Does the FCC even look at the STA apps?

Discuss FCC rules, regulations, news, and information!
Post Reply
Scott.Cason
Posts: 134
Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2009 6:54 pm
Location: LaGrange Kentucky
Contact:

Does the FCC even look at the STA apps?

Post by Scott.Cason » Wed Mar 30, 2016 6:23 am

About 4 years ago, I went down to try and help a small AM station in Alabama. it was a total cluster, but was able to get them back up and going. Two months later they file for a silent STA because of a "catastropic" failure on the Harris SX1. While I was there I installed a BE AM1A. Every three months since they've filed for a silent STA. Various excuses being "parts are on order", "new transmitter is ordered", "damaged antenna", etc.

So my question is, is there nobody at the FCC reading these things and saying "wait a minute, if they are having all these problems perhaps we should investigate". Or are they just rubber stamping the apps and keep going?

I remember about six years ago having a failure of an Austin Ring and the FAA giving me 4 levels of hell because the tower was dark six months. Does the FCC just not care anymore?
LaGrange Communications - http://www.lagrange-com.com
Froggy 95.9 - http://froggy959.net/

User avatar
Deep Thought
Posts: 3208
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2008 9:23 am
Location: La Grange, IL
Contact:

Re: Does the FCC even look at the STA apps?

Post by Deep Thought » Wed Mar 30, 2016 7:40 am

The FAA is a little more cranky about it because: aircraft. A radio station being off the air isn't quite the safety hazard.

The FCC does read STAs and at some point does put a boot to the licensee's butt to fix whatever is wrong, but in your example they have little leeway in the process. If the station is continuously off the air for more than a year its licensed is void as a matter of law (Communications Act). Some have gamed that by "signing on" for an hour or a day but lately they've cracked down on that too.
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

JFM
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2015 4:53 pm

Re: Does the FCC even look at the STA apps?

Post by JFM » Thu Aug 04, 2016 6:15 am

I had an STA a few years ago where the tower height didn't match what the application said and they flagged the application until it was corrected. So I guess they do look at them every so often.

User avatar
kkiddkkidd
Posts: 550
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 11:13 am
Location: Lawrenceburg, TN

Re: Does the FCC even look at the STA apps?

Post by kkiddkkidd » Thu Aug 04, 2016 7:25 pm

Since Norm Miller retired I'm not sure that there is anybody left in that dept that knows what is going on.

I have worked on a couple of sites that, after years of renewal apps, received an on air STA with the dreaded words "no further extensions are anticipated".

The most memorable was in Memphis and had reportedly been on STA's for 6 or 7 years and had received the "no further...". I was contacted to get it back in compliance but only had a couple of weeks to do so. I called Norm Miller at the FCC and he said that he had issued that directive but that if _I_ would file for an STA and make a full report on progress with the requests that he would issue short term STA's as needed. I did, he did and after a couple of months we had it pointed the right way and canceled the last STA.

This was a classic example of an engineer cranking on knobs when the array was OK but the sample system was broke. He didn't notice that the historically finicky, narrow band array was showing major changes in the monitor readings but the TX, common point and MPs were perfectly normal.
--
Kevin C. Kidd CSRE/AMD
WD4RAT
AM Ground Systems Company
http://www.amgroundsystems.com
KK Broadcast Engineering
http://www.kkbc.com

ChuckG
Posts: 926
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Moo
Contact:

Re: Does the FCC even look at the STA apps?

Post by ChuckG » Thu Aug 04, 2016 8:46 pm

kkiddkkidd wrote: This was a classic example of an engineer cranking on knobs when the array was OK but the sample system was broke. He didn't notice that the historically finicky, narrow band array was showing major changes in the monitor readings but the TX, common point and MPs were perfectly normal.
Gaaaaa..... I had that same bit of fun. Just got settled in a new job and that "no extensions" letter arrived.
Station had been on STA for directional out of tolerance for a couple years, previous engineers were largely chasing a bad sample system around. Non-approved system using Andrew sample transformers, installed in the 1940's. Basically they are a one-turn primary inserted in the Tuning unit output lead and a pickup coil mounted in a metal box. You could change the antenna monitor readings by moving any part of it.
I put in Delta TCT's and patched up the damaged portions of the sample lines, then tuned and partial proof from there.
The FCC sure did look at STA's back then. I haven't had to file one recently, so who knows now.
<><><><><><><><><>
Chuck Gennaro
Central Wisconsin

User avatar
Deep Thought
Posts: 3208
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2008 9:23 am
Location: La Grange, IL
Contact:

Re: Does the FCC even look at the STA apps?

Post by Deep Thought » Thu Aug 04, 2016 11:38 pm

Jerry Manarchuck is the one who does most of the STAs these days and he definitely knows what is up, but as noted earlier they do not have a whole lot of options if the station appears to be following procedure.
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

User avatar
Deep Thought
Posts: 3208
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2008 9:23 am
Location: La Grange, IL
Contact:

Re: Does the FCC even look at the STA apps?

Post by Deep Thought » Thu Aug 04, 2016 11:44 pm

ChuckG wrote:previous engineers were largely chasing a bad sample system around.
Funny coincidence...I'm currently on a troubleshooting/repair trip to fix a three tower array which was in the following condition when I walked in the door on Tuesday:
* Tower 2 sample not working properly
* Tower 2 pattern mode tally lights not working at all
* Tower 2 night mode contactor coil burned to the consistency of a briquette
Six of eight roller coils in phasor seized up so bad they were impossible to tune.

So far I've managed to resolve all of these (today's project was removing all the variable coils from the phasor and rebuilding/rehabbing them, and then reinstalling). Tomorrow I start tuning this thing from scratch now that everything is operational again.

Fun times.
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

Post Reply