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The Bismarck tribune. [volume] (Bismarck, N.D.) 1916-current, March 13, 1931, Image 9

Image and text provided by State Historical Society of North Dakota

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85042243/1931-03-13/ed-1/seq-9/

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Officials and Staff of Western North Dakota’s Radio Station
It takes people to operate a radio station, lots of them, and above are shown the staff of KFYR, Bismarck, the leading western North Dakota broadcasting organization, together with the new plant, erected six miles east of the city. The pictures
above show: No. 1, Ernest J. Grewer, control engineer; No. 2, Gleason Kistler, chief announcer; No. 3, P. J. Meyer, president of the Meyer Broadcasting company and station manager; No. 4, Paul O. Luther, announcer; No. 5, Stanley M. Lucas,
station director and chief engineer; No. 6, Clarion E. Larson, musical director; No. 7, Ila D. Moffitt, home economics director and station secretary; No. 8, Helen House, musical director; No. 9, Carl E. Bagley, transmitting station engineer; No. 10,
C. F. Dirlam, production manager; No. 11, John N. Henlein, radio technician; No. 12, the antenna system at the broadcasting station east of the city; No. 13, the transmitting plant east of the city.
KFYR’S Broadcasting Station Example of Latest Radio Engineering
Delicate Machinery
Often Is Puzzle to -
Station Operators
Even Though Local Engnieers Understand Difficulties Better,
They Are Apt to Marvel at Achievements More
Than Ordinary Laymen
KFYR Officials give Brief Description of Intricate Equipment
Necessary,for Local Station,to Become Mem
ber, of National Chain
Every time you turn on your radio it is just like opening
an envelope containing words and music.
That is what the radio engineers of KFYR would have you
understand is the manner in which programs originating in one
place travel through the ether and arrive in the living room of
those folks who own radio receivers.
It is a complicated process and requires a vast amount of delicately ad
justed machinery—and even when everything is going perfectly the radio
jnaathanisetvas do not know what makes It possible. They admit it And they
even more the rest of ue, marvel at the achievement* which already
have been recorded. TTiey understand the difficulties better.
An inspection of the modern transmitting station of the Meyer Broad
casting company on Apple Creek, six miles east of the city, gives one sn idea
of how the voice or Instrument of an artist is projected out into space to
turn up, good as new, in a radio receiver thousands of miles distant.
Modi' Equipment Needed
An amusingly large amount of
equipment )s needed for this purpose
and if the visitor asks enough ques
tions and pays close attention to
what he ia told, he acquires a hazy
idea of the processes of radio broad
casting. The major difficulty in such
an effort, however, is that of asking
the expert to explain the explana
As one enters the neat brick build
ing, 41 by 41 in dimension, he eees an
office at the left and living quarters
for the engineer at the right. The
latter is a neat apartment, equipped
with all modem conveniences. Most
of the main floor, however, is taken
up by the transmitting room in which
the main switchboard and Several
smaller bits of apparatus are located.
Adjacent to the transmitting room
is a smaller room in which the con
trolling operator sits. It is insulated
with two layers of copper, six inches
apart. The idea of this is to keep on
the outside all bits of electrical or
radio energy and permit operation of
the delicate instillments which are
located in this heart of the radio
In the basement of the building are
motany higbvoMago
transformers and other electrical
equipment and the station heating
plant. Neither power nor telephone
wires appear on the outside of the
building, these being brought Into
the structure by under-ground con
duit. The wires leading to the an
tenna system, located 1,600 feet from
the building, also are underground.
Three motor generator sets are used
to provide power, each serving a sep
arate purpose.
One gives a 35-volt direct current
to heat the filaments in the vacuum
tubes in the transmitting system.
These tubes range in size from one
no larger than your thumb to some
the size of a two-gallon glass jar.
Each serves a different purpose and
if one cr more fail things happen in
the ether which carries the radio
The filaments in the tubes must be
heated in order to activate certain
electrons which carry the current in
the tubes. If these filaments are cold
the tube is useless.
, Take IMW Volt#
Some of the large tubes take as
much as 15,000 writs of electricity and
are water-cooled to keep them from
malting under this terrific electrical
pressure. Installing such equipment
is a job for a plumber as well as an
electrician and when the station Is
in operation the pumps in the cellar
are used to supply the water to these
Other large tubes are air-oooled on
much the same principle as an air
oooled airplane motor. Some of these
are of 3,000 writ capacity and others
of 1,000, 600, and 100 volts. They are
connected In series and, taken to
gether, comprise what radio engineers
call a cascade system.
The smaller tubes take their power
from the “crystal" which is the most
remarkable piece of equipment in a
modern broadcasting system, it is a
piece of quarts, ground to such a
shape and of such weight and thick
new that It vibrates at a certain fre
quency when subjected to electrical
current in a given manner. Why it
does the radio engineers make no ef
fort to explain. They tell you “It is
just a natural property of quartz."
The quarts used by KFYR is of
such shape and design that it main
tains a radio frequency of 550,000
cycles a second and is guaranteed not
to vary more than three one-hun
dred-thousandths. This permits the
station to stay on the radio frequency
band assigned to it and prevents in
terference with other stations, a nec
esary thing in view of the large num
ber of stations in operation.
In order that the quartz crystal may
perform Its job. additional equipment
Is necessary. It must be kept at 50 de
greee centigrade and electrical heating
equipment has been devised so that
the temperature of this quarts does
not vary one one-hundredth of a de
gree at any time.
Plates Need Heat
The high voltage current supplied
to the tubes is necessary to beat
plates in the tubes. These have an
important part in the electronic ac
tion which makes the tubes necessary
to modem radio broadcasting.
The various types of tubes used
contain, in addition to the filaments
and plates ,a mechanism known as a
grid. Some have Vjreen grids. The
latter have an element which screens
the grids from the plates and their
function is to keep the electrons in
order and all going in the same di
Sometimes, it is explained, the elec
trons would get unruly and would
start marching backward if It were
not for these screen-grid tubes. If
they did backfire or get into reverse,
things would happen in the receiving
sets of KFYR listeners as well as in
the station machinery itself. An
other kind of tube used is a rectifier
tube, used to transform alternating
into direct current
When the station is operating the
operator can watch the radio waves
through an instrument which is
known as an oscillograph. This
shows the power of the voice or in
strument which is being transmitted
and the job of the control man is to
keep the voice within feoqfiga,
Waves at Different Levels
One of the pieces of equipment in
the control room Is designed to keep
the radio station out of trouble with
the law and the federal radio com
mission. It is a receiving set designed
to bring in radio waves above and be
low the commercial broadcast line
and was Installed to permit the sta
tion to hear 8. O. 8. signals if any
are broadcast.
Under the rules of the radio com
mission, commercial broadcasting
must stop the minute an 8. O. 8. Is
sounded m order not to interfere with
reception of emergency messages.
Severe penalties are provided for
radio stations which may Ignore this
With its studio in the city and Its
broadcasting station six miles away
on Apple Creek, provision la made for
the operator at the plant to take over
or check the work of the control op
erator at the studio.
After passing through the various
tubes and other equipment in the sta
tion, the radio waves are ready to go
“on the air.” They are carried by
underground cable to the tnUnm sys
tem, situated south of the transmis
sion plant. A small house at the bot
tom of the antenna system shelters
equipment designed to prevent what
is known in radio circles as “the sec
ond harmonic.” This is a reproduc
tion of the radio waves on a fre
quency just double that at which the
station is supposed to operate.
, mfc let totem ft Nttatf fe
a frequency of 550 kilocycles but on
local sets it also comes in at 1100 kilo
cycles on the radio receiver. This is
the second harmonic and radio engi
neers are trying to get away from it.
Experts at the local station said they
doubt if the second harmonic from
the local station can be heard at a
distance of more than 10 miles from
Prevents Distortion
This little house also contains
equipment designed to prevent dis
tortion of the antenna wires and at
tendant difficulty in proper broad
When the radio impulses reach the
antenna, 115 feet above the ground,
they jump off into space and travel
with the speed of light to every radio
receiver within hearing distance—
and sometimes that a long
way, since the local station has been
heard on both the Pacific and Atlan
tic coasts and in far Hawaii.
The studio equipment of KFYR,
located in the Hoskins building at
Fourth and Broadway, has been re
vamped to coordinate it with the new
plant on Apple Creek. Special
equipment is used to prevent distor
tion an the wires from the studio to
the transmitter. The highest audi
ble note of a violin is between iON
and 5,000 vibrations a second. The
lowest audible note of a pipe organ
Is about 80 vibrations e second, ffis
studio and transmitting equipment is
so arranged that it wifi transmit;
now or iron so so io,wo vmrauone

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