Ponder this

Found on a web site in Moundsville, WV

The irony is it has 18 million views

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Nat Hentoff has died


(May require subscription)

I’m not quite sure why I have the impression I’ve heard him on radio. He is one of a vanishing breed – people who think about issues, not just everything is the view of his team.

His bio indicates he was on WMEX-AM in Boston a long time ago playying jazz. WMEX was in the news fairly recently when Howie Carr was looking for a new home. My sense is I heard Hentoff on WCBS-AM commentary segments or maybe on NPR.

At his core, he was a Libertarian – but he was opposed to abortion and felt most strongly about the error of the left trying to control speech, particularly on universities. He probably knew David Horowitz as they have a lot of similarities in their background and ideas. Both had columns in the Jewish World Review

Revoke Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize

Posted in American Politics, Free Speech, Libtertarian Politics | 4 Comments

Bot foreplay


Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Totally Random – January 2017

Here is the blank page, start writing.

Posted in Uncategorized | 60 Comments

Radio Navigation

Here is a remnant of history back to the early days of aviation and radio. This image is from Gunnison Colorado.

Back in the early days of commercial and military aviation, flying your airplane and not crashing was a lot more tricky. The workhorses were the Ford Trimotor and DC3. There was no GPS, no weather satellites, no ILS, no radar. Navigation was only possible during daylight hours. Typically the flight path followed roads or railroads or rivers that could be seen from the air and matched to navigation charts. But if there are clouds or storms or strong winds, following landmarks using only “dead reckoning” (flying using a compass and air speed) may not work.

AM radio signals are inherently directional. If the ferrous (iron) core of the receiver is rotated, it is strongest when perpendicular to the radio waves (or creates a null with a two piece antenna that cancels out the other half.. That means by pointing the antenna, you can know exactly which direction that radio tower is. If you have a second radio signal, you can triangulate to find your exact location.


This was useful enough that some important AM stations were used in the airplanes. The simplest and shortest way to fly to an airport was to tune to a radio station and just fly straight toward the signal. These planes were not pressurized and planes were so rare that midair collisions were unlikely. If you were flying to Cincinnati, you tune to WLW-AM and just fly toward the tower. When you get close to the city, the pilot can go to a lower altitude and spot landmarks like the rivers, roads, bridges, tall buildings to find the airport.

Airports are identified by 4 character codes called the ICAO code. The same first letter scheme was used for radio and airports. The international codes for the United States begin in K (W is not used in the US). It was common in small towns west of the Mississippi River to use the same code for the airport and the town’s radio station and the code made visible at the radio tower in the event a pilot was lost.

Navigation was all the more critical around mountains. The Ford trimotor could not fly above 18,500 feet, so getting lost could be fatal. The Gunnison airport is around 7500 feet, where propellor planes start having lift issues from the thinner atmosphere.

The really faded KGUC on the transmitter building is the ICAO code for the Gunnison Airport, and was the Call Sign of the radio station. The current airport was built on the former rail yard of the Rio Grande railroad and taken over by the County in 1975. While I don’t see any evidence the airport or radio station went back to the 1920s, it became a custom when AM call signs were issued.

Posted in Radio Biz | 5 Comments

The smart car for your grandchild’s future

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Easy link to FCC history cards

Prior to 1979, FCC records were kept on index cards, which were destroyed after computerization was complete. Through a lucky accident, microfiche copies of those cards survived in good condition.

The Station history page here has been enhanced to pull up the history card, bypassing an extremely slow FCC web page. This feature is especially useful to set the date of first license, which is not available in the FCC databases to the best of my knowledge.


Some of the links are available only to volunteers

This is what the history card for this station looked like

Note that history is tied to a “facility” (transmitter site), not a call sign or frequency. Of course, stations licensed after 1979 will have no history card.

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New York City Infrastructure projects

The first $4 billion piece of the legendary 2nd street subway has just opened. Having rode the Lexington Subway one time, I can appreciate how much this is anticipated. In case you are not familiar with the geography of the New York Subway system:


And specifically Manhattan

Background of the project

The new section is on the Q line on the right side in yellow heading North up to 96th street. You might be saying “well, why don’t those lazy bastards just walk two blocks to Lexington Ave?” It isn’t about location, it is about capacity. The Lexington line carries traffic from most of the area North of Manhattan. Despite having 4 tracks (2 express in the middle, 2 local on the outside, the trains are incredibly overloaded. Not quite like Japan where they physically push people onto the cars, but close.

The North End will continue on to 125th stree eventually (Spanish Harlem), and later to the south past the United Nations.

Donald Trump was very much involved in last year’s big transit debut. Trump saw the opportunity to revitalize the lower West Side which had been occupied by railroad tracks, including covering over the MTA/Amtrak/LIRR/NJ Transit rail yards West of Penn Station. While Trump sold off his investment, the Hudson Yards project is fully under construction. To connect this new neighborhood to Midtown, the 7 line (in purple) was extended West and South from Times Square.

The other huge transit project is the East Side Access tunnel. It was another unfinished dream – when the subway tunnel was built under the East River, it was made with two levels, but one level was unused. The East Side tunnel will use the old tunnel and connect the existing rail yard in Brooklyn to a new station underneath Grand Central Station at 42nd and Park Ave. that will allow ~160,000 Long Island RR passengers to commute to Grand Central and not clog the subway and take some pressure off of the overloaded Penn Station. Price tag is $10 billion and should be done in 2022.

Another wish list item that got more urgent after Superstorm Sandy flooded the tunnels is to replace the Hudson River tunnel and/or build new tunnels. A recurring idea is to take the vacant post office building next to Penn Station and convert it into a Penn Station of the stature of the original, whose demolition is widely regarded as a horrible mistake. New Jersey Transit is going ahead to build its own Hudson River tunnel to a new terminal on the Hudson River where a pier exists currently.

Donald Trump has said he wants to spend money on projects like these. Chuck Schumer obviously would like these projects to all move forward. Chris Christie will take anything NJ Transit is offered. Look for some cooperation very early on. Ignore that in 20 years, global climate change will flood Manhattan constantly.

Posted in Trump 2017 | 1 Comment

The Oath of Office

The entire law about what happens on January 20th, 2017 is what the Constitution says

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:—”I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Just an aside that the Constitution is not gender neutral

The swearing in of the President is entirely by tradition, not law. There is no requirement that the taking of the Oath occur in any specific place, nor be administered by any specific person. In the event of some outlandish scheme like Trump being detained, his plane being blocked from going to DC, the Capital police shutting down D.C., Donald Trump could take the Oath of Office in Palm Beach administered by his son in law.

Lyndon Johnson took the Oath of Office while Air Force One was sitting on Love Field in Dallas, Texas. The Oath was administered by a local Federal judge


Posted in Trump 2017 | 2 Comments

Meet Vincent Alexander

You find the most interesting people looking for radio station owners


Mr Alexander is the principle behind the non-partisan St Martin Parish Voter’s League, which operates KVTZ-LPFM in Breaux Bridge Louisiana (or at least has the license). He is a veteran and operates a number of interesting businesses – a self storage place, an insurance agency, a loan broker, and to help achieve his goal of reducing violent crime, he operates a bail bond agency.

In 2011, he ran as an independent candidate for district 96 of the Louisiana legislature and received 505 votes


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