Broadcast History - June 4

Broadcast History - June 4

Postby jon » Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:20 pm

In 1976, CBK-540 Saskatchewan had its Watrous tower toppled by a severe wind storm. The station was off the air for several days as a temporary 300 foot tower was erected and used until 1983, when a 465 foot tower was permanently installed. When CBK came on the air July 29, 1939, it was the only CBC-owned station between Winnipeg and Vancouver. It was built to be a local station to both Saskatoon and Regina, with 50,000 watts feeding a single 460 foot tower, with buried grounding radials "a quarter mile in every direction", according to a CBU engineer I interviewed in the late 1960s. CCF implies that the CBC has an entire Quarter Section (half mile by half mile) at Watrous, giving it the space to bury those radials. Being the lowest frequency on the Broadcast Band as it existed in 1939, 540 KHz gives the station the best potential groundwave of any frequency. A few years ago, for example, the station was heard at high noon in Seattle one winter Saturday, thanks to a tip from yours truly, as I sat in my car in Edmonton listening to Seattle and Portland stations.

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A similar attempt in Alberta after World War II, to serve Edmonton and Calgary from a single transmitter, failed miserably. And even CBK has been supplemented by FM repeaters in more recent years, especially in Saskatoon and Regina where many residential, commercial and office buildings have been built with reinforced concrete. The rebars -- evenly spaced (both horizontally and vertically) steel rods used to strengthen the concrete -- block and even reflect signals with the relatively large wavelengths of AM signals in the Broadcast Band (Medium Wave).
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