Friday, January 13, 2017

The CBS Radio NetAlert III Test Record

     Remember the "chirps" that sounded almost every time a CBS radio newscast, or sports event, or "The CBS Radio Mystery Theater" went to and from a commercial break?
     Those chirps were part-and-parcel of the CBS Radio NetAlert system.
     I found this neat artifact yesterday at a flea-market store.

      This is a test record made so stations could check how well their NetAlert receivers could pick up, synchronize, calibrate, etc., the "chirp" sounds from the CBS Radio Network.
     There were 15 different, but very similar-sounding, chirp tones, with different purposes. They're all heard on this album.
     The same tracks are repeated on both sides.

Band 1. 60 Hz Reference Tone Download, 695 KB
A minute of a steady low tone, to synchronize the turntable to the exact tone.
According to the wording on the back cover, "These tones are used for setting the phonograph level control and also for examining the internal functions of the receiver."
Band 2. Priming Tone (2241 Hz) Download, 244 KB
Band 3. Tone A (1845 Hz) Download, 238 KB
The Hz info is listed on the back cover. Why they didn't have the tones in the same hertz as the notes A-D, I couldn't tell ya.

Band 4. Tone B (2100 Hz) Download, 240 KB
Band 5. Tone C (2391 Hz) Download, 238 KB
Band 6. Tone D (2722 Hz) Download, 242 KB
Now we get to the chirps.
Band 7. Alignment Tone Sequence, Alerts 6 & 13 Download, 1MB
NetAlert sounds 6 and 13 are chirped back-and-forth.
The next tracks have each of the NetAlert chirps sounded 3 times, with spaces between the chirps.
Band 8. Alert 0 Download, 167 KB

Band 9. Alert 1 Download, 167 KB
Band 10. Alert 2 Download, 172 KB
Band 11. Alert 3 Download, 167 KB
Band 12. Alert 4 Download, 170 KB
Band 13. Alert 5 Download, 171 KB
From the back cover: "NOTE: Alerts 4 and 5 are self-resetting. The remainder of the alerts 6-15
are not". Okay.

Band 14. Alert 6 Download, 171 KB
Band 15. Alert 7 Download, 172 KB
Band 16. Alert 8 Download, 171 KB
Band 17. Alert 9 Download, 173 KB
Band 18. Alert 10 Download, 177 KB
Band 19. Alert 11 Download, 173 KB
Band 20. Alert 12 Download, 174 KB

Band 21. Alert 13 Download, 174 KB

Band 22. Alert 14 Download, 175 KB

Band 23. Alert 15 Download, 172 KB

Band 24. Alert Count Download, 541 KB
"Band 24 consists of a pattern of periodically incremented alerts beginning at alert 0 and advancing through alert 15 and then repeating. This sequence is repeated a total of three times ending on
alert 0."

Band 25. Suppressed Alert Count Download, 656 KB
Each chirp from 1-15 then 0 are followed by chirp 0. This is repeated 5 times.

Band 26. Repeated Alert #0 Download, 704 KB
A minute of NetAlert chirp 0 repeated over and over again.
Band 27. Repeated Alert #8 Download, 705 KB
The record ends with a similar treatment on chirp 8.

     Sadly, the CBS Radio "chirp" came to an end in 2009.

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