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Amateur Radio Operator to Honor Broadcast Engineers Lost on 9/11

New England ham radio repeater to be dedicated to their memory

Six broadcast engineers killed in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center will be remembered during a special ham radio dedication and memorial this Sunday. 

Andrew Denoncour, an amateur radio enthusiast (Callsign – N1MYY) who works in tech support at Comrex, expects to sign on the new ham radio repeater at 1 p.m. (EDT) on Sept. 11, to honor the six broadcast engineers: Bob Pattison, Don DiFranco, Steve Jacobson, Bill Steckman, Rod Coppola and Isaias Rivera.

The N1MYY setup

“I plan to read a brief statement and cite the names of the six fallen broadcast engineers. And I want to dedicate the installation to them,” Denoncour said. “It just worked out because the timing of it all.”

The new site being dedicated as a memorial to the six broadcast engineers will be on 146.460 and will be part of the New England Emergency Communications Network (NEDECN), which is a digital network of approximately 90 amateur radio service repeaters covering the New England states. 

The new repeater has its antenna mounted 300 feet up on the tower of WXRV(FM) in Haverhill, Mass., Denoncour told Radio World.

“For me at least, it’s something that we all should remember. This amateur radio community shares a lot in common with the six broadcast engineers we lost. I’ve just always remembered them,” Denoncour said. “And it’s not just the six broadcast engineers we need to remember, but all of those who were taken away.”

Amateur radio resources were mobilized in New York City and neighboring New Jersey on 9/11 after commercial telecommunications wired and wireless systems were severely compromised, according to various media reports. 

Denoncour can be reached at [email protected].

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Referring to the photo above, Denoncour provided the following detailed description: “This is located at the tower site within a building at the base of the tower. Important to note, this picture is during the build. It’s a simple aluminum relay rack which was being discarded from another client of the site. Power strips along both sides. At the top we have a simple 24 port cat5 patch panel, to make the finished product look neat and tidy and to allow easy connection to our two ISP’s. We have ports to 2 ISP’s which allow us to connect to the NEDECN network as well as plugging in equipment for setup and diagnostics.

“Below that we have a telemetry unit which was also retired from another client. It’s undecided if that will be used or not (probably not), but it contains a 10MHz oscillator which could come in handy. Beneath that is a simple rack shelf which holds the Sonicwall network appliance. This allows us to have fail-over between two ISP’s and to have VPN connections in the event I need remote access to any of the gear. Next down is the repeater itself, a Motorola XPR8400, acquired from eBay but found to be in excellent condition upon arrival. Capable of transmitting 50W but used at a much lower power to comply with the terms of my frequency coordination.  Last down is the 4-cavity duplexer. This guy allows us to have separate transmit and receive connections to/from the repeater while only needing one antenna and feedline on the tower. All fairly common items. Since this picture was taken a whole-rack UPS has been added. The finished build will have 2 (maybe 3) independent internet connections, and can be powered from AC line power, a whole-building generator, a whole-rack UPS or an automotive battery. We have plenty of redundancy which is essential in an emergency preparedness network like NEDECN.”