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Warning - How lack of maintenance may seriously affect your fade margins!

Most telecommunications companies are desperately trying to reduce costs in order to "compete more effectively in the market place", or in other words, create a greater return on investment for the share holders. One operational area that suffers very early on is maintenance. I am not suggesting that the collapse of the NRAO's 300 foot radio telescope at Green Bank, Pocahontas County, West Virginia  USA in 1988 was due to a lack of maintenance, only that these photographs illustrate what may happen if maintenance is cut and structural surveys of telecomms towers and aerials are not carried out regularly. I'm just glad I wasn't on shift in the control room that night!

The following article was found on the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's web site at

At 9:43 p.m. EST on Tuesday the 15th of November 1988, the 300 Foot telescope in Green Bank collapsed. The collapse was due to the sudden failure of a key structural element - a large gusset plate in the box girder assembly that formed the main support for the antenna.

The loss of the 300 Foot telescope resulted in the Green Bank Telescope Project.

Photograph of the 300 Foot radio telescope taken on November 15, 1988 before the collapse. Click on photo for larger image.

photos by Richard Porcas

Photograph of the 300 Foot radio telescope taken on November 16, 1988. The telescope collapsed at 9:43 PM on November 15, 1988. Click on photo for larger image.




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Updated 26/11/2002

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