AM Ground Systems Company


El Paso, TX

March 2009

KELP's transmitter site is built in a large flood water retention pond located quite literally on the US/Mexican border.  KELP's ground system suffered severe damage as the retention pond floor was excavated in an effort to "desilt" the pond.  The City of El Paso (the owner of the pond) alleged that the pond had not been "desilted" as required by the stations lease and that several feet of silt had built up on the pond floor.  The city decided to do the desilting themselves even though they and their contractor were all advised that there was a large amount of buried copper wire on the pond floor.  It was very quickly obvious that there was very little silt build up on the pond floor as the grading contractor started tearing out ground radials at about 6 inches below current grade level.  Considering that the radials would have been buried 4-8 inches deep in the initial build out...  I think that we can surmise that there wasn't much if any silt buildup.

When the early damage became obvious, the excavation work stopped pending further study.  Apparently someone decided to go head with the excavation without notifying the station.  The station engineer arrived at the site one day to discover that the entire ground system beyond 50ft from the tower bases had been destroyed.  The excavation had continued to at least 18 inches below the original ground system depth.  This is how we found the site on an initial inspection visit.


KELP Transmitter Building and Tower 2 base.

This is a very unique DA site in that it is built in a large water retention pond on the border. When I say on the border I mean... ON the border. The building and tower bases are elevated about 10 ft to allow the pond to fill with water during flooding conditions. The water is retained in the pond and then released into the Rio Grande river over time to prevent down stream flooding.

Big Bird sitting in the south end of the water retention pond.

Visible in this pictre is a realitively substantial looking fence. It should be... It is the border fence between the US and Mexico. It actually is at least 2 fences with a security road between them.

Installing the new transverse.

Our JD 4600 4wd tractor and a rented JD skid steer.

Radials are cut to length and then clamped and brazed to the transverse

Tower base area.

We installed new radial termination strap and bonded it into what was left of the original ground system.

Strap running to a newly installed ground rod.

We were unable to locate any ground rods that were in stalled with the original ground system.

Steve contemplating the meaning of life, the universe and everything.

Grounding added to each tower leg.

I was less than impressed with the original method of grounding the tower legs. I included regrounding each of the 3 towers with new straps tied into the existing ground infrastructure. This was accomplished using specialized bronze and stainless clamps.

Clamps are not the prefered method for AM grounding but under the circumstances and tower design it was the best alternative.

Looking up the tower. The unipole is visible.

Closer view of tower 2 and the front of the TX building.


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