Not quite as bad… Shasta Bally

As the Carr fire continued in Whiskeytown, we had no power to our site but a remote control continued operating on the generator. The final data I got from it showed 140F stack temp above the transmitter and 122F at its chassis.

The cause: burnination.

Thanks to Matt at Valley Industrial Communications for these pictures and for being a far braver soul than I…

Hey look, it’s still got a roof!

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66 block stupidity

I need to find whoever decided to make both 66 blocks with the split down the middle and blocks without it with no identifying mark as to which type is which and pour glitter* over their head.

At left: no split. I’d been putting bridge clips on it for no reason and got a rude surprise (Zeppelin on a country station!) when I expected to have the left three pegs and the right three isolated.

At right: has the split. You have to install bridge clips to join the two sides.

* Biodegradable glitter of course – the sugar or seaweed based kind

Ow. Stop that. Stop that right now.

Just got some CCTV video of the Shasta Bally site. In about three minutes’ time it goes from smoke simply rolling over it to firestorm and *NO SIGNAL*

The high temperature reading I saw at the stack of the transmitter that was powered off was likely due to the vegetation behind the building burning. The vents are on its right side. The building is visible at the bottom center.

I’ll see if I can export and convert this later. It’ll be a while before I find out what’s still up there…

Educational Media Foundation are great people

EMF (parent network of K-LOVE and Air1) lent us their tower on wheels to get our missing stations back up!

I’ve heard it’s sat waiting in their parking lot in Rocklin for a long time waiting for such an incident. Now it gets a chance to shine! 🙂

Thanks, EMF.

Well my job can’t begin here yet.

Nothing left to do now but get a very strong adult beverage. The Carr fire hit the site—

Left cabinet was a CSI 3KW on KEWB-FM, center rack was exciters and STL and the aux for KNCQ-FM, rightmost rack was a BRAND NEW Nautel VS 2.5 that seems to have just… vaporized. All the aluminum parts of everything just disappeared, including a brand new 2-port Bext combiner that was going in along with the Nautel for a new project. A tech who came up found the propane line burning in the wreckage like a torch and shut it off at the tank.


There was also a VHF repeater for an air ambulance service and the gear for two wireless ISPs in the building, which dated back to the early 1990s.

Note the Fibrebond structures fully intact in the background.

The two towers up there experienced extreme heat, melting every plastic part about halfway up.

A meme useful for a wide spectrum of applications

Please feel free to use this wherever it’s relevant, or even where it isn’t.

Personally I really like those times where it remains irrelevant for like two or three entire days in a row. This is not one of them.

In which I realize I should find a good self-service car wash.

Sometimes your gear just needs a good power wash with spot-free rinse and tri-color foaming wax. I didn’t have this handy so an ENTIRE CAN of CRC QD went to cleaning this poor old transmitter up. It lost about two pounds in the process and there’s a red mudpuddle in the parking lot where the runoff landed and evaporated.

Before:

After:

Washed the voltage regulator cover right off! Heehee. First time I’ve seen one of those Sanken STR series voltage regulator units before. It looks similar to the STK series audio amplifiers that wound up in a lot of low and mid range BPC* audio amplifiers, usually accompanied by a muddy, dark, IMD-plagued tone. I kinda expected to find that this regulator which powers the 250 watt PA section is of adjustable voltage and that varies the transmitter power output, but no! The output control takes place on the intermediate power amplifier card (IPA) to the right. This may mean that the amplifier isn’t very stable at low power output levels, and may explain why an identical unit I have in service that’s turned down to like ten watts tends to act stupid. Oopsie noodles??!!

* Black Plastic Crap

Can it please be fall already?

It’s damn hot. One moment while I just pour this over myself.

Changing a tire in 112 degree heat sucks. Changing optimod cards and transmitters in an air conditioned building at 4000′ is preferable. All of them seem to be old age electrolytic capacitor failures.

Also, the Forester works better when the big hose stays on the spigot here.

See this cute little teacup? That’s the CVT fluid heat exchanger. Works fine on highways, urban streets, and literally everything but Shasta Bally…. I wonder if the cooler from an outback would fit?

Flush!

We were only serious about that whole “plumbing repairs” bit. This is your requisite “broadcast engineer fixed the toilet” story.

Two potties, five radio stations, and one stopped refilling at 6 PM on a Thursday. Luckily I had a Korky valve replacement kit in my cabinet waiting for this moment (but why? who thought to put it there?).

Playing with the new valve in the kit before I installed it, I discovered that you can easily disassemble it from the top. Remove the bowl refill tube. Pull that white cap straight up, revealing the float mechanism. Squeeze the tabs on the side of the float to release it, then twist the round cap assembly that’s below the float. The whole thing will come up revealing the valve seat which is the top of that tall plastic mushroom. You can pull that whole thing out vertically. By just replacing all of those parts with the parts from the new valve, I changed all the rubber parts of the unit out in about two minutes flat… which is good as the shutoff on the wall doesn’t work and I had to cut the water to the whole building to do it.

They aren’t kidding about “Quiet Fill” — a plastic baffle inside the inlet tube makes the whole thing inaudible to the point where it’s actually a little hard to tell it’s working unless you observe the water rising in the tank.

Now, if only I could do something about that cheezy fake tile paneling that’s falling apart back there. Ew, tacky.

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