Central Coast Radio



I have uploaded two new coverage maps and realised my error in the first one, I had 3.22 antenna gain on top of the 2kW so this would be why the previous coverage map was out.

First of the new coverage maps is the existing 2CCC 96.3MHZ service from Somersby from the Sea fm tower, 256m ASL, antenna height 50m at 2KW omnidirectional. Green is Suburban 66dBuV/m coverage, and Yellow is Rural 54dBuV/m to come close to matching RFBurns coverage maps.

The second map is a simulation of the Mt Elliott option for 2CCC at 211.7m ASL, transmitting from an antenna at a height of 30m, and a more powerful 3KW to make up for the 65m ASL loss of height from the exisiting site. Green coverage is 66dBuV/m and Yellow is 54dBuV/m to match the above map,


Are the 3 Central Coast commercials running to spec at the moment?

Listening over the weekend when I was in the area, Sea FM appear to be having some audio dropout issues, and it was severely distorted on some songs. I thought Star sounded spectacular, especially the sound of their low end bass (I know the PD at Star is very passionate about his audio processing). 2GO was a bit hit or miss, with some songs sounding great and some like rubbish. Coast had a nice sound, albeit a little “clunky” in the mid range to be honest.

What processor are you using on Coast? What are the other community stations using? I think the commercials are all on the new Optimods now?


AFAIK the commercials are all running to spec atm, bit busy to check though. SEA does have some weird settings for their Pilot & RDS levels (don’t know why), before they turned RDS back on, their Stereo pilot level was around 18-19%, spec is nothing higher than 10%.

I’m still working on our sound at Coast, it’s a new processor, we’ve just moved into the new digital studio & we’re just starting to replace the music library, some of the stuff is/was poor quality 128k mp3, so trying to get everything sounding good is quite a challenge atm.

Yes there is a bit of an issue with the mid range atm, do you want to elaborate on “clunky” & I’ll try to fix it?
I have an issue with deep bass too, but if you don’t have a sub woofer you won’t notice it, I’m working on that too.

Our processor is a TCOM BCL 406, Stereo Tool is it’s engine.

Not sure what processors the other community stations are running?


Star 104.5 did a traffic update early this afternoon…

The only incident they reported was one well outside their licence area, at Eleebana up on the edge of Lake Macquarie, not far from where I am at Charlestown.


So does this mean Star Central Coast are now live on weekend afternoons?

In September 2015, they certainly weren’t live on weekend afternoons, sounded blatantly voicetracked.

Good to hear that come January 2016, weekend local news bulletins are on Star, even if they’re compiled, edited and read from Pyrmont???


Very interesting read here about Coast FMs interference issues. RFB, the gang here are right, 91.7 would be the best frequency and I’m surprised it hasn’t been snapped up in the Central Coast/Hunter area. As the others have pointed out 90.1 is used by 2NBC which btw isn’t out of the band plan.

ACMA group the cap city allocations into 2 sections; High power (+1Kw) and Low Power (anything under 1Kw). The high power services go onto the 800k spacing plan (400k for adjacent areas) and the low powers all have 200kHz separation within the metro area. In Sydney its 88.1 - 90.5 and 99.3 - 100.9 reserved for low power use. The rest of the band follows the 800KHz spacing plan. That means that 88.5, 89.3, & 90.1 won’t be allocated in Central Coast/Illawarra despite being on the 800k spacing. They would be able to re-use these frequencies in the Newcastle area, so if Lake Mac FM were to move, its possible they could take up one of those frequencies.

The issue with the ABC is true and to the annoyance of pretty much the rest of the industry, they do get preference and often a higher ERP to cover the same license area as commercial/community. However its sort of first in, best dressed. It certainly wouldn’t hurt for Coast FM to ask for 91.7 on the basis that 96.3 has significant, documented co-channel problems from Middle Brother. It would work if you could also suggest a suitable alternate for News Radio. TVCL mentioned putting News Radio on SFN with Illawarra so 90.9 would be the alternative (very good and practical idea).

Re the Coast FM quality, I had a listen about a week ago while traveling the F3 (or M1 whatever it is now). I though Coast sounded pretty good for a community station. Upgrading the music library from 128k files will make a big difference there RFB. Long and thankless task but it doesn’t matter how good the signal chain and processing are, if the source material is shit, that’s how it will sound. I can say I’ve done/doing that exact same task.

Ant, thanks for finding the Nautel coverage tool. Very handy.


I know most weekend shifts on 2GO are voice tracked, not sure about Star though.

Star do have more local “now” information on weekends though, while 2GO are more generic.

Maybe phone the Star 104.5 studios next weekend to see if anyone picks up?!


Once you fix up the sub bass issue, the clunky mid range should clear up. Without knowing that processor, the two are probably related.

I’d experiment with different presets. At the moment the sound is very “European” to my ears.

What sound are you going for? Open, clean, crisp, dense? It’s going to be a struggle to sign off on a sound if you are working with 128 MP3 files. With hard drive space so cheap now, uncompressed wave files are the only way to go. But…it is costly! I know Star / Nova have spent huge amounts of money in sourcing original CD’s for their Zetta song library and I’ve seen it with my own eyes…it’s bloody impressive!!


What do you mean by ‘original CD’s’???


Thanks Matt86,

The problem with 91.7 though is it’ll squeeze ABC local on 92.5 & they won’t like that.

92.5 will only be 200W & then there’ll be a station each side at 2kW, very good chance the ABC will be wiped out is both adjacent stations stray out of channel. Personally I’ll try to keep our signal tight, but know 93.3 already cases some issues to 92.5 in places around the Central Coast.

I don’t think the ABC are too worried about News Radio, it’s a stretch, but in the North, News Radio from Newcastle is possible, & in the South, News Radio from Sydney.

ABC Local on 92.5 is the one they are going to jump up & down about.


The sound I’m going for is clean & clear, relatively even, not far from natural sounding (but processed).

Funnily enough a sound similar to NEWFM, (not the current sound though), but I note in the Newcastle Radio thread you don’t like it.

The sound of Smooth 95.3 would be good, it’s very minimalistic, but I don’t think I could get it there, & have it sound good with the source material we have.

Presenters can bring in & play their own recordings (especially for the specialist shows in the evenings & on weekends), & there’s no guarantees it will be of any great quality, even if our play-out library is in wave format.
Even though you’re not supposed to, I know some presenters use material copied off youtube, so it’s not high quality.


What is the reason for 92.5 MHz being only 200W? Was it because of NBN-3 going up to 92 MHz? If so, given that analogue is now long gone, why can’t they turn up the power?

Out of curiosity, how well does ABC NewsRadio on 90.9 MHz from the Illawarra travel into the Central Coast? I know I could get the Gosford commercial stations in Wollongong on the car radio when I was last down there.

And a bit off-topic, in relation to my proposal of putting ABC NewsRadio on an SFN with 90.9 MHz from the Illawarra, does anyone know if there are currently any ABC SFNs in operation anywhere?


Apparently, 94.5 News Radio (Sunshine / Coolola Coasts) is an SFN at Bald Knob and Black Mountain, covering Caloundra to Gympie between them.


And causing grief to the reception of ABC Lismore further to the south, but that’s another story for another place

I must head up north one day and check for myself how effective the SFN is for Newsradio. If it does work well it could have potential in other areas (such as the Central Coast/Illawarra)


Just curious why WS fm does not do this and the canberra fm stations too. I think it would be a good idea for the central coast to have this set up for newsradio.


Yes, it would be interesting to see if there are any “mush” zones around say Marcoola to Coolum where the Black Mt and Bald Knob signals are likely to be about equal strength.

I have heard that with RAW FM 99.1 (mono) on the NSW Central Coast, which uses the same frequency at Wyong and Gosford, that “mush” zones do occur between those locations.

And as for a WSFM SFN etc. I think it would be harder to do with stereo signals?


I personally don’t understand why WSFM needs those translators full stop. Isn’t 101.7 possibly the strongest signal of any Sydney commercial FM station as it is?


Yes you’re right re WS repeaters, which ar e obviously a legacy of the 2WS FM conversion in 1993, when the station was much more of a Western Sydney station than it is now.

As for the 101.7 signal, not anymore, up here anyway…
Nowadays I get better signals from every other commercial FM except KIIS.
This occurred around the time WS got a new Tx installed, last November I think?


Silly question what does a mush zone sound like.



Basically, I meant it’s just a garbled mess so you can’t hear either signal clearly…