Engineer's Corner
7:25 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

TheEC: New STL Dish at 88.1 - INSTALLED!

New STL Dish Being Installed
New 950MHz microwave STL dish being installed on WELH tower in Seekonk.
Credit Aaron Read RIPR

UPDATE @ 1pm : 88.1FM is back at normal power!  Pics are available on our Twitter feed here, here, here and here.   By the way, many of these pics were taken with a stock iPhone 5S using this telephoto lens attachment.  Pretty good for $45!

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On Wednesday June 18th, beginning around 9:30 or 10am, 88.1FM will be running on the backup transmitter & antenna for a few hours to install new equipment on the top of the tower.   We must run on the lower-power backup for the health & safety of our tower climber.

The backup operates using a one-bay vertically-polarized omnidirectional antenna and about one-tenth our normal power.   

THIS WILL NOT IMPACT OUR 91.5 OR 102.7FM SIGNALS, NOR OUR WEBCAST.

Keep watching our Twitter feed for updates.

If you're wondering, he's installing a new 950 MHz Studio/Transmitter Link receive dish.   This uses microwaves to convey broadcast quality audio from the Main Studio of WELH on the Wheeler School's Hope Street Campus.   (RIPR already has an existing audio link to there from our 1 Union Station studios)

STL 950MHz receive dish
The actual STL receive dish, being prepped for install. Doesn't look as big on the tower, but it's hefty!
Credit Aaron Read RIPR

This system will replace our leased digital lines from Verizon, which failed in January and have resisted all attempts to reliably fix.   In the interim we've been using a Comrex BRIC Link internet codec running over a Comcast Cablemodem; it's mostly worked well but a 950MHz should be able to deliver the "five nines" of reliability necessary for a 24/7 operation like radio broadcasting.

With the receive dish in place on the 88.1 tower, we'll still need to install the transmit dish at Hope St, but that'll be much easier since it won't require interrupting 88.1's normal operations.