The Set: Pete Deksnis's Site about the CT-100
Restoring a Vintage Color Television Set
RCA CT-100 at WCBS
It's February 1955
The flagship CBS television station monitors off-air
color broadcasts with an RCA CT-100.
It's September 2001
at 7:37 in the morning, September 13, 2001 as I add information to this page, originally linked just to the Tidbits II page.
All VHF television channels in New York City -- 2(CBS), 4(NBC), 5(FOX), 7(ABC), 9(UPN), 11(WB), 13(PBS) -- long ago ported their transmission facilities from the Empire State Building to World Trade Center 1. All but one are now silent.
WCBS channel 2 kept a backup transmitter in the Empire State Building on the same floor (83rd) where this 1955 photo was taken, and so was the only VHF station in the tri-state area with the ability to continuously provide news coverage using a VHF broadcast signal.
It continued to be the only on-air VHF station broadcasting. Channel 2, WCBS, blanketed the area with a VHF television signal albeit a reduced power signal.
Last night (Sept. 12) a maintenance crew of three went to the 83rd floor to return the old facilities to full power operation. They successfully repaired the channel 2 transmitter and brought it up to power when, suddenly, they were told to immediately evacuate the building. A bomb-sniffing dog had discovered a suspicious package on the 44th floor. Thankfully, the package was benign, the evacuation a precaution.
Channel 2 continues to be the lone VHF signal in the area; the last time that occurred was the late 1930s.
By Friday, September 14, 2001 WABC channel 7 was back on the air with a low-power signal that produces a very snowy, but watchable, image. Sources also indicate that channel 11 and perhaps channel 4 also operate with "reduced" power. If so, I cannot reliably detect them at this location, 30-miles away, with my outdoor antenna and propagation over the Atlantic coastline and ocean.
By Sunday, September 16, 2001 channel 4, WNBC, was also broadcasting a very weak but viewable signal.
By Monday evening, September 17, 2001 channel 11 was broadcasting with a healthy erp that produced a snow-free image.
Sometime during the day on Thursday, September 20, 2001 channel 9 also began broadcasting a healthy erp -- resulting in a solid image here on the central New Jersey coast.
28 September 2001. Although few probably realize it, channel 13, New York City's PBS outlet, is the only VHF television channel allocated to New Jersey. [Some years ago, WOR, channel 9, was symbolically renamed a New Jersey station, but for all intents and purposes, it's still a New York outlet.] Channel 13 transmitters were always in Manhattan -- first in the Empire State Building and then with the six other NYC VHF television stations in WTC-1. For part of its broadcast day, it can be seen on channel 25, the television station of the New York City Board of Education. The signal on channel 13 is still barely perceptible at my location.
23 October 2001. Channel 13 continues with its low-power transmitter... channel 9 no longer transmitts audio in stereo... skip from VHF stations in Baltimore cause interference... but life goes on here -- in and around the New York City area.
11 November 2001. Two months after the attack, several VHF stations have been successful in returning to the Empire State Building tower. In addition to channel 2, this November 6 newspaper ad announces the return of Channel 11. Disney-owned WABC channel 7 bumped Disney-owned WPLJ-FM from a prime location on the tower and installed its channel 7 antenna. Channel 13 is the only station without a proper signal. The PBS station had recently begun HDTV broadcasting from the WTC. "If nothing changes and we continue to lose one-third of our audience, we would be taken out of the business," the station's president, Bill Baker, said.
20 December 2001. Steve Dichter reports that "Popular Communications" magazine, in its Jan. 2002 edition, has a brief but interesting article on the September Eleventh attack and its effect on broadcast stations that transmitted from the WTC.