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After 20 Years, Directional Antenna Computer Modeling Passes

But AM/FM translator item is pulled back.

The Federal Communications Commission pulled several items from the agenda prior to its open meeting this week, including the one that would allow AMs to operate on FM translators to fill in coverage gaps.

But the commission passed the Part 73 change to allow computer modeling for proof of performance on certain AM directional arrays.

Chairman Kevin Martin said at the NAB Radio Show last week the agency has granted about 150 STAs to AM stations allowing operation on FM translators and that some commissioners have asked how codifying this policy would affect LPFMs. Low-power stations see this move as taking spectrum they might otherwise be able to use.

In the computer modeling matter, commissioners approved the item on circulation, rather than in a formal meeting.

They also issued a notice of further rulemaking for proposed consolidated rules concerning antenna structures near AM arrays. The FCC is proposing placing this in Part 1 of its rules, Ben Dawson said.

Dawson is part of a coalition that pushed for the change; he noted in an e-mail to colleagues that it has been 20 years since the effort started. The first petition for rulemaking for modeling was filed in December of 1989.

More on the computer modeling change including a link to further background is here.