Former RCI transmitter site – slow transformation
By Marc Montgomery
The former RCI transmitter site near Sackville New Brunswick, sold to a First Nations group, is now in the process of being absorbed into native reserve land and some as yet undetermined use.
During the Second World War as Canada was working towards creating a shortwave service, an ideal site for the transmission of radio signals was found in New Brunswick. Located on the Tantramar marshes, it was ideal ground for propagation of signals from the complex array of antenna wires and towers.
The service was ended over six decades later as a result of severe budget cuts in 2012. The site was later purchased by Mi’kmaq First Nations in 2017 and plans are slowly taking shape to transform the 90 acre site into reserve land. That process involves consultations with neighbouring municipalities, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the New Brunswick provincial government and other indigenous communities. It’s expected to take two years, during which time the Mi’kmaq will decide the use for the land, whether cultural or economic or a combination.[…]
Marc is tasked with selling some of the equipment that used to make this site hum. The First Nations group who now own the site are using the revenue from sales to help fund site cleanup and renovation. Mark recently passed along the following note:
We are trying to determine the value of the large quantity of 1940 era engineering blue prints of the station. I hoping your readers will be able to establish their worth.
While rummaging through an old file cabinet in maintenance building (RCI Sackville, New Brunswick), we located about a 100 or so more engineering blue prints (1938-1945), about a dozen black and white photos (RCI reporters interviewing what appears to be world celebrities), and annual engineering reports (1938-1980). Would any of these items be of interest to your readers?
Post readers: If you are interested in any of these items, Marc can be contacted via the following email address: [email protected] He is open to offers and happy to ship these items internationally.
‘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:
Moncton artist bringing back sounds of former Sackville Radio-Canada towers
A Moncton artist has brought back to life the sounds of the 13 CBC Radio-Canada International shortwave towers that once stood in Sackville, N.B. on the Tantramar Marsh.
“It’s kind of like you’re conjuring ghosts of radio towers,” explained the artist Amanda Dawn Christie on Shift N.B.
Requiem For Radio: Full Quiet Flutter
The experimental sound art project Requiem For Radio: Full Quiet Flutter involves a scale model of the original towers, but a large model — about 16-metres wide, six-metres deep and five-metres tall.
Christie said the towers have red lights resembling the originals. They are made from pipes with four copper pads on each tower.
She added that when someone touches one of the copper pads, a wireless signal is sent to a computer, which then sends a sound file back to that tower of the actual, recorded sound the original tower made when it was operational. The sound is transmitted through a speaker on the model tower.
[…]But the model towers are more than something to be gazed upon and admired. They are musical instruments that Christie and two other musicians will be playing at one-hour performances on May 26 and 27 at the Aberdeen Cultural Centre in Moncton. The performances will also be broadcast on radio stations in Moncton, Montreal and New York.[…]