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Elliott Klein Remembered

Friends pass on memories about consulting engineer

Family and friends of broadcast engineer Elliott Klein collected stories for a memorial service held for Klein in Arizona this week.

We reported that Klein passed away on Aug. 1 at age 61.

Two of his friends shared stories with me.

Gary Fisher, president and owner of Equity Communications in West Atlantic City, N.J., recalled how Klein fixed a “dead zone” problem for one of Fisher’s stations within its contour. Rock station WZXL(FM) in Atlantic City “had a decent signal but there was a half-mile stretch of road right outside the office sandwiched between some buildings, bays, high-rises and other obstructions where the station was unlistenable.” He says he had been told by engineers for years the interference on 100.7 MHz was chronic and “unfixable” for a variety of reasons.

Fisher recalled that after Elliott completed a project for him, “on his way out of town I drove him through this dead zone and explained how it had been this way for 20 years. He … had me pull over in the middle of the dead zone, looked to the right and to the left and in 10 seconds said, ‘There’s your problem over there.'” Timm pointed to a tower that housed two of Fisher’s other stations, one on 99.3 MHz and another on 1340 kHz. When combined, they caused a 100.64 harmonic on FM that was jamming the station, according to Fisher.

“Elliott spent days in his home office workshop building a custom, home-made filter to knock down the interference and address the situation, flew back into Atlantic City to install it, fiddled with it for two days on-site and when that didn’t work he became even more obsessed with the interference than I was,” recalled Fisher. He added that Elliott had him buy a Myat filter, came back into Atlantic City to install it and stayed until the interference was eliminated.

According to Fisher: “He missed his plane because he kept driving through this area back and forth in as many cars as possible to make sure the interference was eliminated for good and thrilled that it was.”

Fisher recalled he used to invent projects for Elliott to work on “just so I would have a legitimate reason to talk to him and require him to visit Atlantic City. There has never been and there will never be another engineer as magnificent as Elliott.”

Communications attorney J.J. McVeigh collaborated with Klein on several projects over the years, most recently on the All-Pro complaint about alleged IBOC interference to the analog signal of KATY(FM), Idyllwild, Calif., from KRTH(FM), Los Angeles.

McVeigh wrote a remembrance of Klein and had it read at the memorial, stating: “My impression of Elliott is that, professionally, he loved and took great pride in what he did. He drew a sense of fulfillment from his work, and he always did the best that he could for his clients. He expected no more — and no less — from others, and rightly so.”

He and Klein shared interests in ham radio and model trains: “If there is an existence beyond this one, no doubt Elliott is already setting up his ethereal ham shack, and working on the track plan for his next train layout. If I am lucky, one day, I’ll be able to spend some quality time with him, chasing DX, and running trains.”

In fact, Elliott and his wife Nancy’s O gauge American West-themed model train layout was featured in the March 2004 issue of Classic Toy Trains.