May Meeting Tour of Infinity Park Stadium and Video Facilities

May_2016_SMPTE-SBE48_Meeting

Date:  Thursday, May 19, 2016 
Time:  6:15PM Refreshments, 6:45 PM Meeting
Location:  Infinity Park, 4500 E. Kentucky Ave. Glendale, CO 80246
Speaker:  Wayne Brenengen 
Refreshments:  Sandwiches, chips, sodas and cookies provided 
Topic:  Tour of Stadium and Video Production Facilities

Established in 2007, Infinity Park is a municipally-owned multi-use sports and events complex. A world-class rugby stadium lies at the center, serving as the home field of the Glendale Raptors Rugby Football Club. Infinity Park is also the home of the Serevi Rugbytown Sevens Tournament which takes place in August each year and attracts teams from around the world to compete for a winner-take-all $10,000 cash prize.

The May meeting started with refreshments followed by an introduction to the facility with seating in the stands. Wayne Brenengen provided the introduction and then conducted tours of the video production facilities built around two NewTek Tricasters and a NewTek 3 Play replay server. He also discussed the method of streaming rugby matches to a worldwide network.

Clay’s Corner for May 2016

 

 

Clay’s Corner Providing news and views from a broadcast engineers perspective since September 1986

Looks like continued donations for KPLU as they strive to become community owned radio station.   Helping with the process was a listener that said they would donate $500,000 if the listeners would do the same – It took them only 9 days to raise the million.   One has to wonder if some big contributors are in the wings until deep in the process?

Last month I noted that we just experienced one of the wettest winters in history…One record we did not break was the number of days in a row with precipitation….That record, set back in 1950-51 of 125 days still remains.   In April we often have what I call – teaser weather- i.e., a blast of warm/dry days. Mother nature did not let me down as we hit 89 degrees on one day setting a record for the warmest April day in history. (Meantime Denver was getting snow). There is no doubt about it –

So I was sitting at the Starbucks in Chehalis recently and this guy comes in wearing a bright yellow rain jacket….I glanced at it and did a double-take . Fortunately my cellphone has a camera – Thought you’d enjoy this one.

Dont Shoot Tech

 

In last month’s column I mentioned that Alaska, the airline, was based in Seattle… Had no clue that they would go out and purchase another airline.   It will take a while for all of this to come together….over the coming months we will find out whether those Virgin America vertical stabilizers will be sporting an Eskimo or not.   Then there is the issue of all of those foreign (Non USA) built aircraft recent news has Alaska buying a number of new smaller jets built elsewhere.Recently the radio biz was all abuzz over the thought that the CBS Radio group would be sold off setting off waves of speculation as to who might buy what.   Then the news that CBS may keep their Radio division and spin it off to a new division etc.   Oh well. Likely one of their goals was met ….helping to establish value for their radio operations.Meanwhile the financial woes of Cumulus and iHeart continue to be making news with both firms doing the fast shuffle with those that deal with really big numbers.   Still hard to fathom how big companies can avoid being sold off by their lenders for penny’s on the dollar.   Apparently size does matter providing that not all things are treated equally.There is a bright side that many in broadcasting are thankful for…Political advertising.   Not so much for the spots that are purchase by the candidates and parties (they are usually low) but in terms of ratings that help drive rates.   In Radio….News talk stations are seeing their numbers go up, in TV the news channels are too.The FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, continues to speak out on behalf of AM Radio citing its long history etc. etc.   This may all be well and good, but all this ‘talk’ is not going to generate listeners for the medium that many feel is ancient technology on a par with Morse Code.   My crystal ball says that the AM will survive and will, perhaps, end up looking more like it did in the late 40’s or early 50’s.     Certainly the value of AM properties is falling making it attractive to those that simply can’t afford an FM station.   Foreign languages are loving it.As perhaps a canary in the AM mine indicator….one of the west coasts legendary stations, KGO in San Francisco has just gone through a huge staff reduction and programming re-alignment thus ending 30 years of domination.As a person that’s been in this business for over 50 years, I can tell you that un-certainty seems to come with the territory. Of late, perhaps all due to the pressure for additional spectrum for more wireless gizmo’s, we are now on the cusp of the biggest change in TV broadcasting I’ve ever witnessed.   Who would have ever thought that we’d see broadcasters be paid to go off the air…or be facing a channel change – downward in frequency (UHF to VHF) or, in some cases, sharing a channel with another broadcaster.   20 years ago if anyone had suggest that this was going to come to pass….You would have been openly laughed at.   Then there is the other option – Your station may not be impacted at all.   Now put yourself in the position of those that are presently working at a TV station where you have this looming over your head. Perhaps some talented people will see this as a sign to exit the business for something that has less uncertainty? Someone, long ago, said that there is nothing more constant than change….Indeed!   Radio has had its share with consolidation….Now TV is getting it with both barrels.   Looking at the winners and losers in this process – The winners will be the wireless carriers and users of this new, above 600 MHz spectrum as well as those that are able to cash-in on the changes required (Transmission systems makers and installers)…..The losers will be those that are displaced in the process. Guess one could say that this is the price of progress.   Certainly there will be books written about this transition….Perhaps not hard-bound, but rather the kind you down-load via some wireless device using spectrum that used to be used by a broadcast station ?Speaking of changes…What about all the retirements at the ‘home team’. Just like baseball, you need a program to keep track.   Understand a couple Engineers also were involved. At least the old folks got to experience the new digs.A good example of a winner is the satellite radio provider, Sirius/XM who recently announced they now have over 30 million Subscribers.   Perhaps we should think of them as an OTA Broadcaster?On the technician side – I recently was asked to label the coax cables for a new installation for NWPR.   I thought about this for a while and ended up walking the isles at a local office supply. My solution was a heavy, flexible, device used for holding badges etc. at gatherings. You have likely had one of these attached to your shirt many times.   You can purchase these for cheap (without the safety pin).   To start with I composed a message on my computer, cut out the text and slipped it inside and attached it with a ty-rap. In the field, you could do this – on the fly- by having the right size pieces of paper that you could attach text generated by a label maker.   Wished I’d thought of this years ago.   Nothing more frustrating in an RF plan like not knowing which cable belongs to whom.

Cable Tags

 

How many times have you heard an Apple computer user brag about how much more secure and immune to attacks that the PC?     Time for a bit of rain on that parade as a new study recently discovered that this is no longer true.   Apple’s I-Phone however is still much harder to hack than an Android device.     Now if I could figure out how to stop getting calls telling me I have won a trip to the Bahama’s or that my credit-card is – – – – – – Hacking is one thing, spam (of any flavor) is another.

 

Speaking of hacking ….A couple of radio stations became the targets of hackers recently. In one case, a hacker got into the stations IP connection between their studio and transmitter site and took over the stations programming with some ‘naughty stuff’ …and in the process prohibited the station from turning off their transmitter because it used the same internet based system. (Talk about putting all your eggs in one basket!).   The availability of modestly priced codecs coupled with the fact that internet service is available almost everywhere has been a marriage made in heaven for those wishing to do more with less.   Apparently there are some that install these things for connecting their studios to the transmitter either are given strict financial limits, or, they don’t fully grasp the fact that these devices are like hanging out a sign ‘Hackers Welcome’.   This reminds me of the Zombie attacks were hackers were able to get into EAS equipment and create a mess for some stations.   Indeed there are a number of lessons in common here.   Not installing –open to the whole world – equipment using the manufacturers default password is a good start…followed shortly by a short course in why and how to use firewalls.   But the fact is – Some lessons are best (and at times only) learned via the school of hard knocks.   Betcha these stations that were taken over by hackers have been on a quick learning curve and have opened the mind of the party controlling the purse strings! Unfortunately there are those that view insurance – in any form – as waste of money.

Perhaps some FCC action will help with the ‘lesson plan’ ( :-o)

 

On the topic of hacking….What’s to be done when radio spectrum is hacked?   What I’m talking about is – Pirate Radio – or, simply put, un-licensed operation of a radio station.   Unfortunately the FCC (remember them when they were an enforcement entity?) appears to be largely toothless these days.   They are dealing with this issue (a major problem in some cities) similar with trying to stop a groundhog or mole from tearing up your lawn by stomping on that mound of freshly mined soil.   Stomp here, and it comes up there.   Add to this the fact that many of the fines they hand out are never paid you have recipe for encouraging the behavior.   Even the FCC recognizes the problem and is asking congress for help. Perhaps I am beginning to understand why the FCC closed all those offices …Perhaps it’s because of the fact that too many are ignoring their actions anyway?   A technique they are exploring is being able to go after the property owner where the pirate has his station.   Remains to be see if this idea will prove effective.   This all seems to boil down to whether or not the Feds will have a means of actually collecting their penalties.   Some states have passed laws making pirate radio operation a criminal act…but compared to much more serious crimes, it’s hard to find a prosecutor that will find this type of infraction worthy of his time.

Congrats to Hubbard (Owner of several stations in the Seattle market) on re-claiming it’s position of owning the top billing radio station in the country with their WTOP in WDC…Their $65 Million in billing for 2015 edged out KIIS-FM in LA who only billed 64.7.   Stop and think about it – That’s an average of $178,082 per day.   Not bad for a radio station !! Market size has a lot to do with the amount a station bills, for example – Half of the top 10 billing stations are located in NYC while 3 are in Los Angeles.

There are those that are claiming that we are turning the FM radio band into an overcrowded mess….These folks have some numbers to support their contention too. As of March 31 there was a 31% increase in low powered stations (LPFM’s) many of which are operating in major markets contributing to the fact there is likely a station on every channel.   FM translators and boosters are increasing in numbers too with over 6500 of them now on the air, some of which are related to AM stations.   The mainstays of FM, commercial and NCE’s were pretty much static.   Meanwhile, on the AM side there are 22 less stations compared to last year…a total that is certain to increase

SBE is out with a new publication – The SBE Broadcast Engineering Handbook.”   Perhaps the most expensive publication yet in the SBE Library at $199.   I’ve not had my hands on one yet…Those that have –Let me know your impressions.

Here’s an item that really grabbed my attention.   Kudo’s to the folks at Sears for coming up with a wonderful spoof:

Kitchen Chainsaw Part1

Kitchen Chainsaw Part2

Entercom has still not filled the slot once filled by now retired Dwight Small.   While they search for his replacement they have been rotating folks from other Entercom markets into the station. One of those folks (Name withheld) had never been in this neck of the wood before and asked me an interesting question – ‘How do you folks prepare for Earthquake and Volcano’s?” Whereas he is from the other corner of the country…I guess I can understand that he might be apprehensive about what we live with.   I sent him the link to the Mt St Helens Camera as well as to the USGS Earthquake site.For some time we have been writing about the plight of Tribune Publishing (owner of 2 TV Stations in Seattle) Recently it was reported that Gannett has offered $815 million to buy Tribune.Many people with Amateur Radio (HAM) Licenses have their call letters on their license plates (Technically not a vanity plate). From time to time you have someone ask about it.   Recently I had a most un-usual question from a fellow – He asked if the K7 had something to do with KIRO-7 and wondered what the CR meant. I like to tell people that the license plates are my email address (sort of true).Here’s an interesting statistic – Today people are spending more money on electronics than they do their clothing.

Climate forecasters are again at work releasing projections on the impact of climate-change and sea-levels….This time they are warning us what the world will look like in 2100 at the present rate due to melting ice in Antarctica – IF – nothing is done to curb the generation of greenhouse gases etc.   The big issue is, of course, rising sea-levels. Some projections have sea-level rising by more than 6 feet by 2100 and perhaps as much as 50 feet by 2500.

Just for fun – I looked at the impact on broadcast operations in the Seattle area – the following facilities would be underwater.

VASHON ISLAND –

Ø            Transmitter sites for 570/710/770/1090

o            820/950/1000 would survive

TACOMA –

Ø         850/1300 and 1360

SEATTLE –

Ø         The new KING5 Studios (as well as the stadiums in Sodo)

o          333 Dexter would look attractive

Ø         Queen Ann and Capital Hills would become islands

 

Portland Oregon, several miles up the Columbia River from the Ocean, experiences tidal variations…Likely many facilities there, in low lying areas, would be impacted.

The good news – Folks in Denver have nothing to worry about (at least from rising sea-levels)

As usual, I light to write about the Seattle area …Finding most interesting results of surveys etc. A recent survey for the best cities for Coffee fanatics got my attention… No surprises here. Seattle is known for being a coffee town and the survey confirmed our reputation with our city ranking #1.   So who are the others?

#2 – (surprised) New Orleans

#3 – Our neighbor to the south – Portland Oregon

#4 – San Francisco

#5 – Oakland (across the bay from S.F.)

#6-   San Diego

#7 – Austin, TX

#8 – Denver

#9 – Honolulu

10 – Washington D.C.

 

What they said about Seattle was interesting – Here are the highlights-

Ø         Long, gloomy winters

Ø            Glorious coffee culture

Ø            Birthplace of Tully’s and Starbucks

Ø         1,600 cafes and coffee shops

Ø         3rd highest concentration of coffee sellers of any U.S. City

Major events taking place in the world of EAS –

Ø         NPT and ETRS coming soon (is your station ready?)

Ø         Major changes proposed in the new NPRM

If you are the person designated to make sure you are EAS Compliant – You have been warned.

In the good EAS news department…I’ve been working with a CSRIC group on overhauling the EAS Handbook (you know, that thing that is required by the FCC to hang on the hook at your control point). I think you will appreciate the new one.   Can’t tell you more as the CSRIC group only makes a recommendation to the Commish and then they do what they want J

Reminder – The next SECC (State EAS Committee) will be on May 11th…This time in Ellensburg. If you are interested in attending, we will be car-pooling from North Bend, as always, you can listen in on the conference bridge. Full details on the Washington State EAS Remailer.

The FAA has opened a web-based registry for drone users.   One of the engineers at WSU’s NWPR, Martin Gibbs has one of these and has been using it for tower site projects.   Very cool. Question for my readers – Who in your area is using drones for TV News and/or spots?

Great to see one of the areas IT engineers get interested in Ham Radio.   As reported last month Lowell Smith at Entercom recently passed his Tech exam and has received his license…Additionally he now is sporting a vanity call – N0LCS.   What a Zero call I asked.

He explained that he is from Kansas, so guess that’s OK J

Congratulations to KPLU on winning 4 Murrow’s.   Speaking of which, at this writing, they have raised over 4 million on their way to 7 so the station can be purchased from Pacific Lutheran University rather than becoming part of KUOW. Interestingly KUOW, upon announcing the agreement to purchase KPLU, said that they would not need their news department. Many of those that objected to the sale citing KPLU’s news as one of their reasons for opposing the sale. winning the Murrow’s re-enforces these comments.

An ownership shuffle at long-time broadcast equipment maker, Broadcast Electronics, usually referred to as B.E.  Instead of yet another in a string of venture capital groups buying the firm, this time the new ownership is headed up by their VP of Engineering, Brian Lindeman.   There are a lot of people that have openly expressed concern about the viability of B.E. as a company. This time the ownership change appears to be bringing smiles. B.E. started out in 1959, then known as Spotmaster known for their audio cartridge tape equipment. Certainly having an Engineer at the top is not that common.   Then again the big-office at Nautel is occupied by their former service manager that is also an engineer.   We wish them well.

Recently spotted this sign at Cougar Mountain – Hmmm guess it’s meant to protect the croakers in the nearby stream.

No Spray Zone

 

I did not make it to NAB this year due to a very full plate here at home.   I have, however been looking at what’s new in the world of TV. Perhaps there is still some TV blood in my veins from many years ago.   Here are a couple of thoughts to share –

Ø         Lots of activity regarding ATSC 3.0.   Repacking etc.

Ø         The evolution of TV continues as TV evolves into something more like a fusion of IP and OTA distribution systems.

Ø         Yet to come are the consumer products that will dazzle everyone and make todays systems look crude.

Ø         Like everything else, TV is rapidly moving away from the concept of racks full of devices having a specific purpose toward a system whereby everything is IP based and that data is stored and moved around using systems that could be found in plants dealing with the movement of a large amount of data.

Ø         Radio and TV are both moving in this direction. Audio consoles and Video Switchers are now just control surfaces that happen to have the right kind of knobs and switches to get the job done where a display and mouse would work too.   XLR and BNC connectors are being replaced with RJ45’s with most of the wiring being done via CAT___ cable.

Ø            Thankfully storage is advancing at a rapid rate as tons of that is required.   I could not help but notice that one firm was talking about the fact that they can have 504 TB of memory in only 5 RU of space.   (Try and convert this number to reels of tape)

Ø         Let us not forget those that are very resistant to change that view change as a threat rather an opportunity. I suspect some old-timers (I understand them well) will want to get out before the tidal-wave of changes hits.   For the rest of us – These are very exciting times.

 

A blizzard of changes. to be sure.   What’s amazing is the rate of change in the last couple of years and the rapid adoption of IP everything.   The days of a computer controlling a dedicated piece of hardware is going away with the computer now doing all the work.   It does not seem all that long ago that I got my first 286 !

The totals are in from the Big Show in the desert – NAB has announced that just over 103,000 were in registered. (More than that attended via exhibit only passes etc.) 26,000 were from 187 other countries looking at exhibits from 1,874 companies.   If you work in this industry and have never attended this event – It should be very near the top of your bucket list.

The following item was posted on a popular Remailer by Adrienne Abbot.   She is the Nevada SECC (EAS)Chair as well as the states ABIP inspector – I read it and ask her for permission to reprint it here.   It has to do with her walking into a (in this case TV) station to do an inspection – I will this speak for itself.

Autopilot or not, somebody better be there when I arrive or the station doesn’t receive a certificate!

True story…ABIP Certificates are renewed every three years. You and I know that a lot can change in three years. The engineer for a station I inspected recently met me in the lobby, explaining that when she retired the long-time receptionist was replaced with security cameras and microphones. As we walked through the silent hallways the engineer noted the empty offices where jobs had been eliminated, automated, consolidated, transferred to corporate or “hubbed” to a central location serving multiple sister stations since my last visit.

My inspections include a tour of the station news facilities. In this case, there was a brand new news studio, full of bright and flashy technology–new robot cameras, LED lights, green walls that could put the weatherman in any part of town the producers wanted, a morning news set, a set for the noon news, a set for the evening news, an interview set, all with sleek desks in front of massive city scapes. The producer’s booth had a wall of HD TV screens and computers on desks, no boards to punch, no tape machines to load, no Teleprompter to run. The engineer shook his head as he told me how many news positions had been eliminated by these latest whiz-bang gadgets.

I expected to find the newsroom as empty as the rest of the station. Instead, we stepped into a large, open room that was humming with the voices of dozens of people, many on headsets and cell phones, editing video and writing stories. Waves of people washed around the raised island of The Desk, rolling out the back door or to a row of glassed-in edit bays. Before I could ask, the engineer answered: “Social Media. Social Media is a big part of our news department now. They’re 24/7, just like our news folks.” I asked how many Social Media staff they had. The answer was a number very close the running total I was keeping of jobs that had been eliminated by the switch to automation-consolidation-corporation–hubbing. The new Social Media department had even absorbed a few of the employees whose jobs were lost in the all the changes.

Out in the garage, it was a little sad to see the old consoles, mixers and tape players piled around empty file cabinets, broken chairs and bundles of wire. The equipment that was once state of the art and dearly purchased had done its job, told its stories and was now set aside, silent, next stop the recycling center. Our generation struggled to learn that equipment, making the transition from one inch tape to Beta and VHS, from cameras with decks and mic booms to cameras with cassettes and shotguns, from analog to digital.

The current generation, our kids and grandkids, were born digital. They learned to shoot and edit right after they learned to talk and text on their cell phones. It seems to me like they haven’t had the challenges of trying to coax a cold transmitter to life at 5:00 AM, load a 12-inch tape reel from a pancake or untangle a cassette with a pencil or edit with a razor and block or build a crawl from a roll of black paper and sheets of white rub-on letters.

Where am I going with this? Maybe we made it too easy for them. Maybe in all this automation and computerization we should have provided the Next Generation with a struggle to learn something. Maybe we went from Ohm’s Law to Windows 10 too quickly. We used to build boards, now we grow black boxes.

Maybe we’ve forgotten that there’s a place for responsibility, that someone has to take charge of the machines and not depend on them to do everything and that there’s no such thing as a perfect computer program. We forgot to show them how to turn off the equipment. We certainly had a lot of warning. Remember those old Sci-Fi B movies we watched on Saturday afternoons?…Now the alien monster isn’t some oversize scaly reptile from the back side of the moon or militant automatons from Mars, it’s the enormous lack of passion and dedication to future of the business of entertaining and informing the community.

I think I have laundry to do…

Adrienne

 

And in keeping with my tradition – I want to leave you with someone to smile about – In this case – Some signs –

Sign in a shoe shop in Vancouver:

“We will heel you

We will save your sole

We will even dye for you.”

In a Podiatrist’s office:

“Time wounds all heels.”;

At an Optometrist’s Office:

“If you don’t see what you’re looking for,

You’ve come to the right place.”;

On a Plumber’s truck :

“We repair what your husband fixed.”;

On another Plumber’s truck:

“Don’t sleep with a drip. Call your plumber.”;

At a Tire Shop in Milwaukee :

“Invite us to your next blowout.”;

On an Electrician’s truck:

“Let us remove your shorts.”;

On a Maternity Room door:

“Push. Push. Push.”;

At a Car Dealership:

“The best way to get back on your feet – miss

a car payment.”;

Outside a Muffler Shop:

“No appointment necessary. We hear you coming.”;

In a Veterinarian’s waiting room:

“Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!”;

At the Electric Company:

“We would be delighted if you send in your payment

on time. However, if you don’t, YOU will be de-lighted.”

In a Restaurant window:

“Don’t stand there and be hungry; come on in and get fed up.”;

In the front yard of a Funeral Home:

“Drive carefully. We’ll wait.”;

At a Propane Filling Station:

“Thank Heaven for little grills.”;

That’s it for this month – Keep your fingers crossed that summer returns (that week of it we had in April was a cruel trick).   Till next month on most of these same computers –

Clay, CPBE, K7CR, OM

 

 

 

 

 

The KEØVH Hamshack for April 2016

Hamshack March 2016

Hamshack Photo March 2016

The KEØVH Hamshack for April 2016

The latest layout of the KEØVH Hamshack November 2015 till now!

Greetings all and Happy April, man am I glad spring is just beginning. We are getting stuff done in Colorado, and I say “we” as I have had great help from my contractors and others who are so great in their skills. Special thanks to Rich W9BNO, Greg WB7AHO, Ray AAØL, Mike in Rye CO, (of course I am working on him to get his ham license, you know me!) Jon Banks in Glenwood Springs, and Bill, WØBX in Grand Junction. Couldn’t get it all done without these fine gentlemen! Thanks Guys!

Guthrie

 

Speaking of thanks and so much more, the K-LOVE/Air1 Satellite uplink facility has now been officially dedicated to Alan Guthrie, one of the most incredible men I have been blessed to know and get to learn from in my entire career. He was as I called him “our satellite guru” who knew more about anything satellite than anyone I ever knew, and was of of the most instrumental and dynamic people to work at K-LOVE. His love for the Lord and getting the message out was second to none, and Alan was responsible for most of the satellite capabilities, infrastructure, and day to day operations of the entire network. He suddenly went to be with Jesus last year, and I had been meaning to include a piece about him here in the “Hamshack”. If you ever get the chance to visit EMF headquarters in Rocklin CA, be sure to ask to see the uplink facility that Alan helped to design and build. I bet he is having a great time “walkin’ the streets of gold” and telling some wonderful stories

Ham Rig

W5WCA Operating position Grand Lake CO area

By the way, many of you know Cris Alexander W5WCA, the DOE for Crawford Broadcasting.   Cris sent me this picture of his well appointed operating position (next to his recliner J) in his cabin up near Grand Lake CO in the mountains NW of Denver. Cris is very active talking to a lot of friends on 40 and 80 meters from here on the weekends and whenever he gets up to their mountain getaway. You can catch Cris on 7.166 talking to Harvey WØHLC and Mark K5IR in the mornings and another group of us on 3.700 around 7pm mountain time. His 30 over S9 signal blankets CO quite well with his setup!

And keeping in the family, Cris daughter Amanda KDØCIC (Amanda is the Chief Engineer for all the Crawford stations in the Denver area) and her husband Jordon KDØSSK operate this very fine station from their home in Aurora CO. I really like the way they have it laid out. Good job guys. Amanda is now Extra class so congratulations to her, and Jordon isn’t too far behind with his General. I understand he is getting ready to upgrade now, so all that is left for these two is who gets to use the radio shack first! J J J. I bet I know who will win that one LOL!!!!

Amanda Ham 2

Amanda Ham 1

Amanda Ham 3

Amanda working the DX from Aurora CO

Big Storm

In March we had an honest to God full up blizzard in Denver! We lost power at the KEØVH QTH for an entire day, some areas of Denver for 3 days. Phone service was uninterrupted, and yes I had ham radio ready to go via UPS plus charged HT’s. However the power company here in Denver is really pretty good and had crews out all day in this mess. Amazing!

Guy at Site in Snow

KLDV and co-located KXKL suffered power bumps all that day. I had to run K-LOVE on the backup transmitter since my main lost a filament fuse due to on off on off conditions all day. KXKL lost a rectifier stack in the high voltage power supply. In the above picture is Barry Thomas, CE for KXKL after he and I rode up in the Argo Avenger 750 to the site the next day. Yes, the roads in Denver were pretty clear by the second day. We had plenty of spares on hand so the mains were back up on both stations in a couple of hours after reaching the site. Tough job huh?!?!?! J

Jack at Mt Chief

NICE DAY! KLDV, KXKL, and KRMT TV tower in view

Easter weekend was the big CQ WW SSB contest. Before and after church that weekend I managed to get some operating in as DX was coming in from all over of course. Here is a shot of part of my log from that weekend! It actually gained me a few new countries in the Logbook of the World counts. The Flex 3000 was the rig I used this weekend. It was lots of fun as I wasn’t really interested in running up a big contest score but just working stations that I wanted to in a “hunt & peck” mode of operating. Very relaxed and a lot of fun.

Ham Log

Part of the Ham Radio Deluxe log for the weekend!

STL on Roof

 

A STL antenna raising party at Cumulus Broadcasting in Colorado Springs

In the above picture (taken by Rich W9BNO) you can see the STL dish move as the roof had been redone at the Cumulus stations building in Colorado Springs. Ray Uberecken AAØL (2nd from left in the picture) was leading the crew in the move to a better location of the roof. Rich was along that day helping Ray too.   The crew had to move the dishes and re-aim them. The transmitter sites on Cheyenne Mountain are off to the left in this picture, but you can see Pikes Peak there to the right. Honestly I think the scenery where we work out here just can’t be beat!

Lots of Locks

I haven’t quite figured this one out yet. On a gate west of Fort Collins. Not enough locks!

Lots of Locks

One of our kitty cats, Celestia, helping out during the contest!

Funny kitty, she comes in meowing at me and wants up in the chair quite frequently wanting me to pet her, and she gets annoyed when I don’t pay attention to her. Maybe she wants a ham license?

 

Don’t forget the Monday Night Broadcast Engineering

IRLP (and Echolink) Hamnet, every MONDAY EVENING

At 7pm Mountain time (9pm Eastern) 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

John Switzer 1947 – 2016

John Switzer

John L. Switzer died Friday, March 25, 2016, at Denver Hospice. He was 68.

He was born in Boone, Iowa to LeRoy J. and S. Evelyn Bygness Switzer, April 12, 1947.  Later, John and his family moved to Tama and then Chariton before moving to Des Moines.  John attended All Saints Catholic School there.

John’s family moved to Lakewood, Colorado in 1960. He graduated from Alameda High School in 1965.  John received a B.A. in Technical Theatre from the University of Denver in 1970. While attending D.U., John began his career in television broadcasting at KOA-TV (now KCNC-TV).

In 1973, John joined the Rocky Mountain Broadcast Center, where he spent the next decade as Director of Engineering. In 1983, he joined Z-Axis Corporation as Vice President of Production.

Most of John’s broadcasting career was with Sony Business and Professional Group as Senior Account Executive.  During his 20-year career (1989 to 2009) at Sony, he was honored twice as a Sony Samurai and received their Top Sales Achiever award.   He was instrumental in converting regional broadcasters to high-definition television.

In 2009, he joined Burst Communications as Vice President of System Sales. At Burst, he designed high-definition control rooms for many organizations, including the University of Denver and University of Colorado, Boulder.

John was honored in 2007 by SMPTE, The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. As an active member of the University of Denver Alumni Association, he volunteered to shoot and edit video for a variety of events.

John was a member of Broadcast Pioneers of Colorado.  He was on the committee that formed the Denver School of the Arts Video/Cinema Arts program.

Additionally, John was an Assistant Scout Master for Boy Scout Troop 309, while his two sons participated in the Scouting program.  Both became Eagle Scouts. He served on the Vestry at St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church in Aurora.

John also enjoyed spending time with his family and traveled to Europe, Japan and throughout the U.S.  For several summers, he enjoyed getaways to Aspen and Santa Fe. He taught his sons to fish in Maroon Bells Lake and the Roaring Fork River.

Clay’s Corner for April 2016

 

Clay’s Corner – Providing news and views from a broadcast engineers perspective since September 1986

Over the many years I have been working in this business, and writing this column, I run across the name of a person that I have worked with in the past. In this case Andy Laird.   First met Andy at West Tiger Mt when he was involved with one of the stations there.     Much later I looked him up at WTMJ in Milwaukee.   Happy to report that Andy will be receiving the NAB Radio Engineering Achievement Award at the big show in the desert (NAB) on April 20th.     Congrats Andy !

 Andy LairdAndy is another one of those people who are much smarter than I ….He retired J

The ‘Rumor Mill’ is in full production with the announcement that CBS – might- sell off their Radio stations.   This group consists of 117 stations in 26 markets that produced some 1.28 Billion in revenue in 2014.   Based on an often used equation, the group could be priced in the vicinity of 3 Billion Bucks.   This matter is of obvious interest to those that would be potential buyers.     Just who that might be is a matter of considerable debate. ….Then again would CBS do, as it has been doing, selling off chunks…or would they be looking for someone to buy the whole thing.   Parting out appears to be the most likely due to the amount of money involved….This also expands the list of possible buyers considerably. Here in Seattle CBS owns 94.1, 96.5, 102.5 FM and 1090 AM.   Perhaps, due to their already heavy debt load, we can rule out Cumulus and iHeart Media.   Selective markets might well interest Alpha, Entercom and Hubbard.   Then again…Perhaps they ran this up the ‘flagpole’ to increase investor awareness and help elevate the stock price?     This will be a matter that will we watched by many.

The recent retirement ‘gathering’ for Dwight Small was well attended by present and previous Entercom employees.   Here is Dwight’s reaction to being presented a plaque by Market Manager Jack Hutchison and HR director Noreen McCormick.

Dwight Small

No word yet on Dwight’s replacement – I will continue to ‘mother’ the stations transmitting equipment at West Tiger and Cougar, as a contractor, as I have been for the last 6 years since leaving Entercom as a full time employee

Just as predicted – The plan, by Crescent Heights, to build a 101 story building downtown has been down-sized to 94 stories due to FAA concerns.   I will believe that Seattle will have something higher 1049 feet AMSL when I see it.   Meanwhile, on the Eastside – Bellevue’s skyline continues upward with the recent announcement that a cluster of 4 -40 story buildings will be built.   Downtown Bellevue is something that any major city would be proud of and is remarkable when you consider the population of Seattle’s across the lake neighbor.

It’s official –This has been the wettest winter in history.   If you are new to the Seattle area and have known, all your life, that it rains all the time…. and have heard natives poo-poo it as an urban legend…you are now on solid (or soggy) ground.   Now, let us pray that we have a summer like the last one.   In this area a week of warm and wonderful weather is enough to forget a month of rainfall.     The following picture of the tower at South Mountain (Home of KDDS, KOMO and KLSY-FM) clearly shows how winter at the higher elevations is still a factor in mid-March.   The tower was due for some lighting maintenance but their efforts were cut short as this picture, supplied by Doug Fisher, shows why.   If you look close the top half of the tower is solid ice !

Icy Tower

Always like to see where the markets that this column appears in stack up compared to others …

This month I note a survey of 20 good places to live from the magazine US News – Here are some selected results – City and Ranking –

Portland, OR- #20

Seattle, WA – #7

Boise, ID – #6

Colorado Springs – #5

Denver, CO – #1

 

I have to admit that I like Denver – Even though it has the reputation of being a location where you may need a lawnmower and snow-blower on the same day !   They proved this saying with a nasty snow storm near the end of the month that was so bad it closed the airport.

Are you ready to be un-leashed?   If so, the big show in the desert April 16-21 this year. Yes, we are talking about the NAB show.   Not likely I will be going this year….No big EAS activity and no need to walk the floor looking for the latest toys.

Speaking of NAB…The organization is backing a request for additional time and funds allotted for station re-packing after the FCC’s incentive auction.     I wonder what some of the old timers would say if they were to come back to life and see what’s happening to broadcast TV spectrum?

Earlier in March , our own Jim Dalke was in the hospital dealing with ‘stones’.   Yeeouch !    Understand that corrective procedures went well.

Perhaps you have noticed that we have not heard much about copper thefts of late.   Not too long ago we were hearing about the theft of air-conditioners (this happened to my dentist) street light wiring and, of course, broadcast equipment.   It’s not that the bad-guys have all reformed, it’s based on the fact that the prices for, recycled just about everything, is depressed.   For instance …. A recycler used to pay 3 dollars per pound for copper.   This was just enough to make it worthwhile for the no-good-nicks of the world to rip it off .   Now the price for scrap copper is more like a buck a pound.   Couple this with greater efforts at curbing theft via security measures….Our copper items are less attractive.   The same thing is taking place for other items that were previously economical to recycle.

I’ve recently flown several times out of SeaTac Airport….You can’t help but notice that things are getting crowded.   The North Satellite used to be pretty much all United, now it’s pretty much Alaska. In the past an N-Gate was for just one plane…Now Alaska has several aircraft sharing the same gate with gate numbers now having a letter suffix.   Then there is the ever increasing presence of Delta that’s been expanding significantly.   The bottom line is little Sea-Tac airport handed some 42,000,000 passengers in 2015 and that number is going up.   This is yet another indication of how the Seattle area is growing at a rapid pace.   We are all familiar with the ‘forest’ of tall cranes putting up new buildings in Seattle and Bellevue…However we don’t think about the airport…Unless we use the facility.     Speaking of airports etc.…Last month I ran a picture of a new paint scheme for Alaska.   Did you hear that our hometown airline, Alaska, is one of several carriers that has made application to expand service to Cuba?

From the – Boy, that did not take long department – the FCC has granted a modified CP for a new FM station north of Everett on 103.3 (COL – Oak Harbor) The interesting part is the fact the call letters will be KMCQ-FM.     Up until EMF took over the operation of the Seattle area 104.5, KMCQ was that stations call, in fact, that was call used when 104.5 was in Oregon.   EMF changed it to KLSW.   There are a number of former Seattle area call letters being used by smaller stations in the State, for example – KLSY – Long time the call for 92.1/Bellevue – is now operating from South Mountain on 93.7.

Standards are great things…especially if they open the door to interoperability that was once closed.   Of late we have some progress to report –

In the world of Audio we now have AES70 that, according to its proponents, will allow Audio over IP (AoIP) devices, made by different manufacturers, to not only send their audio to and from each other but will permit the related control information to flow as well.   In the practical sense, this will mean that equipment made by Wheatstone or Axia, perhaps one day, can work together.   As we move beyond analog audio AES70 promises to be able to see this process accelerate.

 

Just about everywhere you look today – IP – is becoming the standard method which things communicate with other things.   The XLR and BNC cables being replaced with the RJ45 and Cat XXX. This is the case for Radio – and – Television.   This is especially the case for new buildouts

Recently a European operation demonstrated the power of IP with a remote broadcast consisting of 10 mic, 4 cameras, intercom, tally lights etc. all connected to their production studio some distance away all via Fiber and IP. The cool thing was they did not need a remote truck…     In the world of Radio and TV remotes and news gathering IP has become the vehicle of choice to get the picture and audio back to the station.   This has probably been the biggest revolution since we moved away from tape.

 

Ray Tomlinson is not a very familiar name…But perhaps should have been.   Ray is credited with being the inventor of modern email.   Ray died early in March at age 74..   Next time you write an email address and use the ‘@’ symbol between the users name and their address…..You can thank Ray …this was his idea.Was in Bellingham recently and took time to have lunch with Mike Gilbert. He was telling me about a fire they had at KARI in Blaine.     Apparently an old ceiling light fixture overheated resulting in a lot of damage to a couple of studio and adjacent rooms.Hubbard, owner of a cluster of 3 FM and 2 AM’s in the Seattle market recently changed formats on their 98.9 FM to what they are calling ‘Rock 98.9’.     According to those that follow these things, they are targeting a similar audience to that of KISW 99.9.     Let the games begin !

Sorry to note the passing of Anne Nelskog, wife of the late Wally Nelskog…radio broadcast legend in the Seattle area. Their daughter, Carol, continues to work in this business in Seattle.

I was recently sent this picture of a trusty old Pacific Recorders AMX Console that was the on-air board for 97.3 when they moved from Met Park East to the KIRO facility on Eastlake Ave.   The Bonneville facility there now has become an all Axia AoIP facility under the leadership of Tom Pierson. Bet this would look really cool at some LPFM station !

AMX Console

Congrats to WSAB and OSAB honcho, Murrow Professional Advisory Board member and broadcast station owner, Keith Shipman, on having one of his stations in Bend Oregon be named as OSAB Radio Station of the year.
I love looking back at advertisements for products that –

  • Ø Are not needed any more
  • Ø That many of today’s adults have no clue what they would be used for

I will let the following speak for itself –

Dial Eze

I was chatting with someone recently about this and they remarked they were at a transmitter site recently when they found a dial-phone that was still connected and working.   Am curious, will a present day central-office even respond to ‘dial-pulse’ ?

 

The FCC continues to try to breathe life into AM Radio with a number of proposals.   These proposals have certainly drawn a lot of comment, just how many have been filed with the FCC I don’t know.   Some of the more interesting thoughts that caught my attention –

 

  • Ø They are barking up the wrong tree.   One of the major reasons that AM’s are suffering is the ever rising noise level produced by all manner of un-regulated devices that have raised the noise floor, and in the process, severely reduced the coverage of all AM Stations. Many have been calling out the FCC for turning a ‘blind-eye’ toward these noise sources.
  • Ø The SBE has filed comments with the FCC regarding the ambient noise issue as well.
  • Ø Some are suggesting that the lower powered AM’s be forced out, with perhaps the government buying them thereby allowing the remaining AM’s to increase power, relax directional antenna systems etc. with the thought that AM is still valid, but only if we return to the days of much fewer stations.
  • Ø Others have proposed that AM’s be permitted a significant power increase.
  • Ø There are those that have proposed letting stations increase power at night.   Certainly there was a time when day-timers or full time stations that altered something at sunset was understood…but that day has past.   With FM these daily shifts don’t take place and many AM owners want the FCC to let them go full time, apparently ignoring the negative aspects of night time interference.
  • Ø The proposal to further restrict the coverage of major, Class 1A, stations at night has caused many of them to object.   (Think KIRO and KOMO in Seattle) KIRO-AM’s GM, Carl Gardner, has spoken out publically about this issue.
  • Ø There are EAS impacts involved here too with many of these Class A station being Primary Entry Point (PEP) facilities.
  • Ø Some Class A’s have a petition drive underway to preserve the historic sky-wave night signals.
  • Ø There seems to be a growing understanding that there will not be enough FM Translators to go around and that this effort will not, in itself, resolve all the AM issues.
  • Ø The FCC is finally getting pressure to require those that moved to the expanded AM band a few years ago to surrender one of their licenses (Like they were supposed to do way back when)
  • Ø As expected, some have proposed that the AM band be shifted to all Digital, perhaps DRM.
  • Ø One commenter suggested that the FCC should bring back AM Stereo (it did work pretty well)
  • Ø Several have recommended what I have been advocating for a long time – Provide a migration path for AM to the spectrum adjacent to the present FM band where Low-Band VHF TV was until the switch to ATCS.

The bottom line is that there is a lot of interest in this activity and the FCC appears to be asking a lot of questions.   Many reasons to keep an eye on the results as they trickle out of WDC.   Whatever happens, AM is going thru major changes and will likely continue to do so for years to come.

Once again a broadcast station group has sold off a bunch of its towers to a firm that manages these structures. In this case, some 200 towers belonging to Alpha Media have been sold to Vertical Bridge…A firm, like American Tower, that specializes in vertical real estate.   I have to admit I would have never predicted that a station would sell its tower and then lease the portion used back…again providing that there nothing more constant than change.

This old saying is being underscored in the television business with the coming of incentive auctions and re-packing the TV band.   This all brings up another thought – Fight or flight?     The broadcast landscape is being changed that no-one would have even dreamed about several years ago.

A number of us got together on the 5th of March for breakfast before heading to Puyallup for the annual flea market sponsored by the Mike and Key Amateur Radio Club. One of the attendees was Lowell Smith who handles IT chores for Entercom in Seattle.   To my surprise, he has been studying for his Ham License….and to his surprise, he took the exam at the Puyallup event and passed!   Congrats to Lowell indeed!

Here he is, in his office at Met Park West next to a historic piece of test equipment.

Lowell Smith

This past month, the media that covers the media, has been doing pieces on the debt situation at iHeart Media.   This company, formally known as Clear Channel, is faced with some huge amount of debt… Like, over 20 Billion Dollars’ worth.   The question is what is going to happen to the company?   Much of this debt is in the hands of private equity firms.   One has to wonder if no-one really knows how to handle this. Not likely the Feds will come to the rescue like they did GM.   Not likely anyone would pay off the ‘note’ and buy the company.   In other industries they would be selling for some fraction on the dollar and/or be sold for ‘parts’.     Then there is a matter of Cumulus, the #2 Radio company that is also massively in debt with declining revenues.

I was recently over in Forks, Washington…..You know, that former logging town and home of Twilight?\

I went over to perform periodic work on the transmitters for NWPR (Northwest Public Radio).   Before I go on, let me provide you a brief overview of Forks –

  • Ø It’s a former logging town situated end the west end of Clallam County which runs along the north side of the Olympic Peninsula.
  • Ø You cannot receive any broadcast station from the Seattle area due to shielding of the Olympic Mountains.
  • Ø They receive about 3 times the annual rain fall of Seattle.
  • Ø Area population is 6,240 and it’s going down.
  • Ø It’s likely that this is the smallest market in the state with a broadcast station.

Now with that being said, the only AM/FM station in town historically sounded awful.….Now for the surprise …..

 

On my recent trip I put the radio in my 2016 Toyota Tacoma pickup on scan just to see what I could hear.   The scan stopped on 96.7 and out of my speakers came great sounding audio….Shortly thereafter the big surprise surfaced…They were operating in HD….and not just HD1              , but HD2 and HD3.   I quickly grabbed my smart phone and snapped a picture of the display (Yes those ae my fingers in the reflection)

….All I can say is wow !

HD Display

If you recall, earlier in my column I mentioned that I had lunch with Mike Gilbert….Mike confessed that he set up the HD-R equipment at KBDB.   And a great job did he !

On the drive back I could not help but think about this little station in this tiny market, with a great sounding station operating in Digital !!!!   I then began to think about all the excuses I’ve heard from broadcasters in much larger markets as to why they can’t/won’t install HD Equipment or how they are waiting for some magic moment to arrive when they can convince themselves that HD Radio is here to stay??

There has been some recent antenna activity on Cougar Mt.   EMF’s KLSW (104.5) began broadcasting in this area as KMCQ, licensed to Covington, from Radio Hill east of Enumclaw.   A while later they moved to the then Entercom site on Cougar connecting their 1.5 kw transmitter to the directional master antenna where they have operated for some time.   Recently, under new owners, EMF, they decided to compare the 6 bay DA to an Omni, single bay antenna at the tower top.   The following picture should you what the tower looks like now.

You can see the single bay on the top right (arrow).   Below that the 6 bay panel array used by all the Auxiliary stations installed there.   The 2 bay panel on the lower left, is KNHC, Seattle Schools.

Panel Antenna

 

Another change in the world of local AM stations- 1560/KRIZ is being sold to XL Media for $680,000.   The stations transmitter site is located south of Auburn and East of Pacific in Green River Valley.

Another addition to the South Lake Union area – Google has announced they will be moving into new buildings between Valley Ave and Mercer.   (Remember the Denny’s in that area?)

Nick Winter and I set off to deal with an issue recently on Crego Hill (West of Chehalis and South of Adna, transmitter site for KMNT, KSWS, KCKA-TV etc.) discovering that we could not access the site because someone had rammed the gate on the Access Road.     I contacted Darin Gerchak, Engineer at KCKA-TV, and he responded with the proper tool…..A hot wrench !

Gate Work

Congratulations to NAB’s David Layer, winner of this year’s Radio World Excellence in Engineering Award. David is the 12th person to be presented this award…joining a very exclusive club of which I am proud to be a member.

Received a note from Tom McGinley, former chief of the CBS cluster in Seattle.   He is now enjoying life in ‘MSO MT’.   From the sounds of things, spending a great deal more time on Ham Radio.   Wow is that ever a tempting thought.   Here I am approaching ¾ of a century and still working J

I wrote, in previous column, about KING-TV leaving 333 Dexter. One of my readers (Ash), wrote that he was old enough to recall when the KING Address was on the ‘other side’ of the building.   (on Aurora)

Time is flying – Just made reservations to attend the annual Seaside Amateur Radio gathering on the Oregon Coast – Perhaps I will see you there?

Big thanks to Jim Hatfield for the following items –

*Cocktail Lounge, Norway: * LADIES ARE REQUESTED NOT TO HAVE CHILDREN IN THE BAR.

*Doctor’s Office, Rome: * SPECIALIST IN WOMEN AND OTHER DISEASES.

*Dry Cleaners, Bangkok: * DROP YOUR TROUSERS HERE FOR THE BEST RESULTS.

*A Nairobi Restaurant: * CUSTOMERS, WHO FIND OUR WAITRESSES RUDE, OUGHT TO SEE THE MANAGER.

*On the main road to Mombasa, leaving Nairobi: * TAKE NOTICE: WHEN THIS SIGN IS UNDER WATER, THIS ROAD IS IMPASSABLE.

*On a poster: * ARE YOU AN ADULT THAT CANNOT READ? IF SO, WE CAN HELP.

*In a City restaurant: * OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK AND WEEKENDS.

*In a Cemetery: * PERSONS ARE PROHIBITED FROM PICKING FLOWERS, FROM ANY BUT THEIR OWN GRAVES.

*Tokyo hotel’s rules and regulations: * GUESTS ARE REQUESTED NOT TO SMOKE, OR DO OTHER DISGUSTING BEHAVIORS, IN BED.

*On the menu of a Swiss Restaurant: * OUR WINES LEAVE YOU NOTHING TO HOPE FOR.

*Hotel, Yugoslavia: * THE FLATTENING OF UNDERWEAR WITH PLEASURE IS THE JOB OF THE CHAMBERMAID.

*In the lobby of a Moscow Hotel, across from a Russian Orthodox Monastery: * YOU ARE WELCOME TO VISIT THE CEMETERY, WHERE FAMOUS RUSSIAN AND SOVIET COMPOSERS, ARTISTS, AND WRITERS ARE BURIED DAILY, EXCEPT THURSDAY.

*A sign posted in Germany’s Black Forest: * IT IS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN ON OUR BLACK FOREST CAMPING SITE, THAT PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT SEX, FOR INSTANCE, MEN AND WOMEN, LIVE TOGETHER IN ONE TENT, UNLESS THEY ARE MARRIED WITH EACH OTHER FOR THIS PURPOSE.

*Advertisement for donkey rides, Thailand: * WOULD YOU LIKE TO RIDE ON YOUR OWN ASS?

*Airline ticket office, Copenhagen: * WE TAKE YOUR BAGS AND SEND THEM IN ALL DIRECTIONS.

*A Laundry in Rome: * LADIES, LEAVE YOUR CLOTHES HERE AND THEN SPEND THE AFTERNOON HAVING A GOOD TIME.

*And finally, the all-time classic, Seen in an Abu Dhabi Souk shop window: * IF THE FRONT IS CLOSED, PLEASE ENTER THROUGH MY BACKSIDE.

That’s it for this month – Enjoy Spring !

Clay, CPBE – aka K7CR

The KEØVH Hamshack for March 2016

Hamshack March 2016

The KEØVH Hamshack for March 2016

Hamshack Photo March 2016

     The latest layout of the KEØVH Hamshack November 2015 till now!

I am continuing to recover from the head and neck cancer treatments. My doctors say I am doing great, the cancer cells are dying and going away, and I am progressing well. I will be getting another PET scan in the next couple of months for the follow up. As of this writing (which is really late for March, sorry Bill!) I am back up to speed enough to be taking some day trips to transmitter sites and doing some work that really needs to get done. I really want to thank my contractors and all the K-LOVE staff for all their help during the time I was in treatments and was not able to travel or take care of the things I usually do. Thanks to Rich Anderson W9BNO, Bill Frost WØBX, Greg Beveridge WB7AHO, Mike Baldur, Ray Uberecken AAØL, Jon Banks in Glenwood Springs, and of course all the fine folks at EMF who supported and prayed (and still do) for me, plus other friends around the country. I have been blessed beyond ALL imagination with love, care, support and friendship. I am grateful to our Lord for it all.

 

As a matter of fact, one of the things as I mentioned previously was that my wife and I want to do some motorcycle riding around the state of Colorado. What a more beautiful place to do so I cannot imagine. So as of the weekend of 3/12 to 13, I took a beginners motorcycle course sanctioned by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation of the USA at Blue creek Motorcycle School here in the Denver area and HIGHLY recommend this school if you are in the area and ever decide you want to pursue riding a bike with great training on how to be the safest you can be on a motorcycle. (http://www.bluecreekmotorcycletraining.com/) They even test you at the end of the two day course in skills riding and the written exam then when you pass it they give you a voucher to take the Colorado DMV so you can get your license motorcycle endorsement. So that is what I did. This is REALLY COOL! So now, after paying off medical bills we will look into getting a bike of our own one day in the next year or so. In the meantime I will probably rent a bike to practice on occasionally and get more experience. Lots of fun, YOU BET!

Jack on Bike

Training on a Honda Nightwing 250

 

Listening to a podcast of “Hamnation” with Bob Heil, I heard Bob talk about the “gentlemen’s agreement” about band use specifically concerning AM mode windows on the ham bands. Now this is not an official “band plan”, or allocations, but back in the days when AM was KING and SSB was starting to become popular on the HF bands, there were certain frequencies that were generally agreed upon to continue to operate in the AM mode. The ARRL has a couple of excellent pages on operating in this nostalgic but still really useful mode, especially if you enjoy the wider bandwidth fidelity of a great sounding AM station. Check out: http://www.arrl.org/am-frequencies.   Many have not only restored old AM tube rigs but when a broadcast AM station has retired an old transmitter these enterprising amateurs have even converted the transmitters to the 160, 80 and even some 40 meter operation. Check out http://www.amwindow.org/ for even more information and some great reading.

 

Here is another old Zenith model Royal 1000 radio as seen in the Kevin Costner movie “Thirteen Days”, a movie about the Cuban Missile crisis. Way too cool man! I have a model Royal 3000 Zenith. The 1000 was the first transistorized model that the company put out after stopping production on their tube radios, finishing out with the 600 series, like my A600 Zenith Transoceanic I featured here a month or so ago.

Costner

Actor Kevin Costner in “13 Days” with the Zenith Transoceanic Royal 1000 radio on the office shelf.

 

PRAISE GOD! We are making great progress on getting KLCX Pueblo (Rye CO) on air with its “new” to me Continental 816-R 5C. After a window in the weather where my crew from Galvanized Endeavors out of Colorado Springs (Alex Arpins Tower climbing do it all guys) was able to transport the transmitter from their loading dock to the site, up a really snowy road using chains, and some great help from Rich Anderson and Mike Baldauf, we are now turning the transmitter on and going thru the tuning process. It was a great day when I was able to turn it on and begin the tuning process. We did run into a couple of snags though and will get’er done here soon. These pics tell the tale:

XmtrTrailer01

I think I can I think I can I think I can, I KNEW I COULD I KNEW I COULD!

XmtrTrailer02

Delivery at the building! GREAT JOB GUYS!

And KEØVH getting to turn it on for the first time!

JackAtXmtr

And hey, how about some antenna stuff? Here is the latest addition to the antenna farm on “Truckzilla”! As some of you may remember, the K-LOVE company truck is a big Ford F-250, and when I went to work for EMF I had been driving a Dodge Neon before as a commuting vehicle, and going into a large truck was huge difference. So hence, “Truckzilla”! JJJ On board is my APRS setup, and a Yaesu FT-857D mobile HF thru 440 rig. My HF antenna is a ham stick (I have several different ones for different bands), and APRS antenna, and of course a 2 meter/440 antenna. I just replaced a Larsen 2m/440 antennas with a higher gain Diamond SG7500 NMO antenna with a 3.5 dB gain on 2 meters and 6 dB on 70cm! This is almost double what my Larsen was capable of. And, I ordered it off of Amazon.com on a Friday. Couldn’t believe it, it was here on the following Monday! Free shipping too from HamCity.com. And in the first week it definitely performed better than the old antenna. This will improve the signal received and transmitted thru the mountains of Colorado for sure. Great buy and value. Check it out at: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AR0A2M4?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00 or http://www.diamondantenna.net/sg7500nmo.html. Or you can get even more gain with their SG7900 model, but it is taller and requires more than a magnetic mount, or a very large one. The one I use is a 5 inch diameter model and it does very well with this antenna at highway speeds.

Antennas

You can also see the Ham stick and APRS antenna in this shot too. The Diamond antenna also looks really cool too.

 

And speaking of antennas, I am really glad that my contractor Mike Baldauf turned me on to the copper J-Pole antenna’s made by KB0BVR. They make several different models for different VHF frequencies and Mike had told me that they make very tough wind resistant antennas that he has used for EAS reception at some of his other stations. This really appealed to me as the winds in Colorado can sometimes get hurricane force and above in the mountains and Front Range. I have had to deal with a few broken, bent, and de-ranged (I like that) EAS reception antenna’s at several of my sites here. They cost in the 30’s, have several different frequency bands to choose from, and are easy to mount and setup. I chose the weather “band” model as most stations don’t have a problem picking up the LP1 and LP2 broadcast stations but the weather stations are of course sometimes a lot weaker. The first one I installed out on the NE plains of Colorado at a site worked very well and since the winds get really high out there I am looking forward to seeing how durable it is at this site in particular.

The J-Pole and mounted to the building

JPole02

 

JPole01

The signal received by the antenna was full quieting on the 2 broadcast stations and the weather station received by this site. A pretty good solution price wise, and in durability. AND, it would be fairly easy to duplicate cheaper with a trip to a hardware store! J

Don’t forget the Monday Night Broadcast Engineering

IRLP (and Echolink) Hamnet, every MONDAY EVENING

At 7pm Mountain time (9pm Eastern) 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 March 2016

 

 

 

Clay’s Corner:Providing news and views from a broadcast engineer’s perspective since September 1986

If you read this column regularly you may have noted the above header…Got thinking about the fact that this year will mark 30 years that I’ve been producing this creation….Thought it was time for a bit of dress-up.   Let me know what you think.

Keeping up with my routine of mentioning weather early in this column….The NWS announced that the Seattle area has broken the record for winter rainfall….as if any locals needed them to tell us that it’s been awful wet.   My guess is …This is all about getting even for those that were griping about our record dry summer last year.   Something along the lines of be careful what you wish for.   Looks like this will also turn out to be a snowless winter too, at least in the low-lands.

 

What happens when a track-hoe encounters a buried power line? Answer – The power line always loses.   Around the middle of February a contractor was installing water-bars – (Our dry-land readers can read about it here –   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterbar ) and encountered the buried (not so deep) power line that serves the Boeing site on West Tiger Mt.   The resulting BUZZZZAP caused an excessive amount of current to flow resulting in about 4 hours of un-planned generator testing at the electronic sites.

 

Congrats to KING-TV for accomplishing their move to Sodo, catty-corner from Safeco Field. Here are some my rambling thoughts –

Ø      Hard to believe they are going to tear down 333 Dexter.Ø      If you are old enough, you recall when they added that tilt-back glass front.Ø      The 333 Dexter address used to also include KING-AM and FMØ      In the old days, radio stations would build studios at street level so that anyone could walk by and see what was going on…..Then everyone moved inside…out of sight.Ø      TV stations, becoming increasingly concerned about security made getting inside feel like entering Fort Knox.     Then the Networks and some cable-news outlets moved to street level for all to see.   Now, bringing the trend to Seattle….you can actually see KING-TV in action.Ø      Who would have predicted that Sodo would be the home of new car dealers and a TV StationØ      And for those from other places – Sodo stands for South of Downtown.   (No idea why the other side of Downtown Seattle is not called Nodo).Ø      With KOMO operating from pretty new digs….Who is next?Ø      Did you note how the ownership of KING-TV is shown as Tegna and no longer Gannett? Tegna Media is a 42 station group operating in 38 markets billing themselves as the largest independent station group of major network affiliates – So there!

 

I have to think that the local Chapter Board has already made plans for a tour of the new KING5 facility !!

 

 

Just so you know….The FCC is requesting a budget of $358 megabucks for 2017.   So what are their goals for that pile of taxpayer cash?   Some of their announced goals –

Ø      Expansion of competitive telecommunications networks.Ø      Protecting public interest goals.Ø      Ensuring that networks are widely available to the American public.Ø      Effectively managing the FCC’s resources.     Ø      $16.8 Million for finishing their move to newer quartersØ      Shifting legacy applications and other matters to a cloud-based platformØ      An increase in the amount of spending for spectrum auctions and the costs of incentive TV auctions.Ø      Just in case you missed it….There was nothing said about enforcement of their rules.   Oh how soon I forget…They are now issuing huge fines to the big players while everyone else is on the honor system.

 

Tried listening to KMNT/104.3 on Olympia lately?   Something nasty has been making this impossible…Preliminary investigation has ruled out the Entercom 104.1 Translator. Matt Green is busy sniffing out the source.   My guess, from the sounds of it, he will find it to be an Intermodulation product with the contributors being a couple of local FM stations.

No shortage of news these days about how to pump new life in the legacy AM Broadcast band. An item I found interesting is the matter of AM receivers in vehicles. Apparently BMW concluded that it would be easier to just omit AM in their vehicle radios than to eliminate the noise created by their electrical and computer systems.   Apparently this has not set well with some of their customers with some users event resorting to trying to ‘hack’ AM radio capability back in their cars.     Have to wonder just how much AM band noise these cars create….Perhaps you will see a nearby ‘Beemer’ when you think that your radio has gone on the fritz?   (Shades of the Seattle electric busses?)

Last month I wrote about the call letters, KNBQ.   Over the years the logo was changed….This was the first one, if I recall correctly, right after they changed from KTNT-FM.

KNBQ

Sinclair, who owns stations in Seattle and Portland recently purchased the Tennis Channel for 350 Million bucks.   Hmmm, me thinks there are other things on their mind with this move.

 

For years many have been wishing that those that sit on the FCC had some technical background…I recently found out that German chancellor Angela Merkel has a doctorate in physics….Who knew?

 

Could it be that NAB Labs is thinking beyond the broadcast transmitter?   That’s my guess with the announcement of what they call ‘Pilot’   Completed with a snazzy logo-

 

Pilot

The announcement explained Pilot is “an initiative to bring together leading-edge companies, organizations and educators to advance broadcast technology and broadcaster innovation.”

Guess we will have to see what develops under the leadership of new hire, John Clark.

 

So why am I including a picture of an airplane in my Column?   A number of reasons…

1-     How many cities are home to an airline? (Alaska is based in Seattle and Frontier in Denver) 2-     Alaska only flies Boeing 737’s (which are make in Renton, adjacent to Seattle, that Denver based carrier buys foreign made aircraft) 3-     The have a new cool paint scheme….Did you see a hint of Seahawks colors in it?

 

Alaska Plane

 

 

Congrats to Jim Stenberg for his promotion to Principle Engineer RF Broadcast at American Tower

 

Interesting recent headline – US HOME PRICES RISE IN NOVEMBER; ALL-TIME HIGHS IN 4 CITIES.

That got me wondering who those might be and if Seattle was one of the 4.   The 4 are – Dallas, Denver, San Francisco and Portland Oregon – have either matched or eclipsed their all-time highs. On that topic the growth in home values in Western Washington has spread north with reports that home values are up in the 4th quarter of 2015 by 7.8% in Whatcom County (Bellingham area). Washington State ranked 3rd in the country in terms of home appreciation with 10.7% tied with Idaho. Colorado is at 10.9%.   Compare this to the national average of 5.8%.

 

 

It was bound to happen – The FCC has adopted a R&O that will require pretty much all broadcast and cable operators by putting their public files on-line.   This seems to be yet another step by the FCC to make changes that will enable them to manage compliance from WDC.   With local FCC offices being closed, who is going to stop by stations to inspect the old public files?   This will, also, make it easier for the ABIP inspector to check your files from their office.   This change will be phased in with the top 50 markets and stations with 5 or more fulltime employees will be first. One piece of good news is that will prevent some yahoo from coming into your stations and making off with a critical file that the FCC would be looking for the next day.   I can see some stations having a problem with this however…especially those stations that have had Pub File/FCC issues in the past.

Well folks – HE FINALLY DID IT.   Dwight Small, chief engineer of Entercom’s cluster of radio stations, has announced his retirement date…March 31.   Some random thoughts about Dwight – He has worked at Met Park for 31 years which must be a record <> He’s a genuine Cougar (WSU Grad) <> In the past, I was his boss and he was mine <> For the last 6 years I’ve been working for him as a contractor <> We have this thing about vehicles…He now owns the car and truck I used to own. <> He is a Ham who just happens to also own an Elecraft K3. <> We have a similar sense of humor and love of our language.   The bottom line is that I will significantly miss chatting with him professionally – He is, simply, the best. No word on his replacement. I do know a couple of folks that are inquiring.   As for future plans….I know that he has started building at his place on Lake Cavanaugh in Skagit County a place that has been his get-away for some time.   I have not heard about any retirement party of Dwight…But I’m sure it will be very well attended.

Dwight

Speaking of retirement – Don Peters, DOE at WSU in Pullman (and my boss) has retired the end of February. Nice to have been able to be in Pullman to wish him the very best.   They have a number of applicants being reviewed….Gee, one of the readers of this column could be on that list…..Don said that he was going to remain in the Pullman area and go fishing.

Don

At Don’s retirement gathering, in the NWPR/Murrow College facility in Pullman they had a very cool cake ….Don’t think anyone ate the piece with the tower on it…Likely saving this for Don.

Cake

 

These retirements are all part of what is being called the ‘Silver Tsunami”.   I was talking with a friend recently about how public utility firms are being impacted. He told me that one of the PUD’s said that 40% of their electrical crew members will be retiring in the next couple of years.     Just recently I was asked by a fellow in the HVAC business if I was thinking about retirement. I asked him if he thought I was looking old…He said no…It’s just that he was in his 20’s when we first met and he’s in his late 40’s now and was just doing the math.   Frankly I’m not sure that I will completely retire, however I will be cutting back….I’m just waiting for the employer or customer to make the first move.

As we get closer to the day of decision I wonder which TV station owners in the Seattle market will take the money instead of agreeing to stay in the TV Biz?   There has been a lot of talk about those stations that run religious or foreign language programming going away.   One has to wonder about those stations that ask for accept donations …Is it OK to keep the money?

SaveKPLU

Speaking of decisions….KPLU appears to be heavily promoting their Save KPLU efforts.   They have a few months to go to raise the 7 Million necessary to become an independent station (Much like KING-FM).   I understand they are working to become an official non-profit so that contributions will be tax deductible…It likely that this will help bring in the donations.   Frankly, with the amount of money in this area, I would not be surprised that someone would step up and write a check for the 7 Million.

Talk radio tends to be conservative in nature with names like – Limbaugh, Medved etc.   and can claim the most number of stations airing it.   If you recall, 1090/AM in Seattle, at least for a while, ran programming bearing the label – Air America.   It’s ‘slant’ was decidedly more liberal.   What surprised me was that in Liberal Seattle it did not succeed and the owners (CBS) opted for something else.     This brings me to the news that in Milwaukee, Wisconsin there is an effort being made to get a Liberal-Talk station on the air.   In this case, there are some interesting aspects – – A group called ‘Citizen Action of Wisconsin is trying to raise enough money to purchase, and change the format of an AM station. Milwaukee, like Seattle and other markets, has two local conservative stations.   I find this of interest in light of the efforts to purchase KPLU from PLU so that the format might continue.   Something similar was done with KING-FM.   I’m not saying there is a trend here…however, we have citizens who like a particular format, are going beyond the typical levels of support are going out and buying stations to achieve their goals.     With the values on AM stations going downward, perhaps the cost of these ventures are now less than they would have been in the past?

State broadcast associations have a lot in common in what they do. Some deviate a bit – Kentucky’s association recently surveyed their members to determine what areas of broadcasting will be seeing the most employment opportunities in the next 5 years.   The top 3? – Sales (of course)….Digital content creation (Duh) and ….(surprise) ENGINEERING.   Here is what they are saying – Top of Form

“ The third job growth area is for engineers. The engineering workforce was downsized due to consolidation and many of those left are nearing retirement age, Taylor says. But the jobs have changed. “Computers and digital put new demands on radio engineers to learn new technologies or leave.”

My guess is the same could be said for Television.

 

Back on January 28th – Comcast suffered a huge outage.   I became aware of this due the failure of a radio broadcast circuit that utilized the carrier.   What I found interested what the outage not only impacted the system I was involved with in Western Washington …but in checking their Web Site, involved a number of other markets as the following maps show.     Interestingly this was posted on their Web Site which you might not be able to see if your Internet provider is Comcast J

ComcastMap

 

This reminds me of some statements made by local electrical provider, PSE.   One of their reps was on local TV telling viewers that if their power was out they could check their Web-Site for more information.   I found this a bit strange in that most folks internet access requires power…Unless you use your smartphone. …and that only works until your batteries run down.

 

I often write about statistics that support why living in the Pacific Northwest is a great thing.   Often Seattle and Portland receive high marks, and good press.   Recently a new survey of the best places to live in the WORLD got my attention.     What was interesting that the ONLY place in North America that was mentioned was Vancouver, B.C.     Our Neighbor to the North.   As viewed from north of the 49th…This would be the Pacific Southwest perhaps?
You can read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3459417/Vienna-best-city-world-live-London-Paris-New-York-don-t-make-35-German-speaking-cities-dominate-quality-life-rankings.html#ixzz413z6IUh1
The FCC now has their famous M3 maps of Ground Conductivity available on-line in a printable form.   Interesting part of this announcement is the fact that they have specific data for the Puget Sound area.

Anyone who has measured AM Propagation in these areas will tell you that the Commissions M3 is a very rough and perhaps crude tool.   This is due to the fact that to conductivity of Puget Sound varies with tidal movement added to the fact that we have some extreme ‘conductivity breaks’ thanks to the actions of glaciers that left shortly before I was born.   This has been good news for engineers as only actual measurements tell the whole story.

 

Whoa – Is that Allen Hartle with a BEARD?   And – wow – Look at the color – Welcome to the club, Bro.

AllenHartle

Gee didn’t we just have a big switch from Analog (NTSC) to Digital (ATSC) ?? Now the wheels of progress are rolling full speed toward what will become ATSC 3.0.   In this case it does not appear that the FCC will be mandating backward compatibility.   Jerry Whitaker, VP for standards development put it this way – , “We can’t make consumers adopt it. It needs to be a ‘pull’ technology.”. This puts ATSC 3.0 in a similar category as HD Radio.     Speaking of which, It appears that vehicle makers are quickly catching on to the ‘trick stuff’ that HD Radio means for vehicle radios….Much of which depends on the data capabilities of HD-R.     In this case, consumers are wanting real time traffic reports, album art and weather forecasts on their vehicle radio.   All of this was not available prior to HD Radio.   In light of all of this, it’s hard for me to believe that smaller markets are going to be able to ‘hold-out’ and not install the technology much longer.   What is a radio station going to say when car dealers in their market tumble to the fact that these gee-whiz features don’t work because the broadcaster has been dragging their feet and start asking questions?

 

Recently I started looking for a replacement meter (Yes those electro-mechanical devices used to display an electrical value) for a transmitter.   I learned that the manufacturer had none…The next step was to check the manufacturer of the meter to see if they could be of help.   This turned into a dead end search.   I guess I have not been paying attention as I quickly discovered that all my searches for Weston turned into history lessons of this once great company that – went out of business in 2010!   Unfortunately meters are no longer used in new equipment having been replaced with computer based displays.   It was then I recalled how Nautel, in their V –Series transmitters had a single meter.   I was told they were pressured by some to keep it – So they did.   The next generation….No more meters.

 

Who hasn’t had their cell phone ring just to discover that someone has dialed them in error.   A friend of mine called me a while back….He was in his doctor’s office discussing his condition and I sat back listening in…without his knowledge.   Butt Dialing is becoming a more and more of an issue, at least with me.   Earlier I got a call, at home, from Ichabod who was working on an issue at a transmitter site in Eugene.   I listened for a while trying to figure out who it was, finally I heard him say something about butt-dialing…at that point he put the phone to his head and we were able to talk. I am now receiving several butt-dialed calls a month and wonder if this has something to do with a particular brand of phone or what? Don’t recall my old Flip-Phone doing that J

 

Alpha Media continues to grow….With the closing on a $264 Megabuck deal they are now the 4th largest group in terms of total stations. Let’s hope they are in better financial condition that a couple of those that are bigger.   Alpha does not have stations in Seattle (yet) but does in Portland.
One of my readers, Charles Shaffer, K7NW, correctly guessed the location of the un-usual tower light fixture I had in a previous column and wrote – “ I’m going to try “Eiffel Tower.”

 

Received an email from Stu Seibel (Retired from KIMA in Yakima) informing me that Tim Schall has moved on to Cherry Creek Radio.   Tim was at KCTS-TV in Seattle for quite a while. Apparently longing for more dusty surroundings, move back to the dryer- east side of the State.

 

It seems like every month there is a news release about the nasty effects of cellphones….This month comes the news that these communications tools are cooking mens sperm. Not sure they mentioned what they were doing to women – I’ll let you read it and get back to me –

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/12167957/Mobile-phones-are-cooking-mens-sperm.html

 

Everyone loves a mystery and, apparently there is one going on in Forest Grove Oregon (Not far from Portland)   According to news reports, residents are reporting a mysterious shrieking sound, the source of which they have not been able to locate.   What we do know is that it comes and goes and only is heard at night (perfect for a mystery).   You can Google Forest Grove Noise and hear what they have been concerned about.   I’m sure that readers of this column in the Portland Area have been following this with great interest….What broadcast engineer would not be?   For another mysterious noise…Read about the Taos Hum.   For me…I hear what sounds like an old noisy horizontal output transformer in a Conrac monitor most of the time….They call it tinnitus.   Likely due to working all these years listening to all the blowers at West Tiger.

 

If you were planning on attending the 2016 Crystal Radio awards on April 19th in Las Vegas to cheer a Seattle radio station accepting their award….You can forget it – We struck out this year.

 

Just about everyone has seen the EAS Handbook hanging somewhere near the control point of a broadcast station. (An FCC Requirement) If you every opened it you have likely thought that it was in need of updating.   The good news is that it will be.   I’ve been working with a CSRIC Committee on this task and I believe you will like what you see…..Someday….When the FCC decides to release it.

 

Speaking of the EAS – The FCC has out for comment an NPRM that has the potential to make substantial changes to EAS.   If you are involved with EAS or work at a station where you are responsible for compliance with the FCC’s EAS Rules you should be paying attention to this….Better yet, you should down-load FCC PS Docket No 15-94 (Released January 29th) and respond to the Commission with your thoughts and comments on their proposed new rules.   You don’t have to respond to every ‘We seek comment…..” .   The bottom line is failure to respond is telling the Feds that you will be happy with whatever they come up with.

 

As many of you know, I have been chairing the Washington State SECC for about 20 years (despite efforts to find a replacement) In this proceeding the FCC deals with SECC’s (State Committees) and LECC’s (Local Committees) like never before.   Historically they have only addressed issues involving their licensees….This time, they have included emergency management, EAS messages using various platforms…Including Social Media.   Security issues etc.

 

The day finally came when Sumner Redstone would step down as chairman of CBS/Viacom.   Phillippe Dauman is the new CEO.   I have a lot of memories about this as I was working for Viacom when Mr. Redstone and his firm National Amusements came along back in the 90’s.

 

I’m not sure which is more irritating, being placed on hold by a real-person or being put there by some telephone computer system…. Certainly there are times that you feel that someone has not pushed the ‘hold-button’ but rather the one marked ‘forget’.   Well a new study has found that more than half of Americans spend 10 to 20 minutes of every week on hold – That adds up to 43 days in a lifetime.   There are those that understand this and have made a business out of those who are waiting by playing messages, or spots to the victims       Then there is the automated attended that will not let you speak with a real person and will hang up on you if you try.

 

We all know about smart phones…But what about Smart TV’s?   Those are the ones that combine the function of the home-TV and a computer.   Projections are that half of US homes will have one by 2019

 

Back to how Seattle is growing ….News early in February about plans for a pair of 41 story buildings at Denny and Fairview.     I very much recall standing on the 20th floor deck of Met Park East and having nothing in blocking my view of the Sound all the way around to the Ship Canal Bridge.   Today, blocking that view is a forest of cranes and new buildings.   I used to tell people how Met Park was on the northern edge of the Seattle high-rise area…………Not any more !

 

SiriusXM appears to be doing very well with the announcement that their revenue was up 9% in 2015 to a record setting 4.6 Billion.   Guess they are here to stay J.

 

Well that’s about it – Spring is on the way…Temps are rising, my lawn needs mowing and my summer To-Do-List is being created by my wife J

The following is a contribution from old friend Bob Gorgance in Wisconsin ….Oops, almost forgot – [GROANER WARNING]

 

ARBITRAITOR – A cook that leaves Arby’s to work at McDonald’s

BERNADETTE – The act of torching a mortgage.

EYEDROPPER – Clumsy ophthalmologist

CONTROL – A short, ugly inmate

COUNTERFEITER – Workers who put together kitchen cabinets

ECLIPSE – What an English barber does for a living.

LEFT BANK – What the bank robbers did when their bag was full of money.

HEROES – What a man in a boat does

PARASITES – What you see from the Eiffel Tower

PARADOX – Two physicians

PHARMACIST – A helper on a farm

POLARIZE – What penguins see through

RELIEF – What trees do in the spring

RUBBERNECK – What you do to relax your wife

SELFISH – What the owner of a seafood store does

SUDAFED – Brought litigation against a government official.

PARADIGMS – 20 cents

I hope my warning was sufficient J

In the meantime – If you have some feedback, or a contribution, I’d love to hear from you my email address is k (seven) cr@blarg.net

Lord willing, will do this again next month in most of these same locations.

Clay, CPBE aka, K7CR

The KEØVH Hamshack for February 2016

01 TheKE0VHHamshack Logo

02 KE0VHShack

 

                    

 As some of you may know I am undergoing treatments for a head and neck cancer at SCL Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge CO near my home, a real blessing. As of this writing I have just completed 5 of 7 weeks of M-F radiation treatments and 1 day a week chemo-therapy. Praise God my prognosis is excellent, my docs telling me that this should be cured and I will never have any issues with it again. I am very blessed in this regard and am very grateful for all the prayers and care from family, (especially my darling angel of a wife Mai), friends and co-workers and so many we never would have believed it. The folks at the treatment center (only 5 minutes away from my home) have been some of the most wonderful caring people you could wish for. The process I must say is actually fascinating about the science of how they deal with this today. The radiation treatments are very detailed in their planning out of how to precisely aim and treat the affected area. Literal pinpoint accuracy to limit damage to the surrounding area is determined by a team including the doctor, and a radiation physicist, so as to hit the cancer cells and destroy them while limiting the co-lateral damage to healthy tissue. The biggest side effect for me thus far has been the damage to my saliva producing glands. While they will heal and return to function, during the treatments the saliva produced is limited and it has turned very thick. Makes it very difficult to eat without a gag reflex. Dry mouth is a constant issue too. Fortunately today they have all kinds of aid for these effects, from mouth rinses to even saliva producing gums to chew. Your appetite all but disappears during this time. I must admit this is no fun. You indeed do get fatigued and need a lot of rest. But, I will prevail! Praise God!

As mentioned above, the folks at my treatment center have been wonderful. And, being the engineer that I am, I had to understand how the process works and take pictures of the systems. I am getting a highly focused precise beam X-ray treatment of the affected area. The machine is a very large heavy unit that pivots around the treatment table while you are held in the precise same position every time by a mask that is form fitted to you before treatments begin.

Green Guy

LOOKS LIKE ME! Can you tell?

My form fitted mask. Note the toggles along the perimeter. This is for fastening the mask down to the treatment table seen in the picture below that will hold you in the precise position needed. They say that some patients take the mask home with them when treatments are done and use them for Halloween. No doubt!

Radiation Machine

This shows the radiation machine with the table. Your head fits into the holder at the head of the table and the mask fastens down onto that. Then the entire machine rotates around you aiming the beams precisely where needed. All computer controlled of course.

Control Room

The control room for the radiation treatments. There are 2 of these side by side in this facility.

Jack on Screen

Yep, that’s me getting the treatment. Good lookin’ guy huh?

During these times I have been resting and watching some cool stuff on Netflix. I was a fan of several shows back in the day that you can see on the internet now. And of course, I have to notice some of the props used in the shows. Check these out!

Dafoe on Phone

From the movie “Clear and Present Danger “ here is actor William De Foe using a satellite phone during one of the scenes. Note the “Harris” emblem on the equipment.

During an episode of “Airwolf”

Airwolf Ham

Look above the actors head, a Kenwood TS-520!

Airwolf Ham Closeup

 

These guys were supposedly geologists studying earthquakes. Comm’s back to base?

And from the movie “The Aviator” with Leonardo De Caprio:

Aviator 1

Yep, another Zenith Transoceanic, this time the H-500 model which I own!

Aviator 2

This is fun seeing these radios as props. Here’s another from the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie “Collateral Damage”

C Damage Yaesu

A Yaesu FT-101E? I can’t quite remember. Later in the movie I saw another one too.

Man you can get it all on Amazon. I must admit I want to try one of these sometime.

Microphone

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00YTZ7P50?colid=3OES9R41WIX8B&coliid=I3ULFDPIVIYY1Q&ref_=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl

With all of this going on, I haven’t had too many Hamshack adventures right now, but there will be more in the future. My wife and I are even planning on buying a motorcycle down the “road” and exploring CO together. And yes, ham radio will be going along! Stand by for that!

Don’t forget the Monday Night Broadcast Engineering

IRLP (and Echolink) Hamnet, every MONDAY EVENING

At 7pm Mountain time (9pm Eastern) 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 month! de KEØVH

 

 

Clay’s Corner for February 2016

Clay’s Corner for February 2016

I guess I’ve always been a bit of a weather-nut….When I was younger, before I discovered radio, I thought about getting into that field….Perhaps this is why I write about our weather in this column?

Looking back at 2015 some thoughts about this subject –

Ø         Last Winter was a no-show.   Very little snow, whining skiers, frightened farmers in Eastern Washington and apprehensive fire fighters.

Ø         Our summer was glorious with lots of sunshine leading to lots of talk about drought…Later in the season they were even water rationing in Forks!

Ø         On cue, the switch was thrown about the first of November with the clouds rolling in and before long those warm summer days were washed away in the reality that we are indeed in the PNW.

Ø            December the skies opened even wider giving us the 2nd wettest December on record with over 11inches falling.

Ø            December also brought more records to the Mountains with Snoqualmie Pass receiving over 193 inches of snow…112inches falling in one week.   For the first time in a while, vehicle access to the broadcast sites on West Tiger have been left to over the snow vehicles.

Ø         As the year came to a close the spigot shut off and we were giving a period of cold/clear frosty weather but not before ending the year with considerably above normal precip.

Looking ahead we are reminded that a record setting El Nino is lurking out there. It’s being blamed on lots of un-usual weather.   For this area….The forecasters have thrown in the towel and proclaimed the drought over and admitting they are not really positive about what lies ahead.   This leaves us all in the same boat – What we do know is what falls to the ground.

The year started out with plenty of snow at West Tiger…To the point that chained up 4x4’s could not get to the site…Those of us that maintain equipment up there could only sit and wait, with fingers crossed, that there are not major failures as none of the broadcast stations up there have ever deemed it necessary to purchase over-the-show vehicles for times like this.   In years past Alan Robinson would take one or more of us up in his snow-cat, however Alan has retired and sold his machine.   Doug Fisher of ComTek Service has a John Deere Gator with Mattracks that is available for hire should the need arise.   Conditions began to moderate after the middle of the month to the point that we again had access to the sites on the mountain with conventional vehicles.

A couple pictures were transmitted to subscribers to the West Tiger Remailer – The first one came from Ralph Sims who operates at site at the summit of West Tiger for Accel Net (Oh yes, they have a snow machine to get to their site …Grumble)   He sent a video of folks skiing thru the site – in SHORTS!   Rob Purdy of Hubbard posted the following what we call WTM-2- (West Tiger Mountain 2 as opposed to the first broadcast site on the summit of West Tiger, WTM-1) the location of the CBS, Hubbard, ION and other transmitters.

SatDishSnow

 

If you have been around towers and tower lights, you will instantly spot this very unusual beacon and conclude it’s nothing like what we have around here.   This beacon is mounted on a very famous tower.   Thanks to Jon Owen of GatesAir for providing it for my readers.   Any guesses?

FamousBeacon

 

I recently learned that Tim Schall is no longer with Town Square Media in Yakima/Tri-Cities. He has been replaced by Kurt Oberloh.   Whereas I have not heard from Tim – I have no information as to his present status.

Some data was recently released on how things have changed in the last 2 years on how we get TV….Not wishing to bore you with the raw numbers …Here are some of my take-aways-

Ø         The number of Pay TV households is about the same

Ø         The number of households that pay for cable dropped .7%

Ø         The number of households that get their TV via Satellite dropped 1.6%

Ø            Interestingly of households that have multiple vendors went down 3.8%

We have been hearing a lot recently about cord-cutters and the data supports it –

Ø         Non pay-tv households increased 7.3%

Ø         Cord cutters increased 12.5%

Ø         Those that have never had a cable (other than antenna) connected increased 5.7%

There are a lot of reasons for cutting the TV cord…Perhaps the most compelling is the fact that the cable industry continues to raise prices and still believes that the more channels the better.   The problem here is that the supply and demand equation runs into a problem with Cable and Satellite both forcing you to pay for channels that you don’t want.   Many look at the OTA Model – with Radio and TV you only listened or viewed what you wanted and it was free to you with cost of production and delivery being paid for via advertising.   The second big reason for the decline of these delivery systems is the fact that the Internet, with its ever higher speeds, has become a reasonable vehicle for delivery…And your ISP bill is a bargain.   This is the reason that Cable is investing, big time, in their Internet capabilities…They well know that this is the way to keep their profits up.   On the personal side I recently dropped Cable in favor of Satellite. Not only are my costs much less than cable but the video quality is superior.   With Cable I got one ‘HD Box’ and one SD Box for the other set.   With Satellite I get HD on both sets.   With all that I had to make the decision to be happy with my DSL knowing that this computer is not going to be used to watch movies etc.     Perhaps I am just old fashioned?   At this age, perhaps I should be?

Nielsen released some figures on how much time American Adults spend with different media per month in the second quarter of 2015 –

Ø         As one would guess – the biggest audience for TV is 50+ while the smallest is 18-34.   This begs the question – Will the younger set watch more TV when they get older, or will this dip in viewing continue into their later years?

Ø         For Radio the pattern is similar, however the dip in the 18-34 group is not as deep as with TV, perhaps good news for Radio in the long term?

Ø         For those devices like DVD, Games, Multimedia etc. the curve is the opposite with 18-34’s being the heaviest users. (Not surprising)

Ø         The 18-34 group is really strong with 18-34 followed by a close second 35-49’s

Speaking of Nielsen…..I guess you could say the dust has not yet settled.   First a product call Voltair was produced whose mission was to increase the Nielsen sub-audible coding in broadcast audio.   This was of special concern during periods of time when the broadcast consisted mainly of talk. Many of these devices were purchased and installed and, from what I have heard, stations were pleased with their investment.   Attention then shifted to Neilson who, after considerable study, made certain changes to their encoders which all participating stations performed.   Now what happens when the ‘remodeled’ Nielsen encoder is paired with the device that was sold to correct the shortcomings of the encoder? Well, from what I have been hearing, all is not a bed of roses. Many stations have complained that they can now ‘hear’ artifacts in their on-air audio causing them to back down the amount of enhancement produced by the Voltair to the point that some stations are wondering if they should have purchased he device. (they go for more than pocket change).   I suppose, in time, this will all be sorted out….Meanwhile there are frowns and smiles to be seen depending who you talk to.

If you recall, last month, I wrote about the fact that Vancouver has (finally) turned on an FM Stations HD Radio signals.

CKNW_HD

In this case, it’s co-owned CFMI on 101.1 transmitting from one of Vancouver’s popular transmitter sites.   What I did not write about was the impact that this operation had on a translator licensed to WSU’s Northwest Public Radio in Bellingham that was on recently installed at King Mt and operating on 101.3.   The impact of the upper digital sideband from CFMI, operating with a robust -14dbc on 101.3 was severe in the Bellingham area, especially because the CFMI transmitter site is line of site to the area.. It was if the translator had reduced power to about half a watt.   This is clearly a situation where a station adding HD can, quite effectively, protect their adjacent channels.   The lesson learned is to pay close attention to any FM station that is not operating HD, especially, if you operating a translator on an adjacent channel.

Yet ANOTHER chapter in my WHERE’S THE OUTRAGE Department –

The dose of cold weather we had around the first of the year caused me to develop rather strong feelings for those that install chain-link fence gates in these parts.   For some odd reason they install them with a drop-rod that goes below grade into a piece of pipe that fills with water that freezes creating a gate that won’t open unless you use a –

Ø         Torch to heat the rod to melt the ice

Ø         Torch to cut off the rod

Ø         Saw to cut the rod

Ø         Wrench to take apart the whole thing

Ø         Grrrrrr

What do they do in areas where freezing weather is common all winter?   I will admit that up at West Tiger we have such a gate and, every winter, I pull the drop-rod up and lock it there until spring.

 

Where’s the outrage update –

According to reliable sources the Tacoma translator is still on the air translating an AM station that is not.   Perhaps we should chalk this one up to the fact that no-one cares, least of which the FCC that has clearly demonstrated that they no longer are interested in enforcement of their rules at the local level preferring to issue huge fines in the hope that such actions will demonstrate to the ‘little folks’ that they mean business……..Right!

Recently it has been reported (by me and many others) how some super-sized broadcast groups are in dire financial position….So, to perhaps demonstrate to the little guys they mean business, the FCC recently fined Cumulus some $540 Grand regarding violation of sponsorship ID rules.   The nice Mr. Commish is letting them pay the fine on the ‘installment plan’ with $15,000 to be paid over 36 months.

More – WHERE’S THE OUTRAGE –

One area where there is almost universal agreement – AM radio is, in some cases, on life-support. My question is – Who Cares?   Certainly not those Millennial’s that equate AM Radio with the horse and buggy, Black &White TV’s and other technologies that now (In their mind) populate the dust-bin of history.   I hear the plight of AM Radio from broadcasters that feel ‘stuck’ with an AM and want a full-power Class-C FM to pull them back from the brink. I hear the FCC make attempts to make it easier on AM via their regulation…but what I don’t hear is ‘Outrage’ from the average Joe.   Could it be that they just don’t care?.   Other than those that use AM to provide them with their dose of news/talk, traffic reports and sports, would they be outraged if AM suddenly went totally away?   I suspect the answer is no.   Are we trying to lead a horse to water that is NOT thirsty?…..Consider one of LA’s legendary stations, KFWB was just sold for $8 Million.. Again, where is the outrage of the masses?Which brings me to the idea that one way to secure something is to utilize technology from the past.   For example – If you are concerned that someone might access something with your present ‘Number Pad’ access system?   Why not replace that number input device with a – Rotary Dial – that was used prior to the Touch-Tone phone?   How about replacing it with a ‘telegraph key’ that would require that you enter your PIN via Morse Code?   Talk about a security enhancement !.   The same concept could be used with computers.   You want an example of how Millennials are stumped with technology that is not all that old?   Consider the fact that, perhaps, the majority of drivers today cannot operate a manual transmission.   You often hear about a vehicle being stolen and quickly abandoned because the thief could not figure out how to make it work – The following item underscores my point.

MillenialTheft

 

Congratulations to Phil Johnson (Retired KIRO Radio pronouncer and current EAS LECC Chair for the Central Puget Sound Operation area on getting his original Amateur Radio call letters back – K7BNU.

Congratulations to Phil Van Liew who is now the Chief Engineer of CBS Radio in Seattle filling the slot for retiring Tom McGinley

We are all saddened to hear about the passing of Mark Kennedy.

 

MarkKennedy

Mark Allen Kennedy, 58, of Yakima, died Friday, December 25, 2015 at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital.

He was born September 16, 1957 in Laverne, Minnesota to James Patrick and Shirley Ann (Carlson) Kennedy. As a young child, Mark’s family moved to several cities and settled in Spokane, WA in 1973. He graduated from Shadle Park High School in 1976. Mark attended Montana Tech in Butte, Montana and took some classes at Eastern Washington University.

Mark worked in television broadcasting for 35+ years, holding a number of positions at television stations in Spokane. For the past sixteen years, he has worked for KNDO/ KNDU-TV in Yakima and the Tri-Cities, where he became Director of Engineering. He was an enthusiastic engineer; a dedicated problem solver who approached the tough moments in life calmly, analytically, and with a wry sense of humor. Outside of work, Mark had a passion for music, and was a very involved member of his parish. He was in the Yakima Valley Community Band for the past three years and was a member of the Knights of Columbus. For the past 16 years, he was a member of Holy Family Catholic Church where he sang in the choir.

In a church choir more than three decades ago, Mark met Debra Ann Replogle. They married in Spokane on June 20, 1981 and built a beautiful life together. Mark found great pride and joy in his wife, their daughters, and their grandchildren.

Mark is survived by his wife of almost 35 years, Debbie Kennedy of Yakima, his daughters, Beth (Justin) Gil of Spokane, Laura (Jack) Nieborsky of East Wenatchee and Diane Kennedy of Highwood, Illinois; four grandchildren, Kalize Gil, Alice, Henry and Ruby Nieborsky, a brother, David (Stephanie) Kennedy of Spokane, a sister, Marcia (Chad) Graves of Richland, and numerous nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents. Mark will be deeply missed by all who knew, respected, and loved him.

MarkKennedySitting

 

I did not know Mark very well, our connections were always about EAS where he was a great help with the EAS Program in the Yakima Valley. Mark was with KNDU/KNDO in Tri-Cities and Yakima as their Chief Engineer for many years where he earned a great reputation.   Mark started at KNDU/KNDO about 2000, prior to that he was with KAYU and KXLY

Jer Hill wrote – Wow! Mark was a great friend and was most generous with his time to me and to countless numbers of people. He had the mind of a rocket scientist when it came to his work and the humility to work hard. He was well known in SBE chapter 51 circles and you could always ask him a question about something technical that was beyond your reach because he had probably already solved it. This is a very sad day for his family and for all of us in the SBE family and the many people of eastern Washington who knew him.

If you have other memories of Mark that you’d like to share – Please send them my way – Clay

The NAB has teamed up with NPR on urging the FCC to take action that would lead to the installation, or activation, of FM Chips in Cellphones.   Their effort has a lot of support from not only broadcasters but Emergency Managers and first responders.   This has been a long battle that started several years ago.

I see a number of problems with the concept –

Ø         The phones (that I know of) do not have a built in antenna for receiving FM depending on the use of ear-buds doubling as an external antenna.   If you are like me….you have a smart phone but never plug in earphones.

Ø         There is not a present method in place that would alert the phones user as to what frequency to use to receive emergency information.

Ø         There is not (as far as I know) any organized system that would feed this information to certain FM stations.

Ø         Did you also notice that AM Radio is completely left out of this conversation likely for the reason that the receiving capability of a small form-factor cellphone does not lend itself to AM antennas.

Ø         In the case of a large scale disaster (Like our forecasted 9.0 quake) power would be knocked out and within a day or two – Most of these cellphone radios will be useless.

This all reminds me of the discussions we are having regarding having a method for Emergency

Managers to reach the public after a major quake which is part of Cascadia Rising.   Historically government officials have relied on Broadcasters being there for them to communicate with the public after a disaster.   Emergency Managers have, largely, not taken into account that broadcast stations are going to be knocked out by natural disasters also and have no way to reach the public in these circumstances.     This is the reason that I have advanced the idea of an Emergency Public Information System (I call it EPIS) that would provide government entities with a means of distributing emergency information to the public. The Seattle SBE Chapter will be involved these discussions.

One of the biggest questions to face and NCE Station in the Seattle market in a long time is ‘Will KPLU be able to come up with the funds to purchase the station from Pacific Lutheran University…or will it be sold to U-Dub’s KUOW?   Rather than read about my thoughts on this matter – I refer you to the following link – http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattlepolitics/2016/01/15/the-drive-to-purchase-and-preserve-kplu-fm-six-months-to-do-everything/   I do know that the staff at KPLU are optimistic that they will be able to pull it off – Time will tell.

Nielsen is out with some interesting numbers. In this case numbers indicating the audience size expressed as million per month for three different forms of media in the U.S.

Ø         TV – 282

Ø         Radio – 259

Ø         Internet – 182

While you are digesting this ….Gallup released a study that showed that TV hit a new low as a favorite way to spend an evening.   According to the poll results, a record-low 16% now name TV as their favorite evening pastime 34% now say ‘Staying home’ as their first choice.   Looking at this the other direction – 84% would rather do something other than watch TV in the evening and 66% would rather not stay home.

Looks like the effort of Al Jazeera to become a player in the world of cable news in the U.S. have failed with the announcement that they are ‘folding their tent’ by the end of April.   They stated that, after 3 years of efforts… low ratings and lack of advertisers were the deciding factors.   If I recall a long-time KING-TV anchor went to work for them….Wonder if he will be back?   Already a weather forecaster that worked for KIRO-TV left for A-Jaz is reportedly coming back to KCPQ/13

I love how call letters keep getting recycled – This time the familiar call, KNBQ-FM will be showing up on 98.5 from Capital Peak.   I have a bit of history with that Call going back to 1986 where it was the call that replaced KTNT-FM in Tacoma.   Viacom dropped the call in favor of KBSG.   The call then went to Nebraska for a while and then came back for use on 102.9 under Clear Channel.   The call letters KBSG are now ending up in Westport, WA.

In the job opening department – a couple of this this month –

Ø         In Sacramento, Ca. Ion Media is looking for a Chief Station Engineer.   Contact jobs@ionmedia.com for more info.

Ø         In Pullman they are looking for a Director of Engineering and Technology, DOE for NWPR/NWPT.

In this case, Don Peters is retiring. (Yes, you would be my boss) For more info – https://www.wsujobs.com/postings/23215

If you are considering a job in the Seattle area – Here is a web-site that you might want to view.

http://www.trulia.com/home_prices/Washington/Seattle-heat_map/   Even if you are not….It’s very interesting to look at average home prices in this area as well as rental prices too.   This goes a long way explaining why our freeways are so congested as people opt to bunk where they can afford it. Helping to drive up the cost of housing in this area is the huge influx of people filling the large job market coupled with a lack of available housing.   Let’s face it – the Seattle area is booming.

Are you ready for 4K ? – First of all try and avoid confusing this with 4G the wireless carrier thing.  4K is the ‘buzz-term’ used for ATSC 3.0 that was demonstrated via a local Vegas TV station recently during CES (KHMP-TV).   There is a lot of excitement over it with multiple industry equipment makers dreaming of sugarplums (aka Dollars)

A lot of folks knew that this was going to happen….The proposed 101 story building to be constructed downtown Seattle has run into the raised palm of the FAA.   For some reason, every once in a while, someone concludes that the FAA’s height restrictions are ‘soft rules’ that can be overcome.   Right across the street the owners of the present 76 story building, a few years ago, invited a number of broadcasters to a meeting where we were told about their plans to erect big poles on the top of the building for broadcast antennas that would provide a superior location to what they called – substandard mountain top locations…uh-huh!   We all know how that went.   The FAA stopped that one cold in its tracks.   Those of us that have been working in this market for a while also will recall the proposal to build very tall towers on Capitol Hill and Cougar Mountain that met the same fate.   The FAA’s territory is something they protect very well with the success rate of those that challenge it very poor.   I’m ready to be surprised with this proposal, but I’m not putting any money on it.

For many years I have heard various stories about how putting batteries in the refer will prolong their shelf life.   Now another chapter – Freezing (Not just keeping them cool) NiMH and NiCad batteries can boost their lifespan by 90 percent…Meanwhile cooling those Alkaline’ s will increase their shelf-life by 5 to 20 percent.   Another use for the freezer is reviving a hard-drive.   The advice is to put it in a zip-lock bag in the freezer for 24 hours then, try and recover the data.   Of course you can send to it a firm that specializes in this kind of work…No word on whether or not they use freezers.

Last month, thanks to reader, W7ALF, listed the chief engineers of a number of local radio stations.   This time more views of the past from the same source.   This time from the pages of the 1966 Broadcasting Yearbook – Chief Engineers of TV Stations – Remember these fellows?

Bellingham – KVOS-TV /12 – John Price

Lakewood Center- KPEC-TV/56 – Bill Evans

Seattle – KCTS-TV/9- John Boor

KING-TV/5- Robert Ferguson

KIRO-TV/7- Chuck Morris

KOMO-TV/4-Cliff Miller

Tacoma – KTNT-TV/11 – Dick Engh

KTVW/13/Ray Swalley

Here’s a headline that will grab your attention –Your smartphone is making you hallucinate Really!…..According to a Georgia Tech professor, Robert Rosenberger our portable phones are giving us a new, what he terms – ‘Learned bodily habits’….The phone actually becomes a part of you, and you become trained to perceive the phone’s vibrations as an incoming call or text,” …… “Due to these kinds of habits, it becomes really easy to misperceive other similar sensations.”   He explains that other actions can make your body ‘think’ that your phone is really vibrating signally an incoming call only to come to find out that it is not.   This leads me to ask you – Have you reached for your phone only to find out that you were not receiving an incoming call?     Perhaps because I rarely put my phone on vibrate I’ve not had that problem………………yet!

As if your cellphone is not creating enough problems comes yet more from those that propose that your phone is indeed causing you real harm.   I will let you read it for yourself –

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/02/technology/at-cdc-a-debate-behind-recommendations-on-cellphone-risk.html?_r=1

We’ve all heard the term ‘Luddite’….or Luddite thinking (Probably are guilty of using it too) Did you know where the term came from?   It’s named for a fellow named Ned Ludd who, being fearful of the invention of mechanical looms used in the textile industry.   Now I have come to learn there are actually two types of Luddites – 1) The old fashioned hand-wringers who are afraid of anything new and innovative…and 2) Soft-Luddites who say they embrace technology but want to go slower.   Ok, now that you know, you can go forth and apply the proper labels J

The following was submitted by Mike Brooks, Ops Manager at KING-FM – Carefully read the sign on the tripod –

FibreNotCopper

 

Mike wrote – “Seen on Mercer Street, Seattle, Comcast telling copper thieves openly: “Please don’t steal me, I’m just glass!”

My invitation to write me has been noticed.   In this case Jon Pearkins from Edmonton, Alberta wrote about my writing that it was difficult to find an AM/FM receiver with a connection for an external Antenna.   He mentioned the offerings from C Crane – http://www.ccrane.com/!xPpxmtJr-X2-fHMZ6!ngOA!/.   Jon is, in addition to a reader of this column, a broadcast band DX’er.

In the past we reported on the demise of TFT…Now comes word that their assets will be auctioned.   Someone who examined their place said it’s as if they just got up, walked out and locked the doors. The same end comes to a lot of companies that failed, for one reason or several, to keep up with the market and go out of business.   At one time the EAS equipment that everyone must have was made either by Sage or TFT….Today it’s down to Monroe or Sage.

Thanks to Steve Flyte, Field Engineer for EMF, to sending me this picture of the famous Stonehenge Tower in Portland, Oregon home of many of Portland’s FM Stations. It’s been said that this tower looks much like Seattle’s Space Needle…without the disc at the top.   There are a number of major differences, for example, the legs are made of pipe pumped full of high-strength concrete. The antenna at the top was made by Jampro – A mate to it resides on a much shorter tower on Seattle’s Cougar Mt.

In the transmitter building is a big Shively multi-station combiner.   If you have the chance, and you are interested in towers and transmitter sites, be sure and add this to your bucket list.

PortlandStonehenge

Recently a piece on MSN’s Business Insider caught my attention. It was a ranking of all 50 states economies…So I scanned thru the list to see where some states ranked.   At #13 was Oregon…#3 was Colorado and at #1 was non-other than the State of Washington.   Here is what they said about the place I live –

Washington state scored extremely well on most of our metrics. Its Q2 2015 annualized GDP growth rate was a stunning 8.0%, by far the highest among the states and D.C. The November 2015 average weekly wage of $1,073 was the second highest in the country, and was 5.6% higher than the weekly wage in November 2014, the third highest wage growth rate.

Guess this explains why we have a forest of cranes building stuff and our freeways are clogged?

Here’s another picture from Portland’s Stonehenge Site…This time inside the transmitter building.   On the left is Steve Flyte with Kyle McGuire standing in front of K-Loves new Nautel GV30N transmitter.   (This is the same model as used by KING-FM in Seattle). Both of these fellows get to the Seattle area periodically dealing with the 104.5 on Cougar Mt.

TwoKLoveGuys

It’s been a year !

CuteDoggie

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since our home was blessed to add Yagi to the family. This little guy, rescued from someone in Wenatchee that did not want him, has been more than a blessing. I just wanted you all to know.

 

As you know, older folks like to look back (perhaps because we can see further in that direction?)

Looking back to 1915 it’s interesting to note some of the changes that have been made –

Ø         The average life expectancy for men was 47 years (Just think now how a number of our presidential candidates will be, if elected, over 70.

Ø         Fuel for cars was only sold in drug stores.

Ø         Only 14 percent of homes had bathtubs.   Gee this goes full circle as there are many new homes today that only have showers and no tub.

Ø         Only 8 percent had telephone.   We might get to those numbers with landline phones as many cut the cord making their cellphone their only telephone.

Ø         The tallest structure was the Eiffel Tower in Paris (Dwarfed by many of today’s buildings and towers.

Ø         The US average wage was about 22 cents per hour….Ahh the wonders of inflation.

Ø         The average US worker made between $200 and $400/year. (And this was BEFORE Broadcasting came along)

Ø            Accountant could make $2000/year (Waaay before Excel) and a Dentist $2500.

Ø         A Vet could make $1500 to $4000 per year (Animals were a lot more important then…Their wages likely went down when the automobile came along)

Ø         A mechanical engineer could make 5 Grand a year.   (Nice to know that some engineers made good money)

Ø         95% of births took place in homes.   Probably having a lot to do with how long it took to get to a hospital considering the mode of transportation.

Ø         90% of Doctors had no college education.

Ø         Sugar cost 4 cents per pound (Likely before the masses became addicted to the stuff

Ø         Coffee was 15 cents per pound (obviously way before Starbucks)

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

Ø         The population of Las Vegas was only 30

Ø            Crossword puzzles, canned beer and iced tea had not been invented.

Ø         2 out of 10 adults could not read or write (in some cases, not much improvement here)

Ø         Only 6% of all Americans had graduated from High School.

Ø            Marijuana, heroin and morphine were all available, over the counter, at local corner drugstores.

We can only guess what those in the future will write about 2015 in 2115.

i-Heart stirred the pot with their cluster of radio stations recently by swapping and changing formats between their FM Stations on 106.1, 93.3, 102.9 and 104.9.   From what I understand the call letters KUBE that has been associated with Cougar Mt for many years may end up elsewhere. The rationale is to make their stations more competitive in the Seattle metro market. National Media caught these changes with interesting references to the power of the stations….In this case, all they mentioned was the ERP or Effective Radiated Power.   They made no mention of the HAAT or Height Above Average Terrain of the stations.   My guess is that the technophobes that write these things have no clue about the impact of elevation in FM.   This is a very common problem with something that requires the use of (horrors) more numbers to better describe the coverage of a radio station.   An example would be KUOW who operates with 100,000 Watts is thought of as having more coverage than KPLU on West Tiger that operates with an ERP of 68,000 Watts – In truth, the opposite is true.   Jim Stevens, many years ago had an elegant solution to this problem this problem.   He would multiply the ERP of a station by the HAAT and come up with what he called ‘Kilowatt Feet’.   Today, with the shift to Meters for measurement, we could do the same thing but call it ‘Kilowatt-Meters or kM’   Doing this you would take KUOW’s 100kW @224 meters and come up with 22,400….KPLU’s 60kW @707 meters would be 48,076 kM. Clearly demonstrating that the higher powered station does not have more coverage and that it requires the use of both figures to –properly- deal with the issue.

AM radio has long been measured by the amount of transmitter power only also.   Folks are shocked when they learn that KVI with 5,000 watts on 570 has better coverage than a 50 Kilowatter higher in the band. The fact that the lower dial position yields better coverage for the same power is pretty deep for the technically challenged. I have always thought that FM’s elevation should be thought of as AM’s Dial Position.   Any way you get my point.

Don’t forget to mark your calendar for one the areas more popular events…The Mike and Key Club Flea Market at the Puyallup Fair Grounds – March 5th this year.

That’s it for this month – Gee, only 11 more months this year.   Think SPRING!

CUL – Clay, K7CR, CPBE etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The KEØVH Hamshack for January 2016

01 TheKE0VHHamshack Logo

 

The KEØVH Hamshack for January 2016

02 KE0VHShack

 

            For the month of January, Please click on this link: 

 

http://www.ke0vh.com/hamshack/TheKE%C3%98VHHamshack.pdf

 

 

Don’t forget the Monday Night Broadcast Engineering

IRLP (and Echolink) Hamnet, every MONDAY EVENING

At 7pm Mountain time (9pm Eastern) 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 month! de KEØVH

Page 3 of 15
1 2 3 4 5 15