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RE: Globe on John Garabedian
Gee, I'm ashamed to admit that, until I read your post, I knew nothing about
the Waltham 1060 pirate. I live in Arlington, near the Lexington line, about
half a mile north of Route 2. And in 1969 (October '68 through September '72,
actually), I worked in Framingham near the Natick line and commuted to/from
work via 2, 128, 20, 126, and Old Connecticut Path. The radio in my old 1962
Plymouth, like the radios in most cars of that day, was AM only and I kept it
on continuously. I considered myself to be the consummate radio geek (except
that I don't think the term "geek" had been invented yet) and I knew about--and
was avidly following (in the FCC actions then published in the weekly
Electronics News and in Broadcastiing--when I could get my hands on a copy) the
progress of the applications/CP for 1060 in Natick.
I left the company in Framingham a few months before WGTR signed on and went to
work on Route 1 near the Sharon-Walpole line, but I still caught WGTR for the
first time only a day or two after it first signed on. And I never heard that
Waltham pirate. Drat!
I'm sure that, in those days, if the pirate had interfered with a legitimate
station, the FCC would have made short work of the facilities and the pirate
operator would have found himself in serious trouble.
> From roughly late 1969 until sometime around early 1971, there was also a
> relatively strong pirate on 1060 AM, on air irregular hours from the west
> end of Waltham, near Route 128.
> It was run out of a basement using a WWII-era shortwave transmitter with
> converted coils. The audio fidelity was horrendously bad (it was designed
> for speech communication, not music) and the frequency was not precisely
> stable, so at night it caused horrible heterodynes with KYW which varied
> greatly in pitch as the set gradually warmed up over many hours.
> The signal covered the western suburbs of Boston quite well, it got into
> Boston proper (weakly) on a good radio (one with enough selectivity to
> separate from WBZ) and the fringes could be heard to the west out to Natick
> and Framingham, north to Burlington and Woburn, south through beyond Dedham.
> He claimed to have heard from DX'ers in southern NH.
> Communities such as Waltham, Newton, Weston, Lexington, Lincoln, Watertown,
> Brighton, Needham and Belmont got this pirate signal at least as powerfully
> as the subsequent legal signals on 1060 from Natick and Framingham over the
> years, with no interference in the daytime.
> The programming was essentially amateur free-form AOR with bad audio
> fidelity, the operator called it "WEGN". I found the "studio" by tracking
> the station with a directional AM radio on my bicycle until it began
> overloading by a house with an odd antenna on the roof.
> The "station" died around springtime 1971 from a meltdown of the vintage
> shortwave transmitter following attempts to modify it for more power. The
> operator then gave up the hobby. I don't know what would've happened to
> him if he had still been on and found to be "in the way" a year and a half
> later when Garabedian finally put WGTR on the air.