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Clay Freinwald

Clay’s Corner for June 2014

Providing news and views from a broadcast engineer's perspective since September 1986

Well here we are again …Getting rained on – Meanwhile Arizona and Alaska have huge fires and California is trying to figure out how Saudi Arabia does it.  In Texas,  some cities are reported to be 45 days from being out of water.  For those of us that call Western Washington home, we are proud of our zillions of shades of green and the lush vegetation our water provides….However we do have something to fear…Population!  The statistics are confirming that, despite our rain, the Seattle area is seeing some rather large population increases.  New reports have Seattle gaining some 18,000 last year- and that’s just within the city limits.  Interesting to note that Seattle rate of population increase is greater than the surrounding area.  The new numbers underscore the fact that Seattle is officially the fastest growing big city in the country.  One look at all the cranes in Seattle and Bellevue putting up huge buildings is enough to convince anyone.  And here’s a shocker – There is even talk of new high-rise buildings for Tacoma, Seattle’s little sister to the south that has not seen a new downtown building in a very long time.  Broadcasters have every reason to love the news as more people will, eventually, equal increases in revenue.  Population of the Seattle Metro is now 3.61 Million.

Lots of changes at West Tiger – First of all the area around the ATC 7500/7509 transmitter site was just logged opening up vista’s that we’ve not seen for a very long time.  The reason for this activity was to provide some clearance for some Sat-Dishes as well as a fire barrier between the forest and the site.  Here’s a picture I recently took of Terry Spring (L) and Tim Moore (R) surveying the recently downed timber.

Terry and Tim
Here is what the site looks like now that the logging is completed.  Just to the left of the left tower is the top of Mt. Si, the 4167 foot peak near North Bend.

West Tiger Transmitters

Another big change is that KUNS (Ch. 50) has moved from West Tiger to the KOMO tower on Queen Ann Hill.  It’s my understanding that this change had been in the works since before the sale of Fisher to Sinclair.  Certainly the superior elevation of West Tiger would produce a larger coverage area, however, there are just not that many outside antennas these days.  Part of the change of KOMO from Channel 4 to RF Channel 38 including making room on the tower for the Ch. 50 array.  Nothing like not having to pay rent for your transmitter.  KUNS is now operating with 1Mw at 244 meters.  The moving of KUNS means that the big ATC site on West Tiger will have two less TV stations (Ch. 45 left a while ago). Time will tell whether or not those suites will have new tenants.

Another change is a shuffle at American Tower.  Joe Taylor has taken over the position long held by Kent Keglovitz, who has had to cover the entire country for ATC’s Broadcast Sites from his home in eastern PA.  Joe is based in Northern California.  ATC operates 2 broadcast sites on West Tiger and 2 on Cougar, in addition to the Ch. 11 tower on Capitol Hill.  My role with American Tower is increasing as well, more on that perhaps next month.

Finally – Hubbard is making plans for the installation of their new Nautel GV series transmitter at the ATC West Tiger 7509 site.  This unit will replace their present Continental 816HD and will permit higher HD power levels.

Coming very soon (June 7 thru 9) is the annual Seaside Amateur Radio event on the Oregon Coast.  I’ve been going there for a very long time finding it a great time to get away from the rat-race and see old friends.  Not as many old friends are there these day as our ranks are thinning at an alarming rate with the passing of many.  This past month I attended the memorial for Jon Marcinko whose call was W7FHZ.  Thanks to the quick thinking of Nick Winter, K7MO, Jon’s former call was secured for the Channel 1 (6 Meter) Repeater Group.  Speaking of Nick – I suppose you heard that he got laid off at KPLU as part of a ‘shuffle’ in Parkland.  WSU, not wanting to let him get away, is going to add Nick to that team for some part time work….in the meantime the BSNW Shingle is, once again, being displayed as K7MO looks for things to do.

Did you ever wonder why reporters and newscasters use certain terms or phrases?  For example - ‘MID-AIR‘.  Two aircraft nearly had a mid-air collision.  In the event you were wondering where mid-air is relative to just ‘air’ or ‘in the air’ or airborne – official definitions are of little help.  Apparently the term is used to differentiate being ‘mid-ground’ or not flying.  ‘BROAD-DAYLIGHT’.  The event took place in broad daylight.  The big question for me is what makes daylight ‘broad’.  My guess is the reporter is trying to tell us that -broad- daylight is different than at dusk or twilight.  I think they are finally getting over the use of the term ‘Film at 11’…However they are still using the term ‘Tape’ when it comes to something being recorded.  Another puzzling term I hear from time to time is – ‘Steam-Roller’.  How long since there were any steam power rollers doing road work?  The Urban Dictionary says it’s a device used to spoke Pot…Hmmm!  Never ever wonder why someone trying to learn American English has such a difficult time mastering our crazy language with more exceptions than rules.  Spelling is another pet peeve of mine…But, hey, I’m glad they put a “K’ in knot – otherwise Scrabble would be a lot less interesting.

It took a long time, but – finally – our State has a new EAS Plan.  The document was approved last month at the State EAS Meeting (SECC) in Ellensburg.  Shortly the New Plan and its related ‘Tabs’ will have a new home (Web Site) hosted by Washington State Emergency Management.  As soon as the address is known, I will be posting this information on the Seattle SBE-16 and Washington State EAS Remailers.  Our thanks to Mark Allen and the WSAB for performing this chore for many years.

Keep in mind that the FCC would, very much, like to know that your station has a copy of the New Plan….In fact, during some recent inspections in Oregon, stations were ‘dinged’ for not having a copy of that states EAS Plan available.

The next Washington SECC meeting will be on Wednesday, July 9th at WEMD at Camp Murray.  If you would be willing to participate in this endeavor – we’d love to have you join us.  I should note that I would like to be replaced as Chairman of this organization – if you are interested – let any member of the SECC know about it!  Meanwhile -  On June 18th I will be conducting a, day-long, EAS  workshop in Helena, Montana.  This activity is an outgrowth of a chance meeting at NAB with the president of the Montana broadcasters Association.

Looks like Port Angeles will be getting a new FM Station.  The FCC has recently assigned the call letters of KSTI to a new station to be on 102.1.

South Mountain, west of Shelton at the south end of the Olympic Mountains is the home of 3 FM Stations, one of which is on 93.7 and is now using the call letters once used in Bellevue, KLSY.   The station is now running Latino Christian programming.  The former call, KANY, has moved it’s programming to 107.3 at a site closer to the coast.  I know…You need a program!

Here’s some advice from the late David Rockefeller - “If necessity is the mother of invention, discontent is the father of progress."

We recently had a visit by an FCC Commissioner to our area.  Jessica Rosenworcel not only visited with folks at a couple of local firms (T-Mobile, Microsoft etc.) but also visited the scene of the SR530/Oso Slide.  Her interest in disaster recovery and recovery of communications systems should be noted.

More consolidation in the news – This time it’s the 48.5 Billion Buck proposed merger of AT&T and Direct TV.  This kind of activity will likely lead to other mega-mergers as the other players will want to ‘gang-up’ on the merged.  Makes one wonder how the Feds really view all this.  On one hand they appear to love to be very critical of cooperative ventures by broadcasters but turn the other way when it comes to other communications outfits.    Hmmm?

Here’s a profound statement – The digital age hasn’t redefined etiquette…In many ways it has eliminated it!

Prayer time – Long time broadcast engineer and former Chapter 16 Officer, Gary Engard is dealing with some serious health issues.  Meanwhile, Doug Fisher is facing some serious surgery soon.

From time to time a new study is released that proposes that cellphones cause cancer.  Here’s a new one…You could be allergic to your mobile phone.  A new study suggests that some of the materials used in smart phone construction can cause skin irritations.  Nickel and cobalt seems to be the source.  Not to mention those whose thumbs have issues due to repetitive motions…or users that walk into objects while texting.

Here’s a new word me….Broadcastify.  Found this recently on-line.

WSU is enhancing their Everett offerings according to a recent memo from Lawrence Pintak.  The Board approved a proposal to add BS programs in Electrical Engineering, Communications and Hospitality to the WSU North Puget Sound facility.

NAB’s Gordon Smith, speaking at a recent ATSC conference stated - "In order for TV to succeed, we must continue to move quickly to increase the number of distribution channels and platforms for our valuable local content, and we must respond to the needs of an ever-more mobile audience," Smith said. "As broadcasters, it is our job to make sure our signals are available on every device and everywhere -- smartphones, laptops, tablets -- and of course, multiple channels of digital TV."  Clearly the days when the only outlet for a broadcaster was their transmitter has past.  Perhaps the move of KUNS to the KOMO tower in Seattle is easier to understand in light of his remarks?

I often write about how the Seattle area is the best for this or that…Forbes recently published a list of the best places for retirement – Making that list Is Beaverton, Oregon.  For those of you not familiar with Beaverton, the suburb of Portland is the longtime home of Tektronix.  Plusses listed are – Good Weather, air quality, rail connection to Portland etc.  Oh yes, they call Portland ‘Trendy’….Perhaps making Seattle ‘Spendy’?  With that being said….For the 7th straight year, Washington has been named the most bike-friendly state.  To be fair to my other readers….Oregon comes in #5 and Colorado #6.  Here’s a statistic to ponder - has ranked Washington as one of the ‘nerdiest’ states in the country at #6.  So who is more ‘nerdy’?  - Utah, Alaska, Wyoming, Idaho and Colorado.  The least nerdy is Washington DC …but as we all know, they have other issues.

Colorado and Washington share another distinction – A friend of mine sent me this picture – no further comment needs to be made.

Miracle Grow Pot
Here’s one for all my Engineering friends.  As we well know, there is a power tool for just about every job these days.  The next time you are asked to help in the kitchen with peeling apples for that pie – Try this –  (Let me know how it turns out.)

In my many trips to Bellingham working with WSU’s KZAZ I find I can listen to various Seattle FM stations, with various levels of success.  Looking forward, KUOW will no longer be on that list as the FCC has granted a CP for a new LPFM in Bellingham to operate on 94.9.  According to Mike Gilbert, they will be on the same roof as KMRE, the local station at the Museum.

I will leave you with this contribution from Milton Holladay –

Paraprosdokians are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected; frequently humorous.
  • Where there's a will, I want to be in it.
  • Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
  • If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.
  • We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.
  • War does not determine who is right - only who is left.
  • Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit.. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
  • I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
  • Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.
  • You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
  • I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not so sure..
  • You're never too old to learn something stupid.
And this last one really hits home with this old guy………………..
  • I'm supposed to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder for me to find one now.
Well that’s it from this end for this month –

Enjoy the warmer weather – and remember to take advantage of it – At this latitude summer is our shortest season!

Hopefully, till next month

Clay, K7CR, CPBE et al