These are the cards from Garry’s shack, the cards from Garry Shandling’s shack …

WN7BKG QSL Garry ShandlingWA7BKG Garry Shandling QSLShortly after comedian Garry Shandling died last week, I was given these gems while researching a story for Amateur Radio Newsline: Shandling’s first QSL as a Novice, and likely his second QSL from when he upgraded to General. Both are from the 1960s when Shandling was a teenager and new to the hobby.

By now, most of you know that Shandling was a licensed amateur-radio operator for much of his life. He apparently let his license lapse some time in the 1990s.

The General QSL is especially interesting because it shows Shandling’s affiliations. ARRL (American Radio Relay League) and RCC (Rag Chewers Club) were obvious — but what about OPRC? That almost certainly stands for Old Pueblo Radio Club, still in existence and billed as “Tucson’s Oldest Radio Club.” The source for my research told me that young Shandling and his teenage ham buddies would attend meetings of an unidentified local club, where they’d sit in the back row and make fun of the Old Timers. It got them kicked out of meetings more than once. I suspect that club was Old Pueblo.

My Newsline report on Shandling’s teenage years — along with an excellent interview by Kent Peterson, KC0DGY, with one of Shandling’s over-the-air friends — will release tomorrow, April 1. If your repeater isn’t already carrying Amateur Radio Newsline’s weekly news reports, it should be. (They also can be downloaded as podcasts.) For more information, visit Newsline’s website, www.arnewsline.org.

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Agent Carter and her Astatic microphone

Agent Carter with Astatic D-104 microphoneWhat do ham-radio operators do when watching TV and movies? Why, we look for ham radios used as props, of course!

In this week’s episode of “Marvel’s Agent Carter” titled “Life of the Party,” Peggy Carter and SSR Chief Sousa monitor an undercover operation from inside a van filled with retro-looking radio equipment – including two Astatic D-104 microphones.

Using those microphones as props actually makes sense: First manufactured in the 1930s, the Astatic “lollipop” microphones were used by the military during World War II and for decades afterwards by hams. They could have been used by Agent Carter, too.

Agent Carter with Heathkit visual-aural signal tracerBut then Peggy reaches to flip a switch on some radio doohickey that’s actually an old piece of Heathkit test equipment – and you’re reminded that this is a TV show based on comic-book characters.

It’s a pretty good show, actually. My XYL and I watch it religiously. For now, it airs Tuesday nights on ABC. You can catch up with it on Hulu or Netflix.

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