KXA’s Transmitting Antenna

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By request for Dick Ellingson, here are some pics & a bit of info on 770 KXA‘s transmitting antenna. The station’s original antenna  was mounted atop the Bigelow Building at 4th & Pike in downtown Seattle where their transmitter was first located.   KXA‘s antenna is technically known as an ‘Inverted L’ antenna but is also known by the slang term “flat-top” antenna given it by amateur “ham” operators & was a series of parallel long-wires suspended between two windmill towers.  In 1935, then owner & manager Roland Meggee moved the KXA transmitter down to the Steamship terminal & erected a slant-fed Inverted L antenna on a pier with a  tower mounted on concrete base in the ocean, duplicating KVI‘s Vashon Island facility.  I’ve been unable to find a picture of this.  The new waterfront antenna emitted KXA‘s 5 hour duration night signal all over the Pacific, and reception reports came in from as far away as Australia. When WW II commenced, the Army moved into the steamship terminal & began dredging out the waterfront to accommodate transport ships.  KXA engineer John H Dubuque one day noticed the pier tower had a bad lean on it.  The more the Army dredged, the more the tower leaned over & it became apparent it would need to come down.  A temporary wire antenna was quickly erected until a more permanent arrangement could be found.  KIRO had just moved out of the old KFOA penthouse transmitter site atop the Rhodes Dept. Store with it’s rooftop towers remaining, to it’s new site on Vashon Island.  KXA moved into the penthouse & again set up an Inverted L suspended between the towers.  Due to conflicting information, I cannot determine for how long this remained their transmit antenna.

770 KXA towers supporting the Inverted L antenna on top of the Rhodes Dept Store building

To give a better illustration of this type of antenna, I’ve included some non-local pictures to demonstrate this highly effective radiating system in use by a number of AM broadcasters at one time:

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Mike Cherry

Author: Mike Cherry

retired broadcaster: on-air, MD, PD, asst PD, Prod Mgr, IT, station technician/engineer, pioneer Internet webcaster, station installation/maintenance; 12 years in commercial radio, 17 years volunteer in campus/community radio in B.C., Alberta & Wash. Amateur radio operator & "DXer" specializing in AM night-time DX, short-wave DX/listening & remote SDR DXing/listening

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