Haverhill Man Delivers Special Sept. 11 Tribute Sunday to Broadcasters Killed During Attack

Engineer Andrew Denoncour of Haverhill at the amateur radio repeater on Silver Hill. (Courtesy photograph.)

Broadcast engineers who lost their lives during the terrorist attack at the World Trade Center 21 years ago will be remembered Sunday in Haverhill by amateur radio operators.

Engineer Andrew Denoncour of Haverhill recently helped establish a new radio repeater just below the antennas of WXRV and WHAV on the tall tower atop Silver Hill. It will be formally dedicated with a reading of the names of engineers who perished while working on television and radio facilities on the 110th floor of the north tower. As two jets crashed into New York’s iconic World Trade Center on that fateful day, then-WXRV “The River” engineer Denoncour took steps to secure radio station operations atop Haverhill’s Silver Hill.

“Obviously, it changed the world, but for us, my first visit securing the transmitter site, we didn’t really know the scope of what was going to happen. We had equipment in there that could be sensitive that belongs to certain agencies and we locked that down right away,” he tells WHAV.

Amateur radio operators, known as “hams,” played a vital role during the Sept. 11 crashes in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Penn. They relayed emergency messages as standard wired and wireless communications were disrupted.

Denoncour, whose amateur call sign is N1MYY, approached the New England Emergency Communications Network about creating an amateur radio repeater here.

“They’re a group that is centered around emergency communications on a digital network and, because of their prominence in New England, that is how I started the communications when I first got the idea the (Silver Hill) site might be viable,” he adds.

A repeater enables amateur radio operators transmitting at lower power to retransmit at higher power and reach others further away.

As part of the dedication of the repeater, Denoncour, who still serves broadcasters at Comrex in Devens, will name the six broadcast engineers who perished in New York and memorialize all others who were lost that day.

The engineers are Donald J. DiFranco, WABC-TV; Steven Jacobson, WPIX-TV and who also held the amateur call sign N2SJ; William Steckman, WNBC-TV; Isaias Rivera, WCBS-TV; Bob Pattison, WCBS-TV; and Gerard “Rod” Coppola, WNET-TV.

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