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The Radio Room from December, 1964

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Robert Cruz, KE4MCL writes:

"On the SFFMA site in the radio room history section there is a pic that shows the Dade County RACES sign with a few rigs and an operator below. The rig to the extreme left looks like a Gonset Communicator. Judging from the light color it may have been one of the yellow Civil Defense issue radios. I have one of slightly later vintage in its original Civil Defense case. Gonset was considered the Cadillac of VHF radios.

"Now here's my question to the old timers...why 6 meters??"







A side view.  Glad we don't have to wear suits any more!  Can anyone identify these radios?"

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Here's a close-up of a radio from that era.  A Gonset Communicator III. 

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Andy Clark, center, accepting a new GE Mastr Exec radio for the Red Cross.  Chet Fisher, far right.  A GE Mastr Exec, maybe even this one, was used up until 1999 as the Hamboree Info System transmitter after it had been retired from service at the EOC.   1968 to 1999.  Not a bad service history! 

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Looking up at the big tower in the back of the EOC in 1964.    The panels at the top reflected microwave signals down town.  

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More historical information about the tower from John K. McHugh, KU4GY:

"My addition to history:

"The 275' tower at the EOC site was built in 1956. It was originally built to support the tx site for the old channel "D" (country-wide records on the 4 channel radios) and a Motorola microwave system. The Motorola system was upgraded to GE around late 60's. One of the "bedsprings" (microwave reflector) shot downtown to the old Public Safety bldg. across from Cedars, the other shot to Cutler Ridge water tank. That system was replaced with a Farinon microwave in 1982 when it went from 80 channels to over 900 channels.

"During construction of the 911 center one day a cement truck clipped one of the guy wires which snapped, but nothing happened. The worst thing that I know about the tower was the day it dropped 6 inches. I had a crew working on the tower, scrapping and painting. A guy was at the top fixing some rust spots and his buddy was trying to dry out the water in the base at the bottom with a welding torch. Well he got carried away with his success and melted the base enough for it to suddenly drop 6 inches. You never saw a guy come down a tower so fast. That's why there is now a large concrete block at the base.

"Also the 911 dispatch was in the old PSD bldg as I said before. We moved it to the "new" 911 bldg. live and never lost a call. We even had a video link back to PSD HQ so the Chief could watch the dispatchers.

"I was going to replace the tower with a new one for use as the hub for a police mobile digital system but didn't want to remove the old tower until the project was ready and funded (I wanted to keep the neighbors used to a tower there so as to avoid new zoning hearings). After dickering around trying to get funding, in early 1992, about April I had the top 175 feet removed for safety sake, then came Andrew. People thought I was some kind of visionary.

"As I recall, where the new houses are on the west of 911 was a county dump."

"There are several old missile silos around Dade, I looked at most with an eye to tx sites but they were either not in the right place or the upkeep was too high. (expensive to maintain 40 acres just for a tower)

A bit about John and his history with Dade County:

"I joined the county in 1977 as the one and only radio engineer. Actually was part of the old Public Safety Dept. but my first project was to put in the EMS system for Fire/Rescue. Then later was moved to GSA and then to ITD. Designed and bought all the radio systems except Metrorail (that's a story for another time). Acquired many of the sites (including the old blimp site at the zoo), built all the towers, put in microwave, both voice and video (won an award for the video one) and fiber optics. Quit as Division Director for Transmission Systems in disgust over the implementation of the 800 system."


Looking up the guy wires. 

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If you're wondering why there are two guys from the same level, here's why:  With Microwave, it's important that the tower doesn't twist, even a bit, at the level of the microwave dishes.   A tiny twist at this end could mean missing the target at the other end.   Two guys connected to the same horizontal bar on the tower prevent twist.  Sort of like two arms on a grocery cart helps steer it.    Back then, the dishes stayed on the ground and were pointed up to the bedspring reflectors.   Today, the signal overshooting the reflectors would interfere with satellite communication, so they can't be used for transmission any more.  





This is the antenna pole on the North side of the EOC.  It bent over in Hurricane Andrew in 1992.  Right after the storm, It had to be taken down.

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Here's a roster from 1994.  I'm sure some of these names will bring back memories.

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    South Florida FM Association, 2003   

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