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“I think Nautel makes the best broadcast transmitters and backs them up with excellent service. I’ve bought an ND1, ND5, Jazz 1000, XR6, XR12, XR25, and NX50.”

-Kyle Wesley, Director of Engineering
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“Clearly if the three Nautel transmitters were not of a quality design and build they would not have come back to life.”

-Kyle Wesley, Director of Engineering
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Nautel Transmitters Get Radio Disney Out of High Water


During the summer of 2009 our WDWD station was undergoing a major upgrade. The signal was going from 5,000 to 12,000 watts, and a new pattern and phasor were also involved which meant a new Nautel XR12 transmitter to replace the Nautel Ampfet that had been out here since the site was new.

In September 2009, about two weeks after finishing the project, the transmitter site was subject to the worst flooding seen in the history of the area, when it was submerged by nearby Noses Creek, which reached double its flood stage during the historic and record-breaking 2009 Atlanta floods.

Radio Disney Transmitter Building

In the photos above, notice the floodwall around the WDWD transmitter building, the sliding gate that could seal it off if the waters of nearby Noses Creek started to rise, and the new Nautel XR12 transmitter placed up on a platform. Alas, all that emergency preparedness was no match for the flood waters that rose above the floodwall and right into – and then right over – the building.

At the height of the flooding, the transmitter building was flooded up to the roof and only the peak of the roof poked up above the muddy water. This meant that every piece of equipment in the building was completely under water. And, it was not nice clean water, but very dirty and muddy river water.

The building was flooded for about three days. Inside the building were three Nautel transmitters; two of the original Ampfet 5,000 watt transmitters purchased many years ago, and the much newer, shinier XR12. My first thought was not a positive one for the future of these transmitters. All three transmitters were cleaned out by a professional restoral service. The entire process took a couple of weeks, but all three Nautel transmitters were returned to the air and worked!

Radio Disney Transmitters After Flood

The Nautel XR12 after the flood at Radio Disney's transmitter site.

Clearly if the three Nautel transmitters were not of a quality design and build they would not have come back to life. The XR12 is of course the main transmitter. The Ampfet transmitters are a very dependable backup.

During the weeks of time the previously mentioned Nautel transmitters were out of service we were on the air using a Nautel Jazz 1000. Our group has a Jazz 1000 that lives in a transportable rack. The transmitter was re-tuned and flown to Atlanta. After arriving on site it took about 90 minutes to install the transmitter and get on the air in an emergency ND mode of 1000 watts. We ran on the Jazz 1000 until the XR12 was returned to service.

Kyle Wesley
Director of Engineering
Radio Disney
Dallas, TX

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