The WKMS – HD transmitter failed Monday and could not be restarted on site at the Land Between the Lakes transmission center. Consequently, there is no WKMS classical service on either 92.5 FM-Paducah or 105.1 FM-Madisonville. Work on the HD transmitter resumes today, but in the interim, WKMS will put the 91.3 FM news and information channel on these translators. WKMS-HD2 Classical is still available streaming live online here.
The entire WKMS transmission system sustained lightning damage during storms in late April. Weather interruptions and the slow, sequential pace of damage discovery while working up a 500 foot tower has caused the extended repair period for the station. Chief Engineer Allen Fowler says, “Once we’ve fixed one thing, we’ve found another problem.”
Last Friday, the station completed and tested repairs on its 400 foot transmission line. The main antenna at the top of the tower that transmits 91.3 FM regionally must next be replaced and that process has begun. Until replacement of the antenna, the station is still reducing the power going through it, running at about 50% of normal signal strength.
WKMS regrets interruption of services and thanks listeners for their patience and understanding.
You guys are being very patient as we continue to work through issues at the LBL transmission center. It’s Tuesday, May 24, and we’ve been trying to get back to normal since April 21 when erratic meter readings prompted Allen Fowler, our chief engineer, to cut the power going through the antenna in half so that the antenna wouldn’t burn up. We’ve been replacing joints between sections on the small copper pipe inside the larger copper pipe that you see going up the 500 foot tower. When the climbers got to the 400 foot height, they discovered a burnt hole in the outer copper pipe. They also documented a white residue on bays of the antenna that they identified as the by-product of burning copper.
All this while, our main signal has been moved off the ten-bay main antenna to the four-bay antenna usually used for our HD signal, which has been moved to the single bay auxiliary. The main signal strength has been further reduced because of this shift. We’ve also experienced odd and annoying interference both on the analog and the digital transmissions. Allen has diagnosed this as coming from our digital studio to transmitter link, which is closer to both of the antennas being used as alternates than it should be. To cure this, we’ve switched to the analog studio to transmitter link on the analog signal, but not the digital signal. It cleared up the analog problem, but the digital signal is still having trouble. We need to get the signals back to their usual antennas.
Getting back to full power and having the signals where they ought to be coming from, though, is probably going to mean replacing the ten-bay antenna. We will test it once the transmission lines are determined to be secure and sealed again, to see if it is able to carry the full load of the power that we usually transmit with. Early and mid-April thunderstorms started this story and now storms continue to interrupt repairs.
So that’s the story so far. We’re sorry that our services are not as fabulous as they usually are, especially losing 89.5 Fulton, Martin, and Union City, since we’re not transmitting with enough power from the main to reach you there. We will continue to work towards establishing an internet connection to provide you an un-interrupted signal like the folks are enjoying at 90.9 FM, Madisonville. We are also close to being able to fire up the digital signal from 90.9 to make classical 105.1 listenable again. It’s been using the signal from LBL and during the repairs, it’s been undependable. All classical 92.5 Paducah also depends on getting the signal from LBL, so the sooner we get the digital signal back up to its home antenna the better.
We understand your sense of loss without your public radio home! Hopefully we’ll get through this rough spell soon. Thanks again for your patience!
Kate Lochte, Station Manager
For a couple of days an All Things Considered report has had me stewing, hesitating to write because unsure if even mentioning armed insurrection gets you on some sort of watchlist.
But here goes. The ATC story was about the Tea Party and Constitutionalism. NPR used audio from a commercial radio talk show with a caller espousing the right to carry guns, citing the need to be armed to respond to encroachment by the federal government. Then the host of the talk show suggested that the time might be right for armed insurrection.
Maybe I heard it wrong. But it shocked me. I’m aware of anti-government militia activity in the country, but thinking of its becoming a mainstream conversation rather than on the fringes is very troublesome.
Here’s what I’d like to hear: An analysis of what less government would look like; an analysis of taxpayer consensus about what government should provide.
I very much agree with a Constitutional scholar included in the ATC story that the Constitution should be subject to robust public debate. It worries me, though, that the propagandists are so rampant in the current debate, egging on false notions with inflammatory statements. ON ALL SIDES.
What do you think we should do to get through “this” together? I look forward to hearing from you.
Kudos to NPR and AP for flying in journalists. As we all know following the ice storm, reliable information about disasters is tough to produce, especially when the journalists are dealing with chaos that reigns in the first throes of the event.
We’d like to hear from any of you who may have business or personal contacts in Haiti so that WKMS can help tell the story accurately.
An earthquake such as this should remind us of our own vulnerability and take more seriously all the resources out there from the National Weather Service and the American Red Cross regarding preparations in advance of catastrophe.
My stash of supplies is outdated and in disarray. How about yours? Has anyone solved the conundrum of having an advance supply of prescription drugs?