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Re: 850, 1510 Night signal improved in the West, 680 the same

There have been no changes that I am aware of in the 
night facilities of 680 or 850 for many decades. I 
forget what year WRKO went from DA-1 to DA-2 with a day 
pattern that sends much more signal to the west, but the 
change took place within weeks (either before or after) 
of the station changing calls to WRKO and changing 
formats from Talk/Variety to Top 40. A bunch of people 
are sure to post the date.

As far as I know, 850 has had the same day and night 
facilities since it increased to 50 kW DA-2 from 5 kW DA-
N and moved from Saugus to Needham in either 1947 or 

1510 has undergone a bunch of changes. The first, an 
increase from 5 kW DA-1 to 50 kW-D/5 kW-N DA-2 with no 
change in the N Quincy TX location, took place in (I 
think) 1969 or 1970.

Actually, shortly before the day power increase, there 
was a land-taking at the TX site that resulted in the 
demolition of a tower that had just been constructed 
north of the east tower in the new day array. The 
original plan was to use the original south tower only 
during the day and to use the two new towers at night 
(with no change in the night pattern), but in the end, 
the night array remained unchanged and the original 
south tower was used day and night.

Around 1975, the State St South office complex was 
constructed immediately to the west of the N Quincy 
site, severely degrading the signal to the west and 
northwest. Even though the affected area was in the day 
pattern's null, the 50 kW day signal was strong enough 
to still be heard pretty well throughout the market.

But the 5 kW night signal, which had always suffered 
severe interference from WTOP and WKBW/WWKB, and in more 
recent years, had taken it on the chops from the AM 1510 
in Sherbrooke PQ, became totally unlistenable everywhere 
but along the coast. Attempts to rescue the situation by 
upgrading the ground system proved fruitless. The 
situation was so bad that WITS, which carried the Red 
Sox at the time, leased time on WDLW 1330 in Waltham so 
that the night games could be heard in the western part 
of the market.

Because of these problems, the station moved in 1981 to 
411 Waverley Oaks Rd in Waltham and went from 1/4-wave 
towers to 198-degree towers using two towers days with a 
pattern similar to the old day pattern (a rather 
standard cardioid aimed northeast with a slight dgree of 
null fill-in to the southwest). The four-tower night 
pattern is strongly nulled to the west-southwest and 
moderately nulled to the north.

One of several big problems with this move was that the 
soil conductivity on the Waltham-Belmont line is 
terrible. North Shore listeners, who had been receiving 
the 1510 signal over a clear salt-water path from N 
Quincy and were hence unaware of the reception problems 
in other areas of the market, suddenly started receiving 
a much poorer signal. Since they had heard about the 
_big_ power increase, they were mystified and disgusted. 
Moreover, the signal to the southwest, particularly at 
night, was still terrible.

But nothing could be done--until a year or so ago. At 
that time WNLC in New London turned in its license and 
the then WNRB applied for and was almost immediately 
granted a change in its non-critical-hours day pattern. 
When this change goes on the air, the signal to the 
southwest during the middle of the day will improve from 
the equivalent of about 1 kW to about 35 kW. However the 
existing day pattern will remain un use during critical 
hours to protect WLAC from daytime skywave and the 
existing night pattern will remain in use at night, also 
to protect WLAC.

> The daytime signals of Both 850 & 1510 (WHDH & WMEX back then) were
> non-existent in Springfield in the 60's & 70's. I could catch either one or
> both occasionally around sunset for a few minutes, but that was it. Sometime
> between then and about 5/10 years ago both signals improved in this
> direction both day and particularly, at night. It's rare to hear competing
> Western or Southern stations any longer. I can remember listing for several
> nights to 850, hearing only faint whispers, and then KOA would pop in
> occasionally. 1510 was almost always a low key jumble. Now, after the
> computer, the flourescents, the alarms, the instant-on TV, the automatic
> emergency light and all the other offending modern devices are unplugged,
> you can hear both of these Boston outlets most any night.