Monday, August 23, 2010

What's One Foot Between Friends?

What’s the difference between a 499’ radio tower and a 500’ radio tower? A lot of money to wire and install (much less maintain) an expensive bunch of tower lights.

ESPN Radio in NYC just put up a 3-tower array at 499 feet, no lights, with the FAA’s blessing. Since aircraft are not allowed to fly below 500’, there is no danger of one running into those towers. Theoretically. One foot higher, tower and airplane could presumably meet in a tangle of steel and cockpit.

Around here, for some reason, the magic number is 200’. Our radio tower tops out at 196’ and someone across the river wants to stick one in the ground at 199’. I know a guy whose towers were something like 205’ and he bulldozed dirt around the base so they were, sort of, like, 199’ so to speak. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

Amtrak trains run at 79mph out west. Not 80, but 79. It has to do with signaling equipment in the locomotives, which would be expensive to upgrade for the usage they have in mind. So 79 it is. I’m not sure if it’s possible to cheat, but what with all the instrumentation on the choo-choos, the engineers probably don’t cheat.

The Fox Television Stations (did you notice neither I nor they said “network”?) stay under the radar of FCC’s network regulations because, by running fewer hours and covering a lower percentage of the country, they are exempt from certain regulations which would tie their financial hands. Clever as a Fox.


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