May 2014
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North Adams tower update

As promised in an earlier post, here is an update on the progress at the North Adams tower site for the restoration work on WUPE-FM and WNNI. For those unfamiliar, refer to this post: North Adams Tower Collapse.

A contractor installed a 70 foot wooden utility pole last week.  We ordered new Shively Versa2une FM antennas as replacements for the antennas destroyed when the tower fell last March.  These new antennas are field tunable, which is a nice feature.  The idea is that this pole will be used until the replacement tower is constructed, which is many months away.  After the new tower is up, I would like to keep the pole in place as a backup facility for both stations.

North Adams restoration work

North Adams restoration work

The bucket truck arrived but the driver had a bit of bad news; there is room for only one person in the bucket. The boss pipes up and says “Oh, that’s okay, Paul can go up and run the bucket”


Are you sure this is a good idea?

Are you sure this is a good idea?

So anyway, it turns out running a bucket truck is not a huge deal; there is a joy stick of sorts that moves the booms around, up down, sideways, etc. Once you get the feel for it, it is pretty easy and three dimensional movement becomes second nature.  That being said, at 70 feet in the air, everything gets a little wobbly, so it is best not to jerk the controls around.

The antennas were mounted on a 2 inch pipe which was attached to the pole with 1/2 inch threaded rod. We left a little bit of pipe sticking up above the top of the pole to get the FM antennas as high a possible.

Mounting pole to tower

Mounting pole to tower

Mounting pole to tower

Mounting pole to tower

Some dude in a hang glider checking out the work

Some dude in a hang glider checking out the work

Getting photobombed by some guy in a hang glider is a new experience.  No day is exactly like another in this line of work.

WUPE and WNNI temporary antennas

WUPE-FM and WNNI temporary antennas

The antennas were tuned up once they were up on the pole. We did this with the network analyzer, which made the job very easy. WUPE-FM (top antenna) started using this antenna on Wednesday afternoon (5/7) with greatly increased power output.   This gets the station almost the same coverage area as they had before the tower collapse.  We tested WNNI (bottom antenna) and it all looked good. WNNI is still waiting for a temporary wireless internet feed for program delivery. Once that is established, we will have to do the intermod measurements one more time before they can go on the air.

Here are some pictures of the cleaned up site:

North Adams, fallen tower removed

North Adams, fallen tower removed

North Adams, fallen tower removed

North Adams, fallen tower removed

The temporary monopole being used by the cell providers:

North Adams temporary cell tower

North Adams temporary cell tower

Basically the pole is ballasted in place by those huge concrete blocks.

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9 comments to North Adams tower update

  • Chris R

    One of the cool things about the job–sometimes you get to play with the big toys!

  • bill.frahm

    Congratulations on getting things going again this fast.
    Looking good!

  • Ed Butler

    Very nice install Paul.
    Neat antennas
    to get the stations back on the air quickly.

  • Paul, nice setup. I am curious as to what you used to attach the mast to the pole, all thread I am assuming. I am getting ready to put up some LPFM antennas on utility poles and have been wondering just how I want to attach mast pipes on these..Oh bucket lifts are a lot of fun especially when the wind comes up, I had rented a 120′ Genie lift for an antenna repair one time and the wind came up after I got up to the 120′ level. What a carnival ride it was!


  • Nice job, Paul. As always.

  • Wow, that temporary cell monopole is interesting… That’s a pretty big “temporary” solution, and I’m surprised that it’s just concrete blocks anchoring the thing, no guys… but somebody must have done the calculations!

  • Yep. The Cell companies have those COWs planned out really well. After such disasters as Hurricane Sandy and Katrina, the cell providers have “emergency response” down to a science.

  • bill.frahm

    All thread will work for a temporary install. It does bend a bit too easy compared to pipe. Noticed that when someone tried using all thread as the spindles of a deck rail. Four feet of snow (normal) bent the heck out of it.

  • Bob Doolittle

    Speaking of emergency coms. Look at the last few pictures for what she does for a living.

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