NEWS FLASH – June 25, 2014
Largest Collins Radio AM Shortwave transmitter saved from extinction. – The development of satellite communication, the internet and social media over the last 4 decades has dramatically changed the way information is disseminated around our globe. The fate of many of the grand high power AM shortwave transmitters of the mid-20th century has followed the fate of the dinosaurs. Extinction is eminent.
The recent turnover of the large Voice of America broadcasting station in Delano California to the General Services Administration for disposal potentially sealed the fate of the last compete Collins 250,000 watt ( 1 Megawatt PEP) Model 821A-1 HF Autotune transmitters in the world.
In February of this year the Collins Collectors Association and the Antique Wireless Association formalized an alliance that had been functioning effectively for over a year. This alliance, the Collins Radio Heritage Group (CRHG) – working also in cooperation with members of the Arthur A. Collins Legacy Association (AACLA) in Cedar Rapids, had been raising money and supporting archival efforts related to the history of Collins and Rockwell Collins.
Hearing of the potential loss of the last of the Model 821A-1 megawatt level transmitters, the CRHG (the CCA and the AWA) – working in cooperation with members of the AACLA – went to work to save some of the significant historical artifacts related to the VOA transmitter site in Delano.
In December of last year, a proposal was submitted to the VOA and the GSA to recover, preserve and display one Collins Model 821A-1 250,000 watt transmitter and the Analog Studio Control board from the Delano site prior to its planned destruction. In May of this year, that proposal was approved and recovery began.
We are proud to announce that the recovery is now complete, and that the transmitter, the studio board, associated remote controls and studio and site ambiance have been removed from Delano and shipped to the AWA Museum in Bloomfield New York where they will be displayed.
It is noteworthy that this transmitter, as installed, weighed in at over 22 tons, stood over 20 feet tall, occupied two rooms (three counting the remotes in the studio) totaling over 1000 sq. ft. and that the studio equipment occupied another approximately 400 sq. ft. The 4CV100000C vapor phase cooled PA and modulator tubes weigh in at 95 pounds each. Plate and modulation transformers weigh in the range of 4-6000 pounds apiece!
The future vision includes coordinated displays in both Bloomfield, NY and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, streaming video and audio linked to these displays, and to the CRHG website. The presentation of this beautiful piece of engineering will serve as a tribute to the VOA, the Collins Radio technologies and the people who made it happen.
The first several chapters of a great story can now be shared. You can now come along and share the ride as we write the final chapters and build out the displays that will present these artifacts and stories for your enjoyment.
Stay tuned here and your Signal Magazine for future developments. This project is like an iceberg and you are just seeing the tip. If you would like to help, please contact one of the people below.
For further information, contact:
Robert Hobday, Antique Wireless Association Deputy Director, Bloomfield, NY (585) 314-7310
William Carns, President Collins Collectors Association, Wimberley, TX (512) 618-2762
Also see our websites:
Model 821A-1 DL8 at Delano VOA facility prior to “extraction” with (L-R) Rod Blocksome, retired Rockwell Collins, Dennis Kidder, CCA Board Member, Scott Kerr, CCA V.P., & Jim Stitzinger, Load Master.
Main studio console board – left bay – at Delano
Close-up of Left Bay of the original Audio, Switching and Monitoring Board at Delano
Studio Board packed and ready for trucking
DL8 Model 821A-1 HF Autotune Transmitter
Side view – DL8 – showing high voltage cage
Center compartment is the RF PA (250 KW) of the Model 821A-1
View above the upper PA compartment showing the vapor phase (steam) riser pipes
Model 821A-1 Modulator Deck with two P-P 4CV100000C tubes and dual steam riser tubes
One bay of the transmitter being loaded on the “big truck” by Mr. Load Master
Ready to roll
The 821A-1 got first class transport – Air Ride, and all!
L-R, Vince Baker (VOA), Rod Blocksome (in work mode), Dennis Kidder, Dave Jennings, Jim Stitzinger and assistant , Tim – This could be titled “Now you see it, Now you don’t”, but you will see it again.
Now, THAT is an antenna farm. Those left “Curtain” towers are 400 feet tall.