Listening to the radio in the sky.

During a recent flight home, I was listening to my iPod when I suddenly heard its synthesized voice tell me that the battery was running low. Not good, considering the plane had just reached its cruising altitude.
So I reached into my carry-on bag and pulled out my Sony Walkman radio and plugged my headphones in. When I turned on the radio, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could actually tune in some radio stations even while high above the clouds.
As I was tuned to one radio station, I noticed something else of interest. Although the signal was fairly strong when I first tuned in, the signal would soon weaken and fade out just minutes later. At that point, there would be another station I couldn’t tune in previously. I’d listen to that station for a few minutes before its signal too would fade away.
It’s even more interesting when you think about it. Here’s a plane flying through an invisible valley of radio signals so fast that radio stations come and go in a matter of minutes. If there’s a radio station playing a song you don’t like, just wait a few minutes and it will go away.
I’m even finding it interesting to listen to the commercials. Usually they’re followed by the station’s call letters along with the name of the city within range of your radio. I sometimes hear the station’s web address, which I jot down for visiting later once I get home. Those too offer clues for the cities the plane flies over during the flight.
And of course, as soon as the radio picks up your favorite station, chances are your flight is almost over. Now you can be the first to make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright position and your seat belt is correctly fastened.
As fun as it is to listen to the radio during the flight, be mindful of the rules of the plane. Radios, cell phones and personal electronic devices should be switched off during take-offs and landings, but during the flight at cruising altitude is the ideal time to really make those miles fly with your trusty radio.

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