KSJB to build new towers
Jamestown’s heritage radio station is set for nearly $750,000 in upgrades later this summer.
KSJB and Mix 93.3 Vice President/General Manager Patrick Pfeiffer said the largest part of the upgrades will be the replacement of three 304-foot-tall radio towers located about 7 miles south of town along U.S. Highway 281.
“We’re basically rebuilding a grand old lady,” Pfeiffer said.
The towers have stood since 1946, and Pfeiffer said they provide the 18th largest coverage area in North America. However, the towers have deteriorated over the years causing the signal to become weaker.
“We’ve known for some time that we would have to do some repairs or something,” Pfeiffer said. “The concrete bases on the towers is in an obvious state of decay, and last year I finally just had an extensive structural analysis done, and they strongly recommended replacing the towers. So you’ve got the towers, the concrete foundation, the guide wires, and as long as we’re doing all that we decided to modernize the electronics.”
The station’s signal is currently carried to the towers over braided copper wire, which will be replaced with more modern coaxial cable. Other components, including phasers and automatic transfer units, also date back to 1946 and will be replaced as well.
“It’s going to be insanely expensive, particularly with the wet year we’ve been having,” Pfeiffer said, adding that the weather has pushed the expected groundbreaking on the project back to late August. Construction is expected to last five to eight weeks.
The new towers will restore the station’s original coverage area of 29,460 miles, which follows a figure-8 pattern to the northeast and southwest of Jamestown.
“It’s going to be an identical rebuild; we’re rebuilding the entire array about 10 feet from where it is now,” Pfeiffer said.
During construction there will be a short period where the station will operate on reduced power to facilitate construction, but that should only last a couple weeks, according to Pfeiffer.
“It won’t affect Jamestown at all or the immediate region, but this crazy coverage we have, like down in Rapid City, South Dakota, and up to Winnipeg (Canada),” Pfeiffer said. “Right now for example, we’re city-grade in Bismarck, we’re city-grade in Fargo, we’re city-grade in Aberdeen (S.D.), we’re city-grade in Devils Lake. There might be a two-week period where that’s not the case.”
“City-grade” refers to the strength of a station’s signal and whether or not it can be received inside a building.
Sun reporter David Luessen can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org