[AMRadio] "Hot" Broadcast Towers

Thomas Adams quixote2 at ix.netcom.com
Mon Jan 12 11:54:13 EST 2009

At 07:58 PM 1/12/2009, Stevan A. White wrote:
>Well Mike, OSHA says it's against the rules to climb a hot tower these
>days.  It's the suits with their wingtip$ you know, who have no idea
>what's what.

It's my understanding that the AM guys (I was a 1st Phone at an FM) 
still do make the tower hops,
but it's strictly at greatly reduced power.

Also...   for 24/7 these days, they try to design for an alternate 
antenna system (duplicate EVERYTHING!),
even if it's not as good as the main antenna.

>I am all too aware of what's it's like to be the only guy on site
>working on a transmitter.  Even if it's just changing a tube, you want
>to err on the side of caution, nothing else.

I had one thing I did on solo repairs.

The first thing I ALWAYS did was take the Jesus Stick and hang it in 
the air radiator
of the PA tube (Gates / Harris shorting sticks are formed into a hook 
on the end).

>I've been startled by the
>dehydrator just like you have

Never had it happen; in the sites I worked we used cylinders of dry 
nitrogen instead of
a dehydrator!

>but I have my own "gotcha" I'll never
>forget.  At one site where I used to be chief engineer I was often
>greeted by wasps when I entered the building, not one or two but
>sometimes twenty or thirty.  A rather large bug zapper appeared one day
>and the majority of the welcoming committee lay on the floor beneath
>"the apparatus."  I got a late night call to go work on the transmitter
>because we'd taken a lightning hit and it didn't want to play at full
>power.  I had removed about 147 screws to get to the bowels of the
>transmitter to replace the failed component.  The smoke had gotten out
>and there lingered in the air the pungent reminder of excess power going
>where it shouldn't.  I was slowly and carefully performing the task at
>hand when a rather obese horsefly, mesmerized by the pretty blue glow,
>flew right into "the apparatus."  It sounded just like a wirewound
>resistor getting chewed up by high voltage.  I didn't do any damage to
>my shorts but I later had to repaint the room because the closest wall
>and the ceiling above the transmitter turned blue and then the paint
>started to peel after I vocalized my shock and surprise.

The best one I ever had...   I was called out to a dead site. Nothing 
working, not
even the lights. I stepped outside for a smoke and saw something I'd 
missed before;
lying in the bushes next to the building was a Great Horned Owl, 
wings fully spread,
dead as hell but with NO FEET...   just burned off stumps!

Judging from the position of the carcass, I'd say he tried to land on 
the 12 KV feeders
going into the pole pig, and went in with his talons aimed at 
different phase wires!

To this day I still wonder...  after he got zapped, did he glide?

The only other wildlife problems; we'd get the occasional field mouse 
who would get into
power cable trenches in the floor, and pop up inside of the plate 
supply of the old Gates 20H3.
Sooner or later he'd reach out and touch something hot while sitting 
on the grounded transmitter
cabinet, and pop the power breakers. Those calls were easy to 
diagnose; when you opened the door
of the building, the stench would hit you right between the eyes!

Mr. T., W9LBB

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