‘It’s like Frankenstein’s lab’: Massive 78-year-old transmitter for sale
Mi’kmaq group hopes it finds ‘a good home’
A piece of radio history could be yours for $5,000.
A 1940 RCA 50 kW shortwave transmitter, located at the decommissioned Radio Canada International Site in Sackville, is up for sale.
The transmitter is a small room, about five metres long by two-and-a-half metres wide, and it’s filled with lever, buttons, glass tubes and wires.
The property was bought in February 2017 by Mi’gmawe’l Tplu’taqnn Incorporated (MTI), a group of Mi’Kmaq First Nations. Jesse John Simon, the group’s executive director, said workers are still taking electronic components apart and removing old equipment that won’t be needed now that property is no longer a broadcast site.
The old transmitter doesn’t work anymore, said Marc Goldstein, an electrical engineer helping to take out equipment no longer needed, adding it was decommissioned in the 1970s.
“It took three men to operate this radio,” he said.
“We’re trying to find a home for it.”[…]
Many thanks to Amanda Dawn Christie who contacted me this morning regarding a message she received from Marc Goldstein, who is seeking a home for a beautiful piece of international broadcasting history. Marc writes:
We have been dismantling equipment at Radio Canada in Sackville, New Brunswick since July of last year. Most of the contents have been removed.
The original 1940 RCA 50 KW transmitter is still intact. First Nation’s–the current owner of the site–is looking for a home for this piece of history. […] I am hoping you may know someone, or an organization who may help preserve the radio. First Nations has requested $5,000 Canadian for the radio, and will remove and ready it for shipping at their expense.
Thanks for passing this information along, Amanda!
I actually snapped photos of this very transmitter when I visited the Sackville site in 2012–a few months before the site shut down. It’s an elegant piece:
View of the western cluster of curtain antennas from the roof of RCI Sackville’s transmissions building. I took this photo in 2012 while the site was still in operation. (Photo: The SWLing Post) –Click to enlarge
A Mi’kmaq group has bought the land outside Sackville where 13 Radio Canada International towers stood for decades, CBC-Radio Canada confirmed Friday.
Five years after the Tantramar Marsh site was put up for sale, the New Brunswick non-profit Mi’gmawe’l Tplu’taqnn bought it for an undisclosed price.
“This transaction closes the book on an interesting chapter for CBC/Radio-Canada and Canadian broadcasting in the world of international shortwave broadcasting,” CBC’s Martin Marcotte wrote in an email.
A long broadcast history
The shortwave service ran for 67 years, and the site’s towers facilitated the service around the world until budget cuts in 2012.
The 90-hectare property was initially listed with the towers, to avoid the high cost of dismantling the facility, but in 2014, CBC began dismantling the towers in hopes the blank slate would entice more buyers.
“It’s tough to take something down that served such a purpose for the country, you know, during the Second World War,” Larry Wartman, CBC’s senior manager of transmission operations for Western and Atlantic Canada, told CBC News in 2014. “There’s just not that many of them around the world anymore.”
Building the future
The New Brunswick Mi’kmaq group Mi’gmawe’l Tplu’taqnn purchased the land Thursday but has yet to announce any plans or comment on the purchase, other than to confirm it. The non-profit group’s members are the nine Mi’kmaq communities in the province.[…]
On Tuesday, 29th November 2016 from 0230-0300 UTC
on 7250 kHz (to NoAM) we will broadcast our first English edition.
The topics: we speak with Rimantas Pleikys about radio jamming in former
times and today. He wrote a book about it and made a very interesting film
And: 4 years ago, on 28th November 2012, Radio Canada International shut
down the Sackville transmission site. 2 years later the facility was
scrapped. Amanda Dawn Christie made a film called Spectres of Shortwave that
is shown at diverse film festivals at the moment. She tells the story behind
By the way: Spectres of Shortwave is shown on 28th November in Sackville at
7PM local time. Perhaps you want to join it.
All broadcasts are coming from Gavar Armenia site with a power of 100kW,
at azimuth of 330 degrees.
Reception reports and comments are highly appreciated to
I just received this message from Filmmaker, Amanda Dawn Christie:
Just finished an interview with Christian Milling from Germany Shortwave Service about Spectres of Shortwave. The interview will be translated into German and is planned to be broadcast for Sunday, 27th November from 0900-1000 UTC on 6045 kHz in Europe and a Repetition the week after, 04th December from 1900-2000 UTC on 6145 kHz also to Europe. Eventually the English version will be transmitted to the UK and North America.
Thank you, Amanda! We’ll be listening!
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