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Last Edited:
12-Sep-2004

 

Scott's pioneering designs in Wide-band FM tuners were vital in helping the early commercial FM broadcasting industry reach broader audiences in the 1950's. From Mt. Washington, New Hampshire, (site of the world's worst weather) to Mt. Wilson, California, the legendary H.H. Scott Type 310 FM Wide-band Broadcast Monitor (tuner) was used in relay links (similar conceptually to modern FM translator stations) to extend the limited coverage of "line-of-sight" commercial FM transmitters.Mt.Wash.JPG (30259 bytes)

By remotely locating the relay transmitters and antennas high atop rugged mountains, often in extremely adverse conditions, early FM broadcasters   were able to reach much broader "network" audiences in the rural communities of Northern New England and Canada, rather than the limited metropolitan coverage areas of Boston. (see additional article on John Shepard's  First FM Network by Donna Halper).

The Scott tuners were so stable and sensitive that they were used to receive "over-the-air" FM signals broadcast by the studio in some cases, over 130 miles away. The Scott tuner's audio was then fed directly into the mountain top FM transmitter for relay broadcasting to the much broader geographical region.

According to Parker H. Vincent, then Chief Engineer of WMTW-FM, "the 310 tuner has given eminently satisfactory results; we believe this to be one of the longest successful re-broadcast hops ever."

The Apparatus Development Company, manufacturers of the "FM/Q" antenna, reports: "The Scott 310 consistently receives signals from a distance of 510 miles. This is the best record of any FM tuner in our files."

As a point of fact, the Scott marketing moniker "Broadcast Monitor," was well deserved. Scott tuners were extremely sensitive, and once fully warmed up, did not drift off station. This was frequently a major problem for other FM tuner manufacturers of the era. Some tuner models of the Scott line, even introduced "diversity" reception to reduce multi-path distortion by using multiple antenna inputs. The reliability of the H.H. Scott tuners was legendary. They were simply left continuously on, (24 hours by 7 days a week), except for normal maintenance, which consisted of routine tube replacement.

Today, all the once-rural communities in New England and Southern California sport their own FM stations, and we take FM Stereo multiplex broadcasting for granted. We enjoy our FM stereo stations, and most of us have probably forgotten the early days of pioneer FM broadcasting when we heard true high fidelity/stereo radio broadcasts for the first time. The FM Stereo multiplex standard which H.H. Scott helped popularize has weathered the test of time.

Editor's Note: I'll never forget hearing, in 1962, my first fully FM stereo multiplex broadcast on my father's Scott 310-C/335 using Koss Stereophones. I was listening to KSOM-FM (Salem, Ohio) and heard "76 Trombones," from M. Wilson's Broadway production, "The Music Man."  It was such an major improvement over the earlier primitive simulcast AM/FM "stereo" broadcast experiments. Finding any station broadcasting in FM multiplex stereo in those days made it all worth while!

Almost 40 years later the sweet and silky sound of a properly aligned Scott tube stereo tuner is amazing, especially given the digital processing of programming material coming from most of today's FM stations.

 

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