Dec 05, 2019 10:01 PM

KQSK 97.5FM back on the air after tower collapse

Posted Dec 05, 2019 10:01 PM

Engineers found a temporary solution for KQSK 97.5FM after high winds and ice caused a tower southwest of Chadron to collapse last weekend.


The top five sections of the 500-foot tower fell around 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, causing a loss of signal for Double Q Country KQSK-FM, as well as several agencies and organizations that lease space on the tower for broadcast equipment.

“We are working through this process as quickly as possible, and we will be rebuilding a newer, better radio tower at the current site just south of Chadron,” said General Manager Olivia Hasenauer. “In the interim, we do have a temporary antenna and transmitter for KQSK and are excited to have the 97.5FM signal back on the airwaves. It will be an exhilarating 2020 when we erect the new 500-foot tower for not only our company and team, but also our advertisers and listeners.”

Engineers from Eagle Radio are working with organizations including the Dawes County Sheriff's Office, NOAA, Northwest Rural Public Power District and the Chadron Amateur Radio Club to restore broadcast capabilities.

“We have a temporary tower location established in Chadron and now the majority population of Dawes County can hear Double Q Country on 97.5,” said Kevin Wagner, Eagle’s chief engineer of radio operations. “Serving Chadron and Dawes County listeners has been our priority and will continue to be our priority in 2020.”

The tower, located at 210 McGannon Road approximately 15 miles southwest of Chadron, was constructed between Sept. 9, 1979, and July 9, 1980.

Bill Mokry of the National Weather Service in Cheyenne said the transmitters used to feed most of northwest Nebraska NOAA weather radios were located on the fallen tower, including Dawes, Sioux, Box Butte and some counties in southwest South Dakota.

He said his office is working with the sister weather station in Rapid City, S.D., to  use their transmitters to cover areas that overlap with the Cheyenne region.

"There will be at least some coverage ... in a good portion of the northern half of Dawes and northern portion of Sioux," Mokry said, noting there is no definitive timeline on when that backup plan will be launched. "We're still in the process of  ... finalizing that, and we'll have an official press release once that's up and running."

He urged residents in areas without coverage to seek information normally broadcast on the NOAA radios via other sources — AM/FM radio, television, online and via smartphone apps. Smartphones within range of a cell signal will continue to receive severe weather alerts via their carrier.

The good news? The weather is expected to remain relatively calm through the next several days as temperatures rise above freezing and the region begins to dig out from the storm that brought 14 inches of snow to the Chadron area.

It was that weekend storm front that caused the stress on the tower, leading to the collapse.

"The Chadron area was dealing with dense freezing fog prior to high winds .. leading to frost buildup. With those 50 mph wind gusts or stronger came roaring through the area, it put a lot of stress on the tower," Mokry said. "Fourteen inches plus howling 50 mph wind It's going to do some damage."

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Dec 05, 2019 10:01 PM
Lawfully carried weapon draws concern in Downtown NP

An officer with the North Platte Police Department detains a male subject following the report of suspicious subjects carrying guns in Downtown North Platte on Thursday

NORTH PLATTE, NE-An incident in Downtown North Platte was resolved with no arrests and no charges.

On Thursday at 10:56 AM, officers responded to the area of 2nd and Dewey Streets in regards to a disturbance.

It was further reported, while officers were en-route, that a gun was involved. Multiple officers from multiple agencies, including the North Platte Police Department, Lincoln County Sheriff's Office and Nebraska State Patrol, responded to the area.

Responding officers detained and handcuffed all of the occupants of the vehicle for officer safety.

Upon further investigation, it was determined that a vehicle occupied by four adult subjects traveling through the area from Idaho to another town in Nebraska had stopped in North Platte due to an argument between the occupants.

Several witnesses called the police because of the argument, and the because witnesses observed one of the occupants in possession of a handgun. Officers were able to locate the reported handgun in plain view in the front passenger compartment of the vehicle.

It was determined that there was no violation of the law by the occupants and their actions, and the occupants were released.

The call was of particular concern to law enforcement because of several banks located in the area.