A day in Pictures

The aftermath:

Long beach
Long beach, this used to be an isthums, now it is a sand bar
A set of old stairs
A set of old stairs on the beach where the cottages used to be located.
Surf
Surf
100 lb propane tanks
Found the reason why the generator is not running
Propane tanks adrift
Propane tanks adrift from storm surge. There was a strong propane smell around these tanks, I secured all the valves.
WICC propane tank pad
Where the propane tanks should be
debris washed ashore during storm surge
Debris washed ashore during storm surge around north tower, including a section of dock
Second high tide after Hurricane Sandy, noon on Tuesday
Second high tide after Hurricane Sandy, noon on Tuesday, flooding ground system
three phase power line down
Three phase power line down due to wind
Three phase power line down
More wind damaged power lines
Telco wires taken down by trees
Telco wires taken down by trees
Generator room water level, as seen on the side of the battery
Generator room water level, as seen on the side of the battery

More work here tomorrow.

Update: Took longer than anticipated, but the station is back on the air with generator power as of 8:15 am, Thursday (11/1).  Commercial power restoration is not expected until Monday or Tuesday at the earliest.

Update: Commercial power restored on Thursday, 11/8 for a total outage of 10 days.  One good thing about incidents like this, I now have a fresh set of contacts for all the important people connected to servicing this site.

Fire! Fire! Fire!

Class Charlie fire in the transmitter room electrical panel.  Away fire party from repair locker forward.  Set condition ZEBRA throughout the ship, this is not a drill.

Or something like that.  If you were driving around Albany, NY this afternoon and noticed WDCD-FM was off the air, this is the reason why.

WDCD AM/FM main distribution panel
WDCD AM/FM 480 volt 3 phase AC main distribution panel

A little after noon time, the 480 volt main distribution panel at WDCD AM/FM caught fire, taking the FM station off the air.

WDCD conference room clock, time of power outage noted
WDCD conference room clock, time of power outage noted

According to this clock, it happened at 12:19 pm, when there was a loud bang and the lights in the studio flickered several times, followed by the building fire alarm going off.  Thankfully, a quick response by the station staff and the Town of Colonie fire department limited the damage to the interior of the distribution panel.  Other than the dry chemical fire extinguisher residue all over the place, the building is none the worse for wear.

WDCD distribution panel burned parts
WDCD distribution panel burned parts

The 480 Volt three phase electrical distribution panel was installed in 1947 when the original building was constructed.  The power company cut the power to the building and an electrician was able to re-route the distribution for the dry step down transformers that power the studios and equipment racks.  The original 480 volt service was installed due to the 50 KW AM transmitter for WPTR (WDCD-AM).   Currently, WDCD-AM is silent, pending programming decisions by the owner, Crawford Broadcasting.

WDCD burned electrical distribution panel parts
WDCD burned electrical distribution panel parts

So, we spent the late afternoon vacuuming the NextGen computers and UPS out, wiping down the equipment and making sure to clean out the power supplies and other nooks and crannies.  Then, we powered everything back up, one at a time and to our pleasant surprise, all came back up without error.  Total off air time for the FM station was about 6 hours.

The General Electric XT-1-A AM transmitter

I found this photograph in a filing cabinet the other day as a part of a sales proposal dated 1948. I have never seen one of these in the field. They look like very sturdy units:

General Electric XT-1-A Standard Broadcast transmitter
General Electric XT-1-A Standard Broadcast transmitter

Back in the day when AM was king, no expense was spared on transmitting equipment.  I remember the GE BTA-25 transmitter from the same era, it was build like a tank.  Once, while we were repairing the Harris MW-50A main transmitter, the old GE burped, sputtered and threw an IPA overload, then returned to air.  I looked in the IPA cabinet and found a mica capacitor had been blown in half.  It was in the tuning circuit, but apparently there was still enough capacitance in the circuit for the transmitter to keep running.

This unit looks similar to that one.  The simplified schematic:

General Electric XT-1-A schematic diagram
General Electric XT-1-A schematic diagram

Like other 1 KW AM transmitter designs, this unit uses the venerable 833A triode.  There are some advantages of this tube, as extra circuits for PA stage neutralization are not needed.  The full sales brochure can be found here (medium sized .pdf).  These were manufactured in Syracuse, NY.

The asking price in 1948 was $8.730.00, tax and shipping extra.