Chapter 14 - "For It Is God Who Works"

 

Chapter 14 - The Tall Tower

        The early eighties saw a boom in Houston's economy and skyscrapers began to multiply in the downtown area. Although this growth benefited the city, KHCB was adversely affected because these tall buildings blocked the signal for those listening in the north and northeast sectors of the city. The Lord used an FCC ruling to nudge KHCB to address this problem.

        The FCC passed a ruling called RM 80-90 which mandated that by 1986, all FM stations with an antenna height at or below 1,000 feet would be frozen at that height with no possibility of ever increasing. KHCB's antenna was at 370 feet. This meant that if KHCB did not raise the antenna above 1000 feet, it would be permanently frozen at 370 feet, severely crippling the listening range of the station.

        In response to this ruling, the Trustees established a "Tall Tower Fund" to be used to raise the antenna and improve the transmitter site. Plans were made to purchase a new, more efficient antenna and install it above the minimum requirement.

        A second part of the improvement involved the construction of a suitable transmitter building to house electronic equipment and provide power for the antenna. The transmitter had previously been housed in a temporary building for most of its 20 years. As in the past, Del Underwood graciously volunteered to be the coordinator for the construction of the new transmitter building, and Bill Cordell volunteered his services as the consultant for the project.

An Exciting Option Turns Sour

        At this time, nine FM stations had joined forces in what was called the Senior Road Tower Project. Bill Cordell was named manager of this project in which a 2,049-foot tower would be built for and shared by these nine stations.  Each station was to furnish eleven percent of the cost.  Using Bill as a go-between, KHCB asked to be included in the project.

        Each station would be required to pay between $800,000 and one million dollars to be a partner in the project. Although this cost was extremely high, the Trustees felt this was a worthwhile investment and agreed to the sum. However, the Lord went before KHCB and closed the door to what would have been an exorbitant expense. The other stations involved on the project decided that they did not want KHCB included. This was a big disappointment, but there was nothing to do but look elsewhere.

        Subsequently Bill Cordell found that KPRC-TV was planning to build its own tower and was willing to lease space to other radio and television stations. Bill negotiated a lease of tower space on the Channel 2 tower in early 1985. In the course of two years KHCB was able to raise $400,000 to pay for the new equipment and $20,000 to be put down as a non-refundable deposit to Channel 2. A stipulation KPRC made was that KHCB put up a multi-station antenna that others could use as well. The final capital cost of the project was $500,000, which was half of what the initial cost would have been if KHCB had been included on the Senior Road Tower. The Tall Tower site went into operation on September 13, 1985, effectively increasing its coverage area four-fold. KHCB-FM now radiates its signal from an antenna height of 1613 feet, allowing communities within an 80-mile radius of Houston to hear non-commercial Christian Radio by KHCB.

Emergency Transmitter

        Since all electronic equipment can develop serious technical problems without warning, the station's Trustees felt that the development of system standby equipment would be most beneficial to the consistent outreach of the Word of God by Missionary Radio.

        Both KHCB-FM at the tall tower site and later KHCB-AM in Galveston have full standby trannsmitting facilities ready at a moment's notice, to start operating if the main transmitters fail.

         An additional backup system for KHCB-FM is a separately located but reduced power (10,000 watt) emergency transmitting site located in the Greenway Plaza area. This site enabled 105.7 FM to stay on the air in the Fall of 1996 during a transmission line failure at the tall tower site which would have otherwise kept Christian Radio off the air for several days. Further use of the emergency site was made necessary by major antenna repairs at the tall tower site during the Winter of 1996-97. Equipment for the backup systems is provided by refurbished transmitters used formerly by KHCB as its main transmitters from 1964 through 1985.

        The Lord is to be praised for His provision of equipment and engineering expertise which has allowed Missionary Radio, KHCB, to provide almost uninterrupted service over the years.

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Table of Contents

Foreword & Preface
1. From Houston to the World
2. A Seed is Planted
3. Getting Started
4. The Lord's Ways
5. God Reveals His Best
6. The Lord Provides Personnel
7. Remodeling
8. Financial Struggles
9 Ministering Servants
10. KHCB Goes to the Rodeo
11. Programming
12. Expanding
13. New Studio Building
14. The Tall Tower
15. Volunteers
16. Changed Lives
17. Trustees
18. AM Station Acquired
19. Hispanics Launch Friendship Radio
20. Chinese Language Programming
21. The Gospel in Vietnamese
22. Translator Takes KHCB-FM to Bryan
23. Reaching for the Stars
24. To the Ends of the Earth
25. And the Work Goes On