Warren Reese "TR", transmitter technician at KPH, was conducting a tour of the station. Of course this included the most historic building on the site, Building 1, where Marconi operations began at the site in 1913 and the current home of transmitter BL-10. But while the tour was in progress someone locked the door from the outside! What to do? TR never hesitated. Read about his creative solution to the problem.
Trapped in Building 1 - With a 10kW Intercom - by Warren Reese
On that particular day, Dewey Snyder was visiting. He was the project engineer for MCI and he was working on getting us our new Henry transmitters. Jack Martini was going to meet us at the Olema Farm House or was with us, I can't remember for sure. Jerry & Abe were up at the main building and there were four of us. I'm not sure except for Dewey & myself who was there.
We opened the front door of Building One with the padlock and went in to see the building. We walked around and when we came back to the door, someone had closed it an padlocked it from the outside so that we were trapped! I turned to the others who wondered how long we might have to wait as prisoners before we were missed, there being no telephone and no cell phones.
I said, something to the effect of, " well we're not without communications, we have a 10kW live transmitter (BL-10) in here." Off we went to the transmitter room and I opened the door and took out the test button.
I put the transmitter on 500kc and called KPH. Sure enough Ray Smith was on watch and he replied "KPH DE ?" I said KPH DE KPH/BL go up 426KHZ BT. He was confused but I put the transmitter on 426kc and began calling KPH and eventually he understood. The station called Jerry & Abe and they came down to let us out.
The boys at KFS heard it and they thought it was real funny. They sent us a fax of a radio operator in jail and the jail said KPH on it. Jack Martini might still have it, you never know.
Anyway, that’s what happened.
It turns out that Jack Martini did indeed save a copy of the fax. The text of the intercept as gleefully recorded by the operators at KFS adds some interesting detail - like the fact that TR had to copy the Morse being sent by Ray Smith at Point Reyes by watching the movement of the meters on BL-10! Jack writes:
I just finished the additions in Incredible Radio Tales, and as TR suggested I do have a copy of the KFS fax copied on MF during DS and TR's quandary in Building 1.
I was at Point Reyes when RC came into my office and told me about the problem. Shortly thereafter, the lads in the printer room brought me the following XQ received on the fax from KFS.
June 18 1992 0017Z Flwg intercepted on 500: This is Warren. Duke and I are trapped in bldg One. Some one has locked the door from outside. Pse QRS I have no aural monitor. I must read the meters. Pls call Common Weal and ask them to come free us. Nr of the handyman is --- QRM ----LPQD 3634 End
A true radio classic this is.