I've checked 92.1 several times over the past 2 or 3 weeks and though I know they have a weak signal it seldom drops into the familiar FM fuzz that indicates a very weak signal. But what I have noticed is that their audio has some major noise in it that I don't think is coming from a weak signal but from bad audio being delivered to the transmitter. Maybe they're feeding the FM with their AM and they're picking up noise that way. Or maybe they just don't know what they're doing. I'd prefer listening to their FM but 700 AM is actually clearer.
Also, I notice that the ESPN 700 Website doesn't mention FM 92.1. Not ready for prime time?
It's true that 92.1 (K221GK) doesn't have nearly the power that a full service station would have, but it isn't bad for what it is. It's committed to rebroadcasting KALL for 3 years, so there's a lot of time left before they could even consider doing something different. As to why they don't advertise it, I'm not sure. It might have something to do with not wanting to commit to something just yet. The sale of the station to Broadway hasn't been finalized yet, so it's still owned by Sanpete Broadcasting and they may be the ones running it. It needed to go back on the air in August since it had been silent for just under a year. I wouldn't be surprised if they jury rigged something to get the KALL signal and there's not a lot of incentive to do much more than a minimal effort until everything gets finalized. It would be a Bad Thing(tm) if they started advertising both AM700 and FM92.1 and got people to switch and then had to reverse course if the deal falls through somehow. I guess it would depend on how confident they are that the deal will succeed. I can't think of why it wouldn't but this business is weird that way.
I wonder if they needed to switch to an off-air feed due to an issue with another type of delivery system or the need to use it elsewhere, or just to keep costs down. Some commercial FM translators are required to be fed off-air, but you can at least use an outdoor FM receive antenna, even frequency-specific one, but I'm not sure how you could do it on the fly with AM. I guess a Rolls AM receiver but likely with a loop antenna hanging from a paper clip from the cable tray or something, and the older Rolls units didn't care for high RF environments in transmitter buildings much, most tuner-only units don't love it. FM translators like Larcans have decent tuners and are built for that kind of environment. I think Innovonics makes some kind of AM Tuner but likely considerably more expensive. It could end up being a challenge either way depending on the building and what else is in there if that's the way it's set up.
Post by amanuensis on Jan 14, 2019 10:51:57 GMT -7
What I think would be ideal was if KTCE was able to use K221GK for its smooth jazz. Right now, there is nothing like it north of Lehi. Or is there some legal issue with a station using a translator as a booster?
Commercial FM translators that are outside the protected contour of the originating station must be fed off-air. Translators that are within the contour area of the originating station (called fill-ins) can be fed any way you want. I suspect you're right that the machinery and RF up in the area around Farnsworth would have a bad impact on AM reception. Well shielded with an external antenna? Who knows.
There is no such thing as using a translator as a booster. The two stations are separate entities. There's another legal issue though. As I mentioned before, the Salt Lake 92.1 translator must rebroadcast AM700 for at least the next 2 1/2 years. I don't see Broadway selling 700 any time soon. That renders the question moot, but putting that aside and assuming we've fast forwarded to 2022 there's still a couple of issues. Whoever owned the translator would have to be someone other than the owner of KTCE since it is not a fill-in translator. Assuming that was agreed to, there's still the issue of feeding it. Again since it's not a fill-in, the signal would need to be off-air. Picking up that weak of a signal is doable on its own, but not when the translator itself is broadcasting on the same frequency. It's own signal would drown out the distant one unless a very smart engineer were to do some pretty fancy footwork. It's theoretically possible, but not likely. One possibility that could work would be to rent out an HD subchannel on one of the Salt Lake FM's and have THAT simulcast KTCE and then the translator would simulcast the subchannel. Somehow I just don't see any of this happening.