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Blaw Knox tower | 1938 Hurricane | 75th Anniversary | Recollections | Music Surveys
These photos were taken October 1, 1931 as the WFEA transmitter building was being built in Merrimack, New Hampshire. Some of the shots show the base for WFEA's 390-foot Blaw-Knox antenna which was built later in the month. Click on the photos for enlargements.
transmitter building showing well in foreground transmitter building from southeast anchor pier; pier shows in right foreground tower base insulators (approx. capacity 10 micro.) entrance of power parkway cable
transmitter building showing
well in foreground
transmitter building from southeast anchor pier; pier shows in right foreground tower base insulators
(approx. capacity 10 micro.)
entrance of power parkway cable
trench for 2300 volt 8 ohm parkway cable construction shack and storehouse looking north construction of transmitter house transmitter building showing tower pier at left
trench for 2300 volt 8 ohm parkway cable construction shack and
storehouse looking north
construction of transmitter house transmitter building showing
tower pier at left
tower pier in foreground; this pier has 28 yards of cement transmitter building from southeast anchor pier southwest tower anchor pier
tower pier in foreground;
this pier has 28 yards of cement
transmitter building from
southeast anchor pier
southwest tower anchor pier

WFEA's Blaw-Knox antennaclick for much larger image

WFEA's original tower, a distinctive galvanized steel Blaw-Knox structure, is still in use. It was built in October, 1931 and is a 350 foot half-wave pyramid-shaped vertical radiator, topped with a 50-foot mast. A newspaper account said it was the third of its kind in the world.

For more information on Blaw-Knox towers see Jim Hawkins fine site.

The tower is grounded on a cement base sunk into the earth for 15 feet. At its lower extremity it measures just eight inches in diameter, but from there its four arms spread diamond-wise to a height of 165 feet, after which they taper to a point for the remaining 185 feet. A 50-foot steel mast within the tower itself may be raised or lowered for tuning purposes.

Strung out from the base of the tower in every direction are 64 radials of copper wire, buried 18 inches below the earth's surface, and extending out for 350 feet. These subterranean radials act as "grounds" and prevent any possible absorption of waves by the materials from which the building which houses the apparatus, or the apparatus itself, is constructed.

While equipped to produce 1000 watts of power, WFEA's original Western Electric transmitter was licensed for only 500 watts.

In the spring of 1934 WFEA was granted permission to move to 1340 kilocycles. In order to adequately protect the signal of WSPD in Toledo, Ohio, a directional radiator was built. It was made of wood timbers and was less than half the height of the Blaw Knox stick. The two towers were connected by rope from which the reflector was suspended.

There is still visible evidence of the wooden tower at the transmitter site (see illustration below). It was blown down during the 1938 hurricane.

WFEA towers - June, 1934
In 1940, a new tower was built (below right looking east) - a 199-foot tubular tower to accommodate single pattern directional operation. It was built by the John E. Lingo and Son of Camden, New Jersey.
The following photos illustrate the 1940 construction of the Lingo tower;
click on photos for larger images.
WFEA tower construction WFEA tower construction
WFEA tower construction WFEA tower construction
Below is an illustration of WFEA's antenna system integrating the Lingo tower with the Blaw Knox antenna. It is dated June 2, 1941 and was submitted to the FCC for approval after the Lingo tower was installed.
WFEA's Blaw Knox and John Lingo towers
WFEA tower installation - June 2, 1941
1930s | 1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000+
Blaw Knox tower | 1938 Hurricane | 75th Anniversary | Recollections | Music Surveys
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