Death of an old friend – KHSL radio tower demolition today

khsl_radiosite_pic.JPGOn August 27th, 2010, the old KHSL AM radio towers were taken down by a demolition company. The towers were constructed around 1947. After 63 years of continuously serving the Chico area with radio communications of one kind or another the towers are coming down and the transmission site is going silent.

You can see the two towers in the photo at left I took in May 2007.

This video below is the view of the East tower collapse after the guy wires were cut by the worker in the lower left with the cutting torch, about 10:05 AM PST. Once the guys were cut, the other two sets of guys under tension pulled the tower east past the tipping point, and then gravity took over to finish the job.

Watch the video below from this morning to see the demolition.

(apologies for the video quality, as Murphy’s law would have it, a small shred of black paper or plastic blew into the lens and wedged there, obscuring part of the lower right)

The West tower was taken down about 10:53 AM the same day. KHSL radio and TV veterans Gil Houston (former radio chief engineer) Dino Corbin, (General manager), Ken Rice, (former engineer) and myself (Anthony Watts) gathered to watch the event.

The towers were first erected in 1947. They were removed to make way for the new Merriam Park subdivision.

The call sign KHSL for radio has switched to the FM band as is now a country music station called 103.5 “The Blaze”. The 1290AM frequency that used to be KHSL-AM is now occupied by KPAY, where I now work. KPAY formerly was at 1060AM but purchased the 1290 frequency and moved to it in 1995.

More here from my friend Mark Sorenson, who if WUWT readers oblige by clicking this link, is about to have his biggest traffic day ever.

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29 thoughts on “Death of an old friend – KHSL radio tower demolition today

  1. Being a ham radio operator, towers and antennas always seem to have a life of their own. Always sad to see one come down. I still like to tune the AM and FM dial to see what I might pick up when the weather conditions favor skip.

  2. How high was the tower?
    REPLY: 200 feet for the West tower, 250 for the East IIRC – Anthony

  3. Whose truck was that parked over to the left where the lowest section bounced; yours?
    .
    .
    .
    .
    (Awww… I’m just kidding, ya’ll. Made you watch again, eh?)

  4. Ahh – so that’s a tipping point. It makes me wonder if the towers were exposed to too much CO2…
    Anyway… it’s always sad to see a bit of the past dismantled.

  5. I was born in Chico. (at Enloe) Then moved to Live Oak, near Juan Corona (yikes!) and later Yuba City. Many fond memories of the Sacramento valley area in summer.
    Orchards forever, and a thick smell of fruit.

  6. So all you gotta do is cut one guy wire and a whole tower goes down? interesting.
    REPLY: There’s actually 18, arranged in a 3 way set of 6. Cut all 3 on the one side and boom. The video shows the last one being cut. – Anthony

  7. All I can say is what a waste of a perfectly good tower. As a ham radio operator – I would have loved to recycle that baby. That would hold a LOT of aluminum. 🙂

  8. Oh the horror of it; I’m betting it was an inside job. So who’s to blame for the piece that refused to bow to progress.
    Reminds me that I have a radio tower sitting on top of my garage; but mine is not any 250 feet high. Might be 100; it has a CB big stickon top of the triangle tower. I should knock it down; but I always thougth I could put a big TV antenna up there on a rotator; or maybe a surveillance camera.
    Now you just need a little wire loop that wraps around your ear to get anywhere in the world.

  9. Is there a piece of the tower (suitably annotated) adorning your office yet?
    REPLY: I was going for a tower light, but alas the glass be fragile. Maybe I’ll settle for a piece of red crossbar with a picture of Rosie O’Donnell shouting “fire can’t melt steel!”, heh. Or I could just collect a sheared bolt/nut – A

  10. Big 9( KWTV) (and maybe WKY also) in OKC got pretzellized by the same tornada that went over my parents’ house.
    Guy wires were moot.
    Luckily by the time it got to our house, it had lifted a bit.
    The chinese elms all looked like the broccoli leftovers after my kids chew on it and pretend to swallow.
    I always thought that tornadoes were the devil personified.
    RR

  11. So the more things change the more they stay the same… can’t believe you, Gil, Dino and Ken were all there for this.
    Best Regards to all of you!

  12. How many Chico’s you got over there? And are they all sporting Monckton-style solar topee’s?

  13. Being a Realtor by current trade, the market in Chico is that good for a new subdivision?
    Lately that’s akin to hauling coals to newcastle in the current market…
    REPLY: The subdivision is rather slow, but the tower cell site relocation plans were started 2 years ago, this is just the finalizations of the plans – A

  14. Sorry for your loss.
    I see, (in the video) the collapse of the catastrophic AGW hypothesis, I.E. less propaganda reaching the great unwashed.
    I will leave you with this quote:
    “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”
    Alexander Graham Bell
    Give ’em hell, Anthony.
    Seems you have found that open door.

  15. It is like losing an old friend and one almost as old as I am too. But it is progress we all know that or are told to believe it anyway. I still run a Hallicrafters Super Skymaster receiver (circa 1935), with a quarter wave antenna, just to remind me of my youth.

  16. My Mother’s house still has a nice 100+ foot ham tower available in the Toledo area. The Drake TR-7’s are sold, but if anyone is interested, the antenna and tower, motors, etc (and a nice old digital LED weather station that still works fine) could be had for the asking. Just take it down and haul it away. My Father is using the great TR-7 in the sky…
    One of his greatest memories was finding out about the invasion of Grenada on the Ham radio. He was on the radio late one night, and tuned in to a person there who announced that the US military had arrived there. He spoke for several hours, took a lot of notes as the point by point event unfolded. He wrote it up, met with the local newspaper the next day, and they would not publish it since there was no way to verify it. Once the news broke, many hours later, he was able to tell his story to the media and is thought to be the first person in the USA (outside the military) who knew of the event. I think that was just after he had upgraded all of his gear to a dual Drake setup. I only used it to set my watch to WWV as a kid, though he gave me free reign to listen whenever I wanted to. It really made his day to be first to know.

  17. I grew up about 30 miles from Chico (in rice and peach country). One of my early experiences was using a “Radio projects for boys” book to make a crystal radio, and Ka-HissEl was one of the first stations ( if not THE first station) that I got. Spent a fair number of hour listening to it.
    Later built a few tube radios (yes, I’m that old…) and especially on the regenerative detector sets KHSL would dominate many other stations. Sorry to see it go…
    di dah di dah di dah

  18. For a moment I thought you referring to the tower on 8th Ave…
    http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=chico,+ca&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Chico,+Butte,+California&gl=us&ei=1LZ4TNmUEIi8sAOD3LntCg&ved=0CCgQ8gEwAA&ll=39.737614,-121.868259&spn=0.003304,0.003219&t=h&z=19&layer=c&cbll=39.737489,-121.868183&panoid=eVaig1oMijJNXxKEP0dY8w&cbp=12,323.23,,0,-24.47
    I have memories of looking down upon Chico from Hwy 32W and sighting this tall landmark as a point of reference.

  19. “REPLY: I was going for a tower light, but alas the glass be fragile. Maybe I’ll settle for a piece of red crossbar with a picture of Rosie O’Donnell shouting “fire can’t melt steel!”, heh. Or I could just collect a sheared bolt/nut – A”
    ROTFLMAO @ the O’Donnell reference. Double plus good!

  20. Some readers may not know that with AM, the whole tower radiates; it’s not just a support structure to get the active elements up high, like it is with FM…
    With AM, the height has to do with the wavelength at the station’s frequency. Most (but not all) towers are nominally a quarter wave and have bare copper ground radials of the same length running out from the base every few degrees in a circular pattern, buried a few inches below the surface. Good ground conductivity is important; for example, a salt marsh makes an ideal location…
    More than one tower means the station broadcasts in a directional pattern, typically at night. That’s to protect other stations on the same frequency, and you get it by feeding the towers differing amounts of currents at different phases. Such a station will normally feed only one tower during the daytime and then go to its directional pattern at sundown…
    I see on the FCC site that KPAY now has a three tower array. Moving to a new location means re-engineering your antenna system to maintain protection…

  21. What breaks my heart is, the loss of multiple runs of Heliax (solid copper jacketed ‘hardline’ low-loss coaxial cable in 1/2 to 1 7/8″ OD sizes at worth between 5 and 20 dollars a foot for the 1 7/8″ Heliax) up the tower not to mention commercial grade antennas … even if the antennas are 800 MHz (or 1900 MHz) cellular band, the Fiberglass radomes can be re-stuffed with amateur band 440 MHz, 900 or 1286 MHz coaxial colinear elements without too much trouble …
    .

  22. ex-broadcast engineer August 28, 2010 at 7:52 am

    I see on the FCC site that KPAY now has a three tower array. Moving to a new location means re-engineering your antenna system to maintain protection…

    “Moving to a new location means re-engineering your antenna system to maintain protection to co-channel (same channel) existing stations or sometimes to adjacent (next to) existing stations by controlling the radiation (the transmit) pattern of the antenna array …”
    Some people might take ‘protection’ to mean something other than we mean in radio when we use that term amongst ourselves.
    In cellular coverage engineering, we used to have to observe ‘Carey Contours’ and de minimus agreements (made with adjacent cellular system operators/owners) when engineering coverage of cell sites that bordered other cellular ‘markets’ operated by a different company …
    .

  23. ex-broadcast engineer says:
    August 28, 2010 at 7:52 am
    Some readers may not know that with AM, the whole tower radiates; it’s not just a support structure to get the active elements up high, like it is with FM…
    With AM, the height has to do with the wavelength at the station’s frequency. Most (but not all) towers are nominally a quarter wave and have bare copper ground radials of the same length running out from the base every few degrees in a circular pattern, buried a few inches below the surface. Good ground conductivity is important; for example, a salt marsh makes an ideal location…
    …—…—…—
    Robert wonders if anybody has gone out to the field (yet! – it’s still daylight at that end of the country!) and salvaged all that ground wire buried aaround the tower? The copper grounding wires and Al towers will be worth more than the subdivision will be right now.

  24. RACookPE1978 August 28, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Robert wonders if anybody has gone out to the field (yet! – it’s still daylight at that end of the country!) and salvaged all that ground wire buried aaround the tower? The copper grounding wires and Al towers will be worth more than the subdivision will be right now.

    *IF* it hadn’t been pulled out already (yes, thieves in this area are already keen on what they can find in the ground near an AM broadcast facility).
    As to the towers: steel, not Al. There may be a few Al towers out there, but I can’t recall dealing with anything of a commercial nature being anything but steel (there were a few manufacturers of Al towers for amateur/ham use at one time) …
    A quick Google survey shows Al towers still available, but again, there are drawbacks to using Al.
    .

  25. What I wouldn’t give to be able to run my 2m/70cm rig up to the top of that baby. Talk about reaching out and touching someone. And those poor, poor radomes and coax.
    Though the XYL would have my head if I suggested a 250ft tower in the backyard. Unfortunately, all stealth at my house.

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