Thursday, May 23, 2013


     Once, there was a real Kluge:
     Myron E. Kluge, in fact.  In the years after WW II, he promised big things in the ham radio field, produced some fascinating ads featuring the very first "desk kilowatt" (a metal desk with a 1000W amplifier in it, a concept E. F. Johnson later built and sold in fair numbers) and faded from sight.

     Kluge Electronics had some interest in television (the 1946 "Radio" Handbook has an ad featuring the TV racks at Kluge Labs, looking neither more nor less of a kluge than anyone else's) and early FM but it either found a very obscure niche to vanish into or failed entirely.

     Update: Some kind of a (commercial broadcast?) Kludge transmitter, seen in 2007 by Garett Wollman in Salt Lake City, possibly at the KSL transmitter site. Pity it's not in better shape.  Clearly, there's a story to be told about Kluge, though it may be impossible to ferret it out.

Sunday, May 19, 2013


     "Turk" Turon and I were at the Dayton Hamvention the better part of Friday and we saw about half.  It was amazing.  I passed up an early Globe transmitter -- next step smaller than the Globe King.  Shoulda, woulda--  Could not lift it.  Priced to move at $300 and in working condition.  Oh, if only!

    (I did manage a smaller/newer rig, a Heathkit DX-60, also said to be working.  We'll see.)

     Some rigs were way too big to move:
     Love that paint-job! (Here's a closer look.)
     This is the RF side; audio is the same size, with two more final-stage tubes and a nice window to enjoy them through.  Be sure to tune for minimum meltage.
     It's a Gates 1kW job, and very large for its size; but that just makes it easier to work on.  There was a Collins 20V in front of it, of which I hope to post pictures later.  Notice the bead-chain drive crossing the window?  The output tuning network is on the right side of the cabinet -- but Gates did't want all the knobs over there, that wouldn't be balanced!  So they extended it.  That means you'll be retuning a bit after start-up until cabinet temperature stabilizes: all that extra mechanical folderol carries a price.  The 20V has much the same trick, only with brass bead-chain, aluminum drive wheels and a steel cabinet, all mounted high up in a physically-smaller transmitter at the same power level, or, "Please touch up Loading adjustment once an hour until noon," as the note at one station read; they only ran the 20V one day a week and it woke slowly.

     Some hair was movingly big.
     Kristen had admirers wherever she went.

     Table of Vibroplexes.
     The new owner is just out of the shot.  Have I mentioned how good Vibroplex parts support is these days?  It is and you can thank him for it.

     Turk found a man-sized soldering copper.
     Well, more like statue-sized.  When they build the Radio Row monument in NYC, it'll be holding one of those, looking out at Lady Liberty as if wondering about asking to borrow the torch.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


     Wiring.  A lot of thinking, rethinking and ground points needing to be added.  Also, I really need to stock up on cloth-covered wire, the good stuff.
     Crystal oscillator, wired.  RF power amplifier, mostly wired -- tank circuit being the main thing to complete.  Modulator, partially wired.  Power supply, still to do.

     It's just about to the "install front panel and controls" point.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


     Looking for more information about the earliest days of television and FM in Indianapolis, it occurred to me that newspaper archives would be a great source; after all, the city has had some great newspapers: the Indianapolis Times (d., 1965), the Indianapolis News (b., 1869 - d., 1999, after a long illness; survived for a short while by Herman Hoglebogle) and the Indianapolis Star; two of those papers even owned radio stations, so there must be plenty of news about local radio to be found.

     Possibly there is, but not online from those sources; the "morgue" files of the Times and the News appear nowhere and the Star has a gap from 31 December 1922 to 21 May 1991.

     One newspaper has extensive archives, wonderfully searchable, compiled by IUPUI: the Indianapolis Recorder, which has served the city's African-American community since its inception in 1895.  And on 13 July 1946, WABW shows up, in an ad for a song to be broadcast on the 17th of that month at 5:30 p.m..  This was a standalone FM, in a time when few FM radios were available, so it's especially interesting to note the ad doesn't list the frequency.

     After the ownership and call letter change, WXLW and (simulcast) WXLW-FM schedules and coverage show up frequently in The Recorder: WXLW had no network affiliation and a policy of not running drama or "chat" shows.  They block-programmed many kinds of music, including programs aimed at the the paper's readership. (But, as a 1948 article puts it, not "hot jazz or drum solo type of so-called music."  It was another time and the front-page headlines make for sobering reading.)  Published schedules make clear that the FM kept running until late at night, long after the AM shutdown at sunset.

     At least there's one newspaper in Indianapolis with a sense of history.  Thank you, Recorder.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


     Finished the 6V heaters and started on the crystal oscillator:
     One thing this is teaching me is that it has been a long time since I used a large soldering iron.  I'm getting better but still have to remind myself to take care.

     Remember the broken 40 meter JEL (B&W) coil?  Here it is repaired.
     The shiny stuff is home-made "Q-dope," liquid polystyrene, some of which dries white if it picks up contaminants from the old plastic.  The polystyrene coil support is a strip cut from a plastic box that just happened to be the right material.

     The toluene in the Q-dope is so obnoxious that all work with it I have done outdoors and tried to choose times when there was a steady breeze.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


     Scanned* from my copy of the ad, a look at the artist's conception of W9XMT.  We're looking slightly East of due North.  I can vouch for the building and there was certainly a tower there, but I have my doubts about the large building in the background.  (However, the residential housing in that location is all postwar.)
     You can just make out the call letters on the sign over the door.  The sign would have faced busy 30th St.  There's a drugstore there now.
* And it will need to be rescanned at higher resolution, in hopes of minimizing the moire. This was 720 dpi.