Early Television Stations
The following information is from a presentation made by George Lemaster
at the 2007 Early Television Convention:
Kansas State University was founded as Kansas State Agricultural College
in 1863, it was renamed
Kansas State College of
Agriculture and Applied Science in 1931, and finally Kansas State
University in 1955.
It began its broadcasting history in
1918, when the Department of Physics
broadcasts weather reports. In 1924, a campus radio station 9YV was
started, which later became KSAC-AM.
In 1930, Prof. Royce G. Kloeffler,
head of the Electrical Engineering department, planned an
experimental television project. In September of 1931, Kloeffler
hired H.H. Higginbottom, formerly with District of Columbia
television pioneer C. Francis Jenkins, to run the project.
Higgenbottom had been let go by Jenkins because of the 1929
KSC graduate Leroy Pasley
was hired from GE as assistant professor, in charge of
design and construction of the transmitter.
Walter Mitchell, a former student, was
asked by Kloeffler to return to construct a superhetrodyne television receiver for use with the college's three
scanning disks. One was for 45 lines 15 fps (the Western Television
standard being broadcast from Chicago), one was 48 lines 15 fps, and
one was 60 lines 20 fps, the emerging east coast standard. [the 60 line scanner is in our collection]
On Nov. 9, 1932, a license was granted
for W9XAK, for operation on 2150 kHz
kHz), with a power of 125 watts. The original antenna was horizontal
polarization, but it was replaced with a 100 ft vertical antenna in
December. The vertical polarization was used to reduce ghosting, a
major problem with early television transmission.
By 1935, the station had moved to 2.0-2.1 mHz.
Prof. Royce C. Kloeffler
W9XAK was received as far away as Maine and Texas. There were
bi-weekly broadcasts using the KSC-built mechanical scanner.
Mechanical broadcasts continued
until 1936. During this time the college experimented with the use
of a Kerr cell to produce large pictures, and a demonstration of the
projector was made at an open house.
In 1982 Walter Mitchell (the student
mentioned above) wrote a letter detailing his recollections of the
early days of W9XAK.
Courtesy of Tony Ricicki W2VRK
Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering