Many thank to Bob (K4RLC) who shares the following guest post:
Visiting VOA Site B: The Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station
by Bob (K4RLC)
Two week sago, Dale (W4AUV) and I were treated to a “under the hood” visit to the last remaining Voice of America transmitting station in the United States. It is located in eastern North Carolina, and officially known as the “Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station” part of the “Office of Cuba Broadcasting” in Grimesland, North Carolina. Also, known as “VOA Site B.” This type of shortwave broadcast station is only one of a few remaining worldwide.
[Note: Click on images to enlarge.]
This VOA site has been on the air continuously (24/7/365) since the 1963 on-site dedication by President John Kennedy, broadcasting up 8 transmitters at a time on the short wave bands. There are three 250,000 watt and five 500,000 watt GE, Continental and Telefunken transmitters feeding 38 possible antenna configurations, with an Effective Radiated Power of 2,000,000 watts. (There is also a 39th antenna, that is a Dummy Load that will handle 500,000 watts).
The antenna field covers over 6,000 acres of flat, costal plain wetlands, not far from the Atlantic Ocean, so it has a minimal absorption factor and a salt water boost.
The antennas are fed by over 26 miles of 300 Ohm open line “ladder line” with a minimal SWR and minimal signal loss. The largest antennas are called “Curtain” antennas, given their configuration, of matched horizonal and vertical dipoles suspended between large towers, giving the visual impression of huge curtains.
There are also rhombics, each 6 wave lengths long. The rhombics are not used as often, given their narrow bandwidth and narrow beamwidth. The Curtains can bathe a large geographic area (such as part of a continent) with a very strong signal. The primary broadcast areas for this station are Cuba, Central and South America, and Africa (although the antennas could reach out and touch Russia and eastern Europe, when needed).
Many of the engineers are hams, including Macon (WB4PMQ), the chief engineer. Gary (N2AD) transferred to Greenville when the VOA in Bethany, Ohio closed. (The Bethany VOA site operated during WW2 into Germany, and was referred as the “Ohio Liars” by Hilter !)
Glenn (W7GSW), a US Navy communications vet, has been at the site many years and conducted much of the tour for Dale and I. Continue reading Proper QRO: K4RLC Tours The Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station