So there are some sites, that for various reasons, we may never get to, and are somewhat difficult to photograph without having someone in the know. So when my long time friend Mike Pelczarski took a ski trip to Mt. Snow, I couldn’t resist asking him to grab a shot of WTHK. Now mind you, he’s not a tower photo nut like me, but clearly, he knew where to aim!
Took a long long time, but finally, I have been able to get some much needed updates done to my website!
And it happens to be one of the biggest and recent changes to happen around here! Of course, I am talking about the brand new WCTK Cat Country 98.1 and WNBH 1340 towers in New Bedford.
This update, which comprised of two days of travel got to see the next three steps of the giant “Bull” upgrade, The new 101.7 antenna.
The replacement antenna for WWBB to deal with rooftop RFR issues…
And the replacement antenna for WCIB, to deal with downward signal issues.
This update also got three brand new LPFMs, one of which was on the air in Rhode Island.
A new antenna/tower at Concord High School.
A LPTV that simulcasts an NBC O&O out of New Hampshire…
A new backup antenna for WBRU
And a first time look at the one AM never shown on NECRAT prior.
We also got to see an antenna make a rare “re-appearance” on NECRAT! This one is one we’ve featured for many many years on this site. It has been relocated to Rhode Island from Worcester.
Yes, the “WAAF Kegs” are now the “WVEI-FM Aux Kegs”
As always a complete list of updates sits on the link above.
So from time to time, I realize there are a number of local or fairly local sites I need to update for various reasons. I try to combine them into a single update, to make for a more pleasurable viewing experience. So here is my “Pre-Summer 2015” update.
(As always, the full sets for each station are in the gallery)
Starting with May, when our good friend Steve Callahan was gracious enough to give a “cooks tour” of his soon to completed upgraded site at WVBF 1530 in Taunton. The new two tower array is on the site of the old WPEP, off of County St in Taunton.
Three days later, we made a trek up to one of our favorite sites,
Asnebumskit Hill in Paxton to see the new WAAF Aux antenna.
And that same day, we also got pictures of the newest LPFM in Springfield, WZCS 102.5
In June, All of the updates came from one trip. We took pictures of the new WWBB aux antenna at the WHJY site.
We also got pictures of the “new” WDOM antenna.
And finished out the date with some fresh updated pictures of
WPRO-FM and WWLI up on Neutaconkanut Hill in Johnston.
When you are dealing with any medium or high level RF transmission system like we have, it is good practice to have a “line sweep done”. A trained technician connects up equipment to the transmission line to measure the line impedance and a TDR (Time-Domain Reflectometer) to determine if there are any “fail points” in the transmission systems. The TDR can determine if any point in the transmission line is starting to degrade. In just about all transmission systems using rigid line, there are many connection points in the system. Where the pieces connect to each other, and when they bend, in “elbows”. The lines are fabricated with an internal conductor (a “center conductor”) that is usually made out of copper pipe. This is the pipe that is the conduit for the RF energy, with the outer being the shield, like in any coax. This internal copper pipe is connected with a device known as a bullet.
This bullet is designed to connect the two pieces of pipe together. It makes the connection to the pipe using a small wirewround spring contact, known as a “Watchband”. This watchband allows the bullet to move within the pipe (remember these pipes are outdoors, so there is expansion and contraction with weather).
Anyways, when we had the recent inspection, our inspector found an anomaly 637′ up the tower. So we had a crew come in and “break open” the transmission line. At the piece where the line was broken open, we found one of the watchbands had become dislodged and deformed.
This deformation causes poor contact and can even cause arcing. The watch band was replaced and the line was reassembled. Because this line is our backup, I had to wait until Saturday to “test drive” it.
One of the luxeries of working where I do, is we have two separate transmission systems. The primary puts out around 40kW., the backup puts out around 10kW. The two systems are 100% separate. Separate transmission lines, RF sections and antennas.