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Lakes 103, coming soon?

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Going old-school during testing at Lakes 103. The studios, tower, and transmitter are ready; the antenna, not so much.

Since September, Mora area residents have been left to wonder when – if ever – new radio station Lakes 103 would be signing on. A burst of publicity last summer was accompanied by hopes of a launch “sometime in fall.” But despite much visible progress, fall came and went, with listeners finding nothing but dead air.

After nearly three months, today the silence was broken. The Lakes Media Foundation – owner of the not-yet-operating radio station at 103.5 FM – gave a lengthy update on their progress, stating that rumors of the project’s death have been exaggerated.

According to their latest press release, a defective antenna ended up causing them three months of delays. Things are said to be back on track now, with new replacements for the defective parts now on their way, and both plans and funds in place to get them installed.

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The defective part is located here, approximately 120′ above the ground.

The stroke of bad luck was discovered in late September. As Foundation personnel turned on the station for final testing, they found that something was awry with their antenna – a second-hand piece of equipment, inconveniently located at the top of their tower. Tests on the ground had been unable to spot the issue, which only presented itself once things were running at full power and height.

Not willing to accept the antenna’s performance, and likewise unwilling to gamble on repairs (which would have cost almost as much as replacement), the Foundation commissioned the build of a new antenna. That process – from fundraising and design, to a nine-week factory backlog – has been the cause of the lengthy wait.

Several donations, including a $1500 grant from the Onan Family Foundation, permitted the station to purchase the new antenna. If all goes well, the antenna swap should cure the station’s problems and allow it to finally sign on.

Though no new launch date has been specified, the list of final tasks seems to suggest that the records may be spinning at 103.5 FM in a matter of weeks.

Full story here, via lakesmediafoundation.org