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Thread: Long-Range Listening To AM Radio

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Long-Range Listening To AM Radio

    During our high school years, my younger brother (Bill) was a radio station geek. He had this kit-type radio that he assembled. At night he would listen to hundreds of different radio stations, write down the time and what was playing, and send that info off to the station (via that old-fashioned U.S. Mail). Many stations would send these verification cards back to him and he would plaster them all over his bedroom wall.

    We were in west Toledo, OH. The cards were from all over the country, from stations in Denver, Pittsburg (KDA?), New York (WNYC, WABC), Boston (WBZ), New Orleans, Nashville, etc. Even though I didn't participate I thought the cards (and the geography lesson) were pretty cool. It led to a life-long habit of mine to listen to long-distance AM radio.

    In my teens I was a regular listener to WBZ (Dick Somers and his Night-Life Club). In my twenties I was a regular listener to Hobb's House (WCCO) in Minneapolis. I also listened to (not-too-far-away) Detroit's WJR....the late night show was called "Night Flight 760".

    As I said, this habit continues. Tonight I will be listening to Chicago's WBBM. Next month, who knows?

    Anybody out there in Cyburbia share this habit?

    KFWB, Channel 96.....you ain't heard nothing yet, Bear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  2. #2
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    I remember "camping" with my younger brother Tom in mom and dad's back yard during our summers in northern California (Mendocino County). We listened to Wolf Man Jack..."Woooooooo....you got the Wolf Man on the radio!!!!" I understand he was broadcasting from a station in Mexico out of reach from the FCC. 50K, 100K, 200K watts? Good memories. I should call Tom tonight.

    You start cool threads, BUN.

    ______________________________
    Jake, "I'm on a Mexican Radio" Wall of Voodoo.
    RJ is the KING of . The One

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Out in
    Colorado there is KOA: http://www.850koa.com/main.html

    Utah there is KSL
    coverage map at: http://media.bonnint.net/ksl/0/2/278.jpg

    I agree with the Bear on WABC.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Funny you should mention the FCC.....

    My younger brother also built an AM radio transmitter and started broadcasting to the west Toledo area. He even got some phone calls, verifying that they had heard the broadcast, all the way over at the University of Toledo campus. That was about four (4) miles from our house.

    This was followed, naturally, by the knock on our door. The FCC arrived and asked my dad if he was broadcasting. My dad said, "Not me, but my son is a radio nut." They confiscated the equipment.

    Bear, Come Here, I Want You
    (Wait a minute.....wrong invention....heh heh heh.....)
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    I can't say it's a hobby, but I do remember being out driving in high school one night and getting an AM station from Louisiana, which my friends and I thought was pretty cool. And I was just recently telling my son about that, and that the next time we're out driving late at night he needed to try it.

  6. #6

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    When I was in Junior High and High School, I was a shortwave radio/am nerd (first) then a Ham Radio Operator. My entire bedroom was papered with "QSL Cards." God, I wonder if I just threw them all away. I can't remember where they are.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Ahhh... the days of transistor radios with only AM... I can remember nights listening to Chicago stations way out in Iowa and Nebraska, or far north in Wisconsin....

    Yes, Bear, you do bring up some really great topics in you threads.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  8. #8
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    I always get a kick outta just stepping down the dial when i'm driving late at night. 650....nothing...660...nothing...670...some very quiet and squeeky station broadcasting car ads for Jackson, Mississippi. 680...nothing..

    At night, the AM signal always travels better. Getting the Atlanta traffic reports was strange while driving in the Chicago suburbs.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Tom R's avatar
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    radio

    I remember late (near Pittsburgh) at night listening to WOWO Fort Wayne, WBZ (Boston, I think) and WABC in New York. Cool! A friend of mine got one of the early pocket transistor radios. He used to attach the antenna wire to his bed springs and listen through an ear plug. Real cool! Then my father somehow got an old consul AM FM SW radio. It had a big circular dial and a special tube the top of which was visible from the front. When it glowed blue the station was tuned in. Extreamly cool!!. Speaking of KDKA in Pittsburgh, my brother in law lived near the transmitter tower. According to him, during certain weather conditions, they could hear KDKA come through many non-radio appliances and sometimes they couldn't completely shut off the flourescent light in their kitchen.
    WALSTIB

  10. #10
    Cyburbian ludes98's avatar
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    AM bounce is off the ionosphere for the nerds out there. When I was doing zoning presentations in 3 states, I was driving all hours of the night. Listening to AM was a good way stay awake. I remeber getting some stations from Idaho and Colorado.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    in the mid 80's I lived in Rep de Panama' and would use shortwave radio to findout what was going on in the rest of the world. And yes we sent of post cards to far off places and got replies-not always in English though

    Wonder what happened to those cards...
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

  12. #12
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    KOA in Denver touts itself as the 50,000 watt voice of the west. On family drives down south (to Memphis) we would listen to Broncos games on KOA until about Central Kansas. Also you can hear KOA in mountains pretty well, and I've heard you can hear it pretty far from people out of state.

    I remember also in high school in Denver listening to KMOX in St. Louis broadcast St. Louis Blues games (I heard this from a guy in Toronto who would pick up KMOX all the way up there at night), I always liked hearing the commercials from different cities.

    Good thread Bear, I may try to find something tonite.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  13. #13
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    I remember getting a Salt Lake City AM broadcast in Dodge City, Kansas one early morning. I clearly remember George Zimmerman from the Men's Wearhouse hawking suits to families for their kid to wear on their LDS mission trips. Wacky.

    I also listened to shortwave - Especially the BBC - when I was in the middle east during the First Gulf War. I'd listen to the news in our foxhole and the give everyone a brief at breakfast later....ah good times...

  14. #14
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    WBBR 1130AM out of NYC travels really well at night into northern New York and Northern New England.

    I just love the juxtaposition of listening to the city traffic reports while trying to dodge deer on the way home after evening meetings. :-S
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
    - - Guy Clark, "The Cape"

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Plus
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    zmanPlan - I listen to KOA on the internet to get Buff and Bronco games.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  16. #16
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    JNA:

    Go Broncos!
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  17. #17
    Cyburbian nuovorecord's avatar
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    Good thread. I've enjoyed picking up SF Bay area stations, especially KGO and KNBR. Also, I've managed to get stations from Calgary and Vancouver, Canada to listen to hockey.
    "There's nothing wrong with America that can't be fixed by what's right with America." - Bill Clinton.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian
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    Great thread with great memories--mostly sports oriented.

    I always seems to get WFAN 660 out of NYC and can listen to mets, knicks, rangers etc...

    Growing up I remember listening to Cardinal Games on KMOX and Tiger games with Ernie Harwell out of Detroit.

    Best memory of all was I' falling alseep one night and caught some Kentucky station (living in NY at the time), I forget now early 80's I guess and some unknown freshman from University of North Carolina is lighting UK up and I think sinks a buzzer beater. Micheal Jordan.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    When I was in Junior High and High School, I was a shortwave radio/am nerd (first) then a Ham Radio Operator. My entire bedroom was papered with "QSL Cards." God, I wonder if I just threw them all away. I can't remember where they are.
    OMG, my ex-was obsessed with ham radio. It is one of many long, sordid stories that led to the divorce.

  20. #20
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    I've got Sirius in the car, and now the only terrestrial stations I listen to are NPR affiliates, and when in Buffalo, 97 Rock, The Lake and the occasional Toronto station.

    On long road trips, AM radio is a friend. A mildly irritating friend, but one nonetheless. Crop reports on radio stations in Kansas and Nebraska have a certain cadence and rhythm that can be hypnotic. Shows for long-haul truckers play old-school country music that very seldom finds airplay elsewhere anymore. Yes, there are parts of the country where all you'll get on your car stereo is glurgey contemporary country and JUH-hee-uhh-suh-HUS!

    On one trip last year through West Texas, between Roswell and Lubbock, I switched from AM to FM, and was surprised to hear a station at every spot on the dial. A few were in Spanish, but it wasn't the oompa-oompa ay-ay-ay dios-mio Notreno one usually encounters in the Southwest; it was bonga-bonga yaaaaaaaah salsa and Cuban. I waited for commercials that would identify there this flurry of DX was coming from, if that was indeed what it was. Finally, a few place names ... Naples, Sarasota, Bradenton, Clearwater, Largo. There was a tropospheric duct connecting the west coast of Florida with Nowhere, Texas, bringing in stations from a couple thousand miles away loud and clear - SINPO 55555.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  21. #21

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    While living in central Indiana, I used to listen to WLW out of Cincinnati. At the end of Reds games, Joe Nuxhall used to always say, "the old lefthander is rounding third and headed for home." I'd catch WJR from Detroit and listen to Ernie Harwell and Paul Carey cover the Tigers; I always wondered how, when a foul ball went into the stands, Ernie knew exactly where the kid came from who caught it ("that foul ball was caught by a young man from Port Huron!"). I could pick up WSB from Atlanta, KMOX (I think) from St. Louis, and WLS from Chicago.

    Some of my favorite memories were falling to sleep listening to WJR broadcast the Tigers on West Coast trips.

    This is definitely a cool thread. Thanks, Bear.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Tom R's avatar
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    radio

    Slightly OT, I have a small collection of tube radios; two AM only (one a portable model that needs a HUGH battery when mobile) and two Zeneth AM/FMs. The Zeneths have a great rich sound. They beat out most solid state radios I've heard. The only thing about them is that its hard to find somebody to fix them when necessary and tubes can be hard to find.
    WALSTIB

  23. #23
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Anyone here ever do any shortwave DXing? For a while in my high school and early college years, I experimented with SWLing as a form of geekery in the pre-Internet days. I collected a good number of QSL cards, and occasionally stations would send trinkets and banners; Radio Moscow was one of the best with Olympics pins and other goodies. Radio South Africa once sent me a survey asking for my opinion about apartheid and how it shold be phased out. I'm still waiting for the card from Radio Pyongyang.

    When my parents has a cottage on the north shore of Lake Erie, I had a blast with television DXing. Television reception in Buffalo is pretty bad; you would get the then-five local stations in the city (2, 4, 7, 17, 29), four stations from Toronto with a lot of snow (CBC-5, CTV-9, TVO-19 and French language 25), and so-so reception from CHCH-11 in Hamilton. 30 miles west of the city, on the shore of Lake Erie, though ... my God, both the VHF and UHF dials were full. Buffalo and Erie VHF and UHF stations, Cleveland stations depending on how well their capture effect would fare against distant Canadian stations on the same channel, Global affiliates from small towns around southern Ontatio, all the Toronto stations including more obscure UHF stations, and more distant Ontario stations from Kitchener/Waterloo. You didn't need cable; there was a good signal at every channel on the VHF dial, and every few channels on UHF. One night, I counted about 35 clear over-the-air stations - with rabbit ears!

    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess
    OMG, my ex-was obsessed with ham radio. It is one of many long, sordid stories that led to the divorce.
    Or, as he would say, "QRM W XYL"

    73 de N2UGY
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  24. #24
    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    Anyone here ever do any shortwave DXing? For a while in my high school and early college years, I experimented with SWLing as a form of geekery in the pre-Internet days. I collected a good number of QSL cards, and occasionally stations would send trinkets and banners; Radio Moscow was one of the best with Olympics pins and other goodies. Radio South Africa once sent me a survey asking for my opinion about apartheid and how it shold be phased out. I'm still waiting for the card from Radio Pyongyang.

    When my parents has a cottage on the north shore of Lake Erie, I had a blast with television DXing. Television reception in Buffalo is pretty bad; you would get the then-five local stations in the city (2, 4, 7, 17, 29), four stations from Toronto with a lot of snow (CBC-5, CTV-9, TVO-19 and French language 25), and so-so reception from CHCH-11 in Hamilton. 30 miles west of the city, on the shore of Lake Erie, though ... my God, both the VHF and UHF dials were full. Buffalo and Erie VHF and UHF stations, Cleveland stations depending on how well their capture effect would fare against distant Canadian stations on the same channel, Global affiliates from small towns around southern Ontatio, all the Toronto stations including more obscure UHF stations, and more distant Ontario stations from Kitchener/Waterloo. You didn't need cable; there was a good signal at every channel on the VHF dial, and every few channels on UHF. One night, I counted about 35 clear over-the-air stations - with rabbit ears!


    Or, as he would say, "QRM W XYL"

    73 de N2UGY

    Do Buffalo's TV stations still beam into Toronto like they did in the 70's?

  25. #25
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Revisit.

    My folks were telling me that they were driving down I-70 through the mountains west of Denver last week trying to find the Memphis/UCLA basketball game on the radio.

    Something was going on with the inonsphere that day because they recieved stations from Kansas City, Chicago, Dallas, Denver (of course) and I think Omaha.

    I may have to try getting some long distance stations tonight again.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

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