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Universal Radio Tribute – A Long Run

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Here’s to Universal Radio for its exceptional service to ham and shortwave radio enthusiasts around the world for thirty-seven years.

In case you missed the news, Universal Radio closed its doors at the end of November, 2020. Actually, COVID-19 closed the showroom a bit earlier, unfortunately.

After 37 years of serving the amateur and radio hobbyist community, Fred Osterman N8EKU and his wife Barbara KC8VWI announced their retirement recently. Thirty seven years is a heck of a long run for any small business, especially one serving a niche market. Fred and Barbara were successful in taking their business global and developing a great online presence.

In all the years I have been active in radio, I have never heard a single bad word about Universal Radio. I guess you could say it was universally well regarded, as a reliable vendor and source of information. In addition to the store, you probably spent time visiting the parallel information site DXING.COM which has been around for twenty years.

Starting in 2001, I had a (very) small business relationship with Universal Radio as a distributor for my Ergo Radio Software. I tried to make sure that Ergo supported all the popular shortwave receivers they sold over the years.

Although Universal Radio was started in 1942, it really took off when Fred took over in 1982. He began his career around the same time I did, and spent a few years with Radio Shack (Tandy) before striking out on his own. Best wishes to you both in your retirement.

Universal Radio Shortwave Receivers

I love Fred’s book Shortwave Receivers Past and Present. Now in its fourth edition, you can find information about virtually all shortwave gear sold between 1942-2013. Amazingly, 1700 models from 360 manufacturers with pictures and specifications.

Over the years, I have spent countless hours with Fred’s book, looking at specs for the many receivers I have owned or wished I had. Truly a labor of love.

Every radio hobbyist should have Shortwave Receivers Past and Present. Get yourself one for Christmas! Take your mind off COVID. Still available at Amazon or ARRL book stores. You can also buy it now on sale at the Universal Radio web site, which will continue to operate.

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