Did Hawaii's Democratic Governor David Ige instigate a state sponsored public relations stunt at the expense of President Trump? An as yet un-named State employee inexplicably presses the wrong button -- and, BOOM! Fallout traverses the Pacific ocean, wafting all the way to Washington and into the Oval Office, as if the fearsome false alarm was Trump's doing -- not a sequestered patsy's fault, nor of any conspirator laying on the beach in true-blue-state paradise.
Remember when New Jersey's recently departed Chief exacted revenge against his political enemy, the Mayor of Fort Lee, in the Bridgegate Scandal? How could George Washington Bridge traffic get backed up bad enough to shut down an entire municipality precisely on cue? A random perfect storm of vehicular incidents? Odds are that...sometimes...conspiracy theories lead to the truth.
No matter what you think, you got to admit, nukes are a ballistic political football aimed squarely at petrified new Democratic voters. Scare them -- that's the tactic. Make them "vote-scared." The plan to vaporize Republicans in the mid terms and ultimately, blast-out Trump in the next general election is well under way. Locally, New York City Mayor De Blasio effectively parlayed "New" New Yorker's fears of nuclear fallout shelter signs into magical tritium dust, misdirecting attention away from his corrupt, failing administration. More recently, New York's Governor Cuomo, presiding over one of the most corrupt states in the Union, said, "Washington hit a button and launched an economic missile and it says 'New York' on it, and it's headed our way..." He's just getting started with the verbiage. He's running for President.
Sure, there were false alarms of nuclear attack in the past. I like to think that veterans of the Cold War, in our considered, existential youth, had better systems in place for warning and retaliation, and took the likelihood of that brief, bright flash with a stiff upper lip. We didn't have social media, cell phones, text alerts and Twitter. We merely had nightmares and radio.
Imagine it's 1974. You're listening to the radio or watching TV. Suddenly, the programming and station you were tuned to is cut-off, out of your control, by this audio message from the outer limits: "Good evening. This is WGU-20, a Defense Civil-Preparedness Agency station, serving the east central states with emergency information." What you would hear next is a sobering alert warning that doomsday is upon the land, a nuclear attack has been launched, followed by information specific to your region detailing evacuation routes and shelter locations. Once reception of that signal is triggered, your TV won't be returning to Kojak, already in progress, anymore.
The "DIDS," Decision Information Distribution System, was a planned network of ten longwave radio stations covering the continental US, (sorry, Hawaii,) activated on warning of a nuclear attack providing evacuation information and population control. The public normally cannot listen to the longwave radio band without specialized receivers, it's well below the AM broadcast band, that is, lower in frequency, but consumer radios and TV sets could be manufactured to have a built-in longwave receiver pre-tuned to WGU-20 (179kHz, AM) automatically activated by a control signal. In fact, some radios were built this way. As far as I know, none were ever triggered.
Why longwave? Transmissions made on these frequencies travel along the Earth for great distances. The signals provide blanket coverage. They do not tend to rise up and bounce off the ionosphere, leaving a "skip zone" of no-coverage below like short waves do. More importantly, the United States Defense Preparedness Agency, later becoming FEMA, chose longwave radio frequencies over others because they determined that in a nuclear war, those signals can still get through. All communications and broadcasts on other frequencies would likely be blanked-out by the thermonuclear blasts.
I'm pictured sitting at my Ham (Amateur Radio) station circa early seventies. The big grey steel box on the right is my receiver, a Hammarlund Super Pro (SP200LX) dating from several years prior to WWII. (I still have it -- built in NYC on West 33rd Street, one block from my longtime apartment.) I used that for short wave Morse code communications, but it also had longwave receiving capability. As soon as WGU-20 came on the air during that period, I heard it. Many Hams did. Radio-geek speculation about the purpose of the station ran rampant. I surmised it was a semi military emergency warning beacon which also gave weather reports. I used to blast it in the morning before school, waiting for some kind of emergency to occur. You can hear what it sounded like in the youtube clip linked below. Unfortunately, the video's sound is poor. WGU-20's transmitter was a technological breakthrough, the first all solid state 50 thousand watt design. It had a robust broadcast quality sound and my Super Pro receiver's powerful hi fidelity vacuum tube output lent authority to what amounted to a radio clock, ticking over, anticipating the final transmission ever.
WGU-20 went silent in the late seventies. Other stations in the DIDS network were never built. Ostensibly a budgetary consideration as the US already had EBS, now called the Emergency Alert System, piggybacking on existing broadcast radio and TV stations. In an actual nuclear attack the Emergency Alert System will fail once detonations begin because broadcast radio and TV signals are not operating on blast-immune longwave frequencies like WGU-20 was. Social media, cell phones, text alerts and Twitter will also fail. Then we will finally be rid of assholes checking their phones blocking access at the top of subway stairs.
Once it became known what the purpose of WGU-20 was, and therefore why it was situated at 179kHz in the longwave band, Hams thereafter referred to it as "The Last Radio Station." Its historic antenna and transmitter building were razed in 2011.