October 4, 2006

LPFM Height Restrictions?

I support height restriction for LPFM (if its introduced).

Many LPFMers who are fortunate to either live on the side of a hill overlooking some of their broadcast area, or using a friends place/site on a hill will no doubt NOT like height restriction.

Even those broadcasters who have gone through strenuous effort to buy filtering equipment or constructing transmitter towers to best reach their indended community of people, while being mindful of the volatile LPFM environment may disagree, but I believe they are the ones that need to be applauded and I'd expect the govt to consider them first when it comes to applications for community licenses.

NZ is geographically hilly, so yes, height restrictions would limit the range for most LPFM operators, yet the doubling of power would increase the signal strength to the broadcast area instead. Thats the pressing topic from half the correspondence I get from listeners! "when are you increasing your power?". While it won't give us bigger reach, our signal will me much easier to pick up (within the intended b/c area).

Some areas/towns in NZ are elevated like Titirangi, so height restriction may not be the best idea for this area, nor would a community license do anyone any favours because of the altitude (and leaking coverage into other community licensed co-channel zones). However, neighbouring Piha is geographically tricky, but because it is isolated, something like a community license would benefit. I feel if things were dealt on a case by case basis, it would be the best way to tackle power issues. Licensing (even if it results with a special granted MPFM frequency, for example) would be the way forward for those affected by a height restriction.

1 comment:

DaveD said...

I have had a conversation with my contact at MED this afternoon
regarding the ministerial announcement and cabinet minutes.

Regarding the height, I am advised that it will not be "height above
sea level" but some form of "height above ground" or "height above
surroundings". This is being discussed within the MED and no outcome
is imminent. See below re GURL.

The "modest" or "minor" (depending which document you read) power
increase received considerable attention, with a 5w limit being
considered possible in the 88 MHz area but inadvisable at 107 MHz.
because of the proximity of Aeronautical services and the scrum that
would be more or less inevitable for frequencies in the lower
allocation if there was a power differential. (5w low / 1w high)

I got the impression that the GURL may be amended to allow the power
increase fairly soon, in part, to evaluate whether a height
restriction would be beneficial, necessary or even worthwhile.

It will take some time to make the extra frequencies available (87.5 -
88 MHz) as the Land Mobile allocation has to be cleared, but it may be
before Jan 2009.

For those who wish to have greater coverage the suggestion is to keep
an ear open for the "community" licences that may be available in your
area. Again this will probably be a while away and dependent on the
87.5 MHz clearance.