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Workbench Tech Tip of the Week(3)

It’s not just copper anymore.

Radio World’s Workbench by John Bisset is an industry classic, one of radio’s most-admired, and most-copied, columns. Find out why in each issue.

This tip is from the Sept. 1 issue.

It’s not just copper anymore.

Engineer Paul Sagi in Kuala Lumpur sends word that steel thieves caused a massive blackout across eastern Malaysia recently. As reported in the International Herald Tribune, Paul says, the thieves removed 20 iron beams from an electricity pylon, causing it to collapse. The beams were likely to net the equivalent of about $13, but the utility said the repairs will cost over $300,000.

Sobering are some of the theft pictures on the Internet showing burned and charred bodies of would-be thieves.

Because the problem is so widespread, put together a plan. Topics to be addressed are whether you have a backup site, a backup generator, a tower rigger on call to help string replacement coax and the numbers of your local police, sheriff and FBI as a start. Let your GM know you’ve taken these preparatory steps.

Several engineers have told me that because of EAS, Homeland Security looks upon radio station vandalism as a threat and has called in the FBI to investigate copper thefts. At the very least, dropping by your local police station or sheriff’s office to make them aware of the theft potential is time well spent. Perhaps they can patrol the transmitter site on the weekends.

Don’t forget to take along some station T-shirts or ball caps to pass around.

Find thousands of helpful tech tips for radio engineers and managers in the Workbench archives at our Web site. E-mail your own tips to [email protected]. Submissions qualify for SBE recertification credit.