A Publication of the Alabama Historical Radio Society October 2023
NOTE FROM PRESIDENT WAG
Our next monthly business meeting will be Monday, Nov 27that 7:00 PM with officers and Board members having their pre-meet at 6:30 PM. This will be open both in person at the Shop and via Zoom at the link we will send out ahead of the function. Our most recent business meeting was Monday Oct 23rd.
In accordance with AHRS bylaws, this year’s Nominating Committee (Dave Johnson, Chairman, “Doc” Holliday, and John Outland, Board Representatives and Maurice Hill) are finalizing the slate of candidates to be elected at the year-end Holiday Party and business meeting. If anyone is interested in serving as an officer (President, Vice-President, Secretary or Treasurer) or for Board service, please make your desire known to the Nominating Committee or an officer listed at the bottom of this newsletter.
The annual Board meeting with election and Holiday party are tentatively scheduled for Thursday evening, Dec 28th, 2023; details will be sent out closer to the event but mark your calendars.
AHRS will participate again at the Montgomery Hamfest on Saturday, November 11, 2023; doors open at 8:30. Check the website for details.
Location: Alcazar Shrine Temple, 555 Eastern Boulevard, Montgomery, AL 36101
AHRS will be there and we need volunteers to assist with loading and unloading the goods as well as maning our tables. Let us know how you can assist!
The prior electronics class at the Shop was on Saturday, October 7th with Boyd Bailey covering web resources available to help with radio diagnosis and treatment including where to obtain schematics and parts. The November class will be on Saturday, the 4th and discuss capacitors.
Our next auction is likely to be in the first quarter of 2024, as we are currently restocking items for auction and we are entering the Holiday season.
The annual Veterans Day parade in downtown Birmingham will be held Saturday afternoon November 11th, beginning at 1:00 PM; staging/marshalling will to be earlier. We anticipate the Shop being open that morning, but if there are any last-minute changes, an email announcement will be sent to the membership.
John Outland, who is in charge of our tubes, has asked for volunteers for a “sorting party” Saturday morning November 18th2023. Please come by and lend a hand since tubes are so integral to what we do!
Several radios & speakers that were on exhibit at a satellite location have been returned to the Shop:
As always, please suggest topics for the newsletter and programs for the monthly business meetings.
AHRS has had a long and collegial relationship with the Alabama Broadcasters Association and its president Sharon Tinsley. We plan to donate this Detrola radio to the ABA in a few weeks. It was restored originally by Tom Hayes and was checked and brought back to operability by Dave Johnson, Steve Musch, and Ray Giles. The radio is AM/Short Wave and the photo hardly bears justice to its real beauty. It was manufactured in Detroit about 1939-1940. In the mid-1930’s, Detrola was reported to be one of the top ten radio manufacturers in the US.
Our project to catalog the library and radio holdings and place this information into a web-searchable platform will be moving forward, in earnest, shortly. We recently applied and received a grant from RC&D Councils to be applies to this project. I hope to update the membership on our progress in upcoming newsletters.
Member Don Mosley recently advised me his local recording studio, Sound of Birmingham, was used as the location for a Hallmark, made-for-TV movie, named Nashville Legacy. He advises the director was looking for a studio that synced with the time frame of the movie. We will advise you of screening dates when they become available.
Respectfully submitted and finally feeling autumnal,
We recently received a donation of a Model DS-9660B, CONELRAD monitor, manufactured by Motorola Inc. from AHRS member Don Mosley. This unit came from WFMH (1340 AM), a radio station licensed to serve Cullman, Alabama and was part of the nationwide Civil Defense CONELRAD communication system during the Cold War.
Below is an article about the CONELRAD system.
CONELRAD (Control of Electromagnetic Radiation) was a method of emergency broadcasting to the public of the United States in the event of enemy attack during the Cold War. It was intended to allow continuous broadcast of civil defense information to the public using radio stations, while rapidly switching the transmitter stations to make the broadcasts unsuitable for Soviet bombers that might attempt to home in on the signals (as was done during World War II, when German radio stations, based in or near cities, were used as beacons by bomber pilots).
U.S. President Harry S. Truman established CONELRAD in 1951. After the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles reduced the likelihood of a bomber attack, and the development of superior navigation systems that did not rely on radio direction finding for use in those bomber aircraft which were sent against the United States, CONELRAD was replaced by the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) on August 5, 1963, which was later replaced by the Emergency Alert System (EAS) on January 1, 1997; all have been administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Unlike the EBS and EAS, CONELRAD was never intended for use in local civil emergencies such as severe weather. However, the system's alerting protocol could be used for alerting of a natural disaster by 1957.
Before 1951, there was no systematic way for the U.S. government to communicate with citizens during an emergency. However, broadcasters would typically interrupt normal programming to issue emergency bulletins, as happened during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and the first successful tornado warning in 1948. Such bulletins were the forerunner to CONELRAD.
The CONELRAD concept was originally known as the Key Station System. According to an FCC document created during the "Informal Government–Industry Technical Conference" on March 26, 1951:
The primary plan for alerting broadcast stations that are currently being considered by the FCC Study Group is known as the Key Station System. The arrangement requires certain telephone circuits (private wire or direct line to Toll Board) between the Air Defense Control Centers (A.D.C.C.) and specified radio stations to be known as "Basic Key Stations." Additional telephone circuits (direct line to Toll Board) will be required in certain cases, between "Basic Key Stations" and other stations to be known as "Relay Key Stations". Each "Basic Key Station" receiving an alert or warning signal from the A.D.C.C. shall, if so directed, proceed to broadcast a predetermined message and also relay the message by telephone to all "Relay Key Stations" under his control as specified." CONELRAD was officially introduced on December 10, 1951.
CONELRAD had a simple system for alerting the public and other "downstream" stations, consisting of a sequence of shutting the station off for five seconds, returning to the air for five seconds, again shutting down for five seconds, returning to the air again (for 5 seconds), and then transmitting a 1 kHz tone for 15 seconds. Key stations would be alerted directly. All other broadcast stations would monitor a designated station in their area.
In the event of an emergency, all United States television and FM radio stations were required to stop broadcasting. Upon alert, most AM medium-wave stations shut down. The stations that stayed on the air would transmit on either 640 or 1240 kHz. They would transmit for several minutes and then go off the air, and another station would take over on the same frequency in a "round robin" chain. This was to confuse enemy aircraft who might be navigating using radio direction finding. By law, radio sets manufactured between 1953 and 1963 had these two frequencies marked by the triangle-in-circle ("CD Mark") symbol of Civil Defense.
Although the system by which the CONELRAD process was initiated (switching the transmitter on and off) was simple, it was prone to numerous false alarms, especially during lightning storms. Transmitters could be damaged by the quick cycling. The switching later became known informally as the "EBS Stress Test" (due to many transmitters failing during tests) and was eventually discontinued when broadcast technology advanced enough to make it unnecessary.
Beginning January 2, 1957, U.S. amateur radio came under CONELRAD rules and amateur stations were also required to stop transmitting if commercial radio stations went off the air due to an alert. Several companies marketed special receivers that monitored local broadcast stations, sounding an alarm and automatically deactivating the amateur's transmitter when the broadcast station went off the air.
In a Time magazine article featured in the November 14, 1960 issue, the author details why the warning system consisting of localized civil defense sirens and the CONELRAD radio-alert system was "basically unsound". The author's alternative was to advocate for the National Emergency Alarm Repeater as a supplement, which did not need a radio or television to be switched on to warn citizens, nor a large CD siren to be in their vicinity.
On May 5, 1955, the Continental Air Defense Command Western Division went to yellow alert for 3 to 10 minutes (depending on the alerted state), beginning at 10:40 AM PDT. The alert was raised by a Canadian radar emplacement which was unaware of an outbound United States B-47 bomber training exercise, due to communication failures. A yellow alert meant "attack expectable", and the word was sent to government and civil defense organizations. In the seven-minute window, the city of Oakland, the Sacramento Capitol Building, and others quickly sounded their alert sirens. In contrast, the City of Sacramento civil defense director waited for further confirmation before sounding the citywide siren; ultimately, he never did so. The alert was not acted on at all in Colorado due to the short length, and in Nevada, there was no alert because the person responsible for acting on it "did not know what to do with it". In Utah, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Texas, and Louisiana, a yellow alert was not passed along to civil authorities at all, and those states issued a "white" (military emergency) alert to units in their state instead. Even with the short alert window, many radio and television stations went off the air in accord with CONELRAD procedure, but the alert was not long enough for stations to start broadcasting on the two authorized CONELRAD frequencies.
On the evening of November 5, 1959, WJPG, the CONELRAD control station for northeast Wisconsin and Upper Michigan was incorrectly sent an alert status message, "This is an air defense radio alert", rather than what should have been sent for a test, "This is an air defense line check." All three of Green Bay, Wisconsin's television stations (WFRV-TV, WLUK-TV, and WBAY-TV), as well as Green Bay radio stations WBAY and WJPG (and other Upper Michigan radio stations) were immediately taken off line as preparations were made for high priority stations to begin broadcasting on the two authorized CONELRAD AM frequencies (which in that area would force WOMT, a station in nearby Manitowoc at 1240 AM, off the air). The transmission error was realized and CONELRAD alert preparation (and its media blackout) reversed for affected stations about 20 minutes later.
A very similar false attack alarm was sent to radio and television stations through CONELRAD's replacement, the Emergency Broadcast System, at 9:33 AM EST on Saturday, February 20, 1971. This message was sent by accident instead of the usual weekly EAN test.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Notes of AHRS Board of Directors Meeting September26, 2023
Quorum/members in attendance: 4 officers, 6/9 Board members [quorum present: Cisco, Outland, Holladay, Killian, Giles, Johnson], 1 guests Dee Haynes
Prior minutes: File “Agenda AHRS Board meeting 3/7/23-Final with notes” sent Sun 9.22.23; verbally reaffirmed and approved
Items for consideration
· Committee Updates
§ Loaner book space: done
§ Harry Butler 2nd Edition of AL broadcast history in production Completion date uncertain
§ Status of library/museum upgrade initiatives, incl proposed timeline and fiscal impact: ACTION: No further contact with Dr. Brock; have discussed internships with new curator of UAB museum of medicine and need to finalize and send her proposed intern job description. Consider contact other UA individuals: Dean Brian Butler from UA Communications at 4.5.23 ABA ADAH reception-he gave other contacts Dr. Dimitrios Latsis, GK Armstrong
· Need reaffirmation of goal and plans BOARD did reaffirmed
· Software options
o Next steps: Next steps are to complete our demo trial, finalize remaining questions/concerns, get a final price for startup and first year, sign onto PastPerfect, develop timeline for implementation, first pass data entry, potential use of interns PENDING
· Hardware: Deferred any purchases until software implemented and scanning needs defined
· Grant applications, incl our introduction language: NEW grant applications incl one sent by S Westbrook to announce 10/1/23
· Strategic partners: SEE AASLH entry; membership but no activity since last meeting
o Museums & Exhibits
§ Museum improvements: Per Chair Dee H one cabinet completed and others pending; return of items ADAH completed
§ Status of off-site exhibits: To verify status, including spinet radio at AL Power; other sites, Gadsden? Selma/Orville? Heart Dixie RR? Hoover/Bluff Park?
ACTION: Caitlin at AL POWER contacted and response pending; per Tom K and Steven W, we have permission to visit Selma site; [Note that all items were returned mid Oct 2023: Zenith TO G500 1949; German radio; Philco console; AK w speaker. SEE PHOTOS]; per board recollection, items in storage at Hoover Municipal center
§ New off-site exhibits, eg, airports, McWane: No current action recommended now
§ NEW ACQUISITIONS: Kellogg radio, Code Talker radio Purchased; Erskine Hawkins records, 234 transcription records--Zenith radio console 1939 Cisco to Doc for restoration and profit to AHRS est $1K
§ Frank Roberts ECT machine to go to UAB medical museum and consider D Cisco old Bovie for donation there; Dee telescope to Mobile museum with Sep 2023 email indicating formal acceptance sent to us by early Jan 2024
§ ADAH exhibit closed May 2023 with donations returned; repaired dust cover of DeForest book; Online exhibit at https://archives.alabama.gov/visit/exhibits/online.aspx
o Shop: T Killian, R Giles, J Outland:
§ sorting knobs, solid state devices complete and beginning bulbs and fuses; and tubes with inventory process
§ VT-7 tube testers require final affixing socket savers; working to restore all Simpson meters and Doc H will donate 2 to the shop [Note, 9/7/23, socket savers were affixed to VT7 in the tube room and Doc H donated 2 Simpsons that were reparable/in good shape to shop]
§ Upgrades for Zoom: Improved video, audio with use of MacBook and webcam; continued difficulty with “white PC”
ACTION: Email 9/28/23 request Robert C to check the PC
§ Upgrades to website Newsletters and links being updated per Steve W
§ CMTE: Reaffirmed mission and goal as strategic plan; J Cawthon previously agreed to take the lead; no volunteers at this meeting; goal to develop plans for outreach to our members, the public, other similar-interest groups
§ Need action for formal CMTE
§ Educational programs: contact TV station(s), eg ABC 33/30. NO ACTION; LELAND WHALEY Talk 99.5 mentioned historic radios on his show and potentially has a radio to repair. Mid-August talk on history at Homewood library to Homewood Historic Preservation Commissionàadequate audio and now online on AHRS YouTube channel. Invitation to talk to Gadsden Amateur Radio club 10/9/23.
ACTIONS: L Whaley emailed by Steve W 9/26/23. AHRS agreed in principle to speak to Gadsden club but no firm volunteers or topic; to respond to Gadsden club “time certain” by Oct 2 with update.
§ Radio electronics classes monthly continue B Bailey
§ Networking/joint events: Amateur radio, record collectors, ABA annual conference exhibit Aug 2023 ALL DONE; recent Holle Family Foundation board meet at shop. Joined MAARC; continued association with AWA
§ ABA potential future ABA board meeting at shop? radio donation to ABA-a couple of radios were chosen from the collection in the downstairs conference room to be tested/restored for giving one to the ABA
§ Newsletter, business meeting improvements: Business meetings on zoom
· Policy or planning CMTEs Board did not feel any changes in bylaws are needed, nor should another strategic planning session be scheduled, nor does either CMTE need to meet.
· Fiscal issues
o Auctions continue: Sep 16 netted about $600 with most items being sold, incl subwoofer unit; possible auction in November 2023
o New ventures, eg Facebook marketplace or groups Long discussion on selling in this venue and our presence in social media. Would require someone(s) to monitor daily and no volunteer was forthcoming; no one was identified who’d sold on marketplace; no one favored AHRS selling items on eBay. Question arose about need for AHRS to collect sales taxes, as at BHM Hamfest, or need a license.
ACTIONS: Investigate need to collect sales taxes on Facebook marketplace or our auctions [eg our accountant] or to have a business license. Identify interested member(s) to trial 1-2 sales of items, eg, non-sellers at hamfests, to determine the feasibility of using this model.
o Holle Family Foundation donation $5000 2022: Acknowledged with plan to update as funds are used. Used for radio acquisition.
o Chas McCrary gift Used for radio acquisition.
o Current cash and holdings in capital fund, AL Power Credit Union: M Woodruff treasurer UPDATE showing $24,700 in checking and $66K in investments
§ Setting limits on spending for items Board did not set a definitive amount of a transaction requiring formal board approval but did feel “substantial” purchases and similar transactions should be discussed by the board and approved, if needed, with a majority of a quorum in person or by electronic means.
§ Multiple signatories for large monetary transactions? Board did not feel 2 or more signatories are needed for large purchases/transactions. SEE ABOVE.
§ Improving investment earnings: Actionitem re-approved to keep adequate operating funds in checking account and put excess into capital account; investigate optimal investment vehicles
§ Signatories: Dee H and Tom Killian their indicated desire to be removed as authorized signatories; Board wanted at least 3 new signatories to include the Treasurer and President and/or Vice President. Ray Giles volunteered to be a Board designee.
§ During discussion it was pointed out that the AHRS cards are Debit, not Credit, cards and have no PIN requirement for use.
ACTION: Date certain on or before Wed 1 November 2023, all current [Dee Haynes, Tom Killian] and proposed [Ray Giles, Mike Woodruff ex officio Treasurer, Richard Waguespack and/or Steven Westbrook ex officio Pres and VP respectively] authorized signatories for accounts at the Alabama Power credit union and at Regions Bank will relinquish or add their names to the respective accounts. A date will be chosen such that all involved will be available to simultaneously attend to these activities. NEXT, the AHRS cards will be required to have a PIN or be converted to credit cards with appropriate signatories and authorized representatives.
· Officers’ updates: Pres, VP, Secretary, Treasurer: VP update on liability insurance of $1M with $1M umbrella.
· Events of significance:
o Hamfests: Also noted are smaller events, eg, Cullman, Tuscaloosa, Gadsden, Helena and our roles regarding sales and networking opportunities. Board supports attending the major venues and as many smaller ones as feasible.
§ Birmingham: 3/1-2/2024
§ Huntsville August
§ Montgomery Nov; Helena 10/21/23
o Legends of Broadcast: Not addressed
o ABA sponsored legislative reception ADAH 5 April 2023: good attendance
· Strategic plan action items
o AHRS Donations & Disposition WG: No additional discussion
o Future formal strategic planning session, incl facilitators: None needed
o Website upgrades: currently being maintained
§ YouTube channel: Much of our video material has been migrated to AHRS’s channel LARGELY DONE BY ROBERT CAIN, KENNY SMITH
§ AASLH involvement: PENDING
§ Meet with AL Power President Jeffrey Peoples, leadership Briefly discussed by the Board as an important strategic item.
ACTION: Leadership and Board members will strategize as to how best to achieve this goal.
· Next quarter goals: None added
· Future Board meetings for 2023
o Q4: End of year meeting and holiday party to include formation of the annual nominating CMTE discussed.
o Board members rotating off: D Cisco, J Outland, C McCrary.
ACTION: In accordance with bylaws, several members of the nominating committee were approved: Dave Johnson [chair], “Doc” Holladay, and John Outland as board members. Maurice Hill was nominated and the chair will ask if he will serve as a non-board member in good standing. An announcement will go out in the newsletter asking for additional nominees for the committee and others who wish to be considered to serve in leadership or on the board. Specifically, the 3 board members listed above will complete their three-year terms at the end of 2023, as will all 4 elected officers, who complete their one-year terms [president, vice president, secretary, treasurer].
· New/Other business: None added
Ratified by Board and entered into AHRS records 10.15.23
Richard W Waguespack, President AHRS
Proximity Fuzes for Allied Military Shells
Proximity fuzes came in several types, but arguable the most effective involved the use of radio waves. It has been stated that three inventions gave the Allies a distinctive advantage in World War II. They were 1. the atomic bomb, 2. radar and 3. the proximity fuze. Below is an article about one of those items
Article from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A proximity fuze (or fuse) is a fuze that detonates an explosive device automatically when it approaches within a certain distance of its target. Proximity fuzes are designed for elusive military targets such as airplanes and missiles, as well as ships at sea and ground forces. This sophisticated trigger mechanism may increase lethality by 5 to 10 times compared to the common contact fuze or timed fuze.
Before the invention of the proximity fuze, detonation was induced by direct contact, a timer set at launch, or an altimeter. All of these earlier methods have disadvantages. The probability of a direct hit on a small moving target is low; a shell that just misses the target will not explode. A time- or height-triggered fuze requires good prediction by the gunner and accurate timing by the fuze. If either is wrong, then even accurately aimed shells may explode harmlessly before reaching the target or after passing it. At the start of The Blitz, it was estimated that it took 20,000 rounds to shoot down a single aircraft; other estimates put the figure as high as 100,000 or as low as 2,500. With a proximity fuze, the shell or missile need only pass close by the target at some time during its flight. The proximity fuze makes the problem simpler than the previous methods.
Proximity fuzes are also useful for producing air bursts against ground targets. A contact fuze would explode when it hit the ground; it would not be very effective at scattering shrapnel. A timer fuze can be set to explode a few meters above the ground but the timing is vital and usually requires observers to provide information for adjusting the timing. Observers may not be practical in many situations, the ground may be uneven, and the practice is slow in any event. Proximity fuzes fitted to such weapons as artillery and mortar shells solve this problem by having a range of set burst heights [e.g. 2, 4 or 10 m (7, 13 or 33 ft)] above ground that are selected by gun crews. The shell bursts at the appropriate height above ground.
World War II
Radio frequency sensing (radar) is the main sensing principle for artillery shells.
The device described in World War II patent works as follows: The shell contains a micro-transmitter which uses the shell body as an antenna and emits a continuous wave of roughly 180–220 MHz. As the shell approaches a reflecting object, an interference pattern is created. This pattern changes with shrinking distance: every half wavelength in distance (a half wavelength at this frequency is about 0.7 meters), the transmitter is in or out of resonance. This causes a small cycling of the radiated power and consequently the oscillator supply current of about 200–800 Hz, the Doppler frequency. This signal is sent through a band-pass filter, amplified, and triggers the detonation when it exceeds a given amplitude.
WZAL Radio Station
Saturday nights: 6 PM – 9 PM: Solid Gold Oldies with Dr. Dax Davis, otherwiseknown as AHRS/ARCA Member, Skip Leslie. Always spinning the best in Top 40 radio hits from the 50s, 60s and 70s, including local bands. Radio like it was in the good old days of WSGN, WVOK and many others. Using turntables and cart machines for music and liners and vintage microphones to duplicate that distinct sound of the 60s. Weekdays: 5 PM – 6 PM: The Stagecoach Ride for the best of classic country hits of the 50s thru the 70s. Both shows feature requests and are simply good old-fashioned radio entertainment.
The station is in Alabaster on WZAL 99.9 FM.
Quote of the Month
“To be or not to be is not a question of compromise. Either you be or you don’t be. – – Golda Meir, Former Prime Minister of Israel
We meet every Saturday (unless a Holiday weekend) at 8:30 A.M. until around 11:30 A.M., at the one-story AHRS Shop at the corner of 8th Avenue North and 18th Street, (1801 8th Avenue North, Birmingham, AL 35203). Please use the rear (Southeast) entrance.
The Shop is open on Tuesdays at 8:30 A.M. until around 11:30 A.M. Note that parking can be a problem on Tuesdays, so you may have to find street parking occasionally.
Regular monthly members meetings are on the fourth Monday night starting at 7:00 PM with the Executive Meeting starting at 6:30 PM
Please come join us!
The electronics classes are generally on “Zoom” and “in-person” at the AHRS Shop, typically the first Saturday of each month (except when something special is taking place, then we agree on an alternative Saturday)
Check your emails for the schedule and how to participate.
We start from the beginning Ohms Law, inductors, resistor and Capacitors color codes, as well as what each component does within the radio circuits. We also teach how to use test equipment used in the repairing of radios. We teach troubleshooting radio troubles, as well as how to read a radio diagram.
Currently the class is studying advance topics relating to troubleshooting and project radio repair. We are retooling our website in hopes of archiving prior classes for those who may have missed a prior class. Email will provide timely details on date, topics & links.
There are coil winding classes, and one-on-one repair help. Come join these classes!
Membership dues are $25.00 a year, payable beginning in January. If you have questions about your dues, you can contact Treasurer Mike Woodruff at 205-823-7204. Dues can be mailed to AHRS at P.O. Box 131418, Birmingham, Alabama 35213 or paid on-line at https://alhrs.org
Be sure and check out our website at https://alhrs.org, which has copies of all newsletters from 2006 to the present (click on News), videos, photo galleries, museum, Old Time Radio columns, Projects, Reading Rooms, Archives, and Contact Information. Within the next few months we hope to update our website and add additional content and new capabilities.
President – Richard “Wag” Waguespack
Vice President – Steven Westbrook
Recording Secretary – Grady Shook
Treasurer – Mike Woodruff
Boyd Bailey, Member and Instructor
Newsletter Editor/Webmaster – Steven Westbrook
Youtube Channel: Alabama Historical Radio Society