TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: 'K' v. 'W' Television Station Callsigns

Re: 'K' v. 'W' Television Station Callsigns

J Kelly (
Tue, 26 Oct 2004 16:46:56 -0500

On Tue, 26 Oct 2004 06:10:20 +0000,
(Robert Bonomi) wrote:

> n article <>, J Kelly
> <> wrote:

>> On Sun, 24 Oct 2004 01:18:22 +0000,
>> (Robert Bonomi) wrote:

>>> WOI-TV was in operation _long_ before 'Iowa Public Television' came
>>> into existence. In point of fact, WOI-TV was the _first_ TV station
>>> in the state broadcasting on a regular schedule.

>> WOI was in fact on way before Iowa Public Television. IPTV began in
>> 1969 when the State Educational Radio and Television Facility Board
>> purchased KDPS-TV (Des Moines Public Schools) Channel 11 in Des Moines
>> and changed the callsign to KDIN-TV. The network was known as Iowa
>> Educational Broadcasting Network (IEBN). Seven other stations
>> followed over the next 8 years, and one more was added in 2003 when
>> they acquired channel 36 in Davenport. In 1976 the name was changed
>> to Iowa Public Broadcasting Network, and was changed to Iowa Public
>> Television in 1982.

> The first expansion was the addition of Channel 12 (KIIN TV), in Iowa
> City.

> By circa 1975, there were KDIN, KIIN, and at least 7 UHF 'repeater'
> stations across the state. With a decent directional antenna,
> virtually every place in the state was within reception range of one
> of the transmitters.

> The 'repeater' stations were very high-tech (for their day),
> *automated*, systems. A high-gain channel-11 antenna pointed towards
> Des Moines, coupled to a carrier-operated-relay, that triggered the
> transmitter into operation. If KDIN was on the air, the repeater
> stations came up, and rebroadcast the signal; when KDIN shut down for
> the night, the repeaters turned themselves off, too.

> Well, *MOST* of the time. Late one night, in the fall of 1973 (74?),
> I was DX hunting with my little B&W, *rabbit-ears*only* TV, in my
> apartment on the outskirts of downtown Des Moines. Here is this
> *snowy* picture on channel 11 -- old gangster movie. Took quite a
> while for a call-sign to come by WQXI. Just for grins, I _called_ the
> station, to let them know they had a viewer "way out in Iowa". This
> got to be a _very_ strange phone converation. The station
> _chief_engineer_ was working the night shift that night, and actually
> answered the phone, =himself=. He got *real* upset, and asked me
> _exactly_ what I'm seeing, what kind of a monstrosity I'm using for an
> antenna, *exactly* where I am, etc., etc. The more detail I provided
> in answer to the questions, the _more_upset_ he was getting.

> Finally, we get through the panic, and he explains -- several weeks
> previously, 'skip' conditions had been 'just right', and their signal
> had been hitting Iowa with enough signal strength to *trigger* some of
> the IEBN repeaters. Most notably the one in northwest Iowa, from
> who's 'viewpoint', Atlanta was nearly in a straight line with Des
> Moines.

> This led to an incredible stack of paperwork, to mollify the FCC.
> Here was 'retransmission'/'rebroadcasting' of a commercial TV station,
> *without* the permission/consent of the originating station. Here was
> _commercial_ content on an 'educational TV' repeater channel. etc.,
> etc., ad nauseum. Oh yeah, those remote 'repeater' stations were
> automated enough that they did _not_ have an 'engineer on duty' at the
> transmitter site. The 'local' engineer had remote monitoring gear at
> his house, or wherever. Note: this was *monitoring* capability,
> _only_. He did *not* have anything like a 'kill switch' for the
> transmitter -- could *not* shut it down, except from on-site
> brute-force controls, if the master station (or what the hardware
> *thought* was the master station :) was 'on the air'.

> As a result of _that_ 'design stupidity', the "problem" recurred
> _again_ the next night. And several following nights. Which made the
> paperwork swamp *MUCH* worse. Now it wasn't a _single_ 'inadvertent'
> error, but a repeated pattern of "illegal" behavior.

> He had just finished up (i.e., a day or two previously) _his_ stack of
> paper- work related to the problem,
> *believing*it*to*be*finally*resolved*, and was relaxing as things got
> back to normal -- and this phone call comes in from IOWA, where
> somebody is seeing his station, *AGAIN*(!!) In that light, the
> 'upset' was quite understandable -- and he _did_ relax considerably
> when it was established that I _was_ watching on channel *11* -- not
> on some repeater output frequency.

The "repeater sites" (and they were NOT repeaters but full tv
transmitters) were in fact manned whenever they were on the air. An
engineer turned them on and off at the start and end of the day.

At no time was there ever any carrier operated relays that turned on
the stations. They were turned on manually from the transmitter site
itself by a station engineer.

I've talked to engineers that have been working at IPTV since the KDPS
days and nobody remembers anything about the above story. If there
was a whole mess of FCC paperwork generated over it, someone there
would remember it.

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