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WorldCast, Crown Target LPFMs

Transmission companies offer operation, maintenance tips

Make friends with existing full-time broadcasters in your area. Have them over for a tour and remain friendly.

So advised Crown Broadcast Sales Marketing Manager Kent Koselke during a webinar this week aimed at those new to broadcasting. Targeting low-power FM applicants, representatives from WorldCast Systems and Crown Broadcast discussed things like what equipment is needed to get an LPFM up and running, costs and maintenance.

Regarding how much power a station needs and what affects its audio quality, Crown Service Administrator Don Pettifor characterized the transmitter as the heart of a station. Much of a station’s sound is due to the transmitter and as such, this piece of equipment needs to be reliable, he said.

In general, transmitter power output is affected by line loss and antenna loss or gain. “Cheaper feed line normally means more loss,” Pettifor said, cautioning potential owners about deals, especially on used feed lines.

While a single antenna radiates equally in all directions, multiple antenna bays redirect more of that energy into the horizontal direction, increasing coverage. That, in turn, can allow you to reduce some of your transmitter power, he said.

Regular maintenance is key for everything in the transmission chain, said Koselke. It keeps the transmitter efficiency up and lowers operation costs.

“It’s helpful for broadcasters to know someone locally for quick service,” said Koselke. He advised joining a local SBE chapter, attending regional broadcast shows and looking online to find good contract or consulting engineers.

WorldCast Systems Manager Tony Peterle highlighted the expert maintenance reporting feature of the FME250, which collects and stores information about a transmitter that can be shared with both the owner and the manufacturer.

“A listener should never suspect you’re an LPFM,” due to audio quality, said Dan Slentz, an LPFM broadcaster, participating in the webinar.