News, Events & Testimonies
Keeping the Signal Strong!
|Better Life Broadcasting Network >>|
Our cover this month (Feb. 2013) should give you a little idea of the challenges Better Life’s engineers face during a typical Northwest winter. It’s a picture of one of the antennas atop Soda Mountain encased in snow and ice. (Photo left courtesy Jeff Mize.) Our antenna (not seen) is also atop this mountain and it transmits to Klamath Falls and Yreka so when it’s off the air those two key cities are affected.
In this particular case the snow and ice on our antenna was so bad that our transmitter was unable to broadcast. All our engineers could do was wait for it to warm up enough to melt the snow and ice off the antenna. Finally, the signal came back a few days later.
Bill Whitt is Better Life’s Chief Engineer and he has been working with Better Life since February of 2008. He’s responsible for all 23 transmitter sites, making sure that the signal gets from our headquarters to our transmitting towers mostly via a fiber data network.
Bill and his assistant Jeff Mize, are also responsible for maintaining the transmitter sites as well. And that’s not always an easy task!
When a transmitter goes off the air it’s their job to figure out why. It could be as simple as a power outage, or as serious as a total transmitter failure. But it often means that one or both of them must be dispatched to a mountaintop. In the summer this usually isn’t a big problem, but in the winter driving up to the top of a mountain can become a big challenge.
To help get them safely to the top Better Life was able to acquire a John Deer Gator. The Gator’s heavy tank like treads can make it up snow covered roads that would stop lesser vehicles in their tracks. As they make their way up the mountain they never know what might be around the corner. Sometimes it’s a great view, other times it could be an elk or cougar!
Before acquiring the Gator it was a little more difficult getting to a transmitter site. At one point our engineers used a snow mobile which proved to be a little unwieldy.
It’s this time of year that takes the biggest toll on our equipment. Besides the Gator we have a couple of older pickup trucks that badly need to be replaced with one good SUV type vehicle. The transmitters and antennas are taxed by the cold weather as well. Our engineering staff greatly appreciates your prayers as they work to keep the signal beaming strongly.
Thankfully, much of our tower and transmitter maintenance happens during the summer months when the mountains are easier to reach. During the warm months our problems shift from cold to heat related. Overheating or forest fires can wreak havoc on Better Life’s sensitive electronics. But it’s obstacles like these that keep our engineering staff from getting bored!
We asked Bill what viewers could do to help make his job easier. He said, “First and foremost PRAY for us! That is the simplest thing anyone can do. If you look outside and see that it’s 10 degrees- chances are we are dealing with that. A simple prayer for support, protection, and wisdom is always appreciated.”
Bill continued, “please consider, supporting us financially. Our vehicles need to be replaced. Our Gator needs to be upgraded. Our machine room needs an upgrading too. (we are actually operating on 17 year old equipment - believe it or not.) PLEASE- get behind one of our projects so we can upgrade to new vehicles, better equipment, and keep all these beacons on the air. Anything that has power going to it, or a gear turning in it... we have to ensure that it stays running and on the air - we can’t do that without Jesus and you- plain and simple.”
We hope you’ve enjoyed this behind the scenes look at the men who keep Better Life’s beacons of hope on the air. The next time you look up at the snow capped peaks, just remember, one of our engineers may be up there keeping your signal strong!