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"Wavescan" is a weekly program for long distance radio hobbyists produced by Dr. Adrian M. Peterson, Coordinator of International Relations for Adventist World Radio. AWR carries the program over many of its stations (including shortwave). Adrian Peterson is a highly regarded DXer and radio historian, and often includes features on radio history in his program. We are reproducing those features below, with Dr. Peterson's permission and assistance.

Wavescan N278, June 22, 2014

Tribute to Shortwave WYFR - 11: The Mystery of the Missing Callsign WRUR

A very interesting find that has come to light as a result of intensive research into the long and illustrious history of shortwave WYFR/WRMI is the fact that an illusive callsign was in use for a few years, but very little detail is given regarding its usage. This intriguing callsign WRUR was associated in some way with the historic shortwave station WRUL at Hatherly Beach, Scituate as it was known back towards the middle of last century.

What are the known facts about the mystery callsign WRUR?

According to the available information, it is stated that station WRUR was a powerful shortwave station at Boston and it was owned by the World Wide Broadcasting Foundation. It was always linked in tandem with the known transmitter WRUL, though it was never listed with the other well-known transmitter WRUW, both of which were owned by the same World Wide Broadcasting Foundation, WWBF.

The only known frequency usage by WRUR was 9700 kHz, which was used exclusively by WRUW, and the earlier W2XAL when the transmitter was located at Coytesville in New Jersey. This WRUR callsign is known to have been in use when WWBF carried programming in European languages, beamed to Italy, Poland and Yugoslavia.

The callsign WRUR was in use apparently for around half a dozen years, running from approximately 1941 to 1947. However, there are no known monitoring reports of programming from a shortwave transmitter under the callsign WRUR; not in the United States, not in New Zealand and not in Australia. No known QSL card issued by WWBF lists the curious callsign WRUR.

Known modifications at Hatherly Beach not associated with callsign WRUR

In researching all of the available information about WRUR, in print and via the internet, it becomes obvious that certain conjectured possibilities can be ruled out. For example:

1. Was WRUR in Boston a new call for the shortwave transmitter W4XB-WDJM from Florida that was absorbed into WRUL? No, not so. This double 5 kW transmitter from Florida was taken over by WRUL in 1941 and it was activated at Hatherly Beach under the consecutive callsigns WRUS & WRUX.

2. Was WRUR in Boston the combination callsign for the two new 50 kW transmitters WRUA & WRUS when they were on the air as a single unit with a combined output at 100 kW? No, not so. It is true, this combination unit was inaugurated around the same time as the WRUR callsign was in use, 1943, but it is known that the double unit at 100 kW usually identified on air as WRUA.

3. Was WRUR in Boston a callsign in association with the new 100 kW amplifier that was installed at Hatherly Beach for use on shortwave? No, not so. This 100 kW amplifier was installed in 1948, after the usage of the WRUR callsign had ended.

4. Was WRUR in Boston the shortwave transmitter WPIT-WBOS from Hull that was absorbed into WRUL? No, not so. This double 10 kW transmitter from Hull was taken over by WRUL in 1953, half a dozen years after the Boston callsign WRUR was no longer in use.

Attested usage of callsign WRUR

Of course, it is always possible that callsign WRUR as listed in various sources is simply a mistaken identification, a typo. However, this does not seem to be the case, due to the fact that several otherwise reliable sources do list the callsign WRUR as a genuine callsign in use by the World Wide Broadcasting Foundation WWBF in Boston. These sources are not quoting previous sources wherein the callsign WRUR was stated, but rather they are quoting contemporary sources that use the callsign WRUR.

Among the reliable sources for the usage of the WRUR callsign are the following:

1. In his 1969 Master's Thesis, at Brigham Young University in Provo Utah, Andre Mostert states that the FCC gave approval on October 28, 1941, for station WRUR to use 9700 kHz, provided no interference was caused to existing services.

2. In a 1991 report, the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Global History Network published a report from Dr. Ivan Getting wherein he states that during the early part of World War II, there were two powerful shortwave stations in Boston, WRUR and WRUL, and that there were occasions when they took programming from mediumwave station WCOP with studios in Copley Plaza. It can be remembered that Getting was an early and prominent experimenter on behalf of the American government in the development of radar.

3. In the February 24, 1942 issue of the Yugoslav language daily newspaper in Cleveland. Ohio there is a lengthy article about programming from WRUL and WRUR that was beamed towards Yugoslavia in the Yugoslav language. This newspaper article in the Yugoslav language, when translated into English, tells of the political situation and current events in Yugoslavia. The names of the two speakers in the radio program are given and their association with Yugoslav shipping in New York, together with the political attitude of Yugoslav seafarers.

4. A document dated December 20, 1946 was presented to the United States Congress regarding postwar development and the possible usage of international radio broadcasting to further the needs of American international relations. It was stated in this document, that stations WRUL and WRUR were currently on the air with programming beamed to Italy and Poland, and that the services of these two stations could be of value to the American cause in the new peacetime endeavors.

5. It might also be inferred that VOA, the Voice of America, was familiar with these broadcasts from WRUL and WRUR beamed to Europe.

6. Then, in 1947, Broadcasting magazine dated for March 17 makes the statement that the World Wide Broadcasting Foundation, WWBF, owns the stations WRUL and WRUR. This information is contained in a lengthy article, within the context of VOA usage and programming.

Thus, from the available information, it would appear that WRUR was indeed a genuine callsign in use at Hatherly Beach, Scituate. It would appear then that it was in use for half a dozen years, running from 1941 to 1947, and that it was a subsidiary callsign for specialized programming beamed to continental Europe in their languages.

Maybe perhaps the letters in the callsign WRUW spell something undesirable in a European language, and thus the call WRUR was substituted?

Why no monitoring reports in contemporary DX bulletins of that era for the callsign WRUR? Maybe the international radio monitors in the United States, New Zealand and Australia did not understand the languages in use, and simply reported the station by its primary callsign WRUW.

Maybe as time goes by, someone, somewhere will someday come across some additional information regarding callsign WRUR. Will this new information confirm our conclusions regarding callsign WRUR? Or will it present a very different story?

And so, the mystery of the missing callsign lives on! But if you can help, please let us know. We would be pleased to hear from you.