[AMRadio] RCA Transmitter Rescue trip report

John Lawson jpl15 at panix.com
Mon Dec 25 00:21:25 EST 2006

  Hope everyone is enjoying a Holiday according to your own happy 
definition thereof...

  Friday morning at 6:30AM I set out in a rental truck from Carson City - 
drove thru the remnants of a fairly major storm - snow, ice, rain, wind - 
anyway I arrived mid-afternoon at a fairly remote transmitter site in 
Northern California and de-installed a nice Bauer 707.  Loaded same in the 
truck, departed for Los Angeles 450 miles to the south.  Arrived in ElLay 
at my hotel just at 12:00 midnight.

   Saturday morning, 7:30AM - met up with Mike KO6NM, from whom I mooched 
breakfast at The Famous Denny's.  Thence to Mike's QTH, where a great deal 
of unloading took place.  Acting as Santa, Mike had gotten for me a 
venerable RCA BTA-1MX transmitter, and diverse other oddments, pieces of 
esoteric audio gear, fiddly bits, crap he didn't want lying around anymore 
(but was too cheap to throw out) etc., etc., etc. An incredible amount of 
loading, tying down, breeze-shooting and talk-festing ensued.

   Thence from "La Casa EnnEmm" out to the far western reaches of Los 
Angeles civilization, there to load a Collins 20-V2 cabinet for a certain 
Brad, KB7FQR, here in NoNev. We did so, and lashed it to the truck in a 
most professional-seeming manner.

   After making pleasant and cultured parting noises, at around 2 PM I 
pointed the truck's blunt prow roughly northward and beat feet back for 
Carson City...  some 8 hours in the distance.

   Arrived at the rural QTH of KB7FQR about 10:30 PM, tied a rope to the 
20-V2 cabinet and pulled it off the back of the Vehicle, on-the-fly as it 

   Well, no, I lied - we used the lift-gate.  I arrived back here at KB6SCO 
around 11:30 PM.

   Today, up betimes (a la Pepys) about 8:00 AM, and, fortified with two 
(2) over-sized cups of fresh-ground French Roast, I essayed to reverse the 
Loading Process.  Brad, KB7FQR, arrived about 11:00 to provide assistance, 
good humor, moral support, and even derision and ridicule where 
appropriate.  We evacuated the entire truck in short order - and we 
enlisted the able-bodied assistance of a curious neighbor to help us stand 
the BTA-1MX back up on it's base in the shack, as it had been loaded in a 
horizontal aspect, riding on a 4-wheel mover's dolley. After The 
Unloading, and using the convenient Truck/Lift Gate to take various [big, 
heavy] items from the now-very-crowded shack out to my storage spaces - I 
drove it back up the Biggest Little City (Reno) and retrieved my car, and 
drove back to Carson City, bringing the Great Rescue Trip Saga to a 
pleasantly-exhausted close.

   NOW: to install the Iron, install the Active Devices (a bunch of 807s 
and four 833s) and see how the Old Girl has fared thru her Hibernation. 
The usual list of tasks must be taken care of to reverse the ravages of 
time, and pressed-for-time transmitter engineers.  The most egregious 
'damage' being that Miscreant or Miscreants Unknown have drilled into the 
lower logo strip and installed a couple of 1/4-20 capscrews into the door 
assembly.... GAHHHH!!  Probably have to have another one made - it's 
hideous looking. The lovely RCA "Filament Voltage" meter has been replaced 
with an equally-lovely, but wrong, AC Voltmeter of 0-300.  The device 
apparently took a more-or-less direct lightning hit at some point in it's 
life, as the RF Power Meter and sender is missing, the plate tank and 
output circuits all look a lot newer than the rest of the unit, and it 
looks like someone's been practicing their welding on the top, near where 
the Transmission LIne exits.

   And so begins the Journey of Getting the Transmitter on the Air - and 
specifically 80 Meter AM Fone.

   My enormous thanks and gratitude to Mike KO6NM, Dan, Doug, Brad, and 
Scott for all the help these last two days.  Now where's that solderin' 
iron of mine...?

   Cheers and Best of the Season to All!!


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