A frequent question that we have been asked since the stations KBLB and WJJY have been on low power, is “what’s taking so long to get it fixed.” Well, the process of replacing an FM antenna is much more complex than one may think.
Since the lightning stike that took us down to low power before the begining of July, there has been quite a lot of work to get things back to normal. The tricky thing is that everything that we needed to fix… is 500 feet in the air. It takes special trained personell to climb up the tower to see what was wrong. That’s still just the beginning of this project to get B93.3 back up and running. Kudos to our engineers that were able to get us on the air at least to our local area listeners from the main site with a back up system at lower power.
Then came the removal of the old (burned up) antenna. Another day another climb to 500 feet to remove the old bits. Meanwhile in a shop somewhere far far away a brand new antenna was being built from scratch. the new antenna was tested under load (power) before being taken apart, put in crates and shipped to the top of Ski Gull where our tower site is.
Once the parts and crates made it up the hill the process of reassemby has begun. Our antenna is an REI 10 bay combined FM antenna. It consists of 10 individual pods that are attached to a single line of tubing that connects down to the transmitters in the building below. The parts get hoisted up and are put together at the top of the tower with those climbers that risk life and limb to get this job done. As of this post on Monday, August 1st we have the crew back working on it today. With the progress so far we could , weather permitting, be up and running at full power across north central Minnesota very soon.