Stations Broadcasting at Low Power to Complete Antenna Repair

Aug 20, 2014

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Fri, 9/5/14 • 12:18 pm: Both stations are back on-air at FULL power and will remain at full power through the weekend. Tests and visual inspection reveals that the tuning section of the backup antenna has cracks around some welds, which may contribute to our inability to properly tune that antenna. It's off to the welding shop for repairs.

Fri, 9/5/14 • 2:20 pm: Classical 88.7 is OFF-AIR and Public Radio 89.5 is at LOW power. The tower crew is continuing to search for the cause of the backup antenna mistuning, starting with the "fine matcher." The stations may go on and off for short periods as the transmitters are switched between antennas for testing. Winds are picking up and we're keeping our eye on the weather system that will be moving in this afternoon.

Thu, 9/4/14 • 2:20 pm: Both stations are back on-air at FULL power. It took all day to remove the rigging from the tower because of high winds. Some pressure leaks were repaired, but a few remain. Will continue troubleshooting the cause of the apparent mistuning tomorrow.

Thu, 9/4/14 • 9:04 am: Classical 88.7 is OFF-AIR and Public Radio 89.5 is at LOW power. The rigging used to hoist the antenna elements is coming down and the antenna is being inspected top to bottom to see if there's something obvious that's causing the problems with the backup antenna.

Wed, 9/3/14 • 5:21 pm: Both Classical 88.7 and Public Radio 89.5 are back on-air at FULL power. The crew is exhausted and has done all they can today. A vexing problem with the backup antenna remains. The system will be purged of moisture overnight and tuning will continue tomorrow morning.

Wed, 9/3/14 • 4:22 pm: Classical 88.7 is still OFF-AIR and Public Radio 89.5 is broadcasting at LOW power. Crews are working continuously in an attempt to finish the antenna refurbishment project today. Some work has gone amazingly well, such as the grounding of the antennas to achieve separation between each other, which now exceeds manufacturer specifications. Other tuning is presenting problems, which is why we weren't able to go back to full power earlier this afternoon, as hoped.

Wed, 9/3/14 • 9:03 am: Classical 88.7 is OFF-AIR. Public Radio 89.5 is broadcasting at LOW power. We're taking advantage of this nice day sandwiched between weather systems to begin tuning the antenna. One crew is on the ground with specialized test instrumentation. Another crew is on the tower and each works in coordination with the other. The tower crew makes fine adjustments, climbs out of the way for readings to be taken, moves back to make more adjustments, and repeats this aerial ballet all day long. It's exhausting work, especially in 100 degree heat. Some Classical 88.7 listeners may be hearing a Christian station which broadcasts on our same frequency and can be heard when we go off-air. Rest assured that Classical 88.7 has not changed format, but is temporarily off-air to make tuning adjustments.

Tue, 9/2/14 • 8:31 am: Both stations are still on-air at FULL power. Saturday's loss of power problem was resolved, but today isn't a good day to work on the tower. It's rarely a good idea to be working in a thunderstorm, much less clinging to a rain-slick lightning rod extending 2000' into the sky. This morning's lightning strikes around Tulsa have been frequent and surprisingly strong.

Sat, 8/30/14 • 10:35 am: Both stations are still at FULL power, but are briefly switching on- and off-air. A vehicle hit a power pole near the tower, forcing us and four television stations to switch to generators. PSO is at the scene of the accident, replacing poles and wires. We had hoped to resume work on the antenna today, but the tower's internal elevator is unreliable when using generator power. It now looks like we'll be tuning the antenna on Tuesday, rain and wind permitting.

Wed, 8/27/14 • 1:52 pm: Back at FULL power on both stations. We've done as much as we can today to prepare for antenna tuning tomorrow, involving specialized test equipment. We're also keeping an eye on the radar. While we've enjoyed a week of good progress thanks to stable hot air, it looks like inclement weather will come through between now and Sunday, interrupting work on the tower.

Wed, 8/27/14 • 9:03 am: Switched back to LOW power on both stations. With both the main and backup antennas now on the tower, it's necessary to install the tuning controls, inter-bay ground straps, parasitic elements, and repair a pressure leak in the transmission line before tuning can begin. Both the antenna and the transmission line are continually pressured with dry air to prevent atmospheric moisture from entering into the transmission system. If it does, that creates the potential for an arc within the antenna, which could short out and burn up the system.

Tue, 8/26/14 • 4:15 pm: Back at FULL power on both stations. All antenna elements are now mounted on the tower: the eight-element main antenna interleaved with the eight-element backup antenna. Tomorrow morning, we'll be back at low power to begin tuning preparations.

Tue, 8/26/14 • 9:01 am: Switched Public Radio 89.5 and Classical 88.7 to LOW power. Winds are calm, sun isn't too hot yet and the winch is working again. Up goes the final four antenna elements.

Mon, 8/25/14 • 2:07 pm: It's 100 degrees right now in the August sun, but it seems hotter when clinging to a vertical steel structure that reaches into the heavens. The tower crew is exhausted from fixing the winch and completing other tower projects while waiting for repairs to be completed. Plans are now to begin hoisting  antenna elements early tomorrow morning to beat the heat and take advantage of calm winds. Both stations will remain on-air at full power until Tuesday morning.

Mon, 8/25/14 • 12:34 pm: Repairs to the winch engine are taking longer than expected. Anticipate switching to low power at 2 pm to begin hoisting the final antenna elements onto the tower.

Mon, 8/25/14 • 8:42 am: One last part to repair the winch, which was unavailable over the weekend, will be picked up at 9:00 this morning. Hopefully, repairs will be complete by noon, at which time we'll switch back to low power for the safety of the tower crew and resume hoisting the last four refurbished antenna elements onto the tower.

Fri, 8/22/14 • 7:48 pm: Everything seems to be back to normal. For a while, that is. Our day-and-a-half long internet disruption was restored, permitting our web and smartphone streams to once again be broadcast. Both stations are back on-the-air at full power until Monday morning when, if the tower winch is operational, we'll finish hoisting antenna elements #5-8. Once in place, we'll fine-tune the refurbished main antenna. When that's finished, we'll switch from our backup to main and hopefully enjoy many years of continuous and trouble free service to you.

Fri, 8/22/14 • 5:14 pm: Public Radio 89.5 KWGS and Classical 88.7 KWTU are back on at FULL power for the remainder of this weekend. While the winds were cooperating, the winch used to hoist the antenna elements wasn't. After elements 1-4 were mounted, a part within the winch gave out which will need to be replaced over the weekend. Coincidentally, The University of Tulsa's connection to the internet failed, shutting down our alternate broadcast Listen Live web and smartphone internet streams, in addition to station telephones. Both University and station staff are working on this right now.

Fri, 8/22/14 • 2:06 pm: Public Radio 89.5 KWGS and Classical 88.7 KWTU are still at LOW power. Antenna elements 1 through 4 are mounted on the tower. Just four more to go. It's August-sun hot on the tower. Fortunately, winds are cooperating.

Fri, 8/22/14 • 9:19 am: Public Radio 89.5 KWGS and Classical 88.7 KWTU are again at LOW power. A hot day today and hopefully one with light enough winds to permit the hoisting of all eight antenna elements. They'll be rejoined into the eight-element backup antenna at the 1000' level on the tower.

Thu, 8/21/14 • 2:14 pm: Public Radio 89.5 KWGS and Classical 88.7 KWTU are back on at FULL power. Work will resume tomorrow (Friday) morning. Weather permitting, it's hoped that all eight antenna elements can be hoisted onto the tower and then fine tuning of the antenna can begin.

Thu, 8/21/14 • 9:40 am: Public Radio 89.5 KWGS and Classical 88.7 KWTU are again broadcasting at low power. Tuning is underway for Classical 88.7's auxiliary antenna, so KWTU's signal will periodically pop off- and on-the-air this morning to safely accommodate this procedure. The main antenna is being rigged to be hoisted in sections onto the tower to the 1000' level and then carefully interleaved into the backup antenna.

Wed, 8/20/14 • 3:47 pm: Public Radio 89.5 KWGS and Classical 88.7 KWTU are now back on the air at FULL power until tomorrow (Thursday) morning. The low-power auxiliary antenna was mounted and a pressure leak on the backup antenna was repaired. Both stations will once again reduce power sometime after sunrise tomorrow to allow climbers to begin hoisting the refurbished main antenna.

Wed, 8/20/14 • 10:08 am: Public Radio 89.5 KWGS and Classical 88.7 KWTU are broadcasting at low power until this evening. Our intrepid tower crew is temporarily mounting an auxiliary antenna to allow work to be completed on our main antenna, portions of which burned out in 2012 (see "Related Content", below.) Since then and now, the antenna manufacturer went bankrupt, but is now back in business. The rebuilt main half of our antenna, which has been on the ground waiting to be hoisted onto the tower, will (weather permitting) be joined to our backup antenna. 

For the remainder of the week, both stations will broadcast at lower power to protect workers on the tower. Listeners outside of the Tulsa metro area may not be able to receive these low-power signals.