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Re: Conelrad question

<< Some of us are old enough to remember the old Conelrad(sic?) that
predated the EBS notification system. >>

This sounds so hokey as to be hard to believe, but here's what I remember
(details may not be entirely accurate) about Conelrad:

Every station was assigned either 640 or 1240, depending on which was
closest to its regularly assigned frequency. Transmitters were outfitted
with a second Conelrad crystal to use during 'emergencies.' I believe there
was a power limit for every station of around a thousand watts.

When stations were ordered to switch to their Conelrad frequency, they were
to transmit emergency information for a short period of time, then cut the
carrier for another indeterminate period of time. So you'd have a mish-mash
of stations on 640 and 1240 transmitting and going silent on a random
pattern. This would obviously be a mess to listen to, but the thinking was
that you'd hear your local station (forbidden to identify, of course)
whenever it was transmitting.which is all the information you would really

Behind all this electronic chaos was the theory that enemy bombers, trying
to find Suburbanville, USA, would have no other way to find their target
other than to follow the carrier of the local AM radio station with their
ADFs. So, the brilliant bureaucratic thinking went, if all the stations were
on just a couple of frequencies, and those carriers were to pop on and off
the air in a random pattern, those ADF needles would swing all over the
place and the bad guys would just fly away without dropping their bombs! Or
at the very least be unable to find the town they were looking for. "Drat!
Foiled again!"

Needless to say, the whole thing was never put to use. I do remember a few
"tests" when stations actually changed frequencies and did the on-off-on-off
thing for a few minutes. Even then, as dumb as I was in my mid teens, I
remember thinking how ridiculous this all was. "How could an enemy," I asked
to my local station's chief engineer, "be smart enough to fly a bomber to
our shores, but become completely befuddled at the last instant by an ADF
needle randomly pointing around the compass rose." Apparently the same
question eventually occurred to some high official in Washington, and the
system was abandoned a few years later in favor of EBS.

You know you're looking at an old radio if you see the CD in a triangle
symbol at two places on the dial overlay. (And I suppose you know you're
talking to an old person if they have any memory at all of CONELRAD!)