FAIRCHILD (WEAU) -- It’s been nine long months, first of shock after toppling during a March snowstorm, then planning and rebuilding our 2,000 foot WEAU broadcast tower in Fairchild.
But on Tuesday the winds died down long enough for engineers to place the final piece, the antenna on top of the tower.
The assembly of the tower is now complete, but engineers still need a couple of weeks before the tower will be ready to transmit a signal.
At long last, the WEAU tower could begin broadcasting its UHF signal by the beginning of the new year.
“It looks like there is an end in sight, that we will be back in probably two-three weeks, maybe a month at most I hope,” WEAU 13 News Chief Engineer Ron Wiedemeier says.
For our far away viewers it means getting NBC programming back after a long hiatus, and for those who do still get us, a crisper signal.
“We are moving to a UHF signal that has been proven to penetrate buildings better than the VHF. We are putting out more than three times the power, or will with this one,” Wiedemeier says.
WEAU 13 News General Manager Terry McHugh says he's thankful the building process was able to get underway so quickly.
“The new tower here today is the same exact height as the other one that fell which is 1,998 feet. What's interesting is that we were able to use our same permit from back in 1965 so that really helped speed up the process and we didn't have to go through all the red tape to get this all done,” he explains.
While it's the same height as our old tower, structurally engineers say it's much stronger.
“This tower is probably four times as heavy, if not more, than the old one. It comes to a single point at the base rather than three points, which is supposed to make it stronger,” Wiedemeier says.
Wiedemeier says the new tower is also built to be able to sway 17 feet in the wind at the top, and still be within its comfort zone.