KSUT-FM’s main frequency in Durango, 90.1, went back on the air Monday after a crew repaired a damaged antenna feedline that took the frequency off the air Feb. 5.
Tami Graham, KSUT executive director, said the station’s technical operations manager, Rob Rawls, was on Smelter Mountain on Monday with a crew from Visionary Broadband and managed to repair a damaged feedline to the point where the signal is now audible.
“We’re still not at full strength, so we might not be as strong as normal, but we’re audible, and that’s what’s important,” Graham said.
Graham was unsure when 90.1 would be back at its full strength.
The feedline was inadvertently hit by a snowcat during an early-morning unscheduled repair by another operator using the towers on Missionary Ridge.
“We’re working diligently, it’s been over two weeks now,” she said. “It’s been pretty tough, because it’s our primary Durango signal.”
During the outage, KSUT could still be heard in Durango proper on a weaker signal, 89.3, but that signal does not extend into the north Animas Valley or much beyond Durango proper, Graham said.
The station can also be streamed online, and it has just updated its streaming service, offering Air Pocket Player.
The feedline runs 30 feet underground and 80 feet up a tower. Graham said a $500 connector was used to repair the line where it was damaged and the entire feedline did not need to be replaced.
The transmitter was tested and it was not harmed when the feedline was hit by the snowcat.
The antenna feedline is pressurized with nitrogen to keep it dry, and damage to the line released the nitrogen and automatically shut off the transmitter.
The broken feedline initially dropped KSUT’s signal to Farmington, on 88.1, and Montezuma County, on 106.3, but those frequencies were able to be rerouted, Graham said.
“When you have equipment failures and damage to equipment, there’s not much you can do until you actually repair the problem,” she said. “So it’s good to have redundancy of a backup signal and the ability to stream.”