Photograph taken from a Japanese plane during the torpedo attack on ships moored on both sides of Ford Island shortly after the beginning of the Pearl Harbor attack. (Source: WikiMedia Commons, Public Domain)
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Michael Guerin, who writes:
Interesting article from the US Naval Institute on the role of radio intelligence before and during the December 7 attack.
“The key to the success of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor-specifically, what enabled the Pearl Harbor Striking Force to reach its launch point undetected (and totally unsuspected) by the Americans-was Tokyo’s radio denial-and-deception actions. Significantly, these activities simply were not just a “bag of tricks” meant to bemuse U.S. naval radio intelligence. Rather, they constituted a function of the change in Japanese strategy and were meant to convince the Americans that there had been no change from defensive to offensive intentions.”
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.
Today is the 70th anniversary of D-Day: the WWII Normandy invasion.
In honor, the BBC has been broadcasting the original radio news scripts throughout the day, at the same time of day they would have been originally broadcast. The news scripts are being read by Benedict Cumberbatch, Patrick Stewart and Toby Jones; the complete set of recordings is available online. You can follow along by reading scans of the original scripts.
“Few people know that Ottringham, a village near Hull in the UK was the home of many of the BBC’s broadcasts during the Second World War, and that its transmissions were received well into the heart of occupied Europe. The site was intended to broadcast both medium and long wave services to counteract propaganda coming from Nazi occupied Europe. Today the site of the old transmitter site is an engineering works and the fields where the antennas stood reveal little of their radio past.”
I have embedded the BBC documentary of Ottringham below, but ask that you visit Critical Distance for two others Jonathan has posted (including one from his days at Radio Netherlands). Thanks again, Jonathan!
The voices of Canadian servicemen fade in and out, at times clear and booming, at others distant and muffled. But for their families, these scratchy, static-laden messages were the sound of hope.
The men were prisoners captured during the Second World War by the Japanese army, which broadcast their messages home over Radio Tokyo. Short-wave radio enthusiasts on the west coast of the United States listened in, making a hobby of recording the messages onto cardboard discs and sending them to the soldiers’ families.
Complete with audio from the original discs, this is an article you should view in full at The Globe and Mail.
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