First – some sad news – The passing of David Christian on October
15th. The following was posted by Lowell Kiesow to the West Tiger
Remailer on Oct 16th -
I am very sad to report that David Christian passed away last night
from a massive stroke, at the age of 84. He was a great, longtime
friend, a giving mentor, and a visionary broadcast engineer.
David built KPLU in 1966, as a 10 Watt station in Parkland, and he led
it through several, major stages of growth to become the powerhouse
station it is today. Most notably, David moved the KPLU
transmitter to West Tiger Mountain, where he helped design the facility
as one of the original five stations there. It is safe to say KNKX
would not exist today without David pushing us to be at the top
technically. He also built TV studios at PLU, and helped train
hundreds of students to become good radio and TV technicians, many of
whom went on to careers in broadcasting. If I had to sum up David
in one word, it would be "wisdom." I will always be grateful to
David for giving me my career at KPLU and for teaching me so much. David
retired in 1998, but remained very busy with his family and his
church. Please keep his wife Anita, son Aaron, and family in your
To say the least, I have a lot of wonderful memories of David. As I
set here at my computer thinking what to write about my memories of
David, I am flooded with thoughts as to what to write…Here are a few of
- Back in 1987, As soon as news got out
that KNBQ (97.3) was planning a facility on West Tiger he contacted me
to say that KPLU would like to be there also. Initially it was
planned that the facility would be the home of 3 stations (KNBQ/97.3,
KRPM/106.1 and KPLU/88.5) each with its own antenna.
- For many years I would feed this column to John
Forbes (retired from KOMO). He
would edit the Waveguide and forward it to David who would handle the
printing and mailing (yes it was snail-mailed in those days). I
would periodically give someone what I called the Gold Star Award for
doing something that I thought was cool. David purchased some
adhesive gold stars to make sure that the recipient of my awards copy
actually had a ‘gold’ star.
- David had wonderful sense of humor…One time he
really showed it off…He mounted a water faucet (like you would have on
the side of a house) on the basement wall at West Tiger and then put the
mop bucket under it…All just to see my reaction (It’s still there).
- David was also influential in getting me to
join SBE – To the best of my knowledge, he was one of only two in this
area with a lower membership number. His was in the 600’s
- The last year that NAB was in Dallas, he and I
went together and shared a room. I
recall waking up one morning to look out the window of our hotel to see
the most unusual site – It was snowing up! The winds were forcing
the snow to appear to fall up, quite a site that we laughed about as
the years past. It was during that trip that David introduced me
to the Order of the Iron Test Pattern.
- After David’s retirement from PLU, he and I
would continue to have a periodic breakfast to catch up on what was
going on. He maintained a keen interest in West Tiger as a
David – you left your mark on our area and a ton of wonderful memories for all of us – Thank you for being part of our lives!
The middle of October brought many of us memories of that famous storm
on Columbus Day 1962 when a huge windstorm ravaged our area.
Perhaps what will be remembered about this year’s storms was the fact
that a Tornado struck the Oregon Coast and the fact that the PDX
Forecast office issued about 10 tornado warnings on October 14th.
For years we would tell people living elsewhere that we don’t get
tornadoes…Guess that will have to change. During one of our
mid-month wind events the power went out in Queen Anne. This
impacted the TV Transmitters there. In one case a grumpy transfer
switch caused the outage to be a bit longer than they wanted.
(No…Not going to say who.)
Oh yes, 10/12/62….I was living in Tacoma and (believe it or not) working
in broadcasting at the time. Interesting how, after all this
time, that storm set the bench-mark for all storms to follow.
Thankfully the big-blow they predicted for the 15th did not
materialize. Sometimes it’s nice when NWS gets it wrong
Do you live in a good place to find a job? US News recently ran a
piece where they identified the 20 best cities in the country to find a
job. Denver came in #8 and Seattle #5.
According to the FCC, as of Sept 30th there are 32,042 licensed broadcast stations in the U.S.
Happy to report that the FCC has been doing a FINE job…This time in
Guntersville, Alabama where they shut down a pirate radio
station….Twice. Mr. Michael Dudley has been requested to submit
$15,000 for his activity.
During the mid October storms, a number of us were working up at West
Tiger Mt. Not wanting to have to deal with any fallen trees, I
packed my truck with the necessary items, chainsaw, come-along, axe
etc. Worked perfectly….The road was clear all the way up.
Terry Spring, however, did not have as much luck, encountering two trees
that had fallen across the road. Being prepared, he quickly
dispatched the obstacles….At least to the point where he could drive
under one of them. I snapped this picture on my way down.
Looks like the DNR had the wrong sign posted….should have read ‘Tree
There is another matter that deserves our full attention. And that
is the matter of having Washington come up with a credentialing system
like what was recently implemented in Oregon. The problem is
broadcast engineers could easily be denied access to places like West
Tiger in times by law enforcement, when we need to reach these plants to
get them back on the air. Frankly, I fail to understand why
Oregon now has such a system and we don’t. Perhaps it’s because
the issue has not impacted someone’s bottom line ………..Yet? In
Oregon the new system treats broadcast technical staff people as
First-Informers. Several organizations came together to make this
happen – The OAB, State Emergency Management and SBE. Kudos to
John White for his contribution to this accomplishment. Perhaps
one of this year’s storms will provide the emphasis needed to get’er
One cannot think about West Tiger without thinking about the late Arne
Skoog. Many of you know that Arne was a Ham (WA7WKT). He was
part of the Channel 1 Repeater group and operated his own UHF repeater
on Buck Mountain. After his passing, his widow Deb got his call
letters. It was decided to move his UHF repeater to West
Tiger. You will find it on 444.3 with a CTCSS Tone of 103.5.
Who knows, you might just find some other broadcast engineers
Here’s a great piece of wisdom that many of my generation will agree with –
I was always taught to respect my elders, but it keeps getting harder to find one.
As you probably knew - Cumulus, the large radio group, is having
financial issues. This has depressed their stock price
considerably….to the point that they decided to do a reverse stock
split. This meant that 8 shares of stock would become 1 share on
October 12th. Apparently this did not work quite like they hoped
as the new stock price was something under 2 dollars a share. You
can always check on this by asking your browser to check Cumulus stock
Another FCC fine for a pirate in New York. In this case they are
asking Jose Gerez to pay 10 Grand, who was operating a station on 95.1
in Queens. Now the question - Will the feds actually collect their
money? In some cases these FCC fine are treated like parking
In another instance we have KLIM In Limon, Colorado a small town SE of
Denver in the flat lands, population under 2000. The FCC had
wanted the owner to pay 5 Grand for taking the station off the air and
not telling them. They later have reduced it to $1500. One
has to wonder how a station operating with 250 watts daytime only could
survive in a town of 2000? The owner apparently did have plans,
because they have a construction permit for increasing power to 50,000
watts (still daytime only) with 2 towers, at a site closer to Colorado
Springs, that would give it coverage as well into Denver. An added
factor is that the station was vandalized and a number of apparently
necessary items were taken. It’s a rough road out there in radio
Here’s a looking back thought - When was the last time you could
purchase an item COD? For us old timers this term meant Cash On
Delivery. It’s where you would pay the party that delivered the
item to you when you received it. Today if you Google COD you get
Call of Duty. How times have changed.
Every once in a while someone invents something that will likely find a lot of use. In this case in Israel.
They’ve come up with something that's really cool….albeit smelly.
Dealing with lawbreaking crowds has been a problem for law enforcement
forever. Tools today typically are Tear Gas and Water
Cannons. A lot of things have been tried, including extremely loud
sounds that attack people's ears. Now something that attacks
their noses. Israeli biomedical engineers have done it
again. Click here: Skunk: A "degrading form of abuse" or safe, non-toxic alternative to rubber bullets - YouTube
I recently ran across some pictures that were taken long ago, in the
conference room at 11th and Grant in Tacoma (location of then
KTNT/KNBQ). These meetings were for the planning of what turned
out to be the first broadcast facility on West Tiger. My guess is
they were taken sometime in 1987.
First is of Jim Stevens, who was representing KLSY/92.5:
This one of the late Chuck Morris - representing KIRO-FM (then on 100.7):
While we are in ‘looking back mode’ – How about this one submitted by
Allen Hartle and forwarded to me by Kelly Alford. This is a great
compliment to the picture of that big RCA machine in last month’s
I can fully appreciate the struggling little AM stations wanting an FM
translator as a means of staying afloat….What surprised me is the number
of larger AM’s in metropolitan areas that would be jumping at the
chance of getting an FM Translator. In most cases, if that AM has a
companion/co-owned FM they have already elected to put that AM on one
of the FM HD channels. Example – KIRO 710 AM can be heard on
KIRO-97.3 FM HD2. Perhaps this provides a satisfactory addition to
the AM, reducing the desire for a simulcast translator? There are
a lot of factors involved…Here are some of my random thoughts about
some of them. In no particular order –
- Granted the FCC is saying that these new AM
translators can operate with 250 watts.
But this is not a blanket statement, as there are a lot of factors that
will likely throttle that number back in several ways, especially in
areas where the FM Band is already filled with Legacy signals, LPFM’s
etc. In most cases, these metro-area translators are likely to be
very low power and/or use directional antennas. I suspect some of
these AM Translator's benefit may be limited to ‘bragging rights’.
- Generally an existing FM Station’s HD signal may be greater than a new AM Translator.
- Not all HD signal are the same – Some are at
higher elevations while others may be operating at different power
levels compared to their host FM (not all FM’s with HD’s have opted to
increase power to the maximum).
- On the plus side for the FM Translator – It can
be received on just about every radio, while the penetration of HD
receivers is growing, it’s not at the same level as FM.
- I wonder if an AM can lease an HD Channel from another broadcaster? There are a number of HD3’s out there not being used.
I have to wonder how a full time, and perhaps full power AM, can justify
the expense of paying for the translator which may involve buying one
from some distance away, in addition to the cost of engineering.
Unless the AM’s translator is on its own tower, the owners will have to
lease tower space, thereby creating an on-going obligation.
Perhaps this is all justified when you consider that their new
letterhead can state AM and FM.
Gord Lansdell, who operates the NW Broadcasters Web Site, is tracking all this in the Seattle/Vancouver area. You can go here to see the big picture - http://nwbroadcasters.com/ampage.html
I got an item in the mail today from Century Link. The front of the item spelled out –
Miss having a CLEAR, RELIABLE connection? JACK can
help. (The A in JACK has what looks like an RJ11 telephone
jack…clever). Their pitch is obviously directed at those that have
dropped their ‘land-line’ in favor of their cell phone. The back
cover reads – 'Make sure your CELL PHONE isn’t your ONLY PHONE’.
Guess it was due to happen as many have been cutting their cords - Cable TV as well as Telephone.
Here’s a great picture of Nick Winter, K7MO, (engineer at KNKX) and his
wife Anna operating an Amateur Radio contest. Be sure and note her
shirt. Anna is K7ANA.
If you are into the RF side of things (like me) you spot every antenna
out there. (I’m sure it drives my wife nuts.) This
collection is located on a standpipe at the Olympic Natural Resource
Center in Forks and is part of PNSN…Or Pacific Northwest Seismic Network
who have installed ground motion detectors all over our area…In some
cases transmitter sites where NWPR has transmitters. You can check
out their web-site at http://www.pnsn.org/earthquakes/recent and see what’s been shaking.
Received a note from Mike Brooks at KING-FM telling me that they got a
reception report from a person listening to the Seattle 98.1 Classical
station's HD-1 in Seaside Oregon. Perhaps this has to do with the
increasing number of HD receivers out there and the fact that KING-FM is
operating with -10 and -14 HD Power levels, putting their digital
channels on a par with their FM. Certainly this area is more
techno-savvy than other places. One only has to go to Eastern
Washington to hear broadcasters poo-poo HD Radio. Market size is a
huge factor in these matters.
The following picture is of a safety climb cable on a tower that also
has an FM Station. What happened here is very common. Energy
from the FM Station is coupled into the cable and then it looks for a
place to go, usually a piece of conducting material attached to the
tower, which is at a different potential. In the process, the
cable was burned almost totally apart. (Sorry about the
techno-talk, just could explain this any other way.) The bad news
is that this cable is supposed to keep a tower climber from
falling. In this case, it might not have done this, as only one
strand was left (on the right). Yes, the cable was replaced and
‘grounded’ in the vicinity of the FM antenna. It is also now on a
periodic inspection cycle.
Another pretty picture this month from Dwight Small of his beloved Lake
Cavanaugh. Dwight has recently built a rather large garage
with an attic ‘man cave’ and just recently received a permit to start his
lake front house. Obtaining that permit has been a
This picture, a beauty contributed by old friend Joe Fleming,
of the towers for WINA in Charlottesville, VA which is owned by Saga
Communications. Saga also owns a cluster of stations in Bellingham
operating under the name of Cascade Radio Group.
Radio station operator Entercom continues to grow, recently adding a
cluster of stations in Charlotte, N.C. from Beasley for $24
has other clusters of stations in the Carolinas in Greensboro,
N.C. and Greenville S.C. ETM, as it’s often called, is
the country’s 4th largest firm with now over 125 stations in over 25
different markets. They also operate clusters of
stations in Seattle, Portland and Denver.
Talk about Mega-Mergers – How about the $85.4 Billion deal whereby
AT&T will purchase Time Warner? This would combine
a lot of very familiar brand names, including CNN. Certainly something this size is going to create a lot of critical
comments and calls from those that will say it would concentrate too
much power in too few hands. We will have to see
how this one plays out, especially in light of the fact that the major
presidential candidates are opposed to it.
I recently ran across this picture. The location is
3-Sisters Mountain East of Enumclaw, which is going to see installed a
portion of a new communications system known as PSRN. A lot
of history here. The 4000 foot site used to be the location
of the old FOG Lookout. Later an FM station called it home
when Entercom’ s 103.7 operated there as KBRD. Interesting
that the site never had commercial power, using diesel generators only.
This month’s picture gallery would not be complete without a picture
taken close to home. In this case, across the street from where I
live. As I sit here at my computer I can look out the window
to my left and get to see this. Turns this color every
In the Seattle area we often talk about the cities of the Pacific
Northwest as Seattle and Portland. In the process we tend to not
include Vancouver B.C. (No help that we have two Vancouver’s in this
area.) Granted the B.C. city is in Southwest Canada, another country in
the minds of many.
Recently there has been a good deal more thinking about ways to bring
our two cities closer together. Perhaps one way would to go
back to the pre-911 days and restore the border crossing to a brief
As a writer in the NY Times noted – Seattle and Vancouver are like
fraternal twins separated at birth….And 140 miles. As viewed
from Vancouver, they likely have a lot more in common with Seattle than
other Canadian cities like Calgary etc. I would be remiss if I
did not mention Victoria. For those of you geographically
challenged, I urge you to take a look at a map and note how that city is
considerably south of the 49th…In fact, it’s perhaps closer to Port
Angeles Washington than to Vancouver. We share a lot of
culture, language…and, of course, weather.
We have a good amount of what I call ‘separate thinking’ in the states
of Washington and Oregon. The dividing line is, of course, the
Cascade Mountain range. This is to the point that,
over the years, many have suggested that Eastern Washington and Oregon
should become a state of their own. This east-west
difference in thinking perhaps exists in B.C. as well to some
degree. The question I’ve been asking myself for many years
is...If the borders were suddenly erased…would things be different?
I remember chatting with friends in southern B.C. a number of times
about things of common interest, to find they find it unusual that I
feel so inclusive about them. I like to explain it this way – If
you lived on a street of which the center of the roadway was a national
border – Would you still feel the folks across the street as
neighbors? Would you not be in the same
neighborhood? Geographically – Vancouver and Seattle
are very much in the same neighborhood. As times
change – I look forward to the day that we would all view our
relationship in this manner. It looks like I am not alone in
One forward step was a result of meetings between the Washington
Governor and the B.C. Premier and their signing of an MOU affirming our
shared interests in creating regional economic opportunities among other
things. One thing that came from this was an agreement to deepen
the ties between not just the two cites but between our major
universities, U of W and UBC.
If you would like more on this – check out the October 3rd issued of the
New York Times – Look for the piece titled ‘Tech Ambitions without
In my opinion – birds and fish have a much better way to deal with
all of this…They get to enjoy this region without any borders or
Once again we are hearing about efforts to cram more into the FM
Band. (As if nothing was learned on AM). This time an
effort to create a new category of station, something in between the
existing Class A and Class C3’s operating with 12kW. This change
(RM-11727) is on the agenda at the Commish. Just on
the heels of a huge increase in the number of LPFM’s and AM Translators
too. More things to watch.
And finally – A collection of wonderful ‘Groaners’ to consider.
1. A bicycle can't stand alone; it is two tired.
2. A will is a dead giveaway.
3. Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.
4. A backward poet writes inverse.
5. In a democracy it's your vote that counts; in feudalism, it's your Count that votes.
6. A chicken crossing the road: poultry in motion.
7. If you don't pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.
8. With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.
9. Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I'll show you A-flat miner.
10. When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.
11. The dead batteries were given out free of charge.
12. A grenade fell onto a kitchen floor in France resulting in Linoleum Blownapart.
13. You are stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.
14. Local Area Network in Australia: The LAN down under.
15. He broke into song because he couldn't find the key.
16. A calendar's days are numbered.
17. A lot of money is tainted: 'Taint yours, and 'taint mine.
18. A boiled egg is hard to beat.
19. He had a photographic memory which was never developed.
20. A plateau is a high form of flattery.
21. The short fortuneteller who escaped from prison: a small medium at large.
22. Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.
23. When you've seen one shopping center you've seen a mall.
24. If you jump off a Paris bridge, you are in Seine.
25. When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she'd dye.
26. Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.
27. Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.
28. Acupuncture: a jab well done.
29. Marathon runners with bad shoes suffer the agony of de feet.
30. The roundest knight at king Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.
31. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.
32. She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.
33. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class because it was a weapon of math disruption.
34. The butcher backed into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work.
35. No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery..
36. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.
37. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.
38. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.
39. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
40. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other, 'You stay here, I'll go on a head.'
41. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.
42. A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: 'Keep off the Grass.'
43. A thief who stole a calendar got 12 months.
44. The soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.
45. When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.
46. Police were called to a day care center where a 3-year-old was resisting a rest.
47. Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He's all right now.
48. To write with a broken pencil is pointless.
49. When the smog lifts in Los Angeles, U.C.L.A.
Had enough? Me too
That’s it for this month - Happy Holiday’s
Clay, K7CR, CPBE