Occasionally, I get to go for a nice walk in a snowstorm. No, I am not being sarcastic. It is the middle of March and winter has decided to make an appearance. One of the FM stations we take care of went off the air and the remote control was not able to get the transmitter to come back on, so a stroll through the woods was necessary. This station is located at Sam’s Point Preserve, in Craigsmore NY.
The site is owned by Vertical Bridge. There are a few tenants on the tower and fortunately, somebody left the gate open before it snowed. I was somewhat dreading trying to wrestle with it when I got to the site.
The problem itself seems to be due to a power hit; the main transmitter was off and the remote control, a wheezing Genter VRC-2000, was not able to control either the main or the backup. Those should be replaced at some point.
There are several other towers up here for various cell carriers, 911 dispatch, etc.
My SO decided to come along.
My phone said we walked 2.7 miles round trip, which sounds about right. The station is back on the air. When I can get up there with a vehicle in a few weeks, I will look into the remote control problem.
Greetings from the Roxborough tower farm, a place with roots. It is slightly northwest of Philadelphia, PA, and is home to many TV and FM stations. The public road that cuts through the tower farm is called Domino Lane because if one tower falls, they all fall. A comforting thought to those that live in the vicinity I am sure.
The reason for the visit; this rather nice GatesAir FLX20 transmitter:
I must admit, I am growing rather fond of these transmitters. This unit is being installed because the station had to move from its old site, just down the hill. The tower owner is taking down the tower and building due to the age of the tower. Thus, it was moved into the KYW-TV building. If Wikipedia is to be believed, KYW-TV is the oldest TV station in Philadelphia, signing on in 1932.
The site is still being built as we were installing this transmitter. These days, the electricians are having supply chain problems like everyone else. There were delays getting the large electrical panel board and other necessary things for the build-out.
Overall, the installation went well. This system is using flexible hoses for the coolant loop. We have installed two of these liquid-cooled transmitters with 1 1/2 copper pipe. These days, copper pipe is expensive, so most are opting for flexible hose installation.
Topping off the pump station after 50/50 fillup. After the initial system fillup, it takes a while for all of the dissolved air to come out of the Heat Transfer Fluid (HTF). The extra steps with a liquid-cooled system are worth it, especially if the station is running HD. With the HD carrier on, the transmitter efficiency is 54% AC to RF. With a TPO of around 15 KW, that is a whole lot of heat that needs to be dissipated during operation. It is much cheaper to pipe the heat outside to a heat exchanger than to use several tons of AC to remove it from the room.
I am reminded of a Pink Floyd compilation album from the very early 70s. The music dates back to the late 60s and Syd Barrett. Poor Syd; shine on you crazy diamond!
I recently finished installing these rather nice GatesAir FLX-40 transmitters:
Audacy New York decided to move 94.7 from the East Orange, NJ location down to the WOR transmitter site in Rutherford, NJ. Acting as contractors for GatesAir, we installed these two transmitters. I can say, I like the liquid-cooled transmitters for several reasons. First, once installed, they seem to be very stable. I believe that the cooling scheme helps prolong the life of the RF devices by keeping the junctions at a constant temperature. Those semi-conductor junctions are tiny for the amount of current that they need to handle. Second, they cost less in the long run to operate. Anytime a refrigerant cycle can be skipped, that reduces or greatly reduces the electrical use. The Heat Exchangers in this system use VFD’s for fan motor control. That means more constant control over the HTF temperature and reduced electrical use on the fan motors themselves.
The pump stations have backup pumps as well. In the newer transmitter firmware, the pump control needs to be set up to automatically failover to the standby unit. It is a couple of clicks in the GUI to do this.
We didn’t have anything to do with the antenna installation, however, it is a good-looking antenna! ERI 4 bay 3 around mounted on one of the WOR towers.
Overall, this was a good project. Lots of moving parts during the installation, but we were flexible working with the client and other contractors and sub-contractors on site.
As some of you may have noticed, recently I have been writing some articles for Radio Guide. There are several good reasons for this, but the most important one is education. I believe that terrestrial radio will be around for a few more years. As others have noted, there are fewer and fewer broadcast engineers. Those that understand high-power RF and all its intricacies are fewer still. It is important that a cadre of knowledgeable broadcast engineers carry on.
The internet is a great thing. However, it depends on cables of some type to exist. As we know, cables can be damaged. In addition to cables, there are routers, core switches, servers, and so on. All of that equipment can fail for various reasons. People have been working hard to improve the resiliency of the internet. That is a good cause, to be sure. However small it may be, there is still a chance that the internet can fail. Worse still, this can happen during some type of natural disaster or other emergency. Thus, during such an emergency, Radio can and will function as a vital information source provided that the station is on the air and has a program feed. That is also a good reason to keep the current RF STL paths in place as much as possible.
The Radio Guide articles are a great way to pass along some of that hard-earned experience to others. I also want to put supplemental information here for those interested to download. Things like charts, forms, pictures, videos, etc.
What I am planning on is to list the articles here, then put links to any supplemental information provided below that subheading.