Central Coast Radio


#1

The new home to discuss radio in the Central Coast of New South Wales region.


#2

2GO had a great pre-Christmas competition for Sarah and Paddy’s breakfast show.

They gave away a $17k Renault from Brian Hilton Motors.

Rebecca from Springfield won the vehicle. She entered the competition on a whim, because she needed a new car. Rebecca had been without a car for a period of time and was borrowing her sister’s car to get around and do her shopping.

An excellent local promotion and a deserving winner.


#3

Guys, I need some help with Central Coast Radio signal strengths.

Anyone in Sydney, the Central Coast or Newcastle who has a radio with signal strength meters (I know a lot of the DX enthusiast’s in here do have), would you be able to band scan the Gosford stations & let me know the results (levels & where they were taken).

Our monitoring equipment at the studios (96.3 CoastFM) are indicating our signal strength is about 4dB down on 93.3 & 94.1 when we should all be the same.

I’ve had our TX engineers check the TX, they also did a signal test in a good receive area in Gosford, & came up with all normal, & all 3 community stations (93.3, 94.1 & 96.3) all at the same strengths.

I’m also aware some of you have mentioned, or told me directly previously, that 96.3 CoastFM is the hardest Gosford community station to receive, & has the weakest signal.

I’m trying to find out what’s wrong where, & why?

I know we’re having a lot of interference problems from Triple J Taree currently, including with our off air monitors at the studio over the past few weeks.

I’d like to know your signal levels of all community stations, 92.5 (ABC Central Coast), & the 3 commercial stations, to compare strengths to relative ERP’s.

If I can get enough information & find if there is something wrong with the TX, or if it’s just interference in areas out of direct line of sight with the TX, I can hopefully improve our reception across the Coast.

We have been discussing a translator around Wyong or further North, (different frequency or even SFN, yes it can be done on FM), change of transmitter site, or change of Frequency. My preferred option is change of frequency to 90.1MHz.

I have a meeting with the station manager on Wednesday next week, to discuss our reception & signal issues.

Thanks in advance if you can help.


#4

A change of frequency to 90.1 would mean that Coast FM would no longer be receivable in much of Sydney due to community broadcaster 2NBC on the same frequency at 200W. Wouldn’t 90.1 also have potential co-channelling issues as well given 2NBC? I think 89.5 is pretty much clear down here in Sydney, however. Don’t know about on the Central Coast though. In my experience, 96.3 comes into Sydney pretty well. I can drive around and listen to it without any significant break up.


#5

To start with 89.5 is not an allocated Central Coast frequency (just like 96.3), 89.3 is, & it’s used at Mt Pritchard & Walcha (between Port Macquarie & Tamworth).

89.5 is used occasionally, it’s currently listed at Darling Harbour.

Moving to another non allocated area frequency, just leaves us open again to co-channel interference from another market, without the physical distance separation.

90.1 isn’t a Sydney allocated frequency, & much like us, 2NBC shouldn’t be there, with help & discussion with 2NBC & CCBA, 2NBC may have to move frequency as well?

Though with them being at 200W & us being at 2kW, it’s more likely we’ll co-channel interfere with them, not them with us.

I’ve chosen 90.1 because it’s a free (except 2NBC), Illawarra, Central Coast, Newcastle allocated frequency, it also doesn’t have anything on the upper adjacent frequency & only one station on the adjacent lower frequency 90.3 & 89.9 respectively, therefore that gives us space either side of the channel, something we’re not afforded now with 96.1 Katoomba adjacent below & 96.5 Illawarra & Cessnock adjacent above.


#6

Hi RF Burns I live in Stanhope Gardens in NW Sydney and have excellent reception of the Central Coast fm stations. My tuner does not have a signal metre but can receive Sea, Star 104.5 and GO with RDS and perfect hiss free reception.

Reception of the Central Coast Community Stations as follows from strongest to weakest.
Cool Country very weak and hissy with the stereo indicator flicking on and off, Radio Rhema fights it out between Power Fm. Can get in noisy stereo but other times Power fm dominates. Radio 50 plus mono can just be heard above the static.

Coast fm can only be received on the car radio but it is very patchy and 96.1 swamps it. I have found 96.3 is good to around Pennant Hills.

Have you considered 91.7mhz? I believe it is shared with 2st kangeroo valley but would not cause you any interference even in tropo. By the way which tower do you guys broadcast from Sea or 2go tower.


#7

Correction: 2ST on 91.7 is transmitted from Huskisson in Jervis Bay. To the best of my knowledge, their Kangaroo Valley translator never went to air, despite ACMA’s proposal.

But yes, I agree that 91.7 would be the most ideal new frequency for Coast FM. It is a safe distance away from C91.3 Campbelltown & 2MFM Sydney (92.1), which are both 400kHz apart. I remember back in 2004 that 2NSB Chatswood was testing out 91.7 as an alternative frequency to 99.3, perhaps due to potential co-channel interference from B-Rock Bathurst. They didn’t went ahead, probably due to potential interference with NBN3 Newcastle.


#8

Sorry my mistake


#9

I did consider 91.7, but there’s News Radio Tamworth on that (slim but still possible co-channel).

Then there’s high power Triple J Kempsey on adjacent 91.5 (often gets into Newcastle), & 1WAY Canberra on 91.9, as noted in the DX thread, 1WAY was into Newcastle just a few days ago.

I’m trying to eliminate every possible threat best I can, if we can get 2NBC moved from 90.1, we’re totally clear on all sides, until ACMA stuffs things up again.

Ant5476, we transmit from the SEAFM Tower.


#10

Hi RF,

These are indoor readings at Charlestown (maximum), better readings are achieved outdoors.

96.3 - 43 db strength / 29 db SNR

By comparison:
93.3 - 39 db strength / 29 db SNR
94.1 - 40 db strength / 26 db SNR
94.9 - 44 db strength / 31 db SNR

Having said that, my location is aided by very good protection from the north, meaning that 2CCC reception here is better than most.

My guess is Coast FM issues are more due to JJJ and to a lesser extent Edge/CHR than your equipment.

…

Re frequency allocation, I honestly don’t see why 2NBC should have to move to suit Coast FM. I agree that Coast FM needs to change frequency, but also agree with other posts, either 89.3 (with a null towards Liverpool maybe) or 91.7 would be a better choice than 90.1 and News Radio from Tamworth shouldn’t be a problem.

If I had my way, this is what I would do to fix up the co-channeling mess with Central Coast radio…

88.3 News Radio (down from 98.1)
89.5 Lake Macquarie FM (from 97.3)
90.7 Rhema Central Coast (from 94.9)
91.5 Coast FM (from 96.3)

Triple J Coffs wouldn’t impact on Coast FM anywhere near as much as the Taree one does.

re 1WAY - I am on a hill and 6 floors up and reception here of eg. 1WAY is not typical of Newcastle region reception in general.


#11

I would propose to ACMA to change Coast fm frequency from 96.3mhz to 91.7mhz. I believe you would have a better chance of the variation taking place as ACMA would not have to very the Sydney LAP as well.
2NBC will fight any change to their frequency as it would cause them financial hardship, potential loss of listerners, modification to their transmitter etc.

2SSR have been complaining for years about Rhema Newcastle swamping their signal in their coverage area during tropo. All ACMA did was put a condition on Rhema’s licence that they have to reduce their 2KW ERP over the 160-220 sectors if cochannel interference is reported by 2SSR.

I did some interference simulations using the Nautel RF coverage tool on the 91.7mhz News Radio service from Mt Soma 1000m ABSL. At an antenna height of 70m and ERP of 10KW Omnidirectional, an estimated signal strength of 33dbu v/m would be received around Olney in the Heaton State Forest just west of Freemans Waterhole which is outside of your coverage area.

Maybe with tropo from Tamworth there could be potential cochannel interference from News Radio around Mangrove Mountain and Kulnura. I will have to test this on my car radio when I am up there next.

At my location in Stanhope Gardens in Norwest Sydney I am able to pick up 91.7, 93.9, and 94.7 from Mt Soma on my car radio during the summer months. It is normally just above the static with little to no tropo ducting. I may have Cochannel interference here with Tamworth if you get 91.7 and ducting occurs.

I cannot see any issues with Coffs Harbour Triple J or 1 way Canberra causing any issues on the adjacent frequencies on the Central Coast. Canberra and Goulburn are on adjacent frequencies here in Sydney, and 98.7 ABC fm Manning River is on the adjacent frequency to 2000 fm in Sydney and booms in here during tropo.

Sorry about the long post.


#12

I actually find 92.5 ABC Central Coast to be the weakest. ABC NewsRadio is strangely stronger than it.

For the suggestion of 91.7, I find on my clock radio that it’s quite hard to fine tune the ABC because of interference from Radio 50-Plus on 93.3, putting Coast FM on 91.7 might worsen that problem.

This is from Erina for reference. Coast FM on it’s current frequency is received well.


#13

You might be right there MLVD, having 2kw services on 91.7 and 93.3 might create issues for ABC 92.5, but there’s a case for bumping that up to 2kw as well… a 200 watt ABC Local Radio service in an area of 300,000 people that is quite hilly isn’t ideal.

As for me up here at Charlestown, I get 92.5 a bit better than 98.1, maximum indoor reading of about 35 db vs 32 db for News Radio.


#14

As you probably know, many of the Central Coast stations here in Sydney co-channel with Illawarra/Wollongong/Nowra stations given that they’re on the same frequency plan with the Central Coast/Newcastle without sufficient geographical separation. So if Coast FM does get a clear frequency, it would be in a better situation than the other Central Coast stations. Namely, the Gosford/Wollongong co-channels in Sydney are:

98.1 - ABC NewsRadio/i98
97.3 - Lake Macquarie FM/ABC Local Radio Illawarra
94.9 - Rhema FM/Power FM
94.1 - todayscountry941/Pulse 94.1
93.3 - Radio 50+/Future 2RPH relay
92.5 - ABC Local Radio Gosford/Youth Radio 92.5 (Moss Vale)

I can get all of those stations, depending on which way the antenna is facing - apart from Lake Macquarie FM, as ABC Local Radio Illawarra is just too strong. However, it was off-air for maintenance the other night and Lake Macquarie FM did come in at a reasonable level.

As for the lack of free frequencies issue, for ABC NewsRadio Gosford on 98.1 MHz, what if it operated as a SFN on 90.9 MHz with ABC NewsRadio from the Illawarra? It would be in the right frequency allocation for both markets. 2RPH seems to operate on 100.5 MHz in both Sydney and Newcastle. And on that note, could the proposed 93.3 MHz 2RPH translator for Wollongong also be on 100.5 MHz to address the future co-channelling issue with Radio 50+? The SFNs alone could remove two co-channels.


#15

Ant5476, MLVD & Radiohead, that’s another issue with 91.7.

The ABC initially wanted 2kW for 92.5 but were forced to 200W, so we have to be careful not to upset them, because the ABC gets preference over commercial & community radio, any changes to the LAP & it’s pretty much open slather on the spectrum. The ABC can knock our move on the head & take our place on a frequency at a higher power (within reason), if they want to flex their muscles. The ABC would definitely be moving News Radio from 98.1 & probably move ABC Central Coast from 92.5, blocking any possible moves from us to a clearer frequency.

Because the ABC have priority, the ACMA won’t help us with co-channel interference on 96.3 & we approached the ABC & they more or less told us to get stuffed.

TVCL, I totally agree with your comments, & trying to get CoastFM into a better situation or the best situation I can, is what I’m trying to achieve, but watch the tantrums from the others if I manage to pull it off right under their noses.

ANT5476 regarding 2NBC, they shouldn’t have to move frequencies, but then they shouldn’t be on that frequency in Sydney anyway.
They shouldn’t lose any listeners, & changing the frequency of the transmitter would most likely just be a push of a button, like changing the station on your car, you don’t have to go modifying circuits & changing oscillation crystals any more on transmitters.
We’re actually worse off, because we have to re-tune our combiner.
Any financial hardship for 2NBC could be helped by funding from the CBAA, &/or a listener fundraising event, we could possibly help in some way too?
Never know 2NBC might find/get a frequency that puts them in a better situation too, there’s nothing stopping the ABC or a new commercial station from asking/getting that frequency at much higher powers in the Illawarra or Gosford & blowing them out of the water with no support whatsoever.


#16

From Pennant hills… I think the good reception starts at Wahroonga/Waitara. Here it is quite poor… But you can get it. The aerial is fully extended 45 cm long.


#17

With the Tecsun in my backyard at ground level in southern Sydney:

MHz - dBµ/dB SNR
107.7 - 23/20
104.5 - 23/20
101.3 - 26/24
98.1 - 03/01 (in a null of i98)
96.3 - 12/08
94.9 - 04/01 (in a null of Power FM)
94.1 - 14/08
93.3 - 11/10
92.5 - 04/02


#18

This is a coverage map I have generated for 2CCC inputing the following transmitter specifications-
2kw omnidirectional from the Sea fm tower
256m elevation
50m antenna height
Receiving antenna 10m AGL
Green is 74dbu/vm Urban coverage
Yellow is 54dbu/vm Rural coverage

The simulation has Berowra in the Urban coverage area and Pennant Hills in the Rural coverage area. It also has my area Stanhope Gardens in the Rural coverage area but my reception is below this.
RF Burns would this map be accurate with your coverage maps?
I am happy to post coverage maps for sea fm and ABC local radio for comparisons if anyone is interested.


#19

Thanks for the map, Ant!

It’s a shame so much good coverage is wasted on water…


#20

Thanks for those measurement"s Matt & TVCL.

Ant, it’s close, I’m sure with no interference we can actually do a little better than that with coverage.

Basic rough guide FYI, we run the TX at 700W & our antenna is roughly 3x gain + cable & combiner losses.