WXKW Albany

Dan.Strassberg dan.strassberg@att.net
Fri Aug 14 07:01:11 EDT 2009

You've got the protection story kinda backwards. WXKW got protection
from WHDH at night because WHDH had to protect KOA. As I reported in
one of my earlier posts, WXKW was DA-1. It protected the much older
WHDH day and night. WXKW's six-tower pattern was an inverted figure
eight on a north-south axis. The major lobe was, of course, to the
north--toward Albany and Troy. Schenectady was in the main lobe but
somewhat off to the west side. As a result, the signal in Schenectady
was only so-so. Besides protecting WHDH, the broad, deep null to the
east protected first-adjacent WNAW North Adams, a 250W daytimer on 860
(now WSBS Great Barrington). WXKW's lobe to the south was quite
substantial. Though not as strong as the lobe to the north, thanks to
the good soil conductivity in the Hudson Valley, it was quite strong
enough to make for a good signal as far south as Kingston--at least
during the daytime. I remember listening to a strong signal from WXKW
on a vacation at Huletts Landing on Lake George--probably in 1950.

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: Friday, August 14, 2009 12:03 AM
Subject: Re: WXKW Albany

> Fascinating.
> So I guess WHDH only got nighttime groundwave protection because KOA
> was already out there as a 1A.
> What was the tower orientation? It must have been either NS or EW to
> get deep nulls east and west.
> -d
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Dan.Strassberg" <dan.strassberg@att.net>
> To: "Dave Doherty" <dave@skywaves.net>; "A. Joseph Ross"
> <joe@attorneyross.com>; "John Mullaney" <john@minutemancomm.com>
> Cc: <boston-radio-interest@bostonradio.org>
> Sent: Thursday, August 13, 2009 9:26 PM
> Subject: Re: WXKW Albany
>> 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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