The high-tech tools that keep WCAX on your TV - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

The high-tech tools that keep WCAX on your TV

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STOWE, Vt. -

September 26, 1954, was the date of our original broadcast. Shortly after that, WMVT changed to WCAX.

"In 1954 we got our first transmitter. It was a GE transmitter, a TT10," Fred Lavenberg said.

Lavenberg is a transmitter engineer at Channel 3, a position he's held for decades.

He tells us the original transmitter was a challenge to build. All the pieces had to be brought up the Toll Road on Mount Mansfield.

Back in the 1950s the transmitter wasn't the only structure on the mountain.

"A hundred years ago there was a hotel on Mount Mansfield," Lavenberg said.

Unfortunately the hotel burned down in the early 1960s. Since then, several generations of transmitters have stood atop Mansfield's summit.

"We get the GE TT32, right here, and that gives us the ability to broadcast in color," Lavenberg said.

At this point, the original transmitter from 1954 was used as a backup.

Fast forward to 1980. A newer transmitter was installed, this time giving us stereo sound. In 1980 this left the color transmitter as a backup. Just 10 years later, another transmitter came along.

"In 1990 the TT32 or 1964 transmitter goes away and we go to a full solid state transmitter," Lavenberg said.

Every new transmitter meant better pictures for viewers at home. And in 2006-- a big overhaul.

"We build the new building and we get our power CD which we have today, which is our digital transmitter," Lavenberg said.

Still giving us a digital signal with high definition.

Despite 60 years of changes and upgrades, Channel 3's signal has stayed on the air virtually nonstop because of people like Fred Lavenberg.

"Someone has been in the building for 24 hours a day since 1954, seven days a week," he said.

With many more days to come.

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