On Sunday (01-22-2012) the winter weather was so intense at our transmitter location (Maynard Peak Comm Site on Blyn Mountain near Discovery Bay) that our microwave studio-link antenna was twisted away from our main studio in Uptown Port Townsend at about 9:27am. Re-orientation, back to the left like the small white-domed antenna seen here, was necessary. Fortunately, wind conditions allowed for safe tower climbing on Wednesday, January 25th and we returned to the air at 11:10am. An extra, stabilizing bar was also added to the antenna to prevent another occurrence of it being misaligned by strong winds.
Just before 8:00am on Monday (03-12-2012) an even greater ice storm and strong winds severely damaged our transmitting antennae array...tearing one completely from the tower and leaving the other hanging by a cable.
This was a big hit and is taking some doing to overcome. Fortunately, we serve Him who cannot fail to sustain His own, so we gladly forge ahead no matter what.
We had to go through several blockages (six to twenty inches in diameter) before getting to the transmitter site. Good thing we always carry a chain saw!
In the photo above, the microwave "lawn-chair" antenna that was affected during the last storm is still where it belongs (thanks to an extra stabilizing bar) as is the microwave LAN domed-dish. Ice accumulation was close to five inches. Wind gusts estimated around 65 miles an hour or higher combined with the ice to do the damage.
Directly above these antennae is what remains of half of our transmitting array, hanging by a cable. In the photo below are the remains of the other half of our FM transmitting antenna - bent, broken and blown onto adjacent land.
We fight not against flesh and blood...sometimes it's the wind and ice. While our permanent fix may be as much as two to three months away we plan to return to the air with a temporary antenna just as soon as possible. It will likely require us to use less than full power, but we will be back! Early estimates are between two and three thousand dollars for the temporary fix.
We are also investigating several options regarding our permanent antenna array. We may choose a similar antenna style (Yagi) that is more heavily constructed or a different style (Panel) that is more physically compact, but even more expensive. We have no pricing estimates on the permanent fix yet, but expect to know more in the next week or so.
We now have a temporary antenna assembled and ready to be installed. This temporary unit will eventually be converted to a permanant auxilary antenna and left in place should the need again arise. (No time soon, we hope, but it's a dangerous weather world out there!) The current forecast indicates that weather suitable for tower climbing should return to the area late this Friday (4-6) or early next week (4-9). The process for our long-term "fix" has also begun with initial planning complete and new parts-evaluation under way. The original antenna array will be rescued and rebuilt with materials of greater strength and durability. Additionally, special guying will be added for this same purpose. This will be done in a manner that will maintain the original operational characteristics of the antennae and not require expensive, time-consuming recertification.
After much prayer and technical preparation Radio of Hope is again broadcasting! At 5:45 Thursday afternoon (4-5-2012) the station returned to the air via our new single-element antenna.
We ARE operating with greatly reduced power, so the signal may bit a bit fuzzy in some areas.
Fortunately, we have NOT lost our greatest blessing which is the mountain-top Maynard Peak Comm Site on Blyn Mountain near Discovery Bay.
Please share our return with friends and family and then continue to pray for our long-term repair/rebuild (already under way!) which will allow us to return to full-power!
Here is what the new Auxilary antenna looks like:
The process of re-engineering and strengthening the directional antenna array was multi-stepped and time consuming. There was also the element of weather that had to be suitable for tower-work. So we worked, planned and prayed. More on that later.
While the antenna project was underway we also continued with some original construction and (thanks to many great volunteers) fenced-in our transmitter site at the Maynard Peak Comm site on Blyn Mountain. What a great crew!
On Friday, our new antennae were raised into place, final adjustments were made and, at 2:10pm, the power level was returned to normal! Signal reports, from many of our local and distant listeners, indicate that Radio of Hope - Nine One One is, as expected, now heard much better than while we were on our temporary antenna and operating at very limited power! Here are some photos of the day.
Now that the antennae are mounted and properly oriented the several cable connections for the signal are next. Joe Harrington of Harrington Towers.
In late May of this year (2022) we began experiencing some disruptions to the microwave path that carries our audio to the transmitter site at the Maynard Peak Communications site near Discovery Bay. The most difficult problems to deal with are those that are "intermittent"...here for awhile and then gone again.
Wouldn't you know, that the original manufacturer had gone out of business and repair parts were beyond difficult to find! Combing through our industry contacts we reached Comtek Service and arranged for some used, but good, replacement gear (Energy Onix) and finally returned the station to uninterrupted service on June 6th.
As an interesting (to some anyway) side-note about the microwave radio link, that gets our audio to the FM transmitter near Discovery Bay, it operates in the same radio spectrum as some of the original microwave ovens. Do you remember the Amana brand "RadarRange"? Interesting history of an appliance we all pretty much take for granted today.
We again express our gratitude to all who made our full return to the airwaves possible with your extra support. Nothing is done at Radio of Hope without prayer and the gifts of our friends and listening family. Jesus and you make us possible! Summer always seems to be the time when some forms of breakdown occur and we are again aware of some important maintenance we must accomplish, but that is a story for another day.