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Are You Sure Your "Upgrade" Is Really That Dramatic?

The technical side of broadcasting. Think IBOC is a sham? Talk about it here! How about HDTV? Post DX reports here as well.
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Are You Sure Your "Upgrade" Is Really That Dramatic?

Post by CK-722 » Tue Feb 25, 2020 12:31 pm

Frank Roberts explains some of the tricks of the FM Upgrade Trade:

"1977 was the year FM "came to life" in Birmingham.  In February, a new transmitter was put online for WERC-FM, increasing its power to the maximum 100,000 watts. 

Frank Roberts was the chief engineer who oversaw the transformation of 106.9 in Birmingham.  His recollections:
"I remember that morning well,  Birmingham had received several inches of fresh snowfall the night before and all the roads had a treacherous coating of black ice, transforming the road up Red Mountain (Vulcan avenue?) into a giant automobile ski jump.  I had to abandon my vehicle on Oxmoor Road and hike up the mountain to the transmitter site at the WBRC Channel 6 mansion.  As I was warming up the new Transmitter, Dave Hultsman (Technical Director for WERC parent Mooney Broadcasting) showed up, having driven up the mountain in his Willys Jeep. 
Sometime during the simulcast Layton and Dearman Morning Show, Doug and Jim counted down from ten to zero, I pressed the transfer button and suddenly WERC-FM could be heard from Montgomery to Huntsville, from Mississippi to the Georgia line.  Doug commented on how much louder and cleaner the new signal sounded while Dave and I just glanced at each other and grinned.  You see, FM isn't like AM.  A stronger signal won't produce a louder program in your car radio speaker.  Our Program Director, Frank Giardina (air name Frank Lewis), was an excellent Engineer and knew that we had to do something to make the power increase actually sound like an improvement to the average Birmingham Metro listener.  With that in mind, we came up with a plan. 
Part of my job was to perform weekly transmitter maintenance at the AM and FM transmitter sites.  About two months before the switchover, I began to turn down the modulation a couple of percent during my weekly transmitter visits.  Not enough to be audible mind you, just a couple of percent every week.  By the time the February 7th switchover rolled around, the old 1950's RCA transmitter was barely making 60 percent modulation and sounding a bit tired.  Of course, the new Collins transmitter was set to deliver a much louder 100% modulated FM signal.  At the moment of switchover, the loudness difference was startling.  Even Doug Layton's ears could hear the difference and that's saying something!  I had my wife roll a tape of the event from home.  What was the first song to be heard on the new transmitter?  I'm glad you asked.  It was "Dancing Queen" by ABBA.
I firmly believe that by pressing that button in February of 1977, I had triggered the first step in the inevitable process that saw FM overtake AM as a music medium, at least in the Birmingham market." "

Is THAT where they got the idea for the 486-SX?

Same (x, y, z), different (t)

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Re: Are You Sure Your "Upgrade" Is Really That Dramatic?

Post by k8jd » Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:29 pm

That ABBA song was a Great one to play on that new 100 K signal ! The girls in that group had very bright sounding voices !
A few years back I heard that the blond, Agnetha Faltskog had come back and recorded again. the CD Title was "A" so I bought it. She has had to relearn singing and the more mature voice is much mellower and wonderful to listen to.

Neat trick to highlight the new higher power signal, goes farther but should not sound different (maybe less static in the expanded far fringes. if it's not HD) :lol

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Re: Are You Sure Your "Upgrade" Is Really That Dramatic?

Post by Willie108 » Tue Feb 25, 2020 7:29 pm

Dancing Queen was what we use to call a "Jingle" record. Sounded great coming out of an uptempo jingle>

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