Dan Strassberg dan.strassberg@att.net
Thu Aug 19 16:57:54 EDT 2004

I'm taking the liberty of cross-posting this from the Boston board at

> "(the other) Big John" wrote:
> Well I just read on the FCC site that WBIX has finally been
> granted Program Test Authority. Could tonight be the grand
> opening of their 2.5kw night signal?
> Hard for me to hear it down hear below the Mason-Dixon Line.
> Someone please keep me posted! Thanks.

I checked today's FCC applications and FCC actions. What I found relating to
WBIX was not the grant of program test authority that you say you saw, but
the FCC's acceptance for filing of an application for modification of the
construction permit that authorized building night facilities at the WAMG
890 site on Sewell St in Ashland. (This is the array that was originally
built in 1980 for 1060 when it was WGTR.) The requested modifications are
the inevitable augmentations of the standard pattern described in the
construction permit. Requests for augmentation are a normal part of the
licensing process for new directional AM facilities because standard
patterns usually specify radiation levels in the nulls that are lower than
those attainable in practice (and are more severe than those required for
protection of other stations). Sometimes, however, the FCC requires
modifications to the requested modifications. In the case of co-located
WAMG, the original CP specified 3.5 kW-N but the license was granted for 3.4
kW. The FCC can take a while to process applications to augment a standard
pattern (and usually DOES take a while in the case of complex arrays on
Class A channels), but when processing is complete, the application for
modification of the CP and an application for a license to cover the
modified CP are usually granted simultaneously.

Before the grant of a license to cover, it is common for the FCC to grant an
application for program test authority--usually with power lower than that
specified in the CP. Frequently, the power authorized is half that specified
in the CP, but WMET 1160 in Gaithersburg MD was initially granted program
test authority at 1/4 of the 50 kW-D specified in its CP. WBIX filed an
application for program test authority last December--for certain, before
the array was tuned, and quite possibly before construction was complete.
There were probably legal reasons for filing at that time, possibly related
to the fact that the CP was tolled to extend its completion date beyond the
normal expiration date as a result of circumstances beyond the control of
the applicant. The FCC, as you might expect, rejected that application.
Whether the FCC can now accept that application without the applicant
resubmitting it, I don't know. Anyhow, I would expect to soon see notice
that WBIX had applied for program test authority or that its previously
submitted application for such authority had been granted.

Fortunately, the modifcations to the standard pattern don't look as if they
will cause material interference to KYW. Radiation is increased along and in
the vicinity of six radials, however. The most severe modification lies at
330 degrees--to the north-northwest, where the augmented inverse-distance
field at 1 km is specified as 60 mV/m. The crucial region to the west and
southwest is substantially unaffected, however.

Dan Strassberg, dan.strassberg@att.net
eFax 707-215-6367

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