Translator Question...

FM does it with frequency!
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knoxbob
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Translator Question...

Post by knoxbob » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:33 pm

I know an AM station owner that has an translator with the station but due to flooding the AM will be off the air until repairs are made. Possibly a month or so, Can the FM translator still operate without the AM broadcasting ?

Lee_Wheeler
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Re: Translator Question...

Post by Lee_Wheeler » Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:04 pm

If this is a recent grant I would say no.

All of the CP's that have been granted out of the latest round of windows have carried a restriction that, nighttime operation for a daytimer notwithstanding, they may not operate absent the AM signal. If the AM signal is diminished the FM signal must be reduced so as to be contained within the 2 mV/m contour of the underlying AM station. The latter part of the restriction is clouded by the amendment to 74.1201(g) that also specifies a 25 mile radius but I think the intent is that the FM 60 dBu not exceed the 2 m/V.

If your underlying translator is not a recent grant and does not have that restriction it would be worth a try to apply for a short STA to operate the translator while the AM is being repaired. If I were to file such a STA I would be very thorough with the action plan for the AM.

Clearly what the Commission is trying to avoid is the AM that just quits operating or only operates for a few hours a year to avoid the surrender of the license and only uses the FM.

Here is a copy of the relevant text from a recent CP.

Pursuant to Revitalization of the AM Radio Service, Notice of Proposed
Rule Making, 28 FCC Rcd 15221, 15227, para. 14 (2013), and First Report
and Order, 30 FCC Rcd 12145, 12154, para. 17 and n. 43 (2015), the
permittee and any successor in interest (licensee, transferee, or
assignee) shall be subject to the following restrictions: (1) this
facility may only, in perpetuity, be used to rebroadcast the authorized
facilities of the AM primary station set forth in this construction
permit, except that it may also originate nighttime programming if the
AM primary station set forth in this construction permit is not
authorized regular nighttime service, and then only during periods of
the broadcast day when the primary AM station is not regularly
authorized to operate; (2) if the AM primary station is operating with
reduced facilities, this cross-service FM translator facility may only
operate if its coverage contour conforms to the limits set forth in 47
CFR Section 74.1201(g) as applied to the reduced facilities of the AM
primary station; (3) the authorization for this facility may not be
assigned or transferred except in conjunction with the primary AM
station set forth in this construction permit; and (4) if the
authorization of the AM primary station set forth in this construction
permit is rescinded, revoked, surrendered, subject to special temporary
authorization (STA) to remain silent, or is otherwise suspended from
operation, the authorization of this cross-service FM translator
station shall likewise be rescinded, revoked, surrendered, silent for
the duration of the AM primary station’s STA to remain silent, or
suspended from operation. Minor modifications of this authorization
are permitted, provided that the translator meets all of the preceding
conditions. Grant of this authorization is conditioned on the common
ownership, in perpetuity, of this facility and the specified AM primary
station. Any violation of this condition shall result in the
rescission of the grant of this authorization and the dismissal, with
prejudice, of the associated application and, if applicable,



...Lee
Last edited by Lee_Wheeler on Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Deep Thought
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Re: Translator Question...

Post by Deep Thought » Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:28 pm

The translator has to go off if the AM is off for more than a few days. However, there is already one operator trying to get an STA to cheat on this rule so we'll see what happens.

I suspect the answer will be 'no'.
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

TPT
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Re: Translator Question...

Post by TPT » Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:15 am

An alternative plan would be to find a low power transmitter (I assume the transmitter got flooded) & feed it into a long wire under an STA.
Since the station is then on the air, the translator could continue to operate.

Lee_Wheeler
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Location: Kansas City

Re: Translator Question...

Post by Lee_Wheeler » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:02 pm

TPT wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:15 am
An alternative plan would be to find a low power transmitter (I assume the transmitter got flooded) & feed it into a long wire under an STA.
Since the station is then on the air, the translator could continue to operate.
Maybe,

The conductivity in Tennessee is so awful that it may take a bunch of transmitter power to get the 2 mV/m out to the translator 60 dBu.

...Lee

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kkiddkkidd
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Re: Translator Question...

Post by kkiddkkidd » Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:26 pm

Lee_Wheeler wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:02 pm
The conductivity in Tennessee is so awful that it may take a bunch of transmitter power to get the 2 mV/m out to the translator 60 dBu.
And especially East TN. Localized .5 conductivities are not uncommon.
--
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AM Ground Systems Company
http://www.amgroundsystems.com
KK Broadcast Engineering
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RodeoJack
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Re: Translator Question...

Post by RodeoJack » Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:14 pm

This may have already been covered, but I'm still trying to figure out if the restrictions the FCC placed on these new translators were outdated before they were released.

Even with "reduced facilities", wouldn't the 25-mile part of the "greater than" rule still apply to the translator's contour?

Seems odd that you could license well beyond the 2mV limit of some stations, yet have to pull back to a recalculated version of it if the station had a problem of some kind.


That said, I know of a 5kW station that had its older transmitter fail (or got too expensive to fix, or the owner wouldn't pay for someone who understood it, or...). After an extended off-air STA, the station came back with a re-frequed 1kW rig. A year later, the old transmitter's in the corner, the "new" smaller box is running the 5kW day power at something like 300 watts (due to recurring DA problems, I suspect) and there's no authorization for "reduced facilities". Guess I could see some kind of restriction on a station like that, but I have my doubts about whether the FCC would care enough to call them on it. Power levels aside, the station doesn't appear to be interfering with anyone.

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kkiddkkidd
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Re: Translator Question...

Post by kkiddkkidd » Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:44 pm

I am going to go out on a limb and say that IF, IF your main 5kw AM tx pukes up a FET ball and it takes a week to return it to full power, the FCC nor anyone else is going to care if you leave your xlator running WFO while the main AM tx limps along at 500w.

However,

IF you decide to save on the repair or electric bill and let it run at 500w for a year... Not so much.

Proving the difference will be the issue...

Then again, if your 5kw AM tx proves to be a POS and can't be returned to full power by the heroic efforts of an all-star engineering team in a reasonable (1 week?) amount of time... The xlator must be turned down to match the AM coverage.
--
Kevin C. Kidd CSRE/AMD
WD4RAT
AM Ground Systems Company
http://www.amgroundsystems.com
KK Broadcast Engineering
http://www.kkbc.com

oldradioguy
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Re: Translator Question...

Post by oldradioguy » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:03 am

An AM station here in East Tennessee got knocked off the air by tornado damage and was granted an STA to keep the translator on originating programming until the AM was repaired. They concurrently filed for an STA for the AM (which I think would be important). And they got back on in a couple of weeks.

I would suspect it might need to be an act of God rather than lack of preventive maintenance or old equipment to get such an STA. In this case they referenced a number of cell towers down, infrastructure damage etc to indicate the severity. They also mentioned that they were "virtually the only remaining source" of emergency info, which I'm sure pleased the other owner in town whose three stations never left the air.

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Deep Thought
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Re: Translator Question...

Post by Deep Thought » Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:30 am

I have at least one client with daytime 2 mV/m contours well past 25 miles, so unless the FX 60 dBu is outside the 25 mile circle then it is unlikely to run into problems if the AM has to run at reduced power *temporarily*. You'll start getting the regulatory side-eye once this goes on for a year without any progress toward getting back to licensed power.

These days it is entirely possible to take that 50 KW monster down to 250 watts and relicense it as such as long as your 5 mV/m contour covers at least 80% of the CoL while you pin the future of your business on a secondary service that may go away at any time.

Business school grads would call that "eating your seed corn", but hey, a whole lot of these newborn part 74 stations don't bother to mention the AM on air anymore anyway so who cares, right?
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

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Deep Thought
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Re: Translator Question...

Post by Deep Thought » Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:31 am

oldradioguy wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:03 am
which I'm sure pleased the other owner in town whose three stations never left the air.
I guess it pleased him enough to not file a complaint.
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

knoxbob
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Location: East Tennessee

Re: Translator Question...

Post by knoxbob » Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:45 pm

Thanks for all your input as usual. The station is in S.E. Ky. A lot of flooding up there. But I'm sure the ground conductivity is probably just as bad.

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