In 1922, Marshall H. Ensor, a 22-year-old industrial arts instructor at Olathe High School in Olathe, KS, just outside Kansas City, earned his amateur radio operator license. His interest in radio began in 1916 when he built a spark-gap radio that he operated until the end of WWI in 1918.
This story sounds very much like other early radio operators around the United States early in the 20th Century. But for Marshall Ensor, his hobby continued to grow. In 1929, Ensor began working with the American Radio Relay League to broadcast radio lessons to the listening. He did so under the call sign W9BSP. With the help of his younger sister Loretta, who earned the call sign W9UA, the two taught "Radio by Radio" nightly during December and January for more than 10 years. Their radio transmitter was located in a small room off the kitchen of their parents' dairy farm home.
For his work in educating other radio enthusiasts, Marshall Enso Marshall was nominated to receive the coveted Paley Award for "Distinguished Service to our Country by an Amateur Operator" in 1940.
1937: Loretta Ensor W9UA, with brother Marshall H. Ensor, W9BSP.
He and Loretta made plans to turn the dairy farm into a private museum, free by donation. Marshall died in 1970. Loretta continued using the transmitter until 1972. She died in 1991. The museum opened in 1975.
The transmitter sat unused after 1972. Larry Woodworth, WØHXS, the manager of Ensor Park and Museum since 2003, and others agreed that it was fitting to restore the original transmitter. Original hand drawn schematic diagrams of the unit were found in 2003. Harry Krout, WØYQG, and his son Joe Krout began working on the project in May 2010. On Jan. 2, 2011, at 1:32 PM, the classic transmitter returned to the air.
The volunteers at Ensor Park and Museum are proud of their work to preserve this piece of radio history, and will eagerly share all the stories you want to hear. The Kansas City chapter of the Society of Broadcast Engineers (Chapter 59) visited the facility for a meeting this past summer.
The transmitter in 2013