Station Upgrade: KEXS

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Burying the cables. Photo by Ben Weiss

Burying the cables. Photo by Ben Weiss

Contract Engineer Ben Weiss, CPBE, oversaw the project. Weiss worked with Chris Kreger of RF Specialties of Missouri — based in nearby Kearney, MO — for the equipment. Kreger also offered his services to construct the site.

Because the field was used as farmland, there was little that needed to be done to prepare the land before construction could begin. Overall, Weiss says the project went like clockwork. All the materials and crews arrived on time, and even the weather cooperated in December 2008 and January 2009.

Work begins

After the building was raised, the transmitter, phasor and ATUs were lifted into the building with a fork lift. Once the towers were erected, the ATUs were moved from the transmitter building to the towers with a high loader. The towers themselves are top-loaded and use about ⅓ of the upper part of the guy wires to effectively create ¼-wave radiators. Rocky Mountain Tower erected the radiators.

Shiny, new components inside the phasor

Shiny, new components inside the phasor

Once all the equipment was installed, Charles A. Hecht, the consulting engineer, and Kurt Gorman of Phasetek arrived on site for the final tuning and system proof. Weiss says that step took about a week. A very short time later, the station had its FCC authorization to commence program transmission. The new KEXS site was on the air.

Currently operating at 3.4kW, the station plans to apply for a power increase to 7.5kW soon, which is why a 10kW transmitter was installed. Once the licensing is complete on the new facility, the station expects to authorize the non-directional site as a backup with a reduced power level from the previous 1kW.

The STL antenna is mounted on the building. The studio is only four miles away.

The STL antenna is mounted on the building. The studio is only four miles away.

The pattern looks like a loose hypercardioid pattern aimed at Kansas City. The nulls of the pattern result in a slight decrease in coverage in two nulls compared to the non-directional pattern, but the loss is minor.

While FM installations and HD Radio get most of the attention today, it's encouraging to see a station owner invest in a stand-alone AM signal. For KEXS, the attention to building a quality facility will help that station serve its devoted audience, and likely improve that audience because of the increased coverage area.

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