Friday, January 16, 2015

World's Smallest Radio Station

Back around three-foruths of a century ago, two radio men constructed what they called the Worlds Smallest Radio Station.  This total working model was housed in an ornate wooden cabinet about the size of a small refrigerator, and it contained a model studio and a working transmitter with intermittently flashing red lights on the little antenna towers.
            This small radio station was designed and constructed by a man known as the Mystery Announcer who was a popular announcer at the mediumwave station WPEN, on 1500 kHz in Philadelphia Pennsylvania back in 1931.  The technical equipment in the little model was constructed by Radio Engineer John Boyle.  It took this two-man team team of co-operating radio personnel 10 months to construct their miniature radio station.
            The transmitter in this mini radio station emitted 4/100th of a watt and the propagation coverage area was over a radius of just 200 feet.  At least two operating frequencies are shown for station WEE, both 900 kHz and 1300 kHz, and this would seem to indicate that the active on air frequency could be tuned to another channel if there was interference from another station. 
            At one stage, it is stated that the owners were considering installing a mini shortwave transmitter in their little radio station for a wider coverage area.
            This little radio broadcasting station was owned, it is said, by the Tiny Broadcasting Company and it was on display initially in the foyer of the Mastbaum Theatre in Philadelphia.  It was subsequently taken on a tour of regional cities in Pennsylvania, and for example it was on display in Feinbergs Store at the corner of 5th & Egmont Streets in Chester, a few miles along the river, west from Philadelphia. Visitors were invited to speak over this model radio station. This neat little model was also on display during the same year, 1933, at Easton, between Philadelphia and New York City.

            When this radio model was four years old, it was taken over by the giant super power mediumwave station WLW in Cincinnati, Ohio, where it made a remarkable contrast; mini-WEE and mighty WLW.  During the year 1936, it is reported, mini WEE was on display at an Electronics Exhibition in Baltimore Maryland.  And that is the last that we have heard about this fascinating little radio broadcasting station, the worlds smallest.
(AWR/Wavescan-NWS 307)