A (radio) journey from New York to Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts
by: Max van Arnhem, The Netherlands

Max van Arnhem

In April first I paid a visit to Manhattan, New York and afterwards I travelled through Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

1610Being an avid radio listener, my attention on the Highways was often attracted by the signs mentioning frequencies like 530, 1610, 1650 or 1690 AM. These frequencies are used by Travellers’ Information Stations (TIS) or Highway Advisory Radio stations.  When you listen to these frequencies you can hear traffic news and travel advice.
Most of these stations have low power (10 watts) and consequently a very short reception range.

Although their short range, some of these stations can be heard over a large distance. On Cape Cod, Massachusetts I could clearly hear on my car radio WQBQ732/WQBE789 Logan Radio in Boston on 1650 kHz with airport information, a distance of about 100 kilometres.

Possibly the reason of this “large” distance reception is that signals travelled over the water between Boston and my location. Other stations I heard were 530 kHz WNQN649 The Connecticut Department of Transportation in East Hartford and on 1610 kHz WPQB669 The Rhode Island Department of Transportation’s Highway Advisory System Providence. Both stations had a tape running with traffic information.

Unfortunately, interference is moderate or strong in many hotels and motels, so radio listening was not easy. However, in New York I was able to listen to the most well known stations, like WFAN 660, WCBS 880, ESPN Radio 1050, WBBR 1130 and WQEW Radio Disney 1560. It was nice to hear these stations with local strength.

On Cape Cod, Massachusetts, I visited Chatham, a well-known name for DX-ers because of the former maritime station Chatham Radio WCC. What is left are only some parts of antennas and an empty building which will probably be a radio-museum in the future.


To the north, near South Wellfleet, you will find Marconi Beach, the site where the first transatlantic radio station was located.

Marconi Wireless Station was built between 1901 and 1902. Guglielmo Marconi transmitted the first radio signal over the ocean to Europe on the 18th of January 1903. He sent the greetings from president Theodore Roosevelt to King Edward VII of England. At the location you will find some memorabilia, like a stone which a text about this site and a display of the antenna, used in those days.


100 years later the transatlantic transmission was remembered by The Marconi Radio Club and the Marconi Cape Cod Memorial Radio Club. From January 11th till 19, 2003, these clubs aired the
Special Event Amateur Radio station KM1CC from the former U.S. Coast Guard Station in Eastham. On January 18th, 2003, the daughter of Marconi, Princess Elettra Marconi contacted the International Space Station to remember the historical act of her father.

Marconi USGC Eastham

Fire DepartementOn Cape Cod I often passed Fire Department stations, which remembered me of my F2 reception around 1990 when these Fire Department radio signals were easily heard in The Netherlands, because of high sunspot activity.

On my way back to New York I passed the little town of Prospect in Connecticut. In 1990 I received a nice QSL-letter from the Volunteer Fire Department. They were very surprised that their radio signals had made it to Europe. A local newspaper published a nice article because of the long distance reception. I decided to visit the Fire Department, met the mayor of Prospect who is the chief of the Fire Department. I was very surprised to find my reception report in a frame between photos of special events on the wall of the Fire Department. Even my visit will be commemorated with a photo of me standing next to my reception report.

Unfortunately, next day it was time to return to the Netherlands. It was a nice trip, full of radio highlights!