My subscription to Life expired, but I still have a subscription to Mad.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Swan Island in my QSL Collection

I saved this QSL for last because it is for a medium wave station reception rather than a shortwave station reception and the validity of the verification is incomplete, which comes as no surprise due to the nature of this particular radio station.

I received Radio Americas, also know as Radio Swan, in early 1967 (my logs are misplaced, so I don't know the exact date). In response, I received a signed QSL card that is otherwise blank and does not mention the frequency, time nor date of my reception report.

A program schedule accompanied the QSL card and both were contained in an envelope postmarked Miami, but with two conflicting return addresses and a fake Swan Island postmark.

Back in 2008, I wrote the following in my weekly Surfin' column on the ARRL website:
In early 1967, I heard Radio Americas operating on 1160 kc. Honduras-to-Connecticut (almost 1600 miles) on the AM broadcast band is an excellent catch in anybody's logbook, but what made this one more interesting was that Radio Americas was supposedly a clandestine operation run by a secret government agency that was trying to undermine the Castro regime in Cuba.
At the time, the Radio Americas story was just speculation, but it was pretty exciting stuff for this teenager during the height of the Cold War and the era of Goldfinger and 007. Just the words "clandestine radio" sounded exciting and mysterious back then. Needless to say, I was shocked when the Radio Americas QSL card arrived in the mail, since I did not think that spies acknowledged their clandestine operations.
Radio Americas was indeed a CIA operation broadcasting US propaganda into Cuba during the 1960s. The station claimed to transmit from US territory, but the FCC claimed that it knew nothing about it!


  1. Stan, congratulations on being honored this year by the Dayton Hamvention 2016! Hope to meet you in person to thank you, face-to-face for your "Surfin'" column from years past! 73 DE N2GJ