Bootleg Radio . . . a true story


Young engineers and college students designed and built a 50 watt AM transmitter from electronic components and surplus parts. It broadcast within legal specifications, with no signal interference or splatter, on a frequency of 1170 KHz AM. The transmitter and antenna could be disassembled and moved before the FCC arrived.

In June 1970, a new and daring transmitter move was made. Working in the early summer heat, RFN put the transmitter in an old well in a field near 102nd Street and Allisonville Road. Electric and phone services were installed. Anyone traveling on the nearby farm road would see a telephone pole and a shaky antenna 100 feet out into a horse pasture. The transmitter was moved when authorities started closing in.

Moving the transmitter and antenna became easier. Encouragements were many; RFN was told "that when on, RFN is the best thing on the air." The station dial position, 1170 KHz (used since 1968), was regularly checked by listeners and judging by the telephone requests, listened to often and regularly.

By 1971, the addition of an FM broadcast signal, radiating 50 watts on 97.7 MHz, joined the original 1170 KHz AM as a constant feature on the Indy radio dial.

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