A special “Mobile Radio Police Patrol” badge from 1941. In October of that year, the Providence Police Department installed two way radios in department sedans and motorcycles, replacing the one-way AM radios that had been in use since the 1930s. As part of a cooperative effort with the public, 26 amateur radio operators were sworn in as “mobile radio patrolmen”. Under the direction of the Rev. Charles J. Mahoney, they assisted the police and worn miniature badges identical to this one. (Providence Public Library)
The WPEY Police Radio Station at Chad Brown, 1933
In the Fall of 1933, the Providence Police Department laid plans for eqiuiping its police cars with radios. This AM system only allowed the cars to hear instructions from the new dispatch radio, located in the Chad Brown Street staion. The officers would have to use the Police call box to talk to the station. The new stations call letters were designated to be WPEY. The transmitting equipment was donated to the department by the Cherry & Webb company (WPRO) and the steel tower by the Shepard Company (WEAN). WRRO also donated their chief engineer, Howard Thornley to oversee the project. The wavelength would be 1712 kilocycles.
At first confusion was expected due to the East Providence Police being assigned WPEI. They also used the same frequesncy of 1712 kilocycles. To this end the call letter were changed to WPGP in September of, 1933.
November 23, 1933 brought a new switchboard to the station to go along with the new radio system. This brought 17 scatterd lines into one switchboard with the number GAspee3121.
On December 1st, 1933 the new Station was operational.
Testing of the station was successful on December 2nd, 1933.
In 1937, the system was changed to a two way system. This was not done with new equipment but rather by Chief Radio Engineer Perry Briggs from old parts of radios which were lying idle at the Potters Avenue station. The setup worked perfectly and had a 4 mile radius. Operation was as follows, a transmitting set operating on 30,100 kilocycles at 7 watts was installed in a cruiser together with a telephone head set. The observer lifts the receiver, gives his US License number, W1XEO, and talks directly to the station, his voice coming in over an ordinary receiving set. Answers are sent by telephone to the control room of WPGF at Chad Brown street station and sent over the air by the regular announcer.
The license for WPGF was renewed in 1937 and 1938.
In 1946 the station was struck by lightning and was off the air for 3 1/2 hours.
In 1947 job classifications of Radio Engineer and Radio Mechanic were established as a non police position.
On July 4th, 1947 the transmiter was jammed with calls for street fires, gangs and fireworks.
In December of 1948 the received a bid from Motorla for a new 2 way FM system for the station.
On April 29th the FM system was turned on. At first the station operated on both AM and FM and 22 motorcycles were equiped with the radios. It will use both AM and FM untill all the cars are also equiped.
In 1949 the FCC changed the call letter to KCA574. The change occured on October 24 1949. After 16 years WPGF was gone!