WRAL’s New Digital Tower Nears Completion

WRAL’s New Digital Tower Nears Completion

WRAL’s new super, digital tower near Garner is nearing completion. The tall tower has been topped off with four antennae capable of transmitting the signals of WRAL Digital, channel 53, WRAZ Digital, channel 49, and the digital and analog antennae for the NBC affiliate.

The Andrew Antenna sat on the truck waiting for the weather to clear.

After lengthy delays created by hurricanes, snowstorms, and manufacturers, the two Capitol Broadcasting Company antennae were installed on February 4th. Transmission lines for the antennae will be installed over the next two weeks providing weather conditions remain favorable. The target date for signing on the new DTV channels has now been set for March 15.

Andrew Corporation designed the two antennae for WRAL and WRAZ. The WRAL antenna is stacked above the WRAZ antenna, which acts as both an antenna and supporting structure for the channel 53 unit. The design for the WRAZ structure is one-of-a-kind and protected by patents. Both antennae weigh more than 30 tons.

Looking up to the spot on the tower where the antenna was to be mounted.

The tower was designed by Anderson-Foreman Engineering, built by Kline Tower Company and erected by Doty-Moore. The unique design of the tower permits six TV antennae to be installed on three arms that extend out from the center of the vertical structure. The other two positions on the structure have been leased to the Sinclair stations in Raleigh. In addition, space will be leased to wireless and two-way radio companies at various heights along the tower. Dual Harris transmitters will drive the signals for WRAL and WRAZ and final testing of those units is currently underway. The transmitter site will be remote controlled from the existing, and nearby, WRAL transmitter building.

At 1989 feet, the new structure is highly visible. It is located near the older WRAL and WTVD towers off Highway 70 West near Garner. It is the one with the large Starmount at the top and closest to the highway. The tower was originally scheduled to be completed by November 1, 1999, but construction was delayed by Hurricanes Floyd and Fran and equipment delays from Andrew Corporation. The recent snow and ice storms also slowed progress but with better weather conditions completion is now in sight.

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