KKCR partially off the air due to equipment failure

Kaua’i’s public radio station KKCR is off the air in sections of Kaua’i due to the failure of a transmitter located on Mt. Kahili.

Listeners on the North Shore can still tune in KKCR, which broadcasts out of Princeville.

The main signal is broadcast at 90.9 FM signal and is generated from Crater Hill in Kilauea.

The radio station began operations in the summer of 1997, and has been able to house its transmitting equipment for its 91.9 FM signal, which covers the South Shore and sections of the East Side, in a shed built by Kauai Electric atop Mt. Kahili.

One of the amplifiers inside the Mt. Kahili transmitter shorted out and the parts needed for repairs are not available on Kaua’i. Dean Rogers, on-site engineer and operations manager, shipped the 30-pound device to to Elkhart, Ind. on Monday and hopes to get it back ready to install by Saturday.

Rogers hopes to have the Mt. Kahili transmitter on the air again by Feb. 1.

“Things wear out. We’ve got weather, we’ve got the unknown up there,” said Michael Van De Veer, a volunteer DJ and KKCR board treasurer.

Postal issues aside, to install the transmitter requires a chancy helicopter ride to the top of Mt. Kahili.

Recent high wind conditions could affect the radio station’s plans.

After landing on a 10-foot square landing pad atop Mt. Kahili, Rogers said he’ll have to crawl along the ridge and duck into the shed, not knowing if the helicopter will be back to retrieve him.

“We always bring extra food because we don’t know whether we’ll have to spend the night,” Rogers said.

“KKCR is an important part of the community…and it helps keep us connected,” said Donna Lewis-Giarman, KKCR news director, who also hosts a new rock show on Fridays.

Though radio broadcasts have been off the air in much of the East Side and totally blank on the South Shore and West Side, listeners can still get their favorite shows via streaming audio on www.kkcr.org.

Staff Writer Kendyce Manguchei can be reached at kmanguchei@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 252).

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