WKOX, WRCA, WUNR at full power

markwa1ion@aol.com markwa1ion@aol.com
Mon Mar 23 12:59:20 EDT 2009

Recent changes at WKOX-1200, WRCA-1330, and WUNR-1600 have had people 
remarking upon the signal strengths of these stations with the facility 
and power changes.

This past weekend, I measured strengths here in the Pinehurst section 
(southern end) of Billerica, MA, GC= 42.5332 N / 71.2205 W, about 15 
miles / 24 km northwest of downtown Boston.  A relatively 
non-directional antenna was used with Drake R8A and RFSpace SDR-IQ 

All three stations now transmit from the site that was formerly just 
WUNR's: Oak Park (southern end of Newton, MA) near the Charles River 
and the Needham, Dedham, and Boston (West Roxbury) borders.

The site is approximately 17 air miles (28 km) due south of my home 
location.  WKOX now runs 50 kW, WUNR runs 20 kW, and WRCA runs 17 kW.

Old-facility daytime V-Soft ratings were:
WKOX-1200 (Framingham, 10 kW) = 65.9 dBu (1.98 mV/m)
WRCA-1330 (Waltham, 5 kW) = 73.1 dBu (4.52 mV/m)
WUNR-1600 (Newton, 5 kW) = 63.0 dBu (1.41 mV/m)

Based upon strengths relative to known-level stations, I now have the 
following, likely accurate within 2 dB:
WKOX-1200 = 71 dBu (3.5 mV/m) - better
WRCA-1330 = 59 dBu (0.9 mV/m) - worse
WUNR-1600 = 58 dBu (0.8 mV/m) - worse

Night-time results:
WKOX-1200 = 67.7 dBu (2.42 mV/m) usable generally but hints of CFGO 
under and a bit of IBOC hash from WPHT-1210 Philly.
WRCA-1330 = 61.7 dBu (1.21 mV/m) mostly in the clear but a little dodgy 
at times with NYC mixing under and some self-interference (skip versus 
groundwave) "crunching".
1600 ~ 70 dBu (~ 3 mV/m) peak BUT this is all WWRL (NYC).  Judging by 
the background audio assumed to be WUNR, it is at least 10 dB less (and 
clearly unusable).

None of these approaches local grade at night, which I take to be about 
74 dBu (5 mV/m), enough to squash unacceptable skywave interference 
most of the time.

It will be interesting to compare my numbers to V-Soft's once they 
update their database.

Also of interest will be whatever is observed by listeners at other 
locations.  In some cases, especially east of the combo transmitter 
site, signals should be much improved.  Other directions may be either 
better or worse.  The relatively short antennas in use are likely to be 
putting more of the juice into high-angle skip than would be typical of 
more traditional arrays.

Mark Connelly, WA1ION - Billerica, MA

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