A milestone was reached on July 22 when KWSV(LP), also known as “99.1 The Ranch,” switched on the first LPFM booster station in the United States, according to a statement from consultancy REC Networks, which is involved in the project.
The FCC granted the booster application in June. The station is in the foothills east of Simi Valley and faces coverage challenges due to the surrounding terrain.
REC Networks said a location in the Chatsworth Hills was chosen to put a signal into the San Fernando Valley. The new booster puts out six watts into a directional antenna aimed to the southeast, extending coverage to the valley west of the 405 San Diego Freeway.
FM boosters are normally used by full-service FM broadcast stations to fill in coverage gaps created by terrain. Boosters are limited in power to 20 percent of the maximum ERP for the service class of the primary station. For LPFMs, that comes out to 20 watts maximum ERP. As with translators and LPFMs themselves, FM boosters have secondary status.
The application for KWSV’s booster was filed by REC Networks, which also cautions that such solutions are not a wholesale answer for LPFM coverage issues. Rather, they are mostly beneficial to stations surrounded by substantial terrain, as is the case with this California LPFM. REC Networks is also representing KXRN(LP) in Laguna Beach, Calif., who has also filed for an LPFM booster to overcome difficult terrain issues.