WEAU begins broadcasting from new 2000ft tower

WEAU began broadcasting Jan. 4 from its new 2000ft tower in Fairchild, WI, less than 10 months after an ice storm toppled the previous structure.

The station is transmitting a UHF signal from the new tower. Over-the-air viewers will need to point a UHF antenna toward Fairchild and rescan channels on their converter boxes and/or digital televisions. WEAU will no longer broadcast a VHF signal.

The station also will cease simulcasting on 18.3 (WQOW/Eau Claire) and 25.2 (WLAX/La Crosse) on Jan. 12.

The new tower is at the same location and height as the previous tower, which fell during an ice storm on March 22, 2011. The original tower was completed in the spring of 1966 and was Wisconsin’s tallest structure until it fell. The new tower is now the tallest structure in Wisconsin.

Construction of the new tower began in July 2011, and it began to be erected in Fairchild on Oct. 7, 2011. The new tower was custom-designed and fabricated by Stainless in Pennsylvania. The impressive structure weighs more than 1 million pounds and stands on one point at the base. The new tower was built completely out of galvanized steel, including 8in steel legs. The new tower has 24 guy lines and meets or exceeds current requirements.

Construction will continue as weather permits but will not affect WEAU’s broadcast. Items left to complete include installing the WAXX FM 104.5 antenna and newsgathering technology, as well as painting the structure. The tower will be painted white and orange stripes in the spring.

The new installation includes a Harris PowerCD 3-tube UHF transmitter and an ERI circular-polarized antenna. The transmitter building was remodeled by Royal Construction of Eau Claire.