Monthly Archives: July 2013

Clay’s Corner for August 2013

July 29, 2013
By

The loss of a friend is not an easy thing to write about.   The experience brings about a flood of thoughts about how life and your own mortality.   When you are young a lifetime is thought of as being forever.  Then as time goes by you eventually reach the conclusion that life is a temporary event for everyone, including yourself.   This does not make the death of a friend any easier, but at least you have a better understanding that this is all part of a process.    We all know that we will leave this earth, we just don’t know when or how.   Perhaps Nick Winter, also a personal friend of Arne’s, said it best when he explained that we engineers are programmed to fix things but often ignore the need to maintain ourselves…It’s just not in our genes.   We preach the need for periodic preventative maintenance to others but fail to heed the advice ourselves.

The loss of Arne Skoog has impacted those that knew him as a co-worker and friend perhaps harder than most…Not because of what he did, but who he was.    Many of us have been reflecting on when we first met Arne, things that we did together etc.     I’d like to share some of mine –

I first met this big guy over 40 years ago.   He had something to do with KUPS in Tacoma and was looking for some equipment for that operation.   For reasons that all who knew Arne would fully understand, we hit it off and a long friendship began.   Some of the highlights of my years on this earth with Arne –

–          Working as my assistant at KBSG

–          Building the 1210 Night Site in Auburn

–          Hiking to Nordrum Lake and camping in the snow

–          Talking with him on a 6 meter repeater while he was going job to job with Radio Systems

–          Building Ham Radio repeaters and working with the WWARA

–          Dinners on his back porch in Federal Way

–          The picture he took of Edi (my wife) before we were married

–          Helping him change a radiator in his purple Cougar

–          His work with Mann Russell Electronics building big ‘glue driers’

–          Working together at West Tiger Mt

–          Our mutual love of big transmitters and all things RF

Our region lost a great Engineer and a great man who all that came into contact with respected.

Thanks for the wonderful memories, Arne – My life would not have been as complete without you.

Now onto lighter things –

We had a great picnic on Vashon Island at the transmitter site of KOMO-AM again this year.  Was great to see Kent Randles from Portland and Charlie Osgood from Wenatchee as well as a number of our co-workers and members of Chapter 16.  Unfortunately there are those members that can’t seem to fit this into their schedule, hopefully they will join us next year!.   Jim and Betty Dalke put on the feed this year with the assistance of chef Terry Sping.  Our thanks again to Shannon Nichols from BSW for sponsoring the event and supplying some great prizes.  Perhaps he highlight of the event was the sharing of memories of recently departed CBS Engineer, Arne Skoog.   Not mentioned during that event was the fact that Arne installed the newest 50kw transmitter on the island for 1090, a new Nautel NX50.    For those that have not seen the collection of AM transmitters on Vashon – Click here for some great pictures – http://vashonradio.com/category/vashon-tower-tour/

What a fantastic Summer!! – We had a very wet spring and many of the natives were getting restless when, just as if a switch were thrown, summer began with warm dry days that make the PNW the best place on the planet to enjoy this, our shortest season.    At this writing it has not rained in a month, which is a great surprise to those that have heard that it rains all the time here.

Summer is time for tower work – Here is a picture taken by Chris Pendi of Bonneville during a recent Sunday morning at West Tiger of Joe Harrington at work.

 

This year has seen some major ownership changes in our Industry with some new flags flying in our market –

First the sale of the Fisher group of stations to Sinclair.  Locally involving KOMO and KUNS TV as well as KOMO, KVI and KPLZ Radio

Then the sale of the Belo.  Locally involving KING and KONG TV (And NWCN)

Then came the announcement that Hubbard was purchasing the Sandusky Radio Stations involving KQMV/92.5, KLCK/ 98.9 and KRWM/106.9 FM as well as KIXI/880 and KKNW/1150 AM.   Involved with the 85 megabuck deal are Sandusky’s stations in Phoenix.

Altogether, that’s the largest shakeup in ownership in some time.    Previous events like this involved the TV-Shuffle of Channels 7 and 11 a few years back, and of course, Radio’s consolidation.

The questions of what does all this mean has been fueling a good deal of speculation.  On the TV front, we will probably not see many changes for the simple reason that these stations are market leaders.  If course gone will be the corporate Fisher Flag and the reminder of the Belo Stock symbol.

On the Radio side – a great deal of speculation is taking place….

Ø      Will Sinclair keep operating the Fisher Radio Stations or will they sell them?

Ø      Would they be a good fit for Hubbard (assuming they would want to spin off the Sandusky AM’s)?

Ø      Would Entercom want to re-enter the AM Business?

Ø      Could Bonneville wish to consolidate their radio news operations?

Like all matters like this – No one is talking that has the inside track – leaving the conversations for those that are just wondering…And give the bloggers something to write about.

There are a number of changes coming to the EAS in our state that I’d like to highlight –

Ø      Washington State Emergency Management is going to be hosting the State EAS Plan in the next couple of months.   This chore has been handled by Mark Allen of the WSAB.   What will this mean to everyone?   It will mean that you will have a new place to go to down-load changes and updates to the State EAS Plan – I will make sure that you all know the new address etc. when the time comes.

Ø      As a reminder – All stations are expected to have a 3-ring binder at their control point containing the State EAS Plan.

Ø      Unlike most states EAS Plans, ours is a dynamic device with rather constant changes.  We use the Washington State EAS Remailer as a means of notification of new Tabs or elements that are subject to change.

Ø      It is the responsibility of stations to reach-out and get these changes, print them, and place them in your binder.

Ø      You can stay connected with all these changes and updates by having someone on your staff subscribed to the Washington State EAS Remailer (Hosted by Hatfield and Dawson) go to –

http://sea.sbe16.org/mailman/listinfo/eas-wa  and sign up.   I highly recommend that you subscribe to the digest version to limit the number of emails you receive to one per day.

Ø      The goal of the SECC (State EAS Committee) is to have all things EAS in one place, specifically those items that keep your station in compliance with the FCC’s rules.

Ø       For example – within the plan binder, Tab 29 is the EAS Hand-book.   An FCC Required Item. Tab 10 has monitoring assignments etc.

Ø      Remember – EAS compliance is the NUMBER ONE area of FCC Rule Enforcement.  Putting it another way EAS rule violations generate more NOV’s and NAL’s than anything else.   The admonition here is simple- Non-Compliance can be costly

Ø      In Tab 30 of the plan binder should be the FCC’s part 11 of the rules.

Ø      Finally – EAS in Washington State is a ‘Cooperative’ where all stakeholders are encouraged to participate…You are welcome to join this activity.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me anytime.  The next meeting of the SECC is Sept 13 and is open to all.

Speaking of EAS – On a related note, Larry Walke (NAB) and I are co-chairing a CSRIC Working Group developing EAS recommendations for the FCC.    Areas we will be working on include – Security, Operational Issues and EAS Plans.

The FCC appears to be taking a very active interest in gathering ideas for reviving AM Radio.   Recently Commissioner Pai held a meeting with broadcasters in Pittsburg, Pa. gathering input.    What the Commish comes up with will be very interesting.

From time to time I have been writing about statistics regarding how the Seattle/Tacoma area compares with other markets – Here’s a category that we can’t brag about – Vehicle theft. According to Carinsurance.com – The 13th worst place to be is Denver…. # 10 is Portland and #4 is Seattle-Tacoma.   The worst place to be where your ride is most likely to be swiped – San Francisco.    According to this survey Honda’s and Acura’s are the most sought after.   I recently saw another survey about vehicle theft in our area where it stated that Pickups are the most stolen in the Seattle area.

A better survey result can be found in Esquire Magazines survey of Best Restaurant Cities where Seattle ranked #10 in the country.

Not sure how to comment on this one – Travel and Leisure Magazine ranked Seattle tied for 5th place as the most ‘Snobby’ American Cities….Hard to understand the Santa Fe  connection to Seattle however.

I saved the best for last- A recent survey reveals that the summers in the country are in this area.  Having done my share of traveling I am always happy to tell the truth about our weather to those that are convinced that the urban legend that it rains ALL THE TIME is true.  Here, check it out for yourself – http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/.  And for our friends in Portland, 150 miles south of us – They come out #2 and Denver is #4.

The SBE Elections are underway – If you are a member, you should have received your ballot via email by now.   The nominations are –

Joseph Snelson of Chapter 128 has been nominated for president. Jerry Massey (Chapter 86) has been nominated for vice president. James Leifer (Chapter 53) has been nominated for secretary while and Andrea Cummis (Chapter 15) has been nominated for treasurer.

The candidates for the six director seats are: Kirk Harnack (Chapter 103), Tom Ray (Chapter 15), Ted Hand (Chapter 45), Kim Sacks (Chapter 37), Mark Heller (Chapter 80), Ched Keiler (Chapter 53) and Dennis Wallace (Chapter 37)

I understand that the Air Force is shutting down the HAARP facility.   HAARP stands for High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program.   This system of high powered transmitters were connected to huge antennas designed to excite the ionosphere.  I recall a visit to the Continental Plant in Dallas a few years ago where they were building a large number of these transmitters.

These facilities intrigued hams, even outside of Alaska where the transmitters were located.  In 1997, HAARP transmitted test signals on HF (3.4 MHz and 6.99 MHz) and asked for reports from hams and short-wave listeners in the “Lower 48” to determine how well the HAARP transmissions could be heard to the south. In 2007 HAARP succeeded in bouncing a 40 meter signal off the moon. Earlier this year, HAARP scientists successfully produced a sustained high-density plasma cloud in Earth’s upper atmosphere.

The USAF is planning on mothballing the facilities for a while, if no one steps forward to take over the system, it will be dismantled and there will be a lot of really cool 10 kw transmitters on Ebay and with it will go a great topic for late night talk radio where some were sure that the Guvmint was able to control the weather or was talking with ET.

There are a lot of broadcasters that, unfortunately, do some very stupid things – Take for example WFWO, licensed to Kwowelsville, N.Y.  some 36 miles from Buffalo.   They took it upon themselves to move the station to Buffalo ….All without FCC approval.   The resulting NAL carries a price tag of 8-Grand.    As Dir. Phil puts it – ‘What were they thinking’?

I suspect that a lot of Broadcast Rule violations are based on a number of factors; usually wanting to do something that they know is not right, but the urge to do it anyway overcomes them.   The lack of FCC enforcement has a role here also as apparently some feel that they will get away with it.   Perhaps the same mechanism that causes a person to speed down the highway, sitting on top of their seatbelt while texting.   The fact that they get away with it, most of the time, drives them to continue the act.   In some cases, broadcasters are finding themselves between a financial rock and a hard place and ‘skate’ on FCC compliance in the belief that if they do get caught that they can claim financial hardship and escape paying the fine?   My gripe is simply based on the feeling that an un-even playing field is not fair.   Everyone loses when the rules are arbitrary.

As an un-paid plug – If your station has not been inspected by the FCC and you would like to have a ‘check-up’ to see how you would do should the Commish come knocking – Seriously consider having an ABIP inspection.   Contact the WSAB for details.

In some areas state governments are stepping into what used to be exclusively an FCC area – Florida is now prosecuting pirate radio operations under local regulations and now Massachusetts wants to do the same.  In Mass that’s state association of broadcasters is behind it (IMHO, as they should be).  Check out – http://www.massbroadcasters.org/news-events/equipment-seizure.   The pirate problem is being considerably helped with DIY radio transmitters available on line – Not only are there web-site devoted to how to avoid the FCC.

Thankfully pirate radio operation in our state has not been that severe and our local FCC folks have done a decent job of keeping it under control…should this change, I would hope that our legislature would work with the WSAB to do as these other states are doing.

On Bainbridge Island – A fire destroyed what is known as in the trade is a ‘dog house’ or small building at the base of one of their AM towers containing matching networks for the two stations using this site, 1590/KLFE and 1680/KNTS.  The impacted tower was one used at night forcing the stations to request an STA for limited night operation.  As happens in this market, the SBE Chapter Remailer immediately had offers of help from other broadcasters.    No word on what caused the fire.

 

It’s that time again – The NAB has put out the call for speakers for the 2014 show in Las Vegas to be held April 5 thru 10.   They are looking for fresh ideas about broadcasting technology and other categories – Submissions are due Oct 18.  Contact NAB for more details.

On the topic of Vegas….Did you follow the recent weather they had there?   Lightning, torrents of rain, flash floods, roofs falling in etc….Wow – Hard to believe that a place like that could have that kind of weather – Meanwhile – We were enjoying Sun and Dry.

Here in Seattle we have a number of ‘pronounceable ‘ call-letters.  For Example – KOMO that is commonly called Como and KING that commonly call King – Then there is KIRO that is commonly called Cairo.   Obviously the spelling of Cairo and KIRO can be confusing to those that prepare graphics for TV news…as the following picture shows –  I’m sure that they meant Egypt…But then again  …..(Thanks to Phil Johnson for this item)

Here’s a trick question –

What local radio station operates on MCDL ?  (No it’s not a power saving AM Mode)

The answer is KJUN in Puyallup – MCDL is 1450 in Roman Numerals.

Apparently the Calm Act is working.  Reports are that the number of consumer reports about loud TV spots is slowing down, however there are still complaints causing Congress to request a report from the FCC on the matter.

Another passing to note – Douglas Engelbart recently passed, he was 88.    He is the man given credit for inventing the computer mouse.   Perhaps we should be thanking him for not naming the device the Engelbart ….Mouse is better.

Finally a Tesla sighting ! – Saw my first one…Northbound I-5 near Alger – Silver in color – Very cool – Gave the driver a thumbs up and he flashed a smile.

Well, my friends, time to close this column for another month – As usual, I like to leave you with a tid-bit or two to ponder.   This time some ‘Laws’ that many of you can verify as being true –

 

Law of Mechanical Repair –After your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch..
Law of Gravity – Any tool, nut, bolt, screw, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.
Law of Probability  The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of your act.
Law of Random Numbers – If you dial a wrong number, you never get a busy signal and someone always answers.
Variation Law –If you change lines (or traffic lanes), the one you were in will always move faster than the one you are in now.
Law of Close Encounters – The probability of meeting someone you know increases dramatically when you are with someone you don’t want to be seen with.
Law of the Result – When you try to prove to someone that a machine won’t work, it will.
Law of Biomechanics – The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the reach.
The Coffee Law – As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold.
Law of Physical Surfaces – The chances of an open-faced jam sandwich landing face down on a floor, are directly correlated to the newness and cost of the carpet or rug.
Law of Logical Argument – Anything is possible if you don’t know what you are talking about.
Oliver’s Law of Public Speaking – A closed mouth gathers no feet.
Wilson’s Law of Commercial Marketing Strategy – As soon as you find a product that you really like, they will stop making it.
Doctors’ Law – If you don’t feel well, make an appointment to go to the doctor, by the time you get there you’ll feel better… But don’t make an appointment, and you’ll stay sick. This has been proven over and over with taking children to the pediatrician.

That’s it for this month – Go outside and soak up some sunshine – the monsoons are not far away.

Clay Freinwald, K7CR – CPBE

 

 

The KEØVH Hamshack For July 2013

July 22, 2013
By

 

 

 

By Jack Roland, CBRE, AMD and CBNT

KLove /Air 1 Denver Engineering.

 

During the early part of the month we had our western region EMF engineering meeting here at the Denver offices/studios.  We had a great lunch meeting on one of the days and Cris W5WCA, Amanda KDØCIC, Ray AAØL, and Greg, WB7AHO joined us and great discussions on the new LTE cell services and interference were discussed, a lot of ham radio topics and more.  It was a great time with all of our western region EMF engineers here, some of whom are hams.  Then, the next two days after the meetings Jeremy Preece, (also N6JER) hung out with me and we visited our Castle Peak KLRY, and Vail KLove/Air1 sites on Thursday, then he and I had a work visit to KLDV on Friday, went to the local SBE Chapter 48 lunch/meeting on Lookout Mountain, and then a fun visit to HRO here in Denver.  Before Jeremy’s flight home to southern CA we spent some time in the KEØVH ham shack!  Jeremy worked a station or two on PSK31, and we had a lot of fun.  Now, Jeremy is enthused again about ham radio, and we have some possible plans in the works for setting up an EMF Engineering ham net similar to the SBE/IRLP/Echolink hamnet.  Keep it here for more to follow on that. 

N6JER in the KEØVH shack, operating PSK31 on 14.070 mHz

August 4th is the Colorado 14’er event (http://www.14er.org/) details at: here in Colorado where amateurs will be hiking the 14,000 foot peaks here in Colorado and activating ham radio from the tops and communicating with each other in this yearly event.  It was back in August of 2009 when Jim, KCØRPS and myself made the trek up Mount Lincoln, south of Breckenridge and activated that peak. (Read my ARRL article here for that trip: http://www.arrl.org/news/hamming-on-high ) I injured my right ankle during the trip down which made a trip the next year impossible.  Then, due to busy-ness and life, I haven’t had the chance to do so again.  BUT, this year the mountains are calling, and Jim and I are planning a trip up Quandary Peak, just north of Mt. Lincoln and activating ham radio from there.  Jim will be operating mainly 2 meter FM and I will be operating 6m SSB on or about 50.130 mHz from grid square DM69.  Last time I had a QRP MFJ-9406 6 meter rig to a dipole inverted V using my painters pole/walking stick as the mast with a UPS battery as the PS.  I worked stations back in Tennessee and the southeast with this cool little station.  This year I am packing two 7AH UPS batteries to power my Ranger RCI-5054 DX-100 6 meter rig and running it at about 10 watts or so to the same dipole antenna I used back in 2009. 

The QSL card Jim and I made for our August 2009 operation from the top of Mount Lincoln.  Quandary Peak, our quarry for this year, is visible lower right.

IF you would like to be on my work list for this event that day send me an email with your text number and I will put you on my list to let you know when I am on the air and what frequency I am on.

During Field Day this year, a lot of guys gathered at Kelly, WØKDE’s home during the event and operated.  Lots of fun, food and great radio operating took place.  Here you see Cliff, NØZUQ hard a work making contacts.

Photo courtesy of WXØPIX

And, beware of what you might find when you open up an air conditioner unit that the site owner hasn’t maintenance in a year.

(Snakes Pic)

These dead snakes and mice were found in the year and a half old AC unit at KLJV/KDAI in Scottsbluff NE.  The brown material and other flotsam in the drain pan is exactly what you think.  The coils were all frozen up and no wonder it was literally 147 degrees in the transmitter room when Rich, W9BNO and I arrived on the site.  This was on July 4th by the way, and the AC people didn’t get to the site until the next.  AC is great now with the unit cleaned out.  Go figure………

As always don’t forget the SBE IRLP (and Echolink) Hamnet, the first Saturday of the month.  Details on how to join are at  http://www.qsl.net/ke0vh/sbehamnet.  I hope you will be able to join us and share your engineering and ham exploits!

73’, God be with you, & see you next time!  KEØVH