102.7 Tower Work Apr.11 - Possible Off-Air

Mar 30, 2015

The "utility" rack of equipment for 102.7FM
Credit Aaron Read RIPR

UPDATE: More tower work Saturday April 11th beginning at 10am.

The second AT&T crew is returning for another try for antenna replacement on Saturday 4/11 starting at 10am and lasting most of the day.  

Based on previous experience, we are hoping to maintain normal operations on 102.7...or at worst just run at half-power.   Check the @RINPR twitter feed for updates.

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UPDATE: good news!  The climbers' personal RF meters were below 50%, so no shutdown of 102.7 was necessary today.

102.7 SHUTDOWN: TUES. MARCH 31 12-3PM 

Now is the winter of our discontent...

Clearly, this has not been a pleasant winter for anyone in New England, and our 102.7FM tower site in Narragansett is no exception.   This past Saturday (3/28) we had scheduled time for two different AT&T Wireless tower crews to go up on the Narragansett tower to work on their cellphone antennas.

During such times, we shut down 102.7FM (if possible we'll only reduce power, but in this case it has to be all the way "off") so the tower climbers don't get RF burns from our FM signal.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans and it snowed a lot of the day on Saturday.  One crew had to bag it entirely, and the other was highly limited in what they could do.  It's not just a question of it being safe to climb the tower in the snow; these guys are pretty hardy and can climb in almost anything.  The real problem is the equipment itself can't be exposed to too much precipitation or it shorts out.  Normally there's rain/snow/ice shields on it all, but they have to open those shields up to work on the antennas.

Accordingly, we're going to have more shutdowns in our future.  The next shutdown of 102.7 is scheduled for between 12noon and 3pm on Tuesday March 31st.  We're not sure exactly when, but it shouldn't last for more than an hour or so.

As before, this will impact the following services:

  • RIPR's 102.7FM broadcast in South County & Aquidneck Island.
  • RIPR's 91.5FM broadcast in Coventry.
  • MVYradio on 102.7-HD2 in South County.
  • MVYradio on 96.5FM in Newport.

And as before, this will NOT impact RIPR's webcast, nor its 88.1FM broadcast in Providence.

I expect there will be at least one more shutdown in addition to Tuesday.  Hopefully just the one, though.   Your Intrepid Engineer shall inform you as soon as he knows when it'll be.

Why the rush?   Well, that's Mother Nature again!  There are several ospreys who nest in our tower, and once they migrate back to Rhode Island...which could be any day now...it'll be illegal for the tower climbers to go up there.   And even if it weren't illegal, the ospreys would attack them if they tried and those birds are pretty big!