That’s not a mis-print… WLW had a 500kW transmitter on the MW band in 1934.
For many of us, WLW was the first Ohio station we ever heard. Here, thanks to K7AGE, is a Youtube presentation on the history of this iconic US broadcaster.
The following comment comes Barry W9UCW from the Topband reflector:
One Sunday at the close of the Dayton Hamvention about 40 years ago, some Cincinnati friends arranged for a tour of Gray’s Radio Museum, The Voice of America installation and WLW, all in or near Mason, Ohio. A bunch of us got back to Illinois late that evening with unforgettable memories… and about 100 pictures.
I have told the stories of that wonderful day many times. The wildest stories were from the WLW-RCA 500 KW station. Our guide was an expert on the subject. The original control console was moved over to a side wall, but it was still powered up… likely for the entertainment of visitors. The two experimental calls issued to Crosley were emblazoned on some controls. They were W8XO & W8XAL as I remember. BTW, my long time friend Dave, one of those guys from Cincinnati now holds one of those calls. Ask him about “when Skip was in.”
As we walked along the elevated walkway in front of the stages of the transmitter, we were awed by the 6 foot diameter pi wound coupling coils with Farraday shields and we noticed that there were as many water guages and valves as there were meters and controls. Each of the three final stages was water cooled and a fountain in the center of a small lake outside cooled the water.
Each final stage was about 8 feet wide and had a metal door you could walk through. Our guide stopped at that point in the tour as we gazed at a huge ammeter with a 150 amp full scale. “What’s this,” someone asked.
He told us it was put in for Crosley who got a bug in his butt to see what the rig would really do. The meter showed the total current on the three finals. One night he cranked it up as far as it would go. Keep in mind, the voltage on the finals was 17,500 volts, as I remember. He got that meter up to 100 amps. Do the math. He burnt up some local fences that night.
Of course, 13 transmitters (with plug-in coils) each running 220,000 watts simultaneously on several bands down the road at VOA was astonishing, but that 1,700,000 watts at WLW was stuck in our minds all the way home that night. We were TopBand guys, afterall!
73, Best DX, Barry, W9UCW
WLW radio tower (Photo credit: Pez King)
Logo for Cincinnati’s 700 WLW (Photo credit: Wikipedia)