May 2015
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Failure to do Maintenance=Failure to have Tower

This is a tower behind one of our FM transmitter sites.  In the past, it has housed paging and two-way services.  It has always been sort of a slum, in my opinion.  Several times, malfunctioning or improperly installed 900 MHz paging radios from this site have caused interference with our 950 MHz STL receivers.  In recent years, all those things have gone away however, to be replaced by a Wireless Internet Service Provider (WISP).  Even with this change, the site is mostly overgrown and uncared for.

Yesterday, I noticed the tower was not as tall as it used to be, so I walked down the hill and saw this:

Self supporting tower after loosing top section

Self supporting tower after loosing top section

It appears this happened a few weeks ago. View from the other side:

Self supporting tower section resting on roof of building

Self supporting tower section resting on roof of building

Close up of tower section that failed:

Failure point

Failure point

Looks like the bolts that held one the flanges together failed, the tower was pushed over by a strong NE wind causing the other two legs to fail.  Truth be told, the tower had been in rough shape since the mid 90’s.  I am surprised that it stayed up this long.



WISP sector antennas. I don’t know if they owned the tower or were tenants. Either way, this is going to cost a few rubles to repair.

More carnage

More carnage

Looks like the shelter took a little bit of damage too. To be honest with you, I hope that this is it for this site. I would be nice if they take down the stump, scrap the lot of it and move somewhere else.

Upgrading the firmware

The original V series Nautel transmitters have required a couple of firmware upgrades in some cases.

Upgrading the power module firmware, WDVT, Rutland, VT

Upgrading the PA module firmware on Nautel V-5D transmitter, WDVT, Rutland, VT

The first was for the controller to add a little bit of bias to the PAs during analog operation.  The second one I have had to do is to the PA modules themselves which was to keep the power supplies from shutting off during re-transfer from Generator power to commercial power.

I have done several of these and once you get the hang of it, it only takes a few minutes to complete.  Still, I remember when transmitters didn’t have firmware.  The low voltage control circuits were either 120 or 240 VAC with big relays and contactors that loudly confirmed their closure before any meters began to move.

Regarding Nautel transmitters in general; the newer models are not same rugged, reliable designs that were common in the past.  We have AM ND series transmitters that have been on the air for 20 years without a single failure.  The models rolling out of the factory these days often have switching power supplies fail without reason or warning and RF pallets that are fragile things.  Ah well, I suppose all things are cyclical.

Sex Pistols backed by KGB

If this is true; Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Ramones were Financed by the USSR, then it was their best move ever.  According to the article:

The USSR government at the time spent “hundreds of millions of rubles” on this covert operation destined to create utter chaos… We even infiltrated mainstream radios to promote their music and reach millions of people everyday…

As far as I am concerned; The Sex Pistols, meh.  However, The Clash was pretty good and when I was living in California in the mid 1980’s, The Ramones were hugely popular with the surfer crowd and pretty much everyone else.

So, without further adieu and with special thanks to Комите́т госуда́рственной безопа́сности (КГБ):

There you have it; an English punk rock band, financed by a Soviet security apparatus signing (sort of) about an American car. Next thing you’ll tell me is that Billy Joel is a CIA front.


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 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

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