Her six massive transmitters may be quiet, but she is far from silent.
Amateur radio operators routinely talk to the world from station WC8VOA in West Chester, Ohio, located about 25 miles north of Cincinnati. This former VOA relay station is now a museum with collections from the Gray History of Wireless Radios; Powel Crosley Jr., and Cincinnati radio and TV broadcasting history; and the Voice of America.
The museum celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Bethany Station in September with a fundraiser to make the first floor of the museum accessible for people of all abilities.
SIT AT THE BOARD
The National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting is open every weekend from 1 to 4 p.m. Tours are given continuously on weekend afternoons by knowledgeable docents. It houses the Bethany station’s last control room and one of the remaining 250 kW Collins shortwave transmitters.
You can sit at the massive audio console that controlled the six shortwave transmitters and literally take a tour inside one of the Collins transmitters. You can view the massive switch gear, built during World War II, that changed Bethany’s 24 rhombic antennas to its six transmitters.
At one time, Bethany Station covered a square mile of property on former farmland. Today the museum sits on 14 acres and the antennas are gone; but with surrounding park acreage, you get a sense of the massive scale the site covered with towers and the miles of transmission lines and antenna wire.
The museum houses a large collection of radios from the early part of the 20th century, including names such as Hallicrafters, National, Drake and Collins. A large collection of Drake Amateur Radio products is always a must-see by visiting radio enthusiasts and ham radio operators.
Drake radios were produced nearby in Miamisburg, Ohio. An area dedicated to the Crosley Corporation shows off many of the Crosley brothers’ radio, TV and household products that were manufactured in Cincinnati. Crosley contributed heavily to the war effort during World War II, with the production of tens of thousands of portable radios for the U.S. Army and millions of proximity fuses for anti-aircraft ordinance.
Not only did Crosley develop radios, but content as well, with its on-air radio station WLW, which still broadcasts today on
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