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March Last revision Mar 8, 2022

Next Meeting: We meet in Manhattan at Dole Hall, KSU, Tuesday March 15 at 7:00 PM. John Langer will give a program on DSP (digital signal processing) in regards to Bi-Amp (up/downstream) digital signal router/mixer. Some of us will gather at 6 PM at the Pizza Ranch for supper. Mark your calendars now, and note the earlier time, (we moved to the 15th to better fit John's schedule). See you there.

Last Meeting: Nine Members and guests met Tuesday November 16, in Emporia for a tour of KVOE studios and transmitter. Several of us gathered at Pizza Ranch before the meeting, and we were pleased to welcome Jessica Rye and two associates, Phil and Joe, from KPTS as they joined us for the evening. Our tour was given by Joe Eck, Engineer who resides in McPherson, and is semi-retired, with KVOE and its other stations his only client for which he remains on call. Joe has gone by several stage names in various markets: Charlie Allen in Emporia, and Doc Holiday in Topeka.

He has been around for a while and told us many stories of how it was done way back then. It was enjoyable to listen to him. Our tour began at the KVOE studios, which are housed in former dormitories of the College of Emporia. There were two colleges in Emporia originally, and this one did not make it financially. The other became Emporia State College, and is part of the state of Kansas' educational system. The street on which the KVOE studios are located is known in Emporia as C of E Drive - short for College of Emporia, which fits much better on a street sign. Google Maps, not knowing the history of the place labels it "C of East Drive". As our tour progressed, Joe introduced us to Greg Rahe (Ray), KVOE Sports Director, and long time on air announcer for most Emporia games. He was working in one of KVOE's production studios, but took time to explain the various pieces of gear in the studio, and what he normally used to complete his work. KVOE uses a TieLine codex to relay remote events covered via Internet back to the studios, where they either switched remotely from the event, or more often by a person at the studio, who integrates the event into other programming for live broadcast, or recorded for later playback on one of their stations.
Greg explained that although they had tried programming remotely using a cell phone alone, the quality was poor, and they found the compression and relay of data via the TieLine Codex much higher in quality and reliability. They can use the TieLine over a hardwired phone line if it is available, but prefer the Internet when it can be done that way. KVOE's programming format is talk radio, and although satellite delivered network shows are used at least 50% of the time, they do many remote shows, and often have live guest interviews conducted at their studios daily. We moved on to the next studio, where program segments are prerecorded for later use. Remembering that each of these rooms used to be in a dormitory, they lent their use and size well to the purposes presently tasked.

Greg Rahe, Sports Director, Left, is working on a spot for later broadcast at his work station.

 Network wiring was easily installed above the ceilings to and from the station servers. The automation software was from a company I had not heard of before, but KVOE had been using it for many years, and did keep a maintenance contract in force with the supplier. They were quite happy with the software which was regularly updated. Software Techs had full access to the program for maintenance or troubleshooting, and the station was well satisfied with it. The Inboom arms for easy positioning. Several positions were set up, allowing for interviews of a full committee, if required. The newsroom looked to be more used than some of the other studios, and had more newspapers and other reference material laying within easy reach for talent. The rack gear was on the opposite side from the the studios, in an open, but easily accessible area. While there was some non used obsolete gear still in place, one might consider it ballast to keep the racks well anchored. Most of them could be placed back in use if needed, so consider it as back up gear. Weather emergencies are handled by their weather guy from a remote studio in his home, and relayed in by via TieLine Codex.

KVOE has a weather spotter crew than can be deployed on short notice. They are well covered in this department. One of the historical items shown us was an old QSL postcard from Ohio, with original call sign of KTSW.

The interview studio.

Those call letters were the first and last initials of the two owners who placed the station on the air. KVOE likely stands for "Voice of Emporia" and the station does that job very well. From there, our tour moved on to the transmitter site. The building had plenty of room, using the previous generation of gear as back up, should it be required. There is aterview room was larger in size than most of the studios, and was well equipped with the latest microphones mounted on minit boom arms for easy positioning. Several positions were set up, allowing for interviews of a full committee, if required. The newsroom looked to be more used than some of the other studios, and had more newspapers and other reference material laying within easy reach for talent. The rack gear was on the opposite side from the the studios, in an open, but easily accessible area. While there was some non used obsolete gear still in place, one might consider it ballast to keep the racks well anchored. Most of them could be placed back in use if needed, so consider it as back up gear. Weather emergencies are handled by their weather guy from a remote studio in his home, and relayed in by via TieLine Codex. KVOE has a weather spotter crew than can be deployed on short notice. They are well covered in this department. One of the historical items shown us was an old QSL postcard from Ohio, with original call sign of KTSW. Those call letters were the first and last initials of the two owners who placed the station on the air. KVOE likely stands for "Voice of Emporia" and the station does that job very well.

From there, our tour moved on to the transmitter site. The building had plenty of room, using the previous generation of gear as back up, should it be required. There is a motor generator of sufficient size to maintain operation of all essential gear without interruption, as does the studio. The wave antenna is center fed from the tuning unit. The RF signal being fed up stranded wire isolated from the tower by stand off insulators until the feed point connection is made. Joe showed us an interesting surge arrestor that was doped with radio active material, keeping the gas contained in an ionized state, This assured the unit will fire at a fixed voltage - in this case 900V. Joe said that one item stopped frequent and persistent lightning damage to the base current ammeter and other gear. The arrester's reduced attack time to the surge is attributed to its success, and Joe is still successfully using the same unit originally installed there. KVOE-AM 1400 Khz; KVOE-FM 96.9 Mhz; Today's Mix 104.9 Mhz; Country 101.7 Mhz; and KVOE-TV (Streaming), all come out of the KVOE server. The server is isolated from the Internet or other outside access, and its power is supplied by a constant service UPS, which is served by local commercial power and backed up by a studio standby generator. Most all of the production work is done on small analog audio boards, with a larger digital board in the main operational studio. Joe stocks a few spare faders for the boards and doesn't have to replace them often, but can do so when necessary. When asked about how CoVid had affected the operation at KVOE, Joe told us that the ability to work form home had been both a help and a hindrance. The sales department had been hardest hit, and they are down to two sales persons now working from home. They are looking for a couple of good sales people, if you know of any. This was an interesting tour and we thank Joe Eck for taking the time to show us around. KVOE is a good example of a small market station serving their community well.

The business meeting was conducted briefly at the end of the tour, so Joe could get back to McPherson, where he lives, Chairman Dick Abraham called the meeting to order at 8:21 PM. The meeting notes of the October meeting at KAB Engineering Day and as published in the Chapter 3 newsletter were adopted as minutes of that meeting on motion of Robert Nelson, seconded by John Langer, and passed by vote of those present. It was noted by Jessica Rye, that KPTS-TV8, Wichita, will be moving to a new larger studio in February if all goes well, and they are looking for help to fill several technical positions, If you know of anyone looking for employment, have them contact Jessica Rye at (316) 838-3090.
There being no other business to bring before the chapter, we stood adjourned at 8:24 PM on motion of Robert Nelson, seconded by Tracy Gibson, with the motion passing by an affirmative vote of those in attendance. There will be no December meeting. Information on the next Chapter 3 meeting will be announced in the newsletter. 30

Joe shows us the features of the equipment in the News Room Studio at KVOE.

Joe tells us about the rack gear used in the studio, including the SAGE EAS units, which are the last gear in the audio chain before it is relayed to the transmitters.

John Langer tipped me off to a new study on using Hydrides to store Hydrogen to be used in fuel cells to produce electric power. You recall, we recently dealt with this subject where the Hydrides were produced by heating Magnesium to upwards of 400F to attach the Hydrogen to the metallic substrate and then stored in cartridge form. The Hydrogen was released by adding water as needed. In the new article, the container looks more like a hard disc, and the Hydrogen is released by zapping the disc with a laser. The Hydride is produced at a temperature nearer to that found in a room. This even makes it applicable to being placed in industrial smokestacks to remove any Hydrogen that might be escaping into the atmosphere. The Hydride is formed here through the process of absorption onto a carbon film, much like charcoal does with odors. As in the first model, the released Hydrogen is then routed to a fuel cell to produce electricity. This sounds to me like a cheaper way to get the same results. Let's go for it. Another link supplied by John told of a developing problem with new automobiles. It seems most new cars are produced with up to 50 different software programs for as many different sensors, which are produced by fifteen or so different software authors. That in itself could be a problem, but further, any updates can only be done at the dealer's place of business. This article was touting Tesla automobiles, probably because the author was a Tesla owner, but also because the Tesla CEO is a former software engineer. He advocated testing every CEO of automobile manufacturers to see if they could code a simple game. If they could not, he said they should be fired on the spot! The author says he has had his Tesla for three or so years, and feels he has a better car than when he bought it. The reason for this is that Tesla updates its software as it feels necessary, and does so over the air! They're in control of the software their car uses, because they wrote it. The implication is there - that other cars are more likely to be hacked because there are more software back doors than there are on the Tesla. Certainly there would be less possibility of unhealthy interaction between the many software programs that are running at any one time on your new vehicle. Who determines the order of interrupts between the different programs? I can understand the author's concerns. Maybe there needs to be a standard or protocol for software control programs on vehicles. Perhaps there is one now of which I am unaware, but it certainly gives a person something to think about. John Langer has some thoughts on the matter as well. He writes: "A company called Plasma Kinetics found a way to store and retrieve hydrogen in a much safer and cheaper way. Thus, opening the
door to many application(s).

Is it perfect? No, but it seems to provide one of the best solutions to date in hydrogen storage and transfer so far. Here are (some) links to YouTube that describes it:

To have a fuel cell back up generator that runs on cheap replaceable cartridges at the transmitter or station would be quite the thing. The ideas this technology brings to the table in all aspects is a step in the right direction. I am afraid though that those who control the power and fuel supplies will see this as a threat to their control and livelihood. As was stated in the video when introduced to the government they thought it to be a truly innovative idea and solution … But that was short lived when they realized the potential this technology had to disrupt the energy industrial complex and they labeled it as a possible threat with military undertones. My personal take(:) they saw this as a end to their revenue stream from the controlling interests that provide re-election campaign funds. Ah, but I've digressed …. It is a cool technology and if it ever gets implemented on a wide scale, could have a profound impact on the "green" scene. It truly could cut down carbon emissions and pollution." Thank you, John. You are in an environment that allows you to see some interesting and definitely cutting edge developments, and I appreciate your sharing them with us.

Radio World has an article in Tech Tips, that might be of use to some of you. In our November tour of KVOE, we saw a surge suppressor placed on the antenna/dummy load switch to stop lightning damage. The Tech Tips article reminds us that for higher frequencies than AM, we can employ a shorted quarter wave stub to provide a DC path to ground, while allowing the carrier frequency to pass undisturbed. Another benefit of this method is an additional 30dB reduction in second harmonic, and a third benefit is there are no parts to wear out, so a lightning discharge stopped will not degrade a stub built from rigid copper coax. So, FM, TV, STL, and RPU engineers should benefit from such a device, which can be added at any time, if needed, Low power transmitters can use RG-8 or RG11, depending on the impedance needed, to construct your own shorted quarter wave stub, but you will need a tracking spectrum analyzer and an impedance bridge to place the short at the proper place. A better solution might be to buy your filter from Xenirad, or another company who makes custom filters. Xenirad makes fixed or tunable stubs in 7/8", 1-5/8", and 3" rigid coax which will handle much higher powers than the RG coax versions. These stubs can be placed at transmitter outputs, or even between exciter and tube type amplifiers to stop a tube arc from backing into the exciter. Check John Bisset out on Tech Tips!

Transmit gear and old transmitter at left now used for stand by.

Joe shows new BE transmitter (on air).

Antenna/Dummy load (6 resistors at Right) switch and surge suppressor.

Joe demos the standby generator at the transmit site, and fires it up for us.

One of two new KPTS production studios

Jessica Rye, KPTS Manager of Broadcast Operations and Technology, is anxious to get going in the new KPTS Studios in North East Wichita, but there is a little matter of a 30 day wait required by the FCC before their tower ASR can be granted. As it turns out, the new studios are between 3500 and 4000 feet from a runway at Jabara Airport, so the tower is limited to 145 feet or less, in height. Even then, a month of network pass through is scheduled at the old studio while equipment is removed from the old studio and installed at the new one, and the new STL path is aligned. Check out the picture of one of the new spacious studios shown in the lower picture. And it doesn't smell like old oil (the old studio had previously been a Western Auto garage, and they had to remove the old car lift). Dave McClintock, retired KPTS Director of Operations and Technical, has been heavily involved in assisting and planning the move, as well as volunteer work by Bob Locke, and other individuals. Your editor shouldn't get on ladders anymore, but was involved in design of the MATV distribution system for the new studio. Although blueprints of the building were not available,

 a functional, though not to scale, room layout was. A half day in the building with a handheld laser measuring device yielded sufficient accuracy to allow development of a MATV system, once the cable to be used was known. The room layout image was copied to paper, and dimmed with a transparency feature on the page manager used for this newsletter. Then the network layout could be easily seen. Using the specs of the MATV amp used in the old studio, laser measurements made, and the cable loss at the frequencies of interest, the MATV distribution system began to emerge. Parts were ordered for connectors, directional couplers splitters, and wall plates. We'll see what happens. We'll have more on the KPTS relocate in future, and we are looking forward to a tour of the facilities when all the dust settles. 30

Google Street View of KPTS

Newsletter Editor: R.W. Abraham

CPBE / CBNT Regional Engineer Cox Cable Wichita Retired

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