Harris Antenna Artifact from WTC to be Dedicated in Quincy

Mayor John Spring of Quincy, IL, will lead a 9/11 Remembrance and Dedication Ceremony on Sunday, Sept. 11 from 3-5pm, to be attended by first responders, community leaders, news media, the public, and executives from Harris Corporation and its Broadcast Communications Division.

The City of Quincy will dedicate a memorial to the victims of 9/11 featuring a 15-foot long, 7,000-pound steel structure that was part of the antenna tower located on World Trade Center Building #1.  This structure supported a TV broadcast antenna that was designed and manufactured by Harris at its Quincy plant, still home to Harris radio and TV transmission manufacturing operations.  Earlier this summer, Harris participated in the commemorative September 11 event that brought these artifacts to Quincy.

Mayor Spring will also present a selected World Trade Center artifact to Harris representatives in recognition of the company’s direct support to the broadcasters of New York City prior to and following the tower collapse on 9/11.  The artifact will be on loan from the City of Quincy for public display at the local Harris manufacturing facility.

The artifacts were housed in an 80,000 square foot hangar at New York’s John F. Kennedy’s airport, which contains a portion of the items recovered from Ground Zero.  Quincy City Engineer Jeff Steinkamp, a former Harris employee, applied on behalf of the City of Quincy to receive the piece from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the agency charged with the distribution of 9/11 artifacts.  Steinkamp was involved in the mechanical design work for the antenna when he was with Harris.

“When Jeff asked if Harris would be interested in the city’s effort to erect a memorial, I knew this was an effort we needed to support,” said Rex Niekamp, value engineering manager for Harris Broadcast Communications. “I recall watching television that day with co-workers ten years ago, watching the twin towers collapse and the thousands of lives lost. Gaining composure and immediately going to work to get the NYC broadcasters back on the air became a focused priority.  To place my hands on an artifact that is an actual piece of the antenna that was fabricated, assembled, and tested in Quincy by Harris personnel is very moving.”

Harris worked with New York City broadcasters to return stations to the air quickly, coordinating delivery of antennas, radio, and television transmitters and additional broadcast equipment to the Empire State Building and other city locations.  Harris engineers in Quincy worked quickly to gather parts, some of which were obsolete, to get back-up transmission sites up and running and keep the citizens of New York City informed.  In fact, Harris worked with the United States government to transport replacement equipment by air from Quincy to New York City.

Many Harris engineers were involved in installations, service work, and trainings at the World Trade Center over the years, including Dana Myers, Ron Scott, Ray Dearing, Don Carpenter, and John Deemer.  As a result, these and other Harris engineers lost many friends in the business following the attacks.

The following broadcast engineers lost their lives in the attack:

·         Rod Coppola, PBS WNET
·         Donald DiFranco, WABC-TV
·         Steven Jacobsen, WPIX Tribune
·         Isaias Rivera and Bob Pattison, WCBS-TV
·         William Steckman, WNBC-TV

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