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Iowa Ice Takes Down KOEZ’s FM Antenna

Saga station lost the top of its tower this weekend

KOEZ's 10-bay FM antenna lies on the ground.

A weekend ice storm has cost station KOEZ in Des Moines, Iowa, the top 100 feet of its tower, which unfortunately was also holding the station’s 10-bay FM antenna.

The photo above is not what you want to see when you get to your tower site.

Tom Atkins, VP and director of engineering for Saga Communications, tells Radio World that local Chief Engineer Joseph Farrington received an off-air alarm and a low transmission line pressure alarm late Saturday evening.

“He immediately switched to the aux antenna to keep KOEZ on the air,” Atkins wrote in an email. “Upon arrival at the transmitter site, he noticed a snapped upper guy wire and no tower lights above the mid-level of the structure.”

It was too dark to see anything on Saturday. He returned Sunday morning to find the top section of tower lying on the ground partially buried on one end, along with the station’s main 10-bay ERI SHPX-10AC antenna and radomes.

Remains of KOEZ ERI antenna

The tower, erected in 1985, is supposed to be 1,026 feet high. It’s a solid-leg Pirod model with a four-foot face.

“It appears the ice load was too much for the Phillystran supporting the upper section of the tower,” Atkins wrote. “We will be conducting a full investigation along with a tower inspection to determine the official cause.”

Ice on KOEZ tower member
Ice on a tower member.

No one was hurt.

Meanwhile, KOEZ, which airs an adult contemporary format, is operating at 75% power using its four-bay ERI Rotiller SHPX-4AE auxiliary antenna.

 

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