Towering Radio Repairs

A few months ago, KNOM engineers Van Craft and Les Brown assessed the FM transmitter and antenna situation, and the news was not good.

As the antenna is 30 years old and the transmitter 20 years old, both pieces are at their expected end of functionality. As the expiration date suggested, KNOM’s FM transmitter was failing, and either the transmission line or the antenna (or both) needed major repair. Both needed to be replaced.

The new Nautel FM transmitter was installed in early June, along with a new ERI antenna with four bays and a new coax cable.

The engineers were also concerned for the structural condition of KNOM’s much taller AM tower, as it is now around 50 years old. The base of the AM tower was leaning, and there was suspicion that rust inside the structure was causing structural instability. An assessment was needed.

A structural engineering company from Arizona came to Nome in June to assess the tower’s structural integrity. They determined the AM tower is in good condition and only needs paint. The base, which was the main cause for concern, only requires small repairs. Those will be finished in early August.

This good news saves KNOM hundreds of thousands of dollars in either repairs or total replacement.

Image at top: Daniel Vimmerstedt (left) and Stephen Coldren (right), two structural engineers with Engineered Tower Solutions of Phoenix, Arizona, came to Nome for a detailed inspection of KNOM’s AM tower.