From the not too distant past…

And when such things were important:

Important Memo

While cleaning out a closet at home, I found a 3.5-inch disk with some interesting memos. When I left WGY in the spring of 1996, I made a backup copy of all the items in my documents folder. I figure it was an intelligent thing to do since I was still working for the same company in the role of Director of Engineering.

In those days, management wanted a precise accounting of all off-the-air incidents. The studio was staffed with a board operator who monitored the air signal at all times. Anytime the carrier dropped, there would be a note in the transmitter log. Those 5 second interruptions are likely due to thunderstorms. Lightning would strike somewhere nearby inducing an EMP on the tower. The venerable MW-50B would kill the PDM for a brief period as protection from VSWR. If I were at the transmitter site, the insulators in the guy wires would start crackling anytime a storm was within 10 miles of the site.

The helium balloon incident involved one of those metallic helium party balloons which escaped and ended up tangled in the 240-ohm open wire transmission line. This caused multiple VSWR trips for both the main and backup transmitters. I remember pulling up to the site and having a bit of a chuckle. By the time I got there, the balloon had mostly been burned into oblivion by the RF and the station was back on the air.

Another interesting item is our standard reception report form letter:

WGY reception report letter; name and address redacted because of the internet

These were printed out on WGY letterhead and mailed. I sent out several of them every week. I think the furthest away was Cape Town, South Africa.

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2 thoughts on “From the not too distant past…”

  1. We had operators fully in control & monitoring up until 1998 since the Potomac RC16 didn’t call out. Burk ARC16 went in.
    When the DX-50 was new in ’93, I had the VSWR indication set to log. Soon decided that was ridiculous. The first charged cloud of Summer that got within 10 miles had the printer going continuous. OK, General Fault was good enough.
    In 2000 there was now a 6 tower array (was 4), and in 2006 updated monitor & control PCBs went into the DX-50. Rarely get much VSWR action now unless there’s a strike at least very nearby.

  2. NE USA to Cape Town, South Africa, on medium wave?

    That’s an impressive catch for that listener.

    2, maybe 3 hops, a full hemisphere away?


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