Waaaay back in 1972 I helped build and then herded Swazi Muzic Radio. The station was located near the South African border post at Sandlane about half a mile south along the fence next to the village of Dwalili.

The objective was to beam commercial radio into the Johannesburg/Pretoria complex and into Durban. At the time the SA Broadcasting corporation was a gummint controlled monopoly broadcasting the expected pap.

The 50 KW Continental on 1372 KHz was bought as surplus from one of the Pirate stations that has been closed down in the North Sea. A nice piece of kit. This fed a phased array of 5 towers to create the 2 lobed beam roughly west and south.

The HF rig was a terrible 10 KW POS made by CCA. After I left they had the sense to replace it with a 100 KW Gates. The CCA fed a sloping wire log-p which was essentially a cats cradle of wire and insulators hanging down at maybe 30 degrees from a backstayed tower.

In early summer the Swaziland mountains produce enormous numbers of giant brown moths with a wingspan of up to 10 inches. It was only a matter of time before one of these got between the sloping feeders of the log-p at a nice voltage point, creating a nice arc at around 11 pm on my watch.

10 KW into a very efficient loudspeaker can create at lot of noise, at first I thought the wife, who was operating the program system, had turned up the monitors because the was some decent rock on the tapes. Eventually the station manager who lived on site came storming in cussing us for waking him up and I realised that something was wrong. A look outside confirmed a glowing ball of blue light partway down the log-p pulsating in a nice light show. Outdoors away from all of the transmitter blower noise it was LOUD. I checked the transmitter and it was showing a good match. A quick reboot shut the noise up but I then had to be up at sparrowfart to drop the wreched thing and replace some sorry looking insulators. Later reports indicated that woken up the neighbours for several miles around.

From the quill of Chris Newport g4jci.