When people comment on the large collection of old radios and accessories in his ham shack, Bob Fulton, KB9MMJ, says he tells them, “you should see what the basement, the garage and the attic look like!” Most of Bob’s radios are in working order, he says, but some, “I haven’t even had time to fire up.”
Bob keeps busy between his job at a musical instrument manufacturing company, being a volunteer firefighter for more than 40 years and scouring hamfests and garage sales for still more old radios.
“I started playing with radios when I was young,” notes Bob, who lives in Lyons, Wisconsin, about 35 miles southwest of Milwaukee. “I started out listening to AM, then shortwave … when I was 14, I made money by fixing old black and white TVs.” Bob says he’s been an avid shortwave listener for decades and, although he’s been inactive in that area for the past several years, “I got an (ICOM) R-75 (receiver) last year, so I think I’ll be doing a lot more of that.”
When he joined the fire department, Bob’s radio interests expanded to scanners and CB, and ultimately to ham radio. “I’ve been an avid hamfester for more than 35 years,” he noted, “but I’ve only had my ham license since January, 1996.” He currently operates exclusively on VHF and UHF, mostly on 2-meter FM.
Bob’s collecting began by thinking “I’d like to have an old CB like I had; and I’d like to get an old monitor radio like I had…” And for the past ten to 15 years, as time has allowed, Bob has slowly been picking up good deals at hamfests and garage sales and on eBay. Overall, Bob estimates that he has more than 600 items in his collection, but notes that “I lost count after 500.” (Cover photo by Larry Mulvehill, WB2ZPI)