THE CGC COMMUNICATOR
Monday, January 3, 2005
Robert F. Gonsett, W6VR, Publisher <email@example.com>
Copyright 2005, Communications General® Corporation (CGC)
The web has matured to the point where many of the CGC Communicator stories duplicate postings that are readily available elsewhere, and often sooner than we publish them here.
For national FCC news, we recommend you read the FCC Daily Digest: http://www.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Digest/2005/.
For general broadcast engineering news, Radio World's "RW Newsbytes" is the hot ticket. This publication is short and to the point, with web links when more information is needed - miraculously like the CGC Communicator itself. To sign up for free weekly e-mail delivery of RW Newsbytes, visit http://www.rwonline.com/. Close to page top, click on the line that reads, "Sign up for RW Newsbytes weekly email" and complete the simple form.
For the past year we have been pointing our readers to Gary Stigall's BENX website and very much appreciate his efforts in posting original stories, policing the Letters section and rebooting the site whenever hackers took it down, which they did repeatedly. Sadly, the BENX site has been closed down.
As luck would have it though, Gary has turned his considerable talents to doing web postings of stories of interest, which could be much more valuable in the long run. We'll show you one example of his handiwork later in this newsletter, which can serve as a model for what you and your SBE chapter/s can do. When your letter or story is posted on the web and you call it to our attention, we will consider posting the URL in the Communicator so everyone can see what's up.
2005 will bring better organization to the following sections in the CGC Communicator: Local Broadcast Applications & Actions, Call Sign Grants, and related items by dividing them into AM, FM and TV categories for easier viewing. We will also continue to publish a few very special and unique stories. Thanks for your many suggestions in 2004, and may the New Year bring you and your family health, happiness and great prosperity!
PROGRESS REPORT ON THE KSON TOWER CALAMITY
Q. Are there any new photos on the KSON situation?
A. Yes. Visit Steve Blodgett's KSON web page and check out the new offerings under "Photo Set Three." There are some very dynamic images - downright scary at times - showing the removal of the wayward tower section that acted a bit like a windsock. Steve's page is at: http://earthsignals.com/add_CGC/KSON.htm.
Q. Has any official information been published on the KSON tower calamity?
A. John Buffaloe, Engineering Manager for Jefferson-Pilot Communications Company of California, has published his firsthand report on the collapse, the tricky removal of the bent-over tower section and the restoration of KSON's signal into what now remains of the tower. See: http://www.sbe36.org/2004/12_kson_tower.html.
John's report was edited and web posted by Gary Stigall. This is the fine example of Gary's handiwork that we mentioned earlier.
Q. Was the removal of the bent-over section difficult?
A. Removal of the bent-over section was tricky business because of the mechanical stresses involved and the danger of wind gusts, but the operation was well planned and perfectly executed by crews from Tower Structures, Inc. and Maxim Cranes.
Q. Did lightning have anything to do with the demise of the KSON tower?
A. Presumably wind alone did the job, but lightning was seen in the area and seemed to go hand-in-hand with the heavy winds. The following letter from Doug Shaw on December 30, 2004 is interesting:
"I spoke to a lady who lived nearby who said [the tower] came down about 2:00 a.m. She said there were several lightning bolts in the area, including one so bright she and her husband had to shield their eyes. They then went outside to look around and saw the tower slowly bending over...."
Doug can be reached at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Q. Okay, so KSON is back on the air (as established by John's web-posted report and confirmed by listening tests). What about KURS and CH-17 that shared space on the tower?
A. We have no information to report on KURS, but CH-17 is back on the air from Mt. San Miguel with temporary facilities.
Q. How much collateral damage occurred from the falling tower?
A. Remember that very little of the tower actually fell to the ground - only the top 60 or 70 foot chunk fell the night of the calamity. The big tower section that tilted over was simply suspended in midair until it was cut free and removed by a crane. About six cars in the impound yard were damaged by the falling 60 or 70 foot long chunk, but some of those vehicles were already damaged by traffic accidents before they reached the impound yard.
There was only one report of damage off the impound lot according to John Buffaloe: That was a cracked windshield caused by a flying bolt.
All in all, there were no reported injuries or significant damage to other structures, and that indeed is great news. KSON is extremely lucky.
PROGRESS REPORT ON THE KFI TOWER COLLAPSE
Q. Are there any new photos on the KFI situation?
A. Yes. Steve Blodgett has added more pictures to his web page. The new photos show the KFI auxiliary tower that is currently keeping the station on the air, including details on the electrical "top loading" of that structure. The real bonus, however, is a set of black-and-white photos showing the main KFI tower being erected. Click to enlarge those photos and you just might feel like you're a part of the action: <http://www.earthsignals.com/images/kfi/>.
Q. Has any official information been published on the KFI tower collapse?
A. Absolutely. The National Transportation Safety Board ("NTSB") has published preliminary information on the aviation accident that took KFI's main tower down: <http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=20041227X02035&key=1>.
Q. The web photos published so far have shown the fallen tower, but what happened to the Cessna 182 aircraft that brought the tower down?
A. NTSB investigators arrived on the scene almost immediately after the accident and removed the aircraft remnants; they reportedly cut a bit of tower metal where the wing had imbedded itself - this to ensure that a proper study of the collision could take place at a later date. The airplane engine apparently separated from the airframe in mid-air, and the engine headed toward Coyote Creek. According to one witness, the impact crater is still visible although the engine has been removed.
Q. Is the KFI auxiliary tower an aeronautical hazard?
A. The KFI aux tower is located just a few hundred feet from the base of the collapsed main tower. Without a painted and lighted main tower to serve as a protective structure, the shorter unpainted and unlighted aux tower is of some concern. Pilots are being advised of the "unlit" aux tower in a Notice to Airmen. We understand that a temporary solar powered beacon was recently installed atop the aux structure.
By the way, the technical parameters of the aux tower were missing from the FCC's AM Query page until recently. The improperly archived file was converted back to active status thanks to the efforts of Dale Bickel in Washington.
Q. Did lightning have anything to do with the demise of the KFI tower?
A. In a peculiar sense, it did. The aircraft that brought the tower down was rented from "Lightning Aircraft Corp." according to the FAA report cited above. So, one could say that the KFI tower was struck by lighting (again).
ATTENTION HOMELAND SECURITY
Another curious thought - one that old timers will immediately appreciate - was forwarded by Bill Lipis and originated with an unnamed friend:
"It occurs to me that with both 640 and 1240 out of commission, Conelrad can't work. Maybe there's some conspiracy that we don't know about."
The CGC Communicator is published for broadcast engineering professionals in so. California by Communications General® Corporation (CGC), consulting radio engineers, Fallbrook, CA.
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