American Shortwave Stations – 1928

We quote:

Before the end of the year, we shall hear broadcasting (on shortwave) from all parts of the world just as easily as we are now accustomed to hearing our own (local mediumwave) stations.

That glowing report was printed in the Australian radio magazine The Listener In dated February 22, 1928.  And we might add, that the almost one hundred year old prophetic statement was indeed adequately fulfilled.

Cover of The Listener In magazine from November 1931. Image: World Radio History

At the beginning of the year 1928, there were six international shortwave stations on the air in the United States:-

WestinghousePittsburgPA8XK30 kW
General ElectricSchenectadyNY2XAD25 kW & 2XAF 40 kW
CrosleyHarrisonOH8XAL¼ kW
ExperimenterCoytesvilleNJ2XAL½ kW
RCABound BrookNJ3XL25 kW

Then during the year 1928, two new shortwave stations were installed, one on Long Island New York, and the other was co-installed at the newly established transmitter station at Bound Brook in New Jersey:-

Atlantic BroadcastingJamaicaLI2XE¼ kW
RCABound BrookNJW3XAL20 kW

The Long Island New York station 2XE carried a program relay from what was the original WABC mediumwave station in New York City; and the new RCA station W3XAL at Bound Brook New Jersey carried a relay from mediumwave station WJZ.

KDKA’s logo from the 1920s. Image: The Pennsylvania State University

However, in addition to the two new shortwave transmitters for the year 1928, it is also noted that all of the international shortwave stations in the United States significantly increased the relay of radio programming to and from other countries, such as Canada, England, France, Germany, Holland, Australia and South America.

The Westinghouse station 8XK (KDKA) in Pittsburgh PA and the two General Electric stations 2XAD and 2XAF (WGY) in Schenectady New York entered into agreements with the Canadian National Railway system in Canada and the BBC in London for the exchange of radio programming; and likewise the two RCA stations in Bound Brook NJ 3XL and W3XAL (WJZ) also made arrangements for program exchanges with the BBC in London.

On October 1, 1928, a new international radio regulation was implemented in the United States.  It was then required that the letter W should be added at the beginning of each callsign for  all of the experimental shortwave broadcasting stations.  Thus for example, 8XK became W8XK, 2XAD became W2XAD, and 2XAL became W2XAL.

This feature was written by Adrian Peterson and originally aired on Adventist World Radio’s “Wavescan” DX program of April 30, 2023

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