WPHE – The Original X-Bander

This article 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 March 1 2002. Author: David Ricquish
Indiana State Police

The X Band currently exciting radio listeners worldwide is really nothing new. The current stations with their 1kW night time powers are being heard around the world, and over 50 years ago, 1kW stations on similar MW frequencies were being heard around the world from the same states.

At that time however, these were emergency service radio networks, such as police and fire departments.

In July 1943, New Zealand DXer Merv Branks heard several of these stations on 1634 kHz and subsequently received several letters from the Indiana State Police.

Apart from the reception report being from the farthest distance recorded, what sets the responses apart is the technical and other details which were supplied. Remember, this was wartime.

Commercial AM stations in the USA usually sent only brief letters of confirmation during WWII, citing emergency regulations as not allowing them to give much technical information.

Check out the exact transmitter locations with geographic co-ordinates, studio location, transmitter details and more.

The letters were received uncensored in New Zealand. Clearly, state police departments had a different idea of information useful to the enemy compared to civilian radio stations.


You might be interested to know that we operate 11 fixed radio stations located in our state police posts, over one hundred ‘talkback’ cars, and about two hundred additional cars equipped with radio receivers.

In addition to these state police stations, some 44 city police radio stations tie into our network making 55 stations in all.

From the information you gave, I would say you heard WPHE Indianapolis, WQFW Columbia City and WQFE, Seymour, Indiana.

It was the Seymour station you heard talking to the cars as they have numbers starting with the figure 7. The radio dispatchers at these stations were much surprised when they learned of your letter. It even rated an item in the ‘Indianapolis Times’.


I was the operator on duty at the time you heard us.

In addition to our network on 1634, there are about three other stations in the US which are on 1634, which we have trouble with every so often.

One of these is KRMP, Reno, Nebraska, which is the Police Department there. Another is WNYQ, the New York Fire Department of New York City, and the third is the Rhode Island State Police.

Our stations, all on 1634kc are in different parts of the state. WPHE is the headquarters station at Indianapolis, located in the State Capitol Building.

The WPHE transmitter is about 5 miles from the State House Building, on the State Fairgrounds 39′ 44″ north latitude and 86′ 14″ west longitude in the center of the state, operating with the power of 1000 watts to a pair of 450TH’s, modulated by a pair of HK654’s feeding a 220 foot top-capacity-loaded vertical tower (umbrella type).

The Columbia City (WQFW) transmitter is of the same type with an identical tower system, located at 41′ 9″ north lat, and 85′ 29″ west longitude.

We have a number of cars operating on 35,780kc FM. Of course, since all the stations are on the same frequency, we all have to listen to the same 1634 and are on intermittently during the entire 24 hour period. As do all police stations, we handle only emergency communication, a lot of other traffic handled by us CW on the higher frequencies.


At the time you were listening, at 6.28pm NZDST and at 6.54, six of our ten stations were on and identified themselves:

Log, WPHE Indpls, July 11 1943
Time given: Central War (Daylight Saving) Time, AM
Opr on: Poarch

1:26 Indpls to Seymour License check of 980,461
no stolen
1:28 All Stns Identification (all stns answered)
1:54 Indpls HQ District Stolen black 1932 Chevrolet Coach Indiana License 712,612
1:54 All Stns Identification (all stns answered)
2:04 Indpls to Jasper License check of 236,360 no
2:11 Indpls to Seymour Phone book address of Funchum & Sons
2:14 Dunes Park to Indpls Signals bad here, electrical storm
(Columbia City had reported same storm about 1AM).

The license check consists of the owner of the car, address,
year, make and model of car, and motor number.


(1)Letter from Don F. Stiver, Superintendent, Indiana State Police, by Zelion E Audritsh, Operations Engineer. Dated December 10, 1943 and issued by State of Indiana, Department of Public Safety, Indiana State Police, State House, Indianapolis, Indiana. Part of the A. Mervyn Branks Collection, NZ Radio DX League Archives.

(2), (3) Letter from Myron F Poarch, 5744 E New York Street, Indianapolis, 1, Indiana. Dated December 3, 1943 on State of Indiana letterhead. Part of the A. Mervyn Branks Collection. NZ Radio DX League Archives.

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