In 1982 the owner of 1550 decided to invest in increasing the station's power and adding night service. This would require a new tower site since there wasn't enough room at the Grassmere Ave site to accommodate additional towers. Finding a suitable site in West Hartford proved problematic. The only promising site, on the site of Avon Mountain off of Rt. 44, turned out to be unusable since it was adjacent to an historic Revolutionary War hospital site.
Unable to find a West Hartford location, the decision was made to change the city of license to Bloomfield which required FCC approval. A suitable site in Bloomfield was found at the abandoned Bloomfield landfill off of Blue Hills Avenue extension. Using that site would have required some special construction techniques and precautions would have had to have been taken to prevent the build-up of methane in the building, but the site was available immediately and at low cost. A ground conductivity test was conducted from the site. This required that we bring in a 1000 watt transmitter in a truck and erect a temporary antenna. The station was operated for four days on 1200 khz with an experimental license to determine ground conductivity.
Although the site was determined to be suitable it was never used because the station was sued by a local aerospace company who was concerned that the four proposed 320' towers would interfere with their flight operations despite the fact that the station had already received FAA approval for the towers! The project was stalled for close to two years by the suit which was finally settled when a new site was found on Mucko Road.
In 1985, 1550 received a Construction Permit (CP) from the FCC to move its transmitter site from West Hartford to Bloomfield and to increase power from 1,000 watts daytime only to 5,000 watts day and 2,400 watts night. Ten acres of land were leased on Mucko Road.
After clearing the land of trees and pulling the stumps a survey had to be done to precisely determine the exact location of each of the six towers. Given the fact that the position of the towers determined the directional characteristics of the antenna pattern, and that the stations that had to be protected for hundreds of miles away, even a small error in the placement of the towers could result in the pattern not meeting spec.
The photos below were taken during construction in the winter of 85/86.
Above: After the land was cleared of trees and stumps and the surveyors had plotted the exact locations of the tower bases it was time to excavate the tower piers. Due to the frozen ground a large excavator was required.
Above: Somehow, due to a surveyor or contractor error, one of the tower bases was poured in the wrong place! Luckily we caught the mistake before we started stacking steel. It obviously couldn't be relocated so it was removed and scrapped. An expensive mistake.
Above: The tower steel arrived in February. That's 950' of tower on the truck!
Above: Tower six being errected.
Above: Tower 4 being installed.
Above: Tower 6 construction complete! Now all that's left is to tune up the array!
Above: Completed six tower array. The four towers on the left are the night pattern, the 3 on the right are the day array. The closest tower is shared between the patterns. 2008 photo.
Above: All six towers in a 2008 photo. The towers are arranged in a "V" formation. The tower on the far left is common to both arrays. The night array is the four towers in the rear of the photo. The day array utilizes the three towers closest to the camera.
Above: 1550 transmitter building, satellite dish and directional antenna array. 2008 photo.