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Helicopter assists in WNMU-TV antenna upgrade atop 1,100 foot tower

 At the top of an 1,100 foot tower, crews worked to swap the existing antenna with a new one.
At the top of an 1,100 foot tower, crews worked to swap the existing antenna with a new one. (WLUC)
Published: Jun. 28, 2020 at 1:30 PM EDT
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We live in a world where technology is constantly changing, and on Sunday, June 28 in Ely Township, WNMU-TV upgraded their antenna with the help of a helicopter.

At the top of an 1,100 foot tower, crews worked to swap the existing antenna with a new one. Two men traveled in a basket up the tower, and once they were in place, a helicopter ascended to the top of the antenna.

Using a wire connected to the helicopter, the existing antenna was disconnected and brought down to the ground, where it was swapped for the new one. Then, it was back up to the top for the helicopter, where the tower crew assisted in connecting the new antenna back to the tower.

The upgrade was needed to follow new Federal Communications Commission guidelines, mandating WNMU-TV to change its transmission frequency. However, it will also help the station provide more programming to viewers.

“We have responsibility to serve Upper Michigan with public broadcasting programming, but in addition, this is helping Northern Michigan University with its educational mission, and the many things we’re doing with response to K-12 education and those schools that use our programming,” said Eric Smith, General Manager of WNMU-TV.

Funding for the upgrade was provided by the FCC. The tower and helicopter crews are traveling across the country, doing similar upgrades for different stations.

The antenna provides broadcast coverage to about two thirds of the Upper Peninsula. The new antenna will be in service for an estimated 20 years.

As part of this change over, starting at 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 1, those using an antenna to watch WNMU-TV will need to rescan their television set. Cable and satellite users do not need to take any action.

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