Monthly Archives: October 2017

radio coverage extension prediction plot map

Advice on Ofcom Community Radio Coverage Extension

Ofcom Consultation

On 28th April this year in its Consultation Response Ofcom indicated that after the current licensing round they would consider requests for Community Radio coverage extension for existing services (Paragraph 1.17).

We suspect that there is considerable underlying demand for such coverage extensions – and thus we suggest that maybe the principle of “early bird gets the worm” will apply.

Therefore we advise stations to start thinking about this task and be ready to move fast when Ofcom invite applications.

Ways to Extend Coverage

There are various ways to extend coverage – and the most effective solution will be different in each situation.  Possible ways are:

  • Power boost
  • Extend transmitter antenna height
  • Move transmitter site
  • Add relay transmitter/s
  • Antenna changes
  • A combination of the above

Ofcom Coverage Extension Process

Ofcom have not announced the process for this yet, but we can guess what might be involved:

  • Valid technical and community reasons for the coverage extension request
  • Evidence of local demand for the change
  • Technical analysis to check the coverage extension does not introduce unacceptable interference to other services

The first 2 steps you should start imediately – it takes time to gather such evidence.  You may need to conduct measurements in the field to assess coverage, and/or it takes time to gather letters of support etc.

Technical Analysis

The technical analysis is not so straightforward.  It is likely to require you to complete a form like this (link downloads a Word document).  To complete the form properly requires significant technical work which would need to follow Ofcom’s Analogue Planning Policy.  Those documents are quite daunting, even for experienced broadcast engineers!

Fortunately Associated Broadcast Consultants are here to help with your coverage extension project.   We have over 25 years experience in radio coverage and frequency planning.  We can conduct rigorous technical analysis that follows Ofcom’s Analogue Planning Policy.

Contact us to find out more!

 

 

radio coverage extension prediction plot map

Advice on Ofcom Community Radio Coverage Extensions

Ofcom Consultation

On 28th April this year in its Consultation Response Ofcom indicated that after the current licensing round they would consider requests for Community Radio coverage extensions for existing services (Paragraph 1.17).

We suspect that there is considerable underlying demand for such coverage extensions – and thus we suggest that maybe the principle of “early bird gets the worm” will apply.

Therefore we advise stations to start thinking about this task and be ready to move fast when Ofcom invite applications.

Ways to Extend Coverage

There are various ways to extend coverage – and the most effective solution will be different in each situation.  Possible ways are:

  • Power boost
  • Extend transmitter antenna height
  • Move transmitter site
  • Add relay transmitter/s
  • Antenna changes
  • A combination of the above

Ofcom Coverage Extension Process

Ofcom have not announced the process for this yet, but we can guess what might be involved:

  • Valid technical and community reasons for the coverage extension request
  • Evidence of local demand for the change
  • Technical analysis to check the coverage extension does not introduce unacceptable interference to other services

The first 2 steps you should start imediately – it takes time to gather such evidence.  You may need to conduct measurements in the field to assess coverage, and/or it takes time to gather letters of support etc.

Technical Analysis

The technical analysis is not so straightforward.  It is likely to require you to complete a form like this (link downloads a Word document).  To complete the form properly requires significant technical work which would need to follow Ofcom’s Analogue Planning Policy.  Those documents are quite daunting, even for experienced broadcast engineers!

Fortunately Associated Broadcast Consultants are here to help with your coverage extension project.   We have over 25 years experience in radio coverage and frequency planning.  We can conduct rigorous technical analysis that follows Ofcom’s Analogue Planning Policy.

Contact us to find out more!

 

 

Ofcom FM Frequency Availability

We’ve had LOADS of enquiries about FM frequency availability – it seems Ofcom want to “outsource” this activity whilst retaining the cards to make a final decision, and without informing consultants like us who could help.

We are sympathetic to the cause of new “challenger “broadcasters, but without the resources available to a big Government machine like Ofcom, it can seem difficult for stations to engage with them in a constructive way.

We believe the best way is to look at the situation through the “Ofcom periscope” and see the likelihood or not of a given request being viable according to their rules. BUT it’s difficult to give an honest, solid opinion because in addition to Ofcom’s tight technical restrictions (which we can model), they also have to apply judgement decisions – for example is a given interference area significant in terms of size or location? Also as a regulator they have to balance conflicting demand between (say) a Heart FM relay and a new local radio service for your area. We know where the balance should lie, but they have other external pressures!

We now think we may have developed a commercially-viable solution that strikes the right balance to estimate FM frequency availability in an area. We base our judgements upon the latest (current) Ofcom technical rules that they use. Some people may suggest that you to adopt alternative rules (like field measurements) to argue against Ofcom (good luck persuading a Government Quango to do that!). But if you want an honest, balanced judgement on frequency availability (using their rules) in your area, from the Ofcom perspective, then we can help.

FM Frequency Scan

What we CAN do:
– Analyse every FM frequency in your area and estimate incoming interference from every licensed transmitter in the UK
– Rule-out lots of frequencies that are blatantly illegal according to Ofcom rules (including many that may be non-intuitive that would not be obvious from on-site measurements)
– Identify the “most likely” or “least worst” available frequencies in your area
– Give an experience-based, plain English opinion on the viability of your chances, including modifications to your transmitter characteristics that may help in your application. “(eg: “No Chance mate”, “Difficult”, “Maybe”, “What’s the problem” “No problem” etc!)
– If you want to go to the next stage, we can offer a detailed analysis of a particular situation to challenge Ofcom on a particular decision. (This involves a LOT of work, so to reduce the risk of a negative result, we would advise you before starting if there were no chance)

What we CANNOT Do
– Any guarantee that a frequency we suggest is suitable is actually acceptable to Ofcom. They seem to apply additional criteria that we, (and you) do not know about

Some more detail available here.