This is a replacement dish for the Comtech dish destroyed in a downburst event a few weeks ago. The first part of the job entailed placement of the new dish down on the ground. The town code enforcement officer was much happier with this idea than mounting it up above roof level along back the building as the old one was. Of course, this is possible due to the shift in satellites last year to AMC-18.
Finding a good spot on the radio station property was fairly easy. The studio is located in a business district, thus the side yard requirements where zero feet, which is great. The building inspector required that we dig a test hole to see what type of soil was there. It turned out to be fill. That required the footing design be changed somewhat and stamped by a licensed engineer. Not a major problem.
The footing is 36 inches wide by 7 feet deep.
The mounting pipe has flanges welded to the side of it to prevent it from spinning in the concrete.
After the pour, we let the concrete set up over the weekend.
The dish is assembled and waiting for lift. We used a back hoe to lift the dish onto the mounting pole, unfortunately, I was not able to take a picture as I was on a ladder attaching the dish to the pedestal with U-bolts.
Here it is installed and aimed at AMC-18. I used the Satellite Buddy, which makes the aiming job much easier. Once the signal is acquired, I like to peak the Eb/No on the West Wood One carrier, which seems to be the most sensitive to any type of change.
UPDATE:The registration deadline has been extended to October 17th, 2018. Switch back to procrastination mode…
Unless you have been sleeping under a rock, you should already be aware of the FCC request to register the C band Receive Only (RO) satellite dishes. This development comes from the never ending drive for more bandwidth from the mobile phone/data networks (remember the desire to use GPS frequencies for mobile data a few years ago). Normally, this type of registration would require a full frequency coordination study, however until July 18th, this requirement has been waived. The registration is completed online with the filing of FCC form 312 and a $435.00 filing fee. West Wood One has supplied and example form (.pdf) which shows the required information for each dish. Schedule B of FCC form 312 requires quite a bit of technical information required for each dish:
Site Coordinates (must be NAD27 according to the instructions on the form)
Site elevation AMSL in meters
Dish height to top of dish in meters
Dish make and model number
Dish mid band gain
Emission designator (WWO uses 36M0G7W other providers may be different)
Eastern and Western arc limits
Eastern and Western arc limit elevation angles
Eastern and Western arc limit azimuth angles
Most of this is intuitive. There are several steps to getting the information in the correct format. Google maps (or other mapping programs) will give coordinates in decimal format. To convert to Degrees Minutes Seconds in NAD27 use NADCON. Site elevation can be found using free map tools elevation finder. To determine the arc, a smart phone app such as Satellite Finder or Dish Pointer can be used. If not actually on site, then Dishpointer.com can be used to determine the arc.
My best suggestion is to include as much of the arc as possible for each location. The future cannot be predicted with any degree of accuracy and it is entirely possible that the current satellite position may not be used forever.
This satellite dish nearly broke off of its mount during a “macroburst” event. According to the National Weather Service:
A macroburst is a thunderstorm downdraft affecting an area at least 2.5 miles wide with peak winds lasting 5 to 20 minutes. The macroburst is a straight-line wind phenomena not associated with rotation…used to differentiate from tornadic
winds. Macrobursts can produce as much if not more damage as tornadoes due to the size and scope of a macroburst.
On May 15th a large group of severe thunderstorms triggered at least three tornadoes and one macroburst event in eastern New York and Western Connecticut. Winds in the macroburst area were estimated to be in the 85 to 105 MPH range.
The next morning, it took a long time to get the the clients studio. Trees where down everywhere, roads were closed, traffic lights not working, etc. This created numerous detours and traffic jams. When I finally arrived at a clients studio facility, this was the first thing I noticed:
That is an older 3.8 meter comtech dish hanging on by one 3/8 inch stainless steel U bolt. The funny thing is, they did not complain about this or the lack of satellite service. The main complaint was that the studios were on generator and some of the lights and air conditioners were not working.
This dish had originally been put up when AMC-8 was the main commercial radio network bird in the US. The dish elevation was only 9 degrees above the horizon, so this had to be put up next to the building at roof top level to clear the trees and see 139W.
I was attempting to secure the dish but in the end, the 650 pound dish was too tenuous and the weather was still unstable. There was other damage to the dish thus we decided to take it down instead. Even that took a bit of doing. We were trying find a crane or bucket truck, but all that type of equipment had been pressed into service with recovery efforts. We finally undid all the bolts and bracing and fell it like a tree.
The dish was then cut up and put in the dumpster.
The new satellite dish will be installed next to building in a lower position.
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 off line, 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:
This project required many steel mounting posts 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.
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.
View from the south looking north:
View from the north, outside of the transmitter building, looking south:
Power company interface and disconnect:
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.
Dish ready to move, all of the concrete ballast removed and taken down from roof. The roofing contractors constructed a caddy and the entire dish and mount was 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 reballast 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.
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:
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.
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