Alleman Iowa Broadcast Towers

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Radio Ranger
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Joined: Sun May 02, 2010 7:44 am

Alleman Iowa Broadcast Towers

Post by Radio Ranger » Sun Jul 26, 2015 1:50 pm

grich, I'm posting this here, as others may have an interest...

Can you tell me briefly the history of the Alleman TV towers? I know that in the early 1970's the original tower came down in an ice storm, and that it was re-erected, along with another 2,000 footer, but now as I drive by on I-35 I see a shorter 1500? footer south of the originals, and a new 2,000 footer north of the originals. What TV stations and FM stations occupy which of the towers these days?

Steve Brown
Radio Rangers
Minneapolis

grich
Posts: 297
Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:19 am
Location: MP89.5, Mason City Subdivision

Re: Alleman Iowa Broadcast Towers

Post by grich » Mon Jul 27, 2015 10:49 am

My dates may be off a little, since I've only been here 21 years... :)

Two 2000' towers went up in 1972. The west one, owned by KCCI-TV (channel 8, Hearst) went down during the ice storm. It was of course rebuilt, and that tower, to my knowledge, only holds KCCI, the NWS weather radio, and some two-way stuff.

The east one is owned by WHO-TV (13, TribuneMedia), WOI-FM (Iowa State University) and KDIN (11, Iowa Public Television). WOI-TV (yes, physical 5) is also on the tower, but since ISU sold the TV station off (now owned by Nexstar), the TV folks are mere tenants. Back when WHO AM-FM-TV were co-owned, WHO's FM was here as well. The FM is owned by iHeart and is now on the "new" 2000' tower north of Alleman.

The north tower was erected for DTV, and the transition UHF stations for WHO-TV, WOI-TV, and KDIN were here until they reverted to their VHF channels...Des Moines is one of the rare markets where ALL of the V's went back to their original channels post-transition. Channel 23 (KCWI, Pappas, being sold to Nexstar) is here, along with KDMI (channel 19, was 56, Pappas) KDSM (virtual 17, physical 16, Sinclair) originally was on the shorter tower to the south, but moved to the north stick, leaving Des Moines Radio Group (Saga) on the short tower. I don't recall which FM's are there.

Radio Ranger
Posts: 74
Joined: Sun May 02, 2010 7:44 am

Re: Alleman Iowa Broadcast Towers

Post by Radio Ranger » Mon Jul 27, 2015 3:21 pm

Thanks for the info, Gregg

I worked with a tower crew about 25 years ago that told me about constructing the tower when it went down---they were holed up in a truck stop restaurant eating breakfast and waiting out an ice storm when an Iowa Highway Patrolman drove in and told them not to worry about going back to work---the tower was down.

.... I'm curious if WHO, WOI and the DSM public schools station owned the north DTV tower and kept anything there for backups, although I guess that the antennas there were all UHF, but I think it's not a master antenna, but a candelabra arrangement with seperate antennas.

Did WHO or the other stations do any VHF line or antenna change outs on the east tower before they went back to VHF land?

I don't know much about TV transmitters, but I'd guess that the DTV UHF transmitters couldn't have been converted to VHF and moved back to the east tower?

I still marvel at the towers when I drive by and look at the 'short' tower only to realize that it's at least 1,300 feet tall! The tallest towers here in Mpls/St Paul ARE just 1300 ft.

Steve Brown

grich
Posts: 297
Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:19 am
Location: MP89.5, Mason City Subdivision

Re: Alleman Iowa Broadcast Towers

Post by grich » Mon Jul 27, 2015 4:55 pm

Nothing left behind, sort of. KDMI uses the old 13 DTV antenna (channel 19) and feedline. Transmitters were sold or stored. No way to repurpose the gear in the VHF band.

I know WHO and KDIN still share the same RCA antenna and feedline they started with 43 years ago. I believe WOI-TV is on its original line as well.

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