August ’09: “Come back soon!”

August 23, 2009

The transmitter fails this morning, just as the automated remote control commands the increase to daytime power. KNOM general manager Ric Schmidt coaxes it to operate at very low power: about 2,000 watts.

The reason for the problem was a lightning strike that severed the jumper cable 100 feet above ground. Due to high reflected power, the station might be actually transmitting only a handful of watts.

“Come back soon!” reads an e-mail from the village of White Mountain. “You are my connection to the outside world!”

Three days later, a tower crew from Anchorage discovers that about five feet of the tower’s cabling are scorched (due to the lightning strike). Their repairs soon return KNOM to full power.