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Surfin': Radio-Spotting Through the Windshield

01/29/2010

By Stan Horzepa, KA1LOU
Contributing Editor

On the road, Surfin' views the world of radio through the windshield.

Last week, I wrote how as a ham, I see radio everywhere. I cited, for example, spotting ham radios in motion pictures that I happen to be viewing for entertainment -- not for their ham radio content.

I am not alone. Some Surfin' readers wrote to say that they also view the world through radio-colored glasses.

One reader reminded me of a facet of radio-spotting that I do so automatically that I do not even think about anymore. In his memory-rattling comment, he wrote, "I am often reminded by my wife to watch the road as we drive along when I spot an interesting antenna on a house or a hill."

I am in the same driver's seat whenever I am on the road. You probably are, too. I am always making mental notes of new antenna installations that I spot during my travels.

It never gets old. Every day during my morning commute, I skirt West Peak in Meriden, Connecticut; this hill spots an impressive collection of antenna farms resting on its crown. Depending on traffic, I try to sneak a peek to admire the hardware installed up there.

West Peak is an historic radio site. Edwin Howard Armstrong used it for the location of one of the first FM radio broadcasts in 1939 and, according to Wikipedia, his original 70-foot tall radio mast is still there. On those rare mornings when traffic is light on I-691, I can actually spot Armstrong's tower among all the taller towers.

I spotted another Armstrong tower on Thanksgiving Day 2008. On the bus trip home after viewing Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, we traveled north on I-87 and that provided a perfect opportunity to view Armstrong's historic tower in Alpine, New Jersey. Although the tower was more than four miles away, it was still very impressive.

On the ham radio-spotting front, I have written here before about my annual encounter with the K3LR antenna farm on the Keystone State side of the Ohio-Pennsylvania border south of I-80.

This encounter occurs on my road trip between Downtown Wolcott and the Dayton Hamvention. Inbound to Dayton, passing K3LR means I only have 250 miles to go (yay!); outbound, it means I still have 460 mile to go (yuck!).

Until next time, keep on surfin'!

Editor's note: Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU, still desperately needs a new eyeglass prescription, radio-colored or otherwise. To contact Stan, send him e-mail or add comments to his blog.



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