In September 2017, Category 5 Hurricane Irma devastated the U.S. Virgin Island of St. Thomas along with much of the rest of the Caribbean. Among the victims was WTJX(FM).
The hurricane knocked the station — which rebroadcasts NPR national content — right off the air and destroyed the facilities of sister PBS TV station WTJX.
“As well, Hurricane Irma knocked down our STL (studio-to-transmitter microwave link) at the St. Thomas transmitter site on Mountain Top,” said Robert Dickinson, WTJX’s director of engineering. In March, more than six months later, it was not yet restored.
Before Irma hit, the stations broadcast from Mountain Top, one of the highest points on St. Thomas. Their shared facility included a transmitter building and a 250-foot antenna tower, used by both stations and third-party clients, and a 100-foot auxiliary/STL tower. The site was backed up by a 190 kW main generator and a small 8 kW unit used with the station’s mobile production unit.
The STL was connected to the TV station’s offices/studios on the southwest on 158-158A Haypiece Hill. The FM had offices there and used the TV’s studio to record promos.
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