A month after installing a temporary auxiliary antenna onto Local 22 and Local 44’s tower, crews were back on Mount Mansfield with a sky-crane helicopter to finish the job, and install a new, permanent antenna.
This is part of the FCC Repack program. It requires hundreds of TV stations across the country to change frequencies, to free up more air-wave frequencies for wireless broadband internet and other uses.
Our new antenna is broadcasting at a different frequency from the old, which our Chief Engineer, Dave Turner says, may have some hidden benefits. “The antenna of course had to be replaced to handle the new ones and stuff, and we’ll actually go up at a little higher power level on both stations so, the hope is that it’ll reach a broader area in our area here.”
This process has not been easy to tackle. When working on top of Vermont’s highest peak, weather can change in an instant. The precision needed to make things run smoothly is incredible.
Northeast Towers Project Manager, Tony Soli says, when a helicopter is involved, timing is crucial. “Helicopters in optimal conditions the colder the air, the more lift it can get, it’s denser air. The warmer the air, the thinner it is, the less lift they get. So they wanted to do it first thing in the morning, as we’ve been having hot days this week.”
While the new antenna is now installed, we’re not broadcasting over the air with it just yet. New transmission lines are being custom-made to fit the antenna. Crews need to continue to work on the tower. However, work for Tuesday and Wednesday is cancelled. When plans continue, our over-the- air signal will be unavailable. If you watch us via cable or satellite, you won’t be affected.