AM Ground Systems Company


All About AM Ground Systems Co.

AM Ground Systems Company (AGSC) is owned and operated by Kevin C. Kidd.  I am a SBE "Certified Senior Radio Engineer / AM Directional " [CSRE].  There are those who would argue that he is just plain certifiable...

Enough of the third person rhetoric... Let me tell you about myself and business.

I am also an avid Golfer, Atlanta Braves Fan (always great performances from the bullpen) and NASCAR racing fan. After 3 years of high school electronics, I attended and graduated from Columbia (TN) State Community College with a degree in Electronics and a bunch of extra hours in Psychology and Computer Technology (and a 3.5 grade point average I might add). I have been involved in Broadcast and Recording Studio Engineering and Commercial Two Way Radio Repair since graduating from college in 1982. I went to work for Lawrenceburg Communications (a local 2-way radio company) June 11, 1982 the Monday after graduating from college on the previous Friday.  I was promoted to Service Manager after 4 years (1986) and remained as service manager until September 1994 when I left Lawrenceburg Comm. to become the local 911 Director.  I remained with the 911 District until April 1998 when I left there to pursue a full time radio engineering career. My engineering business had expanded to the point that I was working for the 911 district for 8 hours and then for myself for about that many more almost every day.  I had to make a decision to get in radio or get out of radio.  I couldn't continue working regular 16 hour days.  A new client came along that made the decision easy.  This client would be a regular monthly contract with good income.  I left the 911 district and became a full time engineer in April 1998.  I really enjoyed the 911 work but didn't particularly enjoy the politics.  I have a bad habit of telling the truth.

After taking my first Broadcast Engineering job with WCMG-AM in Lawrenceburg, TN in 1983, I have steadily built my regular business to 25+ stations in the  Mid-South (Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, N. Carolina) area. I do emergency work for stations anywhere, anytime.  The actual number of clients seems to vary exponentially with how busy I am with my regular contract clients or how sick I am.  I have stations that I only hear from when I am EXTREMELY busy, on vacation or sick. 

I have built studios or transmitter sites or performed major site modifications for most of these stations. I have posted pictures of some of these stations on the KKBC half of this site.

I was born March 1st, 1962 here in Lawrenceburg, TN and I am married to Connie Lee Irelan and am a militant ex-smoker (I quit a 5 pack a day habit in 1989 and you know how ex-smokers are). I quit after learning that my best friend, Norge Buie a heavy smoker as well, was terminal with cancer. I smoked the last one in the pack at lunch that day and haven't had another since.

We attend Greenwood UMC Church in Deerfield TN (a wide spot west of a somewhat wider spot called Lawrenceburg TN)

Amateur Radio Operator

I was originally licensed at the age of 16 as a Novice in 1977 in an amateur radio class taught by Mr. Bob Plunkett (WA4FWH-sk). After getting my call, WD4RAT, I for some reason partially lost interest in amateur radio (darn those soft cuddly females) and did not make my first contact for about a year. About a year after the radio class I met one of my classmates, Clay Webster (WD4OJU-sk, now held by Clay's son Pete) who, during the class, had also passed his Novice and shortly upgraded to General. Clay was going to the Atlanta, GA FCC field office to upgrade his license to Advanced in a week. Myself and another friend, Tim Price (AB4UP, ex-WD4PVM), went on a wild studying spree with visions of a new Technician or General Class tickets dancing in our heads. Needless to say we had not anticipated the conditions that would have to be endured getting to and taking the test. We left Lawrenceburg (Clay was a Patrolman with the Lawrenceburg Police Department, later a Lt.) at around midnight on the day of the test. The field office opened at about 8am and after a 6 hour drive and 1 time zone change, we got there about 7am and slept in the car for a few minutes. Upon entering the testing room and starting the code test (13 wpm), it was obvious that copying code in my condition was out of the question. The acoustics in the testing room were so bad that it didn't really even sound like code but more like a wavering solid tone. I quickly decided that I would be happy with a simple Tech license and go home. That was not to be either. While standing outside waiting to be admitted, several of the other "hopefuls" were discussing the tests that they had taken in the past. Every one of them mentioned that they had failed the Tech/General test that began with Question #51 every time that they had taken it (In those days there were 4 or 5 different tests of 50 questions each for the Tech/General license. The first test started with Question #1 and the second with #51 and so on) . This test was UNPASSABLE. Guess what. Tim and I both got and failed that miserable #51 test. After that I was bound that I would upgrade no matter what. A few months later I did get my Tech license (passing the test starting with #101) at a quarterly FCC testing session held in Nashville, TN. I however had no ear for Morse Code and failed the code test a total of 5 times (the last two by one incorrect answer) before finally passing it about a year later. The last time that I took the code test I was copying around 20 wpm and copied 100% of the code that the tester sent with no errors. They didn't even make me fill out the test question form. I remained a General class until April 1991 when I finally upgraded to Advanced at a VEC session in Russelville, Alabama.

When mobile I usually stay on 10, 15 or 20 meters (depending on what is open) or at night 80 meters around 3.980 mHz. My mobile HF rig(s) is a Kenwood TS-50 in Big Bird with a selection of  Ham Stick antennas.  In my 2007 Dodge Ram service truck I have an Icom IC-706mkIIg and a TJ Antennas (Nott Ltd) BB3 Screwdriver antenna.   This thing rocks... First contact on the new screwdriver was an SP3.  At my office I have a Kenwood TS-480HX.

Severe Weather Spotter

Severe weather has always intrigued me (lightning damaged equipment does not, but the cause of lightning does). In the Spring of 1989, Barry Roberts, a local amateur meteorologist, (also rocket scientist, or at least he works for NASA) approached me about getting the local amateur radio community involved in a severe weather spotter network. The Middle TN / North Alabama area is extremely prone to severe weather and tornado activity (averaging about 1 tornado per year in Lawrence County) and at that time had little to no coverage by National Weather Service Radar or NOAA Weather Radio. With the urging of then Lawrence County Emergency Management Director Ava Jean Moore, Barry and I (mostly Barry) launched the Lawrence County Skywarn Network. Within mere days (two I think) of completing the required Weather Spotter Training provided by the National Weather Service, we had our first bout of severe weather in Lawrence County that produced a tornado in a bordering county. As it turned out, that spring became one of the most active severe weather seasons in our history. We had a severe thunder storm every couple of days (or so it seemed) that produced a tornado or damaging down burst somewhere in the area. For the first 4 or 5 years I worked almost all of the communications via amateur radio and GMRS radio from spotters to the local media and National Weather Service Office in Nashville, TN. Since mid 1995 I have escaped from the radio room (located at the Lawrence County Emergency Operations Center) to do a little spotting and chasing.

Using my (long since traded off) 1995 Dodge Dakota 4X4 complete with HF, VHF, UHF and cellular communications (and satellite if you count the GPS and XM receiver), Barry and I have chased potential tornado producing Severe Thunder Storms all over the Middle TN / N. Alabama/N. Mississippi/Eastern Arkansas area. With Barry's knowledge of weather and my hardware (not to mention that I still retain some of the driving skills learned while racing motorcycles and four-wheelers and just generally terrorizing the back roads of Lawrence County) we have, in a single afternoon, driven over 600 miles (mostly on back roads) chasing or in search of the elusive funnel cloud.  Due to the hilly terrain in our area it is sometimes possible to be literally UNDER a rotating thunderstorm and not be able to see a funnel forming. With the flat land in the Plains States where a storm can be seen for miles, we decided that it would be kind of refreshing to be able to see what is actually happening from somewhere other than directly under a forming funnel.

Shelton Barnett and I were driving to a new site build in Ord Nebraska when we discovered that we had landed smack in the middle of the great June 2004 Mid West tornado out break.  We observed 4 tornados and saw dozens of wall clouds in about 4 hours.  We chased the storms a while and then they would chase us.  We would get clear of that wedge and then have to go hard to get away from another right behind that one.  Cells were forming literally EVERYWHERE.  Not an experience I wish to relive.  Well... OK every once in a while it would be OK.

Atlanta Braves Fan

Even though Bobby Cox did some things that I found questionable, he has to be about the best manager in the NL.  To have carried his team as far as they did with the injuries that they suffered, and the lack of funding from TW/AOL is nothing short of phenomenal.  Every year about midway thru the first half I am moaning about how the Braves are the worst they have been since '91 and every fall I am rooting for the NL's best. 

Fredi González seems to be very capable and I am glad to see the Braves back on top of their game as of fall 2013

Go Braves!


I currently have a 16.1 handicap (July 2013). If I could get rid of that couple of *^&#^ bad holes each round and learn to putt, my handicap would drop another few strokes. I currently am a member of the Lawrenceburg Golf and Country Club and play a couple times a month (when not running to radio stations somewhere).

I was once a 10 handicap but a series of golf breakdowns and assorted back problems have


My whole family are car racing fans. I like Richard Petty (he will always be KING), Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne, Sterling Marlin (a fellow Tennessean), "Awesome Bill from Dawsonville" Elliot (even more when he drives a Dodge), and anybody that beats a Ford or Kyle Bush.  Actually Ford has had some really nice cars these days (T-Bird, Explorer, Mustang and Crown Vic) but bad experiences from several years ago have left me with a lasting bad attitude toward them.  I never cared for Dale Earnhart Sr but hated it when he got killed.  Dale Jr is pretty cool.

Now that Dodge is out of the sport, I don't really root for any one particular driver.


Our home is in the middle of a deeply wooded area on a small stream.  After building our home in 1990 (Connie and I hadn't discussed marriage yet) I found that the yard was too shady and damp to grow grass.  After several expensive failures, I decided to just fill the yard with flower beds and "features".  We started building and haven't stopped yet. 


In my spare time (hehehe) I like just piddling with our equipment.  Most of the equipment we use was built by myself.  I am a decent welder and machinist.  Its really amazing what you can do with a couple of rocks and rusty nails...


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