Happy New Year!

After a bit of reflection and a few good conversations over the New Year’s Holiday, I decided that I should continue my work on this blog.  I would like to thank all those that have stuck by and waited.  I have received numerous emails and messages offline, all of which have been read and appreciated.

Since the abrupt stoppage last July, which was absolutely necessary for me, many things have happened within the business.  Fortunately, during the hiatus, I was still taking pictures.  After sorting through them, here are a few interesting things that happened:

At one of our client’s AM transmitter sites in Albany, NY a 2.6 Million Watt solar system has been installed.

WROW-AM Steel mounting poles on antenna array field
WROW-AM Steel mounting poles on antenna array field

This project required many steel mounting posts to be driven into the ground around the AM towers.  I don’t even know how many, but I would hazard a guess of over three hundred.  Each one of those mounting posts was hand-dug down a depth of 6-10 inches to look for ground wires.  Where ever a ground wire was found, it was moved out of the way before the post was set.

WROW-AM ground wire moved out of way
WROW-AM ground wire moved out of way

Basically, the solar array covers about 1/2 of the antenna array field.  All of the steel mounting hardware is tied into the ground system, making, what I am sure is a pretty large above-ground counterpoise.

WROW-AM solar panel mounting hardware
WROW-AM solar panel mounting hardware

View from the south looking north:

Solar Array installed on WROW antenna array, Glenmont, NY
Solar Array installed on WROW antenna array, Glenmont, NY

View from the north, outside of the transmitter building, looking south:

Solar Array installed on WROW antenna array, Glenmont, NY

Power company interface and disconnect:

Solar Array utility company disconnect, Glenmont, NY
Solar Array utility company disconnect, Glenmont, NY

The utility company had to upgrade the transmission lines to the nearest substation to handle the additional power produced by the solar system. All in all, it was a fun project to watch happen.

At a certain studio building, which is over 150 years old, the roof needed to be replaced.  This required that the 3.2-meter satellite dish and non-penetrating roof mount be moved out of the way while that section of the roof was worked on.

3.2 meter satellite dish

Dish was ready to move, and all of the concrete ballast was removed and taken down from the roof.  The roofing contractors constructed a  caddy and the entire dish and mount were slid forward onto the area in front of it.  Since the front part of the roof was not reinforced to hold up the satellite dish, we did not ballast the mount and the XDS receivers ran off of the streaming audio for a couple of days until the dish was put back in its original position.

3.2 meter satellite dish ready to move
3.2 meter satellite dish ready to move

A couple of other studio projects have been underway in various places.  Pictures to follow…

One of our clients sold their radio stations to another one of our clients.

There has also been a bankruptcy of a major radio company here in the good ol’ US of A.  Something that was not unexpected, however, the ramifications of which are still being decided on in various board rooms.  One of the issues as contractors is whether or not we will get paid for our work.  All things considered, it could be much worse.

Learned a valuable lesson about mice chewed wires on generator battery chargers.  I noticed that the battery charger seemed to be dead, therefore, I reached down to make sure the AC plug was in all the way.  A loud pop and flash followed and this was the result:

Arc burns, right hand
Arc burns, right hand

My hand felt a bit warm for a while.  The fourth digit suffered some minor burns.  There is at least one guy I know that would be threatening a lawsuit right now.  Me, not so much…  All of the high voltage stuff we work on; power supplies that can go to 25 KV, and a simple 120 VAC plug is the thing that gets me.

The return of the rotary phase maker.

Rotary phase maker, Kay Industries T-10000-A

Mechanically derived 3rd phase used when the old tube type transmitter cannot be converted to single phase service.

Those are just a few of the things I have been working on.  I will generate some posts on current projects underway.  Those projects include a 2 KW FM transmitter installation, another studio project, repair work on a Harris Z16HD transmitter, etc

It is good to be back!

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21 thoughts on “Happy New Year!”

  1. That was the project last summer for me. Move several dishes twice as they did the roof around them. Peak and repeak. That was the time to clean up that rooftop. I was able to get rid of some of them along with old antennas, etc. great motivation to do it. Welcome Back!

  2. Paul: It is wonderful to have you and your blog back! I understand life gets in the way sometimes, I hope all is well in your world.

    After the solar plant was finished, did you notice any effect on WROW’s pattern and/or parameters?

  3. That roof job looks like fun. At the day-job, we slipped conduit under the mount sleds after removing the blocks. We rolled dishes sideways far enough for the roofers to do their thing, and carefully enough we never lost lock on the carrier! We were fortunate. That was a long time ago, and we will be testing our dish moving skills again soon, I’m afraid.

  4. Thanks, Guys! It is good to be back.

    Allen: I did notice a slight change in parameters on the antenna system after all of the mounts were grounded to the antenna ground system. Unfortunately, we also have had snow in the meantime, so any monitor points measurements will be meaningless until the snow melts and we can compare apples to apples. The shift noted was minor and well within the adjustment range of the phasor.

  5. Do you accept contributions from other authors? Might reduce the strain of having to generate posts all the time..

  6. Welcome back, Paul! That Cobleskill transmitter site looks familiar. Too bad the Brooke Burke poster got taken down. I never got a good photo of the thermostat panel because a pager rack was in the way at the time. The best I could manage was an oblique keystone-corrected photo.

  7. David; I have entertained the idea of guest writers in the past, it just never seems to pan out.

    Larry; The Brooke Burke poster was removed prior to my involvement, allegedly by a market manager concerned about sexual harassment liabilities. PoundMeToo I guess…

    Chris; thankfully the owner hires somebody else to worry about that…

  8. Welcome back Paul.
    Back in 2010 you did a post about the history and construction of the WGY Tower, very informative, thank you so much. It is my understanding that there were originally three towers built at the site. Two smaller, one on each side of the main tower opposite each other, they may have been for two short wave stations GE operated at the time. Can you confirm this?

  9. Pete: The WGY tower site is interesting. There were at least 4-6 three hundred foot self supporting towers that were used for W2XAD and W2XAF. This is a Radio World article about the site: http://www.radioworld.com/columns-and-views/0004/schenectady-shortwave-transmitters-1941/337533

    The WGY antenna itself was a T top, supported by two towers with a down feed. A 1934 study showed that the T top and down feed radiated equally, causing pattern distortion and cancellation. That is the reason they build the existing 620 foot square tower in 1938.

    Little is left of the old operations, the building was torn down, several sections of the original land has been sold off. It would be nice if there were some sort of historical marker describing the site or at least the tower.

  10. Hi Paul,

    Really love the blog. Do you know if there have been other solar installations at higher power stations (25kW, 50kW). Just wondering what sort of effect if any the electric field at a higher power station would have on the solar panels, DC combiner boxes, etc.?

  11. Josh, That is a good question. My concern would be AC/RF getting into the DC input lines on the inverters. So far at this site, that has not been an issue.

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