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


Once again it’s the time of year, as we near the end of Summer, to look forward to the fall and winter to come.   There is no shortage of predictors…perhaps the most famous is the Farmer’s Almanac.

Here’s the projection from the Almanac ….As you can see, they are forecasting cool with normal precipitation –

The Impact of Climate Change is now being felt all over the world.   Unfortunately, like most things in our country, there have been those that attempt to ‘politicize’ this too.   Will be interesting to see what those that have been ‘poo-pooing’ this and saying Climate Change is a hoax will be able to explain what’s happening to all of us.

A new study has shown that dangerous heat is predicted to hit us 3 times more often in the future.    I’m a believer !    The Freinwald House is getting central A/C installed as I write this.

As you have all probably noticed, there is a big movement aimed at getting rid of the internal combustion engine in personal vehicles and going to all electric (EV’s). The timing for this is interesting….Consider –

  • The climate is warming, meaning more people (like me) will be installing air-conditioning which will mean more demand for electric power.
  • A big increase in EV’s will mean an increase in demand for electrical power.
  • Just recently, a couple of states, with big heat-waves, told their residents to not charge their EV’s for fear it would take down the power-grid.
  • There is growing support (by some politicians) to breach the Dams on the Snake River which will reduce the amount of Hydro-Power available.
  • There continues to be belief that Solar and Wind Generation will be able to provide sufficient energy in the future for all our needs.

Perhaps it’s good that I will not likely be around to see how this all works out.   For sure there will be a lot of ‘flying fur’ to come.  Like with all things like this, there will be winners and losers.

Once again, the logic used by the FCC amazes me.   They recently announced they are going to focus on receivers as they work to minimize interference.

It seems to me that receivers are the ones – receiving– interference – and NOT creating it.   If I were the ‘top-dog’ at the FCC I’d be looking at the ‘SOURCE’ of interference first.   How about some enforcement action targeting the zillion devices out there that radiate strong signals on their own and who already in violation of FCC rules??   Seems to me the FCC has been, for some time, been ignoring the real cause of the problem.


The FCC is not making any friends with their effort to significantly increase fees for Broadcasters.    Apparently Congress is on our side.

Under the FCC’s proposal, the biggest FM signals in the largest markets would have a proposed annual fee of $23,585. The biggest AMs in the largest cities would be charged $18,885. Both are a 13% increase from the fee charged in 2021. The planned rate increase on broadcasters reportedly amounts to nearly the entire $7.95 million expansion of the FCC’s budget.

Meanwhile, the Commish recently upheld a fine against a Low Power FM station in Florida that doubled its power by using an un-licensed antenna and transmitting from an unlicensed location.   That will cost them 25 Grand.   Apparently, they were running 177 watts instead of 20     Additionally, they did not have any EAS Equipment.     Interestingly, they were operating from a Church.

Congratulations to Andrea Cummis on her being honored by SBE as their Engineer of the Year.

Here’s a list of previous recipients of this award going back to 2015.

  • 2022 – Andrea Cummis, CBT, CTO
  • 2021 – Chris Tobin
  • 2020 – RJ Russell, CPBE
  • 2019 – Charlie Wooten
  • 2018 – Mark Persons, CPBE, AMD, CBNT
  • 2017 – Stephen R. Brown
  • 2016 – Michael Hendrickson, CPBE, CBNT
  • 2015 – Roswell D. Clark, CPBE, CBNT

Amazing fact – There are, perhaps, millions of people that have no idea that you can watch TV for free.    OTA TV still exists and, at least, one TV ownership is out to remind people of this fact.   Scripps, who owns 61 TV Stations nationwide is tackling the issue with an education and marketing campaign.    They recently launched a website – — where users can type in their ZIP Codes to learn what stations they can get for free in their area with an antenna.  In Los Angeles, the nation’s second largest TV market, antenna users can receive more than 160 free broadcast channels.

Many moons ago, radio stations would air High School sports games.     I recall watching, with interest, an announcer setting up for a live broadcast of a high school basketball game back at Clover Park High School in the late 50’s for KTNT Radio in Tacoma.    Perhaps the expression – ‘Its so old, it’s new again’ applies here.   KDKA in Pittsburgh is going to be airing High School Football games

Perhaps there is hope for – LIVE AND LOCAL – Radio once again !

Audacy, owner of a cluster of Radio Stations in Seattle, Portland and elsewhere has recently seen their stock tumble to an all time low.  Down about 84% over the past year.   At the close on August 29th, their stock price was only 54 Cents.    Another indicator of the firms economic woes is the announcement they were laying off 5% of their employees.     Audacy’s former name was Entercom.

Love to take pictures of other people working.   In this case – Jim Belsvig recently working on the KCKA TV transmitter at Crego Hill.

The following are some pictures of – HOW NOT – to handle electrical issues. This one needs no explanation ☹

My work in Forks was a bit different, involving a MUCH smaller transmitter building.  It involved re-cladding this little building that houses the equipment for KNWU and K216GE.     The antennas are mounted on the stand-pipe to the left.    The location is the Olympic Natural Resources Center, on a bluff, SW of Forks.


Mike Everhart, Director of Engineering at Alpha Media in Portland, OR, has announced that Thor Waage is leaving after 27 years.    Therefore, they have a job opening.  Apply:

I have a question for you….   I have a box of old cell phones (and their accessories) Is there a place they can go…other than the trash ?    Drop me an email to

Thanks !!

Sounds like the FCC is finally doing what they said they would ….crack down on Pirate Radio operations by going after the landlords where these stations are located.   The FCC advises these property owners that they could be fined up to TWO MILLION DOLLARS should they find that the land/building owner is permitting pirate broadcasting.    For a property owner, this could may well make them reconsider who their tenants are 😊

Warning !   You might be too young to remember when radios had a visual means of tuning in a station called a ‘Magic Eye’    I remember my grandfather had an old Zenith that had one with a tuning ‘dial’ they called ‘Split Second Tuning’.   It was, perhaps, my introduction to Ham Radio as I could tune in Ham’s chatting with each other on the shortwave bands it featured (They used AM back in those days).  The old set looked much like this –

I’m amazed at how much I remember about this old set…Like the fact that it had ‘Push-Pull’ 6F6’s driving an electrodynamic speaker that would produce ‘gobs’ of bass with an open back cabinet.  I was about 10 years old at the time.

The vacuum tube that was the ‘magic eye’ was a 6E5 –

As you tuned in a station, the eye would ‘close’ .   Later receivers would use meters to indicate when a receiver had been tuned correctly.   Often called an ‘S-Meter’

Here are some videos that explain the 6E5 in more detail

(Go to 55:45 to see the Magic Eye working)

Thanks to, old friend, Dwight Small, he forwarded this item on how you up-grade the Magic Eye to something a bit more current.


This piece of Broadcast Equipment features – TWO – cameras mounted external to the equipment, apparently with the goal of keeping track of its performance remotely.

Here’s another view  –

Hope to catch you here next month

Clay, K7CR, CPBE

SBE Member # 714

Since March 1968