Chuck Colby

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  Fresno Bee article

2 Fresno TV 'Hams' Beam Shows Over Own Network

The Fresno Bee, The Republican
Tuesday, March 13, 1962

FRESNO— Two Fresnans have turned curiosity, months of work and World War II surplus equipment into the city's two smallest television stations.

Charles Colby, an engineering major in the Fresno State College, has his television camera, transmitter and receiver in a house trailer behind the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles E. Colby of 3529 East Balch Avenue.

And Jim Kennedy, an engineer for a commercial television station, has similar homemade equipment in his home at 2810 East Norwich Avenue.

Colby and Kennedy said they built the equipment primarily to see if they could.

"What we're trying to get now is something we can use for convenient communication," explained Kennedy. "We'll get together two or three times a week and gab. Or Chuck will show some slides he took in Hawaii."

"My wife, Cathy, and I will watch the slides on our set and Chuck looks around for some he thinks we haven't seen yet."

The background work isn't quite so informal.

Colby and Kennedy completed months of work and began sending back and forth in September.

They operate on a "ham band" set aside by the federal communications commission. Colby's call letters are WA6BSL and Kennedy's are K6MIO.

Their receivers are regular television sets with modified ultra high frequency converters adjusted to the ham band.

Their cameras are surplus World War II units, built in 1944 and 1945 for aircraft reconnaissance. Kennedy's transmitter is homemade and Colby's is surplus.

"The pictures we transmit are sent in about the same way as commercial television works, but for our sound equipment ham radios are used."

One of their main problems is that the cameras are old and the image pickup tube needs quite a bit of light to operate. They are now trying to obtain parts for vidicon cameras which are more compact and will work under room lighting.

Chuck is eager to try color, but as Kennedy explains, "We need three vidicon cameras for color and we've got enough trouble now trying to get the parts for one."


In Tune— Kennedy works with his radio receiver to bring in Colby's voice. Kennedy estimates it would cost $150 to replace his equipment. Colby, who has a surplus rather than homemade transmitter, estimates his costs at $406.