Voice of the Abnormal
Voice Of The Abnormal 12-07-08 off air recording
My interest in radio began at a very young age. Being blind since birth, I listened to radio a lot in my spare time and dreamed of becoming a DJ or having my own station. I wondered quite a bit just how radio worked and why I could hear someone talking many miles away.
When I became Junior High School age, I found a circuit in a school library book describing a simple one transistor AM broadcast transmitter. I had become friends with some TV repair folks who had their shop very close to my home and I talked with them every time they came out to fix the TV. Thus I was able to go to their shop and buy a few parts now and then for experimenting. So I went to them with the parts list for this little transmitter and in a few days, I had it going!
It was really a blast being able to hear my voice coming out of a radio and an even bigger thrill when I learned that a neighbor half way down the block could hear it quite well also! This little transmitter served me well for many years.
A couple years after graduating high school, I found out about a hobby electronics company called Carl Cordova. They put out several little pre made modules of all kinds of simple little devices. The one that caught my fancy was an FM transmitter embedded in a little plastic cube. I got hold of one of these and was surprised how clear the sound was from it - really high fidelity! I fooled around with it a bit and figured out a way to make it easily tunable to any frequency and also how to couple an antenna to it.
This little thing could then send a signal about 3 miles which I thought was amazing in those days! I set up a little station in my dorm room at college and built a little 2 channel mixer so we could have mic and line inputs for tape decks for playing music. This was in about 1967. Somehow, news of my station got to the local school newspaper. I had just passed my Amateur Advanced exam administered by an FCC Examiner. A few days after passing this test, the dorm supervisor said there was someone who wanted to see the transmitter. As soon as he spoke I recognized him as the very examiner who gave me my test a couple days before. When I showed him the little transmitter, he just laughed a bit and said "OK, that's fine!" I asked him if he wanted me to show him how it worked, but he just said no that's all and left! I never heard from him again about this! This is the first, and hopefully, only time any of my radio efforts was ever examined by the FCC!
In 1975, I was living in Pasadena, CA. Halloween has always been my favorite time of year. I noticed that there was nothing at all on the air relating to Halloween so I fired up that same little FM rig and started doing a bit of a show. I played The Hobbit by Tolkien read by Nichol Williamson, then played only 2 songs - Monster Mash and Season Of The Witch, and signed off. This was the beginning of my Yukon Jack Halloween Special and also The Voice of the Abnormal.
I did this Halloween thing off and on over the following years and added to my collection of songs and other material. In 1995 I found out about a company called Panaxis Productions in Northern California which offered a 5 Watt FM stereo kit for sale. I immediately sent away for one, and by the summer of 1995 I had my first FM Stereo station on the air. This inspired me to further improve my studio by building a 6 channel stereo mixer, acquiring a compressor/limiter, and adding CD players.
Then it was in 1997 or 1998 I sent a tape of a special version of my Halloween show to a shortwave relay station who broadcast it and I received feedback and QSL requests from many places - even one from Scotland! This really gave me the bug for shortwave pirating. So off and on over the many years my show has been relayed on several stations, and in 1998 I got a show played on WBCQ shortwave. Since then, I've had several Voice of the Abnormal shows on WBCQ but I'm still always open to any way to get it on pirate SW as well.
In 2010, some blind friends told me about some very effective and low cost radio broadcasting software for computers that would make doing shows very easy. I got hold of this program and learned how to use it and also helped a blind computer programmer to write an add-on file for my screen reader which makes using this program much easier and faster to use. I had also been in the Area 51 IRC chat for a couple years, and I soon was given a channel on their internet radio group. Since 2010, I've been webcasting my shows and occasionally, WBCQ will pick up and relay my shows live in real time.
So this is where I am today. I now have over 2,000 songs, bits, and stories for Halloween, a whole lot of funny and wacky Christmas stuff and lots of general party/comedy novelty material which I can use any time and which I use quite a bit for my New Year's Eve shows.
As I'm writing this, I've just finished another 8 hour Yukon Jack Halloween Special. It is relayed on a couple other internet stations such as Radio Free Phoenix and Deep Oldies Radio. However, my first love is still pirate radio and I hope the Voice of the Abnormal will be relayed somewhere on the funny bands again this year.
Rev. Yukon Jack
Voice of the Abnormal