Radio Waves: Border Blaster Early Days, Resistance on the Radiowaves, Towers With Flared Skirts, and Palau Restores AM

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!


In border radio’s early days, psychics and mystics ruled the airwaves (Mexico News Daily)

Charlatans originally built powerful ‘border blaster’ stations to evade scrutiny by US authorities

In radio’s early decades, among the oddball attractions found on the airwaves from 1920 to 1940 included a husband-and-wife team of psychics broadcasting from the U.S.-Mexico border under the stage names of Koran and Rose Dawn who became so popular that their extensive following helped them create a secondary income source: an organization called The Mayan Order.

Those who applied for membership and received its periodicals, the founders suggested, could harness the ancient Mesoamerican civilization’s secrets.

The pair were just two of the many psychics and other broadcasters of questionable integrity on the airwaves along the Rio Grande during radio’s beginnings. These characters built “border-blaster” stations of such epic size and scope that they could transmit from the Mexican side of the border into the United States.

Author John Benedict Buescher’s new book, Radio Psychics: Mind Reading and Fortune Telling in American Broadcasting, 1920–1940, unearths Koran and Rose Dawn’s forgotten story, as well as those of about 25 other border-blaster radio personalities on the Rio Grande who were heirs to a longtime American fascination with the occult.

“I was surprised how really dominant this stuff was in the early days of radio,” Buescher said. “Radio historians typically have just waved it off, not really focused on it, didn’t really take it seriously.” [Continue reading…]

Ukraine’s resistance on the radiowaves (DW Video)

Ukraine is fighting with more than weapons. The airwaves are also a frontier. Ukrainian computer specialists and radio operators have managed to jam Russian communications or intercept them. revealing some shocking details of the war’s brutality.

Click here to watch the view at DW’s website.

Why Well-Dressed Towers May Wear Flared Skirts (Radio World)

Cox, Dawson explore the benefits of umbrella-spoke feed for MW towers

Ben Dawson and Bobby Cox will talk about flared skirts at the NAB Show.

“A flared skirt is a set of symmetrically spaced cables around the tower, which attach electrically near the top of the tower, extend outward from the tower along a path similar to the top guy cables, and then turn back in toward the tower base at a point roughly halfway down the tower,” said Cox, senior staff engineer at Kintronic Labs.

“Insulators at this midpoint insulate the cables from ground. The cables terminate on an insulated feed ring encircling the tower base above ground level, similarly to a conventional skirt feed. The antenna is driven between this feed ring and RF ground. The resulting flared skirt takes the shape of a diamond, looking rather like umbrella spokes.”

These systems are used to provide a feed arrangement for grounded towers that is mechanically simple but has certain attractive aspects.

“The wide bandwidth characteristics of the flared skirt make these antenna designs extremely useful for multiplexing several AM stations onto a common antenna,” said Dawson, consultant engineer at Hatfield & Dawson. [Continue reading…]

Palau restores AM radio service (RNZ)

After erecting a new tower Palau’s state broadcaster has restored its AM radio service.

The previous AM tower was destroyed during Typhoon Bopha, in 2012.

Rondy Ronny, head of programming said that the new AM tower and radio service will benefit all the 16 states of Palau.

“A lot of the outlying states are not able to connect into the internet and just don’t have that capability or have very high tech phones like how we do here in Koror. People don’t expect people from Angaur, from Babeldaob to be on their phones all the time.”

Ronny said that the new tower will be crucial to Palauans during natural disasters. [Continue reading at RNZ…]


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2 thoughts on “Radio Waves: Border Blaster Early Days, Resistance on the Radiowaves, Towers With Flared Skirts, and Palau Restores AM

  1. Dave Mason

    Living in Southern California for the past 22 years, I’ve had plenty of firsthand experience with Mexican radio. On the drive out I drove near Del Rio, TX and got to hear XEROK blasting through from across the border. One of the highlights was hearing “Simon Says” an English hit by The 1910 Fruitgum Company..but this was in Spanish. In San Diego, we have a number of signals from across the border in Tijuana and beyond. I worked with XEPRS (XERB’s replacement), XETRA (690 – with 77,000 watts daytime), XHPRS (FM) along with XHRM (FM) also. These stations were mostly in English aimed at San Diego and Beyond. (XETRA and XEPRS/XERB were marketed directly to Los Angeles). Mexican rules require a certain amount of time be devoted to The Mexican Government each hour for PSA’s and other announcements. “The Mexican National Hour” airs each Sunday night -in Spanish on all Mexican stations. It used to be easy to “hide” the Mexican location when the required PSA’s advertised the beautiful beaches of Rosarito and beyond. For many years now these have been devoted to political announcements. XETERA-FM (91X) never hid the fact that it broadcast from “from a hillside in Tijuana”. Mexican stations have, on occasion, been #1 in the San Diego radio ratings, so the content of the station -to the listener-is more important than the location of its transmitter. XHPRS has been a thorn in the side of KXRS (Hemet, CA), 70 miles frm San Diego as its massive signal has interfered with KXRS over the years. However, KXRS also obliterates the XHPRS signal in certain parts of San Diego. XHPRS is listed in Wikipedia with 8,000 watts ERP. However when I worked there we were on a 4,000 ft. mountain outside of Tecate with 29,000 watts into a 12-panel (directional) antenna. Mathematically it appears that the ERP would be closer to 3,500,000 watts. KXRS has a CP to move to 105.5mhz with an ERP of 6kw but they’ve been unable to build a new site because of environmental concerns. I’m guessing there are many more stories of US involvement in Mexican Radio -even in 2022.

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