“Nautel was great to work with. They went the extra mile. They did what they said they’d do and they were the only transmitter manufacturer – domestic or foreign – that could supply that much transmitter for the price.”
-Ken Kuenzie, President
“With Nautel’s AUI and remote accessibility, I can look at any portion of the transmitters and know what’s going on in an instant… from anywhere in the world.”
-Ken Kuenzie, President
Nautel Quickly Delivers Exceptional Power and Price Post KMYK Fire.
It was Tuesday August 10th, about 2pm, my iPhone rings and it’s the Missouri transmitter site, “Power Failure… KMYK site Power Failure.” I was at my home in Florida, packing for a well-deserved week in the tropics. Now what? Other calls start coming in. “We’re off the air!” “The Osage Beach fire department has been called to the transmitter site.” Great, I thought, but let’s see what’s happening first before we jump to conclusions.
Our morning announcer arrived onsite to find the fire department and the local power company already there. The power company… already? What’s up with that? More phone calls come in. Finally I talk to Jeff, the Fire Chief. Apparently, a brush fire had begun and the power company was called as a precaution, as it was unclear as to the origin of the fire. Some said it was from a leaking transformer. It was 90+ degrees that day.
According to the Fire Chief, the power was being restored when suddenly there was smoke from the KMYK transmitter building 100 feet away. The Fire Department went in to the building which was full of smoke, and found our 15kw transmitter the victim, with a large burn mark on the left side of the box and a nasty burnt smell everywhere. With the fire out and no power in the building, electricians were already on the scene. One leg of the 220 was out. Replacement fuses were installed and power to the building was restored. Now let’s see if we can get on the air. With my morning guy still on the phone, we found the standby transmitter did not have the main breakers on. Thank goodness. “Throw ’em on and let’s see what happens!” With a puff of soot, the standby transmitter jumped to life and 90 seconds later we were back ON THE AIR. It’s 3:30 pm.
Now the ‘fun’ begins! Pictures start rolling in and I could see the damage was not small. Removing the side panels revealed a hole the size of your fist through two ¼ inch aluminum plates, melted! The wiring near that area was turned to dust and soot. The AC controller was totally fried and molten metal had dripped down to the power shelf below. There was black soot everywhere. It was a catastrophic blow.
With everything back on the air at standby levels, I proceeded to my friend’s house for the evening as we had an early flight for our trip; a trip that would now be a working trip!
Thankfully Carolyn our CFO was in the area to take charge. I learned the inside of the building was covered in soot and smoke damage. It had permeated everything in the building. The air conditioning system was working at 20% capacity. We feared that other components which had been plugged in would begin to fail. We learned that the power that shot into the building was so excessive that it was like an arc welder going thru the transmitter. UGH!
With the insurance company jumping in on the clean-up, we were told to get bids from at least two sources to begin the replacement of all equipment so we could get back to full power. Fortunately I had my computer and a list of suppliers with me. We made a list of replacement items: 15kw Main Single Phase Transmitter; 10kw Single Phase Backup Transmitter; Studio Transmitter Link Receiver; and, a Remote Control, submitting it to the usual folks. One source could supply, but it would be several weeks. Another could do it with two transmitters and a combiner but the price on replacing the damaged transmitter had gone up so much it was pricy and would still take weeks to accomplish. Nautel came in with the best price, in single phase and had the units in production. FANTASTIC!
Years ago I had made acquaintance with Jeff Welton when I had my first Nautel AM, a P-400. It was nice to hear his voice again.
Nautel has become very competitive in their transmitter pricing and I was lucky they had a pair of transmitters on the line that could be tuned, tested and shipped ASAP.
It was day five and we confirmed the order with the insurance company and Nautel. It was a GO!
Nautel set our frequency and fired up the boxes over the weekend. Meanwhile, back in Missouri, plans were set in motion to prepare for the new arrivals. Electricians were brought in to reconfigure the power needs, extra grounding and surge suppression. Air conditioning folks installed new air-handling equipment for the Nautel NV10 and NV20 series transmitters. There was nothing left for me to do but enjoy a lobster dinner and head back to Missouri for the install.
I arrived back at the KMYK Missouri site on Wednesday. The Nautel transmitters had been tuned, tested and packed on a truck with two drivers, driving straight through from Hackett’s Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Thursday 5pm: upon delivery, it was immediately apparent this was no ordinary transmitter drop! The Nautel transmitters were crated with heavy plywood sides, 2×4 braced corners and secured onto 4×6 skids. There were tilt/tip indicators on all corners with Lag bolts and wood screws holding it all together. Inside, there were thick Styrofoam panels all the way around. The transmitters were enshrouded in plastic and plastic peel-off coatings. I think you could have bounced them out of an airplane and they would have come through without a scratch. IMPRESSIVE!
Nelson Bohorquez had just arrived from the Nautel Quincy, Illinois office. As everyone moved the transmitters in to their new positions, the electricians set to wiring up the new single phase AC service. Nelson and I began hooking up the hardline to the NV10.
As we inspected the NV10, you could see the workmanship and care that had gone into the building of this transmitter. We pulled and inspected the hot pluggable power supplies and power modules. Everything was seated just as it should be at the factory. It didn’t take Nelson long to finish the commissioning of the NV10 and after a quick tour of the touch screen user interface, it was RF ON!
With the NV10 on the air, we set out to fire up the NV20. Again, we hooked up the hardline and went through checking the modules. It was RF ON time and we immediately bounced to our licensed TPO! What a relief. 15 days after the disastrous power surge we were back to full coverage of our service area. Now the rest of the work began; hooking up the remote controls and interfacing the new digital Studio Transmitter Link.
The Nautel transmitters were an absolute dream to interface. Access holes were in the right spot – a nice change – and it was simply a matter of fishing through the cables and hooking up the interconnect to the green Molex plugs, all of which could be done while on the air. There were no dangerous voltages inside the front door where the interface connections are.
With both transmitters controlled the same way, many tasks were easily duplicated. The NV series has internet connectivity and lots and lots of monitoring parameters. Each power module, power supply module, the exciter, controller, fans, and temperatures, can be individually or collectively monitored. If they go outside their set parameters, the NV can send you an alarm email, or begin scaling back to protect itself. SMART Transmitter!
With Nautel’s AUI and remote accessibility, I can look at any portion of the transmitters and know what’s going on in an instant. I can change transmitters, adjust powers, look at the audio performance, or spectrum analyzer, see reflected power or forward power, all from anywhere in the world. Even better, if it’s something I don’t know about, I can call Nautel and they can remotely access the transmitter to correct the problem from their office. How can you beat that??
Nautel was great to work with. They went the extra mile. They did what they said they’d do and they were the only transmitter manufacturer – domestic or foreign – that could supply that much transmitter for the price. I am a BIG, BIG fan! My special thanks to Hal Kneller, Chuck Kelly, Jeff Welton, and Nelson Bohorquez of Nautel.
Having a Nautel is like having a Bentley and everything else is a Yugo!
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