General Location: Western Philadelphia, and Montgomery County.
Time Frame: 1972-1975
Background: Channel 4 was originally home to an "elite" group of adults, who were into high power, highly modified or ham radios, and DX'ing. Where the average channel group may have had a few guys with 50 or 100 watts, the Channel 4 guys were all running at least 300 watts, and some even approached 1000 watts. These guys formed a loose "club" of sorts called "KMA" (You figure it out). Each member of the group had their own unique "KMA" number. An outsider trying to get a break on this channel back then was a challenge, and it required a certain amount of skill and finesse to accomplish. If you put out a strong enough signal, were unusually loud, or had some gimmick that piqued their curiosity, the regulars would recognize you, and let you in. Otherwise you were ignored. Steve tried his best to "make the grade" on this channel, but usually failed miserably. He once smoked his 5/8 wave antenna, while running over 300 watts, trying to battle with these guys. I think if Steve was a little less confrontational, they might've cut him more slack. Once in a while some other poor hapless soul or group would attempt to take issue with these guys and their operating style, and a battle would ensue. When they really fired up. they would bleed most of the channels. The local group on Channel 3 were particularly at odds with the "KMA'ers".
At one point, there was an internal split within the group. One segment (and the majority) of the group formed a new "club" and issued new "ARCO" (I can't even begin to figure out what that stood for) numbers. Eventually sometime in late 1975, they moved to Channel 22"A", as their new home and they stayed there for a few more years until they either lost interest or upgraded to ham radio.
Our group had few dealings with these guys as our relatively "wimpy" stations and poor locations would never have made the grade there. But more than that, there was also a certain mystique or reverence which surrounded these guys. It was almost the same nervous respect that people had for the mafia or motorcycle gangs. You just didn't mess with them. But at least one of us managed to make in roads there. It seems that Whitey managed to do in a month or two, what Steve couldn't do in 2 years, and that was to earn the respect of these guys. It seems that they were impressed by the forward swing that Whitey's Wawasee amplifier had. That opened the door for further contacts. It seemed that Whitey's quick wit and sense of humor fit right in with those guys, and he became friendly with them. My original Lafayette Comstat 25 came from one of the members of this group, which Whitey had picked up for me. Eventually, some of these guys became hams and I still run across one or two of them from time to time on 2 meters.
General Location: Conshohocken
Time Frame: 1976-1979
Background: When the KMA/ARCO guys left channel 4, they more or less turned it over to the group of guys who moved off of Channel 18, when they got sick of the bleed over from the truckers who had recently moved up to Channel 19 from 10 (sounds confusing). This group evolved over the next few years and many of the original guys faded away, and were replaced by new guys.
Kansas City Slicker