Prometheus Travels to Madrid, NM to Build KMRD-LP

Volunteers raise KMRD-LP's new mast and antenna on the crest of a hill high above Madrid, NM

November 3, 2014

MADRID, NM -- This October, nearly a year after the FCC began accepting new low power FM applications, Prometheus Technical Director Will Floyd traveled to New Mexico to join residents of Madrid, a small-but-vibrant town south of Santa Fe, to build a new low power FM radio station. It was the first Prometheus station build of a low power FM that applied in the October 2013 application window made possible by the passage of the Local Community Radio Act in 2011. Over the course of several days, Will and volunteers from the community installed transmission equipment, a mast, and an antenna on the top of a hill just south of Madrid.

Will and Stella install transmitter and studio-to-transmitter link in the new shed

The construction was truly a community effort as craftspeople, artisans, and volunteers from town all contributed their time and expertise to the project. A blacksmith fabricated a steel cage, hinging base, and 26-foot steel mast to support the antenna. A carpenter and general contractor coordinated the pouring of a concrete base for the mast and designed and built a shed to house the transmission equipment and solar system components. An electrician and solar expert designed and installed a solar system to power the transmission equipment. Other carpenters designed and built the beautiful on-air studio featuring wrap-around desk space and a beveled double-pane window. A electronics expert is assembling a broadcast console kit from Kaatskit that contains hundreds, if not thousands, of discrete components. And many other Madrid residents, also known as Madroids, lent a hand to dig the base for the mast, to carry heavy equipment up a hill to the transmission site, or to take a turn pounding long grounding rods deep into the rocky earth.

And the new station has big plans. From their website

KMRD will grant the tools of media to the members of our diverse community, comprised of artists, youth, veterans, storytellers, historians, old-timers, music fans, and everyone in between. The radio station will serve Madrid, Cerrillos, and the surrounding areas, and will contribute to democratizing media across Santa Fe County and beyond.

Peter (right) puts the finishing touches on the equipment shed while other volunteers (left) drive grounding rods

Norwalk Electronics Dominator NWE-34 antenna, mast and temporary solar panel during sunset
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