WRSP-TV, channel 55 original signed on as WBHW a low power independent in 1979. It is unclear where the call letters came from. Some say it was the owners initials (Bill H. Wingerter); others believe it was a religeous reference to "We Believe His Word". It morphed into WRSP when it was purchased by Bahakel Communications (with a short, half-day stand as WZXO-TV).
It is interesting to note that the day WBHW was to begin broadcasting as WRSP ("Television America Loves to See is on WRSP") there was a mixup with the FCC. The telegram arrived Saturday morning authorizing the station to begin operations as... WZXO-TV! Oooops! By noon of that same day, the station had petitioned and received an emergency waiver from the FCC to operate as WRSP-TV. But all morning, the station ID was broadcast from a studio camera focused on a magic-markered posterboard saying "WZXO-TV, Channel 55".
Here, you will find photos of the original control rooms, upgraded facilities, new tower construction at Mechanicsburg, and various station scenes. My son, Cory, even makes a few appearences!
The following links will start a photo gallery of archival images. Some are high quality, some are not. All are a rich history. Enjoy!
Part 1: 1983 - WBHW-TV control room
This is the original control and equipment room. Featured is myself and my son who would stop by on Friday evenings with his mother and my supper. I would eat and he would watch the next day's cartoons. Look for the RCA-TR22 and a TR-4, one of the first CVS TBCs (to broadcast VHS commercials), a Riker switcher, an ISI switcher, GE cameras, GE audio board, 3M Character generator, and two TK-27a film chains. All the equipment was purchased used and much of it was beyond rational service.
Part 2: 1984 - New Tower Construction
In 1984, WRSP-TV constructed a new full power transmitter and tower near Mechanicsburg - within shouting distance from WICS. Look for (among other things) pictures from the microwave platform at 200 ft. The feet in the pictures are mine. Also look for the kids playing in the guy wire holes. One of them is my son, Cory. Most of the photos are dated.
Part 3: 1984 - Transmitter installation
These rare photos are of the GE-110 transmitter being installed. The transmitter was not new. It came from our parent station WCCB-TV in Charlotte, NC - the home office. We got their hand-me-downs. Look for the "first-proof" scope images and some close-ups of a new klystron before installation. Also look for yours truly installing one of them (there are 3). Also, look for Rick Reedy (on the right) helping push a transmitter cabinet in the door.
Part 4: 1985 - WRSP-TV Control Room
Thanks to Greg Coady for these polaroids. They are in very poor condition, but show the earliest views of the "new" WRSP. Look for the Ampex VR-1200s and the single VR-2000. Shown also is the installation of the first Earth station satellite for network operations.
Part 5: 1987 - WRSP-TV Control Room
By 1987, the complete change had been completed forever erasing all vestiges of WBHW. These shots were taken from a "going-away" video shot by Greg Coady when he left the station. Look for the Ikagami film chain, Beston/Aston character generator, Ross production switcher, automated Umatic spot-play decks, Grass Valley master switcher, Harris transmitter control, the old Acrodyne transmitter sitting in storage in the studio, and... yours truly!
Part 6: 1992 - Antenna Damage & Jampro Standby Antenna Installation
In 1992, the junctions at the top of the tower joining the waveguide transmission line and the antenna arced and were severely damaged. Engineers, you can see the echo of returned power on the scope picture. We were forced to operate at very low power for weeks while the damage was brought down and repaired. As a future emergency plan, we had the old Jampro antenna taken down from the still standing tower in Springfield (the old WBHW transmitter site) and mounted near the top of the new tower. That way, if the main antenna ever again suffered any damage, we would have a standby antenna to use while repairs could be made.
Part 7: 1993 - Catastrophic Klystron Destruction
1992/93 were bad years for damage. In 1993, we suffered a perfect-storm. Multiple failures caused the beam current to remain on for 10-15 seconds when the beam containment magnet supplies failed on one klystron. 16,000 volts at a couple amps reduced this $40,000 tube to slag. Look for some interesting shots of my finger supporting a string of nails inside the high-magnetic containment. Look also for Tom Costa.
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