I wonder about such things. I wonder who would walk a couple of miles, climb over a chain link fence with some spray paint cans just to do this:

Spray Painted Graffiti, WICC transmitter building
Spray Painted Graffiti, WICC transmitter building

Why are they not doing something else?

Graffiti WICC transmitter site, Bridgeport, CT
Graffiti WICC transmitter site, Bridgeport, CT

Can’t even read what it says, what does it say?

E135D?  I've got my eye on you
E135D? I've got my eye on you

On the roll up door. What does that mean?

On an unrelated note, I wonder what Hurricane Irene thought of the Piping Plover nesting areas? Last year we were able to drive down the temporary road on the sandbar and deliver fuel, a new generator and remove stuff.  This was an issue because the Piping Plovers nest on the ground in the sand dunes.  Before we could use the road we were given a briefing by Connecticut Fish and Wild life where we were told that destroying a nest would result in a $75,000 fine.

Long Beach, Connecticut
Long Beach, Connecticut

As this area was completely washed over by the Long Island sound, the answer is “Not much.”

The Nautel AMPFET 1

The Nautel AMPFET series transmitters date from the early 80’s through early 90’s.  They were Nautel’s first attempt at MF Broadcast transmitters and were quite successful.  This particular transmitter was installed in early 1990 at WBEC in Pittsfield, MA:

Nautel AMPFET 1 AM broadcast transmitter
Nautel AMPFET 1 AM broadcast transmitter

I believe Nautel got started making MW transmitters for Marine Radio stations, Aeronautical and Marine radio beacons, and similar equipment. Their early equipment is very rugged and designed for rough/continuous service.  The early solid state broadcast transmitters like the AMPFET were not hot plugable but who cares, they almost never break.  The design is simple, efficient and it sounds good on the air.

Early transmitters were housed in racks that were much shorter.  In later versions, the racks became larger to standardize the transmitter size with comparable units of the day.  Inside this cabinet, there is a lot of empty space.

The design is modular, RF modules and power supplies can be removed from the transmitter for repair, unlike the Harris AM transmitter products of the same or later periods.

There later AM transmitter versions built on the AMPFET experience.

The Engineering department bitch-o-gram

I was cleaning out the engineering room at WBEC in Pittsfield, MA today. The previous engineer, Ken Jones, past away last July and we have been hired to do the engineering work. Part of that job is knowing where key information and parts are, thus the clean up.

Whilst in the middle of that fun, I found a sheaf of papers consisting of this:

That is the classic engineering department bitch-o-gram, typed out on a typewriter.  There were no fewer than eight memos to Ron (Stratton), who appears to be the General Manager, from Don Coleman, the lowly engineer.  Since WBEC was a directional AM station, the engineers had to walk out to the towers every day and take a set of base current readings to confirm that the antenna sample system was working properly.  A rule no longer in effect.  Like many AM stations, WBEC is located in a low, swampy area.  You will notice that this engineer had given the swamp a name and one wonders what the significance of that name is.

Back in the day of typewriters, sending off memos was no easy task.  After the document was typed, a copier had to be found, copies made and distributed to all parties.  Often times, distribution consisted of handing a copy directly to the person and waiting for a response.  It was a way to put things in writing and to create a paper trail if needed in the future.

Here is another one:

In this memo, our hero references all of his previous memos on the same topic.  Obviously, this engineer was very concerned about tower access and not breaking his or anyone else’s leg.  I like the invitation for a walk out to the tower.  The studios and general manager’s office are located at the WBEC transmitter site, so it would not have been a long walk.

These are fairly mundane, I can remember typing a few memos to the programming department on asbestos paper to keep them from bursting into flames.  Ahhh, those were the days.

Anyway, it is a lost art, one of many.