I thought the tech might have been testing, but now not so sure.
The transmitter appears to be randomly turning on with live programming.
The transmitter only stays on for a period of around 3 minutes each time & then off again for maybe 6 to 15 minutes or so, as observed over the past 24 hours or so.
Sounds like there’s too much reflected power overloading the TX. This’d explain why it keeps cutting in out, as the TX overheats from the reflected power and then cools off once it shuts down for a while. Possibly a failing antenna or some other problem in the mast e.g. moisture in one of the coax joins etc.
We had problems like that with our two previous antennas. Turns out it was because ZCG antennas are garbage. Changed it out for a refurbished secondhand antenna made by a company that shut down about a decade ago (forget which one) and it’s been flawless ever since.
Would be a worry if the station sent the TX away for repair & no fault found & reconnected TX only to find original fault condition & left it like that.
But if it was a lightning strike, could be/have been multiple faults between antenna & TX that all need/ed to be investigated & resolved.
The station’s basically been off air for quite some weeks now.
I know of one community station that has no volunteer technician & I do wonder how they manage. I’ve no idea of Triple H’s funds for repair either or tech service accessibility. No updates on their Facebook page.
Just monitoring again (just now) & TX on for two minutes & off again for several minutes.
Can’t comprehend why they don’t just leave the TX powered off until fault resolved.
That said, some community stations are better resourced or managed that others.
UPDATE: Just looked at their website & they say they’re back on air.
Oops! They were a bit presumptive.
Perhaps looking like a unresolved coax/antenna problem as you’ve mentioned @radiolurker
Surely a reflected power or SWR meter should have been used or observed upon reconnecting the TX though.
It could just as easily be age-related wear and tear, especially if one of more parts of the antenna and/or coax run had worn out i.e. insulation around joins, corroded connectors etc.
Depending on where they’re situated, it could either be CBF emergency grants or via a state-based community radio association such as SACBA in SA. But even if money isn’t an issue, there’s the issue of convenience… it’s far more convenient to have a tech or two as part of the station’s volunteer cohort and/or access to techs who work exclusively with community radio than it is to find a tech on a commercial basis.
Even if you do have techs, sometimes it helps to bounce stuff off techs from other stations for a second opinion. It really helps if there’s an organisation like SACBA or SCMA that have techs that aren’t tied to a particular station, thus they get to see a wide range of different setups across their member stations.
Unfortunately, techs aren’t getting any younger and it’s a bit challenging to encourage younger people into it. Not so much the IT and networking side, but it’s the RF side that kids don’t seem all that enthusiastic about.
I’m surprised nobody has considered turning the power down until the reflected power reaches an acceptable level. A weaker signal that’s stable has to be better than a stronger one that keeps cutting in and out.
Quite likely the community stations in question have no technical support - even if the did from an ex-IT or telco worker its quite unlikely they would have broadcasting skills like setting audio levels on a program chain and adjusting a compressor/limiter. A number of community stations have burned volunteers over the years too.
Eventually the ACMA will get onto them and issue a warning notice which if they ignore will have them taken off air. Same with transmitter off/on all the time - ACMA will ask for the licence back.
EMR spectrum is a public resource and nobody has an entitlement to it - if they cannot meet their licence conditions they need to turn off and return the licence.
I drove past the transmitter at Waitara for Triple H. It is on air at very low power. It starts to fade around Westfield’s Hornsby (lots of multipath). I think lots buildings now around doesn’t help the signal anyway given those apartments are higher than the transmitter itself. Although at full power it is normally good around Hornsby CBD (considering its an easy walk 10 min - 15 min walk to the transmitter). Basically you can’t get much around Normanhurst or Thornleigh (this tune into the car radio). It seems like though it is consistently on air now. Although I got no signal at home now so I can’t be sure.
Espousing the wonderful musical variety you’ll hear many community radio stations, I had a chuckle to myself when hearing this song from Sheila Hancock for the first time as broadcast by 107.1 Highland FM this afternoon.
For those interested in 92.5 2WYR’s current standings…in a quick skim through i can see several false statements and BS in the submitted responses, but hey at least ACMA have acknowledged it publicly now and deemed a breach…for what happens now tho, who knows.
Looks like 5THE FM is trying to get back on the air via a TCBL after ACMA refused to renew their licence last year. This was due to concerns about the station’s “management and financial capacity to continue providing a service which would meet the needs of the community”, and I recall seeing some discussion about this in this thread at the time.
ACMA has recently issued a licence to 5THE for an STL from their studio in Millicent to Mt Burr, and is is expected to seek applications for a new permanent community broadcasting licence in December.
Very different landscape here in community radio in the Aus… Good read none the less for our UK counterparts.
The wording of the article and the word “promise”… doesn’t sit well with me. Promises get broken all the time… and you don’t promise anything… unless you know you can deliver or fulfill that promise. Especially in community radio…