Community radio station KSVY(FM) in Sonoma, Calif., recently installed a new directional antenna system that is delivering improved coverage.
Bob Taylor is chief operator and manager of the station, which features an all-volunteer air staff. He told Radio World the station wanted higher elevation for improved reach. It looked for a site that was non-residential and that could provide generator support.
“The old site was on the outskirts of Sonoma on a side road with mixed tree coverage in low residential,” he said. “The new site is approximately 620 feet higher on a bald mountain with an unobstructed view. Hammett & Edison was a major contributor in filing for the project and guiding us through the needs of the FCC.” The former site remains available as a backup location.
The station airs at 91.3 MHz. Its new array uses two Kathrein Broadcast SIRA line FMC 05 broadband circular polarized FM panels. The panels are vertically stacked, with one skewed 12 degrees and the other skewed 328 degrees to achieve the desired pattern.
Each panel is fed equally in phase and amplitude. Panels are mounted to a 4.5 inch OD pipe. The harness and main 7/8-inch foam feed line are dressed to the mounting pipe and routed vertically out of the aperture of the antenna. The pipe is mounted on a wooden pole.
“The change has been dramatic,” said Taylor. “Elevation being the key here, dead spots and shadows in our area have nearly vanished completely. We also gained a population increase of approximately 120,000 due to the new pattern including the Petaluma, Cotati and Napa areas.”
A fundraising campaign included donations from a “Signal Booster Society” to support the project.
Taylor said KSVY has been an important resource for Sonoma Valley in the most recent emergency situations with severe fires and public safety power shutoff events.
“The local radio continues to be a crucial part of an emergency plan,” he said. “These situations where the first responders are busy doing what they do best require someone to get reliable information to the common person when the internet isn’t available.”
The Sonoma Index-Tribune recently wrote about the project and reported that KSVY first filed an application for a construction permit for a new antenna in 2008 but didn’t have the funds to build one at the time.
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