Anchor Point, Alaska, 340 kilometers or 211 miles south of Anchorage, is an unlikely place from which to beam messages that change lives around the world. But it’s been happening since July 23, 1983. On that date KNLS, the first shortwave station built by World Christian Broadcasting, began transmitting in Russian and Chinese.
In the rugged Alaskan landscape of the Kenai Peninsula, 28 hectares of land near Anchor Point were chosen as a perfect site for shortwave transmission. Construction began in 1980. Wells were dug, housing installed, the antenna erected, and the transmitter building constructed.
Each giant dipole curtain antenna measures about 120 meters square, about the size of two American football fields. The wire mesh curtain actually consists of sixteen separate dipole antennae strung together. A second wire screen, hanging just behind the antenna, pushes the radio frequency signal toward the west. Using huge switches at the curtain’s base, operators can slew—or aim—the antenna toward different parts of Asia and the Pacific Basin.
A special counter weight system allows the antenna to survive Alaska’s bitter winds, ice, and snow. “If high wind or heavy icing were to load all of the wires between the towers,” said the architect and chief engineer for the project, Francis Perry, “…concrete counter weights would come off ground allowing the antenna to sag temporarily. That is the protective measure which prevents the tower from being loaded too much.” Although the giant concrete cylinders weigh as much as a small car, Perry says he has seen them pulled fifteen centimeters off the ground by high winds or ice.
After the antenna was in place, the 100,000 watt shortwave transmitter could be installed. KNLS, the “New Life Station,” was dedicated in the summer of 1983. The first broadcast day of the New Life Station was memorable because it represented the sacrifice of so many people. A special plaque unveiled during those ceremonies affirmed that Station KNLS is “dedicated to helping others enjoy a NEW LIFE in Jesus Christ.”
Broadcasts are created in state-of-the-art studios in Franklin, Tennessee. After digital editing, they are stored in Franklin until sent to Anchor Point. Each morning in Alaska, station technicians start the system about midnight after which—thanks to fully automated digital equipment—they can walk away from the operation.
In 2005, a second antenna was completed on the Anchor Point site. Between the two antennae, 20 hours of programming—in Russian, Chinese, and English—are broadcast every day.
Chief Engineer Kevin Chambers, along with Station Manager Susan Ledger, and Tom
Kligensmith and Jeff Jaworski, run the KNLS facility in Anchor Point. Aside from the occasional moose or bear that wander by the transmitter building, there’s not a lot of action for visitors to see: computers feed life-giving messages into 100 KW transmitters which hum the signal to both powerful antennae. It’s a clean, quiet process that bears untold fruit for God in receptive hearts around the world.
For a program schedule, click here.