Clay’s Corner – May

Well it’s been a month since I quit being a full time employee of Entercom and started as a half-time guy at WSU. The most noticeable change is – not – having to drive into downtown Seattle. That freeway slog is something I am very happy to do without. Despite having to put up with adverse weather conditions, I’d still rather drive to West Tiger Mt. Thankfully, I continue to spend a lot of my time at Tiger and Cougar with a significant amount of contract work continues.

The job at WSU is quite interesting with a good deal of travel to new locations, for instance, this past week to Striped Peak (west of Port Angeles) and to Forks, where I’d not been in over 20 years. I’ve made a number of trips to Crego Hill, near Chehalis, and site of KCKA (TV) and KMNT (FM) working on the up-coming installation of KSWS…A new WSU facility, additionally, several trips to KVTI in Lakewood that will become part of the Northwest Public Radio network of stations in June.

Most of you know that I am ‘North’ of 65 and still working, pretty much, full time. I found it interesting that a recent study showed that the majority of Americans are delaying retirement and to stay in the workforce. Looking at history, retirement is really a pretty recent invention. I have found a number of folks my age that are still actively working. If you enjoy what you are doing and your health is holding up…why not?

This weekend one of my projects is to install an HD Radio in my new truck. I can’t believe how much I missed it. While I am at it, Amateur Radio will be installed as well. Speaking of which – June 4,5 & 6 is the Annual Seaside ham radio event. (I have my reservations) Looking further ahead, the Radio Club of Tacoma is holding a Hamfest at Bethel Jr High in Spanaway on August 14th.

Was really strange this year to have not gone to NAB in Las Vegas. I understand that attendance was up a bit from last year with some 88,000 attending, far below the over 100k crowds of a few years ago.. Congrats to Geoff Mendenhall of Harris on winning the NAB Best Paper Award at the 2010 show. Geoff’s paper called – Extending your HD Radio Footprint – dealt with a number of technical issue of interest to radio engineers.

Enforcement actions in the event of tower light failures
> Tower inspection requirements
> Timeframes for replacing or repairing extinguished lights
> The way the FCC checks tower painting
> The location of signs with the antenna structure registration (ASR) number.
> Station record retention time
etc –

There is lots of ‘buzz’ about 3-D TV. Even if demand is pretty limited at this point.
It was recently announced that a Japanese firm had demonstrated a new display that enables 3-D viewing without glasses. The technology is called ‘parallax-barrier’. The way it works is to have a number of slits in front of the display that causes each eye to see a slightly different picture. The downside is you have to be viewing it from a specific angle. Then there is the fear that watching 3D-TV will cause physical problems…like confusion, nausea, convulsions, altered vision, light-headedness, dizziness, and involuntary movements such as eye or muscle twitching and cramps. (Sounds like a warning for some new medication) The warning comes from Samsung. Not everyone agrees. Sony said the company had commissioned independent research
into the technology and had found no health risks

Sunspots, or the lack thereof, is still bugging those that track those things. Amateur Radio DX’ers are grumbling. The lack of spots makes getting those rare countries in your log all the more difficult.

Are you ready for the Memristor? The University of Michigan is working with these new devices that remember the state they were in when their power was removed. Wonder if they would consider doing implants?

A proposal for a new type of collision warning system for communications towers is in the news. The new obstacle collision avoidance System from OCAS uses radar to monitor a tower’s area. When an approaching plane or helicopter enters a predetermined range the radar will activate the tower’s lights. If the vehicle continues to approach a short-range VHF radio will issue a warning on multiple aviation frequencies.
One of the goals is to save power use to light towers.

Well time to close this edition – Let me leave you this gem –

A young engineer was leaving the office at 3.45 p.m. when he found the
Acting CEO standing in front of a shredder with a piece of paper in his

“Listen,” said the Acting CEO, “this is a very sensitive and important
document, and my secretary is not here. Can you make this thing work?”

“Certainly,” said the young engineer. He turned the machine on, inserted
the paper, and pressed the start button.

“Excellent!” said the Acting CEO as his paper disappeared inside the
machine, “I just need one copy.”

Lesson: Never, ever assume that your boss knows what he’s doing.

See you next month in most of this same place.

Clay, K7CR, CPBE