Central Coast Radio


#81

Not sure they’re weaker, TX’s are running at roughly the same power output as before, (give or take 50W?
Could be weaker in extreme fringe areas though, the extra loss might reduce the power by about half a dB, which would only be noticeable in fringe areas.

Rhema hasn’t moved yet, their electrician couldn’t make it on Friday, to run a new power circuit for their transmitter. I could’ve done it, but they didn’t contract me.
The new combiner port has been installed ready for them to plug into, they will move to the SeaFM site, sometime over the next 2 weeks.

Funny you should mention a different radiation pattern with the new antenna. It should be identical, & I’m going to do more testing, but I’ve noticed some areas where CoastFM had co-channel interference at the North end of the Coast & around Lake Macquarie, now only have minimal or no interference as the CoastFM signal is stronger, but then there’s places that now have noticeable interference that didn’t have it before. I’ve also found one particular spot where the interference has been moved about 500m - 1km further North with the new antenna.


#82

Hi RF,

I have noticed some changes up here at Charlestown for Rhema Central Coast.

Their 94.9 signal isn’t as strong here as it used to be… Whereas outside at my place, all of 93.3, 94.1, 94.9 and 96.3 would register a signal strength of around 47-49 db on my Tecsun PL-390, Rhema is now receivable at only 41db (no changes for the others).

But interestingly, I am now getting an image of Rhema on 94.7, which wasn’t there previously.

ALSO… SEA seems to be a bit stronger than it used to be… whereas previously the best reading I could get was about 58db, but today I saw it peak at 61db. Conversly, 2GO may have dipped a bit… it used to read up over 60db, best I saw today was 59db (which is still pretty good).


#83

In this location of Sydney, I’m mainly receiving a very weak signal of Power FM on 94.9FM rather than any signal of Rhema Central Coast at all. It’ll be interesting to see if Rhema again becomes the dominant station (most of the time, I can only really receive Power FM at all during tropo from the South!) when they move to their new transmitter in the coming weeks.

I think the signals of the other Central Coast community stations (93.3, 94.1 and 96.3) are mostly the same as they were before although as you’d expect the reception certainly isn’t crystal clear! And of course, the reception of Sea, Star and 2GO is generally quite good for the most part. It’s much easier to receive RDS on 2GO, but aside from that all three are generally quite listenable stereo signals most of the time.


#84

Since my last post 96.3 Coast fm seems to have improved a bit and is back to similar signal levels as before.

94.1 Is weaker then before. 93.3 radio 50+ is at similar levels, and the strongest of the Central Coast Communities here at Stanhope Gardens.

Sea, Star, and 2GO almost as strong as the locals as normal.


#85

2GO shouldn’t have changed, no work was done at the 2GO site.

I’ve checked my before & after photo’s. Sea is possibly 0.5kW lower transmit power now than it was before, CoastFM transmit power is slightly higher now, 94.1 & 93.3 are roughly the same transmit power as before, (note these are transmitter output power levels not ERP with antenna gain).

Don’t know why Rhema seems lower & not sure about the image on 94.7?


#86

Bit of info just for interest, as it was previously discussed here (or on the old board), about 2GO & SeaFM installing new transmitters & now having RDS.

I can tell everyone, 2GO has an old backup TX, & the main on air TX is a Nautel Q series (solid state), that’s about 5-6 years old.

SeaFM are still using their original 2, NEC tube transmitters built in Jan 1990 (main & backup).

They have just recently replaced the racks at the SeaFM TX site, (they are still a work in progress though), the RDS encoder is in one of the new racks at the SeaFM TX site. They have 2 new Nautel VS300’s in the rack, awaiting connection for backups.

It is planned (hoped), that both Central Coast Austereo stations, will get new TX’s in the next round of bulk buy/replacement program, in 6-12 months.

Just for mention, KOFM & NXFM Newcastle did get new TX’s in the last round of replacement program, when they started transmitting RDS.

Bonus info, 2GO is the only thing transmitted from that site, it has been deliberately kept clean/vacant because that’s where they plan to install/transmit Digital radio from (assuming it ever comes to the central coast), also because of the different antenna arrays, 2GO has a 4 bay, SeaFM has a 6 bay, the 2GO TX has to run at a higher power output, & the electricity usage/cost per month for 2GO is roughly equal to SeaFM, the 3 community stations & the 2 ABC stations that are broadcast from the SeaFM site, combined.


#87

I can give some info here. I’m GM of Rhema Central Coast. We are stillon our Acacia Rd TX site, but our transmitter developed a fault in late April and we’ve been running on our backup since then while our main xmitter is repaired. So our signal is much weaker than usual. Probably putting out about 800w instead of our regular 2kw.

Our signal pattern will change when we move to SeaFM, as apart from the different location we’ll be losing our current mixed polarity and going to the vertical polarity being used by the other community stations. It’s still unclear exactly what the overall impact will be. We’re expecting losses in some areas, but hopefully gains in more areas than losses.

At this stage our main xmitter probably wont be repaired by the time we have to relocate, so the techos are working on an interim solution.


#88

Hi RhemaCC,

Do you know if there are any plans for the frequency of your station or the other Central Coast stations to change to resolve the persistent co-channelling issues with the Illawarra/Wollongong stations? Here in Sydney 92.5, 94.1, 94.9 and 98.1 are a mish-mash of signals from the north and from the south. Even in their intended markets, those frequencies up on the Central Coast or down in the Illawarra can sometimes suffer from co-channelling interference.


#89

I can’t answer for Rhema, but can say there are no plans AFAIK for 94.1 to change, the ABC stations (92.5 & 98.1) would like to have higher power levels, but nothing formal has been done to change either or both stations in any way.
I have received initial approval from the management committee, to investigate options for CoastFM 96.3 to change tx site, tx power levels &/or frequency change. Early days, & anything will be subject to ACMA approval.


#90

Hi tvcl,
No plans that I am aware of. It would be great if ACMA could sort this out, as PowerFM from Nowra are a constant pain in the neck for us, interferring with our signal in many parts of the Coast, way out of their supposed broadcast footprint. We have reports even from the Hunter/Newcastle region where they can hear PowerFM clearly. They are obviously sending way too much power to the north. It would be great if ACMA could get them to reconfigure. Our 2kw has no chance against their 38kw (I think).
Why ACMA have allocated the same frequency in two areas so geographically close is anyone’s guess!


#91

Thanks for the info, RhemaCC!

Power FM is 10kw northwards.

It causes a lot of issues at Charlestown too.

We have NBN Channel 3 to thank for the current mess . 88-92 mhz was unavailable until late 2011 and meant the only option was to co-channel with Illawarra back in early 2000s when the licences were granted.


#92

Spent a bit of time on the central coast. It’s interesting on the myswitch website a lot of the TV reception for the central coast is from mt sugarloaf. I went to The Entrance and I think I could see mt sugarloaf, though JJJ 102.1 does not power in like I would expect for LOS. So I know the Newcastle commercials have limited power southwards is it the same true for the ABC stations? The tower in the distance might not have been Mt Sugarloaf.

I stayed at Bateau Bay and that was in a hole (a very nice hole). I got TV in the caravan park from Newcastle even though the Forrester’s beach transmitter was down the road. 96.3 was not the best. 92.5 ABC was not great. The best fmers were the commercial stations from the central coast by no means perfect reception. Basically westwards was blocked in a valley next to a beach. Zero optus and Vodafone reception. Telstra had reception but not great. Other parts of the park had some mobile reception.

On the am band, Newcastle was better (only slightly) than Sydney. Was happy 1233 was better than expected. My guess it
was due to being next to the beach.

Driving around listening to Triple M, it did suffer interference from ABC news radio from the upper Hunter in parts.


#93

No, the ABC FM services from Mt Sugarloaf are Omnidirectional at an ERP of 80kW.


#94

Newcastle Commercial and community are restricted to 2KW in the direction of Sydney and the Central Coast, their maximum unrestricted power is 20kW.

From my understanding Power Fm is only licenced to 1.5kw towards Wollongong / Sydney and the Central Coast. Obviously when ducting occurs the signal roars up the coast and interferes with Rhenna Central Coast


#95

Power is 10kw towards Sydney to Newcastle.

It’s only a small arc whereby the 1.5kw is applied - to Wollongong City and northern suburbs.


#96

Yes Power Fm has a reduction from 0-70’ of 1.5kw to reduced the signal into Wollongong. It is 10KW over the 320-360’ sector. From my understanding this would put the 10kw beam at Campbelltown and 1.5KW east of this line.


#97

What about i98/wave down south? Is it 1.5k?


#98

No, according to the Wollongong LAP, i98/Wave transmits at 20kW towards the south (ie. Nowra licence area).


#99

I thought it was 4kW towards Nowra and the Highlands (vs 50 kW for Power).


#100

Well, the 130-200° sector (from Knights Hill) has an ERP of 20kW, whilst the 200-310° sector (ie. towards the Highlands) has an ERP of 4kW.