Towers & Stuff 2016 Edition


Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 68 total)
  • Author
  • #16586

    Figured I might as well open this thread now so it can get a head start, since I won’t have access to a computer for most of next week.

    So you were saying?


    The jargon file (version 2.1.2016):

    GLOSSARY OF TERMS frequently used in this thread: (in U.S. unless otherwise noted)

    A or Grade A (dBu) = television broadcast field strength contour of 68, 71, and 74 (dBu) for channels 2-6, 7-13 and 14-69 respectively.

    AC = (1) Alternating current, the form in which electric power is delivered to businesses and residences. In alternating current (AC, also ac), the flow of electric charge periodically reverses direction. (2) In radio programming, a format known as Adult Contemporary

    AGC = Automatic Gain Control, a technique in electronic circuits whereby the output is used to adjust the gain of an amplifier.

    AM = (1) amplitude modulation, the oldest form of modulation whereby the amplitude of the transmitted signal is varied in relation to the amplitude of the information being sent (2) the standard broadcast band (530 to 1700 kHz in the U.S.) (3) Ancient Modulation; broadcast band catering mainly to republicans, bible wavers and other people over 80

    AMSL = the height of a tower or antenna above mean sea level

    amp = (1) amplifier (2) the fundamental measure of electrical current

    ATSC = (1) ATSC standards are a set of standards developed by the Advanced Television Systems Committee for digital television transmission over terrestrial, cable, and satellite networks. (2) Acronym for “Another Technological Set of Complications”

    ATSC-M = Terrestrial ATSC-standard 8VSB digital television broadcast transmissions in North America conducted in 6 MHz channels conforming to the standard NTSC-M bandplan. What most people mean when they say “DTV” or “OTA”.

    ATSC-QAM = ATSC transmissions modulated using various sizes of quadrature amplitude modulation constellations (64, 128 and 256-level are common) instead of 8-level vestigial sideband modulation. ATSC-QAM is primarily used on cable TV systems where it is mostly associated with in-the-clear channels and sometimes on closed-circuit (non-broadcast) over-the-air television systems. What most cable TV users mean when they generically say “QAM”.

    B or Grade B (dBu) = television broadcast field strength contour of 47, 56, and 64 (dBu) for channels 2-6, 7-13 and 14-69 respectively.

    BUD = a Big Ugly Dish; West Virginia’s state flower.

    C = (1) the speed of light in a vacuum (2) Capacitance (the ability to store charge) (3) microwave radio frequency band between 4 and 8 GHz; commonly used on communication satellites for delivery of television programming by networks to TV stations and cable headends (hope you still have your old BUD!); also occasionally used by wireless computer networking equipment and better-quality cordless home telephones (4) Series of weak, verbose, and flabby programming languages used by card wankers to do boring mindless things under UNIX on dinosaur mainframes. Introduced by Dennis Ritchie in the 1970s as a reminder to be thankful for things like assembly languages. C deliberately takes many (if not most) of the more irritating aspects of COBOL and (dare I say it?) INTERCAL and compresses them into one easy-to-use, hard-to-forget suite. Hackers believe that C programmers are suits or code millers, and no self-respecting hacker would ever admit to having learned the language. Its very name is seldom uttered without ritual expressions of disgust or horror. Due to its inclusion in the original UNIX kernel as, in Ritchie’s words, “a sick joke”, C and its variants are now used in just about everything with and without a central processing unit today. (Will the insanity ever end?) Only Brainfuck is slightly less intuitive.

    cart = shorthand for “cartridge”. Usually any of various 2- or 3-track cartridge-loaded endless loop tape systems used in broadcast automation and similar applications; commonly one of several variants of George Eash’s Fidelipac format. Earl Muntz’s consumer-oriented 4-track system of the mid-60s (which the more familiar Lear 8-track tape evolved from) is an adaptation of the size “A” Fidelipac broadcast cart.

    CATV = (1) (generically) cable television. (2) (specifically) informal name for a variant of the standard NTSC-M bandplan used on cable television systems in North America. So-named to differentiate it from the similar, but less common HRC (harmonically-related carrier) and IRC (incrementally-related carrier) frequency plans. Portions of the CATV plan can be received using regular non-cable ready equipment, if the headend carries programming on those channels (particularly 2-13 and cable channels 65-139 (UHF 14-83). The current standard plan ranges from 7 MHz to 1 GHz near-continuously. (3) community antenna television; early implementation of cable TV invented in Astoria, OR. CATV, in its most primitive form, literally involves connecting a number of receivers over a wide area (such as a city) directly to a central antenna receiving terrestrial broadcast stations.

    Class = In radio and television broadcasting, how much power and coverage a licensee may implement is determined by Zone and Class. Zones (see below) are geographic. Zones determine what classes will be licensed within that zone.

    Classes for FM are:

    Classes for AM are:

    Classes for TV are:

    clear channel = a frequency on the AM band which provides the radio station with the highest protection from interference from other stations. A long story. It no longer means that only one transmitter operates on that channel

    Clear Channel = (note capitalisation) The company that ruined radio. See also “I Heart Radio”.

    contour = a series of points at which the signal of a radio or television broadcast is at a referenced field strength. On flat land a non directional (omnidirectional) antenna will exhibit near circular contours, ideally. Contours are either “protected” contours or “interference contours.” In FM, the actual numerical values of these contours depends on Zone and Class. Also, when you are within 320 km of either Canada or Mexico, different spacing distances and contour values must be observed. Stations in Zone II that are not within 320 km of the Canadian border have their 60 dBu protected contour and three interfering contours, 40 dBu for co-channel, 54 dBu for 1st adjacent and 100 dBu for 2nd adjacent. protection.

    CP = (1) construction permit (2) circular polarization

    CPS = Cycles Per Second; see “Hertz”

    CFR = Code of Federal Regulations Title 47: Telecommunications, the codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the departments and agencies of the Federal Government. It is divided into 50 titles that represent broad areas subject to Federal regulation.

    (within title 47 the most discussed parts are normally Part 73 Radio Broadcast Services, but also may refer to Part 0, Part 1, Part 2, Part 15, Part 17, Part 74, Part 95, Part 97)

    CQAM = Compatible Quadrature Amplitude Modulation, a system developed by Motorola for stereophonic broadcasting on mediumwave (AM)

    DA = (1) directional antenna,an antenna which radiates greater power in one or more directions or exhibits greater receive sensitivity in one or more directions (2) distribution amplifier, an amplifier that provides multiple outputs from one input

    DA-N = directional antenna at night

    DA-2 = directional antenna 24 hours, different patterns day and night

    DAB = digital audio broadcasting, the method for audio broadcasting digitally in many countries, principally in Europe.

    dB = decibel, a logarithmic unit used to express the ratio between two values of a physical quantity, often used to express the gain of an amplifier or the loss of signal strength as a signal propagates away from the antenna.

    DBS = Direct Broadcast Satellite (or Service); basically, pay-cable TV over satellite. What the scammy MMDS “wireless cable” thing of the late 80s/early 90s probably could have been. Currently in the US, DBS cable consists/consisted of the major companies Direct TV (AT$T) and DiSH Network (Echostar), leased-bandwidth subsets of the two majors (e.g. Muzak via Echostar) and a handful of niche companies (e.g. Globecast World TV, Sky Angel). DBS services may go out scrambled, in the clear or a mix of the two. Former major pay DBS cable systems in the US included Alphastar, Primestar and USSB.

    DC = (1) direct current, the unidirectional flow of electricity (2) publisher of Batman, Superman and Justice League comic books (3) Seth’s favorite skateboard hightops (second to Vans)

    DRM = (1) Digital Radio Mondiale (fr./it. Worldwide Digital Radio), European MPEG4-based digital audio broadcasting system used on shortwave and (sometimes) the mediumwave and FM bands that’s sweeping the globe. DRM is an open system like DAB, but not related to and incompatible with DAB. (2) digital restriction management, any of various proprietary and sometimes illegal methods of blocking access to payware (downloaded or on disk) by those who paid, sometimes dearly, to access it. DRM methods vary from simply requiring the user type an “unlock” code on installation, to filesystem tricks, to more unethical means such as rootkits, and any number of variations and repetitions thereof. DRM has been the source of considerable headaches, confusion and physical damage to computer hardware for millions of computer operators the world over for many years. Somebody who knows what they’re doing can defeat most popular software-based DRM systems in maybe half an hour.[citation needed]

    DSSC = double sideband suppressed carrier, a form of modulation used in analog FM broadcasting

    DTV = (1) Direct TV, American pay DBS service. (2) digital television; generic blanket term for any of various packet video broadcasting standards. “DTV” is NOT the name of any digital television broadcasting standard!!!

    EMI = (1) electromagnetic interference. (2) defunct major record label and media conglomerate based in England.

    ERP = Effective Radiated Power, in FM radio and television broadcasting, the amount of power you are licensed to transmit, it is equal to transmitter power output (TPO) minus transmission line loss times the antenna gain.

    FM = (1) frequency modulation, the encoding of information in a carrier wave by varying the instantaneous frequency of the wave. (Compare with amplitude modulation, in which the amplitude of the carrier wave varies, while the frequency remains constant.) (2) the FM broadcast band (87.5 to 108.1 MHz throughout most of the world, in either 100 or 200 kHz increments.)

    free to air = A broadcast transmitted without encryption/scrambling and (usually) not requiring a subscription be paid to use it; for example, public-access channels on cable TV or DVB satellites. Compare “in the clear”.

    frequency = the number of occurrences of an electromagnetic field, usually referring to audio or radio signals, per unit time. Also see period and wavelength.

    Gm = transconductance, the ratio of the current change at the output port to the voltage change at the input port, usually in reference to a vacuum tube.

    HAAT = Height above average terrain, used in the prediction of coverage by television stations, FM radio stations and some wireless radio services, HAAT value is determined by taking 50 evenly spaced elevation points (above mean sea level [AMSL]) along at least 8 evenly spaced radials from the transmitter site (starting at 0 degrees [True North]). The 50 evenly spaced points are sampled in the segment between 3 to 16 km (formerly 2 to 10 miles) along each radial. The elevation points along each radial are averaged, then the radial averages are averaged to provide the final HAAT value. Terrain variations within 3 km (2 miles) of the transmitter site usually do not have a great impact on station coverage.

    HAGL = height above ground level

    HDTV = high-definition television; generic term for various specific optional high-resolution (often widescreen) image formats given in most current digital TV broadcasting systems (ATSC, DVB, ISDB…) and several obsolete analog systems (CCIR systems A [for its time], E & F; MUSE/Hi-Vision; HDMAC). Mostly due to expense and high bandwidth requirements, high-definition services presently comprise a small minority of terrestrial digital TV broadcasts operating in the US. Do not confuse “HDTV” with any digital television broadcast standard (e.g. ATSC) or digital TV in general. It is not possible for anyone, including the most seasoned of professionals, to use the term in such a manner without making oneself look like a complete and total idiot!!!

    Hz = Hertz, the standard for measuring sinusoidal electricity. Also known as CPS or cycles per second

    I = electrical current, the flow of charge (measured in amperes or amps) (2) singular first-person pronoun used by most people to refer to themselves individually

    IF = intermediate frequency,

    IBAC = in-band adjacent channel; what people really mean when they say “IBOC”.

    IBOC = in band on channel, the current method for broadcasting audio digitally on the AM and FM bands in North America

    I Heart Radio = Lipstick on a proverbial pig. A polished turd. “I Fart Radio”.

    IMD = intermodulation distortion

    In the clear = transmitted without any encryption or scrambling; can be received on ordinary equipment. The main difference between “free-to-air” and “in-the-clear” is whether or not a subscription or permission is required to use the signal in certain applications. For example, before Echostar’s conversion to Nagravision III, Muzak Company transmitted music on the Echostar 7 satellite in-the-clear that could be (and often was) intercepted by people in their homes with third-party satellite receivers. It wasn’t free-to-air because it still required a subscription be paid to use it in businesses. Thus free-to-air transmissions are often (usually) in the clear, but transmissions in the clear may not necessarily be free to air.

    K = (1) Kilo; SI prefix for thousand (2) Series of three microwave radio frequency bands between 12 and 40 GHz; the Ku-band (12-18 GHz) in particular is commonly used for foreign satellite television broadcasting, backhauls and commercial direct-broadcast satellite TV services (including pay packages like Echostar and Direct TV, and in-the-clear ethnic and religious TV/audio broadcasting.) The K-bands don’t require as large an antenna as C-band to reliably receive, making them practical for fixed-dish, direct-to-home television broadcasting and computer networking uses.

    Longley-Rice: An alternate method to the FCC method of predicting coverage that addresses the difficulty of determining exactly where a contour line falls when in fact the signal from a given transmitter may rise and fall above and below a given signal level numerous times along the path.

    LPFM = Low Power FM, a class of service in FM broadcasting

    LPTV = Low Power TV, a class of service in TV broadcasting

    NABTS = North American Broadcast Teletext Specification; fork of EIA-608 captioning technology (but standardized as EIA-512) that defines the teletext mode presently used in the US and Canada. Responsible for that black box that takes up the lower half of your TV screen but mostly doesn’t do anything. Some off-air video tapes recorded of ABC in the late 80s/early 90s will show TV scheduling in this format if you select text service #1 or 2 while the tape is playing. NABTS was used until fairly recently to enclose ancillary TV show data (URLs and crap) used by Microshark’s “Web TV for Windows” package (text #3 I.I.R.C.). It still sees occasional use today as a way of sending internal messages to network affiliates and for leased low-speed data services, some of which are known to leak out onto local affiliates during network broadcasts. NABTS also specifies how NAPLPS packets are to be encoded for one-way broadcast over television stations.

    NAPLPS = North American Presentation Level Protocol Standard, Telidon’s and AT&T’s (mostly) method of implementing sort of “BBC-like” teletext used on NTSC television systems. Based on the Canadian “Telidon” system. One of three teletext systems implemented in North America alongside NABTS and a hacked-up form of World Standard Teletext (WST) (used by the BBC and just about everybody else). NAPLPS could do some really cool shit (for its time) that the other systems couldn’t, like vector graphics and a primitive form of “interactivity”. Unlike NABTS teletext, and like WST, NAPLPS’ big black window that does nothing takes up almost the entire screen area. NAPLPS was never widely used for broadcast services because AT$T couldn’t get enough TV manufacturers to buy into its expensive and complex technology, though it did see considerable use on dialup computer services into the mid 1990s.

    NDA = non directional antenna

    NTSC = analog television engineering standards and video transmission system. Acronym for “Never Twice the Same Color”.

    NFG = what happens to all vacuum tubes after a while

    P = Electrical Power, measured in watts, the product of current and voltage at the same point.

    PA = (1) power amplifier (2) public address

    PAL = (1) Phase Alternating Line, an analog color video system developed in Germany that became common in many countries that use monochrome systems with a 50 Hz refresh rate (and sometimes 60 Hz). (2) Perfection At Last; common reaction to the system’s technical merits after having previously dealt with NTSC and SECAM.

    POL = polarization (also polarisation), in antenna theory the polarization is the orientation of the electric field, and is always 90º from the magnetic field

    Q = (1) in electrical and electronic circuits, the Q or quality factor is a dimensionless parameter that describes how under damped an oscillator is, characterizing its bandwidth relative to its center frequency, a high Q indicates a lower rate of energy loss (2) the head of R&D in the British Secret Service in the James Bond series (3) Captains Picard/Sisko/Janeway’s immortal nemesis

    QAM = (1) Quadrature amplitude modulation, a form of single-sideband-like modulation used for analogue (i.e. AM stereo) and digital (e.g. cable) information (2) what most cable TV users call it when referring to in-the-clear transmissions (even though the entire system might be QAM)

    RF = radio frequency energy, signals that have a frequency greater than 20,000 Hz (20 kHz). Signals below that frequency are AF or audio frequency signals.

    RF Spectrum Ranges include:

    Very Low Frequency VLF 3 – 30 kHz

    Low Frequency LF 30 – 300 kHz

    Medium Frequency MF 300kHz – 3 MHz

    High Frequency HF 3 – 30 MHz

    Very High Frequency VHF 30 – 300 MHz

    Ultra High Frequency UHF 300 MHz – 3 GHz

    Super High Frequency SHF 3 GHz – 30 GHz

    Extremely High Frequency EHF 30 GHz – 300 GHz

    RFI = radio frequency interference

    RFR = radio frequency radiation,

    S/N = Signal to noise ratio of either the RF, visual or audio signal with reference to the associated noise floor.

    SECAM = Séquentiel couleur à mémoire (Sequential Colour And Memory), an analog color video system developed in France. SECAM transmits each color line sequentially and stores each in delay lines until they can be writen to the screen raster. The other systems use the phase difference between two subcarrier components relative the baseband monochrome picture to obtain full color. Also “System Entirely Contrary to the American Method” since chronologically it follows NTSC yet predates PAL.

    SOL = the prevailing attitude of employees when they learn Clear Channel has automated their station (see above)

    SSB = single side band, a form of amplitude modulation

    STL = studio-transmitter link, a system to deliver the program audio chain to the transmitter site from the studio

    T = Period, the inverse of frequency or the time for the electric wave to go through one full cycle.

    TPO = transmitter power output

    THD = total harmonic distortion

    THX = how’d that get in here?

    translator = a low power class of service in FM broadcasting intended to repeat programming from an originating full power class station

    V = voltage, the electrical potential (difference) between two points

    VSB = vestigial sideband, a form of modulation (see NTSC)

    wavelength = in a sinusoidal wave, the distance over which the wave’s shape repeats





    XTAL = Crystal

    XMTR = Transmitter

    XFORMER = Transformer

    Z = impedance = the measure of the opposition that a circuit presents to a current when a voltage is applied (DC resistance plus AC resistance)

    Zones = In FM and TV broadcasting, for the purpose of allotments and assignments, the United States is divided into three zones

    \lambda = wavelength

    \omega = Resistance in Ohms

    \pi = pi, the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, and is approximately equal to 3.14159

    Ø = (1) the null set, (2) undefined (3) diameter (4) the sum and total of your enemy’s knowledge . . . depending on which side of this board it appears.

    60 dBu = 1 mv/M In FM broadcasting, the distance from the antenna where the propagated signal has attenuated to this value is considered in FM broadcasting as the limits of your Primary coverage or Protected contour. dBu references dB above 1 microvolt per meter (uV), that is to say 60dBu is 1,000 times the voltage at 0dBu ( 1 microvolt). In Zone I and I-A, Class B1’s primary protected contour is 57 dBu and for Class B’s it is 54 dBu. For all other stations in FM broadcasting, 60 dBu is the primary protected contour.

    Deliberately plagiarized and ripped off from Andy Brown’s post from a few years ago with various additions made and liberties taken by me. (Live with it. Laugh a little.)


    Apparently Phreakazoid had Feiled for protection under Chapter 12:


    AM = Antique Modulation
    ATSC = Another Technical Set of Complications

    CB = Crazy Band
    CP = Complicated Paperwork

    DAB = Done And Broke
    DTS = Did They Ship?

    EBS = Excruciating Buzzing Sound

    FM = For Music
    FRS = Freaky Radio Service

    GPS = Governments Practising Surveillance

    HAM = Hopeless Arrogant Morons

    IBOC = It Bothers Other Channels
    IDE = It’s Damn Everywhere
    ISDN = Integration Subscribers Don’t Need, I Still Don’t kNow, It Still Does Nothing
    ITFS = Internet Transceivers For Sprint

    MURS = Mostly Unused Radio Service

    NTSC = Never Twice the Same Colour

    PAL = Pay A Lot, Pay Another Licence, Perfection At Last
    PCMCIA = People Can’t Memorise Computer Industry Acronyms

    QAM = Quirky And Mysterious

    SDDS = Still Doesn’t Do Shit
    SECAM = Something Entirely Contrary to the American Method

    TWAIN = Technology Without An Interesting Name

    The opinions and views expressed in this post (especially the latter section) do not necessarily represent those of gouge, BWBMX or New East Vancouver Choppers. . . oh wait, yeah, maybe the latter case.



    I am still waiting for LPFMs to sign on at 98.3 in Beaverton and 104.5 in Vernonia. Let’s see whether either of these comes to fruition in 2016.


    Doubt 98.3 will work out unless KPPK changes frequencies or goes away altogether. But I don’t know what sort of coverage KPPK has in Beaverton, either.

    It is receiveable over most of southern Vancouver.


    @ Gouge. Dude! How long did it take you to do all of that? Glad you did though. Makes it easier for guys like me. Thank you! And Happy Holidays!


    Let’s try not to think about how much time and energy I sunk into that. . .

    Actually Andy Brown came up with the bulk of it several years ago, I just added abunch of other crap to it. I had posted an earlier version of the Jargon File last year.* This year I added some more, in particular the crap about ATSC modes, teletext and some other crap that I’m forgetting what it was. If you want a diff, you can grep posts #5216 and 16587.

    * Towers ‘N’ STUFF 2015 Edition!

    So to answer your question, from the time stamps I’d say nine minutes.


    Okay, when will KYTE 102.7 move to willamette valley and when will kshl 97.7 move to Eugene Oregon


    KYTE construction permit runs through 4-10-17 and KSHL through 6-27-16. KSHL has applied to slightly modify that as of 10-7-15 and the application is still pending but it shouldn’t affect the original deadline. The application however is “blocked” and reads “technical deficiency, awaiting applicant information.


    Awesome, Gouge! Thanx. And Andy! Thank you for the ground work!!


    What happened to 89.5 Kpfr? Is their transmitter snowed in?


    KPFR loud and clear in Hillsboro right now… about the same signal strength as I measured last April. Still covering up KTCB 🙁


    Gouge. Thank you again for all of the effort and expertise. I appreciate it! Happy New Year! Ya gotta help novices like me. Glad you are here!


    It seems kpfr is off again.


    Indeed, Totally off not just “dead carrier” like they were for weeks a few winters ago.

    KTCB, Tillamook is booming in here in Hillsboro. 🙂


    I was hearing KTCB Tuesday night. At the time, they were running an R&B/funk show and announcing “Warming Centers” in Astoria. The signal was listenable, but noisy. There was occasional airplane flutter.

    I also heard Russian programming on 102.7 for the first time. The signal was very weak, and I had to point my antenna SE to hear it.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 68 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.