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.