Radio World Engineering Extra - August 20, 2014 - (Page 1)
three days to build
August 20, 2014
In-Depth Technology for Radio Engineers
How a new station got up and running
in record time.
Massive Shortwave Site Gets a New Lease on Life
WYFR site bought by WRMI
by Dan Brown
As a broadcast engineer and shortwave listener, I enjoy not only the efficiency of a shortwave signal propagating
through the ionosphere and reaching
more the earth than any other broadcast
signal, but also the variations of space
weather affecting a distant signal reaching my receiver.
While the Internet has replaced
most countries' shortwave efforts, a
few domestic stations are soldiering on.
WRMI is one of them, and is now enjoying a much larger presence with the old
Family Radio WYFR facility, which
they acquired in December 2013.
WRMI has an interesting history, as
does WYFR. When owner Jeff White of
WRMI took over the large transmitter
site of WYFR, I contacted a few technical people involved and learned what it
takes to run a power-hungry operation and learned
some interesting war stories. Shortwave ("HF" to
veterans) requires unique
systems and maintenance
as compared to FM and
even AM facilities. To
learn more I reached out to
White; Dan Elyea, WYFR
retired Engineering Man- Fig. 1: Early QSL card for WRUL in Scituate, Mass.
ager; and Terry Elders,
current Facility Manager.
100 kilowatt transmitters and one 50
Elyea had worked for Family StakW transmitter feeding some 23 various
tions since 1973. An inactive ham, he
antennas aimed at the four corners of
kept detailed notes about the site and
was most generous of his time and
information. Elders has worked 28 years
WYFR started as an early experiat WYFR. A modest person who opermental station, W1XAL, in Boston. It
ates the transmitters, he also maintains
(continued on page 18)
the systems supporting the transmitters,
such as logic, power, the IP network and
finally, all the antennas.
Located in rural Okeechobee, Fla.,
the WYFR site was completed in 1988
and is the largest private HF transmitter
plant in North America, with a dozen
Fig. 2: Typical transmitter control rack
Courtesy Ken Windrich
Fig. 3: Major coverage areas of WRMI.
Letters are notable major cities.
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Radio World Engineering Extra - August 20, 2014