Category Archives: Cool Radio Photos

Virtual Tour of KSUM-AM & KFMC-FM Fairmont, Minnesota

April 9, 2020

Much thanks to Travis Goraczkowski for posting this virtual photo tour of KSUM-AM 1370 and KFMC-FM 106.5 in Fairmont, Minnesota. These stations have a rich and extensive history: KSUM signed on in 1948 while KFMC came alive in 1978. Travis has worked at the stations for the past 3 and 1/2 years.

KSUM has aired a full service country and agriculture format format for as long as I can remember. KFMC has been various forms of contemporary and rock. It was Top 40/CHR for many years. Today, 106.5 airs “Real Classic Rock.” With a car radio or other strong receiver, their signal used to reach the southern suburbs of the Twin Cities. Today of course, it’s blocked by a co-channel translator.

Included in the KSUM/KFMC photo tour are the outside of the building, AM control room, FM control room, guest seating area, plus several equipment pics. Very nicely done, Travis!

CB Antenna Survivor: Archer 1/2 Wave Ground Plane Spotted!

April 9, 2020

I noticed this yesterday in Brookings, South Dakota. It’s a Radio Shack Archer 1/2 wave ground plane antenna. This was a popular base station antenna during the 1970s and early 1980s. It features a 4 section vertical radiator, just under 18 feet in length. Three 52″ horizontal radials provide the counterpoise. Top-mounted static dissipators reduce electrical noise.

When I first got into CB at age 12 (1976), this antenna sold new for $24.95. It was Radio Shack’s “middle” omnidirectional model. The 1/4 wave was $12.95, the 1/2 wave was $24.95, and Archer’s “top of the line” 5/8 wave went for $34.95. Due to double-digit inflation during the late 1970s, the half wave’s cost rose steadily: $26.95, $28.95, $32.95, etc. If I remember correctly, the final price before being discontinued in the early 80s was around $40.

The amazing thing about this particular CB antenna is it’s condition! No bends. No broken or missing elements. No collapsed radiator sections. Even the thin wire dissipators are still in perfect shape. Since metal CB antennas were banned by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in 1983, this beauty has been standing tall for at least 30 years! Look closely and you’ll see the coaxial cable is still connected to the antenna’s feedpoint. This suggests it may still be in use! They don’t make ’em like this anymore!