“UHF – The Future Begins in Portland, Oregon!”

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    “1948: Four television networks, (NBC, CBS, ABC, and DuMont), broadcasting over 128 stations, begin a full prime-time schedule (8 to 11pm, Eastern Time), seven days a week.”

    From this website: http://www3.northern.edu/wild/th100/tv.htm


    I can’t remember the specifics but I saw an old recording of a news broadcast, where they showed a live picture of the Golden Gate from New York and said it was the first time a picture from the other side of the country had been transmitted live. I’m thinking it was 1952. Perhaps, before that, they had to rely on kinescopes. I don’t know. I misspoke. There was network television. It just wasn’t live from the east.


    The broadcast you describe was See It Now with Edward R. Murrow. Murrow broadcast live from New York, and live video (from a remote truck) in San Francisco was fed back to the New York control room. On the program, Murrow sits next to a monitor showing the Golden Gate Bridge. The program video then cuts to the live West coast feed (and the kinescope shows a temporary loss of horizontal sync because timebase correctors did not exist back then). The San Francisco camera then pans and does some close-ups using a “Zoomar Lens.”


    Thank you, Alfredo. Well, at least now we know I’m not making this up. ๐Ÿ™‚


    I have a DVD containing the clip where Murrow introduced live video from the West coast. I cannot find this online. I found parts of a program where various affiliates feed the network. This must have been a later episode because it contains a totally different San Francisco segment.




    The Korea segment would have been on film.


    First Coast to Coast hookup in 1951 shown here:



    The FCC had put a freeze on VHF grants. Portland wanted TV badly. We were in the stone age. The largest market in America without a TV station. Seattle had TV in 1948.

    So they weren’t willing to wait a year or two until the FCC sorted out the VHF interference problems? I guess with only one station, viewers didn’t have to worry about switching between UHF and VHF.

    One cheap “portable” B&W TV we had back in the early 70’s didn’t even have a UHF channel selector. You tuned the UHF band like a radio. I think it had some imprecise channel marks (20-30-40-50 and so on) but you just turned the knob until the channel came in. That met the FCC manufacturing requirement for UHF at the time.


    A little more about the FCC “freeze” of 1948 here:


    Sounds like they re-drew the allocation map, including the new UHF allocations as well as coming up with a scheme to “offset” channel frequencies slightly to reduce co-channel interference. Apparently, the first post-freeze CPs were issued starting in July ’52.

    Portlands *second* TV station, KOIN ch 6 hit the air Oct. 15, 1953, just slightly over a year after KPTV ch 27. There was rejoicing in the streets, as many residents got to see a good picture for the first time. ๐Ÿ™‚


    I am surprised that as early as 1951, there were 30 million TV viewers, as mentioned in the article above.


    A while ago on this board, I read a post (I believe from Craig) that stated that circa 1948 or 1949, there were plans to rebroadcast KING on channel 3. This never happened, but the reasons why are unclear to me (allocation freeze? lack of money? inability to receive a stable over-the-air signal from Seattle?).

    Mechanical UHF tuners were actually all continuous, as far as I know. The tuning was accomplished either with variable capacitors or with a sliding shorting bar (to create a variable inductance). Later designs added mechanical detents and a fine-tuning knob to the UHF tuner easier to use and to give it a similar feel to that of the VHF tuner.


    Alfredo: Found what you were referring to within: “KPRA – KWJJ-FM – KHTV – Early Trans. Site History.”

    Ed Parsons principal backer of the firm had big plans for the former FM transmitter site. He was already well known for pioneering cable television in Astoria in 1948, as well as creating the first relay TV station on channel 2, later known as a TV Translator. This was all done using the KRSC-TV signal on channel 5 from Seattle, the only TV station in the Northwest. Ed’s next plan was to bring television to Portland for the first time. Using the FM transmitter site to rebroadcast what was now KING-TV on channel 3 in Portland. He had already tested reception via a mobile TV receiver in all sections of Portland. The plan was to first apply to the FCC for an experimental television permit on channel 3 and then later apply for the same channel for a regular Portland TV license. The application was filed with the FCC on December 6, 1950.

    On March 29, 1951 the FCC denied Northwest Television-Broadcasting Company’s experimental television permit. “The FCC in rejecting the request indicated it felt such a procedure would violate its freeze on new station construction. As a temporary service, the FCC added, the experimental work might unduly encourage residents to buy sets in belief that a permanent station was in the immediate offering.”


    Mechanical UHF tuners were actually all continuous, as far as I know. The tuning was accomplished either with variable capacitors or with a sliding shorting bar (to create a variable inductance). Later designs added mechanical detents and a fine-tuning knob to the UHF tuner easier to use and to give it a similar feel to that of the VHF tuner.

    Our fancier color television did have a real UHF selector knob. It may have really been a variable capacitor but it clicked between stations just like the VHF knob when you turned it.

    Looking at some schematics, I can see why they’d rather use variable capacitors for UHF. Even the VHF selector switches for twelve channels were large complicated multi-layered (don’t know the technical term for multiple switches on one knob) with several components for every channel. The amount of components to tune every UHF station with a switch would have been huge.


    Here is a list of West Coast UHF Stations. That signed on after KPTV 27 went on the air.

    27 KPTV-TV NBC Portland, OR

    September 20, 1952

    24 KMJ–TV NBC Fresno, CA

    June 1, 1953

    29 KIMA-TV CBS Yakima, WA

    July 19, 1953

    29 KAFY-TV CBS Bakersfield, CA

    August 20, 1953

    47 KJEO-TV CBS Fresno, CA

    September 20, 1953

    19 KEPR-TV CBS Pasco, WA

    December 28, 1954


    Here is a list of West Coast UHF Stations that signed on after KPTV 27 went on the air and then signed off the air.

    40 KCCC-TV Sacramento, CA

    September 30, 1953

    53 KBID-TV Fresno, CA

    February 8, 1954

    28 KTHE Los Angeles, CA

    August 3, 1953

    36 KTVU Stockton, CA

    December 15, 1953

    27 KVVG Tulare-Fresno, CA

    November 16, 1953

    43 KBAS-TV Ephrata, WA (Satellite of KIMA-TV)

    February 15, 1957

    31 KTRX Kennewick-Pasco, WA

    January 28, 1958

    56 KPEC-TV Lakewood Center-Tacoma, WA

    April 2, 1960

    62 KTPS Tacoma, WA

    September 25, 1961


    Found this bit of early history about Empire Coil Broadcasting Company. Unbuilt KPTV sister station in Boston, Mass.

    This comes from Fybush web site. Tower site of the week.


    In the 1950’s Herbert Mayerโ€™s Empire Coil had a CP for channel 38, (Boston, Mass) holding the WXEL calls that Mayer had earlier used in Cleveland, Ohio, but it was never built and deleted by the FCC in 1960.

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