June 2011
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Nice work, if you can get it

I have been to many, many transmitter sites.  They range from mountain top sites in NY and VT to flat fields with tall towers in Florida to coastal or wetlands AM sites.   One site in Massachusetts was located in a state part near Westover AFB.  It was formerly the microwave relay site for the Northeast Command and Control bunker, now reused as an FM site for WRNX, Amherst.   Access to that site required walking about a mile and a half on a hiking trail, often carrying things like a shop vac, garbage bags or other stuff.  Walking in the woods carrying a shop vac will get you some funny looks by fellow hikers.

Yesterday was my Bridgeport, CT day and I took the time to head out to the WICC transmitter site.  There are two ways to get there, one can call the Bridgeport harbor master or harbor police and catch a ride via boat, which is fun.  Or one can walk down the beach from the long beach parking lot.  If it is not an emergency or a night time access, I like to walk down the beach.  It is about one mile either way.  I normally bring my back pack with some basic tools, water and a sandwich.

WICC towers in the distance

WICC towers in the distance

I have been working with another engineer who complains about this.

Pleasure beach former cottage area

Pleasure beach former cottage area

Now that the cottages are gone, it is a very pleasant walk.

Osprey on WICC north tower

Osprey on WICC north tower

This Osprey apparently didn’t get the memo:  Radio towers are the arch enemy of birds, actually sitting on one and using it as a good place to scout for lunch is akin to sleeping with the enemy.

United Illuminating pole mounted circuit breakers

United Illuminating pole mounted circuit breaker

Circuit breakers on new three phase power circuit installed by United Illuminating last fall.

I wouldn’t want to hike down this strand of beach at night or in a thunderstorm, but on a nice day, it is a pleasant stroll.  There are far worse transmitter site access problems.  It is a pain if any equipment needs to be taken in or out, that requires some special equipment.

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3 comments to Nice work, if you can get it

  • J. Aegerter

    The Chevrolet pick-up truck would easily handle an ATV on a trailer if you didn’t need the exercise. Walking a mile with a tool bag and test equipment would be a little too much for my customer, especially if time and material billing was customary. I would think an ATV would be more fun than the boat trip or the long walk!

  • Paul Thurst

    And this is where it gets tricky, there is a little bird called the “piping plover” some type of rare ground nesting thing. No one is allowed to drive any gas powered vehicles down the peninsula, especially during nesting season. If you were to accidentally kill one of these birds, it is a $10,000 fine and if you were to accidentally run over a nest, it is a $200,000 fine.

    The environmentalist are crawling all over the place, they have little bird blinds set up, cameras, the whole nine yards. Even walking down the beach is closely observed to make sure no one steps off the beach into the dunes area. Any minor infraction and the police are called. Welcome to environmental tyranny.

  • J. Aegerter

    Wow, that’s pretty bad and totally out of control! When will the FCC (and governments) finally wake up to the goons and loons crying the blues regarding conventional red obstruction lighting on towers being bird killers? In the 77 year history of broadcast regulation, the recent nut case mentality seemed to begin with Al Gore and now maybe Joe Lieberman? The former is slowly being proved an “extremist”.

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