CP and STA Renewals

Discuss FCC rules, regulations, news, and information!
Post Reply
kcbooboo
Posts: 446
Joined: Sat Dec 10, 2011 4:53 pm
Location: East of the Mississippi

CP and STA Renewals

Post by kcbooboo » Sun Dec 18, 2011 5:44 am

Can a station renew a CP and/or STA indefinitely? For example, a directional AM station got a CP to replace its towers, did most of the work, but ran out of money and couldn't finish the job, so it's running non-directional at reduced power and keeps filing STAs. They're getting better coverage non-D than they would have running directional, although they aren't providing protection to the stations that would have been in the nulls. It's also cheaper than paying all the money to finish the array and go back to licensed operation. How long can this process continue? Is there some limit, or do the consulting firms have ways around the rules to maintain this situation until Microsoft eliminates AM radio?

Bob M.

User avatar
Deep Thought
Posts: 3167
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2008 9:23 am
Location: La Grange, IL
Contact:

Re: CP and STA Renewals

Post by Deep Thought » Sun Dec 18, 2011 12:04 pm

The CP expires in three years. In some very specific limited situations it is possible to get a short (30-45 day) extension if it is for a new station and the construction is "substantially complete". For minor changes you can pretty much forget about any extension since it is a simple matter of reapplying for the expired facility on the expiration date. The danger there is that any grandfathered interference rights are forfeited on the expiration date and the "new" CP application has to comply with the Rules in effect at the time of filing.

Regarding STAs, at some point Norm will require the station to put up or shut up. Where that point is depends a lot on interference complaints from other stations affected by the STA facility and whether the station is making any progress toward returning to its licensed facility.

Regarding "until Microsoft eliminates AM radio", want to elaborate on that a bit?
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

kcbooboo
Posts: 446
Joined: Sat Dec 10, 2011 4:53 pm
Location: East of the Mississippi

Re: CP and STA Renewals

Post by kcbooboo » Mon Dec 19, 2011 5:21 am

Well, Microsoft is taking over the communications systems in automobiles, they've got their own FM radios, they've got an RDS-like system using 57 kHz subcarriers on some FM transmitters. It's only a matter of time before they put AM radio out of business. I'm surprised they haven't come out with their own Windows version of an iPhone. It's very much not like them to let Apple and Google have a leading market share on anything. Anyway, I didn't mean to start any trouble.

I don't want to get into particulars but the station in mind went from three guyed towers to three grounded unipoles a couple hundred feet away, got one working, and basically has no intentions of going further. They like the increased coverage and lower operating costs. It was only when I was taking FCC 73.44 measurements on another station last week that I encountered the station-in-question when I tuned the 2nd harmonic and they were coming in strong enough to heterodyne with the desired station. Hence the question of how long they could stay in their present condition, because if they were running directional, I'd have been in a null area. It's not that they're protecting the station I was measuring, but others on the proper frequency in my direction.

If you want specifics I'd rather do it via PM.

Bob M.

User avatar
BroadcastDoc
Site Admin
Posts: 2725
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2007 3:34 pm
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Contact:

Re: CP and STA Renewals

Post by BroadcastDoc » Mon Dec 19, 2011 9:12 am

Actually the Microsoft FM SCA deal winds down on 12/31/11. They're exiting the business. Ironically, it wasn't developed for in-car data (though later in it's live they did do GPS traffic updates) rather it was for "smart devices" such as watches, weather stations and other small devices. They were a bit ahead of their time as cellular data came into its own a year or two after SPOT launched and pretty much made it immediately obsolete.

Microsoft stopped selling any "FM Direct SPOT" devices almost two years ago and is turning down and decommissioning the network effective 12:00AM 1/1/12.
Christopher "Doc" Tarr CSRE, DRB, AMD, CBNE
Help support the Virtual Engineer, use our 1&1 Affiliate link if you need good, cheap hosting.
Virtual Engineer. The Broadcast Engineering discussion forum

User avatar
Deep Thought
Posts: 3167
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2008 9:23 am
Location: La Grange, IL
Contact:

Re: CP and STA Renewals

Post by Deep Thought » Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:25 pm

kcbooboo wrote:I'm surprised they haven't come out with their own Windows version of an iPhone.
Seriously? Have you never heard of Windows Mobile in phones?

As for the station stuff, like I said eventually Norm Miller at the FCC (he's the guy who handles broadcast STAs) will start pressuring them to either build the CP, license the station ND at whatever lower power protects everyone or shut down rather than renew the STA.
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

User avatar
NECRAT
Site Admin
Posts: 2928
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2007 9:13 pm
Location: Taunton, MA
Contact:

Re: CP and STA Renewals

Post by NECRAT » Mon Dec 19, 2011 7:49 pm

kcbooboo wrote: I don't want to get into particulars but the station in mind went from three guyed towers to three grounded unipoles a couple hundred feet away, got one working, and basically has no intentions of going further. They like the increased coverage and lower operating costs. It was only when I was taking FCC 73.44 measurements on another station last week that I encountered the station-in-question when I tuned the 2nd harmonic and they were coming in strong enough to heterodyne with the desired station. Hence the question of how long they could stay in their present condition, because if they were running directional, I'd have been in a null area. It's not that they're protecting the station I was measuring, but others on the proper frequency in my direction.

If you want specifics I'd rather do it via PM.

Bob M.
Does this station have a CP for the change as well? If it is the one I am thinking of, they have no STA on file with the FCC.
http://www.necrat.us

"Arguing with an engineer is like mud wrestling with a pig. After a couple of hours, you realize the pig likes it"

kcbooboo
Posts: 446
Joined: Sat Dec 10, 2011 4:53 pm
Location: East of the Mississippi

Re: CP and STA Renewals

Post by kcbooboo » Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:09 am

I don't know which one you're thinking of. These aren't the 'droids you're looking for. I'm just assuming that they've gotten STAs as the CP has to be 3 years old by now. Considering all the work that WAS performed, I can only hope they acquired a CP to do it with, however it wouldn't be the first time a station has done a midnight move. However someone had to have noticed all the ground work, building construction, and three new towers that got erected. That took some time to do. Still, they've been on the air at 1/4 power non-D for an awful long time. If no one really cares, then why didn't they just try it with the original towers and just go with that configuration when they moved 300 ft. It seems that a lot of directional stations could run lower power non-D and a lot of people would be happier. Just my $0.02 worth.

Bob M.

User avatar
BroadcastDoc
Site Admin
Posts: 2725
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2007 3:34 pm
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Contact:

Re: CP and STA Renewals

Post by BroadcastDoc » Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:40 am

There was some discussion a while back (not here, I believe) about that sort of becoming a trend. I know of a station or two that are considering dropping power and going non-D simply because the transmitter location is good enough to cover their trade area with relatively low power and it would eliminate the expense and hassle of maintaining a directional array.

I think it makes sense under some circumstances.
Christopher "Doc" Tarr CSRE, DRB, AMD, CBNE
Help support the Virtual Engineer, use our 1&1 Affiliate link if you need good, cheap hosting.
Virtual Engineer. The Broadcast Engineering discussion forum

User avatar
Deep Thought
Posts: 3167
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2008 9:23 am
Location: La Grange, IL
Contact:

Re: CP and STA Renewals

Post by Deep Thought » Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:02 am

A lot of owners got kilowatt-itis in the 80's and constructed big arrays just to get to big powers of 10 KW and higher when the FCC eliminated the 5 KW regional channel cap. Then they discovered that all those nulls attracted housing developments and car dealers like porchlights attract moths. One particular instance I know of out west went from 500 watts ND to 25 KW and a 5 tower DA, which reduced coverage on land and created eight nulls spaced over the previously serviceable ND coverage area, making the station the worst in the market. A new owner fixed the problem by reducing power and letting out the nulls.

I get a couple calls every year asking how to deal with situations like this. Some are indeed better off ND at low power (1 KW or less) and if there is an FM translator available that is usually enough since night service is maintained. The band would be better off getting these poorly maintained DAs off the air anyway.
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

Post Reply