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Fri, January 24, 2014

Trouble Hearing KXEL?

If you’ve been having difficulty picking up the KXEL signal since 7:30 or so Monday morning, it’s not your radio, it’s us.

A capacitor in a phaser cabinet in KXEL’s main transmitter has gone bad which causes arcing.  That arcing inside the transmitter cabinet progressively burned up the capacitor.

The arcing occurred while we were in our daytime pattern, so we are running our nighttime pattern to avoid the arcing and at reduced power to obey FCC regulations.  We’re waiting on a replacement part as I write this.

KXEL is a directional AM station, meaning our signal has day and night patterns.  The day pattern is more circular around the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area.  The night pattern is more north, east and west and reaches 24 states and 4 provinces in Canada.  Because we are operating on the night pattern, KXEL listeners in Iowa City, Washington, Grinnell, Newton and Des Moines are having difficulty hearing us.

Equipment breakdowns are never convenient.  It annoys listeners and primes the pump of conspiracy theorists who want to blame President Barack Obama or the NSA.  Really?  Think it through.

Enough negativity!  Some great things have occurred since Woodward Communications purchased KXEL, KWLO, KOKZ and KFMW in 2012.

We have back-up generators at our studios in downtown Waterloo and at our transmitter site.  We’ve added a back-up transmitter too.  Something KXEL hasn’t had in decades.

We’ve also added new processing and surge suppression to protect both the transmitters and the building equipment from lightning and surges in the electrical grid.  

It’s not an easy job keeping all the equipment it takes to operate four radio station up and running.  Kudos to our chief engineer Mark Schumacher for all he does to keep us on the air.  It’s often a thankless job.  Thanks, Mark, for keeping the transmitter and all our equipment humming!

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