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This old KHSL site is no longer a concern of a broadcaster; it is no longer in operation as an AM or FM site. The site used to be owned by Golden Empire Broadcasting. I am free to document this site; unfortunately, is going to be difficult to document, as I took very few pictures.
I was not involved here very much; I only occasionally fixed the transmitters, and did some tower work.

However, I and another friend did maintain the tower lights. I received $50 per climb. I also received many small RF burns from these towers for my efforts. AM (Amplitude Modulation) RF burns are not dangerous at all, but are a constant nuisance; and I will describe it later.

RADIOTRX.JPG There is an old dirt road in front of this Chico transmitter site. You can just barley see it. The road is now called Bruce Rd, and is now paved, and has with several stop lights, and houses with green lawns, which contain children playing, and many driveways. The dirt road is just some remnant in a paper picture.

Also, at this early time, the studio itself was here at the transmitter site: It was "co-located". There was no air-conditioning in those days, and the window had to be open for fresh air. It was not uncommon to have a cow stick it's head into the window, and get slobbers all over papers and tapes. Cows could be heard on the air, right along side the D.J. voice. (It was a good thing we were the country music format, because of those natural country cow sounds.)

This old field contained normally invisible grasshoppers; periodically launching themselves with great celebration for no apparent reason. They would disturb, an otherwise perfect, silence. This old field had the aroma of sticker weeds; who's aroma boldly came and went at the whim of the summer air.
Inside the building, the big RCA broadcast transmitter impressively took up most of the space; and buzzed, and hummed, and groaned - the same as all old transmitters. But this one fought, in vane, to declare itself as the sole occupant with it's reserved constant mutterings. You could hear eerie music sounds coming from the output choke near the transmission lines. You could feel and smell the fresh cool air of a swamp cooler. A large circulating fan in the celling constantly made a rattle: a real hallmark of this place.
Although the building is gone, the ghost of a rattle, as well as other sounds, seems to still be there. For me, they will always be there... This rustic broadcast site, of long ago, in a field, beside a road, had a unique enchantment.

AMNOW20061231.JPG 2006.12.31
The building has been torn down. And a small cellular building built.

NOWAMSITE20061231.JPG The mound is a fallout shelter, and is an artifact of the cold war in the late 1950's. Here is a little trivia...
Down below in the mound, we had an old tube transceiver 26.450 Mhz (just below what would later be the CB band). We also had a microphone for the DJ and a long cable, which I assume went to the transmitter building.
...Such a little mound, and such a meager effort; in case of war!

You can now see the modern cellular building. The transmitter building used to be to the right of this building. The building was much bigger, and was at the end of this driveway-remnant, which now goes nowhere.

You can see a modern above ground catwalk going out to the towers. In the old days, transmission lines went on top of the ground, and were covered by wooden planks. I will dig through my stuff, and see if I can find a picture of it. (The old wooden transmission cover was so characterist of this site, having a high profile, and so visible.) There were always mice living in these nice warm areas, and they used the transmission lines as handy runways. And there was, as always, a hungry redtail hawk perched dangerously overhead: in fact, 250 ft directly above on the tophat, with eyes 8 times better than mammals, possessing interest and attentiveness in killing mice.

NOWTOPAMTOW20061231.JPG Look just below the beacon! The cellular people replaced the step just below the beacon. I am impressed... This step used to be missing. It has caused me to do some scary gymnastics and contortions up there. When I am almost upside down, and hanging on for dear life, is the time when I am not thinking about my control systems. Actually, it clears your mind of everything: all that baggage, all that extraneous stuff.

Seems so strange... Riding a motorcycle also clears your mind, but makes you feel real good. That missing step clears your mind, and makes you feel real bad; kind of a sick feeling.

The top hat is used to lengthen the electrical wavelength of a tower.
The electrical RF voltages are the highest at the top of an AM tower. And one must wear long sleaved shirts to keep from being "bitten" along the arms. Your body develops a RF potential. You can hear the RF sizzle on your skin at an audio rate. (Sounds higher frequency than a any 60Hz buzz.) You can feel the small burns, and you can instantly smell the burnt skin. For some strange reason RF burns take a long time to heal, as compared to ordinary heat burns. A common place for AM RF burns is under a metal watch band, but you can also get them in open areas along you arm. Healing is particularly difficult due the depth of burn and any constant physical abrasion of a watch band. The primary cell damage of an AM burn is not from heat, but from a type of "arc". At least, it looks like an "arc", but feels more like a "sizzle". This is in contrast to a TV burn, which is from heating. Another marked difference between RF damage of AM towers, compared to TV towers, is the amount of area affected. An AM burn may affect only a few centimeters, and requires almost direct contact. In the middle of an AM tower a burn is produced from the contact of the driven center conductor. But at the top, a burn is produced from proximity to high RF voltage. Another difference between an RF AM burn and a RF TV burn is that a TV burn affects a very large area of a half a foot or more. TV will heat whole parts of your body, like your leg, or all of your head. And do it instantly! Contact is NOT required.

That little bird on the tophat is not "little". That is actually a large hawk. The hawk, and it's descendants, have lived on this tophat for all the time that I have witnessed this site: 36 years. I have never seen a dead hawk near the towers. Evidently AM RF has no effect on the health of the hawks, nor any other birds. I am sure that this fact is due to the short body length of the bird compared to the wavelength of radiation.
Health effects have been a concern of mine; I have spent considerable time on hot broadcast towers. But I have turned out all rit.
However, small birds have been found some distance from the tower, indicating that the birds have hit the guy wires. Also, these kills seem to have occurred at night. Perhaps the birds are migrating at night, and can normally only see trees or towers; and not unnatural things, like long skinner little cables, and at wierd angles - all of which are planted in the middle of the sky.

There is a little bit of history to the top hat. Originally there was only the 300 ft east tower. KHSL had to go "directional" (I think late 40's). To do that, a second tower had to be built. The pieces may have come from a sister site in Merced which was a three-tower array. This second tower was approximately 250 ft and required a top hat. A top hat was designed by a company back east. But it could not be installed because it was too awkward. After several failed attempts, Russ Pope designed one of his own one night while he slept. Russ's top hat was succesful. And as an added plus, the new array was tunned in just one day by adjusting currents and phasing for the desired directionality. (Some multiple arrays are almost impossible to adjust and may take years for proper results.)

Also the top 50 ft of the east tower (the tall tower), was put to good use. KHSL-FM began broadcasting FM from this section at Bruce Rd. And the antennas have been removed in my picture. I think it was early 90's when KRIJ moved their transmitter from Paradise to Cohasset. KHSL purchased KRIJ-FM in Cohasset and changed the name to KHSL-FM. There was no need for the FM antennas on the East tower with much better coverage from Cohasset than Chico.

Down below in the building, just as you came in the door on the left was a Collins Broadcast Transmitter 5KW for the Main. And straight ahead was the back up transmitter: a huge "RCA". It was an impressive transmitter, laid out from north-south and comprised of many cabinets. It was many times larger than the collins.

DJs used to be in the room the Collins transmitter now occupied. And as such had (back then) a clear view of the meters of the RCA. The meters could be read through a sound proof glass window. The rooms had to be built this way as the FCC required the meters to be in view of the operator. But at the same time microphones could not tolerate the noise of a humming and buzzing broadcast transmitter.

AM74APR1.JPG, 12 kB
I am on the 300 ft East Tower looking past the west tower, with its top hat and hawk.
You can just barely see the hawk.

During the day, the tower which I am on in the picture is the "parasitic" tower. The tower is not driven directly by power, any only has a small residual power from a proximity effect. At night, both towers are "hot". And when they both are hot, they produce a directive pattern.

Tower001.jpg, 41 kB
It all comes down...

As the towers came down, my spirit fell down along with them.
I sank into reflection, crumpled and bent...

My friend Gil gave these towers AM Stereo. One of the first broadcasters for stereo! It is a proud accomplishment. Being a fellow broadcaster, I know what he felt. My friend said that the scene was "historic".

I suppose that just about does it for this page. But I will keep it for nostalgia sake.
MeriamPark.jpg, 12 kB
"Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away"
- Matthew 24:35
Everything changes...