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Two Charged With Stealing Copper From Radio One

Federal authorities in Cleveland have charged 28-year-old Thomas Carbone and 23-year-old Katie Stanton with the malicious destruction of federally-licensed communications lines under the domestic terrorism provision of the law. Radio One Cleveland Chief Engineer Gary Zocolo tells Radio Ink the copper was stolen from AM1300 in the Radio One Cleveland cluster.

Zocolo says thieves pulled up the four-inch copper strap surrounding all four antenna tuning units (dog houses) and disconnected all 480 ground radials in the process. "They effectively removed the total ground system from the AM antennas. Our 5000-watt station was only able to maintain 200 watts into the antenna system with such profound damage."
The indictment charges that on or about August 17 to 18, 2012, Carbone and Stanton unlawfully entered the property of Radio One on Ridge Road in North Royalton and willfully and maliciously destroyed and removed copper material from four radio-station towers situated on the property.

To restore function to the four-tower inline directional, Zocolo says, "We deployed #4 copper strand on the surface in place of the four-inch strap, ground the ends the cut radials clean, and soldered them to the #4 copper strand. This is a temporary emergency repair. It will take some significant planning and budgeting to permanently repair the array. The #4 strand brought it back to 50 ohms and we are fully compliant with all parameters. We were able to deploy the temp fix in three days as opposed to months and months of an STA and diminished station performance."

Emergency repairs cost nearly $11,000 while permanent repairs will cost an estimated $125,000, according to the indictment.

(11/21/2012 9:37:03 PM)
The ultimate repair job on this array will include concrete. There simply is no other reasonable way of safeguarding the copper. The array was built in 1949. We are tasked with making it operational and secure in 2012. We are also considering enhanced video surveilance but there are unique challenges to make the video viable at this site.

- Gary Zocolo
(11/19/2012 11:02:38 AM)
Tar doesn't work, soak it in diesel for a day and its gone, same with paint. Even engraving didn't help, it still got stolen and the scrap yard didn't notice or care. What I have found ultimately works is cover the strap from the insulator down to the ground ring in concrete, including a few feet of the radials. That becomes too much work to get to, and it stays safe. Also, a good video system with night vision capabilities works very well. It works better if it can be monitored full time.

- Mike V
(11/19/2012 9:15:37 AM)
Congrats to Gary for catching one. I'd love to know how he did it.

As for painting, at one of my FM sites with a persistent copper theft problem, we've tried everything, including coating the copper with sticky roofing tar. They keep taking it.

- radiogooroo
(11/19/2012 9:00:03 AM)
Many radio stations are painting or rubberizing their exposed or potentially accessible copper ground systems.Installing insulated copper provides longer useful life and helps to hide the detection of the radials.

I hope you have some quote options for replacing this damaged system. Four inch copper strap last week was under 6.00 per foot.

- rockhit sciuntest

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