Built To Last (or How My Dad built something electronic that has lasted for 300,000 hours and still is running)

My dad (John Bredesen Sr.) had a career where he, among other things, built radio and television stations. The technical stuff. Transmitters and studios and really tall antenna. Took me about 3/4 of the way up one of his towers…1200 ft…gave me some serious willies. And he climbed them. Voluntarily. With safety harness, but still. On purpose. Not a gene that he passed on to me.

Anyway, back in 1973, he worked at the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh and built the transmitter for WRST, the student radio station. From an email he sent me about this:

The completion of the UO Oshkosh Fine Arts Building with it’s 80 foot self supporting tower. Ah, the big time.
I, literally, hung the two bay antenna at the top of the tower (which you can barely see as two black dots at the top and bottom of the red paint section on the left side), ran the semi-flexible transmission line down to the transmitter room two floors below the roof (using the elevator shaft as a passage way) and connected it to that very transmitter through a motorized two-way coax switch. I had already gotten the 1 Kw Gates transmitter in place and the electricians had wired power to it. All it needed was that antenna. […]I did have student helpers.
Now, 300,000 hours later….
It is a strange “thrill” to read this article and know that part of me is still haunting WRST-FM with a mighty radiated power of about 960 watts attributable to my handy work way back in 1972.

The UW-O has an article on the milestone. Note the comments about reliability (hint: better than the modern stuff). Below is a screenshot of the article (in case it disappears).

How many people have built something that has lasted for 300,000 hours? Not many. My dad has. Pretty cool.

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My Dad standing in front of his 1973 handy work. (Photo from 2014)

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2014 photo of the tower

wrst article screen shot from uwosh.edu sept 5 2017

from http://www.uwosh.edu/today/51269/wrst-transmitter-logs-300000-hours-on-air/

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