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Sunday, September 25, 2005
5:00 p.m. - Transmitter Site - DEVERS, Texas
(To figure out what's happening, you'll likely want to start reading the post titled "And so begins an adventure...", and work your way backwards up the page. --Guy)
• Arrived on site, inspected the facility, and set up camp.
After a bit on the road, and then a bit off the road, we found the final stretch of road to the transmitter site. The last stretch of road was the part that had us worried. It was very muddy. But, the VP barreled on through in the pickup, and kicked up mud everywhere. I can see why off-roading is so much fun!
If you take a look at the link for the transmitter site, you'll end up with a Google map of the area. That 3-sided X in the middle of the screen is the site where I'm at. The antenna tower is 2,000 feet tall and supported by many guy wires. The big X is where the trees and field is kept cleared so the guy wires don't get tangled in anything. The area that you're looking at in that is is approximately 73 acres.
Getting out of the truck, I was greeted by Mike, the chief engineer for our stations for Houston. He was out at the site, making sure the generator stayed running, and in fact had started it up twice that day so far. He showed me around.
The site has 5 Class C radio stations, each of 4 broadcasting at 35 kilowatts. That's many times greater power than the Class A stations I maintain in LA. But, some things are no different, and I recognized most of the equipment, even if some of the specifics were different. Two of the stations are ours, one is local for the community, one is owned by Salem, and broadcasts their religious talk brand, and one is owned by another Hispanic broadcaster.
The building itself is about 2,000 square feet or so, and has 5 main rooms. One contains a generator, 4 contain the radio stations, and the other open room is where combiners for the antenna are located. Each room has it's own air conditioning system, although some of the rooms air conditioners are dead. And the 500 kilowatt generator is indoors. This makes for a lot of noise, combined with the sounds of the transmitters themselves.
After much small talk with Mike, my VP, and the other Hispanic broadcasting engineer (all of us, btw, are not Hispanic) they all finally left, leaving me alone, without a vehicle, in a building not intended for habitation.
Dinner consisted of crackers and cold Campbell's Tomato Soup. It's almost just like home!
The room that was the quietest was one of the transmitter rooms, so I set up shop in there with my military-style cot, and a pillow and a blanket.