Sunday, August 30, 2009

KAAY & Vietnam

I'd read somewhere on the Internet, and also where Richard Robinson mentioned in the post, "Beaker Street Poster", where our troops in Vietnam heard Beaker Street. This is not surprising, because of two factors: One, KAAY's high power on a clear channel and two, propagation factors between nighttime and daytime areas of the world. The lower the frequency, the more the signal will crawl along the surface of the earth, but the upper atmosphere has a hand in it, as well.

It's been mentioned that troops would write in and say they heard the show and would also make requests. Do any of the KAAY deejays/PMs/GMs remember this specifically? I also remember an "urban legend" I haven't been able to substantiate, where someone called via the MARS Network (Military Affiliate Radio Service, which would link soldiers via Ham radio onto phone patches to talk to home) to KAAY and made a request. Do any of the KAAY deejays/PDs/GMs remember anything like that happening???

Needless to say, I'd mentioned to several KAAY employees about their time in Vietnam and got these responses so far:

From Dick Downes: "You'd be surprised at the names who came out of AFVN. Check the Yahoo group. Pat Sajak did mornings in Saigon at the same time I did mornings in Danang.

I got to Nam in late '68. Worked out of Cam Ranh Bay as an Information Specialist for a year, made E-5, then was approached to extend my tour. They'd give me a 30-day leave including airfare, plus an early out. I asked to audition for AFVN as part of the deal - they said no problem, but if I failed the audition, it was back to the IO (which wasn't that bad). Then I asked the personnel guy what the point of no return is. Huh? Where would I have to select for my leave where I go there by flying east, come back from the west (in other words: around the world). So the light bulb goes off and he looks it up and says, "Copenhagen." So that's where I wanted to go on leave. Sure enough I made several stops on the way and after a month of training in Saigon, got the morning show in Danang. I left on June 15th 1970."

And from Dave M.: "
"Hi Bud, and all - I was in Vn in '72 and worked in Cryptography. Was stationed in Can Tho, Pleiku, and MACV HQ Than San Nhut / Saigon. I separated in Jan 73 and went back to KAAY - Pat Walsh held my job open for me during my tour. Dave M."

And from Dave S., on the beakerstreetFAQ: " )that the soldiers in Vietnam would hear him, thanks to the "skip":

CC: Well, it went out further than even that at times. During the Viet Nam war I got letters from Southeast Asia. And you see, I never really thought about that then. But while I was broadcasting at night, over there it was daytime. And the big thing about sky waves is that you're dealing with reflective signals from the night-time ionosphere, and during the day the sun dissipates the ionosphere. You only have ionosphere on the dark side of the planet, and I guess what was happening is that it would get its last bounce and then bounce into the daytime signal, and they were hearing it over on the other side of the world. They would send lists of the stuff that I played and requests and all.

Look also at: "Beaker Street By Deadman"

And, for a history link regarding radio broadcasting by American forces on AFVN in Vietnam, check out this link:

Radio propagation can be v-e-r-y interesting!

Bud S. (

1 comment:

  1. So, was the movie "Good Morning, Vietnam,' pretty authentic about Armed Forces Radio in Vietnam or not. I thought it was a great movie.

    Jim Clark