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  Bendix WTR-1 C-band weather radar

This is the weather radar system WCCO installed on the top of the Foshay Tower in downtown Minneapolis in the fall of 1958. It was the first system of its kind in the Twin Cities, and one of only about a dozen in use by radio or television stations in the country at that time.

The system operated in the microwave C-band at 5400 MHz with a power output of 100kW. The system had a range of 150 miles, and with a trained operator at the controls, it could detect rain or snow formations to within one half mile. The 30-inch paraboloidal antenna was enclosed in an aircraft radome 445 feet above street level. The transmitter/receiver was installed at the WCCO Radio master control center and the system was used by both WCCO Radio and WCCO-TV.

Interest in systems like this one was particularly strong in the Midwest due to the threat of tornadoes. In fact, it was made available to the National Weather Bureau in the Twin Cities, which did not have a system of its own.

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Museum of Broadcasting