WXKW Albany

Dan.Strassberg dan.strassberg@att.net
Thu Aug 13 21:26:27 EDT 2009

WXKW was on 850. It ran its daily tests at 8:00AM, 10AM, 12:30PM and,
I think, 3:00PM with 15W ND from a little transmitter in the ATU
building of one of the six 300' Blaw-Knox self-supporting towers.
There were battery-powered calibrated receivers and Esterline-Angus
strip-chart recorders at three null points, all to the west of the
Selkirk site. They were mounted in little buildings that resembled the
world's neatest, cleanest outhouses. The issues were with KOA, not
with WHDH. General Electric, which then owned WGY, was not happy about
having a 10 kW station on WGY's fourth-adjacent channel only 20 miles
or so from the WGY transmitter, and since GE had once also owned KOA,
the connections between WGY and KOA were good. It is alleged that GE
resolved to hound WXKW off the air--and they succeeded.

If you think about it, both 840 and 860 were impossible for a
full-time station in Albany. In those days, Canadian IAs' skywave
service was protected within the US as well as in Canada, So there was
no hope of using 860 at night, with CJBC only a couple of hundred
miles away. In addition what is now WSBS Great Barrington (2.2
kW-ND-D) was then WNAW North Adams (250W ND-D). I don't think North
Adams is quite 40 miles from Selkirk. WXKW's deep null to the east
protected both WNAW and WHDH. As for 840, in those days, WHAS's 0.5
mV/m 50% skywave contour extended well past Albany. Since then, the
FCC has changed its formulas for locating those contours, so Albany is
probably outside of the contour but not far enough for a station with
any substantial night power.

The Thruway construction had nothing to do with WXKW's demise. WXKW
had long since bit the bullet by the time the Thruway was in
land-taking mode--especially for thre Berkshire Extension, which runs
right through what was the WXKW site. WROW bought the license and took
the station dark in a move related to Capital District TV network
affiliations in anticipation of the end of the early '50s
TV-construction freeze.

I believe the longest stint that the WXKW calls have had on any
station was on 1470 in Allentown PA. My friend, the late Frank Toce,
wanted WXKW for the FM he built in Bridgeport NY near Syracuse. The
calls were in use, though, so he had to settle for WTKW. He named his
dog TK after the FM station. I don't think that naming the dog XK
would have worked very well.

Dan Strassberg (dan.strassberg@att.net)
eFax 1-707-215-6367

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Dave Doherty" <dave@skywaves.net>
To: "Dan.Strassberg" <dan.strassberg@att.net>; "A. Joseph Ross"
<joe@attorneyross.com>; "John Mullaney" <john@minutemancomm.com>
Cc: <boston-radio-interest@bostonradio.org>
Sent: Thursday, August 13, 2009 6:27 PM
Subject: WXKW Albany

> Hi Dan-
> I heard some stories about WXKW when working with some of the old
> timers in Albany early in my career.
> The broad picture I got was that it was basically doomed from the
> start because they could never make the pattern work, and the
> Thruway made them an offer they couldn't refuse for their property
> sometime around 1954.
> One story I heard was that every hour they had to switch to 10W-ND
> for a few seconds to record the signal level in the direction of
> Boston at some remote logging site. That would have put them on 840
> or 860, I guess, because they were somewhere in the 800's and they
> certainly could not have been co-channel to WHDH.
> There was another WXKW in Albany later on - the 1600 in
> Mechanicville that now appears to be gone.
> It's a pretty cool call sign, but very unlucky, it would seem...
> -Dave Doherty
> Skywaves Consulting LLC
> PO Box 4
> Millbury, MA 01527
> 401-354-2400
> 202-370-6357 (DC)

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