A New Antenna For NBC 5

Something new is coming to NBC 5, high atop the station's broadcast tower in Cedar Hill.

"It is quite an involved, very long day, but if you take your time, it usually goes pretty smoothly," said John Sanderford, NBC 5 Transmitter Supervisor.

Engineers are about to install a new television antenna on the tower, a delicate daylong operation.

"One of the biggest advantages, is there, even though people live close to us, they can't get our signal clearly, because there are just some certain things about the landscape or where they're located – they might be behind a tall building, they might be on the other side of downtown Dallas – this antenna gives us the ability to get past those barriers and reach our audience," said Sanderford.

The first of its kind, the new antenna is more than 60-feet-long and weighs more than 14,500 pounds.

"The real magic of the antenna is that it can accommodate any channel without having to re-tune, and that's a very difficult task to achieve engineering-wise," said project engineer Matt Sanderford.

A new television transmitter with 72 amplifiers will provide twice the power than the one currently used to broadcast NBC 5 programming.

When the antenna is lifted into place with two powerful hoists and five strong cables, six men will be on the tower itself, which is 1,536 feet tall.

Only a few others will be allowed nearby to watch from a safe distance.

"It's exciting every time, after you quit holding your breath, when the antenna gets to the top and you're able to breathe normally again, then the smiles come into place and everybody celebrates," said Matt Sanderford. "But until that time, it is very dangerous. It is very difficult to get it up to that point."

The antenna lift is currently scheduled for Saturday morning.

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