THE CGC COMMUNICATOR

                            CGC #462

                      Friday, July 20, 2001

                 Robert F. Gonsett, W6VR, Editor

     Copyright 2001, Communications General Corporation (CGC)



  I couldn't help but do a little checking on the strange
article about the "power surge" at radio station WJKM in
Hartsville, TN (CGC #461).

  I called the Hartsville Chamber of Commerce (615-374-9243)
and got the name and number for the local electric utility, Tri
County Electric.  Ms. Eleanor Ford at the CoC indicated that she
knew about the "surge" and the claims of big foot roaming the
environs of the local uncompleted nuclear power plant a few
miles from town.  She had not experienced any "surges" herself.

  I then called Mr. Jim Beacham, Director of Engineering for
Tri County Electric (1-800-369-2111).  He stated that the
following happened:  A poor bird happened to get across the
lightning arrestor spark gap, less than 1 inch separation, up
on the pole, and shorted it out, frying the bird in the process
and, interesting, causing a fault on the line that happened to
open the line a couple of spans away from the pole.  It was a
very old line and the utility determined that it should be
replaced.  Apparently, the line fused at a connector that just
happened to be the "weak link" because of the fault at the pole
outside the radio station studio.  The fact that the local
newspaper is immediately next door explains why they also had
power "surges".  The more plausible explanation is that the
power was definitely interrupted, causing what might be mistaken
by some as a "surge".

  Mr. Beacham indicated that they only ever saw ONE bird, not
the "many" as stated on the web site.  He recognized that the
station manager is claiming "many" but the utility could not
confirm that, only one poor bird.  This phenomenon is not
uncommon according to Mr. Beacham.  Being a rural utility, he
said that you wouldn't believe all the kinds of animals that
can get fried by getting across the spark gap of the lightning

  Ric Tell, Richard Tell Associates, Inc.

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