[CQ-Contest] KDKA 1920 first transmission

Ron Notarius W3WN wn3vaw at verizon.net
Sun Aug 26 19:32:18 EDT 2012


You should be aware that the recording you heard is a recreation (and to
some extent a fabrication).  The original broadcast was not actually
recorded; at the time, I don't think anyone understood its significance.

There is evidence that the actual first broadcast in November 1920 did not
use the KDKA call sign.  Nor did they use Dr. Frank Conrad's experimental
station call, 8XK.  There are reports that they actually used the call 8ZZ,
even though the KDKA call had been issued.  And the location would have been
East Pittsburgh (location of some of the Westinghouse manufacturing
facilities), not Pittsburgh.

And I may be wrong, but I don't believe that the RS(T) report system was in
widespread use in 1920.  

The Westinghouse publicity department, years later, made a big deal about
the original broadcast, but in the process, they also... let's say stretched
the truth a little bit, and fudged a few facts.  This alone can be evidenced
by their long time claim that KDKA AM was the "world's first radio
station"... or the "world's oldest radio station" -- neither of which is
strictly true.  (KDKA was the world's first station to receive a commercial
license for the purpose of Broadcasting --which is what they meant, but that
was too big a mouthful!)(And never mind that Broadcasting, as a
communications/media term, didn't exist at the time either)

If you have any other questions about KDKA, let me know.  I've had reasons
to do a little research on the subject, I may be able to answer a few
questions or point you in the right direction.

73, ron w3wn
(Trustee, Greater Pittsburgh DX Association:  W8XK)

-----Original Message-----
From: cq-contest-bounces at contesting.com
[mailto:cq-contest-bounces at contesting.com] On Behalf Of
fabio.grisafi at libero.it
Sent: Sunday, August 26, 2012 7:14 AM
To: cq-contest at contesting.com
Cc: ly5w.sam at gmail.com; it9eqo at tin.it; marcellocris at gmail.com;
it9aug at gmail.com; it9bun at libero.it; it9chu at tin.it
Subject: [CQ-Contest] KDKA 1920 first transmission

Hi fellow contesters. Excuse me for the topic not related to contesting
but... I need your help.
I am studying for an exam I will attend on Sept 5th about Mass Media
history. I have listened to a recording of the first ever public radio
licensed station, KDKA Pennsylvania. It was Nov 2nd 1920. 
In the audio recording (made with vynil or wire recorder I think) it is
heard some CW from an Ham radio station.Ham radio operators were the
majority of the radio listeners in that age. It is clear a 5NN in the
Could you ear the callsign?

First public transmition here in Italy was October 6th, but on 1924. It was
the URI that transmitted the first announcment. We can ear some CW in that
recording too.
I will be very pleased to receive a feedback.
Fabio, IT9GSF (IG9A, II9T, IU9T and... II9P).

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