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The Story of an Old Timer: New Radio Building

radio building antennas
Another look at the Radio Building on Connecticut Avenue showing the antennas where WWV was born in October 1919. Note: Flat top T antenna (200' long) used for broadcast below 300 kHz and smaller T antenna (80' long used as radiator above 300 kHz).

In October of 1918, one month before the end of the war, the Radio Section moves into the new Radio Building (the last piece of available real estate on Connecticut Avenue).

WWV was born...but didn't broadcast "standard frequency ... calibrating frequency" until 1923. In the meantime, they did propagation tests, reception tests, tuning tests and pioneered the future of radio by broadcasting music.

In the Spring of 1920, they were broadcasting well known music on several frequencies and later that year ... using direct tube modulation (greatly improving fidelity). The telephone was still used to announce the selections!

Also in the Spring of 1920, by request of the Department of Agriculture, they started broadcasting Market Reports. Both of these proved very popular and soon were taken over by commercial broadcasters.

transmitting and receiving laboratory
Here's a picture of the transmitting and receiving laboratory in the Radio Building. Note: the large loop antenna used for receiving signals from Europe.


Created March 10, 2017, Updated August 16, 2022