A few pictures from my last trip to one of our FM transmitter sites. This is a mountaintop site, in as much as a medium-sized hill is a mountain around here. This site has a 2.3-mile road through the woods that is almost impassable 3-4 months out of the year.
Previous engineers have walked up the hill with a toolbox. I can say this with all honesty; not me. In the past, they have also rented a helicopter, and used a snowcat, snowmobile, or an ATV with snow tracks. I’d do those things provided they are safe and insured. As I get older (and wiser), I realize that the only person who going to look after my well-being is me.
Anyway, the trip starts here, at the gate:
Then it goes up the hill:
Some sections are worse than others:
Along the way there are some nice views:
Finally, the gate to the tower farm:
There are two digital TV stations, several cell phone carriers, some government two-way gear, some FM translators, Media Flow, and us at this site. There are also some Ham radio repeaters off to the side in another building. All in all, a pretty RF-intense site.
The view from the top:
The reason why we came:
That is a 24-year-old BE FM5B transmitter. The backup is a Gates FM5G, which aren’t we glad we have a solid reliable transmitter selection for such a remote site. Actually, we were supposed to put in a new Nautel V-10 here last year, but the money was spent on computers instead. Oh well, good thing there will be no computer crashes when we go off the air.
A standard maintenance trip consists of meter readings, comparing the reading to the last set of readings, changing the air filters, checking the remote control and calibrating it to the transmitter, checking the tower light sensor, etc.
Normally, the backup transmitter would run into the dummy load, but the backup transmitter no longer works. Parts are not available to fix it, so we operate without a net. One of the previous general managers asked if that keeps me awake at night, to which my answer was no, not at all.