Translator ID Options

FM does it with frequency!
Post Reply
Ryan Williams
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:50 am

Translator ID Options

Post by Ryan Williams » Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:52 pm

Most translators seem to ID aurally with the callsign at the top of the hour along with the primary station. If you have more than one am/fm callsign or one translator callsign it starts to become kind of ridiculous. You end up with fast-talker VO and it sounds like just a bunch of random characters and city names back to back. I haven't conducted a listener survey about it, but I think it is probably a turn-off.

The other options is FSK or Frequency Shifting Key. I'm using it currently on one translator facility where an aural ID is not possible. I'm thinking about using it on a second translator where I am currently IDing it at the top of the hour.

Are there any downsides to using FSK that I should consider? If there is not, I'm curious why every translator would not use it by default.

User avatar
Deep Thought
Posts: 3190
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2008 9:23 am
Location: La Grange, IL
Contact:

Re: Translator ID Options

Post by Deep Thought » Wed Jan 04, 2017 4:43 pm

Not all transmitters used for translators have the facility to do FSK IDs. There is also no way to verify that it is indeed happening unless you have the rather specialized equipment necessary to demodulate it, not that lack of station IDs has ever been a huge FCC concern. :roll: You can also do it with 30% AM modulation but I haven't seen that in any current production translators.

You are only required to aurally ID the translator with its callsign three times per day, which means you could stagger several across multiple hourly IDs.

Not sure how you are feeding a translator that can't be aurally ID'd. Sounds a bit counter-intuitive.
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

ncradioeng
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2015 3:58 pm

Re: Translator ID Options

Post by ncradioeng » Thu Jan 05, 2017 8:28 am

There are specific time windows in the translator ID rules for the three aural IDs.

User avatar
Slab Bulkhead
Posts: 104
Joined: Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:34 pm

Re: Translator ID Options

Post by Slab Bulkhead » Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:40 pm

ncradioeng wrote:There are specific time windows in the translator ID rules for the three aural IDs.
I think (but am not completely certain) that they are 7:00-9:00 AM, 12:55-1:05 PM, and 4:00-6:00 PM.

User avatar
Deep Thought
Posts: 3190
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2008 9:23 am
Location: La Grange, IL
Contact:

Re: Translator ID Options

Post by Deep Thought » Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:51 pm

Here's the pertinent rule section if anyone cares.
§74.1283 Station identification.

(a) The call sign of an FM broadcast translator station will consist of the initial letter K or W followed by the channel number assigned to the translator and two letters. The use of the initial letter will generally conform to the pattern used in the broadcast service. The two letter combinations following the channel number will be assigned in order and requests for the assignment of particular combinations of letters will not be considered.

(b) The call sign of an FM booster station will consist of the call sign of the primary station followed by the letters “FM” and the number of the booster station being authorized, e.g., WFCCFM-1.

(c) A translator station authorized under this subpart shall be identified by one of the following methods.

(1) By arranging for the primary station whose station is being rebroadcast to identify the translator station by call sign and location. Three such identifications shall be made during each day: once between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., once between 12:55 p.m. and 1:05 p.m. and once between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Stations which do not begin their broadcast before 9 a.m. shall make their first identification at the beginning of their broadcast days. The licensee of an FM translator whose station identification is made by the primary station must arrange for the primary station licensee to keep in its file, and to make available to FCC personnel, the translator's call letters and location, giving the name, address and telephone number of the licensee or his service representative to be contacted in the event of malfunction of the translator. It shall be the responsibility of the translator licensee to furnish current information to the primary station licensee for this purpose.

(2) By transmitting the call sign in International Morse Code at least once each hour. Transmitters of FM broadcast translator stations of more than 1 watt transmitter output power must be equipped with an automatic keying device that will transmit the call sign at least once each hour, unless there is in effect a firm agreement with the translator's primary station as provided in §74.1283(c)(1) of this section. Transmission of the call sign can be accomplished by:

(i) Frequency shifting key; the carrier shift shall not be less than 5 kHz nor greater than 25 kHz.

(ii) Amplitude modulation of the FM carrier of at least 30 percent modulation. The audio frequency tone use shall not be within 200 hertz of the Emergency Broadcast System Attention signal alerting frequencies.

(d) FM broadcast booster stations shall be identified by their primary stations, by the broadcasting of the primary station's call signs and location, in accordance with the provisions of §73.1201 of this chapter.

(e) The Commission may, in its discretion, specify other methods of identification.

[55 FR 50699, Dec. 10, 1990]
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

RodeoJack
Posts: 125
Joined: Fri May 29, 2015 12:54 pm
Location: Port Orchard, WA
Contact:

Re: Translator ID Options

Post by RodeoJack » Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:08 pm

A couple of years back, I had a client receive a NOV over this issue. The inspector alleged the client translator was not doing any IDs. because he could not hear them. The client's attorney sent back a reply, referencing the rule that included FSK identification, pointed out the client uses it and that took care of the issue.

Later on, I asked the techs at Crown how one would go about listening for FSK in the field. The only idea they had was to use an analog radio and offset the frequency enough that you could hear the FSK occur. Seems crude, but that's the best they had. They didn't know what the FCC uses to monitor for FSK.

FSK IDing shouldn't be a big problem though most commercial exciters and some older translators may not have the function. If you have a Crown transmitter, it has the facility for an FSK chip. Crown has to burn the chip (unless you have the equipment), but they only charge about $40 for it. You plug in the chip, reposition a jumper and you're done.

Some transmitters have a pinout for FSK, which you can build a circuit around (I've seen one of the religious chains use an outboard gizmo).

In the case of BW Broadcast, their V2 transmitters have built-in automatic FSK available as a front-panel or online option.

If you choose to use FSK, you're problem is easily addressed and done. If not, then the audible (voice or code) options are all you have left... and unless you can isolate individual transmitters for singular announcements, you'll probably be rattling all of them off 3 times a day.

See 47 CFR Section 74.1283 (as listed above by DT)

User avatar
Deep Thought
Posts: 3190
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2008 9:23 am
Location: La Grange, IL
Contact:

Re: Translator ID Options

Post by Deep Thought » Thu Jan 05, 2017 2:37 pm

The Nautel VS series has FSK capability built-in, too. Programmable from the front panel.
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

Ryan Williams
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:50 am

Re: Translator ID Options

Post by Ryan Williams » Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:30 pm

ncradioeng wrote:There are specific time windows in the translator ID rules for the three aural IDs.
That's right. In practice it seems, that most everyone who aurally IDs their translators does so at the top of the hour, every hour with the HD ID or the AM they are rebroadcasting. I have heard some non-com networks who utilize the three windows, but I think for the majority, it is simpler to have just one ToH ID rather than trying to omit on a hour by hour basis and keep it all straight.

Ryan Williams
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:50 am

Re: Translator ID Options

Post by Ryan Williams » Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:33 pm

Deep Thought wrote:The Nautel VS series has FSK capability built-in, too. Programmable from the front panel.
VS1 is what I am using at both sites. And it is a very simple setup to enable FSK.

Ryan Williams
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:50 am

Re: Translator ID Options

Post by Ryan Williams » Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:42 pm

I appreciate all of the responses and careful considerations shared. Before preceding any further, I wanted to make sure there wasn't any unintended side-effects that I was missing.

In summary, it seems to me that if you have the capability, FSK is a good choice for IDing a translator, assuming the equipment is working properly and you don't have anyone looking for an aural ID and thus falsely making claims of non-compliance.

User avatar
Shane
Posts: 753
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2008 12:08 am
Location: Omaha
Contact:

Re: Translator ID Options

Post by Shane » Fri Jan 06, 2017 11:16 pm

I think the FSK option is the way to go. However, for some reason we don't on our two present translators and do a special ID for them at 8,1,&5. So far so good.

I find this phrase from the rule book amusing:
Frequency shifting key
so methinks a legal assistant wrote that one and it got by the proofreaders, if any. It's supposed to be Frequency Shift Keying. They ing'd they wrong word. :roll:
Mike Shane, CBRE
---Omaha---

Post Reply