Harris Helps WEAU Recover From Tower Collapse

Several weeks ago I wrote about the collapse of WEAU's tower and how they were able to get back on the air using bandwidth from other stations. Last week WEAU posted a story about its recovery, WEAU Recovers from Tower Collapse – Harris Broadcast Communications and WQOW-TV assist in putting station back on the air that describes the recovery process in more detail and how Harris Broadcast helped by providing local ABC affiliate WQOW-TV one of the first Selenio MPEG-2 encoding/statistical multiplexing systems, allowing it to carry WEAU's NBC programming with little impact on its main signal.

Jim Ocon, VP of Technology for Gray Television, said, ""The signal quality has been exceptional, and since we were broadcasting over WQOW's spectrum they were actually getting calls about how much the video quality improved for both stations. It was an unusual way to test a new product, but in doing so we discovered something that works great."

Describing the tower failure, Ocon said, "The consensus was that the tower was ice-loaded at the top. There were no snapped guy wires, which would have signaled a structural failure. Regardless, the radius of the collapse was a few hundred feet. It was one enormous pile of metal."

In addition to supplying the Selenio system, Harris sent a crew to survey the damage and then take apart the transmitter and reassemble it at the WEAU studio location for transmission from a shorter tower until the main tower is rebuilt and a new antenna installed.

Doug Lung

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.