96.1 FM, 780 AM, Yours for Western Alaska

Engineer’s corner: “Shake, shake, shake”

Rolland in the engineering room

As promised in last month’s edition of the Static, we’re happy to present the latest on KNOM’s equipment and technical issues with a new segment – the Engineer’s Corner – courtesy of volunteer engineer Rolland Trowbridge:

On one morning in early May, the transmitter-to-studio data link, or TSL, quit working. This link allows volunteers at the studio to know the health of KNOM’s AM transmitter without having to go to the transmitter site (located several miles outside Nome, on the tundra near the edge of the ocean). The link is the only warning that something is wrong at the transmitter, and on this day, the link was mute.

I drove out to the site, walked the last quarter mile over thigh-deep snow, and found that the TSL (transmitter link) was not getting power, and neither was the backup power supply that protects the link. The circuit breaker wasn’t blown, so I plugged the transmitter link into another outlet, and just like that, I had everything running again – except that I didn’t know what had happened to the bad outlet.

The next day, I took the outlet cover off and found all the screws to the outlet were loose. I picked another random outlet that wasn’t being used and checked the terminal screws on it, and two of them were loose. Shaken loose.

The transmitter site bears the brunt of the intense winds that are so frequently whipped up from the Bering Sea. I have been in the building with 60-knot winds, and it literally shakes. Everything in that building gets rattled.

This requires extra diligence. Every year, we take sections of the transmitter and tighten every connector in them to prevent loose wires that burn up. Now, I am adding all the outlets and wiring to that list and putting them on a tightening schedule.

This is all part of doing ministry in this corner of God’s world, and I thank you for your support.

 

[hr]

This article is part of the June 2013 edition of our newsletter, The Nome Static.