RAN Technology

Beaker Street returns to the air!


General Information 0 Comments 09/11/2020 

If you remember it, you were there!

If you remember "Beaker Street" it's about the best news ever!   Otherwise this will seem like going to someone else's high school reunion...

In the late 60s, for kids living in "flyover country" in most small towns in the midwest, there were not many local rock and roll radio stations that could be heard during the day.   But with sunset came the skip, and the AM band came alive with signals, dominated by the 50, 000 watt 'blowtorches" that covered half the country or more.    The top of the heap was KOMA from Oklahoma City which covered the middle 1/3 of the USA with top 40 rock.   Down the dial, the legendary "Big 89" WLS punched out the hits to listeners who were unaware of their cross-town rival WCFL which didn't have the power to be heard 1000 miles away.    In the days of AM radios with pushbuttons, you could bet there was a teenager in the family if two buttons were set to 890 and 1520.

But something else was going on, as the music business started evolving from mass-produced hits out of  LA and Detroit studios, as signer-songwriters and bands that actually played their own instruments developed a following.   But in those pre-MTV,  pre-Spotify,  pre-SiriusXM days - how would anyone know about emerging musing from what later would be called "indie" or alternative groups rather than just those that dominated the charts?

The answer came in the form of the first "underground" music program on AM radio, broadcast throughout the midwest from the 50,000 watt transmitter of KAAY, Little Rock Arkansas.    Because every 50,000 watt station required an engineer holding a First Class Radiotelephone license be on duty at all times, KAAY economiized by hiring a young DJ named Dale Seidenschwarz who might have been known to some friends as WA5AVA, a call sign he still holds.   Since he could serve both as overnight DJ and as station engineer,  Dale was given free reign to create a music program during the late night and early morning hours when few commercials were sold anyway.    The downtown studio was closed at night, so he had to do his show from the transmitter building in Wrightsville, AR, where a giant RCA transmitter was located in the same room as the backup broadcasting console and microphone.   In order to mask the loud blower noise from the transmitter, he started playing background music in between record cuts, starting with tracks from Henry Mancini's "Charade" LP but soon switching to a unique space sound-effects record by the band Head, on a cut called appropriately enough, "Cannibis Sativa".    This spacey sound became an instantly recognizable trademark of the show and since Dale spoke slowly and often left long pauses as laid-back nighttime DJs were known to do, this music was heard by many who had to wait until the internet was invented ot know what it was called and who recorded it..

Beaker Street (a name making reference to acid (as in acid rock) being made in a beaker) was the most innovative and eclectic program on the air, giving listeners a preview of the AOR (album oriented rock) and classic rock formats that would become a mainstay of FM radio over coming decades.   But for kids driving around in their cars in Nebraska or North Dakota, it was a gateway to a new world of music that would send many of them scurrying to the dusty back bins at record stores instead of the racks up front featuring the latest from The Beatles or Motown.   

After Beaker Street left the air there have been several re-incarnations, with and without Clyde Clifford, which was Dale's air name.   KAAY had a tradtion in which DJs would use air names of real people who were executives and managers at the station.   The real Clyde Clifford was the comptroller for Lin Broadcasting, KAAY's owner.     But as of 2020, Clyde is back with a new version of Beaker Street on the Arkansas Rocks Radio Network, a group of a dozen-odd AM, FM and translator stations in Arkansas that carry the same classic rock programming.

Beaker Street can be heard live on Friday nights from 9 until midnight via online streaming at  https://arkansasrocks.com/  of over any of the Arkansas Rocks stations if you're in range of them.   Now in stereo CD quality with no selective fading, and no static at all.

Never has anyone been able to put together unique and eclectic sets of music that hold my attention like Clyde can do.   He calls it the Friday Night Chill Out, but in fact it's good for anytime  - and MP3 files of complete shows can be downloaded from https://beakerstreetsetlists.com/   There's also an active Facebook group.

Long live Clyde Clifford and Beaker Street!

Beaker Street with Clyde Clifford

<img src="https://imgur.com/a/JXsmxsi">


  

The 8122 Story

with thanks to K9AXN and W6MTF
Category: Technical
The following information is attributed to Jim Liles, K9AXN.  Jim a long time user and expert on the Hallicrafters SR-2000 "Hurricane" with involvement going back to it's original production.   His website www.k9axn.com contains a lot of valuable information and is recommended.  RCA developed the 8122 which was also built by Burle, and later, Eimac (as you wi...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  01/22/2022 
  

My Johnson "Five Hundred Desk" Story

"it's about the journey, not the destination..."
Category: Vintage Ham Radio
Not a lot is known about Jacob C. Thomas, other than he was born in 1903 to John and Anna Thomas in David City Nebraska, and died just a few months short of his 90th birthday in the same town.    And that he was a radio man.David City is a small town of 3,000 not far from my home town so it made sense that the auction notice would appear in the local newspaper where my Dad would see...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  01/22/2022 
   Having grown tired of seeing this rare and somewhat incredible receiver sitting on the shelf, unusable due to slipping dial belts, I bit the bullet and tore it apart to begin restoration.  The quote above comes from Tom Rousseau K7PJT's article in Electric Radio on the PRO-310 and boy, is he spot on!Since I will be depending heavily on what he and others have written about this receiver, ...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  01/14/2022 
   How'd it get that name?  The photo pretty much says it all...One of mine had a problem - the guts could be heard rattling around loosely insdie.  The "capsule" as it's called nowadays at least is held in position by three rubber "socks" that fit over metal tabs to provide acoustic isolation from the mounting provisions in the housings.  Not surprising aft...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  01/13/2022 
   Elmac aka Multi-Elmac was actually the Multi-Products company after tube maker Eimac complained that their original name was too confusing.  Most hams just call them Elmacs anyhow!The company was started by Cletus Collum in 1947 to commercialize his design of a radio-controlled opener for garage doors and gates.  That product still lives on through the Stanley Company and it's succes...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  01/13/2022 
  

The way it was

when HAMS ran electronics companies
Category: Historic
We hear a lot about "tech giants" nowadays but there were tech companies back in the 50's and 60's that were run by actual techies...no offence to those today who can write code, but when most of us think "tech" we think of circuits and metal chassis and solder fumes. An interesting example comes from the files of the Hallicrafters SR-2000 "Hurricane" whi...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  01/02/2022 
   Meck, Telvar, Audar -  three names for the same company's products.The John Meck company of Plymouth IN made exactly one amateur radio product: the T-60 transmitter. It was sold under the name Meck as well as Tevlar and based on a limited sample, they are nowhere near identical. The T-60 did not sell well and was only offered for a year or two. Among the reasons for this may have been the...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  12/16/2021 
    Looking for a tool?   Important papers?   Parts you just had your hands on minutes ago?   ...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  12/04/2021 
     Among it's early products, the Multi Elmac Company of Oak Park MI made marine band radios and other products for boats, including the Sea-Deep DM-1 depth indicator, the Sea-Fume SF-1 vapor detector, and the BC-1 Duo-Charger for 6 and 12 volt batteries.   Thus it's not surprising that the marine radio-telephone would be given a "sea" name:   the Sea...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  11/05/2021 
   The Sonar Radio Corp.  of Brooklyn NY is a well-known manufacturer of Ham, CB, and Marine Band radios over a period of several decades, and it's products were always well engineered and of good quality.    But despite several attempts, it's ham radio products never really managed to excite hams enough to plunk down their hard-earned cash.   The SRT series of t...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  11/01/2021 

VIEW News Item

Announcing the W9DYV Radio Society

honoring SSB pioneer Wes Schum W9DYV
VIEW News Item

Hamfests Return!

A quick look at the Wauseon OH swap on June 6, 2020
VIEW News Item

Making A Transistor Radio

in memory of Rev. George Dobbs G3RJV (SK)
VIEW News Item

Wes Schum, Amateur Radio's Unsung Hero

new book released, available on Amazon
VIEW News Item

Soviet Spy Radio found in forest

(oh yeah, I put that there...I'll take it now thanks!)
VIEW News Item

Take the Boatanchor Survey!

Let authors and organizers know what you're interested in
VIEW News Item

W9RAN's "VERSA-TR" (as featured in Dec. 2018 QST)

A Versatile T/R solution for SDRs and vintage radios

(There are currently no Blogs.)