September 2010
M T W T F S S
« Aug   Oct »
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930  

Archives

Categories

Where will they put a radio station this time

In the time that I have been working as a broadcast engineer, I have seen some pretty unique transmitter sites. The aforementioned power plant, with the antenna mounted on a smoke stack. The more traditional AM station, located in a swamp. Other stations both AM and FM combined into one antenna, etc.

WGDJ AM transmitter site

WGDJ AM transmitter site

This is WGDJ, 1300 KHz, Albany, NY.  It is located in what might be a swamp, if we were not experiencing marginal drought conditions this summer.  The transmitter is located along route 9J.  It is a four tower directional daytime, 10 KW and a six tower directional night time, 5 KW.  Nothing spectacular, 90 degree towers, spaced 90 degrees apart.  Since they are below 200 feet, they don’t need to be lit or painted, which is nice.

WGDJ directional antenna towers

WGDJ directional antenna towers

The building and all the towers are on 20 foot high steel stilts.  The area is right next to the Hudson River and often floods in the spring time.

Back of WGDJ transmitter building

Back of WGDJ transmitter building

The transmitter site sort of reminds me of something I once saw at coastal radio stations WCC and KPH.  They were located along salt water bays.

Phasor with Nautel XR12 transmitter

Phaors with Nautel XR12 transmitter

The station signed on the air in 1963. Initially, it was a 5 KW daytimer only.  They added night operation sometime in the seventies. Around 2006 or so, they went to 10 KW day, 5 KW night.  The phasor is gigantic for a 5 KW station, or even a 10 KW station.  I’ve seen smaller phasors on 50 KW directionals.  It has a “Quakertown, PA” name plate on it, which may be the forerunner of Phasetek.  There is a rare art form to creating a functional, yet space economical phasor.  Harris could sometimes pull it off, RCA did well, Kintronics seems to be the one of the top phasor makers today.

The main transmitter is a Nautel XR12, which as a very similar look as the V series FM transmitters.  The backup transmitter is a MW5A, which, quite frankly scares me.  The site was just recently air conditioned, which means the MW5A transmitter was sucking swamp air through it for 25 years.  I do not want to turn that thing on under any circumstances.

Nautel XR12 medium wave transmitter

Nautel XR12 medium wave transmitter

All in all, the station has a pretty good signal into the capital city of New York.  It nulls to the west, somewhat.  Being on 1300, it doesn’t carry as far as some of the other class B AM station like WROW 590 Khz, but it does alright.

After years of neglect, the station is making a bit of a come back in the Albany market.  They do a lot of local talk radio, which, when the other station is carrying almost all satellite syndicated talk, is making an impression.  Being the state capital, there is a lot of fodder.

Be Sociable, Share!

6 comments to Where will they put a radio station this time

  • Gary

    Again, great pictures! I looked it up and created a Google Earth “pin” (location) for it so interested parties can see where / how its located with respect to Albany. The place is available at http://home.comcast.net/~garystar1/wgdj.kmz. Feel free to copy it over to your own server, or whatever.

  • admin

    All of those pictures were all taken with my android phone. That thing is becoming like duct tape.

  • Daniel

    I had completely forgotten about this one it’s sadly been demolished…

    SWR-FM in Sydney had their Tx site inside a large amusement park ride tower called Space Probe 7

    see http://wonderlandhistory.net/swrfm.php for some history info inside the ‘hut’

    and http://wonderlandhistory.net/spaceprobe/ for some pictures of the ride

    (ed note: sadly, the links are now dead 1/11/13)

  • admin

    Daniel, that is pretty cool. That will give somebody a work out, climbing 75 meters (246 feet) straight up to repair a transmitter or STL receiver. Yikes! I would be interested to know what power level they are running, the website says they are using a collinear array for the antenna.

  • J. Aegerter

    In Wisconsin, the DNR (Department of natural Resources) would NEVER allow a radio station directional or non-directional to be constructed in a swamp. There was one constructed back in 1961, but that was before the Madison liberals created the agency. I’m really surprised that New York allows this, as there seems to be a uniform policy among these wacko agencies around the country. Wild Blue Heron, snakes, and other creatures that live in the swamps are more important than radio transmitting installations and these installations “threaten their habitat”.

  • admin

    @John, This was built in 1963, it is very unlikely that it could be built today unless one were to write checks called “campaign contributions” out to the correct parties for the correct amount. If that were to happen, all of the Blue Herons, snakes and rare wild flowers would suddenly relocate and, Viola! A permit from the DEC (department of environmental protection) would appear.

Axiom


A pessimist sees the glass as half empty. An optimist sees the glass as half full. The engineer sees the glass as twice the size it needs to be.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
~1st amendment to the United States Constitution

Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.
~Benjamin Franklin

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. To be your own man is hard business. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.
~Rudyard Kipling

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers
~Universal Declaration Of Human Rights, Article 19

...radio was discovered, and not invented, and that these frequencies and principles were always in existence long before man was aware of them. Therefore, no one owns them. They are there as free as sunlight, which is a higher frequency form of the same energy.
~Alan Weiner

Free counters!