built numerous 5-valve, dual-wave receivers with quite good performance. The 11-59 receiver was aimed at the low-priced end of the market but its performance was still quite acceptable, with good reception on the shortwave stations.

By Rodney Champness, VK3UG

Dual-wave and multi-band receivers were quite popular during the late 1930s through to the mid 1950s. These sets covered both the broadcast band and a selection of shortwave bands between 1.5MHz and 30MHz.

Initially, multi-band receivers covered just the medium-wave band of 550-1500kHz and the long-wave band of around 150-400kHz. In the early days of wireless, it was considered by "the powers that be" (ie, government authorities) that wavelengths shorter than 200 metres (1500kHz) were useless for long-range radio operation. As a result, they decided to allow amateur radio operators to use wavelengths shorter than 200 metres in the belief that they would be able to do no more than "get over the back fence".

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The Kriesler 11-59 was a budget-priced dual-wave mantel receiver. It covered the broadcast band from 540-1650kHz and the 6-18MHz shortwave band.

In practice, the amateurs quickly demonstrated that shortwave was the best to use for long-range communications. That, in turn, soon led to the authorities (having wiped the egg from their faces) allowing various broadcasting stations to use the shortwave bands. These early shortwave broadcasts were mainly nationalistic programs loosely disguised as general entertainment.

Eventually, various segments of the shortwave bands were allocated by international agreement for these broadcasters. These bands became known as the 120, 90, 75, 60, 49, 41, 31, 25, 19, 16, 13 and 11-metre bands, with a 23-metre (13MHz) band added at a later date.

Like millions of others throughout the world, Australians grasped the opportunity to listen to shortwave radio broadcasts, particularly the direct test cricket broadcasts from England. There was nothing like listening through the static and fading while Bradman compiled another century!

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