WNIU radio tower

The WNIU radio mast site in 2010 looking southwest from the street toward where Kishwaukee Hall once stood and the tower stays were once anchored.

The DeKalb, IL WNIU radio tower support stays had a distinctive sci-fi ray gun sound when plucked. We returned to sample these in 2009 after nineteen years and to see whether the sound was as cool as remembered from college days. Maybe less variety, that was the only real disappointment.

The tower, decommissioned in 1988, stood for two more decades before being demolished along with adjacent Kishwaukee Hall in late 2009, just a few months after our final visit. We hadn't the foresight to take a camera along and so missed the opportunity for a photo reconnoiter; we'll always have a vague question about where precisely the photos were taken.

[edit] Sights and sounds

July 20, 2009

The WNIU transmitter tower base looked something like this through the latter third of the 20th Century.
The tower and backside of Kishwaukee Hall looked something like this.

The cables that kept the tower upright were arranged as three sets of five, each set anchored to a "deadman" set deep in the ground. All samples were taken from a single location at one of these anchors. This was hot, late July day with—as so often at midday in the Midwest—absolutely no wind whatsoever; so the cables were plucked and struck to stimulate sound. The five samples are of different length cables, but end up nearly indistinguishable except for the time the plucked impulse takes to travel up and back over the wire.

The trusty Sony PCM-D50 was used with the Schertler DYN-E-SET pickup. All files recorded in 96 kHz 24-bit .wav format prior to conversion to MP3.


All audio files on this page Cc by sa 80x15.png 2009 D A Ayer.

Photos this page ©2010 E X Rator. Used with permission.