CGC #599

by CGC on October 26, 2003

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                      THE CGC COMMUNICATOR
                            CGC #599
                    Sunday, October 26, 2003
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               Robert F. Gonsett, W6VR, Publisher
                       
           Stephen H. Blodgett, W7RNA, Letters Editor
                  mailto:steve@earthsignals.com
    Copyright 2003, Communications General® Corporation (CGC)
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  FIRE AT THE KCAL-FM/KFRG(FM)/KSGN(FM) TRANSMITTER SITE!
  A firestorm has seriously damaged the unattended KCAL-FM/
KFRG(FM)/KSGN(FM) transmitter site which is located on the
brush-covered slopes of the San Bernardino Mountains about six
miles due north of downtown San Bernardino, CA.  The catastrophe
occurred Saturday, October 25, 2003, as part of the wildfires
now sweeping through southern California.
  KSGN reports that their emergency power generator kicked
into operation at about 12:30 p.m. Saturday, and that at about
1:30 p.m. their station went off the air.  (KSGN is a non-
commercial/educational station operating on 89.7 MHz.)
  Bruce Potterton, C.E. of KSGN, was the only engineer who
managed to penetrate police lines and visit the transmitter
site on Saturday.  He reports that while all towers are still
standing with antennas apparently intact, the roofs of the
broadcast transmitter buildings have been destroyed.  Bruce was
unable to view the condition of KCAL's transmitting equipment
(presumed to be seriously damaged or destroyed), but did confirm
the destruction of the transmitting gear at KSGN and KFRG.
Anything made of aluminum no longer exists.  Furthermore, it
appears as if an explosion had occurred inside the KFRG building.
  Obviously the stations are scrambling to get back on the
air although their strategies vary.  KFRG has commenced low
power operations from a loaner site on Box Spring Mountain
despite an attenuated STL path.  KSGN, on the other hand,
plans to resume operations from its burnt-out site using
borrowed transmitting equipment.  (Miraculously, their emergency
power generator still works.)  KCAL-FM is currently assessing
the situation and may resume operations from Strawberry Peak
(their booster site), Box Spring Mountain or their burnt-out
primary site.
  All stations are working through local contacts for
emergency supplies and engineering assistance.  However, KSGN
has noted that it may need approximately 75 to 100 feet of
air-dielectric 7/8" or 1-5/8" coax with end connectors.  In
addition, reducer cones may be required.  Their main antenna
uses a 1-5/8" connector while their loaner transmitter will
probably require a 7/8" connector.  (KSGN had used 1-1/4" line,
but that is an odd-ball size and the standard line sizes of
7/8" or 1-5/8" will work just fine.)
  As of this hour, none of the stations have made a formal
request for outside assistance or equipment.  However, if you
have coax and/or reducer cones for KSGN, please
mailto:rgonsett@ieee.org your name, a description on the items
and your contact information (phone numbers preferable).  We
will pass that data along to KSGN later today, and there is a
chance that KCAL-FM will be looking for similar equipment.
KFRG is holding its own for the moment, and we have a preliminary
report indicating that their main transmission line on the
burnt-out site managed to survive the wildfire.  Whether it
will pass power remains to be seen.
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  The CGC Communicator is published for broadcast engineering
  professionals in so. California by Communications General®
  Corporation (CGC), consulting radio engineers, Fallbrook, CA.
  Short news items are always welcome from our readers,
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  The views expressed in our newsletters do not necessarily
  reflect those of Communications General® Corporation, Bext,
  or the newsletter editors.
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