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Author Topic: The rise and decline of AM radio  (Read 21227 times)
N8FNR
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« on: October 23, 2013, 05:53:12 AM »

A great article about how AM broadcasting got started in Pittsburgh.

http://www.post-gazette.com/tv-radio/2013/10/13/The-rise-and-decline-of-AM-radio/stories/201310130063

Zack
N8FNR
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W1JKA
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« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2013, 12:59:02 PM »

     AM hasn't declined in Maine, still 30 AM stations on air and all I listen to on my old Hallicrafters S-53A out in my work shop, can't beat the mellow tone.
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N4NYY
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« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2013, 04:38:21 PM »

     AM hasn't declined in Maine, still 30 AM stations on air and all I listen to on my old Hallicrafters S-53A out in my work shop, can't beat the mellow tone.

I have been listening to mostly AM since 1994. And when I use my ultralight to DX, there are a ton of AM stations.
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K1DA
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« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2013, 08:33:21 AM »

It is interesting to tune the AM band with a communications grade radio rather than a consumer unit with about  a half inch of bandspread.  WA1ION has a site with really good info on BCB dxing. 
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KC8Y
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« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2013, 09:17:43 AM »

I live only about 65-miles NW from the Pittsburgh area; have heard over-whelmingly about the Westinghouse name.

Never heard the name Frank Conrad; wonder why Huh?

In my city, we have one of the first AM stations that came on the air.  Today, it operates AM, FM, TV, and has our repeater antenna (2M).

Ken KC8Y

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HURRICAINE
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« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2014, 08:13:45 PM »

14 KQV predated KDKA by several months.

KDKA was the first Commercial radio station in Pittsburgh, while 14KQV was the first radio station in Pittsburgh, because KQV founder G. Brown Hill did not think radio should be a commercial enterprise and refused to accept commercials until 1925.

KQV is one of the oldest radio stations in the world. KQV signed on as 8ZAE on November 19, 1919 and was owned by The Doubleday Hill Electric Co.  In January, 1921 8ZAE became known as KQV, although the FCC did not officially grant the call letters until January 9, 1922.


http://user.pa.net/~ejjeff/jeffkqv2.html

Dennis Burns wrote this history of KQV on his Radio-Active Website:

Back in 1919 an amateur licensed radio station called 8ZAE operated experimentally on one of the upper floors of the Doubleday-Hill Electric Company store in downtown Pittsburgh. The store sold radio components, and when it's salespeople wanted to give a prospective customer a demonstration to spark the sale, they just ran upstairs and turned on the station.

Well, two years later in January, 1921, Pittsburgh listeners heard the call letters KQV on their crystal sets for the first time. These call letters, officially designated by the Federal government a year later, inaugurated one of the world's first commercial broadcast services.

In the 50's, 60's, and the early 70's, KQV was the cock of the walk in rock. It was Pittsburgh's DJ fast-track. Showcased on the ground floor of the Chamber of Commerce Building at the corner of "Walk" and "Don't Walk".

Then, the music stopped on October 15, 1975.

This is the "Official" history of KQV from KQV's own website FAQ Page:

HOW OLD IS KQV?
Truthfully, we're not sure. Some radio historians claim that KQV's transmitter was put together and functioning as early as 1912. Others say 1916. However, we do know that "Doubleday Hill" was selling crystal sets designed to receive the KQV signal in late 1918.

HOW DID KQV COME INTO BEING?
Sometime around 1916, Francis Potts an employee of "Doubleday Hill" and Richard Johnstone, a draftsman, began tinkering with an old spark coil from a junked automobile, which they combined with a spark cap, nails, dry cell and sending key to produce an early AM transmitter.

Potts and Johnstone soon set-up shop in a small utility room on the top of the "Doubleday Hill" building in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh.

"Doubleday Hill" soon got into the business of manufacturing and selling crystal radio receivers.

When a salesman needed to demonstrate the wonders of radio, he'd have a coworker run upstairs and fire up the transmitter. Early broadcasts usually consisted of the reading of works of literature or scripture.

At that time, people weren't sure what to do with this new technology, or where it would fit into their lives. In fact, It was considered primarily to be a tool for naval vessels, allowing them to communicate over the vast distances of ocean. In fact, KQV's first official operating license was granted in 1919 by the "Federal Maritime Commission." Presumably, to conduct experiments on the feasibility of communicating with riverboats. (The Federal Communications Commission was not created until the early 1920's.)

By late 1919, "experimental signal 8 Z-A-E" as KQV was then known, was broadcasting to the city of Pittsburgh on a daily basis.

WHY THE "K"? WHERE'S THE "W"?
KQV came into existence before the Federal Communications Commission mandated that all radio stations East of the Mississippi have call letters that were proceeded by a "W".
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N4OI
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« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2014, 02:17:57 AM »

[…] before the Federal Communications Commission mandated that all radio stations East of the Mississippi have call letters that were proceeded by a "W".

Back in the day, WIL was located west of the Mississippi in St. Louis…  something to do with moving the station, as I recall.

73
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W2IBC
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« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2014, 05:52:09 AM »

[…] before the Federal Communications Commission mandated that all radio stations East of the Mississippi have call letters that were proceeded by a "W".

Back in the day, WIL was located west of the Mississippi in St. Louis…  something to do with moving the station, as I recall.

73

If I remember reading correctly, the W/K line was much further west at one point
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WA2ONH
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« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2014, 07:50:04 AM »


If I remember reading correctly, the W/K line was much further west at one point

Further history of boundaries noted at...
K/W Call Letters in the United States
LINK: http://earlyradiohistory.us/kwtrivia.htm

Boundary Switchover Date

"Although I haven't been able to find out the exact date that the K/W boundary for land stations switched to the Mississippi River--the change was barely reported in the press--I have been able to narrow it down to late January, 1923."
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73 de WA2ONH dit dit    ...Charlie
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"No time is ever wasted that is spent LEARNING something!"
MISTAKES are proof that you are TRYING
KJ6ZOL
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« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2014, 03:03:19 PM »

I've read that "K" was intended for ships in the Atlantic, while "W" was for ships in the Pacific. The first few stations licensed for land op were in Pennsylvania and New York, which were very wealthy in 1920. These stn's got K calls. About a year later, the FRC (Federal Radio Commission) realized that such an arrangement would be confusing, and started handing stn's east of the Rockies "W" calls, and those west "K" calls. A couple years later the boundary was moved to the Mississippi River.

By the way, the USA is one of the few countries where commercial radio/TV stations use call signs. The others, as far as I can determine, are Canada, Mexico, Japan, The Philippines, and Australia. (Australia uses ham type signs starting in VL- for commercial stations, but accepted practice is to exclude the prefix, making the announced calls of Aussie commercial stn's look like 1910's ham calls.) One thing you immediately notice about this list is that these countries are connected to/dominated by the USA, either via proximity, history, or both. In the rest of the world, only hams are given call letters; commercial/govt stn's are simply given catchy names.

In the US callsigns have decreased in importance, with FM radio stn's especially requesting a call that fits a marketing slogan, then only announcing the call on the hour as required by law. The rest of the time, the slogan is used. AM (MW) stn's are more apt to ID with a call, but even there the importance is diminished except for news and local interest stn's-most AM stn's are satellite fed and use network ID's. I don't know what stn's in other countries that still use calls do. I know that Canada reserves the CA-CL prefix for commercial stn's, while hams seem to be usually given VE- signs.
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WW7KE
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« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2014, 11:58:20 AM »

WHY THE "K"? WHERE'S THE "W"?
KQV came into existence before the Federal Communications Commission mandated that all radio stations East of the Mississippi have call letters that were proceeded by a "W". 

It was the Department of Commerce in those days.  The Federal Radio Commission didn't exist until 1927, and its successor, the FCC, was created in 1934.  The "K/W Line" was moved from near the Rockies to the Mississippi by the DOC in 1923.
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NU1O
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« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2014, 10:54:33 PM »

It is interesting to tune the AM band with a communications grade radio rather than a consumer unit with about  a half inch of bandspread.  WA1ION has a site with really good info on BCB dxing. 

He sure has a great location for receiving radio signals.  You can't beat Cape Cod for fishing, eating shellfish, the beautiful beaches, or monitoring the RF spectrum.

I've an old Collins R-390A and it's amazing what that radio and about 75 feet of copper wire will pickup on the BCB.

73,

Chris  NU1O

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