Another Sedalia Smiles tower: ASR 1002797

I’ve came across another Sedalia Smiles site.

While driving for work, I noticed a microwave relay tower and what seemed to be an easy path to get to it near Tipton, Missouri. Although this isn’t a former AT&T Long Lines site, it still captured my attention with its singular large shrouded parabolic antenna pointing west-northwest.

Looking west at the tower from Cotton Drive.

I turned onto another gravel road and continued on it for a couple miles. On some twisty bends on Round Hill Drive, I got about as close as I could to the tower. It appeared the tower sat out in the middle of a field, on private property.

This angle, looking west from Round Hill Drive, allowed me to get some good photos of the dipole arrays at top that likely support a land mobile radio/two-way radio repeater station. There were also some smaller parabolic dishes that likely support wireless internet service providers (WISPs) for the surrounding rural area.

Looking west at the tower from Round Hill Drive.
A look at the upper half of the tower. Two dipole array antennas used for a land mobile radio repeater are seen at the top, and smaller parabolic dishes dot the tower for wireless ISPs.

However, I wanted a better view of the large shrouded parabolic dish. I also believed there might be a drive running to the base station from the road over, allowing me to possibly get a better view. (I was in an area with little cell phone reception, so I wasn’t able to load a satellite view of the area.)

After driving down the next gravel road over, Seeley Drive, I learned that wasn’t the case. The only way to get closer is by driving through a field on private property, which — obviously — is strongly discouraged.

However, that did not stop me from getting some more shots of the tower.

Looking east at the tower from Seeley Drive. It’s a long walk through a field to get closer…
A “close-up” of the tower from Seeley Drive, showing the large shrouded parabolic antenna facing west-northwest.
A zoomed photo of the base station and bottom half of the tower. There is a single large shrouded parabolic antenna pointed west-northwest, and several smaller parabolic dishes — likely for wireless internet service providers — scattered throughout the tower. The base station appears to consist of a metal structure with an external generator, both of which appear to be secured under a chain link “cage.”

After returning home, I went onto the Federal Communication Commission’s Antenna Structure Registration (ASR) database to look for the tower. After entering the coordinates, it entered ASR 1002797 — belonging to Steven and Jackie Semon, d/b/a Sedalia Smiles, of Sedalia.

Sedalia Smiles owns several former AT&T Long Lines microwave relay sites here in Missouri, including a couple I’ve written about — Slater (which I grew up passing frequently), Dayton and Cole Camp.

A search for the site yield three current users: Land mobile radio registrations for the local electric cooperative at 451 and 456 MHz; land mobile radio registrations for Saint Joseph-based Midwest Mobile Radio Service at 452-453 and 457-458 MHz; and a paging repeater licensed to Sedalia-based Central Communications Service Company at 153 and 459 MHz.

Midwest Mobile Radio Service is a land mobile radio contractor specializing in Motorola (radio, not processors) equipment. A Google search shows that Central Communications Service Company also specializes in Motorola (radio and pager) equipment.

However, there are a ton of expired registrations that likely reveals the site’s original owner and purpose. GTE Sprint Communications — the largest telephone service provider outside the Bell System prior to the 1984 divestiture of the Bell System — had a 6 GHz link marked as active 1985-98. This site had a couple hops: One to a site near Ashland, and another to a site along U.S. 65 north of Sedalia in Pettis County. It was almost certainly used for GTE’s long-haul microwave relay network — its own version of the Bell System’s/AT&T’s Long Lines network. It appears the other dishes, including the pair for the Ashland hop, have long been removed.

There are also terminated licenses for Fisher Electric Inc and James E. Felgar.

Update: Another FCC record indicated Steven Semon is affiliated with Central Communications Service Company, of Sedalia. Google Street View footage of Central Communications’ headquarters shows a sign on their local repeater hut that resembles the “Warning High Voltage” signs found on the Slater and Cole Camp Long Lines sites.

Photographed March 10, 2024, using an iPhone SE (second generation) and Nikon D5600 with a telephoto lens.