WILQ rebuilds transmitter site

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A joy ride becomes a prolonged project for WILQ.

Temporary facilities

If you're in tune with the survey period of Arbitron ratings you have probably realized that at the time of the destruction the important fall survey was underway, and 10 percent power would create a hardship, not only to the station, but to the loyal listeners of WILQ who live outside the coverage of the auxiliary site. They now could not receive the station. We decided to put all our efforts into erecting a temporary transmitter shelter that could be placed on the property away from the existing building. The tower and antenna were not harmed so it was conceivable we could get back up to full power from the main site. The big problem we had was that the current transmitters were still trapped in the old building and it would be a while before any attempt at removing them could be made. While the search for a temporary building was on, contacts were made to the various transmitter manufacturers to find out who had the shortest lead time on delivery.

The lonely Harris transmitter with the rolling rack inside the temporary shed.

The lonely Harris transmitter with the rolling rack inside the temporary shed.

We decided that a wooden, garden-variety storage shed was going to be the best solution for a temporary building. The advantage was that it could be delivered and put in place quickly, and with fall heading into winter, heat was not a big concern. It was also economical. In about five days, we had a temporary building on premise, and we hired a local electrician to install 200A single-phase service in the shed. On Oct. 15, we placed an order with Harris for a Z 5CD 5kW solid-state transmitter.

The word temporary is defined in the dictionary as not permanent. That is the way we envisioned the assembling of the temporary transmitter facility for WILQ: Temporary but reliable. Knowing this, there were some corners cut on purpose. Transmission lines and power for the tower lights were routed through a window in the shed rather than a nice entry bulk head. Grounding was accomplished with wire rather than copper strap. Interconnect wiring was not run as neatly as I would do in a permanent installation. We even used an old Tascam reel-to-reel roll around back to mount the STL receiver and Burk ARC-16 remote control. Safety, on the other hand, was kept as a high priority in addition to making sure the 220V service had a surge suppressor on it. On the morning of Oct. 23, the Harris Z 5CD arrived on a dedicated driver truck and was put in place in the temporary shed. Connections were made to it in the shed and on the afternoon of Oct. 24, WILQ was back to full power, 17 days after the destruction of the main transmitter building. An EPM was performed to verify that WILQ was operating within its instrument of authorization.


Demolition of the existing main building was next on the list. No, we did not forget about the transmitters still inside the old building. After reviewing many possible ways to remove the transmitters, it was determined that the safest for working personnel and the equipment was to box the transmitters and Onan power generator in a protective housing and demolish the building around the equipment. Once the building was down and the debris removed, the transmitters, still in their crates, were removed from the site and transported off the mountain into a storage facility in the valley. While there, they were connected to power and a dummy load and tested in January 2009. To everyone's surprise, both the Harris HT-5 and the Gates 2.5KW worked. We were very skeptical of this given the debris inside the transmitters and the fact that they were subjected to extreme temperature differential for almost a month, not to mention that they sat idle for almost three months.

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