Clay’s Corner for June  2022
Providing news and views from a broadcast engineers perspective since September 1986

Much of the Western U.S. is in bad shape.   With a real crisis in many areas.   Especially in those areas that depend on water from the Colorado River for drinking, irrigation and generating electric power.     Those of us in this area are truly blessed !’

Temperatures are the wild-card.   If you are like most of us, we’re OK…But – Please – NO MORE of those 100 + days !!

Something that we have not had to write about in a very long time- The danger of reporting a war.    Thus far, Russia’s attack on Ukraine has killed 23 members of the press.   The major cable and broadcast news organizations have record numbers of reporters, and support personnel working the war.     Add to this print media from around the world you have a lot of exposure to becoming a casualty also.

We’ve lost another giant in our industry.   The following was posted by Kent Randles on Saturday May 21st.

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that James Boyd K7MKN passed away yesterday, of a heart attack, at his home.  In ham-speak he’s now a “Silent Key.”

He was 76…Services to be announced.

For those of you that did not know James – He operated a business called ‘Boyd Broadcast Services’ providing technical services for broadcasters all over the PNW from his base in the Portland, Oregon area.

Not long ago, he was told by his doctor that his time was short and to stop working.  In response, he told me – ‘I can’t, what would I do?’   One time James was quoted as saying – “I don’t have any desire to quit. If I won the lottery, I’d still work. I like what I do, and I’m not going to stop. Where else can you play all day?”

Filling his shoes will likely require the work of many !!!.

Computers have changed everything in broadcasting I can think of….and the movement continues.   On May 19th the FCC moved to permit using computers to be used to ‘model’ directional antennas for FM Stations.  Prior to this change, the makers of FM Broadcast Antennas had to create either a scale-model or a full size antenna and then use a ‘test-range’ to prove it would work as designed.    This change will likely alter the way antenna manufacturers do business.

Dielectric, one of the major broadcast antenna makers was in favor saying –

The move by the Federal Communications Commission permitting FM broadcasters to transition from physical modeling is more than just the first directional FM pattern verification rule change in 58 years. Dielectric says the change will speed up product to market timelines, helping broadcasters upgrade facilities more quickly.   “May 19, 2022 was a monumental day for FM broadcasters. The FCC adopting new rules allowing the use of computer modeling changes the rules for FM antenna modeling, which for decades has required broadcasters to build physical models and collect measured data to verify antenna patterns,” said Dielectric President Keith Pelletier.

According to the FCC, more than 20% of FMs today use directional antennas.

Meanwhile, the FCC is seeking graduates for EE positions.   The Commish recently advertised for openings for, full-time positions paying $41,000 to $97,000 per year.  The process will close once 175 applications have been received, or on May 26th

Can anyone identify this device?     If you can, drop me a note and tell me what it is.

Dwight Small contributed this item –

MIT Invents Ultra-Thin Speakers For Wall Mounting

Here is one for you:

Being old, I can’t resist the temptation to write about things that were- In this case – Devices I used when I started in Broadcasting for recording and playing back audio –

To start with – The historic Magnecord PT6.

Some of my memories –

  • Placing a matchbook cover under the Fast-Forward lever (it was very slow)
    • Other wise you would have to sit there with your finger on that lever.
  • How rewind was extremely fast.
    • I recall coming into a studio where someone had left the room with a tape rewinding. The entire reel of tap was reduced to little in-long pieces all over.
  • How many people would not properly thread the tape.
    • Over and around the first roller (The top one in this picture) then under the second one.

Maggy’s, as they were called back then, predated the bigger machines produced by Ampex, Crown, Berlant-Concertone etc,

Perhaps the idea for the endless loop tape machine came from Mackenzie?

Mackenzie Laboratories, Inc (

I remember one of these, in the on-air studio of KVI when they were in the Tower Building.

I love variations of the ‘keep out’ warning sign – here’s one –

There are a lot of things that we ‘older folks’ take for granted.   For example, Ohms Law or Watts Law.   I recently forwarded this item to some ‘newbies’.   Perhaps others will find it useful.

On the personal side – Last month I had a picture of a couple of dogs that I thought were cute.  Well, one of them has become a part of my family.   It’s been some time since we had a puppy in our house.   She is smart & quick and quite a challenge.   Meet ‘Annie’.  She’s a JRT Mix.

Hope to catch you here next month

Clay, K7CR, CPBE

SBE Member # 714

Since March 1968