Clay’s Corner for August 2021

November 23, 2021
By

 Clay’s Corner for August 2021

Providing news and views from a broadcast engineers perspective since September 1986

 

Perhaps the biggest local story this past month has been the weather. High temperature records were set all over the area.   Those who keep track of these things said – From a historic perspective the event was so rare and extreme that it qualifies as being a once in a millennium event.  At the same time….We are being warned that Climate Change is going to help increase the frequency of these events.

On the broadcast side – we had many stations reduce power simply because their ventilation and/or cooling systems were simply not designed for anything like this.   In several cases. Air Conditioning systems failed,  and stations were forced off the air until things cooled down.  If you are like me, I hope I never see an event like this again!

Hundreds of deaths were reported across our region due to the heat.   The fact is less than half of our homes have A/C.    I suspect that this will change before next summer.

Summer this year started early this year.   Urban legend calls for summer to begin after the rainstorm on the 4th of July.  Not this year!   The record length for a rainless period in the past was 55 days.   We are on a track to do it again…or, perhaps, surpass it.

One way we look at these events is in terms of their historic frequency is by calling them   20, 50 or 100 year events.   The problem is, whether it be heat or flooding, both are becoming more common.

Places that are normally cool, all summer, experienced record heat.   Hard to grasp that Forks, Washington…famous for its over 100 inches of annual rainfall, actually got to 100 degrees.  NWPB has two stations there.  That little transmitter building just has an exhaust fan.  Who would have thought you’d need a full-blown air conditioner in Forks!

Only later in the month did the high-pressure dome responsible for all of this break-down and the winds shift to off the ocean bringing relief to the masses.  For those on the coast, they even got a few sprinkles.

Around my neighborhood, very few are willing to spend the money on watering their lawns.  Golden-brown seems to be the most popular color

One major impact of the heat wave was the melting of snow in the mountains.   In a very short period, most of our mountain snowpack was melted away.   I recall, on the 22nd of July, looking at Mt Rainiers north side and finding is completely snow-free.  Only the ice on the top was white.  The mountain lost 30% of it’s snow in a week!

 

To give you an idea, according to the Northwest Avalanche Center, in early June, we had over 110 inches of snow up at Paradise, about 5,400 feet above sea level.  Over the month, the snow started to melt and now, thanks in part of those days in the triple digits, the data says the snow’ is all gone.

“I don’t recall 100 inches of snowmelt, basically, 95 inches of snow occurring over a 21-day period,” said Robert Hahn, an avalanche meteorologist for the Northwest Avalanche Center. “There was actually quite a bit of snow for late June early July and then it all just melted out with that heatwave so it’s all gone now pretty much,” said Gary Schneider with the National Weather Service in Seattle.

Schneider says the historic heatwave contributed a lot to this massive melt. Something that normally happens throughout the summer, not just over a few days. “It’s very uncommon to see that much snow go that quickly.”   But he says the only real concern to come out of that quick melt is an increased fire danger from higher elevations and potentially a longer fire season.

The following picture was taken by one of the AccelNet Cameras on Cougar Mt and perhaps, visually, shows what we have been dealing with this summer.

Our neighbors in BC got hit by the heat as well this time.   A small town east of the mountains record the highest temperature ever recorded of 121 Degrees.    Adding to their woes, the entire town of Lytton went up in flames.

In this picture you can see the local weather station (White boxes on stands) with the growing smoke clouds behind it.

The town’s mayor, Jan Polderman issued a town-wide evacuation order at 6 p.m. on June 30 urging residents to safely leave the village because a “fire event” is threatening the “building structures and safety of the residents within the municipality.”   “It’s dire -the whole town is on fire…It’s bad, I’ve never seen anything like this,” Polderman told CNBC journalist Meera Bains.

Images of the fire could be seen on weather radar.

Climate scientist for UCLA Daniel Swain tweeted that the wildfire was the “singularly most extreme” he had ever seen on satellite.

“This is a literal firestorm, producing thousands of lightning strikes and almost certainly countless new fires,” he wrote.

Videos show residents driving to escape the burning town, which is home to about 250 people.

The town is largely touted as a tourist location with several heritage parks and campsites, and is situated at the confluence of the Fraser River and Thompson River, about 160 miles from Vancouver.

Here are before and after pictures taken of the towns main street.  Even the power poles are gone

An overhead view of the fires

Here is a temperature map of the US and Canada with the darkest reds meaning the highest temperatures.   As you can see, Washington and BC bore the brunt of the heat.

This map shows the amount of difference from normal.   Keep in mind, in this example, the temperatures are in Celsius.

All of this heat and dry weather equals ‘ Drought’.   The following map shows exactly what this means to our area.  Thankfully Western Washington is in the ‘Short Term’ area.

 

 

One writer put it this way regarding Climate Change on the East Coast –

 

It’s almost as if the entire East Coast has shifted south.

 

Summers in Portland, Maine, are now almost as hot as summers in Boston

were for much of the 20th century.

 

Summers in Boston have come to resemble 20th-century summers in New York.

New York, similarly, has come to resemble Philadelphia, which in turn has become

hotter than Washington, D.C., or Atlanta were only a few decades ago.

Summers in Washington and Atlanta are hotter than summers in Tampa, Fla., used to be.

By The New York Times | Source: National Weather Service

 

On the West Coast it’s a similar story to tell in the Mountain West, a region that has been enduring a heat wave in recent days. Summers today have come to resemble summers of the past in hotter places:
 
 

Here’s how the matter was reported in the New York Times –

 

These are the cascading effects of climate change, and they are getting worse.
The data I’m showing you here is based on 10-year averages for July temperatures. I picked this longer time frame to avoid conflating normal year-to-year fluctuations — which have always existed and always will — with the effects of climate change. If anything, these 10-year averages understate how hot summer has become, because climate change continues to exert a small effect every year.

 

The summer of 2021 appears to be on pace to be the hottest on record. Last month was the hottest June since at least the 1890s (when federal records begin). The temperature reached 116 degrees in Portland, Ore., at one point and 121 in British Columbia, Canada. Climate researchers concluded that those levels of heat would have been “virtually impossible without climate change.”
This month has also been brutally hot in many places. The western U.S. is experiencing its fourth heat wave in less than two months, with temperatures in Montana and Idaho topping 100 degrees this week. On July 9, Death Valley, Calif., reached 130 degrees, matching the hottest temperature recorded on Earth (save for one 1913 reading that scientists doubt).

 

Numbers aside, the extreme heat is creating situations that are a mix of unnatural and horrific. Dozens of wildfires are burning across the West. Larger wildfires, like the Bootleg fire in southern Oregon, can sometimes create their own weather systems, spawning lightning from towers of smoke or generating a fire whirl, a vortex of air and flame that looks like a fiery tornado.

 

“Normally the weather predicts what the fire will do,” Marcus Kauffman of Oregon’s forestry department said. “In this case, the fire is predicting what the weather will do.”
Day to day, the summer heat in much of the U.S. is unpleasant. Boston is not supposed to feel like New York, and Philadelphia isn’t supposed to feel like Atlanta.

 

But the heat is not merely unpleasant. It can be downright dangerous, and the future is looking increasingly dangerous, too.

Here in our state, as predicted,  we have seen fires in many locations in Eastern Washington and in the North Cascades…And we have a lot of summer left to go.

I recently had a chance to get close to one of these fires as I was approaching Wenatchee on US2 on the afternoon of the 14th.   A fire was just getting going as you can see here.

As I got closer, I could see the area that had been burned and watch a helicopter getting water out of the Wenatchee River (On the right) and flying up and dumping it on the spreading fire.

Later the fire gained a name ‘The Red Apple Fire’.   The location was around and on top of on Burch Mountain NNW of Wenatchee.

NWPB’s Brady Aldrich was also in-route and got the following pictures.  In this one, you can see the towers and buildings associated with the communications facility on top of the mountain.

 

The following map, borrowed from the Seattle Times, gives you a better idea of where the fire was located.  The Red Dots show areas where the fire spread.

Not everyone was so lucky – Jesse Spurgeon, local Cherry Creek Engineer, sent me these pictures of one of their radio station transmitter buildings on Burch Mountain.   As can see the ground is burnt around their facility but it was not damaged.

Apparently, some flying embers from the fire on the mountain that covered several thousand acres, flew toward their little building setting it on fire.   Jesse told me the walls were made of wood and the roof composition…neither of which is fire-resistant.   The result can be seen in the following picture.   Their, relatively new, 5,000 watt transmitter and all the related equipment were completely destroyed.  Luckily, the antenna system was not damaged and they were able to deploy an emergency low power transmitter and get back on the air.   Here you can see the blackened hills and smoke beyond.

In the following picture – you can see the Wenatchee river valley below….This is looking generally west toward Cashmere

Cause of the whole fire has been determined as an out-of-season burn pile that got out of control.

Jesse sent along this picture of a site that survived, perhaps because it was constructed of non-combustible materials?   He said they are looking a perhaps constructing the new building the same way.

 

Here, west of the Mountains, we have been (so far) blessed with on-shore-flow, ie, winds from the West that have been pushing the smoke from all the fires eastward and away from us.   We all can recall what happens when this is not the case.   We were choking on the most horrible air quality in the world.     My fingers are crossed that I will not have to be changing every air filter like I did last year.

With the drought comes water shortages.   The news is full of stories about how the Colorado River and Salt Lake are drying up….in addition to other rivers in northern California.  There has even been a wild idea trotted out suggesting some of the Mississippi River could be pumped to the Southwest.   The problem is that much of the growth in the Southwest has been made possible by tapping into sources of snow-melt.   With climate change the mountains are getting less snow and therefore the Southwest is getting less water.   No recent suggestions the Columbia River be piped to California.

California has an advantage with a big coast-line.  They are going to have to do as they do in the Middle East….Build desalination plants. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/22/climate/desalination-water-climate-change.html

Already there are areas where having a lawn, or washing your car is prohibited and there are ‘water-police’ making sure.    When water is scarce, and/or high priced….comes water thieves who are making off with billions of gallons by tapping into Fire Hydrants, rivers and other sources illegally.   If you have a ‘grow operation’ you need water (no need to elaborate).

Locks on fire hydrants, or removing them entirely, is becoming a necessity.

So,  with all that going on could we be seeing a reverse migration?    Could it be that growth will be slowed or discourage and we will see an influx of people from the Southwest willing to put up with rain?

This map shows where the drought is the worst.   (Darker reds)

Shifting away from fires to other newzy happenings…..

The headline read –

‘Patience has worn thin’: Frustration mounts over vaccine holdouts

Seven months after the first coronavirus shots were rolled out, vaccinated Americans — including government, business and health leaders — are growing frustrated that tens of millions of people are still refusing to get them, endangering themselves and their communities and fueling the virus’s spread.  Here are some related headlines

  • The challenge is particularly acute in GOP-led states, where the virus is now surging, but protection against it remains disproportionately low. Alabama, for instance, has seen a 92 percent increase in coronavirus infections and a 72 percent rise in hospitalizations over the past week. But just one-third of Alabamians are fully vaccinated, one of the lowest levels in the nation The Governor of Alabama lashed out as Covid cases increased in the state saying – time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks.”
  • Washington State University football coach Nick Rolovich has supporters and critics after he declined to say Wednesday which exemptions to Washington State’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement — whether religious, medical or personal — applied in his decision not to get the vaccine. WSU president Kirk Schulz announced in April that all in-person students for the 2021-2022 academic year require the COVID-19 vaccination….This promises to get interesting!
  • The National Football League this week imposed new rules that put pressure on unvaccinated players, warning their teams could face fines or be forced to forfeit games if those players were linked to outbreaks.
  • Exhausted health providers say they are bracing for case spikes that are largely preventable, driven by the hyper-transmissible delta variant. “We are frustrated, tired and worried for this next surge — and saddened by the state we find ourselves in,” said Jason Yaun, a Memphis-based pediatrician,
  • It’s being reported that Florida alone accounts for 20% of new Covid cases and the 99% of them are un-vaccinated.
  • After months of careful cajoling, a growing number of Democrats and Republicans are venting about the sheer number of Americans who remain unvaccinated, particularly as hospitals are becoming overwhelmed in states with low vaccination rates.
  • Frustration is growing regarding social media systems and those that are allowed to continue to spread falsehoods and disinformation unabated.
  • The Food and Drug Administration also is expected to fully approve the vaccines by fall, which is expected to embolden more employers to require the shots.
  • Public health experts say they’re grappling with an irony: Americans who are already vaccinated tend to treat the coronavirus threat more seriously than many of the unvaccinated.

The use the old expression – ‘The Beat Goes On’..

Meanwhile Washington’s Governor may well be out with more restrictions.   Who knows…how this will play out?   It appears that those who are vaccinated will have less restrictions placed on them which is certain to anger the Anit-Vaxxers.   Could we see some back to originating programming from their home studio while the vaccinated are back at the station?   There is always the chance that broadcast stations will opt to follow the same script as Universities.

This is certainly not over….

Meanwhile, in other news in the world of Broadcasting –

Remember that little college radio station in LaGrande Oregon that said they could not afford to keep operating?   Well,  it’s gone.   The FCC recently cancelled the license for KEOL.   Guess of someone wants a station in LaGrande, 91.7 is available.

Every once in a while someone comes up with something that brings a smile…Credit to Jerry Olson of KPBX in Spokane who recently submitted how the letters CPR could be applied to something electronic.   Everyone has, at least once,  found that they had to ‘Power Cycle’ a piece of computer-based equipment to get it going again.   For this situation, Jerry suggested we use CPR – ‘PULL–CORD-REBOOT”

 

Audacy (formally Entercom)  has an opportunity for a IT Manager in Sacramento. This is a 6 station cluster with heritage formats. Feel free to redistribute to anyone that you know might be interested.   The stations are –

(AM1320-KIFM, FM94.7-KKDO, FM96.9KSEG, FM98.5KRXQ, FM102.5-KSFM, and FM106.5-KUDL).

For more info – go here-

https://careers-audacy.icims.com/jobs/2316/it-manager–sacramento/job

 

This headline got my attention –   Meet The World’s 1st Wooden Satellite

Here is an artist’s concept of the WISA Woodsat, the world’s first wooden satellite. Its makers hope it’ll be in orbit around Earth before this year ends.    Wonder why the folks at Weyerhaeuser did not think of this?     With the prices for wood products these days, this is not likely to be a cost saving move.

 

Proving there are still plenty of people that will donate to Public Broadcast Stations…KQED in San Francisco just renovated their facility.

San Francisco public radio news/talk KQED (88.5) will celebrate the grand opening of its newly renovated headquarters with an open house and block party on Saturday, Sept. 25.  The entire project is expected to cost $94 million and is made possible by Campaign 21, a multiyear fundraising effort.

It’s hard to believe…but it was 15 years ago that Ibiquity launched HD Radio in the U.S.

I recall one of the first tests of this new mode took place while the NAB Radio Show was in Seattle.    The test site was the Entercom Cougar Mt Site (Now belonging to ATC).  The Master-Antenna at this site consists of two halves.    We used one of them for FM, using one of the existing stations there.   The other half was fed a prototype HD Radio exciter and specially modified transmitter.   This permitted attendees to actually experience HD Radio.    If I recall, the first station to go on the air in this market with HD was 106.1 using what was known as a ‘high-level-combining’ scheme at what we now call West Tiger #2.    After that came 8 stations at West Tiger #1 followed by many other stations at other locations in the region.  Interestingly, some of the transmitting equipment is still in operation.   The next big change came when Multicasting became possible permitting a station to not just operate in digital mode, replicating their FM signal, but by allowing a station to broadcast multiple program streams using what’s known today as HD-2 and HD-3.

Unlike the transition to Digital Television- There was no deadline for a changeover.  With radio stations adding the technology as time has gone by.  On the receiver side, again unlike TV, radio consumers had to want to purchase new radios.    With today’s radio listening largely in vehicles, the success of HD has been dependent on vehicle makers equipping their vehicles with radios that have HD capability.     This has been the case with virtually all vehicle makers fully on board.    We’ve come a long way!

Audacy’s 107.7/KNDD in Seattle is getting a new transmitter at their West Tiger Mt Site.  The new Gates Air FAX 30 is being installed by Phil Van Liew and crew.   It replaces a Continental 816 that was in service at this site for the last 20 years.    This change is another step in the change to all solid-state transmitters.   The old unit used one vacuum tube.   The new transmitter is in the light-colored cabinets shown on the right here.

Their old transmitter, shown here in the following picture, is being installed at a site on Cougar Mountain where it will become an Auxiliary for Audacy’s 94.1/KSWD.   This move is a bit of a round-trip for this venerable Continental Model 816.  It was originally installed at another Cougar Mt. site back in 1984 as part of a power increase for 107.7 when it was located there.

Perhaps you recall how many years ago telephones began being connected via a little plastic connector called an RJ-11.

 

 

Not long afterward the bigger brother to the RJ-11 came along to be used with multiple-line phones etc.   It was named – RJ-45.

Over the years computers began to be connected using telephone type circuits and the RJ-45 became the connector of choice.

 

Today the RJ-45 is being used for a variety of purposes, in addition to telephones.   Cables with RJ-45’s on both ends are now being used for Telephones, Computers and networking and, more recently, are being used in place of the XLR connector or screw- terminals for audio.  An example of this transition is shown here with a relatively new product from Broadcast Tools.

2×16 DA/RJ – RJ45 Analog Distribution Amplifier

By the way, Broadcast Tools is headquartered in Sedro Wooley, just east of Mt Vernon, WA.

Today there are all manner of adaptors that enable equipment using cables with different kinds of connectors to plug into devices with RJ-45.   An example is this creation that adapts a Coaxial Cable Type-F Connector to an RJ-45

 

If you look close you can see that only two pins of the RJ45 are used (1&2)

My question  is where would you used this kind of adaptor?   Let me know and I’ll pass it on next month.

McKenna as the new City of License for 102.9 KZTM.   The station, is operated by Bustos Media with its transmitter on Capital Peak.   FYI- The station was licensed to Centralia where it was started back in 1964 as KGME by the late Chuck Ellsworth.   Then it was operating from Cook Hill, NW of Centralia.   Later, after Chuck passed, it was purchased by the owners of 1470-KELA (Back when Bill Tilton, K7OKC was the Chief Engineer)  The transmitter was moved to Crego Hill (SW of Centralia) where it operated for several years.   Later Citi Casters purchased KELA (AM and FM).   They became part of Clear Channel that moved the transmitter to it’s present location.  Capital Peak provided a considerable upgrade to the performance of the station enabling it to be heard to the West into Grays Harbor and to the NNE into Seattle.

KZTM compliments the other Busto’s station, KDDS, on South Mountain however performs better in the Puget Sound Basin due to the fact that KDDS uses a directional antenna protecting a Canadian station on the same frequency.

And where is McKenna?

  • Just East of Yelm
  • Southeast of Olympia
  • South of Tacoma

Nice to see an American based manufacturer of broadcast equipment doing well and purchasing additional manufacturing equipment.  This is the case with Wheatstone who recently announced they are investing in a Million Dollars of new equipment.   Wheatstone has become one of the largest makers of Audio equipment used by Radio and TV stations.

If you were to ask a person, not living in this area, to name the 7 ‘Rainiest States in the U.S.’ There is a good chance they would name one of the states in the PNW….Perhaps, based on the urban legend that it rains all the time in Seattle?   Travel Trivia is out with a list that sets the record straight.

 

#1 – Georgia – 50.22 inches

          # 2 – Hawaii – 50.33          

          # 3 – Tennessee –  51.85

          # 4 –  Florida –   54.73

          # 5 –  Alabama- 56.00

          # 6 –  Mississippi – 56.48

          # 7 – Louisiana – 59.15

When you mention ‘Boom-towns’ in Washington State  you are likely to start with Seattle or Bellevue.   Did you know that Spokane is in that group?    Here are some tid-bits I recently picked up about the major city in the Inland Northwest –

  • Far too many people are moving in, far too few homes are being built and prices have skyrocketed.
  • Half of renters in Spokane County want to buy a house, but they can’t find one.
  • In May, the Wall Street Journal/realtor.com Emerging Housing Markets Index ranked Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, part of this combined metropolitan statistical area, as having the fastest-rising home prices in the nation. Spokane County came in at No. 5.
  • Of the roughly 200 homes for sale in Spokane County in any given week, only about five are priced under $300,000, Watkins said. In 2015, the average home in Spokane cost $179,000.
  • The Spokane-Coeur d’Alene area has more than 745,000 residents and is ranked 71st among combined metro areas in the nation.

Looks like we’d better stop referring to Spokane as ‘that sleepy little town on the east side of the State.   I’m sure that broadcasters are appreciating the fact that their area is growing rapidly.

Perhaps the only thing as beautiful as a sunset is a sunrise….However, my schedule usually limits viewing of early morning splendor.      Sunsets seem to be more available.   Here is one of my favorite shots.   I took this very near the KDDS Auxiliary transmitter site on the north end of the South Mountain Ridge, commonly called North Mountain.   Here we are looking generally south at the South Mountain Tower.   This 400 footer, on the right,  is home of KDDS, KLSY and KOMO with more slated to come.   The tower on the left, is actually much shorter, but is closer in this view.  On the top of it is an antenna related to the Vessel Tracking System used to track ships in Puget Sound.

I don’t know about you, but I receive a rather constant stream of emails advertising Drones.   I guess my profile fits the average user?    As you likely know there are a lot of regulatory aspects involved with these creations.   One of which is the fact that radio frequency transmissions are used between the drone and the person controlling it.   Radio transmitters, especially those that are high in the air, are of interest to the FCC.

So – The headline read –

FCC Reaffirms Nearly $3 Million Fine for Marketing Unauthorized Drone Transmitters

 In this case the vendor was a firm call HobbyKing.   The fine, actually $2,861,128 was for marketing non-compliant RF-equipment and failing to respond to FCC orders in its investigation of the company’s practices.

The ARRL explained it this way –

 

The fine resulted from an FCC investigation initiated by ARRL’s January 2017  complaint that the HobbyKing equipment was “blatantly illegal at multiple levels.”

“The Forfeiture Order is the final chapter of a story that started with a report to the ARRL Board by the EMC Committee in 2017, as a result of the discovery that aerial drone TV transmitting equipment was being imported and marketed without proper FCC authorization under FCC Part 15 rules,” said ARRL Electromagnetic Compatibility Committee Chair Kermit Carlson, W9XA.

As spelled out in ARRL’s 2017 complaint, the ARRL Laboratory had documented that the operating frequencies of these drone TV transmitters near the 1.3 GHz amateur band were dip-switch selectable for frequencies internationally assigned for use by Aeronautical Navigation, GPS, GLONASS L1, ATC Mode “S,” as well as to both the interrogation and reply frequencies used for Air Traffic Control Air-Route Surveillance “transponder” radar systems. “Transmissions from these drone TV transmitters would have caused harmful interference to these essential Navigation and ATC Radar systems, presenting a real and dangerous threat to the safety of flight,” Carlson said.

ARRL’s complaint noted that given the channel configuration, these units would not have a legitimate amateur radio use, and that the marketing was directed at drone enthusiasts and not to licensed radio amateurs. “ARRL Laboratory tests did prove that only one of the seven available channels was within the 1.3 GHz amateur band,” Carlson said.

HobbyKing had denied that it was marketing its drone transmitters to US customers, but as the ARRL January 2017 complaint pointed out, ARRL Laboratory Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI, was able to purchase two drone transmitters from HobbyKing and have them shipped to a US address for testing in the Lab.

Hare and ARRL Lab staffers Mike Gruber, W1MG, and Bob Allison, WB1GCM, tested the units. Carlson, as well as the Electromagnetic Compatibility Committee he chairs, were credited in the complaint for calling attention to the issue and prompting ARRL’s action.

“The FCC noted that Amateur Radio equipment used to telecommand model craft are limited to 1 W (1,000 mW), but three transmitters included in the FCC investigation operated at significantly higher power levels of 1,500 mW and 2,000 mW,” ARRL said.

HobbyKing had told the FCC that it had no notice of the Commission’s authorization requirements; that the Fifth Amendment relieved HobbyKing of its duty to respond; that the forfeiture amount was inappropriate because its parent company, Indubitably, Inc., lacked the ability to pay to the Forfeiture Order; and that the Commission was time-barred from taking action against ABC Fulfillment Services LLC because it was not part of HobbyKing’s business.

“Upon review of HobbyKing’s Petition for Reconsideration and the entire record, we find no basis for reconsideration because the petition fails to present new information warranting reconsideration,” the FCC said in the MO&O. “Rather, HobbyKing again raises the very same arguments already considered and rejected in the Forfeiture Order.

 

Delilah, who is heard on Audacy’s KSWD/94.1 in Seattle recently purchased the radio station where she got her start….KDUN in Reedsport, a small down on the Oregon Coast between Florence and Coos Bay.  The Station operates with 50,000 Watts Day and 630 Watts at Night.

She reportedly paid $60,000 for the station.

Here’s a bit of humor for a broadcast engineer to hang on the wall.

 

In the last several years many radio stations have purchased transmitting equipment manufactured by BW Broadcast.   Sadly,  both of the company founders have passed.    SCMS who has handled their marketing are still offering support.

The Seattle/ Tacoma  (6+)Radio Ratings are out – Here are some related comments-

  • KISW who has been hovering just below the top spot managed to get there.
  • Quite a surprise to many – KOMO AM/FM leaped into the #2 Slot.
  • KIRO-FM is still in there at #3
  • Non-Comm KUOW is at #5
  • KEXP who had been shocking everyone with their numbers, failed to keep the magic going.
  • KJAQ, KSWD, KKWF and KING-FM are all in a 4-way tie.

The FCC is still trying to get rid of outdated Radio Rules…The recently announced that 7 of them are now gone.   One of the more publicized changes was the elimination of the Main-Studio Rule.

MB Docket No 21-263 would make a number of changes –

 

  • Eliminate the maximum rated transmitter power limit rule for AM stations

 

  • Update noncommercial FM community of license coverage requirements

 

  • Eliminate the requirement that applicants demonstrate the effect of any FM applicant transmitting antenna on nearby FM or TV broadcast antennas

In the event you were not in attendance at the last Washington SECC Zoom Meeting

you missed something that I wanted to make sure you knew.

That was the announcement of my retirement as Chair of this Committee.

The Plan Revision Committee has been working for some time on the replacement for our present EAS Plan and now plans on launching WA-PAWS in September.

I concluded that this would a good time to step down.

Therefore, the September  14th Meeting of the SECC will be my last one as Chairman.

It’s been a long ride – I recall how in 1996  John Price and the late Jimmy Hocutt took me to lunch and convinced me that I should lead our State’s effort with this new EAS system that was replacing EBS.

 

I told the SECC in the recent meeting that I would be around to assist the Committee moving forward for the next year, or so.    I offered a couple of areas where I would be willing to continue to serve perhaps as Vice Chair.  I also expressed interest in continuing to manage our Monitoring Assignments.

 

Ultimately, the decision as to who should replace me is entirely up to the SECC.

I did submit a couple of thoughts along that line – I felt the Ted Buehner, our Vice Chair, is the obvious choice to become Chairman.  For Vice Chair, I mentioned Lowell Kiesow and Charlie Osgood.

 

The ‘bottom line’ ….It’s time for me to move on.   I am well past conventional retirement age and would like to enjoy the free time that not doing so much EAS Work will provide.

 

Thanks for your support over the past 25 years.    I know you will do well at keeping Washington States EAS Program in good hands.

 

Clay

 

 

If you recall in last month’s Column, I wrote about my trip to Aeneas Mountain to survey the upcoming project to replace the KQWS Transmitter.   On the 14th of July I was on the road to get the project completed.   (See earlier pictures of the Red Apple Fire taken the same day)

 

The plan was for 3 of us on the NWPB team to over-night in Omak so we could get a quick start on the 15th and, hopefully, knock this out in one day.   I was joined by Brady Aldrich.  He’s based in Wenatchee,  and this is his site to maintain, and Kenny Gibson from Tri-Cities who was bringing the replacement transmitter all tuned up on the new frequency.

 

Stepping out of my truck in Omak to 105 degrees was a bit of a shock!   Thankfully we knew it would be cooler at the 5200 foot transmitter site.    The Transmitter Site is right at one-hour from Omak and, thankfully the weather was great, and we were not subjected from wildfire smoke from the many fires all around us.

The following are some pictures from the Site taken on the 15th.   Note the beautiful blue sky.

Aeneas Mt Lookout Camera

 

My little Pickup with the lookout tower behind.   Here you can see the camera that replaced having an observer in the tower.    The concrete structure on the left supports the Satellite Antenna, you can just see the bottom.  The black hoses are for the heater that enables it to survive winters at this 5200ft location.

A close up of the Camera.   The cool thing about this is that you can connect to the camera, on-line, and see the view.

To get to this location it will take you an hour from Omak.     You turn off of US 97 about half- way between Omak and Tonasket.   The road starts out paved.   Once you go past Lake Lemansky, it becomes increasingly rough and steep.    There is no point of trying to dive fast, you quickly learn that it’s impossible.    It’s about a rough as driving up a stairway!    A place for 4-wheel drive, low-range, first gear only.    It is decidedly the roughest road I’ve been on in years.    During the winter, it’s snowcat only and even with that, you are not assured that you will make it to the top.   Brady Aldrich, who maintains the site, explained that they often have to snow-shoe the last 100 yards or so.      The day I was up here working, July 15th – it was in pleasantly in the mid-80’s – TWENTY degrees cooler than it was in Omak!

My pickup parked on the top of Aeneas Mountain.   Over the hood you can see the transmitter- building.  On the left is the tower that holds the transmit antenna, to the right is the pedestal that holds the Satellite Antenna.   Mounted on the blue pipe.

Bottom line – We were on the air with the new Antenna just after 6 PM.   The old Continental was taken apart to reduce the weight and was, by this time, in Tri-Cities.

Here’s a headline you (thankfully) don’t often read –Stolen Car Crashes Into Tower And Knocks Alexandria, LA Station, KDBS, Off The Air…..

 

Apparently, a stolen car was being chase by police when it left the roadway and struck a guy wire on the stations tower causing it to fall.  The lack of standing tower silenced the AM station as well as an FM translator whose antenna was mounted on the tower.   The station did have, as required, a protective fence around the guywire, but likely it was to keep out people and not motor vehicles.    Perhaps the replacement tower will include a new fence and some Gravity Blocks just in case?

 

For years I’ve heard the term ‘ A face for Radio’.    Meaning a person apparently does not have the ‘looks’ for Television.     Finally, someone has come up with a T-Shirt with that saying on it.

My Column would not be complete without a picture from Dwight Small.   Dwight said that he and his dog, Scout, went out or an early evening cruise and captured this scene.

I recently was able to get a photo of this at a local Costco parking lot on the back of a Nissan Leaf.

Not sure where the 9 Volts comes from.  Perhaps the owner is a non-technical person?

Here is what I found when looking into the matter –Perhaps 350 was too many digits?

Battery pack specifications

Number of modules 24
Number of cells 192 (2 in parallel and 96 in series)
Rated voltage 350 V
Capacity 40 kWh
External dimensions L x W x H 1547 x 1188 x 264 mm
Weight 303 kg

 

Until then, get your shots and stay safe.

Do try and be nice to those that refused to get vaccinated.

Clay, K7CR, CPBE

A SBE Fellow

SBE Member # 714

Since March 1968

 

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