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 prayers. Lowell 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 them.

  • 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 broadcast site.

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 Crossing’.


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 done here. 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 there?  (Hint) 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 price. 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 tickets. 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 land. 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 column.


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 – 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 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 multi-year process.


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 Million.  Entercom 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 year!


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 process? 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 this process. 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 Borders’. 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 politics. 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