WWV & VB

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I thought I would share something really cool.  Living in Fort Collins has its advantages.  Yesterday a few local hams got a RARE chance to visit and tour WWV.  

WWV used to give more tours but as of 09/11 and being a federal installation it is really hard to get in now.  But after listening to them for most of a life time I finally got to see the site.  Oh man... what a treat!  Here are a few pictures of some impressive stuff:

Here is the schematic to WWV in case any of you need it!  :-)


The time clocks - The have multiple synchronized backups


Feedlines to the HF antennas: 5, 10, 15:


Lots of standby power:


Anyone need a 75kw transmitter?  This one running 50kw, 300 watts reverse power.  This one is for the 60khz WWVB



Here are the two tubes:


The output from WWVB runs 6 inch hard line, basically 6 inch copper pipe with a 1 inch copper pipe running through the center to two massive wire antenna, each sports 4, 400 foot towers.

In this image you can see the massive copper feed line:


This runs out to a building called the "Helix Building" which basically houses a gigantic tuner.  This is the top of the helix building with the massive insolator with the line going up to the active element.


How about a tuner?  Anyone need a 100kw tuner?


WWVB feeds two massive wire antennas in phase.  Each antenna requires four 400 foot towers.  This is what the antenna look like.  I drew approximately where the active wires are at.  The helix building is at the base of the vertical green wire.




This is the "north" antenna.  The other one is south and a mirror opposite.  My diagram does not do it justice as I could not easily draw the far side wires.  This is what the system looks like graphically:



Lastly... There is a TON of RF in the Helix building... Check this out:
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Mark - WS7M

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Posted 2 years ago

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Dave Gipson

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Incredible. Thank you very much for the tour!
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Dave - W6OVP

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Thanks for the pics, Mark.

I was fortunate to tour the earlier WWV facility at Beltsville, MD about 1959, before it was moved and the new station built. Will never forget the pairs of "open wire" feeders going from inside the building out to the antennas on what looked like 5' "telephone poles" with little crossarms. Just a big fun ham station!

Also visited VVWH at Barking Sands on Kauai which looks nothing like it. Very commercial; no old charm.

But my favorite was the original WWVH on Maui, right on the water east of Kihei. It looked like an oversize ham station complete with rhombic? antennas. It was closed by then, replaced by Kauai. But looking through the windows I could see the workshop which looked like a QST picture of a 1930s ham station complete with unfinished home brew projects and familiar tools still on the workbench. I went back often over the years to walk the property and look in the windows. It's gone now.  

Here is a pic of the original WWVH:

(Edited)
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Mark - WS7M

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Outstanding!  I'd love to see the Hawaii station!
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Dave - W6OVP

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It's really a shame the original WWVH station (above) is gone. Would have made a great little museum, or alternate ARRL vistor hamshack, but the value of the beachfront property precluded that.

The new WWVH is on the western tip of Kauai near the Pacific Missile Test Range at Barking Sands. While quite 'pedestrian' in appearance by 1930s standards, it's worth the short drive if you are on Kauai anyway...

 

 
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Vern Rowland

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Very interesting. Thanks
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KM6CQ - Dan

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Thank you Mark. I really enjoyed this.

Dan KM6CQ
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Thanks for sharing! That is amazing. I hope that I can convince someone to let me take a tour some day. :)
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Dave - W6OVP

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The best radio tour I ever had was when a group of us were driving from LA to Fresno to the annual Ham convention and spotted an array of Sterba Curtains on the horizon. It was the huge Delano VOA station. We stopped by to say hello and were met by a ham who gave us the Deluxe inside tour. Amazing! It's off the air now, but if you ever get a chance to tour an old VOA site (North Carolina?) jump at it. Everything is oversize, but otherwise it's just a big fun ham station. <g>.

The vertical black lines below are a few of the antenna supports for the rhombics and Sterba Curtains. For more pics Google Images "VOA DALANO".

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Jim Jerzycke

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Thanks! We moved here a month ago, and I immediately joined the NCARC. Unfortunately the tour was full, and I couldn't get on the list.

Maybe next time.....

73, Jim  KQ6EA/0
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Mark - WS7M

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Well it was such a good deal that maybe it will happen again!  Welcome to the area Jim!
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Jim Jerzycke

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Thanks, Mark!

Quite a change from SoCal, but loving every minute of it. We're staying in Bellvue until escrow closes, and I can see the WWV towers on the drive to Laporte.

Were you at the breakfast meeting the Saturday before the tour? Maybe I saw you there.
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Mark - WS7M

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Jim, where abouts in socal were you?  I moved to Fort Collins in 2004 from Santa Barbara, CA.

I rarely have time to do the breakfast meetings so no... I was not.
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Jim Jerzycke

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I moved to Torrance in 1982 to work for Hughes Aircraft, and pretty much stayed in the South Bay the whole time. Moved to Long Beach in 2009 when I married my wife, and then out here to Fort Collins in September 2017.
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Dave - W6OVP

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...I moved to Torrance in 1982 to work for Hughes Aircraft...

I worked at Hughes Torrance 1962-1968. Microwave Tube Design Engineer, etc...
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Jim Jerzycke

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EDD! That's where I started, in the "Solid State" product line, and then they spun that off into the "Microwave Products Division". MPD spent a truckload of money to build a clean room where they were going to build the phase shifters for an electronically-scanned radar that RSG was going to build for the F-16, and then RSG declined to bid, leaving MPD on the hook for the cost.
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Dave - W6OVP

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See email. TNX.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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I'm jealous! 
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I do have a question - where is the actual atomic time source? Did you get to see it? Or is that like super duper high security? 
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Richard McClelland, AA5S

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I may well be mistaken but I was under the impression that the clocks are located at NIST in Boulder.  I'm sure someone in this community is better informed about this than I am.
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Mark - WS7M

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Yes the actual cesium standard is in Boulder.  Not far from here.
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Dave - W6OVP

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I saw the "atomic time sources" at WWVH Barking Sands years ago. They were just several small rack mounted units with some blinking lights. No big nuclear reactors outside or anything ...<g>.
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Norm - W7CK

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Thank you so much for the pictures Mark.  You did a wonderful job taking them and your presentation here was great. 

We now have satellites and many other ways to synchronize our time clocks. Any idea what the future holds for WWV?   Any idea who still actually depends on it?

Norm - W7CK
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Dave KD5FX

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Very interesting! I tried to tour WWV several years ago but they had just quit giving tours. We could drive by on the highway and look at the antennas and such but that was it. The thing I remember most was the headache from all the RF! I have always had a problem with headaches in high RF fields....
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Doc

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Very interesting, such power amazing. Glad you shared. KE0LBF