Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, for sharing a link to the following article in Radio World:
The General Electric Co. was truly among America’s premier broadcasting companies.
In addition to developing much of early broadcast technology and building a trio of high-power AM stations in the early 1920s — WGY Schenectady, N.Y.; KOA Denver; and KGO Oakland, Calif. — GE was also the country’s pioneer shortwave broadcaster.
GE’s initial shortwave station, 2XI, first broadcast in 1923, and in 1924 it was used to relay WGY’s programs for to KOA and KGO for rebroadcast in the western U.S.
By 1925, there were two experimentally licensed shortwave stations in Schenectady: W2XAD and W2XAF. A third GE station in San Francisco, W6XBE, was added in 1939.
That was the year that the Federal Communications Commission allowed the country’s experimental shortwave stations to relicense as commercial operations, and these three GE stations received the call signs WGEA, WGEO and KGEI, respectively.
I wasn’t into radio at all until I saw a review for the County Comm GP-5/SSB. It was at an awesome price point for a full spectrum LW/MW/FM/SW receiver, but the reason I snatched it was the SSB capability – with an adjustable BFO to boot. Three fully charged 1.2 volt NiMH batteries enable a virtual eternity of up time (though I keep a dedicated 24-pack of Duracell AAs in event of extended power outage – the reason I obtained the unit in the first place). Despite living in a basement apt. underground on 3.5 sides, the included clip-on FM/SW/SSB wire antenna performs quite well strung on my ceiling. I monitor the military HFGCS 8992 kHz frequency for EAMs & SKYKING msgs (I’m weird that way). Obviously, I can’t decrypt what I assume to be one-time pad encoded msgs, but I’m ~ 50 miles from Andrews AFB just outside D.C. I also bought a ~ 9 inch ferrite core antenna via eBay from Greece that’s specifically designed to be used in lieu of the already adequate performing included FC antenna (it adds 10 – 15 dBm signal strength w/the included LW/MW antenna, & vastly improves LW – 100 kHz & up – reception over the included antenna. Though all I get are aircraft beacons, with the OEM FC antenna I got center of donut. The Greek antenna is pricey ( ~ $40 US) relative to the cost of the unit, but I’m sort of obsessive about such things; it also looks a bit funny, this small remote-sized radio with a top-heavy look with the after mkt antenna). I purchased the County Comm because I realized I didn’t have ANY emergency radio. The SSB feature was the clincher – though I believe the Tecsun 365 is a (near?) clone, there may be some availability issues at present; not sure. Since I had no prior radio AT ALL, I’m not ‘missing’ features one gets used to on far more costly receivers. The different tuning features, including ETM, & 550 memories make up for the lack of direct digital frequency input, as there’s no numeric keypad. FM stereo sounds great with headphones. I even got two extra telescoping 18″ antennas in case I do something dumb & break the original & one replacement. I’m very happy with this little gem, & too inexperienced to realize the many features I’m ‘missing’ by not spending hundreds on a ‘quality’ tabletop receiver.
If anyone’s aware of ANY differences (aside from cosmetic) between the County Comm GP-5/SSB & the Tecsun 365 (including availability of either unit), please let me know. I read the GP-5/SSB was designed initially for emergency use at US diplomatic posts globally, & that excess inventory was released to the gen’l public ’til all units were sold. Then Tecsun saw a market niche & put the 365 in svc. However, I also recall reading sales of the Tecsun 365 have been halted or otherwise limited, but am unsure as to the specific scenario – if any. Again, if anyone knows more than I about this I’d love to hear from you with the specifics.
Love the photo if I am correct this dial is from a philco radio almost identical to my 38-4 but different station markers even the needle looks the same !!
Sad thing is I no longer have the radio !!
I think you’re correct, Chad. If I’m not mistaken, I originally snaggd that photo at the NCRTV museum: