FROM PROMISE T0 FULFILLMENT, Part 5.
“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 follow-up operations of The World Christian Broadcasting Corporation’s international short wave radio station KNLS at Anchor Point, Alaska.
On January 26, 1981 F. M. sent Bob Scott an up dated estimate of first phase construction costs at Anchor Point:
“The estimate still comes out to $1,500,000 but without any contingency. The final item on my list for miscellaneous and contingency is $200,000 (making a total of $1,700,000.) The estimates for major equipment are actual quotations. We may be able to buy some used studio equipment but studio equipment costs are relatively minor ($18,627). Transportation, engineering, expert labor in the field, and site installation costs are all “guesstimates.” We should use quite a bit of semi-skilled labor which might be donated.
“As you know, some donated labor will be really helpful, some will be ‘somewhat useful,’ and some might be ‘downright harmful’ to the effort. It’s just human nature. Lots of people want to help but really don’t want to put out much effort in the crunch. Some may want to go to Alaska for the adventure of it. But, if we are careful in who we encourage to come and help us, we can have a wonderful experience and get the work done fairly efficiently, I think.
“We plan to leave here (home in northern Virginia) about February 16, go through Alabama (to visit F. M.’s mother in Fairhope), then to Abilene by evening of Feb. 20 (for WCBC Board of Director’s meeting in Abilene on Feb. 21). See you then, F. M.”
February - 1981
F. M. and Charlotte traveled via Alabama to Abilene, Texas by car pulling their Airstream travel trailer, planning to remain a while in Abilene after the Board meeting to use the WCBC office there to work on the Anchor Point project. Bob Scott had prepared an office for F. M. to use.
At the Board of Directors meeting in Abilene, F. M. advised the Board of his assessment that broadcasts over-the-pole to Europe were problematic and would have to be experimental at best. References in the correspondence archives indicate that some members of the Board had attached in their thinking the highest priority to the establishment of broadcasts over the pole into the European Soviet Union. They were concerned to learn that propagation through the aurora was problematic. In their thinking broadcasts from Anchor Point to the Far East were of second priority and might be addressed in a second stage of construction. However, references in correspondence after this Board of Director’s meeting indicate that the Board-approved concept from then on was to first construct broadcast facilities towards the Far East and to construct experimental facilities for over-the-pole broadcasting to Europe later, but as soon as possible. While in Abilene F. M. discussed with Bob Scott the question of what to do about experimental broadcasts to Europe. Knowing the desire of the Board of directors, Bob suggested that if experimental broadcasts were to be conducted as soon as possible, they should be included in the FCC application then being prepared.
F. M. and Charlotte remained in Abilene for a few days but decided not to stay longer at that time because of their concern for F. M.’s mother in Alabama who was ill.
March 1981 -
After leaving Abilene F. M. and Charlotte returned to Fairhope, Alabama to spend most of the month of March with F. M.’s aged mother who lived and kept house alone at age 85. (She did have the help of a dear grandson, Richard Perry, who lived next door with his family.) F. M. carried pertinent files with him as he traveled and was able to continue daily work on the technical aspects of the FCC application through the use of telephone and postal correspondence.
After thinking about Bob Scott’s suggestion of including in the FCC application some form of experimental broadcasting to Europe through the aurora, F. M. made the following two suggestions in a letter from Alabama dated March 15, 1981:
1) F. M. pointed out that the TCI curtain dipole array antenna installation he was recommending (primarily for broadcasting to the Far East) would have a beam which could be slewed at one extreme to 330 degrees azimuth propagating that beam through at least a part of the aurora toward central Russia (Novosibirsk and Omsk) and even into European Russia. This beam could be fired up at any time with Russian language broadcasts. It would be considered experimental because the broadcasts would be firing through a part of the aurora. The success of these broadcasts would give us some data concerning propagation through the aurora.
2) In addition, F. M. suggested that, in lieu of erecting toward the north another full scale TCI curtain dipole array antenna costing about $353,000 (plus installation costs), a log periodic array antenna costing only about $55,000 might be purchased and aimed due north to fire directly through the aurora toward Europe. A drawback would be that the log periodic antenna would not have enough gain to provide the final high quality broadcast service that WCBC desired to Europe. But F. M. theorized that the experimental use of the log periodic antenna could supply data to indicate if it would be worthwhile to follow up with later installation of the more expensive curtain dipole array antenna.
These suggestions were accepted and the final configuration of the site plan for the FCC application called for one 100,000 watt transmitter and two antennas: a TCI Model 611 curtain dipole array oriented to slew its beam through 270, 285, 300, 315, and 330 degrees of azimuth and a TCI Model 521 log periodic array oriented toward 360 degrees azimuth. [Although this was a best effort method of dealing with the wishes of Board members and others who wanted to get ready to broadcast over-the-pole to Europe, it was misunderstood by many. Especially was it misunderstood by some technicians who, not understanding the experimental and low cost aspects, just thought we had put in too small an antenna to do the job!]
Finally back home in Virginia, F. M. reported to Bob Scott by letter dated March 20, 1981 the following:
“I am trying to keep up with everything necessary to get our FCC application ready by May 30. Then when you have the funds assured, there will be no more hold up in submission. I have sent quite a bit of material to David Hudson [our FCC application advisor] and I again suggested that he plan to go to Alaska, if he thinks it necessary, during the time in May when you go. ... I have talked further with TCI’s Washington representative, Bob Ankers, and am awaiting the last bit of information about the antennas - the weight in pounds on each of the tower foundations. Dick Perkins indicated he would design (or have designed) the tower foundations based on weight of the towers and information he will develop concerning soil and earthquake conditions.
“Bob, I found it quite pleasant and efficient working in the office you provided for me. However, for the time being, perhaps through the summer, I will continue to work in Virginia. There may be some advantage in being near Washington after our application goes in. When we get to the point where we are purchasing and shipping, I probably should be in Abilene. As you know, I am willing and desire to go anywhere that is needful to help the project. I expect to go to Anchor Point whenever necessary, and to go there to live when full construction activity gets underway. I am looking forward to it. ... I really would like to get on-the-air in 1983. It is getting real tight, however.”
By this time much activity was evident over the United States by various members of the Board of Directors and Friends of WCBC to make members of the church aware of the effort now started in earnest to construct and operate a short wave radio station in Alaska which would broadcast the gospel of Christ across the Iron and Bamboo curtains into the Soviet Union and China. Especially active in publishing newsletters was WCBC Director Gayle Crowe, at that time living in Chatham, New Jersey. He wrote to F. M. as follows:
“Dear F. M., The enclosed copy of WCBC News is fresh from the printer yesterday (March 31, 1981). 10,000 copies are on their way to Nashville to be used as an informing and fund-raising tool for us.
“The drawing and your article I think came out beautifully. The fund-raisers in Nashville say they intend to use the drawing for some of their purposes. I had to condense your article just a bit for space-saving purposes, but in the main it is used as it came from your typewriter. Many thanks for the time you spent on it. ... In fact, I liked it so much I would like an encore. ... Cordially, Gayle Crowe.”
April 1981 -
In a letter dated April 17, 1981, Dick Perkins, our Alaskan Architect, reported with some important information needed for inclusion in the FCC application for a Construction Permit. He sent along topographic maps showing our Anchor Point site. He had determined that the center of our curtain dipole antenna, as planned on our site plan, would lie at 151 degrees, 43 minutes, 56 seconds West Latitude, and 56 degree, 44 minutes, 58 seconds North Longitude. The base of the antenna would be at 300 feet altitude above sea level. He included the following statement regarding antenna tower foundation design:
“Statement Regarding Foundations for Towers: The results from the single test hole that has been dug is inconclusive. It will be possible to build the antenna in the area of good sized trees. Such trees indicate good drainage and hence good soil conditions. It should be possible to use conventional foundations on non-frost susceptible soil. However, if more extensive soil tests indicate frost susceptible clays or silts we could use either drilled steel or driven wooden pilings. The type used would depend largely upon the type of equipment available at the time. Whatever type of foundation is used, it will be designed by an Alaskan structural engineer who is thoroughly familiar with local soil, seismic and wind requirements.”
[Note that there is no mention of permafrost below the surface or in the soil of the antenna site. Despite reports to the contrary, that type of Alaskan phenomenon is not present on the Kenai Peninsula in the area of Anchor Point.]
In a letter dated April 17, 1981 F. M. wrote to Bob and Sue Austin who had so helpfully assisted F. M. and Charlotte on their first trip to Anchor Point in 1980:
“This is just a note to let you know that some of us from WCBC will be visiting you in a couple of weeks. The main objective of this trip will be to show the WCBC property to Bob Scott. Bob will be bringing his wife, Bernice. My wife will not be coming with me. Dick Perkins will be coming down from Anchorage to join us. I’ll leave the Washington, DC area on Sunday evening. May 3rd and arrive in Anchorage that same evening at 10:30 PM. My sister and her husband will meet me at the Anchorage airport. Bob and Bernice will be flying up to Anchorage on the morning of May 4th. We all hope to drive down to Anchor Point before the day is over on May 4th.
“Although you may not have heard much from WCBC for several months, we are going ‘full steam.’ Bob expects to have the full amount of money to install the station by July of this year (1981). We cannot submit our FCC application until we have the funds. Hopefully we will get our FCC permit before summer of 1982 and work will start in earnest by the summer of 1982. We will be hoping to bring the station on-the-air by late 1983. (That may be a bit optimistic.)”
May 1981 -
Were it not for references in surviving correspondence copies F. M. would have little recollection of his trip to Anchor Point in early May 1981. After the trip, in a letter to Norman Lowell Smith and his wife, Elizabeth, F. M. wrote:
“Dear Norman and Libby, I really enjoyed my two day visit with you early this month. It was good to talk with you about subjects of mutual concern. I admire your dedication to our Savior and His purposes. Charlotte and I are looking forward to the opportunity of moving to your community and being more closely associated with you, perhaps next year. Libby, the breakfasts were delicious. Give my regards to Andy and give him my thanks for lending me his bed.
“Bob Scott and I feel that our short visit was very worthwhile. Bob got to see the property and the area first hand. We eliminated any nagging thoughts concerning the possibility that other sites might be better than the one we have. Our talk with representatives of Homer Electric opened up the definite possibility that we can get power lines extended to us at about 1/3 the previously quoted cost. This came through the consideration of the route along the Section line and across your property (the route we looked at on our last morning with you). Homer Electric was only willing to consider this route with your permission. We certainly thank you for your willingness to let the power line cross your land.”
During this trip to Anchor Point, F. M. And Bob Scott learned that the officials of the Kenai Borough were planning to hold a public hearing to hear complaints from the residents of the Anchor Point area concerning the environmental impact of the short wave radio station on the surrounding community. This was a surprise because Borough officials had informed F. M. on his visit to the Borough office in 1980 that the Borough would require nothing from WCBC prior to construction. At that time the official had stated, “if it’s approved by the FCC it’s all right by us.” No building permit was required by the Kenai Borough. But we had no choice but to make sure that WCBC had representation at the public hearing. In a letter to Bob Scott dated May 13, 1981 F. M. wrote:
“I am preparing the environmental statement (first draft) for the hearing in Kenai as well as for our FCC application. I’ll send you a copy in a few days. TCI engineers are working for me to calculate the field strength of our signals in houses around Anchor Point. (Remember, I mentioned that I am a little concerned about the possibility of interference with TV reception.) The TCI representative in Washington thinks there will be no problem. However, he is having an engineer at his home office in California check it out by calculations.”
Some opposition was beginning to be evident among some people of the Anchor Point area to the installation of an international short wave radio transmitting station in their area. Some of our own actions may have given ‘ammunition’ to the opposition. Our own attorney, Mr. C. R. Baldwin, had studied all the statutes of the Kenai Borough and had found a statute giving a general restriction on “hazardous use” of land. He had gone to Borough officials to ask if there was any possibility this restriction might apply to the WCBC land. If so, Mr. Baldwin wanted to head off any opposition by having the Borough officials give WCBC a waiver. Mr. Baldwin was surprised to have the officials reply that they did not know if the “hazardous use” statute applied to short wave broadcasting or not. Shortly after that the officials decided to have a public hearing on the matter. F. M. believes that the few people of Anchor Point, who at that point were opposed to having a short wave radio station in Anchor Point, seized upon the “hazardous use” statute to try to stop the building of the station on grounds that it would be “hazardous” to the people of Anchor Point. Of course, the Borough officials knew full well that the FCC rules and regulations covered the protection of the public around a licensed radio station from anything “hazardous” connected with broadcasting. However, there was such a growing cry from the opposition group that the Borough decided it would be expedient to have a public hearing on the matter. Actually, under the circumstances of possible growing opposition, a public hearing seemed to present an opportunity for WCBC to make a presentation before the local community which might turn out to be helpful.
At first there were heard only rumors of a public hearing and it was assumed it would be held in Kenai, some distance from Anchor Point. We planned to send our newly hired attorney, Mr. C. R. Baldwin of Kenai to the hearing. Our Architect, Mr. Dick Perkins, volunteered to attend the hearing and speak for us. We thought this would take care of the matter. We began preparation by trying to get the facts about the safety precautions being planned into the hands of our representatives at the meeting. (But the circumstances changed as you will see as you follow the progress below.)
In preparation for the public hearing F. M. prepared for general information the following statement:
“Statement concerning "hazardous use" of WCBC property near Anchor Point.
“Electromagnetic energy radiated from a high powered radio transmitting antenna may be hazardous to the health of human beings if they are exposed at close range over long periods of time. This non-ionizing radiation (as opposed to ionizing radiation produced by atomic reactions and decaying isotopes) is generally harmless to humans unless it is of unusual intensity such as the intensity produced by high powered radar antennas, the intensity produced by international short wave broadcast antennas, and the intensity produced by microwave ovens (normally confined within the oven).
“If intense enough, electromagnetic radiation can cause a heating effect in the body in much the same way that the radiation within a microwave oven heats the foodstuffs placed in them. The degree of harm that might be produced in any part of the human body depends on the amount of temperature rise and that, in turn, depends upon the intensity of the radiation and the length of exposure time.
“A growing number of U. S. researchers now also argue that there are non-thermal biological effects that may be caused by field intensities too weak to cause gross heating of tissues. These effects also would depend upon the intensity and the length of exposure time.
“There is a U. S. consensus standard on electromagnetic radiation exposure safety limits proposed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) contained in ANSI document C95.4. It is generally agreed by broadcast radio engineers in the U. S. that this safety standard should be observed, and it is the intent of WCBC to observe it. It will not allow human beings to continually reside or to remain for long periods in any portion of a broadcast station's antenna beam where the field intensity exceeds the safety limit.
“WCBC, at its station site near Anchor Point, plans to eventually utilize two identical antennas. Each of these antennas (TCI Model 611) has a single narrow beam of electromagnetic radiation which will be electrically steerable through 3 beam positions. One antenna will be able to aim its beam at 270 degrees, 300 degrees, or 330 degrees (referred to true north). The other antenna will be able to aim its beam at 330 degrees, 0 degrees, or 30 degrees (referred to true north). These angles establish the directions from the antennas towards which the safety limits must be observed. Allowing for the width of the beams, these angular limits should be such as to describe the area from 258 degrees northward to 42 degrees.
“The field intensity of the radiation in these beams varies inversely as the square of the distance from the antenna. This means that the field intensity of the radiation falls off very rapidly with distance from the antenna. The field intensity set as a completely safe limit, with no time restriction, is 61 volts per meter (equivalent to a power density of 1.0 milli-watts per square centimeter). This safe limit is reached at a distance of 2,700 feet from the WCBC antenna (TCI Model 611). (Please refer to the field intensity curve for this antenna.) This means that it will be safe for human beings to reside continually in areas of the beam directions which are 2,700 feet or more from the antenna. Conversely, it may be unsafe for human beings to reside within the area defined by azimuth angles 258 degrees northward to 42 degrees within a radius of 2.700 feet from the antennas (see maps of site).
“It should be noted that the area defined above as safe will be well within the limit set by ANSI. In addition to the safety factor incorporated in the field intensity limit itself, the land slopes downward to the west and northwest away from the antennas, and the narrow radiation beams slope upward at an angle of 7 degrees or more. This configuration indicates that actual field intensity levels at 2,700 feet radius from the antenna structure will be even less than the limit set as safe by ANSI. [Unfortunately F. M. failed to make clear that at 2700 feet ground radius from the antenna people at ground level would not be affected by the beam because it would be several hundred feet in the air over their heads.]
“In choosing its site of 71.35 acres in the northwest corner of Section 18 near nchor Point, WCBC noted that adjacent land to the west, northwest and north is uninhabited marshland (muskeg) interspersed with small areas of stunted spruce trees. Such land is unsuitable for permanent residences. Therefore, WCBC considered this site suitable for the erection of its station facilities.”
This “Statement Concerning Hazardous Use and the Field Intensity Drawing” was filed with the Borough Planning Commission before the Public Hearing was set up or announced. [At the time these documents were first filed with the Borough, F. M. had no data to indicate the actual (vs theoretical) RF field intensity around the TCI Model 611 antenna. So F. M. calculated the field intensity in the most conservative theoretical way, calling for a protected area 2700 feet wide in front of the antenna. Before the actual hearing occurred, however, F. M. was able to get actual data from users of the antenna that enabled him to lower the unsafe protected width from 2700 feet to 750 feet. A correction was made at the public hearing, as indicated in notes below.]
In a letter to Dick Perkins dated May 21, 1981 F. M. wrote:
“Dear Dick, I understand you volunteered to represent WCBC engineering at the hearing that may be set up concerning an “exception” to the Code of Ordinances of Kenai Borough allowing us to make an “hazardous use” of our radio station property. (I guess that is what the hearing will be about.) I appreciate your willingness to do this and I believe you, with your experience in Alaska, will be the best one to be present to testify at the hearing. Enclosed is some material I have compiled that will be pertinent at the hearing.
“Incidentally, the antenna manufacturer, TCI, informs me that the weight of each of our 350 foot towers for our large antenna will be 99,700 pounds (use 100,000 pounds). This is the total weight on one tower foundation due to the tower and the antenna and curtain.”
June 1981 -
Mr. Don Ledger of Anchor Point was especially helpful to WCBC in contacts with Homer Electric Assn. (HEA). In early June F. M. wrote to Don as follows:
“Dear Don, I sure did enjoy my visit with you and all the other folks at Anchor Point last month. I think our visit with Bob Ditton and Jim Evans of HEA may turn out to be the most profitable to us. We had previously been told that the cost to put power on WCBC property would be over $150,000. HEA was planning to bring the power in from somewhere west of the WCBC property. Now as you know, they are thinking of bringing the power in to the property from the south along the section line between sections 13 and 18. On this route they will have to run just over 3/4 mile of line to reach WCBC property, then perhaps another 1/4 mile after reaching the property. This should be considerably cheaper than the first route.
“Apparently HEA had been hesitating to mention this route because some easements would have to be obtained. One easement they were worrying about was across Norman Lowell Smith’s property. As you know, Norman has consented to this easement.
“While we were discussing the situation in Bob Ditton’s office, I understood Jim Evans to say that he would go ahead and try to obtain all the necessary easements to bring the power line along the section line between sections 13 and 18. If I heard correctly, Bob Ditton gave his “blessing” for Jim Evans to go ahead with that.
“Don, we would appreciate it if you would discreetly inquire to see that they are going ahead with this. We would like to have assurance that the power can be brought in over the more economical route. Also we would like to have, as soon as possible, an estimate of the cost of the installation to us. This new lower cost may enable us to substantially lower our total installation cost. If so, it will allow us to reach our funding goal sooner and to submit our FCC application sooner. (We have to have all our installation funds on-hand before the FCC will accept our application.)”
During this month Bob Scott suggested the possibility of holding a fund raising dinner in the Washington, DC/Northern Virginia area. F. M. began gathering names and addresses for a guest list for such a dinner. The dinner was tentatively scheduled for sometime in August 1981.
F. M. and Jim Lockwood corresponded frequently and Jim was a fertile source of ideas in how to equip the studios and control the audio inputs to the transmitter. F. M. remembers getting a long hand written letter from Jim’s wife, Lorene, making suggestions on how to house and feed volunteer workers who might come to Alaska to help with the construction work.
July 1981 -
F. M. continued correspondence with Engineering Advisor Dave Hudson concerning the FCC application. The engineering portion of the application was essentially complete. Also F. M. continued to correspond with Bob Scott about plans for a fund raising dinner in the DC area, and with Jim Lockwood about how to enlist volunteer labor for the Anchor Point site.
August 1981 -
Concerning the possible public hearing to be held by the Borough of Kenai to discuss the “Hazardous Use” of WCBC property, our lawyer, Mr. C. R. Baldwin wrote to Bob Scott:
“Dear Bob: Last night I appeared on behalf of WCBC before the Kenai Peninsula Borough Planning Commission. After my presentation, the Commission determined that they would prefer to hold a public hearing on the question at Anchor Point. No date has been set for the public hearing, and none will be until I can coordinate with Dick Perkins.
“Prior to the time for the public hearing, all of the property owners in the vicinity will be contacted by the Borough by certified mail and advised of the existence of the hearing. I would like to be able to have someone from our organization approach these property owners before they receive the certified mail notice.
“I have a call in to Dick Perkins and look forward to working with him in this effort. Please continue to pray for a successful outcome to this phase of the project. Very truly yours, C. R. Baldwin.”
September 1981 -
Shortly after receiving this letter from Mr. Baldwin the public hearing was scheduled to be held at Anchor Point on September 21, 1981. Bob Scott asked F. M. Perry to go to Alaska to be on hand for the hearing. The architect, Dick Perkins, WCBC’s Alaska expert for the hearing, had an emergency health problem at the last minute and was unable to attend. The task of representing WCBC fell to Attorney C. R. Baldwin and Engineer F. M. Perry.
Report of Trip to Alaska, September 18-24, 1981, by F. M. Perry, Director of Engineering, WCBC.
Date of report: September 28, 1981.
Purpose of Trip:
The major purpose of the trip was to appear with out attorney, Mr. C. R. Baldwin, at a Public Hearing at Anchor Point, Alaska, on September 21,1981. The hearing was called by the Planning Commission of Kenai Borough to assist the commissioner's determination whether or not to grant to WCBC an exception to Chapter 21.12 of the Code of Ordinances concerning hazardous use of the WCBC property.
Another purpose of the trip was to investigate a radio tower at Anchor Point which was erected during the summer of 1981 approximately 1 ½ miles in front of the WCBC antenna site. It was deemed necessary to determine if there would be any interference between the WCBC station equipment and equipment to be installed on the tower.
Other purposes were to contact the Homer Electric Association to determine progress being made in obtaining easements for electric power lines to WCBC property, and to contact representatives of other Anchor Point community services such as the Volunteer Fire Department.
Summary Results of Trip:
The Planning Commission of Kenai Borough voted unanimously to approve that granting of an exception to Chapter 21.12 of the Code of Ordinances thereby clearing the way for WCBC to proceed with the obtaining of an easement from the State of Alaska and installation of the WCBC radio station. (See attached detailed report of the Public Hearing below).
The radio tower erected during the summer of 1981 in front of the WCBC antenna
site was found to be a micro-wave relay tower belonging to the State of Alaska. I contacted the state engineers in Anchorage and we mutually agreed that the two installations (WCBC short wave station and the State micro-wave tower installation) probably would not interfere with each other. The State engineers offered to give WCBC any information that might be helpful in completing the short wave station. (See further information below.)
Homer Electric Association is awaiting clarification of a title to land across which an easement must be obtained. Mr. Matthews of Homer Electric Association indicated they should have the information in October and be able to proceed with the easement at that time. I requested and received permission from Mr. Matthews to have our attorney, Mr. C. R. Baldwin, assist in the title clarification and obtaining of easement.
I contacted the wife of the Chief of the Anchor Point Volunteer Fire Department, the Chief himself not being available, and indicated to her our desire to cooperate with and be of help to the Anchor Point community, especially the Volunteer Fire Department.
Detailed Account of Trip:
September 18. 1981. I departed from Dulles Airport in northern Virginia on the afternoon of Friday, September 18 and arrived in Anchorage, Alaska at 10:30 PM on the same day. Mr. Richard Perkins, an elder of the Anchorage (Debarr Ave.) church, met me at the airport and loaned me his car for transportation while I was in Anchorage. I stayed at the home of my sister's family, Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Seeley, although they were away on a trip during most of my stay.
September 20. 1981. On Sunday, September 20, I attended church at the Debarr Ave. Church of Christ. On Sunday evening at the worship service I gave, at the request of the minister, Bro.
Glenn Randolph, a short summary of WCBC progress to date. I consulted with Bro. Pat McMahon, member of the WCBC Board of Directors, during the day.
After the evening service Bro. Char1ie Jewell, owner of a heating and air conditioning business in Anchorage, offered to donate the heating and air conditioning work for our transmitter/studio building at Anchor Point. Bro. Perkins and I discussed with him the fact that we needed a design to utilize excess transmitter heat for the heating of the building. Bro. Jewell offered to work with Bro. Perkins, our architect, on this design.
September 21, 1981. On Monday, September 21, my brother-in-law, Bro. Floyd Seeley, loaned me his car to drive to Anchor Point. I drove alone to Anchor Point since Bro. Perkins, who had intended to accompany me, had to have emergency dental work done. Enroute to Anchor Point, I stopped in Kenai and consulted with our attorney, Bro. C. R. Baldwin, concerning the public hearing to be held that evening in Anchor Point. I proceeded on to Anchor Point early in the afternoon while Bro. Baldwin followed later just in time for the hearing at 7: 30 PM.
During the afternoon I stopped at the site of the new State micro-wave tower and photographed it. (I did not know at the time whose tower it was.) This tower was erected during the summer of 1981 about 1 1/2 miles in front of the WCBC antenna site. A number of our friends in Anchor Point were concerned that some interference might occur between the WCBC equipment and the equipment to be installed on the tower. Only the tower itself is now installed. It is 268' tall erected with its base at a point 250' above sea level, making the top of the tower 518' above sea level. No equipment except a temporary light was on the tower.
I proceeded to the home of Bro. and Sis. Norman Lowell Smith where I was graciously supplied with meals and quarters during my stay in Anchor Point.
Bro. Smith and I went together to the hearing at 7: 30 PM at the Anchor Point Elementary School. Bro. C. R. Ba1dwin, our attorney, was there as well as a number of people from the Anchor Point Church of Christ and other people from the community. Among the people were Bro. and Sis. Dillinger, Bro. Don Ledger, and Mr. David Becker, owner and operator of KGTL, the FM/AM station at Homer. Mr. Becker told me after the hearing that he would like to help us in any way he could in the installation of the WCBC station. Mr. Becker's testimony at the hearing was very helpful.
The Planning Commission moved our part of the hearing to the very beginning and deliberated on other business after our hearing was over. Although three people publicly stated before the Commission that they were opposed to the installation of the radio station, the Planning Commission voted unanimously and publicly to approve our request for an "exception" to the "hazardous land use" ordinance. This opens the way for us to proceed with the plans to develop the property. (See attached detailed report of the hearing).
September 22, 1981. On Tuesday morning, September 22, after talking with Bro. Bob Scott by telephone, Bro. Kevin Chambers, of the Anchor Point church, came by to see me. He explained that he and his wife have recently moved to Anchor Point from Oregon where he had operated a cabinet making business. He said they had chosen Anchor Point in which to live because the WCBC radio station is to be located there. He is now building a house for his family on the North Shore Road near Anchor Point. Bro. Chambers expressed a strong desire to work full time for WCBC. He said he already has experience as an electronic instrument technician and is now studying to get his FCC radio operator' s license. He is also a skilled cabinet-maker. He said he would be glad to serve WCBC during this fall and winter in helping with the site survey, clearing of timber, obtaining quotations from local contractors for jobs to be done on the site, and generally coordinating activities in the area until others arrive at the site next spring. Bros. Smith, Dillinger, and Ledger all highly recommended Bro. Chambers to do this kind of work. In fact, Bros. Smith and Dillinger urged me to consider Bro. Chambers for this work before I met him. These men said that Bro. Chambers, though young (perhaps 25 to 30 years old), was especially skilled in coordination work of this type. Bro. Smith indicated that the surveyor he is seeking to survey our property (free of charge to WCBC) would need some assistance and suggested Bro. Chambers to furnish that assistance. Bro. Smith also pointed out that Bro. Bill Jones, with whom we have tentatively arranged to remove timber from the property, will need some supervision and help and that Bro. Chambers would be an ideal person to provide this.
Bro. Chambers said he had sent a resume to Bro. Scott a few weeks ago. He asked that we consider him and let him know soon if we want to use him, for he has a possible long term job opportunity with the oil pipeline company. He indicated he would accept a lesser salary to work with WCBC. He indicated he would be able to support himself and work for us this fall and winter if we could employ him full time eventually when we start full construction at the site. (Bro. Chambers is rated as an Instrumentation Technician and has been offered a job in this rating by the oil pipeline company.)
I was favorably impressed by Bro. Chambers and by the strong recommendations of Bros. Smith, Dillinger, and Ledger. I reserved comment, however, until I could review his resume and talk with Bro. Scott about a position for him.
Later in the morning I drove to Homer, Alaska and conferred with Bros. Don Ledger and Bob Austin who are assisting us with details of business in the area. Bro. Ledger accompanied me to the offices of Homer Electric Assn. where we talked with Mr. Sam Matthews. Mr. Jim Evans, who is working to arrange necessary easements for power line to WCBC property, was not in town. However, it was learned that his request for easements was still being held up while the title to certain new property owners is being cleared. Mr. Matthews expected the way to be cleared to request easements in October 1981. I asked and received the permission of Mr. Matthews to have our attorney, Mr. C. R. Baldwin, work with Mr. Evans in the seeking of the easements.
I found that Mr. Don Ledger had determined who owns the new radio tower at Anchor Point and had obtained a name and telephone number for me to contact in Anchorage. I called the number and arranged an interview for the next day in Anchorage. The tower belongs to:
Division of Telecommunications Systems
State of Alaska
5900 East Tudor Road
Anchorage, Alaska 99507
Mr. Melvin Helverson, at telephone 907-269-5744, was said to have information
concerning the tower.
During the afternoon I visited the Austin family, called at the Anchor Point Volunteer Fire Department and talked with the wife of the Fire Chief (the Chief is Mr. Bob Craig), and then hiked across the WCBC property to note the appearance of the State owned property to the north across which we must obtain an easement. A good part of the State land was marshy muskeg with several clumps of trees.
I drove back to Anchorage in the evening.
September 23, 1981. In the morning I called at the office of Mr. Helverson at the Division of Telecommunications Systems. I was referred to an engineer, Mr. Herb Holman. He was very cordial and expressed appreciation that I would call on them to prevent any possible problems of interference between the State systems and our station. He indicated that we did not have to contact them and that the FCC would undoubted1y license us. He could see no problem of interference that might occur.
He said the tower at Anchor Point was to be equipped with a straight-through microwave relay to carry TV programming to the Homer and Seldovia areas beyond Anchor Point. He said that a TV translator might eventually be installed on the tower to distribute TV programs to homes in the Anchor Point area. Following are details of the microwave relay:
Location of tower: 59 degrees 45 minutes 22 seconds Latitude,
151 degrees 46 minutes 21 seconds Longitude.
Height of tower: 268' with base at 250' altitude above sea level.
Receiving frequency in the 6 GHz band, Transmitting frequency in the 2 GHz band, IF at 70 MHz.
Tower is designed for Zone B wind loading for 1/2" radial ice.
Mr. Holman demonstrated to me an earth receiving station which was in operation to receive TV programs from geo-stationary satellites. He gave me names and phone numbers of companies that might assist us to get a satellite channel on which to bring programming to Anchor Point for WCBC. He offered to help us plan and design our own earth receiving station should we desire to install one.
Mr. Holman introduced me to Mr. John Marrone, Deputy Director of the Division of Telecommunications Systems, and Mr. Marrone gave me some information concerning design parameters for wind and ice loading for antenna towers on the Kenai Peninsula.
After this meeting I visited at the Debarr Ave. church building with Bro. Glenn Randolph and Bro. Pat McMahon and attended, the Wednesday evening church service that night.
September 24, 1981. I departed Anchorage at 12:30 AM Thursday and
arrived at Dulles Airport in Virginia at 5:30 PM.
Public Hearing, 9/21/81, 7:30 PM, at Anchor Point Elementary School.
As recollected by F. M. Perry. (See also report by Attorney C. R. Baldwin)
Purpose of Hearing:
(1) To determine if Chapter 21.12 of the Code of Ordinances concerning hazardous use of property applies to the land usage that WCBC plans to make of its property.
(2) To determine if a variance or exception to the ordinance can be granted in the event that the ordinance is found to apply.
(1) The ordinance "may apply."
(2) A" variance" or "exception" is granted to WCBC on the conditions that any hazardous area is completely fenced-in and marked with signs indicating the hazardous nature of the area, that an easement be obtained from the State of Alaska allowing a fence to be erected and signs posted around any part of the hazardous area which falls on Alaska State land, and that access be provided across WCBC property for land owners to the northeast and east of the property.
The decisions were unanimous among Planning Commission members present.
Proceedings were as follows:
Attorney C. R. Baldwin made opening testimony to the Planning Commission. He asked the Commission to first make a determination concerning the applicability of the ordinance. Then he stated the facts concerning the nature of the radiation and the area in the vicinity of the WCBC antennas which might contain hazardous radiation. He concluded by pointing out that the area in which the radiation might have an effect upon the health of human beings would be completely fenced-in and that there would be no hazardous radiation outside the bounds of the fenced-in area. He then called upon Mr. F. M. Perry, engineer, to explain the technical details of the WCBC testimony.
Mr. Perry stated that the area extending 750 feet in front of the antennas and 450 feet to the sides and rear of the antennas would be fenced-in. He stated that no harmful radiation would exist outside the fenced-in area and that, in fact, the 750 foot distance in front of the antennas contained a 200 foot safety factor. (That is, harmful radiation would not extend more than 550 feet in front of the antenna.)
Mr. Perry stated that these distances were determined by calculation of power densities of radiation at various distances from the antennas and by comparison of these calculated power densities to those specified by the American National Standards Institute for safe continuous exposure to RF radiation at the frequencies used by WCBC. He also stated that his calculations were checked by the engineer who designed the antennas and by an engineer who has installed and is using a similar antenna in the Voice of America. A copy of Mr. Perry's calculations had already been presented to the Commission. Also presented was an independent calculation and notarized statement made by Consulting engineer David Hudson of the firm Hammett & Edison, Inc. which also illustrated the fact that the fenced-in area adequately encloses any hazardous radiation.
After Mr. Perry's remarks and some clarifying answers to questions from the Planning Commission, the hearing was opened to remarks by members of the general public. Three statements were made by three different people urging that WCBC be deterred from building the radio station at Anchor Point.
The first statement was simply a statement of opposition without clearly stating the grounds of the opposition.
The second statement was in the form of a warning that radiation from such a radio station can be hazardous with the recommendation that WCBC not be allowed to build at Anchor Point. This statement was made by a man who said he had severe eye trouble caused by such radiation while he was a member of the U. S. armed forces a number of years ago.
The third statement was one which warned of a number of problems which might occur if the station is allowed to build. These problems ranged from health hazards to the people, to interference with amateur radio operations, and to interference with TV reception. This statement contained the accusation that the "dipole" antennas to be used by WCBC were of "1928 vintage" and that the antenna was not property designed to be directive as it should be.
After these statements members of the Planning Commission directed questions to Mr Perry which allowed him to refute the erroneous claims of the statements.
A fourth statement was made by Mr. David Becker, owner and operator of an FM/AM station near Homer, Alaska, refuting erroneous statements that had been made by the three previous people and supporting the testimony made by Mr. C. R. Baldwin and Mr. F. M. Perry.
After these four statements and a number of questions answered by Mr. Perry, the members of the Commission proceeded to address the questions. First, a letter was read from Mr. Philip Maser which stated that he was against the construction of a radio station on the WCBC property because it would reduce the value of his property and because he would lose access to his property.
The commission unanimously seconded and approved a motion that the usage of WCBC property for a radio station may be a hazardous use under the terms of the ordinance. The commission then unanimously seconded and approved a motion to grant a "variance" or "exception" to the ordinance in the case of WCBC use of its land. The conditions of the "exception" were as stated above.
Mr. Baldwin had originally filed with the Planning Commission some weeks prior to the hearing, calculations and maps made by Mr. Perry indicating that the hazardous area might extend in front of the antennas to a distance of 2700 feet. New calculations were presented at the hearing (as indicated above, indicating that the hazardous area would not extend beyond 750 feet in front of the antennas. The Commission was asked to discard the original calculations and maps and substitute the new ones. After some questions the new calculations and maps were accepted. Mr. Perry, in his statement, apologized for any problems the new data might cause and explained that the original calculations and maps had been made by him purposely conservative because (1:) the ANSI standards for safe continuous exposure had not been finally determined, and (2) the characteristics of the antenna near field radiation pattern were not fully known. After the ANSI standard was announced and the antenna characteristics were learned, it was possible to reduce the hazardous radiation limit from 2700 feet to 750 feet retaining an adequate safety factor.
F. M. Perry
Director of Engineering, WCBC.
Plans for the Fund Raising dinner for the Washington, DC area came together nicely with the dinner on September 29, 1981. Perhaps it was the incremental funds from this dinner that brought the total on hand to the sum needed to submit the FCC application. Submission of the FCC application was not announced at the meeting but application was made soon after.
(To be continued.)