DILLWYN, Va. — It has become the normal routine for WEQF(FM). Like many stations at the “end of the power line” when a storm rolls through the area, the power is up and down, spiking and dipping into brownout leaving the old solid-state transmitter off the air in a “protected” alarm mode that requires someone to log-in and reset it in able to restore it on-air.
Inside the WEQF transmission shack. The PowerClamp is installed at upper left.
Sometimes things are even worse and the storm scrambles the remote control so that it will not respond; then it’s a 45-minute trip to the site to reset everything manually.
Adding more surge protectors at different points in the system is to no avail, and even gets them toasted sometimes during heavy lightening events. The grounding at the site was done well, a “halo” around the building and connected to the tower. All of the guy anchors are grounded as well.
In asking around about what others use for surge protection a friend who takes care of some sites in Nevada and California mentioned using a device from Henry Engineering. I thought of the Matchbox boxes that have been around and in solid service for many years, as well as other devices that they have manufactured for radio studios that I have installed. I wondered what could they do for surge protection that would make them stand out from the many other products available.
After taking a look at their website and seeing published specs, descriptions and testimonies, I was curious to see if the “Power Clamp TVSS” surge suppressor would actually work in our facility. A PowerClamp Series 10 was purchased in June of this year and installed at the main disconnect of the building. This unit is for 120/240 V “split phase” service, and is rated by Henry Engineering for 200,000 surge-amps (per phase) of surge protection. Ours is an “R” model, which means that it includes a Status Output Circuit that will send a signal to our remote control system if any of the PowerClamp fuses require replacement
The installation almost seemed to be a bit too simple — parallel the power lines into the PowerClamp TVSS, run a ground to the building ground system and it was in service. Just that fast.
I also connected the relay option that we chose to a status on the Broadcast Tools WVRC8- Plus remote control unit in order to set up and receive alerts for when we take a hit that causes an alarm. Since this unit has been in place we have not once had to reset a “protect” alarm on the transmitter, and not once have I had to cycle power on any of the equipment on-site in order to get it back online.
All of our gear (except for the Nautel FM3.5 transmitter) has been connected to an APC battery backup all along and still would get zapped and put into useless modes that required interaction to restore the station to air. None of this has occurred in the months since putting the PowerClamp into service. On occasion we have lost power at the site, and when it was restored by the utility we were notified by our remote that the transmitter was back on and running at 100 percent.
I cannot say enough about how smooth our site is running after installing putting in the PowerClamp TVSS. It has made life so much easier in dealing with this site; now I have to remember to visit the site to fill out logs. It sometimes seems like an easy drive in the country, no rushing about to get back on-air.
If you have a site that has expensive electronic gear that needs to be protected from nasty surges, you really should look into installing the right model PowerClamp TVSS, a device made specifically for your utility connection.
For information, contact Hank Landsberg at Henry Engineering in California at (562) 493-3589 or visit www.henryeng.com/pchome.htm.