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Early Electronic Television

Don Lee Broadcasting in 1942 - Comments by Al Germond

There's a fairly complete description of W6XAO in the 1942 "Radio Daily Annual" [pp 903-4] excerpted as follows:

KTSL, estabished 1931, sight freq: 51,250 kc; sound: 55,750kc. Sight power 4000 watts; sound 2000 watts, effective signal radiated (ESR): 5600. Operated by Don Lee Broadcasting System, 3800 Mount Lee Drive, phone HOllywood 8255. Time on the air: 4-5 p.m., 8 to 11 p.m. Thomas S. Lee, president; Lewis Allen Weiss, v.p. and general manager; Harry R. Lubcke, director of television. Other listed personnel include an assistant television director, four engineers, two cameramen, a producer and a building superintendent.

System in Use: 525 line, 30/60 frame FCC standard, all-electronic cathode ray. Horizontal polarization. Studio cameras and film equipment. Complete 100 ft. square two story television building housing one 100 ft. x 60 ft. x 30 ft. television stage, one 46 ft. x 26 ft. x 16 ft stage, monitor, film, transmitter, makeup and lounge rooms, offices, shop, transformer vaults, etc. 300 ft. tower, antenna elevation 2000 ft. W6XDU (experimental television relay station operating with KTSL) operates on 324 megacycles and is a beam relay type television transmitter used for outside pickups.

Developments of 1941: W6XAO (experimental call letters of KTSL) operated 590 hours. Sixty seven remote programs scheduled and broadcast. Studio shows are mentioned along with various film presentations.

Remote television pickups included the professional boxing and wrestling matches from the Hollywood American Legion Stadium twice weekly until Nov. 1941; thereafter the same program from the Olympic Auditorium in downtown LA. The pickup of the Hollywood Stars Coast Baseball League twice weekly was also another remote of great interest to our television lookers. The Easter Sunrise service at the Hollywood Bowl, the Easter Promenade and auto races from Southern Ascot speedway were also telecast.

Receivers: There are between 400 and 500 television receivers in the service area of W6XAO, some as far as Pomona at 35 miles away, a number in Long Beach at 25 miles away and many in cities at lesser distances. The predominant commercially manufactured telvision receiver is the TRK12 or 120 of RCA. There are some RCA TRK9 and approximately 50 TT5 RCA television receivers. A number of the latter are operating satisfactorily in Long Beach at 25 miles from W6XAO. Other commercially manufactured television receivers are the local Gilfillan G12 which is an equivalent to the RCA TRK12 and uilizes a 12 inch cathode ray tube, some DuMont 12 and 20 inch tube television receivers, the General Electric 12's and 9-inch receivers and the Stromberg-Carlson and Stewart-Warner 12 and 9-inch receivers.

There are over 100 owner constructed television receivers fabricated from Meissner and other kits as well as completely according to the owner's design, A number of the latter give excellent operation, some utilizing 12 inch cathode ray tubes giving actually superior superior images at 15 and 20 miles from W6XAO than would be expected from commercially manufactured models.

Public Demonstrations: Television receivers have been maintained by the Don Lee Broadcasting System at the following public places: Wilshire Brown Derby, Kiefer's Pine Knot Drive-In, Vine St. Brown Derby, Griffith Planetarium, Miramar Hotel (Santa Monica), Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and The Town House on Wilshire Blvd.