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Thread: BBQ at Transmitter

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelly A View Post
    Probably longer than that. If the damage was extensive enough to create that much smoke, there are a lot of custom made antenna parts that are toast. That and their fancy, expensive, custom-made antenna protection system clearly didn't work. They will want a working protection system before putting power to it again.

    If the weather turns on WTM, it will be tough to find a tower crew willing to work up there. That antenna could be off line until Spring.
    Was the now-crispy antenna tested at the manufacturer for radiation characteristics, bandwidth and such? If that is required, much will depend on the weather at the manufacturer's site, too. I'd imagine that they will require more extensive testing than the first time, particularly if they can isolate the problem to a particular component or material.

    I also wonder about heat damage to the coax run up the tower, and how much crud from the blaze went down the vertical part of the coax, presuming it was rigid coax.
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  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelly A View Post
    Apparently the master antenna for the West Tiger FM's burned up this morning. Those stations have switched to their backups on Cougar Mt.
    How many of these stations have HD on their backup sites? The usual effect of having stations on aux sites is that most do not have HD capability, and the HD signal is down for the duration.
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  3. #13
    The stations that used the now burned master antenna that actually was raining burning element parts on the transmitter building are:
    92.5 transmitting digital HD1 only.
    94.1 Analog no HD
    96.5 Analog no HD
    98.9 Analog no HD
    102.5 Analog no HD and playing "Burning down the House" by talking heads when I scanned them.
    106.1 Analog no HD

    As said it could take one to two month to get the parts for the custom master antenna and then good weather will be needed. I too think it will be late winter early spring before they repair and return to the master antenna.

    Right now Entercom. iHeart and Sandusky are most likely figuring out the best way get HD back and make it through the winter.

    One option might be to install a temporary antenna below the burned up master antenna for the HD equipment to use only. keep the analog signals at the Aux site.

    2-Remove the HD equipment and transmitters (usually smaller than main) at Tiger before the road gets nasty and install gear at aux site to accommodate the HD. Maybe install an antenna for the HD at the Aux site. However I think the Sandusky stations are using new Nautel transmitters that combine the Analog and HD transmitter in one box. So they would have to bring in (buy or rent) an HD transmitter for the Aux site.

    Then there is the question if the Aux site has all the necessary HD signals (audio/importer feed) to broadcast the full HD they had at the main site.

    With 2-4 months before they can even restore the antenna, I bet the stations affected will get some kind of HD going. The easiest would be to bring in an HD transmitter and install a temporary antenna on the Aux tower. But even with that your battling winter weather and possibly reconfiguring the STL to get the right signals to the Aux Site.

  4. #14

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    Saying this as someone who 1) has 2 HD radios, one in each car, 2) regularly is an HD listener, and 3) lives in the Puget Sound area...I can say i imagine the HD signal is the least of the worries for these stations right now. Might be a bigger deal in a few years when there would be inventory to clear on these stations (best case scenario), but for now there are no make goods so...

    I will especially miss 96.5 and 102.5 HD2 signals. At least I still have 105.3, 107.7 and 103.7.

  5. #15
    Yes there are some immediate issues like site safety, are there any burned antenna parts ready to fall. The Master antenna needs to be secured so no other pieces fall off the tower. But the station engineering groups have little to do with this other than comply with access and safety rules. The tower owner/management and consultants determine what immediate tower work needs to be done to secure and investigate the damage and will determine the schedule for repairs, with input from the stations involved.

    When the individual station engineering groups are waiting on the consultants, antenna manufacture and tower owner/management to approve the fix and manufacture parts and install. I think there will be plenty of time, while the Tiger antenna is down, to explore and justify the cost of backup HD gear. Or at least get it in the budget pipeline. There is a chance there is spare gear at another group station that can be brought in. There would be no better time to justify the backup HD gear. With the cost of equipment it may be cheaper to do it now than in a year or two.

    iHeart has over half of their HD signals down in Seattle, they rebroadcast their am sports stations on the HD channels and mention them on air. The AM stations being re broadcast on HD do carry commercials. I would not be surprised to see some HD signals pop back on in the next few weeks for some of the affected stations.
    Last edited by xmtrland; 11-09-2018 at 02:06 PM.

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by LITTLEBOYBLUE View Post
    Understand 94.1 transmitter is BBQing this morning … KIRO-TV had coverage of "radio tower on fire" and the video shows smoke coming from the TOP of the tower.
    Was Bender pissed or what?

  7. #17

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    Couldn't iHeart move the rebroadcast of 1090 to 93.3 or 95.7 HD3 at least temporarily? That seems like it would be the logical thing to do in the short term. Yes they run commercials, but if the signal is still available over analog, I would think most of the listeners would be there anyway, and the few on HD would switch over pretty quickly.

  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by AQH View Post
    Was Bender pissed or what?
    You’d be pissed too if you worked somewhere for almost two decades and out of nowhere just get burned like that.

    I’ll be here all week folks. Don’t forget to tip your bartenders.
    As we used to say down in ol' Mexico City...A.M.F.!

  9. #19
    When there's a BBQ at the transmitter
    Mouse is generally on the menu

  10. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by DavidEduardo View Post


    Was the now-crispy antenna tested at the manufacturer for radiation characteristics, bandwidth and such? If that is required, much will depend on the weather at the manufacturer's site, too. I'd imagine that they will require more extensive testing than the first time, particularly if they can isolate the problem to a particular component or material.

    I also wonder about heat damage to the coax run up the tower, and how much crud from the blaze went down the vertical part of the coax, presuming it was rigid coax.

    Based on the drone video and still photos I saw today, it appears that the power divider at Bay(s) 1 failed, probably quite a while ago, unbalancing the power division through the lower bays. Finally one panel physically fails and falls off, shorting out one side of the antenna. Shortly after that, the rest of the antenna went into thermal runaway. The smoke was from the dipole raydomes burning off the hot elements. I doubt if there is much of the antenna left to save.

    I can't believe nobody picked up the increasing reflected power when the upper stages of the antenna started to fail. One would think that when things started going really bad, the various combiner reject loads would have burned up, causing a serious imbalance to the combiner, VSWR-tripping all the stations.

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