2 Introduction
3 Stations
4 Pittsburgh
5 Programming
7 Finale
8 Legacy
9 Others
10 Links
11 Bibliography
12 Feedback
13 More Feedback
14 Programs (A-L)
15 Programs (M-Z)
16 News and Sports
17 Electronicam
20 MBC
21 Rocky King
22 Locations
23 Affiliates (1949)
24 A Trail of Bleached Bones
25 More Bleached Bones
26 Notes on Bleached Bones
27 WDTV's Log Books

Appendix 13: WDTV’s Log Books

On September 3, 1999, the author had an appointment with history at the transmitter site of KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, formerly DuMont's WDTV.

George Jacob of KDKA-TV kindly made available to the author the original WDTV technical log books from 1949 to 1955, which contain several notes of historical interest. While these are technical documents, consisting mostly of the details of equipment failure and replacement, there are a number of entries relevant to both the history of DuMont and of television in Pittsburgh. These entries are printed below, in what may be the first time they have ever been published.

Many thanks to George Jacob for making these log books available to us. The author would also like to acknowledge the contribution of the WDTV engineers who made the original log entries—Ray Rodgers, Pete Szeman, and John Striner—whose names are shown after their respective entries.

WDTV Log Book Entries

November 1, 1948:
Transmitter building nearing completion. Antenna tower complete and painted, 3 bay batt wing (?) antenna set in top of tower. (Rodgers)

November 27, 1948:
Finally put transmitters on air at 10:55 PM, on until 11:59 PM. (Szeman)

December 29, 1948:
Routine operation; TP (test pattern) 10 to Noon, 2 to 4 PM. Film chains tested. (Szeman)

January 3, 1949:
Testing with TP and tone; completing wiring and installation of film chains. (Szeman)

January 4, 1949:
The first movie telecast here - "Drama of Steel." (Szeman)

January 11, 1949:
TV Day in Pgh. Dr. DuMont here, also Mr. Armstrong, Chris J. (?), etc. Aural and visual xmtrs (transmitters) on air for testing. Microwave link set up - program off OK. Visual xmtr kicked off 10:22 PM due to overload. Levels on the network programs were all different and sync pretty bad. All OK - except loud "pop" rear of aural xmtr! (Szeman)

November 23, 1952:
Operated on Channel 2 (switching from Channel 3) with 5 kw Acorn xmtr. (No signature)

July 16, 1953:
Monitored the new WKJF UHF channel 53 signal. Results were poor to fair. (Striner)

August 25, 1953:
Monitored the 2nd UHF station WENS (channel 16) to see if they could come on to Aug. 28 (sic). They seem to be having considerable trouble. Apparently they can't keep their carriers on. (Striner)

August 29, 1953:
WENS finally got on air. This looked awfully convenient to us. They couldn't get on and then all of a sudden, their xmtr was OK, they pulled off a baseball remote, and etc. (Striner)

September 1, 1953:
WENS still having trouble with their local sync generator. It causes hum 60 ~ (cycle) pulling on home receivers. (Striner)

September 15, 1954:
Received color receiver (RCA) for xmtr. Spent majority of day lining it up to get a color program from Johnstown. We made a antenna, then used a conical to pick up WJAC (channel 6 in Johnstown, Pa). Finally we got a pretty decent signal. Color looked pretty damn good. (Striner)

October 13, 1954:
Today was the big day. We are to broadcast our first colorcast (Westinghouse "Best of Broadway") at 10 PM tonight ... The color program went out on air, but we had no color on our receiver (due to an equipment failure) ... However, out in the field, we received nothing but very good comments. All said that our color was better than Johnstown's, when viewed side by side. We will have some more color programs on Monday night. (Striner)

November 22, 1954:
Rumors are thick about Westinghouse buying WDTV from DuMont. Who knows? (Striner)

December 3, 1954:
Got official word today that the sale of WDTV to Westinghouse was made pending FCC approval. (Striner)

January 6, 1955:
Heard over the news that FCC approved sale of WDTV to Westinghouse Broadcasting Company. (Striner)

January 10, 1955:
Well, this is the day. We are now officially working for Westinghouse Broadcasting Company as of 12 o'clock noon. Took the Allen B. DuMont signs down ... (Striner)

January 31, 1955:
Today at 12:01 Noon (sic), the call letters of our station were changed from WDTV to KDKA-TV. (Pittsburgh) Mayor (David L.) Lawrence officiated again. (Striner)

March 11, 1955:
Weather - nice until about 6:00 AM. Then a heavy wind about 98 MPH hour (sic) hit the area for about 15-20 minutes ... The wind blew over the WENS television 500 foot tower. It seems that Johnstown lost two towers and also WLOA in Braddock, Pa. Upon close inspection of our tower, we found that our tower was buckled at about the 130 foot level ... (Striner)

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