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WO Frank Heath's history of RC Sigs station VEA

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stations to receive programs on the far from sensitive receivers then available; that conventional buried "earths" became practically insulated in the dry, frozen ground, and next thing to useless; that frost action heaved and twisted our pipe masts, which were merely set on top of the ground, and the guy wires required frequent adjustment to compensate for this movement.

Later on we discovered that excessive frost action disturbed the bases on which our Delco engine, and the Motor Generator Set were mounted. To reduce this disturbance spring bases were designed on which the heavy machines literally floated - a greater degree of steadiness as well as much less vibration to the entire building was obtained by this method.

That first winter we also learned that heavy coatings of frost on aerial wires caused reduced indicated transmitter output, but did not reduce the received signal strength to any marked extent; that starting the Delco in its unheated room was comparatively simple when we preheated the crank case and cylinder head with a blow torch, had the lube oil very hot, spark plug almost read hot, and primed with hot gasoline before switching to its regular kerosene fuel, also pre-heated. We also soon learned that the heavy clothing we'd been issued with was ideal for outdoors wear but a bit too heavy for our indoor life, and we soon modified out dress to suite the occasion.

That first winter also proved to us that Dawson City was a very friendly and comfortable place in which to live, and far more pleasant, attractive and congenial than we ever expected; with practically every attraction and convenience of a big town - except accessibility - plus a spirit of genuine friendliness and camaraderie rarely experienced elsewhere but in the North.

In the summer of 121924 the N.W.T. & Y.R. S really got started. By fall of that year we were relaying most of our traffic outside via mayo, Simpson and Edmonton. Cpl may was transferred to Fort Simpson that summer, and Cpl. Gordon Armstrong replaced him in June of that year. That fall we dismantled our sectional pipe masts and erected two substantial 100; lattice steel masts (known as Type B). The material for these masts arrived on the last boat, Oct. 8th. Assembly and erection proved far from pleasant in below zero temperatures which soon appeared. Station personnel of three did the assembly work in between regular calls and office routine, while local labour built and buried eight anchors and two mast bases. This new aerial array, with a four wire flat top was finally completed Nov. 11th 1924. Earlier that year, July 31asrt to be exact, we contacted and thereafter maintained regular daily skeds with WUM, Circle City, Alaska, U.S. Army Signals system.

The summer of 1924 introduced us to continuous daylight and every known variety of radio inductive interference, plus a tropical brand of static. WE tried all sorts of filters and gadgets to reduce the local racket and improve our reception, but more often than not we were forded to operate at odd hours and time to take advantage of infrequent quiet spells free from excessive noise.


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