The future of AM radio

Martin Waters
Sat Feb 2 13:09:48 EST 2008

--- Garrett Wollman <> wrote:

KOA, as a class-IB station, would have required
 stronger protection
than any of the class-II stations on 850, and I
 believe the pattern
itself is clear evidence that the WEEI array was
 designed only to
protect KOA, and the protection it gives to the other
 stations on the
channel is an artifact.  (That is to say, at the time
 it was built,
eliminating all of those stations from consideration
 would have
resulted in an identical array design.)

    The WEEI towers are very tall -- around 5/8th
wave, IIRC. As a result, I've always wondered whether
WHDH/Boston Herald-Traveler had a plan to try to get
the station designated as a I-B and built the antenna
to those specs.

    I don't know the old rules well enough to know
whether that would have required less protection to
KOA -- as even though it operated and still does
non-DA, the rules said that I-B stations were to
operate with directional antennas at night as required
to protect each other.

    Perhaps, in theory, the FCC could have decided KOA
would have to use a DA-night if it assigned a I-B to
Boston. Just rank speculation.

    Meanwhile, those tall towers, I suppose, deliver a
helluva skywave signal to the Grand Banks or someplace
out there.

   As for the 590, 680 and 850 signals to the west at
night: They all deteriorate rapidly going west on the
Mass Pike from around as close in as the eastbound
Natick service plaza and are useless before I-495.

    In some respects, 590 has the cleanest signal --
no other signals gobbling it up. It first becomes
unusable because of splash from 580.

    Just another of the many places that make me
wonder why the owners thought 850 was such a big
improvement over 590. For example, on the South Shore,
Marshfield, Plymouth, etc., 590 is clear and strong at
night and 850 is shaky. Sometimes I think they just
got caught up in the size-matters thing -- 50 kW must
be better than 5 kW. And they could have added all
simulcast stations they have now if they stayed on

    Someday maybe I'll rent a boat so I can compare
the night signals on the Grand Banks ...  :) 

More information about the Boston-Radio-Interest mailing list