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Worst Tower Sites For Getting Stuck-Water, Mud, Sand, Snow, Ice, Grade, etc.

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CK-722
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Worst Tower Sites For Getting Stuck-Water, Mud, Sand, Snow, Ice, Grade, etc.

Post by CK-722 » Thu Jun 20, 2019 12:37 pm

What are the worst tower sites for getting stuck in the Michigan/Great Lakes Region? Sites where a four wheel drive may not be enough? I got stuck across from the WKNX/WJMK site trying to turn around. The WAAM site has been referred to by the staff as "Lake Sinclair", so named after a previous owner. The original WBRB site was abandoned at least partly because of frequent flooding, which continues today as a wetland. The Emmet Heights/Good Hart area towers are said to be difficult due to steep grades and being nearly dune sand. What are your nominations?


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SpartanAM
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Re: Worst Tower Sites For Getting Stuck-Water, Mud, Sand, Snow, Ice, Grade, etc.

Post by SpartanAM » Sat Jun 22, 2019 9:42 pm

Gun Lake Road site of WMMQ/WVFN is the first that comes to mind. Pretty much all AM sites in Michigan seem to be under water this year due to the massive rains.


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Ed Joseph
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Re: Worst Tower Sites For Getting Stuck-Water, Mud, Sand, Snow, Ice, Grade, etc.

Post by Ed Joseph » Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:50 pm

WKNX site was terrible. Some of their monitor points left much desired back in the 10kW days.

WQON Roscommon's transmitter site is a serious pain. Way back on a forest road up a steep hill. Absolute drudgery in the winter.

Edit to add: I worked at QON/GRY briefly (thank god!) in 1995. As it goes up north, said forest fire road may well be an 8-lane highway now. I haven't been up that way since.


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CK-722
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Re: Worst Tower Sites For Getting Stuck-Water, Mud, Sand, Snow, Ice, Grade, etc.

Post by CK-722 » Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:11 pm

I was confused about "Gun Lake Rd." I think you mean Gunn Rd. I went back there once, past the No Trespassing signs. I have bad dreams about it. As I recall, there were several points along the way that screamed "Turn Back Now. Before it's too late." Seems like it was streams with water over the road, and places with limited sight distance where you couldn't figure out where you were headed.


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Big Signal
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Re: Worst Tower Sites For Getting Stuck-Water, Mud, Sand, Snow, Ice, Grade, etc.

Post by Big Signal » Tue Jul 02, 2019 7:03 am

WKNX site was terrible. Some of their monitor points left much desired back in the 10kW days.
But boy did they have a signal back in the day. They were one of the most successful day timers in the country in the 60's and 70's.


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Re: Worst Tower Sites For Getting Stuck-Water, Mud, Sand, Snow, Ice, Grade, etc.

Post by ftballfan » Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:36 am

Looking at Google Earth, the Gaylord Eagle 101.5's site appears to be a tough one to get to as it's a half mile two track off a gravel road.

Assuming the WQON/WGRY site hasn't moved since the 1990s, the road going past it is paved and has houses well below the tower site.

The WKZC site requires going through someone's side yard to get to it.



CK-722
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Re: Worst Tower Sites For Getting Stuck-Water, Mud, Sand, Snow, Ice, Grade, etc.

Post by CK-722 » Tue Jul 02, 2019 10:50 am

Big Signal wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 7:03 am
WKNX site was terrible. Some of their monitor points left much desired back in the 10kW days.
But boy did they have a signal back in the day. They were one of the most successful day timers in the country in the 60's and 70's.
WKNX was technically built like a I-B Directional Night facility, with the 180 degree towers. Reminds me of the new WMVP and legacy WOWO facility, which are also dogleg arrangements. With the towers, and the pattern gain, it was close to the RMS of a 20 kW minimum efficiency Class B. The major lobe maximum was close to a 50 kW Class B.

The founder was obviously a CBS/KNX 1070 fan, and "KNXT" was in the middle of WKNX-TV".
Last edited by CK-722 on Tue Jul 02, 2019 4:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.


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Ed Joseph
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Re: Worst Tower Sites For Getting Stuck-Water, Mud, Sand, Snow, Ice, Grade, etc.

Post by Ed Joseph » Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:09 am

Big Signal wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 7:03 am
WKNX site was terrible. Some of their monitor points left much desired back in the 10kW days.
But boy did they have a signal back in the day. They were one of the most successful day timers in the country in the 60's and 70's.
They had an incredible signal on the 10kW. Their audio was pretty good too, except when McCluskey was CE. It would have been great though, had he not had every single input across the air chain wide open. If I recall right, the chain consisted of:
- Gates AGC in the studio
- DBX 166 in his office downstairs
- phone lines to Gabel rd site
- yet another Gates AGC
- PR&E Multilimiter
- 31 band Urei EQ. Not sure if it was before or after the Multilimiter. I suspect it was after. I've always installed a peak limiter after an EQ myself, but I've found a few stations with no clipping or limiting after an EQ.
- They ran a reverb *somewhere* in the chain, I suspect at the studio, up until around 1981-ish. Not sure if it was an Orban, homebrew tank or what. Likely, ran as hot and deep as it would run.

I butted heads regarding the noise problem with Jim to no avail. It literally pulled all the way up to +125% when the audio was quiet in the studio. Sounded like a jet engine. I actually tweaked the inputs at the TX down once he was gone and it sounded much better. It wasn't too long before they "went Polski"from Frankenmuth.

But their tower site was practically a wetlands! I'll give Jim credit for one thing though, he did keep all the monitor points clearly marked, with school bus yellow marker stakes, call letters and "X" marks where you needed to stand with the FIM. I've ran a lot of radials over the years where you had zero markings and had to guesstimate from old landmarks where you were supposed to be standing. Sometimes, said landmarks no longer existed. WBCM had a few of those if I recall, in the WUNI-WMAX era.

I wish they still had the 10kW on 1210. It would be great to have a decent signal with their current format.


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Ed Joseph
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Re: Worst Tower Sites For Getting Stuck-Water, Mud, Sand, Snow, Ice, Grade, etc.

Post by Ed Joseph » Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:14 am

One thing I can say, the WKNX antenna farm is probably the most widebanded site I've ever proofed. Even the old Gates was essentially flat out beyond 20kHz. I haven't been in their site since around 1988. I wonder what they run now?


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CK-722
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Re: Worst Tower Sites For Getting Stuck-Water, Mud, Sand, Snow, Ice, Grade, etc.

Post by CK-722 » Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:15 am

Are they still using the 10 kW transmitter at the WJMK Gabel Road site? I talked to the new owner a few months ago.


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CK-722
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Re: Worst Tower Sites For Getting Stuck-Water, Mud, Sand, Snow, Ice, Grade, etc.

Post by CK-722 » Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:27 am

What was the WTRX bandwidth like when they used the 173 degree North Tower nondirectional on STA? Man, was that signal strong when they ran 1.25 kW omni at my house near where Bob Eastman lived, right in the null.


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Big Signal
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Re: Worst Tower Sites For Getting Stuck-Water, Mud, Sand, Snow, Ice, Grade, etc.

Post by Big Signal » Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:00 pm

The major lobe maximum was close to a 50 kW Class B.
When Bob Volz was chief engineer for WKNX TV and radio he told me the major lobe was putting out 55KW. I could carry them up to Alpena with no problem back then and you also could hear them in the thumb like a local station as well. I remember losing them when I got down to Northern Oakland Co. on the back side of their pattern. When you got out west of Mt. Pleasant they began to fade gradually.


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Ed Joseph
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Re: Worst Tower Sites For Getting Stuck-Water, Mud, Sand, Snow, Ice, Grade, etc.

Post by Ed Joseph » Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:19 pm

CK-722 wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:15 am
Are they still using the 10 kW transmitter at the WJMK Gabel Road site? I talked to the new owner a few months ago.
No, they haven't done 10kW since the mid 80's or so. The MW10 burned up and caught fire, I don't think they ever got it back up again. For a while, they were on the Gates 1kW backup, when they had the license changed to Brodgeport -Frankenmuth, if I remember right. The current license is 5kW, and I believe they added a shorter dead reflector tower to the south of the dogleg. I haven't been in Gabel Rd site since like... 1982, maybe??? It was just a transmitter building then. I did drive by it maybe three years back or so, that's when I saw the southermost tower.


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Ed Joseph
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Re: Worst Tower Sites For Getting Stuck-Water, Mud, Sand, Snow, Ice, Grade, etc.

Post by Ed Joseph » Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:23 pm

CK-722 wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:27 am
What was the WTRX bandwidth like when they used the 173 degree North Tower nondirectional on STA? Man, was that signal strong when they ran 1.25 kW omni at my house near where Bob Eastman lived, right in the null.
Was there ever a radio person (especially PD's) who *didn't* live in their station's null???

WTRX had pretty decent bandwidth as well. I cannot recall any real issues with the C-QuAM, which sounded great, although limited a bit by the Z-Rock network. As for just the bandwidth of the north tower alone, I cannot say, but I'd be inclined to think it was overall more broadband than the array as a whole. That thing was built mighty fine, I gotta tell ya!


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Re: Worst Tower Sites For Getting Stuck-Water, Mud, Sand, Snow, Ice, Grade, etc.

Post by Ed Joseph » Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:29 pm

There were other stations around that were louder and denser than WTRX, WKNX comes to mind. But DOn set the DAP 310 up so it was the most transparent. The positives were almost always over 110% and it was pretty consistent, but it always sounded natural and musical. They could have tightened up the limiting a bit, but they wouldn't have sounded as clean IMO.

Also, I couldn't imagine what that 5kW into the north tower would have been like!


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