WLW Cincinatti 500,000 Watts

 

wlw_700_frontsm

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

WLW radio tower (Photo credit: Pez King)

Logo for Cincinnati's 700 WLW

Logo for Cincinnati’s 700 WLW (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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2 responses to “WLW Cincinatti 500,000 Watts

  1. Pingback: Video of WLW’s 5000,000 Watt AM Transmitter | radiodx.com

  2. WLW still have parts of the transmitter, there is a write up here http://www.oldradio.com/archives/stations/cinc/wlwpix.htm and a 31 minute video of a tour around the facility here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbHjcwIoTiY

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