DCR-C antenna efficiently expands coverage while keeping total cost of ownership and inclement weather impact in check, as Saskatchewan’s CKVX goes full power
RAYMOND, Maine – January 4, 2017 – Dielectric, a pioneer in purpose-engineered antennas and RF systems for TV and radio broadcasters, today announced that Canadian broadcasting group Golden West Radio has installed a Dielectric DCR-C elliptically polarized antenna to increase coverage for Kindersley, Saskatchewan radio station CKVX.
CKVX has served the small community for over 11 years, but its original low-power FM signal covered just roughly a four and one-quarter mile radius. Striking a deal with a local wireless company to co-locate on a tower recently vacated by national broadcaster CBC, Golden West applied for a power increase to better service the region and reach a larger audience. CKVX was approved for a full-power license, enabling it to raise its transmitter power output (TPO) to 18.9kW and its effective radiated power (ERP) to 100kW.
With 41 AM and FM stations spanning from Alberta to northwestern Ontario, Golden West Radio has experience with a variety of antenna manufacturers and designs, and turned immediately to Dielectric for the CKVX upgrade. “Dielectric was our first choice for CKVX based on site characteristics, coverage needs and many years of positive experience with their products,” said Laverne Siemens, Director of Engineering, Golden West Radio. “CBC’s unused, top-mounted TV antenna was still in place on the tower, so we opted for a side-mounted position immediately below it. With unidirectional radiation a key requirement, we opted for Dielectric’s DCR-C ring-style antenna – a proven design that we have had great success with across our station group.”
The ice and wind protection afforded by Dielectric’s optional full radomes were also important to Siemens. “The wide-open, prairie location of the CKVX tower leaves us susceptible to inclement weather conditions,” he explained. “While some other antenna vendors offer radomes that protect only the antenna drive point, we felt that the remote location of this site warranted the 100% protection of the Dielectric radomes. Adding full radome protection avoids us needing to send out a tower crew to de-ice the antenna after an ice storm or the prolonged power roll back time we might experience if the antenna isn’t properly protected.”
Golden West selected an elliptically polarized design with a 70/30 horizontal-to-vertical pattern to help manage both its TPO and operational costs, while also streamlining deployment. “Elliptical polarization provides the reception advantage of a vertical component without doubling the transmitter power output, as would be required by circular polarization,” said Siemens. “This keeps our transmitter power below 20kW, while meeting our licensed ERP without increasing our monthly power bills. The higher gain of an elliptical design also reduced the antenna size and windload, simplifying the antenna installation and tuning.”
Situated on a rising hill with clear sightlines in all directions, the site’s topology eliminated the need to include null fill in the antenna design, but Golden West did request a negative 0.75-degree tilt because of the antenna’s height on the roughly 1000-foot tower. They opted for a 10-bay design that delivered the gain CKVX required while keeping total cost of ownership low, as their monthly co-location tower lease costs are based on the number of antenna bays.
The installation and subsequent tuning went seamlessly, as Siemens had come to expect with Dielectric. “Dielectric antennas are well regarded for their engineering design and quality, which contributes to a simple and straightforward antenna tuning process,” he said. “For tuning, unlike many smaller broadcasters, we have our own spectrum analyzers to take readings and measurements. With the provided fine match, we quickly achieved a return loss of better than 30 dB at +/- 100KHz, resulting in a very comfortable voltage standing wave ratio (VSWR).”
Siemens appreciates the customer service he received from Dielectric throughout the project, and both he and CKVX’s listeners compliment the final results. “Dielectric’s outstanding sales and service support across antenna design, ordering, manufacturing and delivery kept everything moving on schedule and on budget,” he praised. “Our DCR-C antenna has performed exceptionally well since it began radiating our signal at higher power. We are achieving the predicted .5 mV contour and are meeting all coverage expectations. In fact, CKVX now has one of the largest coverage patterns in the province, and anecdotal listener response has been overwhelmingly positive.”
“We are proud to have participated with Golden West in their very successful project at Kindersley,” said Federico D’Avis, international sales manager, Dielectric. “Dielectric strives to build relationships with its customers on trust and service. We have always enjoyed working with Laverne Siemens at Golden West, and are happy to have exceeded expectations with this challenging project.”
Based in Raymond, Maine, Dielectric LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sinclair. Dielectric is a leading provider of innovative broadcast products. From remote stations to major markets, Dielectric has been delivering solutions for every need since 1942. Dielectric is an innovative, customer-centric organization with a long history of engineering excellence in designing and manufacturing high-quality broadcast solutions. The Company is a trusted partner of broadcasters worldwide. More information can be accessed at www.dielectric.com