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Photo of the Month
first commercial UHF television station
as well as Oregon's first TV outlet on channel 27
KPTV airs first test pattern on September 18, 1952 at 12:01 AM
Ultra High Frequency (UHF) was new to the broadcasting industry. RCA/NBC wanted to prove that the UHF frequencies were viable for broadcasting. Experimental station KC2XAK (529-535 mc ~ CH 24) began operating on January 4, 1950. The station was a satellite (re-broadcasting) the signal of NBC's NY outlet WNBT, via a microwave relay from the Empire State Building to Success Hill in Bridgeport, CT. Using a 1 KW transmitter with antenna gain of 20 on a 210 tower with an elevation of 450 feet above average terrain. Resulting with an ERP of 10KW. The experiment was called Operation Bridgeport.
RCA/NBC shut down Operation Bridgeport on August 23, 1952 after two and half years of operation. Empire Coil purchased the RCA/NBC, KC2XAK transmitter. The transmitter and support equipment was dismantled in Bridgeport under the supervision of RCA engineers. Dismantling began on August 25th. The 1 KW equipment was shipped via truck and fast freight to Portland, Oregon. The RCA engineers then re-assembled the transmitter in Portland. Construction of a 250 tower on Council Crest, more than 1000 feet above Portland, was begun on September 9th. Council Crest, is a 1000 foot ridge which is about two miles east of the downtown district of Portland. The site is a city owned park which has long been a local landmark
Empire Coil Company, a New York based company, manufacturer of RF coils and licensee of televison facilities, was also involved in completive hearings for television stations, including many in New England. Herbert Mayer of Empire Coil put KPTV channel 27, the first commercial UHF television station on the air.
The inaugural program aired at 4:30 pm on September 20. Regular programming began October 1, 1952. Until completion of the studio building, programming is either film or network, originating from the transmitter site. First LIVE broadcast, a newscast, was on April 24, 1953.
KPTV's 1 KW transmitter (CH 27: 548-554 mc) with a 14 section antenna provides an ERP of 17.6 KW. In September 1954 KPTV power is increased from the original 17.6 KW to 204 KW.
The Empire Coil Company was acquired by Storer Broadcasting, including KPTV, in 1954. In May 1957, George Haggerty a Detroit businessman, purchased KLOR channel 12 Portland, as well as KPTV channel 27. In the good-old-days, before de-regulation, one of the stations had to go. The surviving station from the merger was KPTV on channel 12. Channel 27 went dark on May 1, 1957.
Photos through the generosity of Chuck Dube and RCA Broadcast News "Extra"