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JY

JY

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#285883 22-May-2021 19:42
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Looks as if I don’t have enough post for the Start Up sub forum so I’m posting here.

 

I have been part of a small team running a couple of non-commercial LPFM (low power FM) stations in Porirua and Kapiti for a few years now.  After a lot of work the coverage is now very good, Johnsonville to Pukera Bay and Paraparaumu through to Te Horo.  We’re blessed with excellent high sites that deliver surprising coverage helped by good antennas, keeping to a mono service, and using professional audio processing.  We passed a full on RSM audit first time.

 

Most recently we concluded an agreement with the BBC to rebroadcast the BBC World Service and that required an upgrade to both stations with a new server, RDS encoder, etc.  Details are available on our website:

 

http://arec.fm

 

So if you live in the Kapiti and Mana areas or travel through to Wellington via SH1 then tune in for a slice of serious news and current events.

 

Low Power FM is a real challenge these days with the general RF noise pollution from energy efficient light bulbs, television sets, xDSL leakage, inverter heat pumps, etc, degrading reception over the last decade or so.  Mobile receivers also have much reduced performance with in-glass antennas, shark fins, and other concealed antennas really hampering good reception compared with the more typical fender mounted whips of the past.  Even worse are the destructive effects of multipath which are accentuated by the proximity of other vehicles when antennas fitted into vehicle bodies are used.  Nevertheless, with a good site close to a highway reasonably good mobile reception is possible.

 

Appreciate any reception reports.


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quickymart
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  #2711595 23-May-2021 08:15
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I remember the BBC World Service was on AM years ago in Wellington, but was discontinued due to a lack of interest/listeners. Do you have an indication of what your audience size is? That's fairly impressive coverage for an LPFM, by the way.


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Bananabob
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  #2711715 23-May-2021 13:29
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Tried to listen this morning. Reception is very poor. Much static and only just could hear someone talking, but unable to understand a word of what was said.

 

Live bang smack in Waikanae about 1Km west from the railway station as the crow flies


jarledb
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  #2711720 23-May-2021 13:40
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Just a 1 watt transmitter. And I thought it was hard operating a local radio station on a 10 watt transmitter.




JY

JY

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  #2711728 23-May-2021 14:19
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@Bananabob

Be interested in your set up, inside antenna or outside antenna? In vehicle or portable?

I've just driven back from Mitre 10 via the expressway and Te Moana Rd to Huia Street and 87.9 was solid the whole way in my truck. Good reports from Waikanae beach, Ocean Rd in the Pram, Te Horo, etc.

Portable reception in the Waikanae New World Parata Street car park no problem but inside the supermarket on a portable is no go.

Porirua is on 87.6 MHz and Waikanae on 87.9 MHz.

Bananabob
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  #2711730 23-May-2021 14:27
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JY: @Bananabob

Be interested in your set up, inside antenna or outside antenna? In vehicle or portable?

I've just driven back from Mitre 10 via the expressway and Te Moana Rd to Huia Street and 87.9 was solid the whole way in my truck. Good reports from Waikanae beach, Ocean Rd in the Pram, Te Horo, etc.

Portable reception in the Waikanae New World Parata Street car park no problem but inside the supermarket on a portable is no go.

Porirua is on 87.6 MHz and Waikanae on 87.9 MHz.

 

OK - This morning I tried on a radio/cassette player with a telescopic aerial. Just tried again on my home theatre receiver which has a radio setting and is connected to my TV aerial for radio reception. No signal on that at all. Guess I am in one of those dead zones that I have heard about in Waikanae. Next time I am out and about I will try the radio in the car and get back to you.


JY

JY

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  #2711734 23-May-2021 14:41
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@quickymart

I think we understand the demographic, up here in Waikanae it is mainly older listeners. Down in Mana/Porirua it's people just catching the news on the way to work before switching back to their regular station. However, the sample size is very small.

As for the audience count, very hard to extrapolate from the know regulars and it's still early days for us with the BBC content. When playing music in the past we'd typically get an email or two a month.

@jarledb

A 10 dB increase would certainly provide some fade margin! Originally RSM set LPFM at just half a watt. When they bumped the power limit in 2010 they were considering 5W but the established broadcasters objected. Ironic when you consider now that broadcast radio is losing out to streaming, LPFM was never a real threat.

Earlier I mentioned the propagation issues facing LPFM these days. In drive tests, I've noticed that simple things like the cigarette lighter socket USB charger I use for phone charging completely wipes out reception.

JY

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  #2711735 23-May-2021 14:44
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@Bananabob

Interesting feedback, thanks. If you let me know your street I'll do a quick test Monday morning on the way to work.



richms
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  #2711737 23-May-2021 14:58
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Not sure I can see any value in transmitting something that just comes from a stream. You're not adding value to it or getting income from it? What is the business case for operating this?





Richard rich.ms

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  #2711755 23-May-2021 15:25
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JY: @Bananabob

Interesting feedback, thanks. If you let me know your street I'll do a quick test Monday morning on the way to work.

 

Belvedere Ave - Stuart St area


JY

JY

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  #2712109 24-May-2021 11:25
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@Bananabob

 

Drove Belvedere and Stuart this morning (nice area).  Reception fine in the car, a little patchy on the portable.  I needed to pull up the telescopic antenna a bit to get a good signal.  I wonder if your TV antenna is UHF and might have a UHF only preamp in it that limits the VHF signal to your receiver?

 

 

 

 

 

 

@richms

 

Good points.  We're fortunate to have a couple of patrons who support good international news.  They, like myself, despair at the passing of NZPA, that the budget of Radio NZ only seems to stretch to original reporting of New Zealand politics, and that the other news outlets struggle to do more than run with top international stories with the classic 'if it bleeds, it leads' approach.

 

As for the streaming, yes one day when all cars have 4G/5G built-in then we won't need broadcast radio.  Right now sure I can listen to the BBC World Service (online version) streaming at 56 or 96 kbps (MP3 or AAC, YMMV) but our stations run the dedicated Australasian rebroadcast 320 kbps stream.


Bananabob
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  #2712118 24-May-2021 11:29
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JY:

 

@Bananabob

 

Drove Belvedere and Stuart this morning (nice area).  Reception fine in the car, a little patchy on the portable.  I needed to pull up the telescopic antenna a bit to get a good signal.  I wonder if your TV antenna is UHF and might have a UHF only preamp in it that limits the VHF signal to your receiver?

 

 

Yes it is a UHF only. All other [major] stations come in loud and clear. Shame your only a LPR 😢


JY

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  #2712121 24-May-2021 11:30
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Did you try in your car?


quickymart
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  #2712435 24-May-2021 16:39
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Have you thought about doing a low-powered AM transmitter for full coverage? I know you can get National Radio from Titahi Bay on 567 a long, long way away - but that was a massive, highly-powered transmitter. Maybe if you had an AM one out there, or even at the old 2XX AM site, that would give you decent coverage. Mind you, I imagine AM transmitting equipment is probably quite expensive nowadays.


JY

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  #2712497 24-May-2021 17:24
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@quickymart

 

The old 2XX AM north or Te Horo would have been interesting, unfortunately the towers were demolished last year and I believe that the property is going to be turned into housing.  A pity because AM would have been interesting.   The cost is at the site, antenna, and licence.  The transmitter is much less of an issue.  Commercial licenses are auctioned occasionally by RSM but anything that provides coverage of a major centre is snapped up for serious money due to the advertising potential.

 

Non-commercial regional and community radio broadcasting licences are by application to the Ministry for Culture and Heritage but are only rarely available.

 

As @richms points out, unless you have a proper business case with a decent revenue stream you’re not going to afford a full up license so out of the box thinking is needed.


  #2712584 24-May-2021 19:12
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quickymart:

 

Have you thought about doing a low-powered AM transmitter for full coverage? I know you can get National Radio from Titahi Bay on 567 a long, long way away - but that was a massive, highly-powered transmitter. Maybe if you had an AM one out there, or even at the old 2XX AM site, that would give you decent coverage. Mind you, I imagine AM transmitting equipment is probably quite expensive nowadays.

 

 

RNZ National on 567AM from Titahi Bay is quite accessible on a car radio as far north as maybe Stratford or even Inglewood on SH3, then you have to switch to the New Plymouth frequency.
Dunno how far round the western side of Mt. Taranaki it goes!

 

That used to be a 300kW transmitter in the 'old days', I don't know what they use now.
:D


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