LPFM to HD upgrade

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Thread: LPFM to HD upgrade

  1. #1

    LPFM to HD upgrade

    I'm a high school teacher (I'm certainly not an engineer) in charge of an LPFM I set up for our students. We've been on the air for a little over 2 years.

    The students have done a great job! Now they want to do some upgrading to experiment with HD Radio technology. GREAT... I love a challenge but HD LPFM?!?!

    I'm hoping an engineer with a kind heart will take pity on me and tell me if I'm close to the mark here.

    We currently have a single bay Jampro JLCP and with our feed line all told, we have a TPO of 274 watts out of a Nautel VS300.

    My goal is -14dB injection and the VS300 doesn't have enough headroom to handle the increased demand (including the expanded mp3 mode) unless i make a change to the antenna. My thought is to go to a two bay JLCP half-spaced (we can handle that space) -- bringing the TPO requirement to 202 watts. The vs300 can handle 217 watts under these conditions.

    There doesn't seem to be any documentation for LPFM HD -- maybe because there aren't any as yet, but I would have to assume perhaps there may be some translators somewhere doing the low power HD thing.

    Any thought's would be greatly appreciated, but remember, I'm a music teacher


  2. #2
    To my knowledge (which may be incomplete!), there are zero LPFM stations operating in HD. I'm also not aware of any translators which originate HD programs.

    For LPFMs, I'm not sure there is any HD equipment which is LPFM certified, so you may not be able to do this at all.
    "Its music what makes a radio station, and at Live FM, we play the last music around."
    After receiving that copy, I quit the VO industry.

  3. #3
    I think you're right in that I haven't seen any sign of anyone doing it at any low power facility. mostly because of the early -20dB power level restriction i would suspect. but the new level increases are interesting.

    The vs300 is compatible with HD Radio and it's LPFM certified, I would imagine they were thinking translators (many that use the VS series) might take them up on it. Not sure what to think

  4. #4
    Raloh.... I PM'd you...

  5. #5
    thanks for the note, oldie919

    I do see a lot of chatter on the internet about translators rebroadcasting HD2's in analog -- nice little work-around loophole for the primary stations I'd say

    But no chatter about actually broadcasting digital HD Radio for LPFM or any low power application. People seem to have been thinking about it, but not actually doing it.

  6. #6

    Join Date
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    Shoreline, WA / Northern VA
    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Martin View Post
    But no chatter about actually broadcasting digital HD Radio for LPFM or any low power application. People seem to have been thinking about it, but not actually doing it.
    Possibly because of the royalties that must be paid to iBiquity or whatever it is these days...I don't think non-comms can plead poverty on that one. Make sure you take that into consideration...it can make a cheap operation more costly.

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  7. #7
    It seems they're trying to make it a bit more affordable for LPFM and other noncoms. We'll see how it turns out.

    If everyone in the industry is serious about eventual digital conversion they're going to have to include the noncoms, translators, LPFM --- everyone. For our station, the only way we'll be able to do it is through the support of those in the industry, our local community and our amazing students.

    Not to mention the great talent of those experienced engineers out there who may have remembered the spark of enthusiasm they received working in their high school, college or community radio station.

  8. #8
    At one time, there was a LPFM running HD, but I don't think it worked out well for them.

    I suspect you will find the coverage from a HD signal will not be worth the cost. The usable signal will be considerably less than your analog signal. By the time you you pay for the Ibiquity licence and the required equipment to generate the HD signal, And a new antenna, you may come to the conclusion that it simply isn't worth it. But then, maybe you have an open checkbook. Most schools don't.

    Why not give Nautel a call to see what they think you need to to buy? That seems like a good place to start.

  9. #9
    I get the cost -- and I know what I need in terms of the importer and exporter and Nautel has been very upfront with what i need in terms of cost... they're great!! I'm a BIG Nautel fan! I've also been preparing for the cost for licencing through DTS and it is significantly better for noncoms and even better yet for LPFM if you consider multicasting.

    I have a community that's been very supportive; the students work tirelessly; the parents volunteer and I still have my health to give it all I've got; so this is definitely the time. And looking long term with the problems radio faces in high school and college you need to upgrade while the support is hot! I'd rather do "exciting new technology" projects than "save our station" drives.

    And the lucky students on the ground floor get to learn about antenna system design; digital multiplexing the list goes on and on. Plus down the road, I'd like to know that when radio stations face either going digital or going out, they 'll just have to "flip a switch" and they're good to go

    The point you make about the signal coverage is certainly a good one and is why I'm asking the same thing. When the restriction was at -20dB it wouldn't make sense for LPFM stations, but the new -10dB rules for digital -- that's very different. Even -14dB should be enough to do the job (unless I'm missing something). Then I was surprised that there was not more interest or experimentation at the new power levels in low power facilities.

    Are there any noncom class A's running HD?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Martin View Post
    Are there any noncom class A's running HD?
    Yes, WSOU and WKCR are two college-owned stations that cover the New York metro pretty well. Their HD signals do a decent job. Both of them use HD-2 subchannels. Even though their HD signal only has half the range of their FM signal, one cost-effective approach to this is they can stream their HD-2 channels.
    Last edited by jhirzel88; 12-17-2016 at 06:28 PM.

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