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KUNC experiencing difficulties

SUMMIT COUNTY – Fans of public radio in Summit County probably have noted a conspicuous absence of Terry Gross, Robert Siegel and Linda Wertheimer in recent days.

KUNC, which broadcasts National Public Radio and its well-known hosts in addition to an eclectic array of music, has been experiencing technical difficulties during the past few days on its 107.1 FM frequency.

The problem, which has hindered service across the county, actually originates at the top of Castle Peak in Eagle County, according to KUNC general manager Neil Best. The translator that the station maintains there has been inoperative since either late Friday afternoon or Saturday morning, Best said, and because of transportation and weather problems, technicians have not been able to access the site to do any repairs.



The reason this affects Summit County service comes from a slightly complex series of technical arrangements.

FM reception relies on a generally clear line of sight from the the original signal transmitter, something that is almost impossible to maintain over long distances in the mountains. In order to broadcast in communities there, stations such as KUNC are forced to rely on translators, which are typically placed in the highest possible position available. From that location, the translators are able to receive the original signal, amplify it and rebroadcast it to another community of listeners.



The KUNC translator that serves Summit County actually receives its signal via the translator on Castle Peak. Because a clear sight line is hard to achieve locally, the signal on 107.1 FM is first passed through Eagle County and is essentially the copy of a copy.

Best said the translator equipment in Summit County, located at the top of Mount Victoria in Frisco, is completely operational and once the problem at Castle Peak is identified and fixed service should be up and running again. Repair crews are scheduled to arrive at the site early Friday morning.

In the meantime, listeners can tune into 88.3 FM, which also broadcasts KUNC via a newer local translator located at the top of Baldy Mountain, or the KUNC Web site at http://www.kunc.org.

Aidan Leonard can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at aleonard@summitdaily.com.


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