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Re: WNFT-1150 AM

At 09:45 PM 5/20/98 -0400, you wrote:
>Date: Mon, 18 May 1998 21:33:54 -0400
>To: bra@bostonradio.org
>From: ME <ebradio@flash.net>
>Subject: WNFT-1150 AM
>I am wondering...why is AM 1150's signal so poor?  I have a very good tuner
in my auto and am amazed at how poorly 1150 is received (from any cars that
I've been in) outside the city.  I don't remember the signal being that
lousy when they were WACQ or WMEX back when I used to listen to them
faithfully.  I know that their signal was never something to write home
about, but when compared to 1260 AM or 1090 AM, man what a terrible signal
outside the city.  For example, at best, they were faint on the South Shore
around Plymouth while WPZE and WILD were much better.  Up North, around
Salem, MA, the same scenario, 1090 AM bombed in while 1260 was damn decent,
1150 was barely listenable.
>What is the problem with their signal anyway?  Is it the "nature of that

I think the problem with your reception of 1150 is where you've been
listening. The station tansmits from Lexington near the Belmont line, just
south of Route 2. The day and night patterns are similar, except that the
night pattern deeply suppresses radiation around an arc of at least 180
degrees centered on an azimuth of 322 degrees. The day pattern does not
suppress that deeply, and in fact has a minor lobe to the northwest. Both
patterns send maximum radiation to the south-southeast, at 142 degrees.

The signal on the North Shore is not great because the array was designed to
protect CHSJ, St Johns NB, which was on 1150 for years. I would expect WPZE
to put a better signal into Plymouth during the day because the WPZE TX is
in Milton, which is much closer to Plymouth. WPZE is ND during the day but
directionalized to the north at night, so at night I would expect WNFT to
have the better signal on the South Shore. Better doesn't mean good however.
On most nights, co-channel interference probably becomes objectionable at
about the Quincy-Braintree line. As for WILD, its location in Malden is
great for reception on the South Shore and Cape Cod. The path to Plymouth is
over, or very close to salt water all the way.

But there is another factor. You are probably correct when you say that the
signal sounded louder during the station's days as WACQ and WMEX. That's
because the station operated illegally for _years_! I live 1.2 miles
east-northeast of the 1150 TX, and until just before the sale to ARS, the
station consistenly splattered from 1090 to 1200; it made WADN completely
unlistenable here for years. (I repeatedly asked WADN's original owner,
Lloyd Simon to complain. But I guess that making his station audible was not
one of Simon's priorities.)

Just before the sale to ARS, Greater Media's VP of Engineering finally paid
a visit to the 1150 TX to install equipment needed for tests of an in-band
on-channel digital-audio broadcast system. Included among the new equipment,
apparently, was an NRSC sideband filter. I think they
also--finally--adjusted the modulation levels to keep from overmodulating.
The DAB tests lasted for only a few days, but surprisingly, when control
passed to ARS, the modulation did not revert to its previous levels. I think
that 1150 is modulating ever so slightly more now than they did during the
WAAF simulcast, but I think the operation is still legal.

The bottom line is that, despite the geographical growth of the Boston
market over the years since the 1150 TX was built (1940, I believe), the
signal is not bad where a lot of the people live. And for a station that (at
the moment) targets an inner-city audience, the coverage is quite good.

- -------------------------------
Dan Strassberg (Note: Address is CASE SENSITIVE!)
ALL _LOWER_ CASE!!!--> dan.strassberg@worldnet.att.net
(617) 558-4205; Fax (617) 928-4205