KEØVH Hamshack for February 2012

Jack Roland KEØ

Greetings all, I hope you had a great beginning to the New Year, and now that we are in the swing of writing 2012 in our checkbooks, time for some new projects.

For a long time I have been fascinated by converting old computer power supplies into something useful for the work bench or powering a radio.  Never hurts to have an extra power supply on hand too, for whatever the reason.  There are many articles on how to convert a computer PS into a bench supply to provide 12 volts for whatever use you might need.  A few years ago I converted one that I have used for many applications such as powering a business band 2-way radio, and then after that was done I used the same PS to power an APRS beacon that I ran on Lookout Mountain for a year or two.  I won’t bother with listing all the ways to do this as there is plenty of information on the internet, but I will show one of my conversions here.  The main thing is to bring the regulation up by providing a resistance across the 5 volt lines, and many supplies are either adjustable or can be modified to do so.  The easiest way is to provide a 1 ohm 10 watt resistor across one of the 5 volt lines to ground to do this.  Again, all the technical explanation is easily found on the internet.

Interior of the Power Supply

In the picture above the leftmost blue adjustment pot allowed me to set the PS to about 12.9 or so volts.  You can experiment with this or other ways of raising the voltage to the proper level depending on the supply.  The resistor to bring up the 5 volt regulation is shown below.  It is mounted on one of the heat sinks where there is room with heat sink compound on it to the metal sink.


          The front of the supply        The 1 ohm 10 watt “regulating” resistor

I installed an LED on the “Power Good” line for on indication and a toggle switch to turn the PS on and off from the front panel using the pair of wires indicated for power on and off.  The circuit board in this case was labeled where the wires were attached, but again this information is available on the internet easy enough. I installed an Anderson Power pole thru holes drilled in the front and another pair on another 12 volt/ground wire pair out the back of the PS.   The PS is being used right now as a bench supply or backup where needed.  This one delivers 12.9 volts at 15 amps, and I will experiment in the future with different uses and see how it holds up.

Another great project that I have a real interest in is what my friend Kenny, K4KR in Chickamauga, Georgia near Chattanooga, Tennessee has been up to lately.  He obtained an amplifier module from Bruce, WA2ZST, who is an engineer with CBS-TV in New York City, which originally helped to power the Harris transmitter for WCBS-TV.  Kenny has built a 50 volt 50 amp power supply to run the amplifier, and will soon be putting a kilowatt out on 6 meters with this!  What an historical and cool piece of gear this is!  Several of these were obtained by ham operators around the country and are being converted for ham use.  Once Kenny gets this all racked up and mounted in his shack, he will be feeding a big 7 element with a 28 foot boom 6 meter yagi with it and will truly be a “big gun” on 6 meters.  More on this story as it develops!

K4KR 50 volt 50 amp power supply and former WCBS-TV Harris VHF amplifier.

 April is not too far away, and with it will come the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the H.M.S. Titanic in 1912.  If you are familiar with the story you will know that Jack Bride and Harold Phillips, the wireless operators aboard Titanic of course are remembered for sending out the CQD’s in morse code (then the equivalent of SOS) that made the Titanic’s plight known to the world.  There will be Ham Radio special event stations commemorating the event in honor of these radio operators, the passengers and crew lost, and the event that still captivates so many  My friends in England will be operating the GM100MGY (MGY being Titanic’s radio call sign) again as they did back in 1990, under the call sign GM90MGY.  From their official News Release:

To commemorate his heroism on the centenary of the disaster, a Surrey radio club – Wey Valley Amateur Radio Group – will set up a special radio station in April, 2012, located at Charterhouse School, on the outskirts of Godalming.  Transmissions in morse code on the amateur radio bands will begin on Tuesday, 10 April (the day, 100 years ago, when Titanic sailed from Southampton).  They will pause at 05.46 GMT on Sunday 15 April, the exact time at which transmissions from Titanic ceased and the vessel sank.  Titanic’s radio call sign MGY will be remembered by the station’s special UK call sign: GB100MGY.

A very special commemorative QSL card will be offered!  I will be in the hunt for that one for sure!  More information on the activities of the special station and sponsorship opportunities can be found by contacting Mike, G3IAF or Mike GØEFO via

The QSL from the 1990 event

 WØS will also be operating out of Branson Missouri at the Titanic Museum April 14th and 15th 2012 and offer a really cool QSL card too from stateside.

Jim, KCØRPS made a “hut trip” to one of the cabins way up in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado to do some back country skiing and relaxing miles from any civilization.  The 10th mountain division huts, interspersed in the back country of the Colorado mountains and are accessible by hiking or skiing in offers solitude (unless you take a lot of friends, which is great fun), back country skiing, and the spectacular views of earth and sky that testify for sure to the handiwork of the Lord!  One of his companions on this trip took video and pictures to chronicle the weekend getaway!   It also is a great way to do some ham radio operating from great remote locations too.  Jim and I have talked via the Colorado Connection repeaters at various times, and he is working on a QRP 40 meter CW rig that he plans on taking with him soon.  Check the spectacular video of this trip at

Bob Heil, K9EID, and Gordon West, WB6NOA recently visited the set of ABC’s “Last Man Standing” starring Tim Allen, who plays a married father of three tries to maintain his manliness in a world increasingly dominated by women, and, is a ham radio operator!  Mike, KA0XTT, Allen’s character, operates a ham station on the show and on this facebook page there are pictures of Bob, Gordon, Bob’s lovely wife Sarah, and Tim Allen.

Full a full write up about the show and Tim’s character, see this ARRL Article at:

AND, Tim Allen isn’t the first ham in a sitcom.  Check this out for a “monster” great ham station:

And, finally, have you seen the latest radio entry from China into the US market?  I and several others I know own the Wouxun (pronounce “OH-cheng” like “ocean” with a g at the end) dual band HT and are really happy with how well it works and sounds, not to mention the under $100 price.   Now, there is a $48.00 or so dual bander!  The handheld BAOFENG UV-3R (Mark II)136-174/400-470Mhz Dual Freq Display HT.  (See it at  Wayne, WA2KEC, Jim, KCØRPS and several other hams we know are really happy with it.  And at this price how can you miss?  I look forward to seeing how this is received by the US ham community.  See reviews of this radio at .

The radio also comes in many available colors, see the Rigpix pictures at:

Don’t forget the SBE IRLP/ECHOLINK Hamnet, the 1st Saturday of the month and the 3rd Tuesdays now.  Details on how to join us are at


Clay’s Corner for February 2012

On the 11th of January we held our State EAS Committee (SECC) Meeting at the Sand Point at the offices of the National Weather Service.  At some point in the meeting, WCM Ted Buehner mentioned that some weather was coming that we might want to be concerned about.    As predicted we had snow.  Not as much in the Seattle area as the ‘Low’ went inland a bit south of where it was projecting, however south of Olympia received a huge dump of the white stuff. With reportedly 18 inches in some places.   Like all snow fall in the Puget Sound area, it does not last all that long.   The forecast called for warming with the snow changing to rain (like normal) and we were all assured that the weather was about to get back to normal.   What really happened, was it rained (they got that part right) but the temperature failed to increase above freezing resulting in a record setting ice-storm.   Just to add good measure, we got another 2-3 inches of snow on top of the ice.   This time NWS, Cliff Mass and all the TV forecasters got it wrong.

The resulting ice storm caused a huge number of trees to loose limbs that fell into power lines causing about 500,000 to lose power.  The area of major impact was the Eastside through Tacoma and Olympia and south to Chehalis.    In my town, Auburn, 50% of the city was out of power.

Cougar Mt got about a foot of snow, topped with ice and, of course, no power.  Hauling a 4×4 of diesel to the site it became clear why; one phase was lying on the ground.  All together 70 hours of generator use at that site.  Our thanks to Steve and the crew at Don Small Oil for hauling in diesel in a big 4×4 when the usual suppliers said they would not go up there.

At West Tiger, both of the power lines feeding the site went down resulting in some 80 hours of generator time.  As murphy would have it, the road to the site was snowbound.  Not knowing how long it would take for a thaw, or power restoration, the road was plowed out.  If you think that Seacomm does nothing but tower work…Guess again.  John and crew went way over the top in coordinating the plowing of the West Tiger road, cutting a huge number of trees and hauled in some 1000 gallons of diesel.    To add to the problem, the only highway reaching the Tiger Mt Road is SR-18 which was closed from I-90 to Auburn!

From behind the wheel driving to West Tiger Mt.

Some stations were not so lucky and did not have back-up generators.  Others, like KVTI in Lakewood have an antenna that is very sensitive to ice without radomes or heaters. Reportedly the Capital Peak FM’s were off the air as was KSWS in Chehalis was off the air due to lack of access and a snowed in dish, KCKA-TV, at the same site was reportedly off the air, not sure why at this writing.   The ice on STL and Satellite antennas created Ice-fades that are hard to overcome.  In one instance, a station had heaters on their satellite antenna reflector, but the LNB and feed were put out of commission due to a heavy coating of ice. The Tacoma Narrows Bridge was closed due to falling ‘Bridgecicles” for several hours.   Then there is PSE that encouraged their customers to report outages via their computer.   Perhaps they fail to understand that most computers don’t operate without power.

Through all of this, a couple of things stand out –

1-    Over the air broadcasting is pretty hard to beat, especially when you are dependent on a system between you and the station you wish to receive.

2-    Reliance on an intermediate carrier for TV, Telephone and Internet can cause you to lose a number of services at the same time.  Something about eggs and baskets.

3-    My windup radio really was put to good use, kudos to KOMO and KIRO-FM.

4-    The Blue/Yellow and Red Jacket guys on the local Channels certainly did a great job of keeping us informed, even though it appeared that they were having difficulty coming up with new material

5-    Power line crews from all over – Working at Cougar Mt was a crew from BC

6-    The sounds of chain-saws and smell of wood smoke.


At the homestead, I was lucky in that we only lost power for about 6 hours; however, our cable was out until late on the 22nd.    My normal means of getting email etc. is via DSL and that did not return until the 26th.   I did, however, have POTS so I can see dial-up access to my ISP is going to be a must.    Thankfully we have a gas water heater, range and a great wood stove…fuel for that is laying all over the place.  Jim Dalke lives near me and on one of my drives by his place I could not help but notice that he must have a generator as his was the only house in the area with lights on.

On the West Tiger Road – Lowell Kiesow and Nick Winter from KPLU -The reason for the smiles….The road was just plowed and the going was easy.

Spotted something in a recent Issue of Consumer Reports – They did a survey asking which innovations from the past few decades would be the hardest to live without.  26% said Microwave Oven, 19% said home computer, 15% said cellphone and 14% said cable and satellite TV.   No mention of over the air broadcasting.

Another sign of the times is the fierce amount of competition for the automobile dashboard.  Car makers are racing to install the latest whiz-bang toys to the point that radios are now likely to be integrated into a larger package of electronics.   In the view of at least one maker, GM, it’s time for the CD player to go.

According to a recent piece in TV Technology, TV Antenna sales are booming, the main reason cited were cutting costs and video streaming video sites.   During our recent ice-storm those with antennas were probably better off for other reasons.

The FM version of HD radio is spreading a bit in various places in the world.   News reports this month tell of a new HD Radio Station in Dhaka Bangladesh.  The station is using a package of BE equipment.   Interesting how there is so many in this country reluctant to embrace the system while a new station in Bangladesh embraces it.

From the list of – I know where you are from by the way you drive comes this description of someone from Seattle. [One hand on latte, one knee on wheel, cradling cell phone, foot on brake, mind on game]

The 31st annual Mike and Key Amateur Radio Club Electronic Flea Market will be on Saturday March 10th this year at the Puyallup Fair Grounds Pavilion Exhibition Hall.   Been an annual event for me and several friends.

Seems to me that I have been writing about this for a very long time, like 3 years.  They are projecting that Tribune (owner of a couple TV stations in our town) may exit bankruptcy by the 3rd Qtr. this year.    I’m not going to bet on it.

I understand that George Bisso has had additional amputation surgery has a part of his advancing diabetes.  We wish him well.

As I mentioned in the last Chapter Meeting, I was reading the latest QST and was saddened to discover that W7JPH is a Silent Key.   For those of you that don’t follow ham radio call letters, W7JPH was Don Rose.   In years past Don was a regular at our Chapter meetings.  I remember him as the salesman for EEV.

National Public Radio elected to drop the word Radio from their name becoming simply NPR.  Now it’s Clear Channel Radios turn to drop the work ‘Radio’ from their name becoming Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.   So CCR is now CCME.   For the time being the firm will own some 850 Radio Stations….or perhaps Point-Multi-Point Aural Entertainment Facilities?

Some changes in who does what in our market ….Sam Roffe is leaving KBCS going over to KUOW.   Taking his place will be Buzz Anderson.

We may have something new to see during our annual Picnic on Vashon Island over at the 770/1090 Spread.    I’m sure that Arne Skoog or Tom McGinley will be happy to show us the newest 50,000 Watt transmitter at the CBS station, a new Nautel NX50.   Likely the smallest 50Kw transmitter in the area.

The latest radio ratings are out and KWRM came up with some huge number in the 12+ Race…a 12.  It’s been some time since a radio station has been in double digits.  Congrats to Mark Kaye and the crew over in Bellevue.   Some other observations – KING-FM’s ratings are higher since they went non-commercial.   Something you don’t see everyday…but KRWM’s stream showed up at #38.   Two Bellingham Stations had higher ratings than KVI in Seattle and little KNHC operated by Nathan Hale High School beats 50,000 Watt, AM,  KIXI.

For some time NAB, and others, have been pressing to get FM Radio receivers in Cellphones.  One of the first to say OK to the idea is Blackberry with a couple of their models.

The Mobile 500 Alliance previewed a new mobile TV receiver at the recent CES event in L.V.  The device will be tested, here in Seattle, later this year.

A legislator in W.V. is working on legislation that would make certain copper thefts a felony.  The penalty would be 1 to 10 years in prison or a $10,000 fine, or both.   Perhaps the Legislature in our state is more concerned in how to fill the budget hole than worry about copper theft?

Looks like a lot of money will be spent on political advertising this year.   Some estimates put the total at just under $5 Billion.  Almost $3 Billion will be going to broadcast TV.  Washington with now 10 Congressional Seats will become increasingly a target for some of those bucks.

The FCC is out with totals, as of the end of 2011 –




TOTAL 10,310

TOTAL 2,047

LOW POWER FM 838 838



As evidenced by some recent fines, the FCC does not care for stations recruiting policies.  In these cases the stations used only internet postings or word-of-mouth.  The take away from this is when your station has a position to fill – you’d be wise to advertise widely using a variety of means.

Pandora continues to grow as they recently reached the one-million session mark.  Traditional Radio is trying to play catch-up with the major ownerships involved.  Second to Pandora is Clear Channel with their iHeartRadio.  Interestingly the gym I go to is using Pandora over TV or local radio.

It’s not that we did not see this one coming, but the bankruptcy of Kodak certainly leaves a funny feeling to many of us that grew up with a number of Kodak products.   Gee they still say –Film at 11.   Unfortunately for the Rochester NY firm, they were late to see that film was being rapidly replaced with digital everything.  When that light finally went on, others were well down the track.

WOR-AM in NYC recently successfully tested a power saving modulation dependent carrier system on their 50Kw transmitter.   As AM’s struggle to survive in today’s world of radio, it’s likely that many of these high powered stations will be adopting this scheme.  The FCC is, apparently, allowing this use of this technology on a waiver basis.  The makers of high powered transmitters should like this as well as it takes a newer generation transmitter to operate it. My understanding is that Harris and Nautel both are offering it. Come to think about it, aren’t they the only two manufacturers to 50 Kw AM Transmitters?

Our nearest star has been mixing it up lately causing Hams to jump for joy…The impact of moving the MUF higher is felt on broadcasters too with FM stations skipping into markets where they are not licensed.   In one report a station in Florida was heard loud and clear in northern Virginia.    Several years ago I recall watching Channel 4, in Tacoma, get clobbered by a co-channel station from somewhere.   That’s not a problem now, of course, with KOMO, and others, now operating safely on UHF Channels.   Wonder what strong co-channel interference would do to ATSC Digital?

Here’s an invention, just in time for our post winter storm bout with potholes.  It’s a vehicle shock absorber that converts its motion into energy.  The devices, known as Gen-Shocks, look like a standard shock but have an electrical cord.    The rougher the road, the more power is produced.

If your station operates a Part 74 -2-way radio, IFB, ENG, RPU etc. system you probably know about narrow-banding and how this will impact your system.   The SBE as well as EIBASS has filed comments with the FCC dealing with this issue.   If you are not up to speed on this issue, I highly recommend you get that way, quickly.

Those of you that double managing a project will enjoy these definitions –

  • Contractor:    A gambler who never gets to shuffle, cut or deal!
  • Low Bidder:    A contractor who is wondering what he left out.
  • Project Manager:    The conductor of an orchestra in which every musician is in a different union.


And finally –

The following was sent to be by Buzz Anderson –

Perhaps one could have been drawn for the TV Remote Control…Before that- The ‘couch potato was forced to actually move to change channels…but then there were very few channels.
Til next month –

Clay Freinwald, K7CR, CPBE


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December 2011 Meeting Report

Annual Holiday Luncheon at Park Hill

Proposed Front Range 450 MHz BAS Band Plan

Date: Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Time: 11:30AM to 1PM
Location: Park Hill Golf Club, 4141 E. 35th Avenue, Denver, CO 80207
Topic: Proposed Front Range 450 MHz BAS Band Plan
Cost:  Bellaire Buffet, $15 per person
Presenters:  Ray Benedict, SBE Frequency Committee Chair; Paul Deeth, KCNC

Meeting Report:
The December meeting was held at the Park Hill Golf Club where members and guests enjoyed the usual delicious Holiday Buffet provided by the club’s catering staff. Following the meal SBE national board member Ray Benedict and Paul Deeth of the KCNC engineering staff provided a entertaining and informative talk on their efforts to license a new Motorola digital 2-way radio system in the 450/455 MHz Broadcast Auxiliary spectrum. The process has been hindered by regulatory confusion about the emission designators that can be licensed. Once this issue has been resolved, KCNC and KMGH will take advantage of new features such as GPS location information and multiplexed transmissions that the new radios enable. A new 450/455 MHz band plan will facilitate migration to the new digital service without disruption to existing analog frequency assignments. Mr. Benedict also discussed SBE’s educational efforts and other member benefits.

Notice of SBE Election:
At the December SMPTE-SBE48 meeting, SBE members elected Tony Roccanova or 5280 Broadcast as Chairman and Shane Toven of Wyoming Public Media as Vice Chairman of SBE Chapter 48. We would like to thank immediate past chairman Scott Barella of Larcan for his service to the Chapter.

Lunch included Park Hill’s Bellaire Holiday Buffet:

  • Baby Spinach, Dried Cranberries, Candied Pecans, and Feta Cheese with a Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Waldorf Salad
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Old Fashioned Stuffing
  • Sage Roasted Turkey with Sherry Mushroom Gravy
  • Sliced Smoked Ham with a Maple Glaze

We would like to thank 5280 Broadcast (Tony Roccanova), BTX (Cliff Wernet), Burst (Kirk Basefsky and Robin Heywood), KCNC (David Layne), and RF Specialties of TX (Denver Office – Jim Schoedler) for sponsoring the Holiday Luncheon. Their contributions to this event make it possible to keep the cost to members low.


Jim Schoedler,SMPTE Rocky Mountain Section Chairman
Scott Barella, SBE Chapter 48 Chairman


KEØVH Hamshack for January 2012

Jack Roland KEØ


HAPPY NEW YEAR!  I hope and pray that all of you will enjoy a prosperous and joyful 2012 with the Lord, your families, and at your work.

Last month I had the picture of the General Electric radio that my wife and I bought from a used furniture store in downtown Denver in the December article.  We have really enjoyed listening to KEZW in Denver, which is a Standards/Nostalgia station in the area on this radio.  I have really enjoyed the big band/hits format of the station, especially when working on old tube radio’s.  They just sound better playing the older hits!  (BTW, Rick Crandall, the PD of the station, is a MOST EXCELLENT programmer).  We really enjoyed listening to the Christmas music on the station.  But I digress.

As my wife and I were listening to the radio in the kitchen during the holidays, I happened to notice these are the dial of the radio.

I saw the old “CD” for Civil Defense markings, “CD Mark” symbols like this (though generally shown as simple white triangles) were on every radio sold in the U.S., at the 640 kHz and 1240 kHz frequency points, to help listeners find the CONELRAD  stations.  There is some interesting information on all this at  Also about amateur radio in this wikipedia article, it states:

“Beginning January 2, 1957, U.S. amateur radio came under CONELRAD rules and all stations, while operating, were required to verify at least once every 10 minutes that a normal broadcast station was on the air. If not, the amateur operators were required to stop transmitting. Several companies marketed special receivers that would sound an alarm and automatically deactivate the amateur’s transmitter when the monitored broadcast station went off the air.”

A very interesting cold war amateur radio rule I didn’t know about.  There is a very interesting web site with all things Civil Defense at  There are many interesting websites and videos to be found on the net regarding this subject.

One fine day before Christmas I had to spend some time on Cheyenne Mountain cleaning and working on my transmitters, then took some lunch time and drove over to an adjacent hilltop close to the transmitters and operated 10 meter mobile for a lunch hour.  It was a great time, as I worked a bunch of east coast stations and back thru Pennsylvania, AND 1 station in New Zealand even!  25 watts out of my Realistic HTX-10 to a unity gain mag mount mobile antenna on the Durango.

The Durango on the mountain top                  

HTX-10 on 28.480 mHz

It was fun to be on the “DX” station end, as I had a mini pileup on me when I called “CQ from the top of 9600 foot Cheyenne Mountain near Colorado Springs”.  I worked solid stations calling me for about 30 minutes, including the New Zealand station.  LOTS of ham radio fun!  Try it sometime from one of your transmitter sites if you are so equipped.  With 10 meters being open as of late, a great time is to be had!  6 Meters has been open a lot lately too, so I think I may try to contrive a 6 meter antenna (I have a dipole I cut for my trip operating 6 meters from the top of Mount Lincoln back in August of 2008.  You can read about that ham radio adventure at  I think I may take the Ranger RCI-5054 DX-100 up Cheyenne Mountain sometime towards the summer season and see what I can work from the same spot.

Don’t forget the SBE IRLP/ECHOLINK Hamnet, the 1st Saturday of the month and the 3rd Thursdays now.  Details on how to join us are at


Clay’s Corner for January 2012

Welcome to 2012 !

Lots of news this month….

Contrary to what we were hearing, the FCC did not release their new EAS Rules…so the waiting continues.   We do know that FEMA has been testing the new IP based national system called IPAWS open.   For those of you that have Dasdec EAS equipment, you can receive the test messages being sent by the Feds.

On the subject of EAS, the next SECC meeting will be on January 11th at the NWS facility at Sand Point at 930 AM.   If you are interested in EAS, please join us.

Apparently KSTW is continuing to take apart their station.   Sad to watch this station continue to get smaller.  First they sold their, very nice, studio complex in Tacoma to move to Tukwila, and then they moved into the transmitter building (Shades of Channel 13 in the 60’s).   They sold their tower on Capitol Hill to Richland Towers and now they have elected to shut down their translator near Pt. Townsend.   I remember Paul Crittenden working to get that system on the air.   Thankfully Paul is not able to see the station he worked so hard to build be dismantled, piece by piece.

Fisher has joined KSTW in selling assets, in their case, by selling Fisher Plaza for 160 megabucks.    Now they can look forward to paying about 285 Grand a month for rent to stay there.   Bet their GM just loves that move.

We have another new FM station on the air in this area.  KLOP-FM is on the air from Capital Peak with 76 Kw on 88.1.   This change marks the end of KPLU’s long running translator on that frequency from their former main site south of Port Orchard at View Park.   KLOP is the 2nd FM on the air from the site southwest of Olympia, the other is KNBQ which is now simulcasting KJR.   KPLU will be moving that translator to 92.1.

Everyone is still talking about the sale of KVOS-TV for 2.9 Million.   It’s hard to believe that a TV station is now worth less than many radio stations.   As they say….Who wudda thunk?  The stations new owner also owns KFFV that is broadcasting from the Richland/KSTW tower on Capitol Hill.   The stations new Chief is Rick Kemp who used to be the chief of Channel 22 and more recently was working for Journal Broadcasting in Boise.

Speaking of money…How about the Clear Channel debt?   It’s in the Billions!

Every once in a while you read about a tower worker falling from a tower to their death in what has been described as the most dangerous occupation in the world.   On Dec 26th a tower contractor in Florida died while 600 feet up a tower.   Apparently he was changing out tower lamps at the time.  I took 4 hours to recover the victim.   Tragically, his grandson was working on the ground and was the one that called rescue workers.

Seattle area radio ratings are out and Sandusky’s Warm-106 is enjoying a solid #1 rating.

Other observations – KIRO-FM is #2 followed by KISW.  Showing that AM still works, KOMO comes in at #4.   NCE’s are a huge factor with KUOW at # 5 and KPLU at #10

Looks like this year could be a real winner for those stations that are able to cash-in on the political bucks….especially if what’s happening in Iowa is any indication.  Reported $10 Million has already been spent.

The FCC has extended the dead line for comments to permit asymmetrical power levels in HD Sidebands.  The situation is this ….Some FM stations are limited as to how much they can increase their HD power levels (from -20dbc) due to adjacent channel stations.  After all, those HD carriers are actually on adjacent frequencies.   In some cases a station could be ‘clear’ on one side permitting -10dbc operation, while limited to some lessor power level on the ‘other’ side.   The proposed rule would permit those stations to increase HD power levels to the maximum permitted by running different amounts of power in each side-band.   The delay is apparently due to the Holidays.

Here’s an interesting situation – What happens when an AM Station applies for and is granted an FM Translator…and then, for perhaps a very good reason, turns off their AM …Can they continue to operate their FM?

Copper theft continues to make the news.  Recently about 300 folks in Florida were without phone service as thieves pulled wire out of telephone company boxes.    There have been a couple of interesting ideas surface recently.    1) Include in your ground system some copper tubing filled with Freon.  When the thief cuts into it, letting the Freon escape, they are breaking EPA laws and (perhaps) be subject to more enforcement action.   2) Again use some copper tubing in your grounding system, pressurize it with the same air you use for your transmission lines.   Install a valve to isolate it from the antenna system and install a pressure sensing switch on the tubing.   This way when the thief cuts into the tube (assuming you put the tubing on top) the release of air causes the switch to change state which is connected to a silent alarm.  This should enable the thieves to be caught before they get into the ‘good stuff’…Baiting a trap is not really a new idea; however, I don’t know many broadcasters that have used this old trick.     Got an idea, let me know.

A station in Papillion, Nebraska had an un-usual theft…In this case thieves stole their Satellite Antenna, several LP Gas Tanks and the fence that surround it.    I get the impression that everything made of metal is subject to being taken these days.   Seems like only a matter of time before some major station gets hit.   Then the money will be spent on the alarm system.

I’ve written about KOMO adding an FM (97.7) and, more recently KJR with 102.9…Over in Yakima, KIT has added a FM simulcast.    This is just another example of an action that is making more and more people ask the question….is the AM band going to fade away?  Meanwhile it’s reported that Radio added about 1.4 million listeners in 2011.   The new study shows that radio now reaches some 241.3 million people over age 12 each week or 93% of the population.   Not too bad for a medium this old.

While in Durango, Colorado this past fall I could not help but notice the picture on the elevator door.   I just have to share this with you …

I have to wonder if the hotel had any idea of the significance of the sign on the old truck?

Looking closer –


It’s the time of year for predictions and the USC Annenberg Center is out with theirs…Printed newspapers will virtually disappear in 5 years.    I guess I’m really an old fogey…but I enjoy going to a restaurant for breakfast while reading the paper.   I guess I am supposed to take a “pad” with me …or read the on-line edition on my smartphone?

KWDB in Oak Harbor has been sold and, for some odd reason, the media trades are stating that this station is in the Seattle-Tacoma area.  Someone needs a geography lesson.

The FCC has new environmental rules in the works for towers that require ASR’s.  After 8 years of study they have concluded there is some impact on migratory birds.   If you really want to know…check out –

The CALM Act and FCC Rules designed to deal with loud TV Spots is on the way …December 13, 2012 is the date.

Interesting to follow the troubles for LightSquared.  This is the firm that proposed to build systems using spectrum adjacent to the existing GPS band.   Let’s put it this way…Glad I did not invest in this one.

A really bad windstorm in SoCal a month ago caused an antenna to fall off a tower, perhaps more correctly, was blown off a tower.   In this case, KSCI’s UHF-TV Antenna consisted of a 60 foot Andrew slot array on top of a big 20 foot pipe.   Remarkably the antenna fell away from other users of the tower causing minimal damage to other equipment.  Thankfully it was on a remote mountain top near LA and did not injure anyone.    I can’t imagine what would happen if something similar took place on Queen Anne or Capitol Hill.

Not long ago there were those that were predicting that Satellite Radio was doomed to fail….Perhaps their demise is yet to come….for now Sirius-XM is predicting there will be 100 million cars equipped with Sat-Radio in 2012.   Perhaps they are counting folks like me whose car came with one.  After losing the signal every time a grove of firs got in the way I decided to pass.

Ever since computers and the Internet have become part of the average home, broadcasters have been concerned about this new competitor for people’s time.    Now we have a new study that looks into why people go online….the conclusion – ‘for no particular reason’ or to just past the time.  Now if broadcasters can figure out how to combat that one.

In an interesting move….The Alabama Broadcasters Association has announced they are going to establish a Broadcast Engineering Academy at the ABA office.   They are working with the SBE to insure that their work is eligible for SBE Certification.   I asked Mark Allen of the WSAB if he was aware of this, he said he was, but there were no plans to do this here in this state.

Last month we played with the over use of the work ‘UP’….and thanks for the contributions, I may re-visit this in the future.

This month we will continue our educational series with a wonderful collection of nouns for various groups of animals……A – HERD of cows, a FLOCK of Chickens, a SCHOOL of fish,

And a GAGGLE of geese.   Then there is a PRIDE of lions, a MURDER of crows, an EXALTATION of doves…or, a PARLIAMENT of owls…..But what about a bunch of Baboons?

And what is the proper collective noun for a group of baboons?   Believe it or not….’a CONGRESS !

Enjoy this election year !
Till next month

Clay, K7CR, CPBE



‘Twas The Night at the Site…

I know you can relate to this one!
Merry Christmas from the Heartland!

– Tom Beattie


‘Twas The Night at the Site…

‘Twas the night before Christmas and up at the site,
Not a creature was stirring, not the kind that can bite.
The gear had been checked and checked twice with great care,
In the hopes that on Christmas I’d be home and not there.
The GM was nestled all snug in his bed
While visions of dollar signs danced in his head.
The station was fine; I hung up my cap,
And planned to relax with a long winter’s nap.

When there on the nightstand the phone raised a clatter,
Remote control calling, its mechanical chatter
Confirmed what I feared and knew in a flash:
The plates read “point zero.” I’d just have to dash.

To the site with the moon on the new fallen snow,
I pulled on my boots and made ready to go.
When I got up the mountain the problem was clear
Some guy thought our building looked just like a deer.

With a dead RF final and drive way too hot
I knew in my gut what it was that got shot.
A hole in the tube! That’ll cause it to fail.
“But where is the spare?” I started to wail.

On a shelf? In the cabinet! Where is that darned spare?
In a box marked “Still Good”? Nope, not even there.
I looked on the porch, on the shelf on the wall
I dashed this way and that way and dashed down the hall.

And then in a twinkling, I found what I needed
And did a quick check as the job was completed.
I pushed the plates on, and was turning around
When up the tube’s chimney, smoke came with a bound.

I was frozen with fear, from my head to my foot,
As my clothes got all covered with ashes and soot.
A bundle of money had just flown up that stack
And I cursed that guy’s gun hanging back in its rack.

My eyes were not merry, my smile likewise buried.
My cheeks were all bristly, my mood was still harried.
My droll little mouth was locked tight in a frown
As I worked toward “back on” instead of “still down.”

The shorting rod shook as I gritted my teeth
And the smoke? It circled my head like a wreath.
Now, I have a broad face, some say a round belly
But there was no laughter that night, no bowlful of jelly.

I was crabby and tired, not a Christmas Eve elf
As I yelled and I stammered and felt bad for myself.
In the blink of an eye and a punch of a button
I’d burned up big bucks, just all of a sudden.

I spoke not a word, went straight back to work,
And found a new cap and plugged it in with a jerk.
And keeping my finger real close to “Plate Off,”
Punched it back on with a small, nervous cough.

A new spring in my step, I gave up a shout.
It powered right up! I can finally get out!
The sun was just up as I drove from the site
Merry Christmas to me; I’m done! …
For tonight.

Amateur Radio News

by Tom Weeden WJ9H: Thanks to Chapter 24 

In their regular meeting late last year, the four FCC Commissioners unanimously agreed to allocate spectrum and adopt service and technical rules for the utilization of new implanted medical devices that operate on 413-457 MHz (70 cm). These devices will be used on a secondary basis as part of the Medical Data Radiocommunication Service in Part 95 of the FCC rules. The Amateur Radio Service also has a secondary allocation on the 70 cm band. These new rules are the result of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that the FCC released in March 2009. A Report & Order that will define these new rules is expected soon. According to the FCC, these devices would greatly expand the use of functional electric stimulation to restore sensation, mobility and function to those persons with paralyzed limbs and organs; they would be implanted in a patient and function as wireless broadband medical micropower networks (MMNs). Calling the new rules an “advance[ment of] its mobile broadband agenda,” the FCC said this will create “a new generation of wireless medical devices that could be used to restore functions to paralyzed limbs. Medical Micropower Networks (MMNs) are ultra-low power wideband networks consisting of multiple transmitters implanted in the body that use electric currents to activate and monitor nerves and muscles.”

The Commission also noted that its National Broadband Plan — released in 2010 — observed “that the use of spectrum-agile radios and other techniques can significantly increase the efficient use of radio spectrum to meet growing demand for this valuable resource. MMNs illustrate how advanced technology can enable the more efficient use of spectrum to deliver innovative new services.” The American Radio Relay League, in comments filed in 2009, said, “The Amateur Service has a practical inability to protect patients wearing RF susceptible MMNs from interference from ongoing amateur operations in the 420-450 MHz band, and therefore all MMN operation is going to have to be conditioned on the ability to withstand and operate in the presence of such high-power signals, and thus subordinate in allocation status to the Amateur Service.”

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