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.
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!