Shortwave Radio Recordings: WWV changes announcement format,1971

WWV's transmitter building in Fort Collins, Colorado (2014)

WWV’s transmitter building in Fort Collins, Colorado (2014)

Shortwave Radio Audio Archive contributor, Brian D. Smith, recently contacted me; I was enthused when he described the recording he was sharing:

This recording captures the last 5 minutes of WWV’s old format (giving the time every 5 minutes) and the first 5 minutes of the new format (giving the time every 1 minute), which took place on July 1, 1971 UTC.

Apologies for the less-than-stellar audio quality, but I recorded this as a 15-year-old fledgling SWL with limited knowledge of audio recording techniques. So I simply placed the microphone from my cassette tape recorder next to the speaker on the receiver and hit the record button. The signal quality wasn’t the greatest, either — lots of QSB and QRM — but I still managed to get what I was going for.

The resulting recording has accompanied me everywhere since then, preserved only on its original cassette, until 2008, when I finally decided it was time to learn how to transfer it onto my hard drive, burn it onto a CD and stop having to rely on the integrity of 37-year-old audio tape.

Even as a teenager, I regarded the WWV changeover as historic, and felt I should attempt to record it for posterity. Consider yourself posterity!

Brian received this broadcast on 10 MHz care of a Hallicrafters S-108, with random length of wire attached to the back of the receiver serving as an antenna. Location was Franklin, Indiana.

As Brian mentions, the audio quality is a little rough, but this is still quite a treasure of a recording!

Click here to download as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

Again, thanks so much for bringing us this recording, Brian! We look forward to any other archived recordings you–or any other readers–may have to share with us here at the Post.

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7 thoughts on “Shortwave Radio Recordings: WWV changes announcement format,1971

  1. Mike S

    I miss Don Heald’s voice. It’s a strange thing, but I could listen to WWV for hours as a kid. I guess I found it all so fascinating and also calming. Don’s voice is so familiar to me, it’s like the voice of a grandfather who passed away.

  2. LarryC

    N3CCW, ex-WA3RBM (1970)

    I began to learn the morse code by listening to the old style b’casts of WWV. Rx was a Halli S-38C and a long wire. Sadly, no one does code any longer…

    1. Thomas Post author

      Hey, Larry,
      Code is no longer required to get a license, but there are still a lot of people who use CW. I’m one of them. 🙂
      Listen to the CW portion of the bands–especially if there’s a contest on or special event. It still amazes me at the number of CW Ops out there. I just spoke with someone yesterday who is teaching himself CW so that he can do SOTA (Summits On The Air).

      _ _ . . . . . . _ _

  3. Brian D. Smith, W9IND

    Richard —

    Interesting that you bring up “At the Tone.” Their recording of the 1971 WWV changeover, which probably sounds better than mine, is the only other one that I’ve ever heard of.

    Several years ago, at his request, I sent Myke Dodge Weiskopf a CD of my WWV recording (unfortunately, after the WWV CD had already come out), as well as a second CD featuring my dial-spinning excerpts from the broadcasts of several miscellaneous shortwave stations in 1974.

    He was very nice about it, but we lost touch, and my follow-up e-mails over the years have yielded no response. So as far as I know, nothing ever became of the recordings I sent to him. Since I mainly wanted to share them with fellow radio hobbyists, I was delighted to find this archive and plan to add my 1974 “dial-spinning excerpts” soon. I just uploaded my 2006 recording of Radio St. Helena’s once-a-year shortwave broadcast.

    Thanks for your comments.

    Brian, W9IND

  4. Richard Langley

    Many thanks for this recording. It brought to mind the CD “At the Tone: A Little History of NIST Radio Stations WWV & WWVH” by Myke Dodge Weiskopf (see: and Track 25 on the CD also captures this WWV format change. The CD documents in the audio tracks and in the accompanying printed notes many of the other changes in the WWV and WWVH transmissions over the years. I have a recording of the first GPS status message transmitted by WWV. I must submit that to the archive one of these days.
    — Richard Langley

  5. KC Alewine

    Hearing the pre-July 1, 1971 WWV format again was a real treat and brought back some great memories of my SWL days. Thank you very much. KC, whiskey zero victor papa


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