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Hoth

Alternate title: Winter in the Northeast

For all you southerners and west coast people, we have been having an average winter here in the Northeast. While many of our transmitter sites are drive ups, we have several located at ski area mountain peaks.  Technically, those mountain top transmitter sites are a fantastic way to get the Height Above Average Terrain (HAAT) way up there.  Logistically, they are much more difficult to deal with.  Installing a new transmitter or even refueling a generator takes major effort.  Working in the cold and wind is much more fatiguing and requires paying special attention protective clothing, hydration, exposure, etc.

Here are a few pictures from Killington and Pico mountain ski areas in Vermont

Your ride is here.

Your ride is here.

The snow grooming machine is the only way to bring anything up to the top of the mountain during the winter time. In this case, I needed to replace a BW Broadcast TX 1500 watt transmitter.

Trail from ski lift to tower

Trail from ski lift to tower

Even with the snow grooming machine, the last few hundred yards needs to be walked. Fortunately, the snow is packed and not too deep here.

Tower on Pico Mountain

Tower on Pico Mountain

Tower is encrusted with ice. I can tell the tower climber is having a great day:

Tower climber working on ice encrusted towe

Tower climber working on ice encrusted tower

Riding the chair lift back down the mountain gets plenty of strange looks from those skiers coming up:

Pico chair lift

Pico chair lift

Over on Killington Peak, conditions are actually worse.

Killington Peak tower

Killington Peak tower

The ERI antenna heaters cannot keep up with the ice buildup.

ERI two bay antenna with ice.

ERI two bay antenna with ice.

The general manager insists that this winter is not too bad and everything should be working right. My statement to her: Based on my 27 years experience, your shit is fucked up. But if you know how to fix this, come on up and show me.  She deferred.

FM transmitter building and antenna

FM transmitter building and antenna

What the fire tower looked like last winter.

Killington peak fire tower

Killington peak fire tower

Train from the Gondola to the tower

Train from the Gondola to the tower

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3 comments to Hoth

  • Barry McLellan

    GM’s say the funniest things!
    I can appreciate the difficulties getting there and doing work. At least you’ll have good “war-stories” to tell people and these pictures will back it up!

  • Lester Daffin

    Paul, thanks for the awesome pictures. I’m so very impressed with the issues you face at these sites. Also shows many of us “flatlanders” situations we never experience. The ice coating on the towers is something to behold. Best of luck working at these locations. And, of course, be safe and very careful in the extreme cold.

  • Aaron Read

    A few years ago I lived in Santa Barbara, CA and it cracked me up whenever I’d have to tell people I couldn’t get to the transmitter site because of snow.

    This was SoCal, where snow is something one sees on television. And most of the city is either at or (at most) a few hundred feet above sea level.

    But the mountains, a mere 10 miles inland, are quite steep and get up to nearly a mile AMSL where where the transmitters are. So on Broadcast Peak, it’s another story. Fortunately the snow was only a few inches and disappeared after a day or so. It’s just that the access road quickly gets impassable in RAIN, never mind snow.

    Shame the GM wouldn’t come with you. I’m lucky that my bosses actually like visiting transmitter sites (they’re a little nerdy) so they definitely appreciate the hardships better.

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