From time to time broadcast station and other entities receive permission from the FCC to operate radio facilities for experimental purposes. These stations receive "Experimental Licenses" are nearly always temporary assignments and are used to further the state of the art or to verify technical aspects. For instance, it is not unusual to operate a low power AM station for a few days to verify ground conductivity.
1940's: The pioneer stations which came on the air in the twenties and thirties all had experimental licenses, some through the early 40s so experimental licensed were not that uncommon in the early days of broadcasting.
However there are reports of one extremely unusual station appearing in the Hartford area in the late 40s: a traveling TV station that went around the country demonstrating television broadcasting. We are looking for more information on this station which we surmise was operated by either one of the manufacturers of TV transmitting equipment such as RCA, or perhaps by a receiver manufacturer.
1950's: In 1957, Donald Howe, a professor of electrical engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, constructed a test antenna site on the John Pollack farm (our current site near Recreation Park) in Willimantic to convince the Commission that the frequency of 1400 khz would work with 1,000 watts on behalf of applicant WILI. (The frequency was chosen because it had been vacated by WICH in Norwich when WICH moved to a regional frequency). The 1400 plan was a tight fit with the FCC's interference rules at the time. Howe used a six-foot diameter gas-filled balloon to lift 200 feet of #17 (fine) wire. Nine 200-foot lengths of aluminum wire were used for the ground system. The radiated power was 51 watts on 1200 kHz. With this signal, Howe made the field measurements to prove 1400 would work, and the application won.
1985: A station was set up in the former Bloomfield town landfill off of Blue Hills Avenue extension and was used to establish ground conductivity curves for WMLB, 1550 khz which had proposed to move from West Hartford to Bloomfield. The set up consisted of a RCA BTA-1R1 transmitter set up in the back of a rented truck operated off of a generator at 250 watts. The antenna was 60' of Rohn 25 and the ground system consisted of rolls of chicken wire placed on the ground.
2005: The Mitre Corporation had an experimental license for 107.5 in Avon, CT as part of a national study of the effect of LPFM stations operating on third adjacent channels. The location and frequency were chosen because of nearby WCCC-FM on 106.9.
2008: WX4ESPN, operated by ESPN, Inc. on 98.1
khz. as a test platform for HD radio experiments.