I went to do maintenance at one of our sites and noticed that a certain transmitter was running at half power. Followed the path of the fault log and found this. When I mentioned it to the station staff, they said, “Yeah, we noticed it sounded a little funny…”
This is the second time this has happened with this particular transmitter. In any case, this is what I get paid for, so I am certainly not complaining. If only every problem where this easy to find.
When I get back out there to replace this, I will bring out my network analyzer and sweep the antenna and transmission line to make sure there are not issues with that. In addition, I will double check all the grounding to make sure the copper thieves have not made off with any critical components like the ground buss bar or #2 solid down lead wires.
Finishing up a transmitter site rehab. The BE FM20T is nearly 20 years old. The BE FM2C transmitters are new. There is also a rack of new fiber equipment and CODECs. This site has good utilization; there are three stations on one tower with a shared STL antenna and generator.
Energy Onix ECO-6 tube type transmitter. One of Bernie’s better designs, a grounded grid tube with solid state driver section. This one needed some fans replaced and a new tube.
I wonder how much the guy tensions have changed…
The reason why you do not use a POTS line phone during a thunderstorm.
I took a tour of the USS Slater, a museum ship in Albany, NY. The museum has painstakingly restored the ship to its WWII configuration. The main transmitter is the RCA TBL-8 seen in the left/center of this picture. This unit put out 200 to 400 watts CW or 150 watts AM phone. During the hostilities it was turned off as allied ships observed radio silence unless they were sinking (and sometimes even then).
I have been fooling around with this little 6AK5 preamp. I find it works very well and sounds better than the built in phone preamp on my Kenwood VR-309. The FU-29 tube amp did not come with a phone preamp.
This is a short video clip of an audio processor at one of our transmitter sites. The fancy lights around the control knob are designed for the program director. They are saying “Buy me… Buy me…”
At the risk of becoming redundant, here are a few pictures of a GatesAir FAX-5 install recently completed in Westerly, RI. This was installed in a recently vacated Verizon cell site next to the old transmitter building. The old transmitter building and the equipment contained therein had seen better days, to be sure.
As requested, the only pre-installation photo I can find:
That photo was taken back in October 2018, when we first looked at the Verizon shelter as a viable alternative to the current transmitter site.
Overall, the transmitter sounds great. Much better than the old unit which had an AM noise problem.
If it wasn’t so far away, this would have been a pretty easy project. There were minor miscues along the way that added up. I will say that I learned a few good life lessons about the reliability and responsibility of people.
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
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.
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 is encrusted with ice. I can tell the tower climber is having a great day:
Riding the chair lift back down the mountain gets plenty of strange looks from those skiers coming up:
Over on Killington Peak, conditions are actually worse.
The ERI antenna heaters cannot keep up with the ice buildup.
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.