The recent auctioning of broadcast licenses by Radio Spectrum Management will see many new FM services on-air over the coming year. Heads FM owner Mark Perry was able to secure another frequency and is using it to launch a nostalgia format being called ‘The Wireless’. The station is one of the very first on the airwaves after the auctions and Southern Broadcast supplied and installed equipment for the project.
The first step was to take care of getting audio to the transmitter site (a re-purposed telecom roadside cabinet). The existing station uses a licensed 850MHz STL, but this time a 5.8GHz IP link was installed allowing a high quality lossless digital audio link. The new STL also brought the benefit of an IP data connection – providing telemetry for all the Ethernet enabled equipment on site. This is already being put to good use – the cabinet is being upgraded from passive to active cooling due to extra heat generated from the new equipment. It been one of the hottest summers on record in New Zealand and the transmitter’s temperature can be monitored in seconds from the station owner’s smartphone. The transmitter’s logging feature also allows analysis of the new cooling system’s effectiveness over time without needing any additional equipment.
Sonifex PS-SEND and PS-PLAY codecs were chosen to encode and decode the IP audio stream. Their embedded hardware based design offers greater reliability than computer based solutions and the codecs feature professional XLR connectors unlike some similar priced options. The selected rackmount model simplifies installation and the USB slot on the decoder provides backup audio in case of link loss.
Since the existing installation utilised a broadband dipole, the new service could easily be added with the use of an RF combiner. Delta Meccanica’s 20000-S2 starpoint combiner was the obvious choice for performance, compact size and value for money. The combiner performed flawlessly – and didn’t need any tuning even after being shipped half way round the world from Italy.
To reach license power a BW Broadcast TX300 V2 FM transmitter was selected. The transmitter’s all-in-one design was ideal, the internal stereo generator and audio processor saved money but also offered superb audio quality. The station manager can now deal with off-air situations caused by mains power spikes himself thanks to slide-in power supply. A built-in Ethernet remote allowed him to chose processing presets whilst sat listening off-air at home after the installation. One of the station’s goals was to present oldies music in quality better than ever offered to previous listeners – the carefully sourced music catalog, lossless digital audio link and BW Broadcast’s ultra-clean modulator and exciter has made this wish come true.
“After forty years in network mainstream radio, I decided a decade ago to set up a small radio station for my local community in Mangawhai, New Zealand. BW Broadcast gear was the best option for my LPFM station, being basically “plug & play”. With a recent approved increase in power and the acquisition of another frequency to deal with, BW Broadcast again had the right solution with the right equipment for both stations.
I am continually impressed with the sonic quality and range from the very reasonably priced transmission kit, ideal for small, sole operators like myself. The NZ distributors, Southern Broadcast, made selection and installation an enjoyable experience, teaching me some very important points. The main one? ‘Get the experts with the right gear!’ Thanks again BW Broadcast and Southern Broadcast, my community and I are very grateful and lucky to have two “local” independent radio stations in this day of homogenised and predictable corporate formats”.Mark Perry, The Wireless 90.4FM
Tune in to The Wireless on 90.4FM around the Mangawhai Heads area, or listen online here.