FROM PROMISE TO FULFILLMENT, Part 4.
“God causes all things to work together for good ”
This is a continuation of the story of Engineer F. M. Perry’s involvement with the construction and start-up of operations of The World Christian Broadcasting Corporation’s international short wave radio station KNLS at Anchor Point, Alaska.
October 1980 -
Board Meeting in Abilene, Texas, October 17-18 -
The Board of Directors invited engineering advisors F. M. Perry and Jim Lockwood to attend their workshop planned for October 17 and 18 in Abilene. Both men journeyed to Abilene to be present at the meeting, Jim Lockwood to discuss recommendations he previously had made concerning basic system design and equipment for the shortwave radio station at Anchor Point, and F. M. Perry to report on his recent visit to the Anchor Point station site.
Jim Lockwood reminded the Board of Directors that a decision had been made in 1978 to use a 250,000 watt transmitter designed by a certain Cedar Rapids, Iowa company. The company was no longer producing the transmitter but Mr. Lockwood favored an in house WCBC effort to build the transmitter with the help of the partially disabled designer, Mr. P. K. Myhre. Mr. Lockwood estimated a savings in cost with a schedule requirement of about a year to construct the transmitter. Jim Lockwood, Bob Scott, and F. M. Perry had visited the designer of the transmitter in Cedar Rapids, Iowa during the past August and F. M. Perry had already recommended that the plan to construct a transmitter “in house” be abandoned in favor of purchasing a transmitter in regular commercial production with guaranteed performance and delivery schedule. F. M. Perry again made this recommendation.
Jim Lockwood reiterated his previous recommendation that the HCJB (international broadcast station in Colombia, South America) version of a mechanically steerable antenna be constructed “in house” at the Anchor Point site. The antenna would cover the 49, 31, 25, and 16 meter bands and be steerable through 120 degrees of azimuth. F. M. Perry had no comment to make concerning this proposal feeling that it was an interesting and possible project to undertake. However, he had already expressed a private opinion to Robert Scott that it was not good policy to undertake such a big “in house” endeavor on the Anchor Point project.
F. M. Perry gave recommendations at the Board of Director’s workshop concerning preparation of site infrastructure.
November 1980 -
F. M. Perry was appointed “Director of Engineering” for The World Christian Broadcasting Corporation per phone call from Robert Scott effective November 1. 1980. Jim Lockwood was appointed “Project Engineer.” F. M. accepted the job and sent Bob, at his request, draft recommendations for the job descriptions of “Director of Engineering” and “Project Engineer.” The jobs were to carry no salary to the incumbents until such time as a Construction Permit was obtained from the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) and complete funds were raised to construct the radio station.
A first order of business for all concerned was to get an application for a Construction Permit in to the FCC. Many indefinite plans were being considered but no definite or finalized plans could be made until an FCC Construction Permit was in hand. Neither F. M. nor anyone else in WCBC had previous experience with filing FCC applications. F. M. began to look for someone to serve WCBC as engineering consultant in connection with the special work of filing for the FCC construction permit. This consultant would work with F. M. Perry, Bob Scott, and the law firm in Washington, DC (Mr. Richard Zaragoza). Several possible engineering consultants were contacted by mail. Mr. David Hudson, formerly of KGEI in California, was highly recommended by Mr. Zaragoza to be our Consultant in approaching the FCC. F. M. made contact with Mr. Hudson during a business visit to San Francisco. Shortly a contract was made with the firm of Hammet and Edison, Inc., employer of Mr. Hudson, to have Mr.Hudson serve as consultant to WCBC in preparation of an application to the FCC for a construction permit.
During the business trip to the San Francisco area (mentioned above), F. M. worshiped on a Sunday with the Redwood City Church of Christ. One of the elders of the congregation, Mr. William E. Stevens, invited F. M. home to stay with him and his family during his entire 4 day visit in the area. Mr. Stevens was President of his own firm, Triad (computer) Systems, and he and F. M. had common background as Navy Radio Technicians during World War II. At church F. M. also met Mr. Victor Hall, an experienced radio technician/announcer, who expressed a great interest in the Anchor Point project. (Victor Hall and his wife later came to Alaska and Victor served for several years as a program technician and local announcer for programs produced at Anchor Point.)
F. M. had flown out to San Francisco from Virginia and was using a rented car for transportation in the San Francisco area. While in the area F. M. was able to visit international radio station KGEI, antenna manufacturer Technology for Communications International (TCI), and interview Mr. David Hudson (mentioned above).
KGEI was a pioneer international shortwave radio station designed, constructed, and operated by the General Electric Company for a number of years. The G. E. Company had built the station on an advantageous spot for optimum beam take off propagation. The transmitter building and antenna systems were right on the beach so as to fire the beams out over the water of San Francisco bay. When F. M. visited KGEI in 1980, its owner was the Far East Broadcasting Company. It’s primary targets were Far Eastern Russia, China, and the Pacific Rim countries on a beam which followed a great circle path over Alaska on its way from California. In addition KGEI had another antenna system beamed to South America. It’s transmitter power output into its various antenna systems was only 50,000 watts.
F. M. was welcomed and taken “under the wing” of the station manager, Mr. Jack L. Brooks, for a full day and a half. F. M. took many notes concerning the equipment in use, antenna systems which were the most effective, and Mr. Brooks’ methods of propagation analysis in order to arrive at optimum operating frequencies. After viewing evidence of several fires on the KGEI antenna field, F. M. was impressed with the need for safety precautions in antenna system operations. Mr. Brooks urged F. M. to visit the antenna manufacturer, TCI, which was located nearby.
Concerning WCBC plans to broadcast over the North Pole, Mr. Brooks said that his organization was planning to install a TCI Curtain Dipole Model 611 antenna and a new transmitter (a 250,000 watt “Mayre” transmitter ?) to fire a beam over the north pole to European Russia. He was very interested in WCBC plans to broadcast over the North Pole. He thought that the WCBC transmitter at Anchor Point need be no more powerful than 100,000 watts to be effective over the pole if fired through a TCI Curtain Dipole antenna. He reasoned that the WCBC signal from Anchor Point would have a 4 db advantage over a KGEI signal from California because of the shorter distance it would have to travel. That is, Anchor Point is much closer to Europe via the polar route than San Francisco, therefore, less power would be needed to establish communication. [F. M. has heard no more about this plan for KGEI to broadcast over the North Pole and doesn’t believe the plan was ever carried out.]
After hearing about TCI, the antenna manufacturer, F. M. arranged a visit to the manufacturing plant. He thought it was important to find a better antenna solution than the mechanically steerable KGEI type that had been considered, and he felt need to learn more about propagation of radio waves over the North Pole. Perusal of the TCI catalog had already revealed that TCI had an antenna in production for international broadcasters, a curtain dipole type antenna (Model 611) that would cover the same shortwave bands and be steerable passively (not mechanically) through 60 degrees of azimuth. Two curtain dipole antennas of this type would be required to provide steering over 120 degrees of azimuth, however. Also TCI had computer propagation analyses facilities that could give some insight into the actual performance over the earth’s surface of a given transmitter/antenna system.
At TCI, F. M. met Mr. Owen Thompson who took him on a factory tour and discussed propagation expectations, especially propagation through the northern auroral zone. F. M. gave Mr. Thompson a WCBC order (with telephone approval of Robert Scott) for extensive computer propagation analyses for the possible use of two TCI antennas at Anchor Point, Curtain Dipole Model 611 and Log Periodic Model 521, fired directly into the Far East and then over the North Pole into Europe from Anchor Point. The analyses would forecast the results of future broadcasts from Anchor Point into cities of Russia, Europe, and Asia. Mr. Thompson was not optimistic concerning propagation over the pole and warned that his computer programs for over-the-pole propagation were not realistic. He thought that the analyses for transmissions directly to the Far East, that avoided the northern auroral zone, would be realistic. [How true Mr. Thompson’s words were. Computer software for analyses of propagation through the auroral zone was not developed until a number of years later. Even today (in 2006) blackouts of communication due to intense attenuation in the auroral zone due to sudden eruption of sunspots cannot be forecast. FMP]
Sometime during November F. M. commuted in to Washington DC from his Blue Ridge “old house” to visit the attorney Mr. Richard Zaragoza and then went in to the Federal Communication Commission offices to meet the officer who most likely would be reviewing the Application for Construction Permit to build the shortwave radio station proposed by WCBC. F. M. met Mr. Charles Breig of the FCC and learned that he will be our primary contact at the FCC.
December 1980 -
On December 9, 1980 Bob Scott issued another general progress information letter to Friends of WCBC. In part it read as follows:
“A 71 acre site has been purchased at Anchor Point, Alaska upon which the first WCBC international short wave radio station is to be constructed. [Note the use of the word “first” in connection with short wave radio station. From the beginning planning was for a possible two or three station network of shortwave stations strategically placed upon the earth’s surface so as to reach with short wave signals all the people of the earth. The Anchor Point station was to be the first of such a network. FMP] Of the $168,000 purchase price, some $65,000 remains to be paid. Monthly payments of $2750 are being made.”
Bob paid great tribute to F. M. Perry in this letter, letting him know how much his initial efforts were appreciated, with the following paragraph:
“God has provided a uniquely qualified person to serve WCBC as Director of Engineering. Francis M. (F. M.) Perry has begun work with us. He is an Electrical Engineer with a Professional Engineer license, and an elder in the church at Front Royal, Va. Recently retired from 20 years government service and 16 years experience in industry, F. M. Perry brings a breadth of experience and training to our effort along with a strong desire to help lost people hear the gospel. Even though we cannot file our FCC license application until we secure the needed $1.5 million, there are many engineering details to which we must attend before that time. Thus far, F. M. Perry has done extensive data gathering by a visit to our broadcast site in Alaska, by visits with equipment manufacturers, by visiting with our FCC attorney in Washington, D.C., by getting to know key persons at the FCC, and by a visit to an on-the-air international short wave radio station. His presence on our staff reassures me that God is blessing our effort.”
After a plea for funds to avoid ending the year 1980 with a deficit, Bob concluded the letter:
“Pray that God will hasten the day when we shall be on the air from Anchor Point, Alaska. We can be within broadcast range from there of half the world’s population. Much hard work remains to be done. But we believe it will be worth every effort required. May our Father abundantly bless you and yours as we end 1980 and begin 1981. Your fellow servant, Robert E. Scott.”
About the time of receiving Bob’s general letter above, F. M. received the Propagation Analysis report from TCI for which he had contracted on his trip to California. The report gave information indicating that initial thoughts of many of the early planners concerning possible outreach of an Anchor Point short wave radio station were somewhat naive in their expectations. F. M. had requested propagation analyses from Anchor Point to principle cities listed in the early planning documents. Of first priority at that time were cities in Europe and the Middle East. Second priority were cities of the Far East (Russian Siberia, China, Korea and Japan). We had asked for propagation forecasts to the same cities for two different antennas. The answer came back that the smaller Model 521 log periodic antenna was inadequate to most of the cities. The model 611 curtain dipole array antenna would serve certain of the cities during certain hours of the day. But the cities of Europe and the Middle East were too distant in range for broadcast targets. The report carefully noted:
“You will note in the detail data the calculated compass bearing is given for each target city. The paths that are directed through the auroral zone are subject to very large disturbances at random intervals. Since propagation predictions must be made on the basis of probability, it should be noted that paths through this zone of heavy disturbance may vary greatly from the predicted values.”
Jim Lockwood had been in consultation with Dr. Robert D. Hunsucker, Ph.D. of Alaska Telecommunications Associates and a Professor at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, concerning short wave broadcasts through the auroral zone (over the north pole) as far back as 1978. Apparently it was through advice from Dr. Hunsucker that the early planners for an Alaska station had gained hope for broadcasting to Europe through paths over the auroral zone. At this time F. M. talked with Dr. Hunsucker over the phone and corresponded with him by letter. The data that F. M. was accumulating seemed to indicate that broadcasts over the north pole to Europe might not be viable. Also F. M. had begun to “bone up” on data concerning the propagation of radio waves through the auroral zone by trips to the Library of Congress in Washington, DC to study National Bureau of Standards documents on the subject.
In a letter to Dr. Hunsucker F. M. expressed the reasons for his questioning the viability of “over-the-pole” broadcasting:
“Propagation analyses have been made by TCI of Mountain View, Ca. for our desired transmission paths. A computer program designed for mid-latitudes was used for these analyses. ... We realize that these analyses do not tell the whole story for high latitude paths passing across the auroral zone. We have learned from your reports to us (dated January 1978 and September 1978) that there will be infrequent periods of complete “black outs” for paths through the auroral zone. We are prepared to accept these “black outs” for the sake of much more frequent periods of good propagation.
“However, in a limited amount of research reading I have noted reference to ‘additional absorption’ in the auroral zone which occurs quite frequently even during times of relatively undisturbed conditions. National Bureau of Standards (NBS) Circular 462 entitled ‘Ionospheric Radio Propagation’ (which is quite an old document now) describes a method of estimating the additional absorption losses of a ‘relatively undisturbed aurora.’ My rough calculations based on this document indicate that the additional absorption losses for broadcasts in the 9.6 MHZ band may be in the order of 20 db. For absorption in the 6 MHZ band the losses may be much higher than 20 db. Even under the best conditions, according to our mid-latitude predictions, we do not have 20 db of margin on our propagation paths. If there are frequent absorption losses of this magnitude, then our attempt to broadcast to Europe from Anchor Point may be in vain.
“We cannot afford to install a costly curtain dipole antenna aimed toward Europe unless we have reasonable assurance that a high quality signal can be transmitted into Europe on a regularly scheduled basis.”
As the year 1980 was drawing to a close F. M. had worked quite intensively on the Anchor Point short wave radio station project for about six months. It appeared at this time that he was going to have to “bring into question” some of the prime objectives of the project. It seems that a site in Alaska had been chosen at least partially because Alaska was close (only just over the pole) to Europe. Now F. M. was going to have to make the point that propagation paths over the pole possibly were not viable!
On December 12, 1980 F. M. bore his heart in a four page letter warning and explaining the particulars of the problem. The entire letter is preserved in the archives. Part of the letter is quoted below:
“Dear Bob, It is with a heavy heart that I write to you tonight. The propagation analysis made for us by TCI, together with some slight additional knowledge about the aurora that I am gaining, is beginning to convince me that it is not feasible to try to broadcast from Anchor Point over the pole (auroral zone) to Europe and western Russia. In short, I am beginning to have serious doubts that a “readable” signal can be placed over Europe from Anchor Point, even if we use the maximum practicable power (250 KW transmitter and a maximum gain curtain dipole antenna.)
“On the good side, however, I am convinced that we can broadcast to the far east, Japan, China, eastern Siberia, Korea, and even the Philippine Islands and the Malay Peninsula area from Anchor Point without problems. We can do this with a 100 KW transmitter and a curtain dipole antenna.
“Let me discuss the good paths first. The good paths are the paths which do not intersect the auroral zone. ... [In the letter there followed a discussion of how the paths would stay viable over the best and worst case conditions of the eleven year sunspot cycle.]
“Now for the bad news. Under worst case [sunspot] conditions, even disregarding losses due exclusively to the aurora, the paths to central Russia and all the other paths across Europe will have excessive losses. The analysis shows that signals to these areas will be very weak, not really of good enough quality to attract any listeners. When we consider the fact that there will be additional auroral losses not taken into effect by this analysis, all of the paths crossing the aurora become effectively blacked out.
“Under best [sunspot] conditions, disregarding losses due exclusively to the aurora, the paths [to central Russia and across Europe] all look good [in the TCI report]. However, I fear this is misleading. The losses due to the aurora are likely to be quite large. [There followed a discussion of how forced selection of lower frequencies would cause the signal to noise ratios in listener’s receivers to drop to unacceptable levels.] If we cannot broadcast through the auroral zone in the worst case conditions or the best case conditions, then we are not likely to be successful in broadcasting through the aurora at any time on a regular, scheduled basis.
“As you know, from the very beginning of our considerations we have expected to have infrequent periods of ‘blacked out’ propagation on paths across the auroral one, ... I had figured that we could live with these black outs.
“However, I am learning now that there is an extra amount of absorption by the aurora causing signal losses at all times. The aurora exists at all times. The ‘normal’ or ‘average’ absorption of radio signals by the aurora is inversely proportional to the square of the frequency. This means that the loss due to the aurora is relatively small at the higher frequencies but that it increases very fast as the frequencies get lower. I made some rough calculations using data generated by the Department of Commerce’s Boulder labs which indicates the absorption by a signal in the 6 MHZ band which goes completely across the aurora (intersecting the auroral donut in two places) may be 20 db or more. If the loss is this much, it cannot be overcome by doubling or even tripling the transmitter power.”
Since this was F. M.’s first experience with radio signal paths which might intersect the aurora, he thought it best that expert advice be sought before actually revising the WCBC plans. In this long letter he suggested to Bob Scott that Dr. Hunsucker again be contacted and asked to critique the TCI propagation report and F. M.’s own tentative conclusions that broadcasts would not be viable.
His letter comments continued:
“Pending the receipt of additional information from Dr. Hunsucker, I am starting to think about what we should do to accomplish our objectives in spite of the problems associated with the Anchor Point to Europe paths. My thoughts are as follows:
“We need a different site or sites for broadcasting to Europe and Russia. A site in Maine or eastern Canada would be ideally suited for a great part of Europe (England, France, Germany, Poland, southern Russia, and all the countries of southern Europe) and North Africa. ...
“For broadcasting to the Scandinavian countries and northern Russia (including Moscow) ... the best sites would be in North Africa or the Persian Gulf.
“For broadcasting to the far east the only sites that would be better than Anchor Point would be Guam, Saipan, or the Philippine Islands. ...
“Why not go ahead with the Anchor Point station just for the [far] eastern broadcasts [actually broadcasts beamed in a westerly direction from Anchor Point rather than northwesterly or north]. Anchor Point is a good location for that purpose. ...
“If we go ahead with the Anchor Point station we are now set to move ahead rapidly. The propagation analysis [for Siberia, China, and the Pacific rim countries] is the best we can get and sufficient to assure us of success. We can go ahead with a first phase estimate within our cost estimate ($1.5 million). The 100 KW transmitter is fully adequate if we use the high gain curtain dipole antenna. One curtain dipole will get us started. Its slewing ability through more than 60 degrees will be sufficient to cover the azimuth angle. We will undoubtedly need to add a second curtain dipole antenna as a second phase in order to increase the frequency coverage.
“I believe God is guiding us to keep us from making costly mistakes. I’ll let you know what Dr. Hunsucker says about our auroral paths as soon as I hear from him.
“Charlotte and I are loading up our house trailer now for a trip to Alabama for Christmas holidays with my mother. I am taking along all my WCBC files and will continue working from my portable office. My mail will be forwarded. In His service, F. M. Perry.”
January 1981 -
F. M. was quite anxious to know what Dr. Hunsucker’s reply would be concerning his gloomy attitude toward broadcasting over paths which traverse the aurora. Dr. Hunsucker promptly replied in early January 1981. He said the “additional absorption” calculations F. M. was using based on an old paper (NBS Circular 462) “do not apply.” The gist of his letter was that much more was now known by scientists about the aurora than was presented in the outdated paper on which F. M. based his calculations. He discussed in his reply the complicated effects and losses that the aurora does produce on radio signals but concluded with the following recommendations:
“1. I believe that you can successfully broadcast to European listeners for a sufficient number of hours per day by utilizing the upper end of the HF spectrum as noted.
“2. Utilize your 11.8, 13.9, 15.2 frequencies (particularly 13.9 MHZ) for the transpolar paths with a good antenna system giving low takeoff angles.
“3. Keep your antenna horizontal beamwidth relatively broad so as to take advantage of non-great-circle (NGC) propagation modes.”
F. M.’s reported his advice to Robert Scott as follows:
“Dr. Hunsucker has replied. A copy of the letter is enclosed. The news is good, at least with respect to my gloomy attitude in my last letter. ... Dr. Hunsucker believes that we can successfully broadcast to European listeners for a certain number of hours per day. This is good news to me because I was rather discouraged by my own calculations. My calculations were based on National Bureau of Standards recommendations way back in 1948. Dr. Hunsucker says they ‘do not apply.’
“Dr. Hunsucker’s papers indicate that there is additional absorption of radio signals in the auroral zone but that it may not be as great as I was anticipating except during infrequent periods of ionospheric disturbances. And Dr. Hunsucker indicates that there may be some compensating factors that will get the signals through in spite of additional absorption. I conclude that our transmissions over-the-pole to Europe are going to be experimental for the first few years of operations. Dr. Hunsucker’s remarks simply indicate that he thinks we have a good chance of working out a broadcast schedule that will be make these broadcasts worthwhile.
“This is probably the best advice we are going to get. I do not feel that it is solid enough to base our FCC application on it. We might plan our initial installation to beam signals to Europe. And we might have little or no trouble getting the FCC permit. But, it is far more certain if we plan our initial installation to beam signals to Japan, Korea, and China (also Eastern Siberia). Then, after a year or two of successful operations in that direction, we can add an antenna beamed toward Europe and start experimental operations in that direction while continuing the programming toward the original countries.
“Dave Hudson said, in his reply to my inquiry about his services, that he thought we will have little or no trouble getting an FCC permit to broadcast to the Far East (Japan, China, Korea). He thought we did not have enough data to be assured of transmissions to Europe. He has recommended we start by petitioning for a license to broadcast to the Far East.”
Summary of Changes to Original Concept Between June 1980 and January 1981.
The concept of an Alaskan short wave radio station had been first presented to F. M. by the original planners as primarily a means to broadcast the gospel over-the-north-pole to Europe (especially to the European Soviet Union countries) and to the Middle East, and secondarily a means to broadcast to Far Eastern countries (China, Korea, Japan, etc.).
F. M. came on the job with WCBC with no preconceived notions about the concept except an awareness that no major broadcasters were using the over-the-pole route for short wave radio broadcasting. F. M. was highly willing to tackle the construction of the first station to go over-the-pole if it was feasible. The first complete transmitter/antenna system envisioned by Engineer Germaine (Jim) Lockwood was theoretically well conceived to do the broadcasts that advisor Dr. Hunsucker believed could be done. That system consisted of the 250,000 watt Mayre transmitter and the HCJB mechanically steerable high gain antenna.
F. M. advised against using the Mayre transmitter because it had to be “home built.” His advice at that time did not preclude the use of a transmitter of similar 250,000 watt power output as long as it was of guaranteed factory production. F. M. also advised against using the HCJB antenna because it also had to be “home built.” He considered it not impossible but not wise to undertake the uncertainties of in-house construction of such important equipment when guaranteed performance could be achieved by commercially available equipment. Moreover, shipping and installation schedules would be guaranteed with commercially purchased equipment and this would be very important to bringing the station on-the-air on schedule. F. M. advised that transmitter power output be reduced to 100,000 watts only when it became clear that this amount of transmitter power into a commercially available high gain curtain dipole antenna would provide at lower cost as much good listener coverage as the medium could support.
The changes in concept for the Anchor Point station can be traced during the first few months of F. M.’s tenure as Director of Engineering by the changes in the site plan showing placement of antennas on the 71 acre site. By this time, January 1981, the first phase construction concept had pretty well settled down to be a single 100,000 watt transmitter and a single TCI Model 611 curtain dipole antenna array capable of being slewed from 270 degrees to 330 degrees in azimuth. [This is what was actually installed and brought on-the-air in 1983. FMP] First phase project construction was limited by the original $1.5 million cap set by the Board of Directors, although realistically the estimate had already risen to about $1.7 million. The most up to date conceptual site plan at that time would have also shown other antennas, planned for other later phases of construction. On conceptual site plans for future construction phases were two other TCI Model 611 curtain dipole arrays bore sighted due north for possible experimental over-the-pole broadcasting to Europe. [That space on the Anchor Point site still stands vacant in 2006 for possible installation of those antennas. FMP] Also a site plan illustrated the possibility of placing a TCI Model 521 log periodic antenna in the southwest corner of the site for broadcasting to Canada and South America (with incidental coverage of much of the United States).
F. M. expressed his thoughts concerning buildings on the site in a letter dated January 7, 1981 to Richard Perkins, an Alaskan architect, who had already volunteered to serve as architect for the project (both F. M. and Richard Perkins were preparing to attend a WCBC Board of directors meeting in Abilene in late February 1981):
“I do not anticipate the building of living quarters for personnel on WCBC property. We may place one or more mobile home units on the property sometime. But we do not have to complicate our initial building effort by providing living quarters. Housing for personnel can be found in Anchor Point or in Homer.
“Although I am open to other ideas, I envision most equipment and operations being contained in a single building. I would like to see a building “shell” of optimum size for our ultimate station operation erected during the first phase of the construction. However the interior of the building may be developed in stages. Although we will start operations with one transmitter, there should be space for three transmitters. Although we will start operations with one or two studios, there should be space for four or five studios.
“The transmitters should be arranged, if possible, so that the transmitter technician can see the front panels of all three transmitters from one central location. In addition, if possible, it is desirable that each studio have a window view to the transmitter control technician. This arrangement will allow operation with a minimum of personnel.
“We will need, of course, space for administrative offices, space for people to work in handling mail (of which I hope we get a lot), space for people to work in preparing material which we will mail out, space for spare parts storage, workshop-maintenance area, rest rooms, visitor’s reception area, etc.
“The 100,000 watt transmitter generates a lot of heat which must be removed from the transmitter cabinet. All, or part, of this heat can be used to heat the building. The excess heat from the transmitter may be enough to heat the building when the transmitter is operating. But, we will need auxiliary heat in the building when the transmitter is not operating.
“Enclosed are a couple of tentative plot plans for our property. One shows only one antenna aimed toward Japan, China, Korea, E. Russia. This is the antenna we will probably start with. Later we may add all the other antennas shown on the other plot plan. Right now the propagation paths over the north pole (through the aurora) to Europe are in doubt and we may not construct them. The antennas which I show aimed at Canada and South America are questionable also. I just showed all these antennas on the plot plan to indicate how we might develop the site in the future.”
Richard Perkins promptly answered F. M.’s letter as follows:
“I do not see any problem with the layout you sent me. The greatest concern that I expect we will have from a construction point of view will be soils. I understand there has been some soils investigation and if you have some information would you please bring it to Abilene. It would not be unusual to find peat as much as 15 feet thick in this area.
“Do you have any information on the weights and wind pressures for the antenna? It will be necessary to design them for high winds and seismic zone 4. Hopefully we can do this without the use of mass concrete since it will be approximately $150-$200 per cubic yard delivered to the site, depending upon a number of factors.
“I expect to discuss the building in detail with you in Abilene.”
[Dick Perkin’s comment about the cost of concrete delivered to site did not make any great
impression on F. M. at that moment. But the high cost of concrete later became a major problem and caused a major redesign of the antenna guy wire anchoring system.]
(To be continued).