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June 14, 2015


(Listener) Robert

August is usually a good time for tropospheric propagation on UHF, so it's not surprising you'd've been getting signals from Indiana (possibly S. Bend or Bloomington-Indianapolis) & Milwaukee. When I lived in Cicero, Ill. in the late 1970s-80 I DXed TV. What is surprising is getting sound only. Most broadcast stations tended to put more power into their video than their aural signal. However, it may be that your receiver had greater sensitivity to the audio carrier. The color subcarrier would've required a good deal of strength of signal, so you probably wouldn't've seen color from those DX stns. anyway.

Was the UHF tuner built-in? It would've been if the set was made in 1965 or 1966. Before then, I'm not sure whether in the Chi. market most receivers would've required a UHF converter or they were built-in. In NYC there wasn't enough audience interest in the local UHF stations for sets to come with it until Congress required them starting in 1965, but it's possible that in Chi. there was. The converters were essentially the same as those used to down-convert the educational ITFS (terrestrial microwave) signals to a locally open channel on the VHF receiver. I had (think I still have somewhere) instructions from Popular Electronics to build one, but it would've required metal work because it relied on a custom-built element that looked like a pair of bookends, combining capacitance (between them) with inductance (thru them), which would've been insignificant below UHF freqs.


The best part is when Bill goes off on Occasional Wife.

(Listener) Robert

I just noticed -- collecting tapes made by other families? Hey, were you the Professor of The Audio Kitchen?

Bob Purse

Hi, Robert!

Thanks for the detailed comment. I would put money on it that we got our TV in '65 or '66, and I'm sure it was a Zenith. There were only two UHF channels in Chicago for years, and tuning was hit or miss. I can remember my dad occasionally tuning in a Milwaukee station to watch Black Hawks games, because the ownership of the team famously blacked out home games for years, for whatever reason.

Thanks again!


Bob Purse

Hi again, Robert and also Timmy,

I am not "The professor", but I thank you for bringing this up, Robert, because I'd never actually heard of that before, and now I have a whole bunch of neat stuff to listen to!

And Timmy, I love that moment, too - what was he basing that hatred on? The 10 second promos that would have been airing a month before the show's debut?


David Crosthwait

Growing up in Fort Worth in the 60's, there was no channel 2 or 3 within 100+ miles. With the antenna aimed ESE at Cedar Hill, channel 2 and 3 were frequently lit up with F skip from Florida in the spring/summer. WESH and WEDU came through many times, with WESH in color. I have a QSL card from WESH from the 60's. I logged about twenty other channel 2's over the years in the 60's from there.
If you'd like to see color videotape from 1958, look at this clip:

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