When I arrived at KKYX there were two transmitters in daily use.
The first was the 50kW Westinghouse 50 HG1 installed by Elliot Roosevelt in
1946 which I learned thoroughly and refurbished to 'like new' condition. The
second was an RCA BTA-10H 10 kW that was used at night or when the Westinghouse
was having problems. The BTA-10H was installed when the KBAT Studios were
moved from San Pedro Avenue near San Antonio College to the transmitter site
in Leon Valley.
In the middle 70s I got to install a brand new RCA Ampliphase
BTA50J transmitter. Because the new transmitter did not 'like' transmitting into the
existing four tower antenna array, Consulting Engineer Ron Rackley (deceased)
was brought in to help get the KKYX antenna system 'modified' in order to make
things work. The Ampliphase transmitter was definitely picky about the
antenna(s) it was transmitting into.
Ron and I became friends during that installation, tune-up and
the required FCC Proof of Performance.
There was another problem I encountered with the new transmitter.
Audio wise the Westinghouse transmitter sounded a lot better, even when
transmitting with weak (bad) transmitting tubes. Station Management always
wanted me to use the Ampliphase transmitter during the day to save money on
electricity. However I still ran the Westinghouse whenever I could (which was
most of the time) because it sounded so much better (bad tubes and all) than the
'Amplifuzz' ever did!
Soon after the new transmitter project completion, Swanson transferred me to
Dallas/Fort Worth to be the Director of Engineering for KFJZ, KEGL and the Texas
I loved San Antonio and working at KKYX. In my whole
career, KKYX was the best job I ever had.
E. J. Pryor
After Note: Most stations were/are very happy to have just one
functional transmitter. To have three fully functional transmitters was
The Westinghouse Transmitter
had giant glass tubes and gargantuan switches and levers.
I always thought it would be a good setting for a mad scientist movie.
If Dr. Frankenstein had taken up residence in Leon Valley, he'd
have felt right at home at 8022 Bandera Road.
Editors Note: The KKYX 'Cow Pasture' at 8022 Bandera Road
is now home for a Walmart Super Center.
[ Home ]
Copyright 2020 by E. J. Pryor, Dan Rosen & SanAntonioRadioMemories.com – All Rights Reserved.