Monthly Archives: October 2014

Clay’s Corner for October 2014

October 18, 2014
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 On Sept 5th the road to the transmitter sites at West Tiger became blocked when a very long, side-dumper, truck tried to go around a sharp corner with its rear-end going off the road.  

 Truck smash

 Truck off road

The big rig, hauling a load of large rocks was finally pulled free, after dumping the load over the edge.  I have no idea of what the driver was thinking trying to get up this road.  My guess is they were on the wrong-road.      There is another way into the broadcast sites, unfortunately keys to the East-Side Gate are very hard to come by.

 

Well, it finally happened.     After a rather long period of negotiating with all the parties at this multi-user ATC site on West Tiger, the KUNS antenna was removed by Seacomm.   What’s left is the pole that supported the antenna, beacon and climbing ladder. What’s left had to be painted orange.    Work started at 8 PM for several nights.    The weather gods were certainly with us as we were pushing the coming of the wet.   Here are a couple  before and after pictures.

 Antenna Top

 Antenna top 2

For those of you note familiar with this site – There are two 350 foot towers, shown here is the East Tower.   Mounted below the TV antenna is the FM Master Antenna that’s used by 6 FM stations via a combiner.    What the future holds for this, now vacant space, is anyone’s guess.    ATC built the facility with 4 suites for TV stations….Now two of them are vacant.   

Still on Radio – Was at West Tiger recently while Dave Ratener was showing the Hubbard DOE, Dave Garner, their new Nautel GV30 transmitter.  Dave is based at WTOP in WDC.   Sorry about not thinking of getting a picture.   My problem is that I am used to taking pictures of ‘things’ and not people.

 

 

 

 

 

Remember this ?

Kaypro

 A Kaypro 10 portable computer. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Andrew Kay, whose Solana Beach-based company developed the popular Kaypro II in the early days of personal computers, died last week in Vista at the age of 95.

His company, Non-Linear Systems Inc., was once the world’s largest maker of portable computers, introducing in 1982 a rugged, boxy machine with a monochrome green screen and 5.25″ floppy disk drive that quickly became a hit with authors and journalists….In fact, Arthur C. Clarke wrote his 1982 novel 2010: Odyssey Two on a Kaypro.

Kaypro computers used the CP/M operating system and missed the transition to Microsoft’s MS-DOS, which evolved into Windows. The company, renamed Kaypro Corp., filed for bankruptcy in 1990.

Kay was born in Akron, OH, and graduated from MIT. He started his career with Bendix followed by two years at Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  In 1952 he invited something we are all familiar with ….the digital volt meter, and founded his company to produce the innovative device.

Have you been following the saga of the suspicious cell towers?   Apparently someone has been installing cell sites in major cities. …and they are not owned by the wireless carriers.   Lots being written about them of late.    Probably the same outfit that flies black helecopters?

 

The FM Band continues to fill up with a number of new stations receiving CP’s from the Commish – Here is a list of some of some recent FCC Grants –

95.3 – Tacoma

100.3 – Seattle

105.7 –  Seattle

106.5  – Sea-Tac

 

Will be interesting to see how many of these are still on the air in 5 years, when the novelty wears off.

 

Rumor has it that KING & KONG TV along with NWCN etc will be leaving their long time home on Aurora for the Sodo area.   Over the past few years that area of Seattle has been the focus of a lot of new interest, Starbucks in the old Sears building, car-dealerships etc.    KING is apparently following that rule that states that a stations studio location should NOT be located where there is a good microwave path to their transmitter.   Just look at KCPQ, KIRO Radio etc.

 

You have to hand it to Andy Skotdal at KRKO/KKXA – When others are dumping AM stations, he has been investing.    Now the news that he is about to turn off his AM and turn his stations into a test-bed for digital only tests.   This has generated a lot of buzz (No pun)  with some major players coming to town to participate….include NAB Labs.   The results of these tests will likely be publicized in coming months for all to read.

 

Since the late 80’s I’ve been involved with the 1210 operation in Auburn under various owners – First it was Viacom, then Entercom, then Bustos and, for the last 4 years, Adelante Media Group.   The other day I received a call informing me that the stations (Now including 99.3 FM) was, again, going to change hands.   The surprise was that it will be back to Bustos.    I met with Amador Bustos recently and he said he is moving from Portland (where he operates stations) to here.  Bustos is also, apparently in the same transaction, will again operate a number of stations in Eastern Washington.    Doug Fisher and Co. maintains the 99.3 FM Transmitters on South Mountain.

 

Check off another big rating number for KCPQ-13, a recent Seahawk game they carried netted a 79 share.   Guess being on Gold Mountain is OK now?   Apparently there will be some ownership changes coming too.   Rumor is that Fox will be acquiring the station from Tribune.  Guess that would leave Tribune with Joe-TV.   Wonder how that will impact things at the studio?

 

Several years ago in this column I used to keep track of the diminishing number of AM Stations in showing up in the radio-ratings top 10.   Perhaps there is a Seahawks connection here too?   According to the latest numbers – KIRO-AM-710 is at #7.    This makes them, clearly, the leader on the AM band with KOMO-AM coming in at #18.   While we are acknowledging success at 1820 Eastlake – Should mention that KIRO-FM-97.3 is listed at #4.     Hard to believe that this station was once owned and operated by Tribune Publishing in Tacoma at KTNT-F M.

 

The term Border Blaster comes to mind when the on-going dispute over the proposal to install an AM radio transmitter at Pt Roberts shown below as the south end of a peninsula that just happens to be south of the Canada-U.S. Border

 AM Site

 

I recall, in my younger days, late at night, listening to some of legendary border blasters coming from Mexico.   For more background – you can search the topic and read about some very interesting technical facilities, some running a LOT of power and some interesting characters as well. 

 

Wikipeada  defines a border blaster as a broadcast station that, though not licensed as an external service, is, in practice, used to target another country. The term “border blaster” is of North American origin, and usually associated with Mexican AM stations covering large parts of the United States and United States border AM stations covering large parts of Canada.

 

For many years we have had broadcast stations, located in Whatcom County, that were not designed to just serve the residents of that area, but the much larger population to the North.    The effort by KRPI to move to Pt Roberts has set off a whole new debates for a couple of reasons …1) High Powered anything is ‘fuel for fear’ in the minds of many.  2) Pt Roberts has no prior experience with this sort of thing, 3) Tswwassen is located a short distance away. 4) The proponents are not approaching this matter in the same way a large corporation would.    What makes this issue perhaps unique is that there are two countries involved.      In the interest of full disclosure, I was contacted by someone that wanted to know if I would be an expert witness for the opposition.    Their arguments were very familiar having heard the same things regarding AM’s on Vashon and FM’s on Cougar, in the end it appeared that I could not help them.      This coming decision will attract a lot of attention and will be covered by many organizations.

 

Recently, on the local SBE Remailer – I was teased a bit about being old.    I reminded everyone that old-age is a privilege that is NOT granted to everyone.    This is especially heavy in my mind of late having seen the passing of many friends.  Was nice to hear from Dick Harris who informed us he is about to turn 90.

 

Speaking of old age, and looking back – Here are some interesting items to ponder if you look back 100 years.

 

Ø         The average life expectancy for men was 47 years.

Ø         Fuel for cars had to be purchase in a drug store (There were no gas stations)

Ø         Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub. (Now they are be removed in favor of showers)

Ø         Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone….“Hand-Crank” telephones were a new innovation and only in cities.

Ø         The tallest structure in the world was the  Eiffel  Tower !

Ø         The average US wage in 1910 was 22 cents per hour.

Ø         The average  US worker made between $200 and $400 per year.

Ø         A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year, a dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.

Ø         More than 95 percent of all births took place at HOME.

Ø         Ninety percent of all Doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION!

Ø         Coffee was fifteen cents a pound (Think Starbucks)

Ø         Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.

Ø         There was no such thing as under arm deodorant or tooth paste. (Things must have smelled different)

Ø         Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering into their country for any reason.

Ø         The American flag had 45 stars.

Ø         The population of  Las Vegas  Nevada was only 30! (Today NAB attendance is 100,000)

Ø            Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn’t been invented yet

Ø         There was no Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.

Ø         Two out of every 10 adults couldn’t read or write and only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school. (Gee some still can’t read or understand instructions)

Ø         There were about 230 reported murders in the ENTIRE  U.S.A. ! (Compare that to Chicago now)

 

In closing this month’s column, this reminds me of a conversation involving a young person from another department and the stations senior engineer.    The young person was remarking about all the technology we have today.   He was reminding the seasoned engineer how we used to have tape recorders and now we have computers and servers…..And how we used to have vacuum tubes, a no Internet or email or cellphone or ……(he went on and on).  Finally he stopped and asked the Engineer what did he do back then without all these new inventions – He paused, smiled,  and told the young lad….’We invented them’      I recall one of my favorite T-Shirts  that boldly states…Where would the world be without Engineers !

 

Have a great fall – NWS is saying the PNW is supposed to be warmer and dryer than normal.     Just think 2015 is less than 90 days away !

 

Hopefully, Lord willing, I’ll be here next month.

 

73, Clay, K7CR, CPBE

 

 

 

 

 

 

The KE0VH Hamshack for October 2014

October 18, 2014
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