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Old 01-12-2019, 09:12 PM
 
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I hope that this right forum. I read that on AM during the daylight hours there were a lot of low powered local stations that had to shut down from dusk to dawn. There were also a few high powered stations that would go around the clock. Someone from Texas could listen to a Detroit station and catch Tiger baseball.

Anyone have any personal memories of this?
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Old 01-12-2019, 09:33 PM
 
Location: NE Mississippi
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Sure, I remember all of that.
El Paso had a monster transmitter that we could hear almost everywhere in the US - Can't remember the call sign. A lot of stations had to turn down the power at night.

But I used to pick up WCKY in Cincinnati on my crystal radio in Alabama, and then there was WLS in Chicago that was always booming away.
Our little radio station shut down around midnight - most of them did - and when it went off the air it played Dixie. It came back on around 6:00 AM and played Star Spangled Banner.
And then there were the Border Blasters. Those stations were located across the border in Mexico and played music for American audiences.
FM was just a small market where classical music was played, and the early transistor radios didn't have an AM receiver capability. Cars didn't either. As a matter of fact, car radios had to warm up because they used vacuum tubes, which required heaters. Took a few minutes.
Watch old reruns of Broderick Crawford in Highway Patrol. You'll see him drive like mad to the top of a hill so that his "2-way" could reach "Base". The he'd stand outside the car and yell into the microphone.


The Queen Mutha of all long distance non-relayed communications belongs to the navy's Extreme Low Frequency (ELF) transmitter in Wisconsin. It broadcasts non directional signal and information to submerged submarines all over the world. I believe it still operates.
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Old 01-12-2019, 09:37 PM
 
2,034 posts, read 1,610,737 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Listener2307 View Post
Sure, I remember all of that.
El Paso had a monster transmitter that we could hear almost everywhere in the US - Can't remember the call sign. A lot of stations had to turn down the power at night.

But I used to pick up WCKY in Cincinnati on my crystal radio in Alabama, and then there was WLS in Chicago that was always booming away.
Our little radio station shut down around midnight - most of them did - and when it went off the air it played Dixie. It came back on around 6:00 AM and played Star Spangled Banner.
And then there were the Border Blasters. Those stations were located across the border in Mexico and played music for American audiences.
FM was just a small market where classical music was played, and the early transistor radios didn't have an AM receiver capability. Cars didn't either. As a matter of fact, car radios had to warm up because they used vacuum tubes, which required heaters. Took a few minutes.
Watch old reruns of Broderick Crawford in Highway Patrol. You'll see him drive like mad to the top of a hill so that his "2-way" could reach "Base". The he'd stand outside the car and yell into the microphone.


The Queen Mutha of all long distance non-relayed communications belongs to the navy's Extreme Low Frequency (ELF) transmitter in Wisconsin. It broadcasts non directional signal and information to submerged submarines all over the world. I believe it still operates.

Thanks! Very interesting.

(I know in Europe there is longwave radio and those stations would get very far at night.)
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Old 01-12-2019, 11:19 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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AM radio and skip still exist. The effect just isn't exciting anymore when the internet connects around the world.

AM was the bees knees from the 1930s through the 1950s. Lots of people knew how to make basic radios. During the depression my father made a decent living repairing radios and supplying batteries to the local farmers. Stations went to a lower power mode at dusk. The transmitter antenna arrays were sometimes directional to prevent interference. The FCC mandated continual verification of "field strength" kept in station log books. I remember riding over much of Vermont with my father while he took readings at various locations.

Skip was somewhat unpredictable. In Vermont we could pick up a couple New York stations, often Nashville and a midwest station or two, sometimes Chicago area and some Canadian stations fairly regularly.

The real interest was shortwave. My father would often be up late at night talking to other "hams" all around the world.
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Old Yesterday, 06:39 AM
 
Location: Eastern Tennessee
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We got WLS (Chicago) in NE Oklahoma to listen to the latest/most popular music.
My grandfathers both had large console radios in the living room to listen to baseball from St Louis, Kansas City and Chicago stations.
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Old Yesterday, 09:42 AM
 
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WLS and Casey Casem and WSM and the Grand Ole Opry.

The superstitions were great and yes the local stations down during the night for the most part. could lose a signal due to weather or terrain obstructions
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Old Yesterday, 10:28 AM
 
Location: Texas
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Our local AM station would reduce power at sunset but was still loud and clear for miles around.

But the ones that could remain at full power throughout the night could be picked up halfway across the country if the weather/ionosphere cooperated. Even under average conditions, they'd reach out for several hundred miles.
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Old Yesterday, 10:54 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grampatom View Post
we got wls (chicago) in ne oklahoma to listen to the latest/most popular music.
My grandfathers both had large console radios in the living room to listen to baseball from st louis, kansas city and chicago stations.
Nice.
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Old Yesterday, 10:58 AM
 
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Early TV stations were the same. In the UP of Michigan in the late 50's we had only one (very snowy) channel and it was on the air from 9:00 am to midnight as I recall and then there was only a test pattern on the screen.
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Old Yesterday, 11:24 AM
 
Location: San Diego CA
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As a kid in the 50s in addition to the AM domestic stations there was global shortwave. Listening to and picking up SW stations was a major hobby back then. If you logged the frequency, your location and time many of these stations would send you what was called a DX card with the station logo. People collected them.

Most countries back then had their own government funded shortwave stations with local news, culture and propaganda broadcasts in several languages. Two major propaganda stations back then was Radio Moscow and Radio Havana during the days of the USSR.

One of the most interesting facets of old time short wave broadcasts were the non commercial broadcasts. There was the amateur HAM radio operators. Another were the so called numbers stations. These were female broadcasters speaking Spanish and reading numbers over and over. Thought to be coded messages to drug smugglers.
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