Distant reception of HD FM Radio question?

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This topic contains 50 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Alfredo_T 4 years, 1 month ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 31 through 45 (of 51 total)
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  • #8762

    Chico
    Participant

    MW- moving the sticks to Tiger “helped” the downtown SEA issue, but didn’t really solve it. You might think, “well, then, just put the sticks downtown” which might be logical but doesn’t work very well. KUOW is 100kw from downtown- on top of the local PBS channel 9 TV tower. It IS great downtown…and really nowhere else. I live less than 20 miles from the tower, and signal for me is sketchy. They do shoot straight up Snoqualmie Pass- so there’s that, I suppose….but they lost that edge when the Tiger stations were built because they get up the pass as well.

    KUOW, much like OPB, consistently rates in the top 5 12+ every book, so I guess it isn’t killing them. But I wonder how much easier their pledge drives would be if more could hear them? Then again, they are getting a sweetheart deal on the tower, being a sister (or cousin, now) of the TV station. I was told at one point it was a token buck a year rental or some such. SO maybe that makes up for the signal. Plus they are a class C1- so maybe it wouldn’t be possible to move? Others on this board would know more about THAT!

    #8763

    Andy Brown
    Participant

    Traditionally, the area directly under a tower of significant height is not going to get great reception, even when beam tilt and null fill is employed (FM and TV, both). It’s the nature of the beast. The signal is radiating out horizontally, not downward. If you study a lot of the major markets, you will see the ones with the best reception in the “downtown” and core areas of the city/market to be served are being fed from transmitter sites outside the area.

    Take NYC, for example. Chicago is another one but I am less familiar with it. It’s a bear to try and receive TV from the WTC or Empire State Building or the old WTC most places in Manhattan. Everyone has cable. Radio is sketchy. Over in NJ where I grew up, the signals were robust. I was about 15 miles from lower Manhattan.

    Now the case in point of Seattle is clearly a challenge. The topography is such that there is no one site that is going to be problem free. Check this out and it’s pretty self evident. There are so many hills and valleys in the area it’s clearly not going to be served well from any one site, at least from a market wide perspective. Everyone doesn’t live downtown.

    You can zoom and scroll on this USGS topographic and read the contour levels, but we’ve all driven through the market.

    http://www.zonu.com/images/0X0/2009-09-18-7798/Seattle-Topographic-Map-Sheet-United-States-1965.jpg

    #8764

    semoochie
    Participant

    That gets into a similar area which is why the major TV stations haven’t moved from Queen Anne Hill.

    #8800

    Chico
    Participant

    Thanks Andy, you said it better. It’s kind of an engineering nightmare, especially as the market population sprawls.

    Semoochie- Actually, Sinclair just moved their Univision TV transmitter (KUNS) from Tiger back over to Queen Anne to join KOMO. Fisher had inherited the site when they bought the station. I don’t know if it was to save rent or to move everything together OR if it was just to get a better signal out.

    Question to the group- as Portland grows outwards, will there be big reception holes for FMs in areas where they never worried before? Is this something broadcast groups your way are talking about?

    #8807

    W7PAT
    Participant

    I just got back from Cannon Beach and was able to receive an HD signal on the car radio from KPPT Depoe Bay at 100.7 FM.

    #8812

    mwdxer1
    Participant

    I am looking at getting the FM6 up this coming week, if the weather will cooperate. But here on the coast it does look wet a lot of the week. I have only a 65-70 foot run of coax. I was trying to decide on RG11 or RG6, but that short of a run, I may lose 1/3 of a DB, so not enough to worry about. I have the RG6 at the moment. I just want to keep the coax and matching transmitter losses at a minimum.
    From back in the 80s, I heard a lot of lp FM’s from all over the NW. Some in the 10 watt range from several colleges. Of course that is long before the dial filled up so much. I am surprised how many FM’s are now on the air in the NW. Everyone no longer runs 100KW as they used to. As was mentioned the move to Tiger Mt added height, so the power levels had to be dropped.

    #8813

    mwdxer1
    Participant

    Yes, I get both Depot Bay and Seattle here on 100.7. Lincoln County at 80-100 miles South has several FM’s that get out well. Even KOOS FM 107.3 North Bend I get from time to time depending on conditions.

    #8814

    mwdxer1
    Participant

    I used to get KUOW well here, but unfortunately 94.9 in now blocked by a Cannon Beach station, KBGE. 96.5 is also blocked. But the majority of the Seattle FM’s are heard here. It will be interesting to see how well KNHC 89.5 is heard. They used to be rare to hear. I think they used to run something like 320w with the tower at the school.

    #8816

    mwdxer1
    Participant

    Seattle always had that issue. SF does too, with all of the hills in the area. In a smaller way, Astoria OR has some of same issues. KUMN 91.9, Listener Supported runs 7 KW from Megler Mountain across in SW WA where several FM towers are. The North side and downtown gets a great signal. But on the South side, the hill is in the way, so the signal gets garbled with multipath, so they put in a lp translator running something like 60 watts ERP that covers the area.

    #8817

    mwdxer1
    Participant

    It is interesting you asked the question of reception holes in Portland. There are already some. Not all of the towers are in the West Hills giving a clear shot East, West, and South, so if a person lives in Hillsboro they can get 1edge or 2edge reception from stations on the East side.In the 70s, when I lived in Hillsboro, I got some of that. KUPL 98.5 (then), now 98.7, was on Mt. Scott and I got distortion in the audio. I have not checked in out, but since there are many more FMs in the Portland area now and not all are on located on the West Hills, I am sure there must be some issues. I should drive into Hillsboro this coming Summer, park and tune across the FM dial to hear what it sounds like there now. It would be an interesting test.

    #8818

    Chico
    Participant

    C-89 would be a tremendous get for you. They have gone from 10 watts on campus to 320 watts above campus to 30kw from Maple Ridge, a couple miles from the school, to now 8900 watts from Cougar.

    #8821

    jr_tech
    Participant

    The Portland FM scene has changed dramatically since the 70s. While there might be a few LP and translator stations scattered around the area, the Major FMs are concentrated in 3 major sites; Stonehenge, Sylvan and Skyline, all in the West Hills.
    Of course there are areas of poor reception close in to the west hills on either side and behind Mt Scott, Rocky Butte, Mt Tabor and other ridges. Much/all of Newberg and McMinnville are shadowed by the Chehalem Ridge.

    Take a tour of the West Hills sites:
    http://www.fybush.com/sites/2007/site-070309.html

    #8825

    semoochie
    Participant

    Most of the translators are even in the west hills. The only other site is Mt. Hood but its 60dbu barely hits Gresham. Expansion used to be more of a problem when stations were located on Mt. Scott.

    #8826

    mwdxer1
    Participant

    I should be able to hear KNHC 8500w from Cougar Mt. The 320w was a challenge back in the 80s. I never heard them with 10 watts though. The issue is there are so many lp translators peppered all over the educational band these days that block a lot of distant DX. But I think 89.5 is fairly clear. We do have a local with 250w on 89.7 12 miles away, but they aren’t a big deal. In checking FM Fool, at my location, it looks like KMUN 91.9 with 7KW is my strongest as -33.5dbm, followed by KCRX 102.3-25KW at 34dbm. Nothing like what I had in Portland back in the 70s with 100 KW locals nearby. signals like -13dbm, so my RF environment is 20 DB down.

    #8828

    mwdxer1
    Participant

    Thanks for the info. Then everything is in the West Hills or Sylvan. That would be right over me when I lived in NW Portland in the 70s. Getting OTA TV was not easy. I could get it, but even with a directional yagi, getting rid of the ghosts was a chore. Of course the FM, mostly had multipath issues. I wasn’t far them them, but a lot of their signals went right over my house. Getting Eskip on adjacents wasn’t hard, as the signals did not spill over much.

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