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Weekly Tech Reminders: Tower Audits & More

An excerpt from this week’s Monday Morning Coffee and Technical Notes

The following is from the Alabama Broadcasters Association’s weekly e-newsletter, Monday Morning Coffee and Technical Notes. Thanks to ABA’s Larry Wilkins. To subscribe to the newsletter, email[email protected].


Most engineers are aware that Emergency Alerts are not only transmitted to broadcast and cable operations but quite often to mobile devices as well. This process is WEA (Wireless Emergency Alerts) which is a public safety system that allows customers who own certain wireless phones and other enabled mobile devices to receive geographically-targeted, text-like messages alerting them of imminent threats to safety in their area.

There have been some complaints about WEA messages getting stuck and repeating the message over and over. AL Kenyon, Customer Support Branch Chief IPAWS Program Office in a post on the SBE EAS list server, indicated the problem most likely is in the customers handset and not in the distribution system.


Deadline for all radio stations to have their pubic files placed on the FCC online web site is this Thursday March 1st. The process is not difficult and most stations only have to upload only one set of documents, that being the issues and program list from 2012 forward.

While we are speaking about filings with FCC, a quick reminder that the stations ownership reports are due no later than Friday, March 2.


Unless your broadcast operation leases tower space for your antenna, you own a tower! If this tower has been up for several years, then more than likely there have been additional antennas and transmission lines added.

It is easy to loose track about these additions, especially if you rent space out to other broadcasters and/or non broadcast tenants. Keeping a detail database of the attachments on the tower is a must do item. If you don’t have an up to date tower database, then you need to conduct a “tower audit.”

According to Rich Redmond with GatesAir, “a tower audit is a complete review of a tower including cataloging all antennas and transmission lines and such located on the tower. This can also include a structural analysis of the tower with the antennas and lines with respect to the current tower loading standards, review of anchors, and overall condition of a tower.”

Transmission lines at the base of the tower should be tagged identifying the owner either by attaching line tags or simply using colored weather resistant tape. A thorough inspection of the transmission line mounting and proper grounding should be included in the audit. As the tower owner it is your responsibility to set guidelines on proper attachment and routing of of lines on the tower.

Your “tower database” should include information about the tenants, including contact information of who to call should a problem arise with their antenna or transmission line.