Sunday, April 19, 2009

Five Towers of Power

One more bit of WARM history/trivia before we move on to other things...

WARM has five towers, each sending the signal out in a different direction. There's one pattern for daytime, and the other for after the sun goes down. The reason for the pattern is to reduce interference with other stations on the 590 frequency in the eastern U.S.

This is a picture of three of the five, in Falls, Thursday afternoon.

While working the weekend early morning shift, it was my job to switch from nighttime to daytime pattern at sunrise. One morning, I wasn't watching my plate voltage reading. It drifted too high, and the transmitter kicked off when I attempted to switch patterns. Panic set in. I called every engineer we had, and no one was able to talk me down. Finally, one came in as part of his usual Sunday morning studio equipment maintenance ritual. He diagnosed the problem right away. We were back on the air. I always kept an eye on my plate voltage after that. WARM was off the air for less than an hour. For this newbie, it seemed like an eternity.

I was around when others, not me, forgot to switch the pattern at sundown. It meant WARM's signal was interfering with many others, and it could have meant deep trouble with the Federal Communications Commission. I think the statute of limitations has run out on fudging the transmitter logs. Even back then, there was a "don't ask, don't tell" policy.