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Getting Ready for Spring – A Checklist

Barry Mishkind author

[March 2024] This is another of a series of checklists the BDR has worked on to help broadcasters focus on different parts of the facility. What are the key things to check regularly? The advent of Spring is a good place to start.

Each year, as we muddle through the winter months, waiting for the warm days ahead when it is much easier to get work done, it is worth considering the state of the studio and transmitter sites and what we would like to do over the coming months.
With that in mind, here are some items you can put on your checklist. Since every site is different, there is no doubt items you will notice are missing or not applicable to your situation. We invite your comments so we can improve this list in the future.
Our focus here is the site itself. While separating that from the RF side may be hard, we will approach the RF plant more closely as another checklist.


As you know, first impressions are essential.
That includes your sites. As you drive up, you should see several things that must be right.


  •  If a fence is around the site, is it in good repair? (Check all around!)
  •  Are there any holes or other evidence of disrepair or unauthorized access?
  •  Are the internal fences – e.g. around the tower(s) – also in good shape?
  •  Is the main gate in good shape? The main lock?
  •  Is the fencing around the tower(s) – especially for AM towers – in good shape?
  •  Is the gate solid and locked?
  •  If you are sharing the site or have others who need access, do you have arrangements to handle multiple locks, perhaps with a chain or other mechanism that could leave you locked out?
  •  Is any signing required by the FCC (ASR numbers or RF warning signs, for example) or local ordinances in the right place and legible?


  •  Is the driveway properly graded and free of obstructions?
  •  Is access to tower(s) in good shape?
  •  Are there signs of excessive soil erosion, especially near guy anchors or the tower base(s)?
  •  Is all foliage properly cut back and not interfering with the guy wires?
  •  Does the site require a landscaper to clean up?
  •  Is there any need for long term weed/plant killer, etc?
  •  Especially inside a tower fence, is all the foliage cut back (and weed killer applied)?
  •  Is there evidence of feedlines coming loose?
  •  Is/are the tower(s) standing straight, not leaning?
  •  AM engineers should pay special attention to the area around tower and Antenna Tuning Units.
  •  If at an AM station, are the ground wires properly buried and not exposed?
  •  If an AM station, is/are the ATU(s) in mounted properly?
  •  Open each ATU and check inside for any parts needed or unwanted visitors that need to be evicted.
  •  After dark, do the tower lights, if required, come on properly?
  •  Is there any evidence of bullet holes or other vandalism?
  •  If you do not have a lawn service, purchase a good weed eater to keep growth down around the building and fences.


  •  Is the door secure and free of evidence of vandalism?
  •  When you open the door, do all the lights turn on? Do you have spare lights?
  •  If installed, does the emergency lighting work?
  •  Check the date/fill point on any fire extinguishers.
  •  When you open the door, is there evidence of animal infestation (wasps, snakes, mice and other critters – be especially careful where you might find hantavirus, black widows, and poisonous snakes)?
  •  The best way send animals packing is to use a qualified exterminator.
  •  Alternatively, have on hand a good amount of snake repellent (or ground up moth balls) around your transmitter building. Several cans of wasp spray should be in the building and used on every visit to stop nest building.
  •  Close the door and with the lights out, check to see there are no openings in the roof or walls. If so, close them off – if nothing else, use some duct tape for now.
  •  After you clear the room of unwanted visitors, sweep it out. If appropriate, use a shopvac. (Avoid compressed air or other blowers – that just makes things worse.)
  •  Check the building temperature – does the A/C unit(s) need attention? Coolant?
  •  Are there arrangements for a periodic service by qualified technicians?
  •  Is the outside part of the A/C unit free of vegetation or vandalism? Are drain lines clear?
  •  Do you have spare filters for the air handling units?
  •  Are there arrangements for a periodic service by qualified technicians?
  •  Are any sanitary arrangements in good condition? Sufficuent supplies?
  •  Is the First Aid kit intact with supplies?
  •  Empty all trash cans.


  •  Is the Generator operable and tested? Is the battery charged?
  •  Are there arrangements for a periodic service by qualified technicians?

Henry Engineering


The fact is: memories fail. So,– the more documentation you have, the easier it will be to see if anything becomes abnormal. Plus, knowing what parts and supplies you have used and need will work to prevent you going on a maintenance run, only to find you do not have some key item.

  •  Is there a sheet with the current “normal” parameters?
  •  Do you have a complete file of manuals, in print, on a local computer, or DVD?
  •  Do you have list of all important phone numbers for suppliers and government agencies?
  •  Does your list include any/all information needed to find/assist suppliers?
  •  Street address or other location information (if nothing else, the lat/lon).
  •  Nearest electric pole number.
  •  Utility account numbers.
  •  Equipment models and serial numbers.


As noted at the beginning, your situation may lead you to additional items that could/should be on this checklist. Please do share them with us at

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