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'Dirty Power' Causes TV Outage for Thousands of Super Bowl Viewers in Region

By Zacabeb (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

  Local NBC affiliate WPSD-TV is apologizing Monday for outages that occurred during last night's Super Bowl.  The station’s over-the-air signal was interrupted multiple times during the game’s third quarter due to a seemingly complicated power issue at the station’s transmission site. WPSD explained the details of an investigation into the outage in a press release:

1.       Jackson Purchase Energy discovered a bad “stinger on a capacitor bank” in rural Ballard County. This bad “stinger” affected power to 260 customers, WPSD Local 6 was one of those.

2.       WPSD Local 6 never suffered a power outage from JPEC, rather we experienced what our chief engineer describes as “dirty power.” These were power dips and spikes that were so quick and short in duration that they did not trip our automatic transfer to generator power, but were severe enough for the high voltage transmitter to shut itself down in safe mode. This is the way the transmitter is designed and it worked accordingly thus safeguarding against more severe equipment damage.

3.       WPSD believes the bad “stinger” on the JPEC grid caused these dips and spikes in our electrical service.

4.       WPSD has no knowledge as to what caused the “stinger” to go “bad.” Nor, do we know with certainty what a “stinger” is. JPEC has not returned phone calls for further explanation.

5.       It wasn’t until the third bout with “dirty power” that a three-phase outage was recorded by equipment at the transmitter site. This gave us the clue that power supplied by JPEC was the cause for our trouble. 

Chad Lampe, a Poplar Bluff, Missouri native, was raised on radio. He credits his father, a broadcast engineer, for his technical knowledge, and his mother for the gift of gab. At ten years old he broke all bonds of the FCC and built his own one watt pirate radio station. His childhood afternoons were spent playing music and interviewing classmates for all his friends to hear. At fourteen he began working for the local radio stations, until he graduated high school. He earned an undergraduate degree in Psychology at Murray State, and a Masters Degree in Mass Communication. In November, 2011, Chad was named Station Manager in 2016.
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