Winter climate harm FM transmitter and antenna – KNOM Radio Mission
In mid-November, when western Alaska turned from fall to winter While the thermometer was ping-ponging above and below freezing point, the signal strength of the KNOM FM transmitter dropped sharply.
The cycle of freezing and thawing combined with snow, freezing rain and wind devastated the 30 year old antenna. (As regular readers may remember, the AM transmitter was replaced in 2017. The mission broadcasts on AM and FM frequencies simultaneously. The FM transmitter is a lower powered device with an antenna mounted on a tower behind the radio transmitter is.)
KNOM engineers, Van Craft and Les Brown, assessed the situation and the news was not good. The FM transmitter failed and the transmission line and / or antenna needed serious repairs. The engineers recommended a full replacement in the coming months. Since the antenna is 30 years old and the transmitter is 20 years old, both parts are at the expected end of their functionality.
Since the winter temperatures have fallen and stabilized, the FM transmitter is working properly again – for the time being.
This is the estimated price:
Nautel FM Transmitters: $ 6,674
Antenna Equipment: $ 35,778.50
Two power amplifiers: $ 924
Tower installation: $ 20,000 (estimate)
Total: $ 63,386.50
When the cost estimates were being made, KNOM received news that a loyal benefactor who had passed away earlier this year had left a bequest gift in her will.
The family called just days after the bill closed and asked that the gift be used on the equipment. KNOM was humble to learn that the final amount will cover these un-budgeted costs.
The station’s benefactor had a special devotion to Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, whose feast day is KNOM’s birthday on July 14th.