“The old tower was not strong enough to handle the loads we have been putting on it,” said Jon Panzer, station manager and chief engineer at Pioneer. According to Panzer, the new tower will be mounted with equipment from Verizon, the Swift County Sheriff’s Department, MVTV Wireless, Otter Tail Power and NOAA Weather Radio. The equipment from Verizon will enable the cell phone company to upgrade its 4G and LTE service to the area.
Originally the 500 foot tower was constructed in the pre-satellite days to serve a nationwide network of microwave towers that made up the public broadcasting system at that time, according to Panzer. The new tower will continue to sit in the shadow of the existing 1,000 foot tower that broadcasts Pioneer’s digital television signals to the region. The replacement tower will continue to serve as Pioneer’s head end tower for distributing microwave signals to Pioneer’s network.
The Appleton tower complex is one of three towers in Pioneer’s network. The other two towers are located in Chandler and Fergus Falls Minnesota. Combined, the three towers enable Pioneer to broadcast 4 digital channels (available unscrambled over the air with a simple antenna and digital TV or an analog TV with a converter box) to more than 1 million people in western and southwestern Minnesota, northwestern Iowa and the eastern Dakotas. For more information, visit www.pioneer.org or call 1-800-726-3178.