[AMRadio] getting onto hot AM towers

John Lyles jtml at losalamos.com
Tue Jan 13 02:15:27 EST 2009

When I worked in B'dcasting, I had a shunt fed (unipole) antenna on 1260 KHz that i maintained, and as long as you didn't contact the skirt with your back, your could just walk up and climb the tower, as the base was grounded. This was before worrying about high RF fields, although the ANSI/IEEE C95.1 standards for 1 MHz range are pretty loose compared to FM and TV RF. But I do remember another station that had a series fed, base insulated stick, that I had to jump onto, and grip tightly as I did. These were all 1 kW stations though. 

Once, many years ago, I remember visiting WRVA in Richmond, VA. They had a Continental transmitter 317R driving 50 kW. The engineer/ham who lived at the TX site, (talk about RF immersion, they had a 40 kW FM system too), did his famous talking arc trick. He switched off the Magnaphase load protection circuit on the TX, and then proceeded to draw out a long arc from the base of one tower to ground, using a piece of wire that was held with insulated pliers. It was, of course, dancing with the music and I could hear the announcers voice in this spark. Quite impressive. 

> The answer is - they jump.  They stand on the ground next to the tower 
> base, give a giant leap and grab hold of the tower.  Same way with 
> getting off.  Climb to the bottom, make sure all your belts, etc are 
> completely loose, and give a giant spring backwards.

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