January 2013
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Oh damn; La tercera parte

Now where did those vise (vice?) grips go?

Vice grip pliers used to clamp RF feed to tower

Vise grip pliers used to clamp RF feed to tower

Oh yeah, that’s right, they were used to attach the RF feed to an AM tower.  About ten years ago.

Vice grip tower clamp

Vise grip tower clamp

From this view, it looks like whatever tower crew installed this tower could not manage to solder or braze the copper RF connection to the steel tower.  The area was then painted, but it looks like there is some corrosion going on between metals.

Vice grips clamping RF feed to tower

Vise grips clamping RF feed to tower

Another view.

AM broadcast tower

AM broadcast tower

This is a relatively new tower.  Sadly, it is very likely that this station will be going off the air soon.  If the station is still on the air come springtime, I will drag the brazing outfit across the field/swamp and fix this.  If the station goes dark, then I won’t worry about it.

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9 comments to Oh damn; La tercera parte

  • kevin

    Isn’t it funny how temporary turns to permanent? Along these lines, I knew a four tower DA that had c-clamps holding the line to the tower. Once in a while they’d have to take the clamps off, scrape off the corrosion with a brush, and re-clamp.

  • Jumper cables anyone?? Ran across an AM with jumper cables. Figured someone must have had them temporary while getting the main feed fixed or replaced and forgot about them. Looked like they had been there for awhile…


  • Chris R

    I worked on a UHF TV transmitter that was connected to the high voltage beam supply with RG-8 coax. I thought it was a joke but the factory said that was how they did it. 33kV on that coax, Oh boy! Never gave any trouble. Why didn’t they just paint the pliers?

  • Paul Thurst

    @Chris, sounds like a mid-1980’s Harris product.

  • Kent Teffeteller

    Indeed, often how Harris did things in the middle 1980’s. Give the engineer who devised the vice grips the Afro engineering award.

  • And I thought I had seen it all, this may beat every absurdity I have come across.

  • Stephen

    I’m curious what it sounds like listening to the station over the air (it IS an AM right?) when the connection is less than perfect? 😉

  • Paul Thurst

    @Kent, I think it was the tower crew that did this, but the engineer in question never checked up on their work.
    @Chris, never think you have seen it all, when you think that, the most surprising things leap out at you.
    @Stephen, it is a part of directional array, thus the power not radiated by this tower will be radiated by other towers in the array. What could happen is the directional antenna parameters my be out of tolerance. There is also a potential to generate broad band RF noise if the connection arcs.

  • Jon Scaptura

    It’s been a couple years since this was posted. Is the station still on the air? If so – are the pliers still there? If not – did anyone keep them as a souvenier?

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