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How Spirit 90.1 Increased Power in North Platte

A new Elenos transmitter provides a little bit of extra elbow room too

KFJS(FM) in North Platte, Neb., licensed to VSS Catholic Communications, is one of 15 stations on the Spirit Catholic Radio Network.

An upgrade in power from 1.35 kW effective radiated power to 13.2 kW ERP prompted replacement of its old Elenos 2 kW transmitter, which had been in service for more than a decade, with a new 10 kW Elenos model. 

The previous unit remains as a backup. The work was done in January of 2023.

“The tower site of KNOP(TV) north of North Platte, owned by the Gray Media Group, is the original home to KFJS,” said Chief Engineer Mark Voris.

“This is where I started my broadcast career back in 1990 as a studio cameraman; I left six years later left as chief engineer.”

Jeremy Ruck provided engineering consultant for the power increase, while Steve Knapp of North Platte was the electrical contractor.

“It being winter, a lot of snow had accumulated at the site, and the driveway up to building was quite icy,” Voris said.

“I knew we didn’t have a chance of backing the trailer up to the building to unload or lift an 800+ pound transmitter rack inside. We contacted our electrician, who just happened to have a telehandler machine to lift the rack out of the trailer and take it up the drive to the building and literally set it inside the door. A major hurdle was overcome.”

A telescoping handler was a welcome addition on installation day.

Voris complimented the Elenos transmitters on their robustness. “We’ve had very few problems with the Elenos line and we currently have five units on the air with two for spare backups.”

But another reason for choosing an Elenos ETG 10000 was the limited space available.

“We originally had one rack with our transmitter and other equipment such as processor, EAS, remote control and monitoring gear. The room was only big enough for four racks — one for the ISPs, another was the TV station, one was our rack and then one for an LPTV.”

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The team didn’t have the option of putting in a standalone transmitter plus another rack for its processing, control, monitoring and EAS functions, so it was good news to learn that the Elenos unit came in its own rack with some extra room.

Processing, control, monitoring and EAS gear share the rack with the components of the new transmitter.

“We opted to put all the ancillary equipment in the transmitter rack. The Elenos racks are designed to be a closed system, pulling air in through the front and exhausting the warm air out the top with a blower. We ended up installing most of the additional equipment in the top and putting the backup transmitter in the bottom under the 5 kW amplifiers. The mod monitor had to go towards the bottom as well due to spacing.”

A challenging aspect of this was that the rack was quite deep to accommodate the transmitter components.

“This made it difficult for us short people with short arms to reach the other equipment. We overcame this by putting on longer cables and taking the equipment pieces out of the front to work with them.”

Chief Engineer Mark Voris and Assistant Engineer Colin Curtis-Byrnes.

By doing some prep work back in their shop in Omaha, the crew was able to limit time on site to one day. “I like doing projects in a turnkey fashion so the time in field can be better used to work out the bugs that generally reveal themselves after the install.”

The transmitter feeds the existing ERI LPX-3E Rototiller antenna. Voris estimates that the project increased the signal reach by another 10 miles.

Enjoy more photos and info about Spirit Catholic Radio engineering at

Read more articles about notable RF projects in the free ebook “Great New RF Installs.”