August of 2000
A Batman type story.
We received a frantic call for help
from a tower contractor who had contracted another
ground system installer. The
ground system contractor had PROMISED to be at the site on several
occasions for over 2 months. His excuse
was always that this piece of equipment
was somewhere else or that he couldn't
get that piece of rental equipment for X weeks
or etc., etc., etc. He even came to
the site with materials in his truck. He left for breakfast...
and never returned!
The tower crew finally found him a couple of days later in Arkansas. About
300 miles from where he was supposed to be. He promised to come back in a few
days but never appeared.
He had/has a substantial amount of their
money for a "deposit". (The deposit had not
been returned as of
Due to a property issue the old transmitter
site had to be abandoned by a certain date. The
tower was up, the building installed
and everyone was ready to proceed... except for the ground
system contractor. Finally, with
the eviction date drawing near, the transmitter was moved to the
new site and put on the air using 6
temporary radials. With the station owners getting
more _displeased_ with
the situation every day, the tower contractor rented a trencher and started
work themselves. This is the
point at which the fly by night ground system contractor showed
up with materials in his truck and
then left headed for McDonalds... and
never returned. The tower crew
continued digging for a full day. Tired and beat to death by
trencher, they only had about 10 trenches
dug in a full days work. At this rate it was going to take 24 days (240 radials /10 per
The next day the tower contractor started
searching for a new ground system
contractor. And quickly
found AM Ground Systems Co.
We received the call on a Monday and
had the ground system completed the following
Monday. We had several thousand
feet of copper wire and strap in stock and obtained
the remainder from a local warehouse
on Friday. Friday we traveled to the site and got everything setup
next day. Plowing started
morning and was completed Sunday night. The site was cleaned
up and all work inspected Monday morning.
A look of quite contemplation.
Actually this is a look of a bald,
overweight, approaching 40 radio engineer who has been out in the August
in Alabama heat (106F 95% humidity) all day. We drank 8 gallons of
water the first day and about 5 gallons of water and 5 gallons of Power
Aid the second day.
The new site.
The soil in this area is usually red
clay. However, this site is a sand and silt mixture. To the
right of this
image is a vein of almost beach white
Ground radials coming in to common connection
point. Notice fence posts around tower. It had been so long
since the site was put on the air that the station had to go ahead and
have a fence built. We took the fencing down and worked around the
Shelton holding wire and talking on
radio. If he backs up any further he is going to learn what a gerbil
in a microwave feels like... Cooked.
The plow. Notice how close together
the radials are. We had to put them this close together to work around
the fence posts.
Beginning the second day about half
complete. We brazed the completed radials down each evening.
More me, more fence, more sand, more
dust, more heat.
Some of the trenches that the tower
crew had dug are visible here. We ended up having to fill in their
trenches and start over. The tractor tires would get in a trench
and go the wrong direction. Station Manager Johnny Prince (far right)
admires our work.
Working at the site, station engineer
Herbert Connellan, Jr., (fat guy on the left) stepped on a sharp
stick and rammed it about 3 inches
into the lower part of his leg. One of my helpers (Shelton, skinny
above) is a full time fireman.
He and I (fat guy on the right) administered
first aid and cut the stick off (it
was about 24 inches long) with a pair of bolt
cutters. Station personnel then
carried him to the hospital for
treatment. He was back at the
site later that day.
We are sure that Herbert's
quick recovery was entirely due to our dedication and skill.
yeah... The ground system turned out good also.