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*** The Ampliphase Ancestry ***

The BTA-50G Ampliphase at WLKW, Providence, Rhode Island



WLKW 990 in Providence installed one of the last 50G's in 1960 prior to the introduction of the 50H, and it was used through to the mid 80's. It would seem it met a very uncomfortable end, when the incoming power feed dropped a phase, (apparently due to a truck colliding with a power pole), and the blowers started to run slow. For whatever reason, the air interlock shutdown failed, and the transmitter literally fried itself to death. During it's living years, the transmitter was fittingly nicknamed the "Belch Fire Fifty", due to some of its mannerisms, notably associated with 5K1 the plate contactor relay, and the transmission line and phasor system feeding the 6 tower array.


The Belch Fire Fifty in place and glowing. Photo taken sometime in the days BC (Belching Contactors)


The "L" within the WLKW callsign is the roman numeral for fifty, whilst the KW speaks for itself. Nowadays 990 in Providence is home to WALE, and the WLKW call was rejuventated in the 90's first on 790 then on 550Khz in Providence - the WLKW call is currently unassigned. The 990 site still exists, along with its six towers but is today powered by a Nautel Tx in place of the 50G.


990 WALE site as it is in 2002, AD (Ampliphase Deceased)
Note the two original brown phasor cabinets in the foreground, the tin of WD40 on the table and the unfinished plasterwork where the 50G was removed!

Thanks to Duffy Egan and Grady Moates for the pictures and sorry tale.

[Back to the Ancestry page]