Station Upgrade: KEXS

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KEXS is licensed to Excelsior Springs, MO, a community about 25 miles northeast of Kansas City. The station has operated for more than 30 years from a transmitter site located at the studio building. This 1kW, non-directional daytime signal covers most of the Kansas City metro, but the licensee, the Catholic Radio Network, wanted to increase its coverage to serve all the metro. Thus, it began to investigate the possibilities.

Adding more towers on the small existing site presented some challenges. While the station operated a two-tower array on the site many years ago, the possibility of installing a three-tower array was not feasible.

The transmitter, rack and phasor are mounted on a 4

The transmitter, rack and phasor are mounted on a 4" stud to provide just a little extra clearance.

A new tower site was inevitable. Early in the process, a site was found, and the plans were drawn to install a tower with folded unipole skirts. But, the unipole approach was quickly abandoned in favor of a simpler radiator; likewise, the search for a suitable piece of land continued. In time, a section of land was found about four miles south of the studio. Surrounded by farmland and away from the growth of the town, the new site would comfortably host three towers. There was just one problem: The land sits in a flood plain.

A stream runs along the back of the property, and on occasion, the low elevation suffers some flooding, but the site was still promising. It was a little closer to the Kansas City metro and had an easy line of site from the studio.

Reviewing the flood history in the area, it was noted that the highest the waters reached was four feet. This was taken into account for the construction design, and the towers and the transmitter building were mounted above ground level.

Reaching high

The coax exits the building through the floor and through two heavy conduits.

The coax exits the building through the floor and through two heavy conduits.

It's not uncommon to find elevated tower bases, but to see a transmitter building sitting on 9' stilts is rather unusual. The transmitter building, a prefabricated VP steel building, sits on four beams. Measuring about 24' × 16', the garage-door entrance is accessed by a staircase. Inside, the Phastek phasor and Broadcast Electronics AM10A transmitter are set in place on 4” tall wooden beams. The beams were added to provide just a little extra space in case of a severe flood.

While the main purpose of the elevated building is to safeguard against flooding, there is an added benefit: security. There are no blind spots around the building now. The ground system and coaxial cables are also buried. The coax leaves through the floor of the building and enters the ground through two heavy-wall conduits. A large conduit houses the radiating cables. A smaller one houses the antenna monitor cables.

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