Transmitter problems have left RSU-TV unable to broadcast at full power since May 10, and the station has been broadcasting at greatly reduced power for most of the summer.
The problems stem from damage to the two main transmitter tubes at RSU-TV’s main transmission station in early May. The damage occurred when the aging tubes overheated and were left inoperable. The transmitter’s backup tube also overheated and suffered critical damage.
RSU-TV broadcasts under the call letters KRSC on UHF channel 35, Claremore and Tulsa cable channel 19, and more than 70 cable systems in northeastern Oklahoma and southern Kansas. The station is Oklahoma’s only full-powered television station operated on a public university campus. The station is a key component to RSU’s distance learning programs, which includes telecourses and live interactive programming.
The main transmitter tower is located six miles north of Claremore, and when operating at its full strength of 2.75 million watts can reach approximately a 75-mile radius. Since late May, the station has been broadcasting at reduced power from a backup transmitter station located on RSU’s Claremore campus.
The backup tower broadcasts at 45,000 watts reaching a radius of between 25 to 35 miles depending on topography. The reduced power signal can reach most of Tulsa and Rogers counties, but has been unable to reach Bartlesville, where RSU operates a campus.
The station and RSU’s Distance Education office have been making available videotaped copies of lectures for RSU’s telecourse students who were unable to view the reduced signal.
The university recently spent $70,000 to purchase a new main transmitter tube, which is expected to be installed within the next seven to 10 days. The station can operate with only one transmitter tube, but it limits the signal strength and shortens the tube’s lifespan.
The station is currently having one of the damaged main tubes evaluated for repair. If repairing the tube is judged not cost effective, a new tube would be purchased.
When the new tube is installed, the station will be able to increase its power to about 680,000 watts. And, when a second tube is installed, the station would be able resume broadcasting at its full strength.