A Radio Giant In New Mexico

This article was originally material for a broadcast of “Wavescan” via Adventist World Radio in April 2001, and now forms part of the Radio Heritage Collection ©. All rights reserved to Ragusa Media Group, PO Box 14339, Wellington, New Zealand. This material is licenced on a non-exclusive basis to South Pacific DX Resource hosted on radiodx.com for a period of five years from April 1 2001. Author: Adrian Peterson

A recent issue of the American radio newspaper, “Radio World”, gives the very interesting story of the mediumwave radio station KOB in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This radio station began operation as a small experimental 50 watt unit in June 1920, several months ahead of the famous KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

During the following year, the transmitter power was increased to 1 kW and one year later again, in 1922, the station was officially licensed as a broadcasting station and given the callsign KOB. Over the years there were several increases in power output, thus enabling the station to be heard in ever widening circles of coverage.

On July 17, 1941 a powerful new transmitter was switched into service, using the earlier 10 kW unit as the exciter. This new transmitter was the first production unit of the RCA model 50E. It was in service with KOB for 35 years as the main transmitter and for another 20 years as the standby unit.

Finally, the blue giant must take its rest, and on November 30, 1992 the transmitter was switched off for the last time, with due ceremony and a half minute of respectful silence. However, that is not the end of the story of this magnificent giant.

The author of this article in Radio World, Thomas Bolack, also owns a radio museum, the Bolack ElectroMechanical Museum in Albuquerque and he procured this original transmitter with the cobalt blue windows. He re-erected this 34 foot long giant, weighing nearly nine tons, in his museum where it is now on daily display in its original splendor.

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