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WPOP Technical

Hartford Radio
Author: John Ramsey
ISBN: 9780738576664
# of Pages: 128
Over 220 high quality images
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing

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Book Description: 
Radio broadcasting has been an integral part of the history of Hartford since the early part of the 20th century. WDRC was the state’s first station (1923), and they helped pioneer FM radio technology in the early 1940s. Many Hartford residents learned about the end of World War II via radio, and the medium played a key role in keeping people informed during the floods of 1938 and 1955, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the great Northeast Blackout of 1965. Surprisingly, Hartford, the capital of “the land of steady habits,” saw two stations break from the pack to help bring the British Invasion to the state in the early 1960s. And thousands of schoolchildren eagerly listened to WTIC’s legendary Bob Steele on wintery mornings as they excitedly awaited school closing announcements. Hartford Radio offers a glimpse into the history of the area’s broadcast stations and the people who ran them.


      WPOP has a very rich history.  I had a chance to work at WPOP in the late '90s and was there when the format was switched from News/Talk to Sports radio and I helped move the studios from Cedar Street in Newington to 10 Columbus Blvd in Hartford.  I spent a lot of time at the transmitter back then but unfortunately I didn't take any photos.  Since that time the historic Cedar St. transmitter site has fallen on hard times.
     After some vandalism the site is now equipped with a sophisticated security system so trespassers are well advised to stay awy. I visited the site again in July, 2009 with chief engineer Rick Walsh, this time with my camera.  There is a chance the building will be razed in the future so I'm glad I had a chance to document the place. The pictures below are from my visit.
      J. Ramsey

WPOP Technical

We suspect the wooden tower behind the building was used to support
a shortwave antenna.

Transmitter site equipment racks -  1953(?)

Legendary WPOP Chief Engineer Audie Santana at the transmitter
control point in Newington.  1960?

WPOP Studios, 1970s

Cedar St. Transmitter site and an early studio location. 2009 Photo.

Another view of the transmitter building which was the original tx and studio building at this location, dating back to the thirties I think.  In the late sixties, in the sation's hayday as a rock and roll station, a large pre-fab studio building was constructed in front of this building (to the left of the building in the photo above).  When Cedar Street was widened the building had to go and WPOP moved their studios further east on Cedar St. to the top of the hill near Rt. 15.

Westinghouse Type 5-HV 5kw transmitter.

Westinghouse, another view.

Inside the left front cabinet.  This transmitter was an engineer's dream with 23 meters allowing the engineer on duty to monitor just about evey section of the transmitter.
A transmitter similar to this one served as the driver for WTIC's 50,000 watt transmitter.

Lower front cabinet.

Westingtonhouse Mercury Recitifer Tubes.

Part of the Westinghouse Transmitter.

Westinghouse control system.

Westinghouse RF final section. Note the large final tube on left and the large vacuum capacitor upper right.

Westinghouse Modulator section.

In the sixties the Westinghouse transmitter was retired and put into stand-by service, and a new Gates BC-5P transmitter was put on the air as the main rig.

In the late sixties the Westinghouse 5-HV transmitter was designated the stand-by transmitter and this Gates BC-5P became the main transmitter.  It was much smaller and allowed for the higher modulation levels required by the rock and roll format of WPOP which was important if they were to remain competitive with WDRC.

Gates BC-5P RF Driver cabinet.

Gates BC-5P Modulator.

Old balanced line feed through insulators.

Balanced Line Feed Throughs from the outside.

Transmitter Master Control area.  These consoles used to be inside a booth to isolate the control engineer from the noisy transmitters.  There was a window in front of the console which allowed the engineer to see the Westinghouse transmitter meters as required by law.


The door to Studio D. Do not enter then the red light is on!

Inside Studio D. 

View from Studio D of the old Westinghouse transmitter.

The spring reverb which gave WPOP that "sixites sound."

Remote broadcast, anyone?

Engineering shop.

Supply cabinet.

Looking back into Studio D from the main transmitter area.

In the eighties the BC-1P was retired and the Harris SX-5 (middle) took its place and the BC-5P was used as the auxiliary transmitter.  In 2006, the BC-5P was retired and the SX-5, replaced by the BE AM-6A (right), relegated to auxiliary service.

Back of the building from the parking lot.

East Tower.

West Tower.

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