Photos from the VOA Bethany Museum

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Immediately after packing up our table at the Dayton Hamvention, my buddies Eric (WD8RIF), Miles (KD8KNC), and I made the 30 minute journey to Bethany, Ohio, to visit the VOA Bethany museum.

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Main entrance and front lobby (above).VOA-Bethany- - 1 (34) VOA-Bethany- - 1 (3)

Entering the transmitter control room.

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VOA-Bethany- - 1 (28)Eric pointed out an article on the future of shortwave radio I published last year that the museum has posted in the hallway next to the control room (above).  What an honor!

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The antenna switching array behind the main building (following four photos).

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WLW (700 kHz) 800′ tower in the distance (above).

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The satellite dish (above) was once used for VOA’s downlink/feed–now the West Chester Amateur Radio Association (WC8VOA) uses the dish for EME (Earth Moon Earth) contacts.

VOA-Bethany- - 1 (32)Back inside, WC8VOA has four full amateur radio operating locations stocked with Icom, Yaesu and Kenwood gear. The club president told us that an antique amateur radio station will soon be added.

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Our docent took us on a tour of two vaults filled with vintage radio equipment and then a museum devoted to the legacy of WLW. The item in the photo above is a corona ball from one of the original towers–notice the holes from lightning strikes.

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Example of an early radio kit (above).

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A rare Third Reich radio (above).

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When Ohio-based R.L. Drake Company stopped manufacturing amateur radio equipment, samples of their full product line were donated to the museum.

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The Museum is planning substantial renovations to restore the VOA Bethany Station and become a first class institution. During the restoration, the Museum is only open one day per month to the public: The third Saturday of each month from 1:00 PM – 4:00.

Click here to view the museum’s new website.

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7 thoughts on “Photos from the VOA Bethany Museum

  1. Ross

    Great article, sad to see these highly capable transmission facilities going silent.
    Full marks to the dedicated custodians of this excellent museum.
    There are many who believe there may be good reason to keep these facilities at least in mothballs as one serious terrestrial, nuclear event or super hack of data servers etc may see HF communication as a highly desirable back stop for the spread of information once more.


  2. Ernest Stagnetto

    Seeing those VOA photos has taken me back to the 70s when my Uncle, God rest his Soul, with my identical name and even the second initial used to work in the Admin section of the VOA relay station in Tangier Morocco. He worked there for 25 years and I still keep the beautiful certificate he was given by the International Communication Agency in recognition for his years of service to the United States Government. The station was in the Diplomatic Forest opposite the RCA Station where the Aerial Farms in that area were quite impressive. My thanks go to Dave Erisman WD8PBF & Jim Ashman W8ASH for transporting me back in time. Regards de Ernest, L, Stagnetto ZB2FK

  3. Ronald

    Very nice photos. Thanks for sharing. I am sure there are a lot of big Transmitting Sites around the world that are now silent. Here in New Zealand , some Satellite dishes at Warkworth Satellite station, that were switched off, have been used by Hamradio operators for EME. Now they have converted them for Astronomy. Also the old curtain antennas at Radio Netherlands, were used by hamradio operators. It’s good if sites like these can be re-used for other purposes. Cheers. Ronald

    1. Thomas Post author

      I agree Ronald. I recently visited the, now decommissioned, VOA Site C. The site is now owned by Eastern Carolina University and the main building is being used for classes. They have an enormous dish that looks like it’s not being used and would be ideal for EME. Thanks for your comment!


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