Here is a section of the old tower with a ton of stuff mounted on it.  I can see at least a dozen cell antennas, a bunch of microwave dishes, vertical UHF and VHF antennas (look like police and/or fire stuff), and various others.  While they’re not still broadcasting from this tower (though it is my understanding it can serve as a backup for KCMS), they’re sure making good use of it.


KRAB History

     I ran across this very excellent article on the history of KRAB radio, written by Jack Caldbick, and thought I’d share it.  I grew up two blocks from this station and spent quite a lot of time there in my youth.  I’m really sorry it didn’t survive as it was a quintessential representation of radio counter-culture and a significant contribution to the community.


KCMS / KCIS Old Tower

     This is the old tower where KCIS, formerly known as KGDN 630AM, and KCMS formerly KBIQ 105.3 FM, used to transmit from at the Kings Garden campus, part of Crista Ministries, in now Shoreline Washington.

     In the early 1970’s, KBIQ was one of the most powerful FM stations on the West Coast, transmitting with an effective radiated power of 240Kw. Now they are transmitting from cougar mountain with a mere 54Kw.

     The AM station used to be daytime only, and that massive tower had a seemingly small (compared to the tower) ceramic insulator at the base supporting all that weight but insulating it so that it could serve as an AM transmitting antenna as well as a tower for the FM antennas.

     I do not know if the insulator is still there. It can no longer serve as an AM antenna because a directional array was required to protect other stations at night. I wasn’t able to find a public vantage point where I could see the base of the antenna anymore.  And they have a plethora of other antennas on the tower that didn’t used to be there, cellular antennas, microwave antennas, and others.

KCIS Directional Array Damaged

     KCIS 630, a Seattle area radio station operated by Crista Ministries, has been operating with a directional array at night to allow them to operate at high power by protecting another station that they otherwise would interfere with.

     When I was young, they used to be a Daytime only station, and then for a while they were operating with a very low power at night from their location in Shoreline, and then they got their directional array and were able to operate at high power at night.

     God used this station, through their ministry, to provide me a great deal of comfort during some troubled times of my life and I’m sure he uses it to help many others.

     One tower in their AM directional array was destroyed in the unusual late August windstorm we had this year.  I’m a believer in God, the Bible, and in Romans 8:28, but it is hard for me sometimes to see how something like this can be used for the good of anyone.

Remains of one of KCIS AM 630's Tower     Click on the image to see their article on the KCIS station blog.  This structure was only partially insured.  They need your help to pay for the uncovered portion of the repair expenses.  You can help them by donating here: https://donate.crista.org/kcis.

Long Delayed Echoes

     Listening to Art Bell tonight and he related an incident where he heard his own 80 meter signal come back 3-4 seconds after transmitting.  While the distance to the moon and back is about right for that, generally moon bounce requires full legal powers, high gain antennas and frequencies much higher so that they penetrate the ionosphere, and even then voice is almost impossible, only narrow band Morse code which is very narrow bandwidth, is generally usable.  More over, the echo was a 20db over S9 signal not just above the noise threshold barely as you would expect with moon bounce.

     He tuned his transmitter up and down to make sure it wasn’t just someone sending it back to him somehow and it followed.

     I have also experienced this phenomena, but not as long of a delay and on 1200 Khz.  Back before 1210 Khz was in local use, I operated a pirate radio station on 1200 Khz, this was back in the mid 1970’s.  I had a radio to monitor our transmission in the studio.  One night when I signed off I heard the last second or so of our transmission after I cut the transmitter power.  A second at the speed of light is 186,000 miles, we were lucky if our signal reached 20 miles.

     I have read of many accounts of this phenomena, some with delays as long as 15 seconds.  I’ve yet to read a reasonable explanation.  The Wikipedia contains five theories, but none of them seem to account reasonably for the typically very strong signal strength of these echoes.

     I’m fascinated by these because I wonder if they aren’t tickling a much more exotic phenomena such as portals or some oddness in time.  All the theories given on the Wikipedia don’t seem to account for the signal strength of some of these phenomena.

     All of the incidents I’ve heard of have been relatively low frequency, 80 meter, 160 meter, AM broadcast band, but the Wikipedia documents cases at 432 Mhz and 1296 Mhz.

     Having been interested in TV and radio DXing for many years, I will note that there are many rare but interesting forms of propagation.  Even at optical frequencies interesting things occur.  One of the photos I use in my headers has a ship floating up in the sky.  Obviously the ship wasn’t really in the sky but differences in the density of the air bent the light reflection to make it appear so.  The same things and many others happen at radio frequencies.  So it might be something ordinary but at present unknown.  I find it fascinating none the less.

Voice of Vashon 101.9

     Today I heard one of the new low power FM stations while driving, “The Voice of Vashon”, on 101.9.  It had adequate signal to listen to except for interference from another station on the same frequency even though I was in Shoreline, probably 25 miles north north-east of Vashon.

     I wasn’t able to identify the other station.  The program material that was on was all in Russian and I don’t speak Russian.

     The station sounded reasonably well run, good audio, announcing, no dead air, and the signal was usable even out in Shoreline.

Dark Matter Digital Network

     I’ve added a new entry to the Resources list, the Dark Matter Digital Network.  This is an Internet broadcasting network that was assembled by Keith Rowland, Art Bells Webmaster.  It is absolutely superb.

     The audio quality of the Dark Matter Digital Network is very high quality throughout, and since unlike the old shows where guests were interviewed by telephone, with the attendant audio quality of a telephone, they are now interviewed via Skype and the network hosts, including Art Bell, also take calls via Skype.  As a result the show sounds like everyone is live in the studio.

     There are two audio feeds available free, MP3, and there is an AAC audio feed which is very high quality.  The show is in stereo so either listen with headphones or connect your sound card to your stereo.  You’ll want to take full advantage of the audio quality to fully appreciate the listening experience.

     The streaming feeds are free, even the AAC feed.  For an additional $5/month you can download podcasts of all past shows.

     In addition to Art Bell, Whitley Strieber’s Dreamland is there.  Art Bell airs 9-midnight weekdays, Dreamland airs 6-9pm Saturday.  Airing after Art is Richard Hoagland’s Other Side of Midnight show from midnight-2am.  They’ve got him listed on the website as midnight-4am, and he’s been wanting to do a longer show, but so far it’s been ending at 2am.

     Amateur Radio Operators will appreciate the QSO Ham Radio Show from 4-7pm on Sundays.

     This network is radio done right, technically superb, interesting, and fun.  Check it out.

Maximum Usable Frequency > 21 Mhz

     I am currently receiving a station in the Chinese language on 21550.00 Khz varying in strength between -76 dBm and -88 dBm (s7-s9) while my propagation widget is telling me 160 meters is fair and everything above that non-existent. 

     There are some deep fades and very bad selective fading that occasionally renders the signal unintelligible even when the signal is strong. There are some quite strong signals above 17 Mhz.  Given that it’s almost midnight local time this is somewhat unusual, especially given the relatively weak solar cycle.

     There is another station receivable on 21690.00 Khz but it is -90 dBm or less in strength and although I can tell there is a male voice, I can only hear it during peaks and there is too much noise to even discern the language.

     I scanned higher and found nothing and in ten minutes time 21690.00 Khz is no longer receivable, not even detectable.  The station on 21550.00 Khz is also gone.  Nothing above 19Mhz is receivable now.  There is a very strange periodically recurring signal between 18990 Khz and 19001 Khz that is almost like they’re trying to create an image in a spectrograph.  Check it out.  Tell me that isn’t weird.  It repeats about every 30 seconds or so.


     This is one mysterious weird signal.  Now 17,985 is the lowest frequency I can receive any voice transmissions on.  The propagation has changed dramatically in half an hour.  Time for me to call it a night.

Art Bell – Retaking the Night

     Art Bell opened his show with Midnight In The Desert, “Taking Back the Night”.  It badly needs to be taken back!

     One of the really cool things about this show is that not only can you listen to it via streaming media but that includes an AAC stream.  AAC is a lossless compression, the audio is absolutely perfect.  There were some odd clicks on the first night but that was resolved by the next show.

     It is SO refreshing to see something done in radio by someone that actually cares about audio quality as well as content.

     Tonight they have Linda Moulton Howe, one of the very few remaining investigative researchers and reporters.  She is always an interesting guest, especially when you have a host that asks intelligent questions.