* Theme - 00:00
“Birthday Serenade” - Willi Glahe
* Opening Announcement - 00:17
Welcome to “Wavescan”, international DX program from Adventist World Radio
Researched and written in Indianapolis, produced in studios of shortwave WRMI
1. KDKA Memorial: Historic 95th Anniversary Ceremony in Pennsylvania
2. AWR Interview: Three Visitors to WRMI
3. International DX News
4. Unusual, Rare, Unique QSLs: Small AFRS Station heard from a passenger airplane
* KDKA Memorial: Historic 95th Anniversary Ceremony in Pennsylvania - 01:02
A few days ago, Ray Robinson of shortwave KVOH in Los Angeles alerted us to the information regarding a special historic ceremony in suburban Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Because of the interest and significance of this event, we postpone our intended opening feature in this edition of Wavescan and we present the story of this KDKA Memorial: Historic 95th Anniversary Ceremony in Pennsylvania. We are indebted to a feature article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette written by Dave Zuchowski for his information regarding this event, and additional information is taken from other historical sources.
It was on Friday evening October 17, 1919 that the Westinghouse engineer Dr. Frank Conrad made a significant broadcast over his amateur radio station 8XK. The station was installed in the second floor of his red brick garage in Wilkinsburg, a city adjacent to the better known city Pittsburgh. This was Conrad’s first broadcast after the United States re-opened the usage of the airwaves to amateur radio operators subsequent to the end of World War 1 and it was one of the very early program broadcasts in the history of radio broadcasting. This initial two hour broadcast over his homemade radio equipment included several different styles of recorded music together with announcements and spoken information. This historic broadcast proved so popular that he began a series of similar broadcasts each Wednesday and Saturday evening from the same station 8XK.
In September of the following year, the local newspaper ran an advertisement on behalf of the Home Department Store offering the sale of radio receivers which could tune in Conrad’s radio program broadcasts. The Westinghouse company decided that they would construct their own radio broadcasting station and install it in a small wooden and canvas shack on the roof of their K factory building in suburban East Pittsburgh.
Engineer Conrad assembled the necessary equipment for their new radio station and they requested a commercial license from the federal government licensing authorities. This new station made its first broadcast on Tuesday evening November 2, 1920 with progressive information about the Harding-Cox presidential election. For this inaugural broadcast, Westinghouse was on the air under a temporary callsign 8ZZ, and a couple of days later the commercial license arrived by post, granting a consecutively issued callsign KDKA.
To honor Dr. Conrad’s contributions to the broadcast industry, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission approved a historic marker to be erected on a street adjacent to the Conrad garage and this was dedicated on December 1, 1990. That marker was later removed and placed in storage when the property and garage were sold during the year 2000 to make way for a fast-food restaurant. With financial backing, the garage was dismantled and all of the items were placed in storage along with documentation on how to reassemble the garage once more.
At 2:00 pm last Friday October 17, just two days ago, a special commemorative ceremony was held at a planned new location at South Trenton and Penn Avenues in Wilkinsburg and the original marker was rededicated at its new location. This event took place exactly 95 years later to the very day after Conrad’s first historic broadcast and it was staged at two consecutive locations, the Community Life Building at 301 Meade Street and then at the new location for the memorial marker. Present were two of Frank Conrad’s great grandsons, Jamie Conrad and actor David Conrad.
Plans are in hand to reassemble the garage and currently they are looking at several sites in the Pittsburgh area. It is intended to have the garage rebuilt in time for the 100th anniversary of Conrad’s first broadcast, October 17, 2019. The completed project will cost an estimated $1.6 million and already $225,000 has been raised for this historic event.
The international radio world is indebted to the historic endeavors carried out by Dr. Frank Conrad, together with Westinghouse and radio station KDKA. It is true that there were many earlier ventures into radio broadcasting in the United States and in several other countries, and even their historic election broadcast was not the first in the history of radio broadcasting. However, the KDKA venture was indeed a major turning point in the development of radio program broadcasting, not only in mediumwave broadcasting but subsequently also in shortwave broadcasting.
By Dave Zuchowski
September 25, 2014
Additional historic information
* Program Announcement - 06:28
* Interview - 07:18
Three AWR visitors to WRMI Okeechobee Florida
Brook Powers AWR KSDA Guam
Greg Scott AWR HQ Silver Spring MD
Kent Sharpe AWR HQ Silver Spring MD
* International DX News - 23:43
Family Radio on WRMI, programming to India
* Special QSL: Airplane Monitoring, AFRS, Adana, Turkey - 24:26
For our weekly feature about unusual, rare and unique QSLs, our DX editor Adrian Peterson tells the story about his QSL card verifying the reception of a low powered radio broadcasting station in Turkey. Back in the year 1980, he was flying from India to the United States to attend meetings at the head office for Adventist World Radio in suburban Washington DC.
While the passenger airliner was flying high over Turkey, he was invited into the flight deck of the passenger airliner and given the use of one of the plane’s radio receivers. He tuned the radio to 1590 kHz and heard his desired station, the low powered AFRS American Forces Radio Station which was installed in the American Air Base near Adana, in the Mediterranean corner of Turkey.
At the same time as he was seated in the comfortable high flying airplane, he could see in the distance the clear figure of Mt Ararat, covered in brilliant white snow. Mt Ararat is a reminder of another method of travel, in a long distant era, with a huge wooden boat, Noah’s Ark, the remains of which are said to be in that area to this day.
In due course, a do-it-yourself, self-prepared tourist travel QSL card, replete with American postage stamps, was received. This card, with full QSL details, verified AFRS Adana, with just 10 watts on 1590 kHz. Interestingly, the wavelength is shown as 61886.792 feet which is actually a mistake in calculation. By moving the decimal place by two positions, the equivalent is indeed 1590 kHz.
This unusual QSL card features a unique threesome: a receiver in the flight deck of a passenger airliner, a low powered mediumwave station on the ground, and a wavelength measured in feet, not metres.
* Music of the World - 26:25
Bulgaria: Music in the Sunrise, folk instrumental
* Closing Announcement - 26:52
Thanks for listening to “Wavescan”, international DX program from Adventist World Radio
Researched and written in Indianapolis
1. 100th Anniversary Panama Canal: The Radio Story - Part 1
2. WRMI Insert
3. Australian DX Report
Several QSL cards available. Send your AWR & KSDA reception reports for Wavescan to the AWR address in Indianapolis; and also to the station your radio is tuned to: WRMI or WWCR or KVOH, or to the AWR relay stations that carry Wavescan. Remember too, you can send a reception report to each of the DX reporters when their segment is on the air here in Wavescan: Japan, Bangladesh, Philippines, Australia & India. They will verify with a colorful QSL card. Return postage and an address label are always appreciated.
Indiana 46229 USA
Wavescan @ AWR.org
Jeff White, shortwave WRMI
* Music Outrun - 28:33
* Program Ends - 28:55