Jim Hawkins' WBBR AM 1130
Transmitter Page

Bloomberg Radio

WBBR towers and transmitter building. Located
in the NJ meadows, between the East and West
spurs of the NJ Turnpike. (Exit 16)
Notice the distant Empire State Building dead center.

Tiger map location marker.


This transmitter site was constructed in 1968 for WNEW AM, when they left their old transmitter site in Kearny, NJ. WNEW used this site from 1969 to 1992, when WNEW broadcasts came to an end. I remember, traveling down the eastern spur of the NJ Turnpike every day when I was attending school in NY and watching the towers progress each day as I drove by. I had no idea what they were at the time.

The antenna system is composed of 4 towers: 1 main 435' tower (#1), which is used exclusively during the daytime and 3 smaller towers (#2, 3 and 4), each 235' tall added in to create a directional pattern at night.


Thanks!

My sincere gratitude goes to René Tetro - N2GQL, CE, for the excellent and informative tour and also thanks to Tony DeNicola - WA2IHZ for arranging it. Much of the commentary is taken directly from René in response to my questions as I couldn't have said it better!


CONTENTS


Transmitters

The Main Transmitter area showing auxiliary
equipment racks on the left and the main and
backup 50KW transmitters on the right.

Main Transmitter

The transmitter was installed by Bob Janney, who was WNEW's transmitter engineer in those days (and is still WBBR's transmitter engineer), and Al Kirschner, WNEW's chief engineer. I came on the scene later in Sept. 1990 as Al's assistant CE and took over the CE position under Bloomberg. -- Rene' Tetro

Main Nautel 50KW Model AMPFET-50
solid state transmitter with Pulse Width
Modulation (PWM) on the collectors. Installed
in 1989 while the site was still WNEW AM.

Nautel transmitter control and meter panel. The
RF power amplification is distributed among 4
racks of modules, two to the right and to the left
of the control rack. The switched metering is designed
to measure the supply voltage and current to each of
the four racks separately. The RF output meter shows
about 52 KW output from the transmitter. (click on
the image for a close-up)

The modules below were photographed at WMCA, but are the same modules used in the AMPFET 50.

Each rack is composed of smaller RF amplifier modules, each rated nominally for 1.4 KW. The modules each contain, PA/Modulator Assemblies and are all modulated equally. The outputs are combined to obtain the full 50+ KW. If a module should fail, it can be removed and replaced with another module while the transmitter is operating, causing only a brief power reduction during the change. Each module is broken down further into 3 boards.

Top of individual transmitter module board. There are three of these boards per module, designated as 'A', 'B' and 'C'. Three
indicator lights on the parent module indicate if a board has failed.

Flip side of transmitter module board. These boards "buzz" with
the sound of the audio modulation.

Standby Transmitter

Continental Electronics 317-C1 50KW all tube Screen
Modulated, modified Terman Doherty Transmitter,
installed in 1969.
Basically a Doherty amplifier with modulated screens.
W.H. Doherty was responsible for early successful linear
amplifier designs in the 1930s.
An oscilloscope is on one of the panels to help adjust the
phase relation between the "peak" and the "carrier" tubes.

Close-up of window showing driver tubes.


Phasing Units

Copper Phasor cages.


Close-up of phasor control,
showing heavy copper mesh.


Auxiliary Equipment

Auxiliary Racks

Left View

Right View

The auxiliary racks contain, speech processing, remote control, satellite receivers, transmitter control and other additional equipment.


Program Emergency Backup Equipment

This is a complete automation system, including server, program
logs, and audio playback for WBBR and the two Bloomberg Radio
Networks. The system mirrors the automation system in New York.
When the news people submit their reports and programs to the
automation system in NYC, it is simultaneously submitted to the
appropriate system in Carlstadt. If NYC goes down for whatever
reason (power failure, etc), we can switch to the Carlstadt system
for broadcast.
The idea is to keep us up and running until we can get news personnel
to the transmitter site to begin filing new reports. The program switcher
at the transmitter which would allow us to switch systems can be controlled
via the Burk and Moseley remote control systems, which can be operated
via touch-tone phone in an emergency. -- R.T.


Bloomberg TV Link

Bloomberg TV link
equipment.

Aside from the radio, Bloomberg has several TV networks, all of which are formatically similar (primarily business news), but are geared to various locales (NY Metro, the United States, Western Europe, the Pac Rim, and Brazil). The US network is on both Direct-TV and Dish Network, and is also run on USA Cable network between 5AM and 8AM. While most of our program channels are delivered to the various uplink sites via fiber, the Satellite receivers and several of the dishes at the transmitter are used by to downlink backhaul feeds and reports for later broadcast (on the scene reports, etc). No dieo processing, per se, is done at Carlstadt: anything of that nature is handled in New York. -- R.T.


Transmitter Site Studio

A disaster recovery site studio is provided
at the transmitter site. This is used for reporters
to file broadcasts as in the New York studio.

A small studio located in the office is used to "go live"
from Carlstadt, should the need arise. Photo shows
mixer board, RE27 Mike and other equipment.

WBBR has served for the past two seasons as the "backup station" for the NJ Nets. In other words, we broadcast the Nets games when WOR-AM had programming conflicts such as a Rutgers game. This small studio in the office was used to broadcast the Nets games. The backhaulfeed would be sent us from Continental Arena via ISDN and we would insert commercials, playback for replay, phone calls during the post game show, etc. -- R.T.



Power Conditioners and Generator

Three Phase Power
Conditioners

The voltage regulator tolerances are kept
tight, within 3% of 480 Volts on each phase.
They are inline prior to the emergency generator
(shown below), so that a failure either in the PSE&G
Mains or a failure in the regulators would cause
the generator to start.

Power conditioner meters showing 3 phase 480 volts.

Emergency 500 KW Generator
with Diesel engine.


Antenna System

Transmission and Control Lines
from transmitter building.

3 1/8" transmission lines are used throughout the
antenna system, with separate feeds for directional
and non-directional operation, plus a spare run
of line to the main Non-directional tower (tower #1)
in case of primary line failure.

Transmission and Control Lines
to the antenna tuning houses.

Antenna tuning house and emergency
generator at tower #4.
From geologist studies. These facilities
stand off the ground above the highest
water level from the last 500 years.

The tuning house at tower #4 is the only one that contains an auxiliary transmitter and generator. All four tuning houses are air conditioned in the summer and heated in the winter to minimize the environmental impact on the equipment.

Antenna tuning system
in copper mesh housing.

Auxiliary Nautel XL-12, 12 KW
transmitter in the antenna
tuning house at tower #4.


Satellite Link Antennas

All but two of the dishes are used for television and are completely steerable. The one dish used for radio is fixed, looking at Satcom C5, which is the bird Bloomberg Radio Network is on. We use Starguide as our satellite provider. The other radio dish looks at Galaxy 6 for NPR, BBC, and other services. There are also several smaller dishes on the roof that are used for such things as Associated Press (wire and radio), AFP (the French Press Agency), and other data services.

The reason we have so many is because we are taking so many different feeds from different sources and birds, some permanently, others intermittently. The four steerable television dishes enable our video people to take in several feeds at once. They also provide a semblance of redundancy. -- R.T.


Other stuff

Defective tower base insulators
which have been removed.

Boat used to gain access to parts
of the system when the water level
is too high.

A broken insulator which shows
that these insulators are not solid
porcelain. They are hollow, filled
with oil and some other contraption.

Here is a close-up of the "stuff" that is
inside the insulator. How it works,
I do not know.

Accessed times since May 10, 2000.


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