FCC Applications ...

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MaxGrody
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FCC Applications ...

Post by MaxGrody » Wed Jul 04, 2018 5:48 am

Hello. I am curious how to find a broadcast engineer to help put together an application for FM allotment/construction permit. Are there people that specifically do such work? Is it best to find someone local, or distant? Can anyone provide links to lists, if they exist, of engineers that can handle the process? Thank you for your help.

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Dale H. Cook
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Re: FCC Applications ...

Post by Dale H. Cook » Wed Jul 04, 2018 6:38 am

Are you are applying for an already allocated frequency, or are you hoping to get a frequency allocated in your area? In either case you need a consulting engineer. He has the experience, qualifications (almost always a PE), and tools (expensive and specialized software) to do those things. You also need him to do a certain amount of design of the proposed facility, such as showing that the station applied for meets all of the rules and regs, including protection of other stations on the same or nearby frequencies and providing sufficient coverage in the city of license.

Can you give us better detail about what you are trying to do? Where you are is also helpful as that may influence who we suggest. From your initial question it sounds like you may have little experience in the field. If you can early on obtain the services of an experienced local field engineer (that characterizes most of us, i.e., the guys who can perform or oversee the physical build) that can help you avoid pitfalls.
Dale H. Cook, Contract Engineer, Roanoke/Lynchburg, VA
http://plymouthcolony.net/starcityeng/index.html

MaxGrody
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Re: FCC Applications ...

Post by MaxGrody » Wed Jul 04, 2018 7:08 am

Dale H. Cook wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 6:38 am
Are you are applying for an already allocated frequency, or are you hoping to get a frequency allocated in your area?
Thanks for the reply! This would be an application to get a frequency allotted, since auctions tend to arrive every few years and seems like there might be one coming up in the next couple years.
Does the FCC ever have windows for application without allotment?
Dale H. Cook wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 6:38 am
You also need him to do a certain amount of design of the proposed facility, such as showing that the station applied for meets all of the rules and regs, including protection of other stations on the same or nearby frequencies and providing sufficient coverage in the city of license.
Yes, I have read and looked over the FCC rules and done various studies of the area in which the station is proposed. The general rules and regulations are posted around the internet via FCC and Cornell Law, etc. I've familiarized myself with much of them.
Dale H. Cook wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 6:38 am
Can you give us better detail about what you are trying to do? Where you are is also helpful as that may influence who we suggest.
The plan is for a local C3 (25kw) FM commercial station in the plains of ND. VERY flat land in rural area.
I've used Longly-Rice to figure out general reach, used FCC tools to find the open frequency, size of station that could be built, distance to other transmitter towers of neighboring/co-frequencies, etc. I've even priced up FCC-approved transmitters and antennas, etc., tower build, and so forth.

Basically, I'm a fairly noob to FM broadcast (was a TV repairman and electrician earlier in life) and FCC procedures. I've covered basics, researched, and put together a basic proposal for the station and investors, but need to put together the path to get allotment and hopefully a winning bid to allow construction.
Dale H. Cook wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 6:38 am
From your initial question it sounds like you may have little experience in the field. If you can early on obtain the services of an experienced local field engineer (that characterizes most of us, i.e., the guys who can perform or oversee the physical build) that can help you avoid pitfalls.
Yes, I have NO experience in the field of radio broadcast. I'm a low-level entrepreneur with a business plan, when summed up. My knowledge is from a year of studying online documents and reading.

I would hope to get the station tower equipped with a large array of circular antennas (12 Jampro) to up the gain by 10+ dBi and blanket a good area of the rural plains (within FCC boundaries, naturally). The ERP of 25kW should be obtainable with under 4000W of transmitter power (and extra for loss in the lines). Since there are relatively few people out here, it would be an automated station on a "shoestring" budget to allow advertising revenue to float the meagerly staffed business.

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kkiddkkidd
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Re: FCC Applications ...

Post by kkiddkkidd » Wed Jul 04, 2018 7:49 am

MaxGrody wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 5:48 am
Hello. I am curious how to find a broadcast engineer to help put together an application for FM allotment/construction permit. Are there people that specifically do such work? Is it best to find someone local, or distant? Can anyone provide links to lists, if they exist, of engineers that can handle the process? Thank you for your help.
Max,

A semi-local consulting engineer is nice but not at all necessary. A local field engineer is almost a necessity.

There may be consulting engineers on this list that can assist you.

Here is a list of links to some consulting engineers that I have worked with on AM projects.

http://www.amgroundsystems.com/links_2013.html

This list hasn't been updated in several years and has a few entries that I know have retired. Sellmeyer Engineering (and maybe Evans) is the most notable retirees. A few of them specialize in AM design or doesn't do FM/FCC consulting.

Otherwise, you can't go wrong with Rackley, Cavell, Hatfield, or Keener.

Not listed here is Turbo Technical Services since he doesn't do much (if any) AM work. He knows a lot about FCC FM precedents and previous FCC faux pas that have allowed FM clients to get authorizations that might not have been possible without calling out said precedents or faux pas...

http://t-t-s.us/

There are numerous others. https://afcce.org/membership-listing/ has an extensive list of active FCC consulting engineers. Many of these are not involved in broadcast radio consulting (or at least I have never heard of them)... I suppose that it was for privacy reasons but the afcce has removed most of the useful info (ie, what brand of consulting do they do) about each member from the public listing.

Regards,
--
Kevin C. Kidd CSRE/AMD
WD4RAT
AM Ground Systems Company
http://www.amgroundsystems.com
KK Broadcast Engineering
http://www.kkbc.com

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Shane
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Re: FCC Applications ...

Post by Shane » Wed Jul 04, 2018 8:22 am

Mike Shane, CBRE
---Omaha---

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kkiddkkidd
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Re: FCC Applications ...

Post by kkiddkkidd » Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:00 am

Shane wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 8:22 am
Don’t forget THIS guy:

http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com/
Him too...
--
Kevin C. Kidd CSRE/AMD
WD4RAT
AM Ground Systems Company
http://www.amgroundsystems.com
KK Broadcast Engineering
http://www.kkbc.com

TPT
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Re: FCC Applications ...

Post by TPT » Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:03 am

You could spend several hundred dollars only to find that there is no channel available in your location. Even if there is a channel, and you spend the money to get it assigned--it may be years before the Commission opens another window. Then you may find you are competing with other applicants for the channel you spent $$ to get assigned.

If you want to see if a channel will fit in the location you want to use, here's a do-it-yourself guide. I know my area well enough to quickly find possible openings (not that are any, but I'm in the east)--RADIO-lOCATOR.COM has a little program that spits out "open" channels for a given area--mostly good for something like a little modulator to listen to your XM portable radio. https://recnet.com/pro has some interesting tools as well.

1st Step: eCFR ECFR.GOV

2nd Pull up Title 47, Section 73.207. All allotments in the commercial (non-reserved) band are done under the minimum mileage separation concept.
Get a basic familiarity with the table. Your proposed site needs to meet the required minimum separations towards all the stations on the same frequency, as well as first, second and third adjacent channels.

3rd. Step. Google Earth, to get coordinates for your proposed transmitter site.

4th Step: Go HERE: https://www.fcc.gov/media/radio/preliminary-fm-study --and enter the frequency you think will work. Having done this a number of times, easy way is to take a legal pad and make a list of the closest stations (ignore translators and low powers) then compare with Sec. 73.207 to find the problem stations.

Another fun program to work with is https://www.freemaptools.com/radius-around-point.htm --paired with Google Earth. Say there is a Class A to the east, a Class C0 to the north, and a full C to the west of your site on the same channel. Min. Co-channel separations of 142, 225 and 237 KM. You can use this program to create a 142 KM circle on Google Earth for the A, 226KM for the C0, & 237Km for the C and plot them on Google Earth--Is there an open area for your possible C3?

Of course, after you go through all that, it is helpful if there is actually a town near by. Which probably is already covered with several stations.

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Deep Thought
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Re: FCC Applications ...

Post by Deep Thought » Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:08 am

Send me the proposed location and I'll check to see if it is worth pursuing. Special VE price: $0.

You'll need to go through the Petition for Rulemaking stage which isn't terribly difficult but does require a specific format. You'll also have to file a full FCC form 301-FM at the time of the the petition filing, which means you are all-in at that point. There is a rather stiff filing fee for both the petition and 301, but you don't have to pay the latter until the filing window closes and the FCC names you as a "singleton", at which time you re-file your earlier 301. If you draw competitors then it'll go to auction.

Be aware that this process could easily take three to four years.
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

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Deep Thought
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Re: FCC Applications ...

Post by Deep Thought » Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:09 am

Shane wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 8:22 am
Don’t forget THIS guy:

http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com/
:mrgreen:

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

MaxGrody
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Re: FCC Applications ...

Post by MaxGrody » Wed Jul 04, 2018 4:57 pm

Thanks for those links, everyone! The help is helpful indeed. I wasn't sure where to go with this next direction, and now I have a load of leads!

Anyone know distances from D-class AM translators? They keep popping up all over and that could possibly be a problem. I have one 600kHz away on the dial and maybe 12 miles down the road. I can never find specific distances.
TPT wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:03 am
You could spend several hundred dollars only to find that there is no channel available in your location.

If you want to see if a channel will fit in the location you want to use, here's a do-it-yourself guide. ...

Of course, after you go through all that, it is helpful if there is actually a town near by. Which probably is already covered with several stations.
Thanks for that! I actually did all of that and more. The channel is open and beyond the required distance from 4 neighboring antennas in all directions.

The only real hurdle, the FCC Commercial Allotment Finder claims, is the great white north where there is a co-channel C3-type station 220 miles away.

There is a town nearby with one station, not too many. Most of the stations in the plains tend to have their towers out in "nowhere" near the cities/towns they service.
Deep Thought wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:08 am
Send me the proposed location and I'll check to see if it is worth pursuing. Special VE price: $0.

You'll need to go through the Petition for Rulemaking stage which isn't terribly difficult but does require a specific format. You'll also have to file a full FCC form 301-FM at the time of the the petition filing, which means you are all-in at that point. There is a rather stiff filing fee for both the petition and 301, but you don't have to pay the latter until the filing window closes and the FCC names you as a "singleton", at which time you re-file your earlier 301. If you draw competitors then it'll go to auction.

Be aware that this process could easily take three to four years.
Hey Mark! You are just the guy I need, but I want to first get together all the specific info and line up my possible financial ducks in a row, then contact you and see what can be done.

I saw the petition and the construction permits (printed out and around me somewhere), and if I remember right they have approximately $7000+ of fees. Yes--a good deal of money! Before I take the step to those, I want to know I can make the full hurdle to the end of the project. Of course, the auctions I researched have variable bids and outcomes. Many station allotments get no bids and end with $1500-$4000, others go up to $1,000,000+, but I'd assume those high bid stations are near major populations and economic zones, etc. I have no idea where this might fall, but I am certain it wouldn't fall in the high ranges (the 60dbu curve reaches circa 35,000 non-vacationing people by my calculations).

Is there any sign of a filing window coming along soon? Can one be expected within a year or two?

TPT
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Re: FCC Applications ...

Post by TPT » Thu Jul 05, 2018 5:36 am

Translators not protected against a new application--they are secondary stations.

There must be an area near your proposed city of license where a tower could be put up that meets the minimum distance separations in all directions AND would provide 70 dbu coverage to the city of license. However, once these requirements are met the actual transmitter site can be closer to town using the terms of Section 73.215. This section allows short-spacing in one direction by using a directional antenna or by reducing power so that there is no contour overlap with the problem station.

Understand that if a spot can't be found that meets all of the minimum distance requirements the allocation won't work.

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