Tag Archives: Hurricane Irma

Photos of WRMI antenna field damage

Since we’ve been following WRMI in the wake of Hurricane Irma, I’ve posted a few photos below that WRMI shared on their Facebook page. These photos give us an idea about the magnitude of damage to their antenna farm.

Amazingly, Jeff White confirmed a few days ago that WRMI is back up to full power on all of their frequencies.

All of the caption below were noted by WRMI:

One of the towers holding our 44-degree antenna to Europe was folded in the middle by the hurricane.

A mess of crossed transmission lines in the field.

Transmission lines on the ground that should be above ground on poles.

Transmission line poles were knocked down.

A second tower holding the 44-degree antenna was snapped in the middle.

We had some requests a few days ago from listeners who wanted to see a diagram of our transmitter-antenna connections. This may blow your mind, but here goes…

For all WRMI updates, please bookmark the WRMI Facebook page.

September 13, 2017: Update from WRMI–9,395 kHz on air at low power

Many thanks to Jeff White, at Radio Miami International, who writes with the following update:

Florida Power & Light Company has announced that most customers in our part of Florida should have electricity restored by the end of this coming weekend — that is by Sunday, September 17. So we hope to be back on the air here at WRMI by that date or before.

Meantime, we have one frequency on the air at very low power using our generator: 9395 kHz. This will be on 24 hours a day with regular programming.

We are making repairs in the antenna field so that by the time electricity returns, we will be ready to resume our full schedule of operations.

Jeff White

Thanks for the update, Jeff! We’re all so happy the WRMI crew made it through Hurricane Irma safely and happy to hear you may have power as early as this weekend.

We’ll publish all of Jeff’s updates here on the SWLing Post.

No power, but radioactive–!

My CommRadio CR-1a, with an internal lithium battery, is the perfect off-grid radio companion.

Monday night, the remnants of Hurricane Irma moved through western North Carolina. Because the SWLing Post HQ is at a high altitude compared with the surrounding area, we received higher than forecast winds. Still, we made it through fine and feel pretty darn lucky.

Yesterday afternoon, even though we maintained power throughout the storm, the utilities company cut power to our road due to a tree that had fallen on a pole that also supported a transformer. It’s a tangled mess. Since there are about 17,000 without power in our rural area, it’ll be some time before power is restored to our road–likely late Friday evening or sometime this weekend.

Loss of power isn’t a major problem for us since our refrigerator and freezer are off-grid and solar powered 100% of the time anyway. We also have a propane stove to cook on and plenty of charged battery packs and flashlights (and at least half a dozen HumanaLights in service).

On the plus side?  Even though our house is pretty RFI free, when the power is cut, it’s amazingly radio quiet.

I listened to RRI last night on the CommRadio CR-1a (see above). Later, I sat in bed with the pilot run CC Skywave SSB and tuned through the 31 meter broadcast band, the 40, 80 and 160 meter ham bands and the mediumwave broadcast band. Happy to say that the Skywave SSB did an amazing job–and propagation was decent. Reception was so good, it felt like I was camping in a national forest. Just makes one realize how all the devices in our home add to that RFI noisy environment.

We count ourselves lucky as news from all of the areas that took the full impact of Hurricane Irma is simply gobsmacking.

This morning, I listened to a few HF nets on the 80 and 40 meter bands with the Digitech AR1780–I noted no less than five hams reporting that they were operating on generator power. I believe this hurricane has caused one of the largest power outages we’ve ever had in the US due to a natural disaster.

Note that since I don’t have power at home, I also don’t have Internet service–keep this in mind if you attempt to contact me this week.  I will post quick updates to the SWLing Post while I’m in town, however I will certainly fall behind on correspondence. Thanks for understanding.

WRMI: An update from Jeff White

(Source: Jeff White)

Dear WRMI Clients, Listeners and Friends:

Yesterday evening, Hurricane Irma passed very close to Okeechobee, and tropical storm force winds hit our transmitter site. I’m happy to say that the transmitter building and the transmitters themselves survived with no major problems. In the antenna field, one of our 44-degree antennas beaming up the East Coast of North America and over to Europe and the Middle East was knocked down, and may not be repairable. Fortunately, we have four other antennas beaming in the same direction, so we can continue those transmissions when the power comes back on. There are also about 20 telephone poles holding our transmission lines that are down or leaning, and they need to be repaired.

WRMI transmitter building with windows and doors boarded up in anticipation of the arrival of Hurricane Irma.

At this point, Florida Power & Light has no estimate of when power will be restored to our site. It could take days, or possibly even weeks. But we should have a better idea about this within the next few days. In the meantime, all transmitters are off the air, although our webstream with the 9955 kHz programming is operating. You can find it on our webpage, www.wrmi.net. There is an audio player in the lower right corner which you can click on to hear the programming. This stream is also carried by TuneIn, Streema, Radio Garden and other similar services. So please continue to upload your programs to our FTP servers as usual.

For WRMI clients, please be assured that we will put a credit on your next invoice for any of your programs that do not air on shortwave.

We do have a generator at our transmitter site which powers our control room, offices, lights and computers. Unfortunately it is not powerful enough to operate our fourteen 100,000-watt transmitters.

All of our staff are safe. Half of them were at the station during the storm (with some of their pets as well; we had two dogs, a bird and a turtle), and the others stayed in their own homes throughout the area.

I want to thank everyone who has called, e-mailed and sent messages with their prayers, best wishes and offers of assistance. We greatly appreciate all of them, and I will attempt to answer all of these messages personally in the coming days. The hurricane has dealt us a serious blow, but we will recover quickly and we’ll continue to broadcast your programs to shortwave listeners around the world. Thanks for your confidence in WRMI, and I will update you when we have more news.

Jeff White
General Manager

Jeff, we’re all wishing you the best as you work to put WRMI back on the air!

WRMI: Hurricane Irma has done “extensive damage”

(Source: WRMI on Facebook)

1430 UTC Monday, September 11

Hurricane Irma has done extensive damage at WRMI in Okeechobee, Florida.

Two antenna towers are down and many poles holding transmission lines are also down.

Power went out at around 2030 UTC Sunday, and it may not be restored for days.

Meanwhile, all transmitters are off the air. Our Internet service is also down, which means that our live stream is down as well. All of our staff are OK. We’ll try to provide more information later today here on Facebook. Thanks for all of your messages of support.