ggn information systems     WMTW-TV & FM
Mount Washington TV Inc. 
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September 1, 1954
First test pattern hits the-air from a mile high in the sky
Regular programming begins on Saturday, September 25
The transmitting antenna is situated 6,393 ft. above sea level
on the summit of Mount Washington, NH.
Operating on channel eight with a visual ERP of 105 kw,
the station provides primary coverage to a major portion of 
northern New England and parts of Canada.
Over a Year in the planning....
John W. Guider
President, Mt. Washington TV, Inc
President & General Manager of WMTW TV and FM
      March 1900 - January 1968
          click to view obituary
Parker H. Vincent
Chief Engineer, Mt. Washington TV, Inc.
February 1916 - October 1999       
Planning for a television station atop Mt. Washington, a location that has the reputation for the 
"world's worst weather", proper planning is of primary importance. 

Summer arrives on the mountain in July and is gone by September with the appearance of ice and snow. 
Since summer spends so little time atop the mountain, construction has to be completed in only two months.

Extreme icing on all exposed surfaces poses a challenge for the transmitting antenna.
Andrew Alford is chosen as the designer and manufacturer.  In the late 1940's, Dr Alford designed the first 
TV transmitting antenna that included de-icing, for CBS on the Woolworth Building in New York City. 
Mt. Washington does not have commercial power. 
The power source on the mountain was built to accommodate 
the Yankee FM station and it's neighbor,
 the Mt. Washington (weather) Observatory. 
This is not adequate for the demands of the television facility. 
Three Caterpillar units are chosen to supply the needs 
 of the mountaintop.
Five tanks, each containing 20.000 gallons of oil,
 are located 100 yards from the mountaintop.
The oil must be "loaded" before winter 
moves in.
Keller Products of Manchester, NH, builder of artic homes for the U.S.Army, is selected to designs and 
build the transmitter building. The structure is constructed in Manchester. It is then dis-assembled,
shipped and re-assembled  up on the mountain.
The building is designed to withstand hurricane strength winds as well as falling ice.  Sections of roof 
panels are tested by dropping a 200 lb piece of ice from 50 feet. 
The Rust Industrial Company of Manchester, NH, is the General Contractor for the project.  Rust is awarded 
the contract for pre-assembly, testing and shipping the 25 KW transmitter and support electronic equipment.
In addition, Rust is responsible for all of the electrical wiring in the new facility.  It to, is prefabricated and 
tested in the Manchester facility before shipment to the mountain.  
This process reduced final assembly by about 50 percent.

Rust Industrial manufacturing plant

Rust Industrial Co. is owned by William "Bill" Rust.   A northern New England broadcast entrepeneur.
Bill is also a member of the Mt. Washington TV board of directors, and supervised the operation in his plant.

Transmitting from the top of Mt. Washington
(Sargents Purchase, New Hampshire)
It is common for winds to blow 150 miles per hour or more nearly 100 days a year.
Temperature drops to 40 degrees below zero, practically every winter day.
Snow fall has been recorded every month of the year.

The only mode of transportation for an approximate nine months of the year,
for staff rotation and supplies, is the weekly trip by the company owned SnowCat.
Photo courtesy the family of the late J. Norm Coulombe
The transmitter building is anchored on the west by the RCA TT-25-AH
transmitter and control position.
The east is flanked by the three Caterpillar diesel generators. 
The STL antennas are mounted inside this face of the building, 
behind plexiglass panels.
The living quarters are  in the center of the building.
  The space consists of a large living/dining room, 
two bedrooms, kitchen and  bath.  
The kitchen window offers a "million dollar view."
Storage space includes a washer/dryer and five, 
18 cubic feet freezers. 
 Three WMTW engineers work a staggered schedule
 with two weeks on and one week off. 
Photo courtesy the family of the late J. Norm Coulombe
"Waste heat" from the generators is used to heat the complex.

* * * Click here to see building floor plan * * *

 
 
A long time local favorite..."live" weather
report from "the top of the rock pile."
An RCA TK 21 camera, located in the transmitter 
building  is utilized to include the "live" weather insert.

A WMTW-TV staff engineer is the weather reporter.
 Eventually making Marty Engstrom a legend.
A young Marty pictured in studio shot. (left)
1960 - Custom designed RCA Travelling Wave antenna
The original Alford transmitting antenna (AMCI Type 1040) requires 
up to 200kw of electricity to heat the elements for antenna de-icing.
Chief Engineer Parker Vincent, and his staff commissioned RCA 
to design a custom built Travelling Wave antenna.  
The antenna is to be completely encased by a radome, thereby  
reducing ice buildup without the need for supplemental heat.
Regular operation begins November 1st.
By 1963, the tower is completely covered,
 keeping ice loading on the tower to a minimum.

Studios are located in the Riccar Inn at the Poland Springs Resort

The TV studios are located at the Riccar Inn, in historic Poland Springs Maine, 
 forty-eight airline miles from the Mt. Washington transmitter.
The Inn was once used as lodging for chauffeurs of the Poland Springs Water Co.
Studio A,  measures 50 by 30 ft and is equipped 
with two RCA TK-11 cameras.
Master Control includes audio control, 
video monitors and switcher for StudioA, 
as well as control for two TK-21 
film chains and network  receivers.
WMTW-TV, channel 8, has a five hop private intercity microwave relay system from the 
John Hancock Building, at 200 Berkeley Street in Boston, to the top of Mount Washington.
The RCA TVM-1A system is completely redundant with automatic switchover in event of a failure.
Channel 8 is an ABC primary affilliate with additional programming from CBS, DuMont and 
regional sources.  Network programs terminate in Boston. A switcher in Boston, controlled from 
the WMTW control room, allows any of the program sources to be routed to the input of the 
microwave system for relay to Mt. Washington.
One of the weekly regional programs is the Catholic Sunday Mass, produced by the 
Boston Catholic Archdiocesean Office,  from the studios of  WNAC-TV, CH 7, Boston. 

FM Broadcasting returns to Mount Washington
 

July 1958

After a ten year absence, FM broadcasting returns to the summit of 
Mount Washington, using  the historic Yankee Network calls...WMTW.
WMTW-FM operates with 48 KW ERP on 94.9 mc. From it's perch at over 
6,000 feet above sea level, making it one of the country's most powerful 
FM station, relative to coverage area.
The station uses beam-tilt on its transmitting antenna.  Beam-tilting "bends" the 
signal down from true horizontal, towards the populated areas below, instead 
of "wasting" the signal above them.  
Beam-tilting is accomplished by "phasing" of the transmitting antenna elements. 
Varying the length between the antenna bays will accomplish this.  
Beam-tilt clearly visible
The transmitter is the former WFMI Portsmouth, NH,  
RCA BTF-10B, 10 KW transmitter.
A vintage 1947 FM transmitter.
The unit is located in the  "Yankee Power Building."
  A new General Electronics Lab (GEL) exciter
is installed to update the original box.  In addition 
to the main audio channel the new exciter has the 
capability of transmitting two MX subchannels.
One subcarrier is the Muzak franchise for northern
 New England, the second is used for "program forwarding". 
The TV intercity microwave relays the Red Sox Network from
Boston to WMTW-FM, for distribution via subcarrier,
 to radio stations in northern New England.

The exciter is remotely located in the TV transmitter building.
Some photograhs and material are from an RCA Broacast News article.
Special thanks to John Kosinski for making this possible.
Check out the ARTICLES page for related WMTW-TV and FM stories
See the Yankee FM Tribute page for early Mt. Washington broadcast history.
The preceeding page  reflects ONLY the early days of these facilities,
other owners and/or call letters are not refected in this presentation.

It is with great personal sadness that I have to note that WMTW-TV 
is no longer transmitting from atop the northeast's loftiest location.
As of February 5, 2002, Channel 8 has vacated it's transmitter site
on Mt. Washington, a location steeped in broadcast history, 
for greener pastures in Maine.

Tragedy struck one of America's great  transmitting location.
Fire on Sunday February 09, 2003 has destroyed the WMTW building, 
click on "Epilogue" below for the aftermath of the fire.
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