Lightning Strike Knocks Off KNSJ

East County Magazine reporter Miriam Raftery says that an August 5th weekend thunderstorm caused KNSJ Descanso at 89.1 MHz to go off-the-air until repairs estimated at over $2,000 can be made.

The transmitter and antenna sit atop Monument Peak in the Laguna Mountains, giving the station a strong signal over San Diego and into Imperial County, “but the high elevation also leaves the transmitter vulnerable to extreme weather.”

“On its launch date in July 2013, the station was knocked off air during the Chariot Fire, when a firefighting plane drenched the tower in fire retardant foam. A couple of years later, a winter storm caused so much ice to form that it broke off part of the transmitter, again knocking the station off the air.

“Despite grounding that protected some equipment at the site, the circuit boards sustained damaged. KNSJ’s station manager said the transmitter company informed them that they are aware of more than 80 similar situations of transmitters damaged by lightning strikes across the U.S.

“KNSJ is a non-profit public radio station offering news in the public interest with local hosts and nationally syndicated shows such as Democracy Now! as well as local music, environmental and Native American programming, a new show on women’s issues, and more.”

KNSJ is asking for donations to make the needed repairs.

(News Tip from Bob Gonsett)