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Buyer’s Guide: KCON Extends Reach With GatesAir

East Arkansas Broadcasters deploy Flexiva FAX transmitters

Radio World Buyer’s Guide articles are intended to help readers understand why their colleagues chose particular products to solve various technical situations. This month’s articles focus on transmitters.

GatesAir Flexiva FAX air-cooled transmitters
GatesAir’s Flexiva FAX air-cooled transmitter

East Arkansas Broadcasters, which owns and operates 33 full-power stations in its namesake state, recently ordered GatesAir Flexiva FAX air-cooled transmitters for three FM stations. The first of these has now gone on the air at KCON(FM).

Licensed to Vilonia, the family-owned broadcaster recently acquired the 25,000-watt Class C3 station to better serve the busy Conway and Little Rock markets. The purchase came with old, dilapidated equipment, requiring a complete rebuild of the transmission facility.

“The station was barely on the air,” said Palmer Johnson, who managed the rebuild on behalf of East Arkansas Broadcasters.

“We use GatesAir almost exclusively, so we quickly ordered a FAX15 15kW transmitter. We require about 9 kW of analog for our TPO. That got us up to full power within three days, and leaves room for digital when we add HD Radio service.”

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Johnson updated the electrical and grounded the facility prior to the single-cabinet transmitter’s arrival. The FAX15 takes up half the space of the old 10 kW transmitter, returning valuable space for maintenance. However, Johnson anticipates minimal work, saying that the transmitter is among the simplest he has installed.

“It was as simple as connecting the RF plumbing, the AC and the audio,” he said. “The design is labor-friendly, and I really like the AC distribution connection and layout. I have a 25 kW FAX in service at another station, and I just clean the filters once a month. We have never had off-air problems with any of our FAX transmitters.”

Johnson adds that remote monitoring is easy through the FAX15’s web interface; he monitors the health and status of KCON and four other FAX transmitters from his Jonesboro office.

Company owner Bobby Caldwell said the project delivered improvements in sound and coverage. “We can get the signal into Little Rock now, as well as Bald Knob, Heber Springs, Morillton, even Fairfield Bay and all the way to Searcy. That opens up some very nice new business opportunities for our sales team.”