As promised in an earlier post, here is an update on the progress at the North Adams tower site for the restoration work on WUPE-FM and WNNI. For those unfamiliar, refer to this post: North Adams Tower Collapse.
A contractor installed a 70-foot wooden utility pole last week. We ordered new Shively Versa2une FM antennas as replacements for the antennas destroyed when the tower fell last March. These new antennas are field tunable, which is a nice feature. The idea is that this pole will be used until the replacement tower is constructed, which is many months away. After the new tower is up, I would like to keep the pole in place as a backup facility for both stations.
The bucket truck arrived but the driver had a bit of bad news; there is room for only one person in the bucket. The boss pipes up and says “Oh, that’s okay, Paul can go up and run the bucket”
So anyway, it turns out running a bucket truck is not a huge deal; there is a joy stick of sorts that moves the booms around, up down, sideways, etc. Once you get the feel for it, it is pretty easy and three dimensional movement becomes second nature. That being said, at 70 feet in the air, everything gets a little wobbly, so it is best not to jerk the controls around.
The antennas were mounted on a 2 inch pipe which was attached to the pole with 1/2 inch threaded rod. We left a little bit of pipe sticking up above the top of the pole to get the FM antennas as high as possible.
Getting photobombed by some guy in a hang glider is a new experience. No day is exactly like another in this line of work.
The antennas were tuned up once they were up on the pole. We did this with the network analyzer, which made the job very easy. WUPE-FM (top antenna) started using this antenna on Wednesday afternoon (5/7) with greatly increased power output. This gets the station almost the same coverage area as they had before the tower collapse. We tested WNNI (bottom antenna) and it all looked good. WNNI is still waiting for a temporary wireless internet feed for program delivery. Once that is established, we will have to do the intermod measurements one more time before they can go on the air.
Here are some pictures of the cleaned-up site:
The temporary monopole being used by the cell providers:
Basically the pole is ballasted in place by those huge concrete blocks.