Monthly Archives: July 2015

The KEØVH Hamshack for June & July 2015

July 29, 2015
By

 

01 TheKE0VHHamshack Logo

 02 KE0VHShack

                By Jack Roland, CBRE, CBNT, AMD

 The new www.KE0VH.com website is up and working now. Thanks to Klaus, K4NIX who is building a web hosting site at his home for a new business that he will be running. I will have more information at a later time for his systems here shortly. If you are in need of webhosting, Klaus will have MyExpertise.net operating soon. Stand by.

These two months have been the busiest I have ever been. August will be the same it looks like too. Unfortunately with the weather we have been having in Colorado after a very snowy and cold winter even as of this writing we have had so many torrential rains and thunderstorms that I can’t keep my antennas connected day to day in the Hamshack. We have had lightning strikes take out antennas and equipment at 3 sites, including two major 100 kw facilities (yes including Rye!), had delays in doing an upgrade to a station on Grand Mesa, and having various other little fires that have kept me and my K-LOVE contractors hopping. I haven’t had time to do an article since May, so here is my offering and update for now.

I have hiked another 14’ner as of July 4th. It was my intention to summit Torreys Peak next to Grays Peak as I had already “conquered” Grays a few years ago. But a snowfield still on the main trail up to Torreys was still there, and I was carrying a backpack with my Yaesu FT-817ND backpacker radio, and the rest of my supplies and my boots weren’t up to to the trek thru about 500 feet or so of snow, so I went ahead and finished the hike to the summit of Grays Peak. Unfortunately I didn’t really get to operate the 817 as the antenna tuner cable between the radio and the tuner had not been packed with the rest of the gear. DOH!!!! So, I had to settle for some repeater contacts on our 449.450 machine with Rich W9BNO, Greg WB7AHO, Jim KCØRPS, and Rick KDØFQN with my Yaesu VX-6 (never leave home without your radio!). Because it was nearly 12 noon by then (4.5 hour hike up) I decided to go ahead and go down instead of going across the snow-free saddle between the two peaks as it was really too late in the day by then. Going down carrying a full backpack was harder on the knees and ankles than going up, but you sure don’t get as winded. And the scenery just takes your breath away anyway!   I got back to the vehicle about 4:20 pm, and headed home for Denver, sore and tired and wondering what makes me do this……… J

 Next day though, I wanted to go back! Torreys is still calling me, & I really hope to do the Mount of the Holy Cross near Vail before the season is over, and operate 6 meters with the FT-817ND. Stay tuned!

By the way, speaking of the 817, I bought a small MFJ backpacker CW Iambic key for the radio as it has a built in keyer. I am working on getting my code speed back up and have been making some CW contacts. I am still woefully slow, but am working on it.

On a trip to Telluride, Montrose, and Grand Junction last month I got to finally have a visit and eyeball QSO with our friend Harvey, WØHLC and Rosalie, his wonderful bride of 60 years in the town of Cedaredge CO. Harvey and I have been talking on 7.195 and 7.166 MHz for a few years now and had not met until this point. Harvey and Cris, W5WCA and a group of folks get on those frequencies and have a great time doing what hams do best! Visiting and making friends.   While visiting he asked me if I knew anyone who might be able to repair his backup HF rig, a Kenwood TS-570D as it was having some SSB receive issues. Sure enough, I called Greg WB7AHO. Greg is very good a “rat killing” and getting things to work again, so he of course said, “bring it on back”! So I will let you know how that goes. One of the things Harvey wanted to show me is a really incredible generator setup he has at his QTH. The power in his area can be a little flakey at times, and he had been wanting a setup like this for quite a while. He calls it his “current pride and joy”. The real truth is that he had in installed so that he could make sure his bride’s oxygen machine would never fail as she really needs it each day. Not to mention now he will always have communications even if the grid is gone! I haven’t seen many broadcast facilities where the backup generator setup is this nice. Holler at him sometime! Harvey is on most every morning at 7:30 MT time, and he and Cris visit frequently on the weekends about the same time, so get on one morning and look for WØHLC!

I had a great vacation with my wife and our 2 youngest boys in the Black Hills of South Dakota in July. We hiked, swam saw Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse monuments of course, and look what I found in the Custer SD 1880 Court House Museum!  

03 JapaneseRadio 

A Japanese Army Radio from WW2! Wonder if it works?

And no, it wasn’t for sale or I would have been SORELY tempted!

And this was the FIRST radio seen at the museum in Custer.

04 KentAtwater

I also got to operate some amateur radio from the Bavarian Inn Motel that we stayed at (which we loved and HIGHLY recommend) in Custer. I obtained permission from the owner, Sherrie, and strung my 40 meter wire dipole into the tree just behind the table in the picture below.

05 817 

Radio, tuner “power supply”, and logbook

 

06 817

 

Talking to Rich, W9BNO on 7.173

Rich and I had a good 15 minute QSO from Custer SD to Centennial CO on LSB, and then switched to CW for about 10 minutes. I tried calling a few more CQ’s but it was getting later in the evening and was time to call it a day after hiking and horseback riding that day. The 817 worked great and so did the wire dipole antenna at the back of the motel!

 07 CusterOp

Operating from the Bavarian Inn, Custer SD

 

08 HarneyPeak 

KEØVH and Mai on Harney Peak, 7242 AMSL!

The next morning my lovely bride (Mai) and I hiked the highest point in SD. Harney (named after a civil war general) is the highest peak east of the Rocky Mountains all the way to the Pyrenees in SW Europe! The trail begins in Custer State Park next to Sylvan Lake and traverses 3.5 miles and 1500 or so feet of elevation gain to the summit. There is a stone fire lookout tower there, so the views of the surrounding Black Hills are just phenomenal! You can see the backside of Mount Rushmore way down below you to the NE, and on the Rapid City in the distance. I had my Yaesu VX-6 with me, but didn’t do any operating amateur radio from there as we wanted to get back down the hill to get our boys and go on a tour of Custer State Park. There is a lot of controversy over the naming of the peak since General Harney also has some really questionable history in his treatment of the Indians in the area, namely the Sioux Indian tribes that consider the Black Hills and especially this mountain very sacred ground. There has been a big movement in SD to rename the mountain after medicine and holy man Black Elk, an Oglala Sioux since he had a vision from the summit stating “And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being. And I saw that the sacred hoop of my people was one of many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one mother and one father. And I saw that it was holy”

Black Elk and the Sioux tribes of course didn’t know of any peak higher than this one, and again the Black Hills were sacred ground.   As of this writing, the request to rename the mountain has been turned down in SD. I think they should rename it after Black Elk. Much more fitting….. Very interesting history in this area for sure.

And the Colorado 14’ner Ham Radio event is set for Sunday August 2nd. It is my intention to spend the night at the base of Torreys and Grays Peak at the Stevens Gulch trailhead just off the I-70 and Bakerville exit west of Denver, get up at 5am and hopefully on the peak between 9am and 10 to operate until noon for the event. See: http://www.k0nr.com/wordpress/2015/07/2015-colorado-14er-event/

See this site for information on Torreys Peak;

http://www.14ers.com/routemain.php?route=torr2&peak=Grays+Peak+and+Torreys+Peak

I will be taking the FT-817ND, a battery, a six meter dipole, and the VX-6. As of this writing Klaus, K4NIX and a friend will be joining me for the hike up. I will report on that next article.

Don’t forget the Monday Night Broadcast Engineering

IRLP (and Echolink) Hamnet, every MONDAY EVENING

At 7pm Mountain time for radio discussions, both

Broadcast engineering and amateur radio. The first and

3rd Mondays are also SBE NET nights. Details on how to

Join are at http://www.ke0vh.com/net/net.html. 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! de KEØVH

 

Clay’s Corner for August 2015

July 27, 2015
By

 

     

I think he is happy ….This picture of KIRO Radios chief, Tom Pierson, discovering that his new Nautel GV30 transmitter will indeed produce the power required for the job. Cool thing about this new rig is that this fancy screen with oodles of information is available on Tom’s office computer (or wherever else he wants it) KIRO-FM’s new rig went on the air the afternoon of July 18th.

 Tom Pierson

 While doing some serious house-cleaning around the KIRO-FM Transmitter I came across this item.   Those of you that are on the technical side will recognize it as an XLR (Normally a microphone connector) connected to a UHF (normally used for RF or Radio Frequency) connector.   Now I will be the first to admit that you probably would be hard pressed to find one of these ‘factory made’…I have no idea of what it might have been used for.  

 

Gizmo 

 

 

A lot of duct-work was changed at West Tiger to accommodate the ventilation needs of the new transmitters resulting in quite a collection of old-stuff to be hauled away –

 AC Parts

 

This not the only site with a lot of ventilation work going on recently.   Over at the ‘other’ site on West Tiger, CBS was busy modifying that buildings waste heat exhaust system in conjunction with the installation of a new GatesAir FAX30 for their 96.5 operation.

 

KING-FM will be on their air with their new GV30N the last week of July.   This will be my first experience with a station running un-equal HD Carriers (-10 and -14).     This is because of an adjacent channel situation in SW Washington.   Looking at the front of the transmitter – It looks like this –

 Spectrum

The question of does elevating the HD levels north of -20 really have an impact.   In my driving around the answer is a resounding yes!   For example- I was recently listening to KMPS’ s HD2 very nicely while driving along Lake Samish just south of Bellingham.   In another test, just south of Mt Vernon (In the Skagit Valley) I could listen to the 96.5 HD2, tuning to 93.3 FM it was just mush.   Seems to me with all the new cars coming out with HD Radio standard that broadcasters should follow the lead of the others and get those HD powers up.   I think it’s well worth the time and investment.

 

Hubbard recently installed a new transmitter also.   In this case a new Nautel GV10 at Cougar Mountain for an Auxiliary (Backing up their main transmitter on West Tiger). This replaces a relatively low powered Aux they had at this location. If you notice the display on the front of the rig….They are running HD-R.   What’s unique about that?   Hubbard has not only purchased new Main transmitter so they can increase HD Power, but they have invested in an Auxiliary Transmitter that will run HD as well.   Having HD on an Auxiliary transmitter may be a first for this market. Here’s a shot of Chief Dave Ratener next to the new rig –

 Dave Rat

 

There are two items that seem to be capturing a lot of news around here-

 

First is the weather.   For those readers that are in this area, you know that it’s been REALLY dry to the point that we are having a record number of grass fires, apparently many due to people tossing cigarettes out the window.   Normally, around here, that’s not a problem… But not now.   Already some of these fires have spread to structures.   Keep your fingers crossed that we don’t have a large-scale urban wildfire.   Despite a little rainfall during the last weekend of July… I cannot help but notice how the lack of moisture is impacting vegetation.   Near my home there are several Maple trees that are dying.   Along SR18 today I noted that many Fir trees have turned brown and are dead…Even Scotch boom is turning black! Brown lawns have become the norm too.   Rivers have become creeks as well.   I know that this is hard to believe for those of you (Like William Shatner) that live in other areas who are convinced that it rains – All the time- in Seattle.

 

So how bad is it?   Apparently it’s not been this dry since back in the 1800’s.   Recently they closed the upper sections of the Columbia River in Eastern Washington…Reason?   The water is so warm that it’s killing the fish.   If you’ve been over Snoqualmie pass lately you know that the lake just east of the summit is very low. The Yakima river does not have enough water to go around and for the first time growers are told they can’t irrigate their crops.   Looks like California is not the only one that’s suffering.

 

NOAA has declared just about the entire state of Washington as being in a “Severe Drought”   Here’s their map – (The Orange Areas are classified as Severe)

 Washington

The other big story is growth – The Seattle area is booming (not likely due to the dry weather) …there are a number of measurements that confirm this….To start with, our historic traffic jams are getting worse.   Here are some more stat’s –

 

Ø         The –MEDIAN- price for a home in King County (Seattle is in King Co for those of you not in this area) is now 500 Kilo bucks…and that’s UP 10% over a year ago.   Looks like this area is rapidly joining other cities on the West Coast (which I will not name) that will be famous as a place where you can’t afford to live ?

Ø         Seattle is going to get an 880 foot tower!….Reading the fine print you discover that this is not a tower like broadcasters think of but rather a skyscraper building. This tower, err building, will be the second tallest on the West Coast.

Ø            Amazon just keeps getting bigger and has now passed Wal Mart in size based on Market-Cap.’

Ø         Seattle is one of the nation’s fastest growing cities (just behind Austin and Denver)

Ø         Seattle has close to 5 Billion dollars’ worth of construction projects either permitted or under construction….48 are projects downtown

Ø         7.1 million square feet of office space is under construction downtown.

Ø         A project to create a new 1270 room hotel is getting underway.

Ø         A new 58 Story, downtowns second tallest building, is to open in 2017

Ø         For the first time – Sea-Tac airport has had 4 million passengers pass thru in a month.

Ø            According to Zillow – Market conditions are ‘very hot’.

o          Median price of a home in Seattle has increased 10.8 in the last year. Prediction is that it will increase 7.7% more in the next year.

o          Median price for rent in Seattle is now $1800/month.

o          The percentage of delinquent mortgages in Seattle is at 2.4% (The national average is 6%)

 

The annual SBE-16 Picnic on Vashon at the KOMO-AM transmitter plant has come and gone…Despite the gray sky’s a good crowd was there to enjoy fellowship and the cooking skills of Terry Spring.   Was great to see Doug Irwin (Editor of Radio Magazine and RF Poohbah of iHeartMedia in LA).   Nick Van Haaster was there from GatesAir along with recently retired GatesAir sales-guy Garrett Woods. I was surprised to see Jon Owen.   First met Jon when he was working for Entercom in Rochester, NY several years ago.   Jon is doing field service work for GatesAir and is now living in West Seattle! Small world indeed. Spent some time chatting with Steve Allen who is now looking after several of the AM plants on the island.       The next weekend will be the summer event in Portland.   This time the usual locations are not available. Tom Cauthers sold his place on the Sandy River and Gray is recouping from medical issues…So this year the Sylvan tower site will be the venue.

 

The matter of cellphones causing cancer has again raised its head at a not to surprising location….The City of Berkeley has passed an ordinance requiring sellers of cellphones to tell their purchasers that the device causes cancer and is hazardous….Especially to Children.     IMHO we have overlooked a solution to this issue.   Find out where those that supported that idea live and shut off the cell towers serving their area.     Then, when the calls come in complaining about lack of service, direct the caller to the backer of the ordinance.   The same technique should be used by those that object to other things, like electric power meter data transmitters.   Turn off their power….Problem solved.     Yes, I know, this is not the politically correct method.   Sort of reminds me of those that refuse to have their children receive measles vaccine and yet they insist on sending their kids to public schools.   Yah…I probably becoming a curmudgeon.

 

So what the heck is going on with Voltaire?   Recently Nielson finally spoke publically about the Votaire box and announced that they would be making changes to their encoding scheme very soon.   All of this has caused me to come up with some questions –

Ø         Is Nielson making changes in their system as a reaction to the Voltaire, i.e., did the political pressure caused by Voltaire force them to do so?

Ø         Is Nielson admitting that Voltaire was right and they were wrong?

Ø         What about those markets where stations installed a Voltaire and this resulted in an increase of ratings for those stations…Do those that did not and saw a decrease in ratings and with that, perhaps a loss of revenue, do they have a beef with Nielson?

Ø         What about programmers working for stations that have not installed a Voltaire and whose compensation is based on Nielsons results, do they have a beef?

Ø         Is the Voltaire thought of much like an audio processor?   Stations have long purchased new processing hardware on the belief that this piece of hardware will increase ratings.

Ø         As a result of all this interest, apparently, Nielson is thinking about increasing the amplitude of their supposedly inaudible ‘water marking’ to the point where it could become audible and, as a result, thereby cause degradation to the stations audio quality? (Trading ratings for quality, I can only guess who will win that race)

Ø         Why did Nielson stop short of requiring their customers remove the Voltaire device?   (This is what happened in Canada)

Ø         Are stations now more likely to purchase a Voltaire just in case the Nielson ‘fix’ does not pan out?

Ø         Have the stations that have purchased the Voltaire seen an up-tick in their ratings that could be marketed to the degree that they can economically justify the purchase of the Voltaire? (Did they get their money back?)

Ø         Do stations that have a Voltaire in line try and keep it a secret from competitors and Nielson?

Ø         Why have we not seen an independent review of this issue? (Reportedly the MRC is doing just that)

Ø         The $64,000 question – Will we see legal activity related to this issue?

 

Bottom line – This whole topic is cool – Can’t recall when something that took 2RU created so much buzz. J

 

TV Technology recently ran an interesting article regarding the impact on Re-packing on the Sutro Tower in San Francisco.     Perhaps, fortunately, Seattle does not have a major – multi-user TV Site so this issue is not likely to surface here.   The only thing we have that’s close is the ATC site on West Tiger, but that site only has a couple of TV station users.   Their concern is very real because no one knows what the TV broadcast bands are going to look like after this big shuffle.   Some stations may stay on the same channel, some may change and some may – take the money- and go dark.   Major site owners like to have some sort of a clue to plan ahead. With this issue all they can do is ‘hide and watch’.  

 

Here comes another study…This time about how much we work.   The headline – ‘8 hour work day a thing of the past’ …Here are some of the findings –

Ø         Almost 2/3 of American workers think the 8 hour day is a thing of the past.

Ø         50% of those surveyed said they check their work email when not at work

Ø         More than 1/3 said they work well beyond traditional office hours

Ø         20% said they think about work until they fall asleep at night.

Ø         40% said they wake up thinking about work.

For those of you that read this column who are in the same line of work as me…You know how close you are to these findings.   Perhaps and overlooked item was how many do this because they love their work (or are married to the job) vs. how many do it because of the new communications tools we have today…Smart phones and email. Another fact is that broadcasting is a 24/7/365 business and anyone doing contract work, like I do, knows that those numbers could be increased.     Certainly expectations are involved here. Employers and clients have increase expectations, again, thanks to the technology that permits it.       A recent survey by Gallup showed that nearly 50%of smartphone users can’t imagine life without it.   Smartphones have only been around for less than 10 years…during that time 46% percent now have them.   In another survey, Gallup found most Smartphone owners check their phone at least hourly. Young adults are especially hooked with 73% say they check it multiple times an hour.

 

KEXP continues to work on their new digs in the NW Corner of the Seattle Center in what we used to call the Northwest Rooms.   Their published goal is to be broadcasting from there by the end of this year.

For the past several years they have been broadcasting from a location on Dexter that has been the home of many previous stations in the Seattle area.   The new location is about a block east of KING-FM

 

As you know the FCC recently announced changes to the EAS Rules –

Here are some places you can go to get an overview –

 

http://eas.radiolists.net/summary-of-fcc-eas-sixth-report-and-order/

http://www.tvtechnology.com/news/0002/fcc-order-aims-to-strengthen-eas/276623

 

EMF (Educational Media Foundation) who recently took over the operation of 104.5 FM in Seattle recently opened their checkbook, big-time, and shelled out 21.7 Million cash for several FM stations and translators in Florida that were operated by American Public Media Group and reportedly losing money.

 

A couple of other companies with properties in the Seattle area are on the move – Entercom, who operates 4 stations and Bonneville, who operates 3 in Seattle are in the news with the closing of the Entercom/Lincoln Financial deal are part of a station ownership shuffle.   Entercom was faced with having to divest of some of the Lincoln stations in Denver because they already owned a cluster there. In the end, Bonneville ended up with a cluster of 4 stations in Denver and Entercom got their first in the Los Angeles market.

 

Last month I wrote about things that younger generations are confused by….And, I received a number of comments indicating that many of my readers are also getting along in life as well.   Got to thinking about some of the stuff I used to see and do in broadcasting. Looking back 54 years is a long time…Here are some items that come to mind.   Much of the following was scratched on my dashboard notepad as I traveled from site to site this past month.– For our younger readers – a brief description of what the heck I’m talking about.

 

CUE BURN – The first part of a phonograph record that has an extra amount of ‘scratch’ due to have been cued a number of times.

 

HEAD OVER-RIDE – Starting the head rotating on a quad machine to enable a shorter start up.

 

PRE-ROLL – Tape machines used in Radio and TV would require them to be started ahead of the time needed.   This varied by machine.   Early Quad VTR’s (without the head override on, took 8-10 seconds. Early Magnecords used in radio were about the same.   Likely today’s operators would have a fit working with these beasts as we now have come to expect instant response from pushing a button.

 

TURN OVER CARTRIDGE – Back in the day, phonograph records used two different sized needles in the pickup cartridge.   One I recall was the GE VR II. Tone arms would have little red knobs above the cartridge to change the needle size…Push down and rotate 180 degrees.

 

GRAY RESEARCH 602C EQUALIZER – Before there were phono-preamps there was the 602C which was a passive device permitting a turntable to work with a standard microphone input on a mixing console.

 

TURNTABLES – QRK, Gates, Fairchild, Russco, Presto.   Many of the early turntables would mounted on pedestals to provide room for the mechanism below that was required for rotation and speed changing.

 

MICROPHONES – Here are some I’ve used in the past – Altec 639 Bird Cage and ‘Salt-Shaker’ – RCA’s 77DX, 44 BX, BK5 and something we used to call a Cone.

 

AERIALS – For some odd reason the term was changed to Antenna.  

 

KILOCYCLES – Just like Aerials, the term was changed to Kilohertz.   Probably part of the metric conspiracy.

 

FILM ISLAND, OR FILM CHAIN – A device where slides or film could be ‘converted’ to video. Usually a floor mounted device using mirrors or prisms into which were a couple 16mm film-projectors and a 35mm slide projector.   The projectors were remote controlled by the master control operator or TD.

 

SLIDES – A term for still image that was continued to be used long after slides (usually 35 mm) were long gone.

 

AUDIO CARTRIDGE TAPE MACHINE MAKERS – ATC, ITC, Collins, Gates, RCA, McCarta, Sparta, Spotmaster and, of course, the IGM Instacart. (Can you think of anymore?) I saw the Cart-Machine come in and go out.

 

AUDIO REEL TO REELS – Ampex 350’s, PR10’s – Magnecords PT6 – Scully – Crown, Studer and later a number of Asian brands like Otari etc.   Despite what some may think…I was not here when they were started to be used by broadcasters.

 

TV CAMERAS USING – Image Orthicons …(Don’t forget the Orbiter) Vidicon and Plumbicon (Yes, they were vacuum tubes)

 

CAMERA CONTROL – Shading and Registration…Especially fun during outside events like football games where the ball carrier runs from full sun into the shade.

 

TV INTERCOMS – Remember those using carbon microphones and retardation coils? Hearing a director say …Ready 1, Take 3

 

EARPHONES – Always made of Bakelite- Manufacturers- Trimm and Brush. Long before the cover the ear phone and DJ’s going deaf demanding they be louder.

 

TELEVISION EQUIPMENT MAKERS – DuMont, RCA, GE, Visual, Houston-Fearless, Conrac, Tektronix, Sony, Allen, Ampex

 

RADIO EQUIPMENT MAKERS – Collins, Gates, General Radio, Langevin, Altec, Western Electric, Nems-Clark…and many more

 

ZOOM LENS – Remember the Zoomar actuated with a rod running thru the turret handle.   Cameras only had one handle in those day and there were no controls mounted on them.

 

GENERAL ELECTRIC BROADCAST EQUIPMENT – TV and Radio Transmitters – Audio Consoles –TV Cameras- Radio Modulation Monitors. All painted a distinct green.

 

VU METERS – How can you forget the big Weston’s complete with a pair of #47 lamps

 

TRANSMITTER LOGS – Back when, the FCC required that you log certain ‘meter readings’ every half an hour.   Where the game was for the Engineer to make a change in a parameter to see if the person ‘taking the readings’ was just copying the previous numbers or actually read the meters.

 

PROGRAM LOGS – Done ‘manually’ with – Typewriter and used real paper.

 

WIRE SERVICE – There were two main ones…You could tell which one a station had by looking at the colors…UPI was purple ink on sort of yellow paper, AP was black on white.     5 and 10 Bell signals too.   I recall creating a gizmo that would count the number of ‘bells’ that would turn on a light in the studio.

In those days just about every radio station did an hourly newscast, either on the hour or ‘live at 55’.

 

LOOK OR LISTEN – Tacoma’s Channel 13, during the morning and mid-days elected to position a DJ in front of a camera where he played tunes.   You could look-or-listen (They never said you could do both)

 

OVER THE AIR – There was no cable TV…So if you wanted to watch TV, you used an antenna. If you were close to the stations transmitter, you used Rabbit Ears, if not…It was up on the roof. You brought the signal in from the antenna via ‘Twin-lead’ as coax was not then used.

 

RHEOSTAT – The name given for anything the was used to dim lights

 

NEMO – The official definition is – Not Emanating Main Office.   I first saw this written on program logs, patch-panels etc. when I started long ago.   In today’s terminology it means – Remote Broadcast. In those days it simply meant that the broadcast did not come from the main studio.

 

NBQ – Way back when….When something was deemed too poor quality to put on the air you would simply write those three letters on the log – NBQ…Meaning Not Broadcast Quality.   Quite a chuckle resulted with old-timers when the Tribune in Tacoma chose KNBQ for the new call letters for their then KTNT-FM (Now KIRO-FM)

 

TOLL – This was this mysterious place at the telephone company that kept track of remote and network broadcast lines.   Remember, back then, the telephone company was just about the only means of being able to broadcast from locations away from your studio.   It was carried over into the early days of

TV as well.  

 

PLATTER – Today it’s something you find in a kitchen…Back then it meant that thing you put on a turntable from which you played commercials, programs or music.  

 

ET – This term, meaning Electrical Transcription had nothing do with the little follow that wanted to ‘phone home’.   ET’s were often 16 inches in diameters, hence the need for large diameter turntables. I recall playing spots that arrived on ET’s as well as syndicated programs.

 

TRUCK – Before the Zoom lens and motorized dolly’s directors would want the camera operator to move the camera closer.   The call was to ‘truck-in’ …This meant, while on the air, push the camera dolly forward (of course while maintaining focus.   The opposite was to ‘Truck out’…Occasionally you would be asked to ‘truck left or right’.

 

Enough of that – Hope that this stirred some memories that you might have of forgotten terms and words used in this business.   54 years is a very long time….Yes, I started full time Aug 1, 1961.

 

Thanks for your time and eye balls – May summer continue to be good to you.

 

 

Clay Freinwald, CPBE aka K7CR (Not a vanity call)

Email: k7cr@blarg.net

 

Clay’s Corner for July 2015

July 6, 2015
By

 

 

 

 Not a lot of time of late for news gathering as I have been in construction mode at West Tiger Mt   This project involves the replacement of transmitters for KIRO-FM and KING-FM at the same time – Here are some pics I want to share –

 Here you can see the two KIRO-FM Transmitters, two Continental 816’s operating in parallel.   Nick Winter and I installed these in 1987.   The project called for removing the one on the right while keeping the one on the left as an Auxiliary. (Yes they are the same color – In this pic there is a mix of light sources causing a big shift)

Transmitters 

 

Pictured here (now shooting 16×9) is the new Nautel GV30 just after it was moved into place. Looks like it was made for the place.   The new rig is a bit taller and deeper, but not quite as wide.

Transmitters2

 

In the basement of the building, standing ready for the movers, is the KING-FM Continental.

KING-FM had two identical transmitters, this one will be moved to Cougar Mt to replace an older Collins 831G2 next month. The other transmitter, just shown on the right, is on the air.

Continental

 Shown here is the new Nautel GV30N, partially installed.   You may have noticed that the KIRO transmitter is bigger than KING’s…That’s because KIRO needs to generate 28.5 Kw and KING only 18.

The new KING Nautel will generate both FM and HD Signals, something that is now done with two transmitters. Behind the new KING-FM Rig is the back of the transmitter for Entercom’ s KHTP/103.7. A trusty Continental 816 that used to on 3-Sisters Mt as KBRD.

 Nautel

 Just to make life a bit more interesting, they have been logging at West Tiger requiring us to share the road with their operations.   Thanks to Brian Ballard of DNR, we were able to coordinate getting the new rigs up the mountain.   For my readers in other areas, West Tiger sits in the Tiger Mountain State Forest where the Department of Natural Resources grow trees as a ‘crop’.   This area is also used, extensively, for hiking and mountain biking.

 LoggingOps

Not often you get the Chief Engineer out from behind his desk and come to the transmitter site to make lunch for his installation crew!   Here Tom Pierson is showing off the sandwich he just made for Nick Winter.   Behind them is a KBKS/106.1 Transmitter. Still can’t get over the fact that he brought is Sardines.

 Lunch

Here’s a picture of the tower at what we call West Tiger One – (the first broadcast site at West Tiger) taken from the north-side (A view not often seen) shot from what’s called the ‘Bypass Trail’.   This trail was installed many years ago to keep hikers out of the high NIER areas.   I won’t bore you with info about all the antennas – however, the top 4-bay is KIRO FM, below that are the panels for the Master Antenna that all the other stations share. The two-bay below that is used by KIRO for their HD operation. The 3 square things, one above the other, are ENG receive antennas for KIRO, KOMO and KING-TV

 Tower

 Now, as they used to say on the air …..In other news –

 Apparently Sweden has suspended their conversion to Digital Radio….Hmmm I recall another country in the region that recently said they were suspending analog FM in favor of Digital. One of the factors cited was the fact that there are 10 Million analog FM receivers in use.   Apply some of that thinking to the US and Canada and you can see why any thought of shutting down an existing operation brings forth similar comments.   We need to remember that the government is much more involved in broadcasting in other countries.

Entercom 

The FCC has apparently recently given the green-light to the purchase of Lincoln Financial Media.   The 105 Megabuck deal has been hung up at the Commission over concerns on how the new company would deal with the fact that both firms have clusters of stations in the Denver market.   Entercom also operates clusters of radio stations in Portland and Seattle.One by one…People I have known and worked with for many years are retiring (perhaps it’s time that I got the message?) One of the latest is the announcement that Bob Surette is retiring from Shively as of July 10th.   I first got to know Bob in the mid-80’s as we were working together on an antenna system for West Tiger’s first FM.   Over the years, Bob was the go-to guy for FM antenna issues for many.   Bob was always down to earth and very real….full of knowledge and solutions and a constant willingness to share.   Shively will continue on, I’m sure….But to many of us, we will long miss the man that was the voice and face of Shively where he worked for 38 years.Speaking of retirement – I received a call from Nick Van Haaaster announcing that he is the new contact for GatesAir in our area.   Garrett Wood has retired.   Nick has an interesting background with FOX and others in the LA area.     He has quite a territory as well – U.S. | Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, WyomingCanada | Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Yukon.   I suspect we will all get a chance to meet Nick at an upcoming SBE Event.I find it interesting that, one hand, the FCC speaks of a dramatic reduction in the number of offices (including Seattle) while being very vocal about some of the challenges that their enforcement folks find the most troubling.   FCC Commissioner O’Rielly, speaking to a meeting of New York State Broadcasters, was quite open about the Pirate Radio problem.   Rather than reveal how the FCC is going to deal with the issue….He suggested that building owners should play a more active role in combating the problem by refusing to allow such illegal activity on their property.   A sobering statistic is that about 25% of the nation’s Pirate Radio activity is in New York, he said there were 34 pirates operating in Brooklyn and The Bronx alone.   He made one comment that should cause any licensed station owner to pay attention –.” He supports a renewed focus on pirate radio enforcement “along with consideration of potential private remedies to give licensees more tools to defend against interference.”   Remains to be seen just what this means.   In light of the mess in NYC, I submit that we have a lot to be thankful for!

Have you been following the Voltair saga?….

In short, this company came out with a product that they claim can overcome some of the short comings of the Nielson (formally Arbitron) watermark rating gathering system.   According to reports some 600 of these devices have been installed.   All this leads to a number of questions – (My short list)

 

  • Is there a problem with the existing hardware provided by Nielson?
  • Do some stations have an advantage based on what they program?
  • Are the ratings to be believed?
  • Do the stations that have installed these devices have an advantage over those that do not?
  • Is this electronic snake oil or not?
  • Is the playing field not as level as we thought it was?
  • What is the Nielson position on all of this?
  • Why is it taking Nielson so long to release their official findings?
  • What about the stations that have shelled out (reportedly) $15,000 for the device?
  • If it is determined that there are major issues, who is going to take the fall and who is going to pay?

 

Meanwhile, in Canada, things have taken a different turn where broadcasters in our neighbor to the north have pushed ‘pause’ until the matter can be thoroughly and independently tested.   There, Numeris expressed concern that the maintaining a level ratings playing field is a major concern.  

I suspect that the real winners in this contest by not be Nielson or the makers of Voltaire but the lawyers that are almost certain to be involved.   Wonder if you can compare this to other technology challenges of the past?

Kudo’s to CBS for taking HD Radio seriously.   Recently their local 96.5 FM installed a new GatesAir FAX30 and increased their HD power levels to -10 dbc. The impact of this change is considerable…While driving back from Bellingham recently I was able to listen to their HD-2 programming while some Cougar Mt FM’s were fuzzy in analog.   CBS has taken the lead in a number of markets recently by launching new formats for what the non-techies call ‘Side Channels’.     Recently I had the opportunity to expose some folks to the number of program choices on HD2 and 3. Their reaction was quick and surprising.   Despite how well it works in this area, and the number of new vehicles with the system built in….there remain those that still feel HD Radio is dead….At least on FM, in this area, the tide is clearly shifting.

Recently, in this column, re-ran my opinion on what to do with AM radio.   The story was also carried in the BDR.   I received a number of emails supporting my position….which is always nice J

A while back I ran a picture in this column of a coaster I saw at a local watering hole I’ve been known to frequent where they used the term ‘IPA’ which everyone working with transmitters knows means Intermediate Power Amplifier.     Amateur Radio friend, Jim Hadlock, K7WA, ran across this one –

Greenbush 

Obvious connection to Sunspot’s and impact propagation.     I can see it now – A new brew to be called CME!

 Congratulations to one of the nicest people you will ever have a chance to meet …Shannon Nichols, celebrating 20 years with one of our chapters long supporters, Tacoma Based BSW.

Shannon 

 Appears that long time marketer of audio/video equipment, Crutchfield, has decided to cash-in on the ‘cord-cutting’ movement with a well worded piece on choosing and outdoor TV Antenna.

http://www.crutchfield.com/S-zI4ccyxyvdK/learn/learningcenter/home/antenna.html

I suspect that this is a subject that is viewed as new by many of the current generation.     On this topic-

Just for grins….Google OTA.

Sorry to report on the passing of an old friend, Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF.     Bill was a broadcaster, retiring from KTTV in LA in 2012, who just happened to be significantly involved in various aspects of Amateur Radio, notably, the voice of Newsline a news service about Ham Radio.   Got to know Bill many years ago when I was involved with the VRAC (ARRL VHF Repeater Advisory Committee).   He was 73.

104.5 is now the home of KLSW-FM and part of the Educational Media Foundation group that also owns the 88.1 operation on Capital Peak, SW of Olympia.   The station, in addition to changing its call letters from KMCQ, also changed their status to Non-Commercial.   This makes the 3rd FM, in the commercial portion of the FM band to have this status …(They join KUOW/94.9 and KING-FM/98.1)   The story about how this station got to Cougar Mountain could fill a book of its own.   One interesting aspect of this station is their lack of local studio….In fact, their EAS Equipment is located at their transmitter site on Cougar Mt.  

The local newspaper, The Stranger, picked up on the story of how the FCC is putting the squeeze on spectrum used for wireless microphones pointing out how theatres around the country are going to have to pay for new mics all because of the FCC’s auction of broadcast spectrum.   In this day and age there are very few that are able to escape the ‘Broadband take-over’…..Perhaps only those below 50 MHz can feel safe (for the time being).   Let’s face it…It’s all about the money and our fierce desire for more wireless gizmo’s.

Guess it’s official now – Our very own Jim Dalke is now a broadcast station owner…guess we have to be careful what we say J. Family Stations has filed an application with the FCC to transfer ownership of KARR-AM to Jim.   At last report Jim had the station up and running with a temporary antenna and an STA. No word as to what his plans are for the station.

Received a note from Leslie Stimson informing me that she is no longer with Radio World.   Lots of changes in the media magazine business these days.

A slight deviation from my normal stuff – I received the following from Tim Anderson in Spokane recently – Please note that I have only listed those systems in Western Washington.   For more information contact Tim or Howard Fine.

Washington broadcast engineers:

Howard Fine has been a wonderful asset to broadcasters across the nation as he tracks most of the wireless frequencies we use on a daily basis.

His tracking and dissemination of the associated licensee and FCC database information has kept both broadcasters and regulators in sync.

In today’s world of spectral compression and White Space devices, it is imperative broadcasters double check their licenses and FCC databases to assure their properties remain as insulated from interference as possible.

With that in mind, would you take the time to look at Howard’s Washington state list.   He has identified two licensing issues, lack of receiver information or site coordinate errors.

Last year I corrected a couple of our own licenses and found the ULS site modification filing process to be fairly straight forward.

Tim A. Anderson, CPBE

Director of Engineering

Morgan Murphy Media West

500 West Boone Avenue

Spokane, Washington 99201

509-324-4000

Any chance of helping get these bad licenses fixed for the State of Washington?

WLI862             CENTRALIA, WA               950            CENTRALIA

COLLEGE, DISTRICT 12,

STATE OF WASHINGTON         Missing receive site coordinates on license

 

WLE245             LAKEWOOD, WA           950      CLAY HUNTINGTON LEGACY

  1. L. C.

Missing receive site coordinates on license

WLD632             TACOMA, WA                     950            CLOVER PARK TECHNICAL

COLLEGE                              Missing receive site coordinates

on license

WHY533             EDMONDS, WA                    950            CRISTA MINISTRIES

Missing receive site coordinates on license

WLI388                       LONGVIEW, WA                 950            FAMILY STATIONS, INC.

Azimuth Discrepancy: 77.0° Licensed; 63.2° Calculated

Local Port Angeles Broadcaster KONP will be growing in size with the announcement that they will be adding a 2nd FM in Port Angeles, KSTI 102.1, as well as a new station to be constructed in Sequim on 104.9

I was recently chatting with fellow WSU/NWPR engineer, Martin Gibbs, about how when FM Stereo came along many FM Station owners and Engineers viewed it as a mixed bag.   They were happy that they could run stereo (and turn on that stereo indicator on new receivers) but they were all displeased with the reduction in coverage that the change from Mono to Stereo created.     In this market, you may have noticed how KIRO-FM/97.3 compares with other stations operating from West Tiger Mt.   They made the decision to run Mono for the same reasons, not to mention that a news/talk format really gains little from running stereo.     Recently WSU had a transmitter failure with one of their NWPR stations that was operating at about 1250 Watts (Transmitter Power) and stereo.   I installed a temporary transmitter running about 400 watts and switched the station to Mono.   I was delighted to discover that there was not noticeable coverage loss.   On a related matter, a lot of people think that the modern day audio processor used in FM stations primary mission is to make the station louder…Well this may be the case to some extent today….Way back when, the main reason these devices were installed was to overcome, or mask, some of the grunge and artifacts that were created when FM’s pretty much universally switched to Stereo.     Martin came up with the following item that explains more about this subject – http://www.engineeringradio.us/blog/2011/08/fm-stereo-vs-station-coverage/.     By the way – If you want to listen to KIRO-FM in Stereo – Use an HD Radio – The sound is amazingly better than FM…Especially in many of the multipath riddled areas around Seattle.

Received a note recently from Russ Hill.   He was telling me that the 91.7 FM that operates from the KCPQ/13 Tower on Gold Mountain has been sold to Bible Broadcasting Network Media and will most likely come back on the air here at Gold in late June as KYFQ (As of this writing, June 30, the station is not yet on the air)   Russ also added that he will be retiring at the end of the year as RF Honcho with the Tribune stations in this market.   Jim Belsvig will be handed his ‘Tweeker’.   Jim is presently a Sat-Truck operator for the stations.

In closing this month…..A quick review of terms that you and I likely use that confuse many younger than you and I…..For example –

  • WHY DO WE “DIAL” A PHONE?

 Have we forgotten that phones don’t have ‘Dials’ anymore?   For a while we used the term ‘Rotary Dial’ but event that has past.   Perhaps the term will remain ‘Dial a number’ but many will never know why we use that term.

 WHY DOES A PHONE OR ALARM CLOCK “RING”?

Betcha many don’t know that all telephones had “Ringers” in them that were actually ‘Bells’ that were rung electrically.   Alarm Clocks all had bells, until they were ‘electrified’ and gained buzzers.   Today our smart-phones come with a number of ‘Ring-Tones’….some may even sound like the bells of old.

  • WHY DO CASHIERS “RING UP” A PURCHASE?

That’s because cash registers also used to have little bells in them….Now bar codes are scanned and we can all enjoy the sound of beeps.

  • WHY DO WE “ROLL” A WINDOW UP OR DOWN?

Remember the days before power windows when you would rotate the crank handle on the door to ‘Roll’ the window up or down?

  • WHERE DOES “SOUNDS LIKE A BROKEN RECORD” COME FROM?

Perhaps with the recent interest in vinyl records this term is still in the minds of those that play ‘phonograph records’?   Remember hearing a radio station playing a stuck-record ?   That was later replaced by radio stations playing something that sounded like C-DDDDDDDDDDD.

  • Why DO WE “TURN” A DEVICE ON OR OFF?

That’s because, for a very long time, devices like radios, TV’s, Ranges etc. were started and stopped with a rotary action….the word ‘Turn’ endures.

  • WHAT IS “CLOCKWISE”?

Boy do I love this one – I still find it amazing that we have so many that can’t tell time with an analog clock.   I recently encountered a person that referred to a meter as a device with a ‘Hand’ (they did not know the term ‘needle’.   For those that have no idea of which way the ‘hands’ on a clock rotate…The term ‘Clockwise’ or ‘Counter-Clockwise’ is meaningless – The question is now what to use to describe the direction of rotation?   Righty and Lefty?

  • WHY DO WE SAY “REWIND” FOR A DO-OVER?

This is a reference to the days of tape recorders – Rewind was a universal term for do over, or re-record on a segment of tape.

  • WHAT DOES “CC” MEAN ON AN EMAIL?

Ever try and explain the term ‘Carbon Copy’ to someone?   Why is the world do we still use this, could it be because no one has had the guts to change it? Perhaps the same rationale that Microsoft had for us to click on the START button to stop a process?

  • WHY DO RECORDING PROCESSES STILL HAVE TO BE CALLED TAPE?

We finally got over having ‘Film’ at 11….Or explaining that something was ‘filmed’….But then we got hung up with the term ‘Tape’.   Just recently I saw some video on a TV news cast that came from some homeowners security camera.   Yep….It was something caught on ‘Tape’….I could visualize someone with a Vidicon camera connected to a consumer grade VHS recorder.   Even TV Stations and Networks are having trouble letting go of the term Tape.   They can bring themselves to say – recorded or saved in our server J.   Just recently I was viewing a channel where they were playing a previously recorded bit of audio and….yep – There was the video loop of an old 10 inch reel to reel.

 That’s it for now – Hope to see you all on the 25th on Vashon for the annual SBE-16 Picnic at KOMO-AM.

Clay Freinwald, K7CR, CPBE