[AMRadio] Dealing with Ice on BC Antennas

Michael D. Harmon mharmon at att.net
Mon Dec 16 13:11:01 EST 2013

Back in the Seventies, I worked as assistant chief at a 27 KW FM stereo 
station in western Missouri.  The antenna we used was a 5-bay 
circularly-polarized unit fed with 3" hardline from a 10 KW 
transmitter.  The antenna was mounted on top of a 60-foot Rohn tower on 
the roof of the Administration Building.  We had fiberglass radomes 
around the elements, but no deicers.  Since we were in MO, we frequently 
had freezing rain or other precip which would build up on the radomes, 
and detune us.  To get rid of the ice, we would retune the transmitter 
and heat up the radomes.  Pretty soon we would start hearing 'thumps' as 
the ice started coming off, and then the power would shoot back up.  We 
would retune the TX back where it belonged, and everything would be 
great till the next ice storm.  We were fortunate that we were putting 
out 10 KW with an RCA BTF-10E transmitter, which used a 4CX10,000D PA 
tube.  That big guy never even noticed the mismatch!  I wouldn't want to 
try that 'trick' with a TX using a tube  operating way over its plate 
dissipation rating, the way a lot of tube-type ham radio amps do.

Mike, WB0LDJ
Former First Phone holder - now General :(

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