WEGL is the campus radio station at Auburn University, in Auburn, Alabama. The station uses the 91.1 MHz FM radio frequency. The studio is located in the Foy Union student center, and the transmitting equipment is located in the radio room on the 10th floor of the Haley Center. The circularly polarized transmitting antenna is located on the Haley Center roof.

Interestingly enough, to many people WEGL is more of an annoyance than anything else. The transmitting antenna is in the dead middle of campus, and radiates 3000 watts. The RF energy density is strong enough to get inside and foul up unshielded electronic devices in the engineering quarter across Thach Avenue, and cause crosstalk in pretty much every other audio device on campus (read: telephones, stereos, etC). Did I mention that WEGL played unlistenable alternative music?

I was chief engineer at WEGL for a couple of quarters. This amounted to pretty much being on call 24 hours a day in case some incompetent idiot broke something or couldn't figure out how something worked. Consider now that the WEGL management would let ANYONE become a DJ after taking a short, painfully easy course, and you might understand how this sort of thing might get out of control. I recieved beeps and phone calls at all hours of the day, however, 85% of all these calls fell between 12 and 6 am. Most of these phone calls amounted to:

DJ: Hey, evilkalla, I think the transmitter is broken.
EK: Is the mixing board turned on?
-click-

DJ: Hey, evilkalla, I think the transmitter is broken.
EK: Is the mixing board turned on?
DJ: yes.
EK: Did you press the "program" button like the sign says?
-click-

DJ: Hey, evilkalla, I spilled coke on the mixing board, is that bad?
EK: Did you see the huge "no food or drink in control room" sign on the wall?
DJ: yes.
EK: I'll be right down.

DJ: Hey, evilkalla, I think the cd player is broken.
Problem: Previous DJ used keys on Beck CD.

DJ: Hey, evilkalla, I think the turntable is broken.
Problem: DJ did some overzealous "scratching" during a break.

DJ: Hey, evilkalla, I think the control room ceiling is leaking.
Problem: Previous DJ spilled beer above control room.

Being the chief engineer did have its benefits, I could take control of the radio station whenever I wanted to, since I was the chief operator. I got to wire up expensive equipment and look 31337 in front of freshman coeds. I got master keys to the Student Union building as well as the top floor of Haley Center where the FM transmitter was located.

The transmitter was connected via phone line to the control room, where every two hours the DJ would take power output readings to satisy FCC law. The transmitter had an automated voice system that would read out the voltage and power to you, however if you were actually in the room with the transmitter when the DJ called to take readings, you could pick up the phone on the wall and be like,

EK: Transmitter speaking.
DJ: uhhhh ...
EK: Plate voltage 2950 volts, power output 98.6%, have a nice day.

One time the transmitter actually DID break, and it was at 3:45 AM (of course). The transmitter used a large power amplifier tube, which would slowly degrade over the course of a year and need to be refurbished. The station had a pair of them, one refurbished one as a backup, and one in use at all times. Typically the tube would slowly get less and less efficient, and when the power output reading got below 93-95% or so I was supposed to take the transmitter down, swap the tubes, and send the old one off to be rebuilt. This one time, however, the tube just decided to stop working altogether and it was my job to open up a 3000 watt FM transmitter at 4:00 am, groggy as hell, ignoring the "DANGER! EXTREMELY HIGH VOLTAGE! QUALIFIED PERSONNEL ONLY!" signs, and swap out a $10,000 tube. heh.

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