Thursday, December 21, 2006

AM station moved to San Francisco

San Francisco, California: 860KHz:
Speaking of KMPH-840...
The station that used to be KMPH is now on the air from San Francisco.
50,000 watts day and night, directional.
3 towers day at 38-09-33N/122-24-44W.
4 towers night at 37-35-34N/121-46-27W.
Of course, different patterns.

Monday, December 18, 2006

New AM stations

Hampden, Maine: 750KHz:
A permit has been granted for a new station.
50,000 watts daytime, non-directional.
10,000 watts nighttime, directional, four towers.
44-51-27N/68-49-36W.

Lovelock, Nevada: 1450KHz:
An application has been filed for a new station.
250 watts fulltime, non-directional.
40-10-46N/118-28-21W.

Mount Angel, Oregon: 1130KHz:
An application has been filed for a new station.
25,000 watts daytime, directional, 3 towers.
490 watts nighttime, directional, 3 towers. (different pattern from daytime)
45-04-35N/122-48-27W.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Digital radio in Canada

The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission has revised its policy on digital radio.

(Click here to see the original document)

In 1995, an initial policy was established. Spectrum at L-band (1452-1492MHz) was assigned. Digital Radio Broadcasting (DRB) was established primarily as a replacement service for existing analog AM & FM stations - but provisions were made for authorizing new digital-only stations as well. The first license was issued in 1998. Since then, 57 commercial DRB stations and 18 CBC stations have been authorized. The 76th authorized DRB station, in Toronto, is a digital-only ethnic outlet.

The Commission is very concerned about the stalled DRB transition. Roughly 15 of the 76 authorized stations (including the digital-only operation in Toronto) are not on the air. Some stations that once operated have since ceased operations. Few recievers have been sold, and there is no interest in expanding DRB service beyond the six cities where it exists. Since DRB transmitters have only been built in the largest cities, motorists travelling between Quebec and Windsor, between Calgary and Edmonton, or between Vancouver and south-central British Columbia lose DRB reception. As a result, automakers have switched their support from terrestrial DRB to XM/Sirius satellite radio.

The Commission asked:

- How can radio best transition from analog to digital, and how can the Commission help?
- Should the Commission cease to consider DRB as a replacement technology?
- Should new digital-only stations be encouraged?
- Should other technologies besides Eureka 147 be considered?
(IBOC, DRM, DMB, DVB-H)
- If we give up on DRB, what should be done with the spectrum?

A number of parties commented. Three mentioned IBOC:

- iBiquity claimed that "...the technology is compatible with the current broadcast infrastructure and therefore enables the reuse of frequency spectrum as well as some of the existing equipment." They also claimed their system provides other public benefits through multicasting.

- The Ontario Independent Radio Group "...recommended that Canadian stations wishing to adopt IBOC technology should be able to do so without a prolonged regulatory process..."

- The only comprehensive technical comments came from the CBC. They stated that AM-IBOC "...would create a serious degradation in sound quality for existing AM stations." (*all* AM stations, not just the ones adopting IBOC) They also state that due to interference concerns, "...IBOC transmission at night is not practical." As for FM-IBOC, implementation "...would require additional first and second adjacent channel coordination." and "...would make it difficult to coordinate the CBC's network operations." (presumably, they'd have trouble finding FM spectrum for expansion of Radio Two and the French-language services)

The Commission concurs with the CBC: "...digital IBOC signals will add a certain amount of noise to a station's analog signal, marginally reducing its effective service area." and "...IBOC signals can degrade the service areas of technically related stations located in the same or adjacent markets." (both of these premises have been presented by DXers in the U.S. and are generally denied by IBOC supporters. It is interesting to see them accepted, on the record, by the Canadian regulatory authorities.)

The Commission says it's up to the station to decide whether any IBOC self-interference is enough to discourage adoption.

However, they do not accept interference to other stations. "...the Commission has concluded that, if the aforementioned issues can be addressed, particularly any potential interference to other stations, the use of IBOC technology,... could be considered for licensing."

To a large degree the decision of whether to authorize IBOC is not the Commission's - it lies with the Department of Communications. The Commission says "...if the Department authorized IBOC technology for the AM and/or FM bands under the Radiocommunication Act, the Commission would be prepared to authorize services..."

The Commission has announced it will hold a round table in six months, with the CEOs of the major radio groups, to discuss further plans for DRB implementation.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

New stations: Maine, Nevada

Orono, Maine: 1530KHz:
An application has been filed for a new station.
50,000w day, 2 towers directional
9,000w critical hours, 4 towers directional
270w night, 4 towers directional
44-51-48N/68-40-06W

Orono is near Bangor.

Battle Mountain, Nevada: 1450KHz:
A permit has been issued for a new station.
250w fulltime, non-directional
40-39-20N/116-56-49W

Permittee is IHR Educational, a Catholic religious broadcaster.

Friday, December 08, 2006

New station in Wisconsin

Howard, Wis.: 1520KHz:
A permit has been issued for a new station.
250w day, 2 towers directional at 44-33-29N/88-08-54W
3,000w night, 4 towers directional at 44-24-43N/88-04-44W

The daytime site is just west of Green Bay, and the night site just south of the city - both facilities should more-or-less cover Green Bay.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Glenn Hauser found this link that may shed some light on the 590/1020/1610 test situation.

This appears to be a 2005 Special Temporary Authority for BAE Systems to operate test transmitters on these frequencies. Some explanation excerpted from the FCC document:

Please explain in the area below why an STA is necessary:
Required to complete full scale transmitter and associated equipment testing.

Please explain the purpose of operation:
Company is a govt contractor which is developing mobile broadcasting units which can be deployed worldwide in order to satisfy customers immediate military requirements. Broadcast operation encompasses use of AM band frequencies which are necessary to simulate overseas operating parameters.

Station Location
Bowling Green Virginia North 38 7 59 West 77 19 49
(a) Overall height above ground to tip of antenna in meters: 50.00

585.00000000-595.00000000 kHz FX 10.000000 kW 9.750000 kW
1015.00000000-1025.00000000 kHz FX 10.000000 kW 9.750000 kW
1595.00000000-1605.00000000 kHz FX 10.000000 kW 9.750000 kW


This STA, however, expired in November 2005. (and note that it specified 1600KHz instead of 1610) It sure does look a lot like what we've been hearing though.

This is an Office of Engineering & Technology STA. STAs for operation in the broadcast bands are now handled by the Media Bureau; however, this is a relatively recent change. (I believe OET STAs were legal for broadcast frequencies in 2005) This may be why there has been no information from the Media Bureau: it's quite possible they aren't aware of this STA!

Monday, December 04, 2006

New station in Idaho

Wendell, Idaho; 1340KHz
IHR Educational (a Catholic religious organization) has applied for a new station here.
250 watts, non-directional.
Single tower at 42-45-58N/114-39-28W.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Distributed (TV) Transmission System in Penna.

The FCC has granted WTVE-51 (Reading, Pa.) an 8-transmitter Distributed
Transmission System (DTS) for their digital operation on channel 25.
All eight transmitters are considered co-equal by the FCC.

The transmitters:
#1: 760w/366m 40-21-16/75-53-57 NE of Reading, on their existing
analog tower.
#2: 2.8kw/282m 40-37-13/75-17-37 east of Bethlehem (WZZO-95.1
tower)
#3: 110w/116m 39-33-42/75-55-48 S of North East, Md.
#4: 1kw/337m 39-53-44/76-14-23 S of Lancaster on Hwy. 272
(WDAC-94.5 tower)
#5: 1.15kw/235m 40-23-53/76-19-25 E of Lebanon, N of Myerstown
#6: 600w/168m 40-23-06/74-52-58 E of Lambertville, N.J., N of
Trenton
#7: 126kw/444m 40-02-30/75-14-13 WCAU-10 tower, Philadelphia
#8: 4.25kw/138m 40-45-50/76-02-03 between Pottsville & Tamaqua on
Hwy. 209

(I'll bet you can guess which one WTVE will consider the "primary"!)

The FCC has not yet completed final rules for DTS operation. This
facility is authorized under Special Temporary Authority; WTVE has been
warned that the DTS may require modification to come into compliance
with any future changes in the rules.