Case Studies – Low Power / RSL / Community Licenses
Yorkshire Dales Radio – Low Power AM (Medium Wave) relay at Settle, North Yorkshire
Reception in Settle of Yorkshire Dales transmitters was poor. Both the Hawes (936kHz) signal and the Skipton (1413kHz) signal suffered considerable co-channel interference, experienced from powerful transmitters either in Europe or from more powerful sites in the UK.
Datatrans Communications were approached, and after technical investigation and discussion with Ofcom, recommended that a relay was installed in Giggleswick. Whilst this was a possible technical solution the cost of such an installation using major National Installers was uneconomical for the additional revenue generated by the additional listeners. (High cost of the transmitter antenna, £20,000 and high operating costs of the Studio-Transmitter Link, £3000 per annum)
Datatrans proposed a novel but effective alternative using much simpler low cost antenna, reconditioned transmitter and an off-air audio feed from the Hawes transmitter. This feed used a directional receive aerial, a selective receiver with special audio filtering. This proposal was approximately 30% of the conventional and new equipment alternative with no cost for the STL. This was accepted by Yorkshire Dales Radio and the installation successfully completed. During daylight hours reception in Settle of the relay was excellent with some limited problems during some winter night time hours. The night time problem was subsequently eliminated when Broadband became available in Settle and low cost computer software could be used to provide the audio link. The system was still operational in September 2012.
Craven College Radio (Restricted Service License)
In 2006, Datatrans Communications was approached by the college to advise on the application and operation of an RSL for training students on Media Studies. We provided all the necessary information and a competitive quotation for the hire, installation, commissioning and maintenance of all the equipment required for the service. (Aerial, Transmitter and Studio equipment including computers and play-out system.
The broadcast, using FM in stereo with full RDS was very successful as may be judged by the fact that the same service was provided for the following two years. In 2009 at the request of the College, Datatrans supplied and installed a permanent FM transmission system so that RSL’s could be operated at any time they were able to obtain a license. The system is still operational today.
JCom – AM (Medium Wave) Community Radio License
Because of the non availability of FM frequencies in Leeds, JCom were unable to be granted an FM Community License but were successful in obtaining an AM (Medium Wave) license. Unfortunately the high cost of an AM transmission system from the major suppliers (Excess of £20k) was causing difficulties in raising sufficient money to purchase and install the equipment. In addition the studio site was considered unsuitable for location of the AM antenna, which would result in further costs for both additional site rental and Studio-Transmitter link costs.
Datatrans Communications became involved because it was known that we had installed low cost systems for Local Radio companies. Discussions took place with JCom and Ofcom, and it appeared to us that although the site was not ideal with a little development an AM transmission system could be installed but at reduced power. An essential part of this development was to carry out a realistic trial on the site and submit the findings to Ofcom. This trial was carried out in July/August 2008 and was successful. On this basis Ofcom authorized the site and a permanent installation was successfully commissioned in September 2009. The cost to JCom was less than 40% of the figure quoted by other AM installers. Because of the close proximity to properties some difficulties with interference have been experienced but these were resolved and the system has remained operational and is currently maintained by Datatrans Communications Limited.
Drystone Community Radio
Datatrans Communications is currently advising Drystone Radio on upgrading their FM transmission system. This is likely to involve significant modifications to the aerial system and changes and improvements to the audio processing.