Maine-built antenna heads to Florida

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

ON SPX PROPERTY LAST WEEK, a crane sits in the foreground of a 70-foot-tall, multi-station broadcast FM antenna. The antenna, which took three months to build, will be disassembled and shipped to Jacksonville, Fla. (De Busk Photo.)

RAYMOND — Up on Tower Road, more than 70 SPX employees contributed to constructing a 70-foot-tall antenna, which is capable of simultaneously transmitting eight FM radio stations.

Most antennae can only relay the FM waves for one or two radio stations at a time, according to SPX General Manager Mark Fichter.

Our company “has a history of doing tricky, custom engineered products. Not many companies could have done this job,” he said, adding that SPX is the parent company and Dielectric is the brand of product produced by the Raymond-based business.

“The reason it’s significant is it’s one of the largest antennae in the world,” Fichter said on Friday, June 26.

A crane was poised to disassemble the towering antenna that weighs 37,000 pounds.

Later this month, the tower will be transported to Jacksonville, Fla., using two flatbeds and three box trailers, according to Fichter.

Cox Communications purchased the antenna.

On June 20 and 21, SPX employees tested the antenna. During the testing process, workers use a spectrum analyzer and hook up low-level radio frequencies (RFs) to the antenna, according to Fichter.

Sometimes, the concrete interferes with the RFs, he said. Therefore, to achieve the optimum test results, the antenna is stood upright on a test pedestal, he said.

“The fact that we can build and test an antenna like this one is important to our customer who owns it,” Fichter said.

SPX was able to both manufacture and test the antenna at its facility in Raymond.

Keith Pelletier, SPX director of engineering, was the primary engineer on the project, Fichter said.

“It is one of those projects (in which) almost every employee in the company was involved with it at one time or another,” he said.

Please follow and like us: