That was the title of the email with this photo attached:
That seems about right.
For many, many reasons, this is a bad thing to do. First of all, the shorting bar is the last point of discharge for the high-voltage power supply. When all else fails, this is designed to route the 3,500-volt plate supply safely to ground. Having a stray 3,500 volts floating around inside a transmitter is never a good idea. Fortunately, it was spotted and removed before anything bad happened.
Secondly, it looks like somebody used a 12 VDC cigarette lighter plug as an insulating device. Wow, did they get lucky. This could have started a fire.
As to exactly why it was there in the first place, I cannot rightly say.
And this is why only properly trained people should be working on transmitters, especially tube-type ones.
We removed this old Harris BC5HA transmitter recently:
It was installed new in 1974 when the station moved to this site from another one a few miles up the road. It functioned as a main transmitter until the BE AM5E was installed in late 2001. The BE transmitter, other than a power supply issue, has been a solid, reliable unit. Truth be told, the last time the BC5HA ran was in 2006. After that, the unit refused to run, and a bad modulation transformer was suspected. It was deemed not worth it to repair, thus, out the door it goes. We ended up giving it to a local contractor who scrapped the metal in lieu of payment for his labor. The only thing he could not take was the aforementioned modulation transformer, which is full of PCBs. That will have to be hauled away by a licensed disposal company.
We may be getting a second hand Nautel transmitter from another station as a backup transmitter. If that comes to fruition, then a couple of racks can be added to the end of the Phasor/transmitter/transmitter row and the wiring for the remote control and STL can be simplified and neatened up.
This is another one of those, ahem, AM success stories. WKNY is on 1490 KHz, 1,000 Watts day and night from a transmitter site that is located very close to its target audience of Kingston. It signed on on December 16, 1939, broadcasting 100 watts on 1500 kHz according to the Broadcasting Yearbook 1940 edition.
The transmitter location is the key to this station’s good signal over Kingston. Even though it is a class C AM station when driving around the Kingston city limits there is no electrical interference or nighttime co-channel interference. The reason for this is that most of the city limits are within 2.5 to 3 miles (4 to 4.8 km) from the tower.
This is the original transmitter building and tower. Like many old AM transmitter sites, this one is located in a low, swampy area. The tower is electrically tall for 1490 KHz, at 92 meters (305 feet) it is 163 electrical degrees. Something else that may contribute to the station’s performance.
WKNY tower, a typical design of a uniform cross-section guyed tower from the late 1930s to late 1950s.
WKNY transmitter. Another Nautel ND-1 series transmitter. Nothing ever breaks or goes wrong.
The air studio has an AudioArts R-60 console. For an inexpensive audio console, these things sure seem to last for a long time. I think this one was put in in 1997.
A small talk studio is used to originate local programming of interest. This morning, I was listening to “Speak Out With Jody McTague,” a local interest program that was discussing the impacts being felt in the Kingston area due to the “Affordable Health Care Act.”
The production studio has a rather old Harris rotary pot console from the 1980’s.
Of course, all of this equipment makes radio transmission possible, but what makes radio itself is the local people working at the station and bringing relevant information to the area. I know a lot of very smart people are working on the “solution” to the AM problem. It really has to do with the programming.
Update: Took longer than anticipated, but the station is back on the air with generator power as of 8:15 am, Thursday (11/1). Commercial power restoration is not expected until Monday or Tuesday at the earliest.
Update: Commercial power restored on Thursday, 11/8 for a total outage of 10 days. One good thing about incidents like this, I now have a fresh set of contacts for all the important people connected to servicing this site.