AM Ground Systems Company


Cedar Rapids, IA

October 2006

KCRG was a very interesting old station. From the huge insulated self supporting towers to the  vintage Gates gear scattered about it spoke of old style radio.  Cedar Rapids was the home of Gates Radio and is still the home of Rockwell.  KCRG was the showroom station for Gates.  The TX building was what would be expected from that stature.  Although it had been many years since Gates had any input into the site, Gates was everywhere.

A new owner (Rob Norton & Co.) decided to rebuild the array.  The ground system was in very questionable condition and the above ground mounted feed lines were potential problems.  We rebuilt the station grounding and installed new buried feed, sample and conduits to all 3 towers.


The KCRG site. Three 360ft self supporting towers comprise this DAN site.

If you look closely you can see that the top of the closest tower still supports an abandoned TV or FM antenna.

A close-up of the antenna. Rob told me what the antenna had served but I don't recall if it was TV or FM.

The site sits in a large hay field. At sometime in the past, a fence was built around various portions of the property. This fence had deteriated and been allowed to grow up. The fence row was cleaned out to allow the full ground system to be built unimpeded.

Big Bird looks on.

The feed lines shortly after leaving the TX building. We decided that since the station was associated with Gates Radio, they must have decided to use every type of cable and adapter available.

This cable run is comprised of 3in to the tower and several reducers to get down to the 7/8in coming out of the building. The other lines were similarly adorned with multiple adapters.

The above ground cable runs were mounted on wooden posts.

We used a battery reciprocating saw to cut the old feed lines into manageable pieces. The posts were loosened and then pulled up with the skid steer loader.

Inside the huge fenced areas around the tower bases.

A fresh trench ready for the new cables. We applied several inches of bedding sand before and after laying the cables into the trench.

Just inside one of the tower fences with the trencher.

Myself doing the final digging up to the ATU. The ATUs were built by Andrew Corp.

The cable pit. The feed lines ran directly to the towers with no excess. The new sample lines were carefully bundled and placed on a sand bed. More sand was placed around and over the new cables for protection.

We used the fiberboard ring from a cable reel to keep the excess sample line organized and safe.

More trenches

The rented skid steer and AGSC's JD 4600

Shelton on the Bobcat.

Steve brazing. It rained and then froze just enough to make working inside the freshly cleaned fence areas a messy proposition.

The main radial connection point centered under the towers.

Speaking of the center of the tower...

An insulator

The wire plow with coulter (steel cutting wheel in front of the plow) mounted. The coulter cuts thru sod and makes a much neater job. The coulter can not be used for all situations. It also helps cut thru weeds and debris in some cases.

AM Ground Systems is powered by John Deere.

Strap around pier with lightning arc gap. Each tower had only 1 insulator mounted arc gap. Ground rods were driven around that pier and then connected back to all station grounds.

Inside the fence. Muddy...

Steve wondering how he got talked into this again...

Really wondering...

Nice gravel covering weed block fabric.

Myself wondering how I got talked into this again. Not really. I think that I was just allowing my internals to settle down. The Cat skid steer I am sitting on is a high flow model. It is the only skid steer that I have ever operated that had a "road gear". That thing would fly. Too fast really...


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