Towers & Such 2021

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    Timeline Broadcasting in the Portland Metro Area. Excluding TV stations in La Grande, Or, and LPTV.

    KPTV Channel 27 9/20/1952
    KOIN Channel 6 10/15/1953
    KOLR Channel 12 3/8/1955 –> merge with KPTV 5/1/1957
    KGW Channel 8 12/15/956
    KHTV Channel 27 7/6/1959—> 10/31/1959 Dark
    KOPB (KOAP) Channel 10 2/6/1961
    KATU Channel 2 3/15/1962
    KOAB (KVDO) Channel 3 2/24/1970 —>7/31/1983 move to Bend, OR
    KPXG (KECH) 11/21/1981
    KPDX 10/7/1983
    KRCW (KEBN) 5/8/1989
    KNMT 11/16/1989


    Experiments don’t count. They were not intended to be received by the public. If you count experiments, KCBS dates back to 1909! Edwin Armstrong had a test station for FM, beginning in 1937 and there were inroads to flying machines several centuries ago!

    Andy Brown

    In this case experiments do count. The error is yours semoochie because you failed to mention the word “commercial” (or non commercial) in your earlier statement about oldest in the world. An experimental station is still a station and the absence of receiving equipment being ubiquitous is not disqualifying. If that was the case we could consider all the ATSC 3 goings on as experimental as well.
    Xerox gets credit for the first computer mouse even though their own development and use thereof by their own admission was experimental. Had Steve not seen this experiment and implemented it at Apple, the path forward for personal computing would have been different.


    ^ – – What Andy_brown said.

    boisebill was correct in saying that Portland had one of the first UHF stations. But not chronologically the first.

    Looking at it in an alternative abstract manner, an argument could be made that Portland had “the first UHF station” to the extent of the surplus transmitter equipment that had been used for the first (experimental) station ultimately making its way over there. In that case only the characterisation of “the first UHF station was in Portland” could be made. But that’s stretching it quite a bit.


    I’m sorry but this is a little like saying the Wright Brothers ran the first airline! Obviously, experimentation is vitally important to the end product. It just shouldn’t count as an actual station. Did what eventually became KCBS have its own orchestra in 1909? KDKA became the first commercial station, with a goal of serving the general public. I don’t like to use that phrase because there was no advertising for quite sometime after 1920 and it’s confusing to anyone who thinks of it as the opposite of a non-commercial station.

    Of course, if you think of a station as you would a ham station then you’re right but it seems to me that experimental stations should be on a different list.

    Shirley Knott

    KDKA didn’t need advertising. It had a sponsor.

    Westinghouse made radios to sell to the public. People wouldn’t buy a radio unless there’s something decent to listen to. Hence, KDKA, Westhinghouse Broadcasting for Pittsburgh. It was its own product. Commercials showed up when radio stations were built by business people who hawked their own products.

    Sears owned WLS, World’s Largest Store. I’m curious whether they offered their DIY line of Craftsman homes over WLS.

    WCFL was owned by the Chicago Federation of Labor. They broadcast a lot of pro-union ‘educational material’ when talking about unionizing could get you gunned down.

    WGN belonged to the World’s Greatest Newspaper, the Chicago Tribune. The Tribune’s existence was made possible by advertising, so that’s what they did with their radio station too.

    I see commercially sponsored radio as a natural evolution from the original job of selling radios. General Electric did the same thing with their stations. And it worked quite well until they all saturated the market and needed a new income stream. So they started advertising products for other companies.

    And yet a few were more mission based, generally pushing a particular religious denomination. They didn’t need or seek a lot of advertising. And their great grandchildren are still with us today.


    Is KGW still on lower power. I have gained most of my channels back except for 8.1-8.4 and 42.and 42.2. I appreciate your help.


    In markets where VHF stations arrived in the 1950s, it was almost impossible for UHF stations to remain financially solvent. The broad overview of the situation was somewhat analogous to the reason why playing music on AM is not considered financially viable today.

    KHTV was a shoestring operation, and according to one account that appeared on this board years ago, advertisements for a car dealership that appeared on that station consisted of the cars being driven by the transmitter building with a camera pointed out a door and an announcer reading the ad copy, all live. The “brand name” network shows were on the VHF stations by then, so most likely, KHTV had to fill its broadcast schedule with syndicated programs, old movies, public service films, and live performances by second-rate local talent.

    A frustrated man in the KPTV informational film exclaims, “This is like watching a snowstorm!” That exactly describes the overall experience that viewers had with the insensitive tuners and low station effective radiated powers of the day. KPTV started out around 16 kW and raised power to 200 kW before abandoning UHF altogether.

    The 1950s UHF tuners did not have low noise radio frequency amplifiers because inexpensive tubes that could offer low noise at these frequencies had not yet been developed. This meant that the IF output of these tuners was weaker than the UHF signals at the antenna terminals. The overall sensitivity of the TV would have been dependent on the amount of noise produced by the first intermediate frequency amplifier, degraded by the loss through the tuner.

    When UHF was deployed in Europe, low noise UHF triodes had become available, and these were incorporated into tuner designs (possibly by government decrees). In the U.S., FCC regulations eventually did impose a performance specification calling for a noise figure of no greater than 15 dB in UHF tuners. An article that I once read for an RCA UHF/VHF tuner from 1954 characterized the design for performance on various channels, and this tuner marginally met the spec on the lower channels, but not the higher ones.

    UHF in the 1950s was so crummy that a number of TV repair shops did not want to sell or install UHF equipment in areas that had VHF. UHF required twin-lead with standoff insulators, and obtaining acceptable performance most likely required professional technicians. Presumably, these dealers feared that customers would blame them for reception problems. All the while, UHF broadcasters made pie-in-the-sky claims, such as “Enjoy crystal-sharp pictures with UHF!”


    UHF Television usage in Pacific Northwest. Was primarily used in two appellations by the FCC.

    The first, for full power UHF stations. That are still assigned to Yakima and Tri-Cities viewing areas. Which did not have a sole VHF signal. Does anyone remember the TV term UHF Island.

    The second for low powered translator stations. Which were assigned to UHF channels 70-83. All of these signals can still be found. On a lower UHF channel. In smaller communities from the Coast to Eastern Oregon.


    The first Channel l2 in Portland was KLOR, not KOLR.


    Into the 1970’s you could still spot the little UHF antennas for Ch 27 on Portland rooftops.


    It seemed to me that most rooftop antennas were destroyed by the Columbus Day Storm. I never noticed any of the old style still standing.


    Google Street View caught a rather disheveled street person lying on the sidewalk in broad daylight. Looks like he’s trying to read a tablet or large phone.,-122.6601862,3a,21.7y,329.33h,75.95t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sDAUn6O1R83jqmRSc-pTLPg!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

    Andy Brown

    “Just of out curiosity, is this the FM transmitter for KFFD-LP 98.3?”

    No, that’s an omni directional two way vhf radio antenna most likely used to communicate with the auto store delivery and pickup truck/van.

    Isn’t KFFD still out in Beaverton on someone’s garage? They’ve been granted permission to move but I see no 319 for the new location.

    KFFP-LP 90.3 has their antenna just up a few blocks on the KBOO building at 20 SE 8th, but you can’t see it from google street view as it wasn’t there yet. You can see KBOO’s STL parabolic dish, a yogi for the air monitor. I don’t know what the unit at the top is, but it is not large enough for FM broadcast. It looks like a UHF antenna of some sort.,-122.6576965,3a,37.5y,79.26h,98.9t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1s590YA6QtAqiLH9H9bMIydQ!2e0!5s20190901T000000!7i16384!8i8192

    Even with Google Earth with tilt when zooming enabled, it’s difficult to resolve from satellite view.

    I get the two of them confused. Didn’t they swap call letters? Didn’t they move 98.3 like 5 times?

    Although there are variations, low power single bay cp fm broadcast antenna basically looks like this:

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by Andy Brown.
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