Archive for Thursday, March 22, 2007

Early FM radio

March 22, 2007

As early as 1941 the first FM station started operating on a regular schedule under full commercial authorization by the FCC. Other stations appeared about the same time all over the country.

It was not until 1948 when I first started hearing about the FM (Frequency Modulation) radio that had no static. You had to have an FM tuner. This tuner had an external wire that was placed next to any AM radio that was turned on and set to receive the FM signal.

The FM frequencies were high in nature, so the reception was only as good as the antenna.

My FM tuner was in a wooden mahogany cabinet and cost $27.85. I purchased it at Burnstein and Applebee in Kansas City, Mo. The antenna and the reflector cost $6.40.

I installed the FM antenna on my parents' roof and everyone that saw it questioned what it was all about. Most folks said there was no way to have radio without static. Since they had heard about television coming, they thought that it was a TV antenna, but that came a year or two later.

The antenna had to be placed at the highest peak of the house, not close to any walls, chimneys, or metals of any type. The FM antenna was a 60-inch piece of metal tubing, connected to a 300-ohm twin lead in wire. It had to be turned the right direction.

I loved electronic gadgets and my parents were good about encouraging me.

Soon after that, the FM radios came out and you did not need to go to all the trouble that I had installing the antenna.

The local stations were KOZY 98.1 and KMBC 100.5 in Missouri and KSBS 105.9 in Kansas. They had great music to listen to, and we thoroughly enjoyed what would be considered now as EZ Listening.

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