RETURN TO SUNSET RIDGE
In late 1998 several of the former FBN staff reunited and took the opportunity to revisit the KHOF-TV transmitter site atop Sunset Ridge. Participants in the expedition were Al Davis, Studio Cameraman who left late 1974; Linda Schoch-Davis, Program Director who also left in late 1974; Bernie Marston, Director of Engineering who left late 1978; Joe Snelson, Assistant Director of Engineering who left mid 1977 and Jon Palmer, Audio Engineer who left around 1980 and who we have dedicated this page to. What follows are the pictures that were taken along with some comments that we hope you will find interesting as we share this adventure with you.
Jon began his career in television in 1975 by helping with evening production that took place at Faith Center. Later he became the primary audio engineer for production and live telecasts from the FBN production studio. Jon continued his career after leaving FBN by working for Trinity Broadcasting Network, Benny Hinn Ministries and Sweetwater Productions. He shifted his career from audio and developed into being a very talented Video Operator where he set up television cameras and ensured they produced great looking pictures for TV production. He was loved by all that knew and worked with him and possessed a wonderful sense of humor. His passing was sudden and a shock to all who knew him. This page is dedicated to Jon because he loved FBN and the people he worked with. He was excited to chauffeur us up the mountain for this visit to Sunset Ridge in 1998. He is missed but we know that some day we will be reunited again in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. We love you Jon and thank God He gave us the privilege to know you. - Joe Snelson
© 2012 Joe Snelson
THIS WEB PAGE IS DEDICATED IN HONOR OF
This is the kitchen area complete with refrigerator, toaster oven, microwave and food storage shelves. Potable water for drinking and cooking was hauled in by the operator on duty. Non-potable water was also hauled in and stored in a 5000 gallon tank outside the building for toilet and lavatory use. The restroom was located in the room near the refrigerator.
This is another angle revealing more area to the right of the kitchen area. This area had a workbench for maintaining electrical and mechanical equipment. The door to the right is the west exit and the new transmitter building for the channel 30 transmitter belonging to ION is just outside this door.
Joe Snelson and Bernie Marston standing by the gate at the forestry road (the back road) to Sunset Ridge. This road takes off from the Glendora Ridge road. It was about 8 PM when this picture was taken. It was reported that the front road was unavailable so this back road had to be used. The group met at a designated place off of Foothill Blvd. Jon Palmer provided the vehicle to make the climb up the mountain to the transmitter site.
Bernie Marston had acquired a key to the gate; however, it wouldn’t open the padlock! Bernie, being the mechanical genius that he is, carefully examined the key and decided the copy was not made properly and not being fully inserted into the lock. Coming this far we were not going to be denied access. Somebody had a fingernail file with them and Bernie used it to file down the key to properly fit. It worked and padlock opened!
After about 45 minutes we arrived at the top of Sunset Ridge. Bernie is pictured here unlocking the door to the former KHOF-TV transmitter building that he had constructed circa 1969. Fortunately, the building key did work so no modification of the key was necessary.
Once inside the building our tour began at the transmitter room. Pictured here is the transmitter that Bernie designed and constructed. The transmitter was no longer in service as the current licensee, ION, had constructed another transmitter building immediately adjacent and to the west of this building.
Bernie and Joe posing in front of the old KHOF-TV transmitter.
Bernie is pictured pushing the on button for the visual cabinet and Joe is pushing the on button for the aural cabinet.
Bernie standing in front of the visual cabinet
Joe at the switch of the visual and aural frequency meter and modulation monitor which ensured the transmitter was operating within FCC licensed parameters.
A picture of the transmitter room with the camera at the transmitter. Linda Schoch-Davis is standing in the distance and Joe Snelson is to the far right. Video tape recorders are shown at the far right covered with blue tarps. In the center of this room used to be the master control console.
This picture was taken in the mid 1970’s of the transmitter room and looking towards the transmitter. The control console and racks on the right were located in the center of the room. When the visit was made to Sunset Ridge in 1998 the console and rack were gone.
Joe is joking around placing his head where the missing video head would normally be.
Everyone had a great time looking through records that were over a quarter of a century old. Many of these records were created or signed by the attendees of this expedition. Joe Snelson is looking through operating and technical maintenance logs. As former program director Linda is looking at old program logs. Jon Palmer is standing to the right.
Bernie and Joe enjoying the opportunity to reflect back on some of the KHOF-TV history with Jon documenting the occasion.
While looking at history Jon finds something interesting that he decides to record for posterity.
Bernie is pictured here reading a maintenance log entry that he most likely had made many years earlier.
Joe looks like he just hit the jackpot going through the file cabinet.
At the back of the visual transmitter cabinet Bernie poses for a picture next to the Varian integral cavity klystron tube (in red) mounted in the gray magnet assembly.
It is now Joe’s turn to pose for a photo. Joe had the experience of changing his first klystron by himself as Bernie walked him through it on the phone from Hawaii.
Joe standing in front of the heat exchanger that condenses steam generated by the klystron tube back into water. Sitting on the floor behind him is the stainless steel water reservoir that holds the distilled water. You may notice five-gallon containers lying around in other pictures. Distilled water in these containers was transported to the transmitter site by the operators on duty.
This is another angle showing the heat exchanger to the left and the back of the transmitter to the right. Joe and Bernie are examining some of the high voltage electrical disconnect switches against the north wall. Transformers just outside the building from these panels stepped 480 volts up to 18 thousand volts required to operate the klystron tube.
This is the bunk room. It wasn’t too bad to sleep in unless field mice got into the building or the time we had a leak. Here is the background on the leak. Since the bunk room is a room inside the main building we wondered where the water was coming from. Looking above the ceiling revealed an 18 inch cone shaped pile of snow that had blown in through an unsealed area of the main building roof. The heat in the building melted the snow that dripped into the bunk room. The crack was eventually sealed.
Joe standing next to the GTE Lenkurt microwave racks. This equipment was used to send programming from the studio, located about 30 miles away, to this transmitter building for broadcast on channel 30. In the 70’s there was another microwave path that originated from the First Baptist Church of Downey. Their Sunday morning services were broadcast live on KHOF-TV.
At the conclusion of the visit the crew went down the mountain and stopped into a restaurant for breakfast and fellowship. A good time was had by all. It is estimated that this picture was taken around 11 PM. Seated from left to right: Al Davis, Linda Schoch-Davis, Bernie Marston, Joe Snelson and Jon Palmer.
During the visit a sign was discovered above the transmitter. This sign was posted by order of Dr. Gene Scott some years after he became Pastor of Faith Center. We “presumed” that there was a concern regarding employees making decisions without having the right or capacity to do so. On the right is a more legible version that may be easier to read.
Joe Snelson approaches one of the Ampex 1200 Video Tape Recorders in storage at the site.
This picture was taken in the mid 1970’s. Note the Videotape recorders on the right. These are obviously not the ones that were there during the 1998 visit. It is unknown as to whatever happened to these tape machines. A portion of the film island is shown in the distance and where Joe Snelson is standing in the picture on the left. The Videotape recorders present during the 1998 visit were against the far wall.