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Enjoyed your Viewpoint on Harry Reid, the pirate radio station in Nevada and the FCC [March 2007]. It's amazing how the illustrious Senator Harry Reid proves again he is not the ethical politician he says he is. Questionable real estate deals, now another backdoor deal and most likely more. How much did Moses pay him?
My wife and I own a station in Massena, NY, WYBG-AM 1kW, and if we even thought of doing what Moses did we'd lose our license in the blink of an eye. We do more than fulfill our public interest obligations 10 times over. Even though we are 100 percent talk, and we pay music licensing fees.
Thanks for the info.
A West wind blows
Cumulus Broadcasting in Topeka, KS, has two FM transmitters on a hilltop southwest of the city. On one particular day the wind was blowing out of the west, and maybe a little south, at a steady 35 mph to 40 mph. Our transmitters are in a 25' × 25' block building with a 2' × 2' air vent on west wall and similar vent on the east wall.
The previous week I replaced the IPA tubes in the Harris 20K with an old soft pair until a new set could be delivered. Then, over the weekend, strong thunderstorms passed through the area, and rain made its way into the antenna line. Reducing the transmitter output and adding a little more nitrogen to the line was the temporary fix.
When I arrived with fresh nitrogen bottles, I had the front door open as I wrestled the tanks into the building. After setting up the first tank I noticed that the 20K had gone off the air. I turned the backup on and began to troubleshoot.
The 20K had no PA filament voltage. I remembered that the contactor had a loud buzz lately and some pretty good sparks would fly when it was energized or de-energized. I figured that maybe it was finally shot, so I begin to troubleshoot around the filament circuit.
A few minutes later, my contract engineer called about another matter, and I used the opportunity to ask him if he had ever seen a problem like this with this transmitter.
“Which direction is the wind blowing?” he asked.
At first I was shocked he would ask such a question. “Steady, out of the west mostly. Maybe a little south. But what does that have to do with anything?” I asked.
“Is the front door to the building open?”
“Sure. I just brought in three more nitrogen bottles.”
Sure enough, when I did the filament voltage came up within three seconds.
I asked, “OK, Tom, what just happened?”
He replied, “The air pressure switch on that transmitter is a bit sensitive. With the wind blowing out of the west, a sufficient vacuum was created in the room to cause the air switch to protect the transmitter. Don't feel bad; it took me about a half a day the first time it happened to me.”
It was like the front door was connected to the failsafe circuit or something. When I opened the door the filament meter dropped. When I closed it the meter came up to 6V. Open, off. Close, on. Hmmm.
So I put the station back on the main transmitter and prepared to leave for the day when it hit me: How am I going to get out of here without taking the station off the air again?
I dialed the remote control on my cell phone and got to the point where all I had to do was press the plate on command. Then I quickly exited the building.
chief engineer, Cumulus Broadcasting
Thanks for the podcast
I still think IBOC is bad technology (too costly and too complicated) and I still predict IBOC gear will be in the dust-bin in a couple of years. But I think your podcast regarding the FCC's recent decision was excellent [March 26 Highlights from the Headlines podcast]. Keep up the good work on keeping us informed.
Access all the Radio magazine podcasts at RadioMagOnline.com/podcast.
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