By Jack Mann

Welcome to the first edition of Dust Covered Stuff. This column will be a pictorial history of the early days of the hobby. And also the not-so-early days. Now that most of us are just a bunch of old farts it's a lot more fun to reminisce about the old days than to get up at five a.m. to listen to one of the three stations still on the air.


This first set of photos come from the collection of long-time BLANDX member Dr. Philip Simpson.

Many long-time DXers remember the Friday night costume parties that were held at BLANDXFest from 1967 through 1974. This photo from the 1973 convention shows BLANDX co-founder Elmer Dixon disguised as an active antenna. The fact that he won the Best Costume award that year says something about how creative the other costumes were.

The highlight of the costume party was at 0245 GMT each year when a large cardboard replica of the original Bleene RM-W01Av was rolled in and Miss Radio Waves popped out the speaker grill in the top. This picture is from 1966. Despite the rumors, nothing immoral ever happened. Those radio waves on her fingers were made with sharply pointed steel. Ask Jack Bradbury to show you the scars on his chest sometime.

Myron Reese won the 1974 Best Costume award with his unforgettable tangled wire costume. Sadly when Myron was attempting to unravel himself later that night, a loose wire tip brushed against an electrical socket and Myron was immediately electrocuted. Efforts to revive Myron proved futile, but Dr. Philip Simpson was able to remove the wire, which was largely undamaged. So the next day Bill Kyle and Clay Hastings bought some insulators at a nearby Radio Shack and cut up the wire into ten 31 meter dipoles that were sold in Myron's honor at the Saturday night auction. Myron had always said that 31 meters was his favorite band. Two months later the BLANDX Board of Directors voted to cancel the costume parties at future events so that Myron could retain the Best Costume title in perpetuity.


In the 1930s the Toledo Area Radio Tuners (TART) were one of the most active regional chapters of the Chrome Diner DX Club. The TARTs are credited with holding the first known organized club DXpedition. In February, 1936 eight members journeyed to Sterling State Park, just over the border in southeastern Michigan. Beginning that October the club began to hold three or four DXpeditions every DX season for several years. These next two photos were provided by the Toledo Historical Society.

This photo was taken at that very first DXpedition. Marlon Peters is in the rear and immediately in front of him is Pat McClary with his hand on the shoulder of Jim Stephens. Club president Leon Palmer is at the dials in the front center. The other DXers aren't identified. It is believed that Paul Rice took the picture.

Club president Leon Palmer later wrote that the most important thing they learned was that the second DXpedition would work a lot better if everyone brought their own radio and headset.

For several years beginning in 1938 the TART DXpeditions were joined by the Nichols family (Lowell, Jane, and daughter Alice). The family was known for their sharp sense of humor and were one of the main inspirations for the long-running comic-strip The Radio Family.

In this photo (taken at the November 1939 DXpedition) the Lowell family is shown just before the club held their traditional Saturday afternoon bean soup lunch.


Jack LaLanne is well known for his exercise program, which ran on American Television from 1953 to 1985. But few biographers know of his popular radio program which ran from 1933 to 1940. Beginning in 1938, the lady TARTS got together for his program every Saturday morning, as documented in these photos from the Toledo Historical Society.

The second picture is of Mrs. Alice Lowell and was featured as the March picture in the 1939 Hammercrafted Receivers calendar with the caption "Alice Lowell is a well-known TART." This got the calendar banned in several jurisdictions.