Acceptable registrations in the queue through June 2 at 7:30a ET have now been activated. Enjoy! -M.W.

Terms of Use have been amended effective October 6, 2019. Make sure you are aware of the new rules! Please visit this thread for details: https://www.mibuzzboard.com/phpBB3/view ... 16&t=48619

Best Translator Facilities In Michigan

Covers all of Northern Lower Michigan (from Ludington to Tawas northward), as well as the Straits Area and Soo Region.
User avatar
Ben Zonia
Posts: 715
Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2006 10:35 pm
Location: Honor

Best Translator Facilities In Michigan

Post by Ben Zonia » Tue Jun 08, 2021 9:59 pm

I'm going to be analyzing the equivalency of some of the best translator signals in Michigan.

Almost all the translators in the Southern Lower Peninsula are much less than the equivalent of a 3 kW Class A, due to low antenna heights, ERP limits below 100 watts due to IF restrictions (used station channels every 0.8 MHz apart just about guarantees a 10.6/10.8 MHz separation between local channels for alternate in between 400 kHz translators, limiting it to 99 watts), and directional.

So far, the best translator I have identified is W277DY, a translator for WMKT 1270 Charlevoix. It is 250 watts nondirectional from 309 meters, 1014 feet, HAAT. A 2.34 kW/100 meter facility would be equivalent, slightly less than an old 3 kW Class A.


"I had a job for a while as an announcer at WWV but I finally quit, because I couldn't stand the hours."

-Author Unknown

ChrisWL1980
Posts: 267
Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2019 2:36 am

Re: Best Translator Facilities In Michigan

Post by ChrisWL1980 » Wed Jun 09, 2021 4:51 pm

103.3 has a very listenable signal to eastern Otsego County. WMBN's 104.7 translator is just as strong if not stronger. I used to be listen to WKJC in that area; not anymore.

In southern Michigan, my vote for best translator coverage (based on personal experience, not engineering data, which I admit I know nothing about) is 93.3 W227BY (1510 WJKN) in Jackson. From where I live in northeastern Washtenaw County, I get as good a signal from them as I do from 89.3 WJKN-FM (no relation).



User avatar
Ben Zonia
Posts: 715
Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2006 10:35 pm
Location: Honor

Re: Best Translator Facilities In Michigan

Post by Ben Zonia » Wed Jun 09, 2021 6:18 pm

I just figured out how high a 99 watt translator would have to be to be the equivalent of a 3 kW ERP/100 meter HAAT Old Class A. It is 99 watts from 537.3 meters/1763 feet HAAT. Maybe in the rural Great Plains or foothills of the Rockies that might be possible. I'll look at the translators near Denver, since it is a city in the middle of a rural area, probably 20 local commercial FMs, so some IF restricted 99 watt translators are possibly there. The IF Beat is a real situation phenomenon, and during heavy tropospheric activity and involving grandfathered superpower stations, you'll hear two stations all over the band. I guess with something on the WWTV 9 tower, you could get close to that HAAT, but there probably no 0.8 spacings across the band. Maybe on the Sears Tower, etc., but those 400 kHz in between frequencies tend to be duplicated on suburban stations, and are directional to protect them.


"I had a job for a while as an announcer at WWV but I finally quit, because I couldn't stand the hours."

-Author Unknown

ftballfan
Posts: 650
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 6:38 pm

Re: Best Translator Facilities In Michigan

Post by ftballfan » Wed Jun 09, 2021 7:17 pm

Some other examples:
102.3 W272CR Petoskey (also WMKT) - 250 watts, HAAT 281 meters
100.7 W264DQ Cadillac (WLJW (AM) - 250 watts, HAAT 188 meters

Found an even better one in Wisconsin:
101.3 W267BB Wausau (WHRM-HD3) - 250 watts, HAAT 329 meters



User avatar
Ben Zonia
Posts: 715
Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2006 10:35 pm
Location: Honor

Re: Best Translator Facilities In Michigan

Post by Ben Zonia » Thu Jun 10, 2021 12:26 am

All three of the MacDonald Garber translators currently operating seem to be among the best.

As it was from the beginning of FM, equivalence is determined by the distance to the 60 dBu F(50,50) contour, which is and was called the 1 mV/m contour in older rules. There have been slight changes in the prediction graphs over the years.

Anyway, you would reach the 1 kW ERP/100 meters HAAT equivalent around 250 watts ERP/200 meters HAAT.

In many cases, they would receive cochannel and adjacent channel interference to a higher level than 60 dBu.

When you get over to Wausau, WI and points further West, you get into areas where many close to 2000 foot HAAT TV transmitter towers were built decades ago, and so there is where you might find more translators with larger coverage areas.


"I had a job for a while as an announcer at WWV but I finally quit, because I couldn't stand the hours."

-Author Unknown

User avatar
Colonel Flagg
Posts: 384
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 3:54 pm

Re: Best Translator Facilities In Michigan

Post by Colonel Flagg » Thu Jun 10, 2021 12:45 am

The translators here in Orlando are only usable if you are standing still. In the car, they do not provide a very useful or pleasant listening experience. The Orlando metro area is too flat and too spread out for translators to do much good. In a smaller market, like Flint or Saginaw, or Savannah, GA, translators are probably a better bet.


"Nobody can get the truth out of me because even I don't know what it is. I keep myself in a constant state of utter confusion."

User avatar
audiophile
Posts: 6360
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2004 9:21 pm
Location: Between 88 and 108 MHz.

Re: Best Translator Facilities In Michigan

Post by audiophile » Thu Jun 10, 2021 7:31 am

Part of the problem is all the tall towers are in Bithlow, FL. I have visited the tower site for 95.9, 102.5 and 106.3 which are triplexed on a 500' stick.

When WLOQ was on 102.5 they got 2.1 to 2.5 share.


Ask not what your country can do FOR you; ask what they are about to do TO YOU!!

User avatar
Dr. Sandi
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2020 10:51 pm
Location: Hillsboro, OR

Re: Best Translator Facilities In Michigan

Post by Dr. Sandi » Thu Jun 10, 2021 11:49 pm

Not in Michigan, but my twin translators are at 410 meters above sea level on a moderate sized ridge in the shadow of the Olympic Mountains near Olympia WA. HAAT about 294 Meters. They are both directional with a big bite taken out toward LPFMs in Tacoma to the east. We have a 60 dBu FCC calculated signal about 15 miles SE which covers Olympia.

Our biggest problem is co-channel interference at the edge of our contour. We get killed by co-channels in Portland and Tacoma. These days on FM, you're lucky if you can cover the FCC protected contour. Not much FM fringe listening left except in places where there are no people. We have a great translator signal toward the big empty national park, not that it matters until bears get cellphones.

Last time I looked, somebody had put an FM translator on top of the Willis (Sears) Tower in Chicago. I'll bet they have a decent potential audience inside their protected zone.


101.9 is Boomer Rock & Roll for Olympia - Streaming at http://kyagold.ddns.net:20110

User avatar
Ben Zonia
Posts: 715
Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2006 10:35 pm
Location: Honor

Re: Best Translator Facilities In Michigan

Post by Ben Zonia » Fri Jun 11, 2021 1:07 am

I will still call it the Sears Tower, not the "What you talkin' about Willis" Tower. The suburban stations in Chicago on the alternate 400 kHz in between channels were authorized under old pre 1962 rules, and many are severely short spaced under today's rules, so if the translators are on the Sears Tower, they have to protect them. Many are in the 15-35 mile range, when the distance required after 1962 was 40 miles A to B and B to B, and that increased with Docket 80-90 to 43 miles A to B, and 46 miles B to B. 12 of those channels were dedicated Class A frequencies, the other 8 were Class B frequencies in Zone I.


"I had a job for a while as an announcer at WWV but I finally quit, because I couldn't stand the hours."

-Author Unknown

cckadlec
Posts: 243
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2008 10:43 pm
Location: Fremont, Mich. / Seoul, Korea
Contact:

Re: Best Translator Facilities In Michigan

Post by cckadlec » Fri Jun 11, 2021 5:23 pm

ftballfan wrote:
Wed Jun 09, 2021 7:17 pm
Found an even better one in Wisconsin:
101.3 W267BB Wausau (WHRM-HD3) - 250 watts, HAAT 329 meters
101.3 in Wausau certainly gets out, but that's also because all of the Wausau stations from that site and others nearby get out well, partly due to elevation and partly to location. But here in West Michigan, 101.3 is very empty along the beaches, so at most of my radio sites, it's either Quad Cities, Lafayette, or Minneapolis when it comes to full-power stations. Sometimes it's just nothing at all or very weak Grand Rapids. West Bend wandered onto the dial and Wausau as well, and Wausau is a regular everywhere from Ludington north to Sleeping Bear and beyond along with Minneapolis. It's easy to measure a translator's power in this way when a frequency is so open, but another thing to measure it on a frequency that has far more full power stations yet the translator STILL makes its way through. I can't hear it inland at my location, but then again, Grand Rapids is really dominant here.

Here are the translators - shown in pink - that are heard somewhat regularly at my location in Fremont.

Image

90.7 W214AY MI Walker / 13w (35 mi.) regular behind WHAD when aiming at it
92.3 W222CP MI Shepherd / 250w (57 mi.) during tropo behind Power
92.7 W224BZ MI Ionia / 250w (54 mi.) during tropo and enhancement
92.9 W225BL MI Grand Rapids / 250w (38 mi.) semi-local, regular
93.3 W227CG MI Grand Rapids / 250w (38 mi.) semi-local, regular
93.3 W227BY MI Jackson / 130w (115 mi.) heard with good tropo, but freq. is more open
94.7 W234BU MI Traverse City / 250w (90 mi.) good with enhancement behind Razor
94.9 W235CM MI Grand Haven / 250w (33 mi.) now and then with quiet dial
94.9 W235BN MI Grand Rapids / 250w (38 mi.) was common, but been a while!
95.3 W237CZ MI Grand Rapids / 250w (40 mi.) behind local WGVU sometimes
96.5 W243BD MI Zeeland / 250w (45 mi.) pretty common with RDS
96.7 W244DS MI Cassopolis / 250w (107 mi.) now and then, but moved to 97.1 S. Bend
96.9 W245AK WI Sheboygan / 38w (94 mi.) was very common when LAV was at lower power
97.1 W246BW MI Three Rivers / 250w (107 mi.) pretty common on more open freq.
97.9 W250BN WI West Allis / 250w (104 mi.) pretty common with any good lake conditions
99.1 W256CC MI Big Rapids / 250w (27 mi.) often there behind Mix, but very weak for its power
99.9 W260CQ MI Plainfield Twp. / 10w (37 mi.) heard when dial is quiet
99.9 W260BX MI Lansing / 190w (87 mi.) good with tropo always //99.7 WUGN
99.9 W260CV WI Racine / 250w (109 mi.) good with good lake conditions vs. BBN
100.3 W262BD MI Dimondale / 99w (87 mi.) slips in during tropo vs. Green Bay and Chicago
100.5 W263BQ WI Sheboygan / 150w (94 mi.) not too uncommon in spots
101.1 W266CS MI Traverse City / 250w (90 mi.) rare, but heard now and then under IXX
102.5 W273CI MI Grand Haven / 250w (19 mi.) was strong, now at 27w from Muskegon and weak
102.5 W273AR MI Paw Paw / 250w (82 mi.) every now and then but a hard catch
103.1 W276CZ MI Owosso / 250w (94 mi.) during morning enhancement sometimes
103.3 W277CV WI Milwaukee / 250w (102 mi.) pretty common at any time, more open freq.
103.3 W277BR WI Sheboygan / 55w (94 mi.) pretty common, quite regular closer to shore
104.9 W285FO MI Grand Rapids / 250w (38 mi.) regular, semi-local with RDS
106.5 W293CA MI Flint / 250w (120 mi.) common with tropo, good, but on more open freq.
107.3 W297BY WI Franklin / 250w (105 mi.) rather common behind others
107.7 W299BE MI Big Rapids / 250w (27 mi.) there, but crappy signal easily overcome

Of these, I think 94.7 in Traverse City gets out best as far as frequencies that aren't so open here, while 97.1 Three Rivers gets out best of all translators, but the frequency is mainly Escanaba and Chicago here, so it leaves a lot more room for reception. If you're talking Wisconsin, then Sheboygan and Manitowoc low-power translators some miles from the lake absolutely will top that list. When LAV was at 8kw instead of its usual as they were moving towers (and that whole process), K-Love in Sheboygan was very common at 38w (94 miles), though the frequency was mostly The Drive during those times. The other ones from that area are very common in Hart and Ludington too, such as 103.3, and can be a solid signal on some days at just 55 watts. The newer translator of 98.1 The Lake in Manitowoc on 103.5 - W278BQ (albeit totally needless) is just 38w and comes in quite well at a good 70+ miles too.


[ Radio and weather geeks, beware! Coastal tropo studies, the 3-hr. Seoul AM Radio Listening Guide, 6-hr. 500 Top-of-Hour IDs, and Chinese FM at www.chriskadlec.comTuner: Grundig G8 • Location: Fremont, Mich. ]

ChrisWL1980
Posts: 267
Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2019 2:36 am

Re: Best Translator Facilities In Michigan

Post by ChrisWL1980 » Fri Jun 11, 2021 6:27 pm

I concur on 94.7 TC and 100.7 Cadillac. I've had 100.7 in with RDS ("THESORCE" LOL) as far east as St. Helen on a car radio. They seem to get out as well as 107.1 WCKC and 107.9 WCDY do.



cckadlec
Posts: 243
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2008 10:43 pm
Location: Fremont, Mich. / Seoul, Korea
Contact:

Re: Best Translator Facilities In Michigan

Post by cckadlec » Fri Jun 11, 2021 7:59 pm

ChrisWL1980 wrote:
Fri Jun 11, 2021 6:27 pm
I concur on 94.7 TC and 100.7 Cadillac. I've had 100.7 in with RDS ("THESORCE" LOL) as far east as St. Helen on a car radio. They seem to get out as well as 107.1 WCKC and 107.9 WCDY do.
I can hear 100.7 Cadillac a few times a year in Fremont but only on the car radio, never on the portable. But Cadillac signals (96.7, 107.1, 107.9, etc.), though only 60-70 miles away, are pretty uncommon here and hard to hear without very good conditions. Much like Big Rapids stations (20-25 miles away) here, which are also weak without any noticeable reason. The "Sorce" has V100.7 to contend with here, and it is no match. When I was driving through the Cadillac area in the past, it's so rarely heard in this area that I had NO idea what that station was and had to look it up.


[ Radio and weather geeks, beware! Coastal tropo studies, the 3-hr. Seoul AM Radio Listening Guide, 6-hr. 500 Top-of-Hour IDs, and Chinese FM at www.chriskadlec.comTuner: Grundig G8 • Location: Fremont, Mich. ]

User avatar
Ben Zonia
Posts: 715
Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2006 10:35 pm
Location: Honor

Re: Best Translator Facilities In Michigan

Post by Ben Zonia » Fri Jun 11, 2021 9:38 pm

FM Fool shows all of the Big Rapids area stations as 1Edge and 2Edge propagation to a generic Fremont address. None are LOS. A couple are in quite a deep terrain hole. How high is your outside antenna? It doesn't take much of a hill to substantially attenuate signals. The VFR Map shows some fairly substantial hilly areas in between Big Rapids and Fremont. Enter RQB or FFX Airport Codes to get in the ball park, and then you can scroll around.

http://vfrmap.com


"I had a job for a while as an announcer at WWV but I finally quit, because I couldn't stand the hours."

-Author Unknown

cckadlec
Posts: 243
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2008 10:43 pm
Location: Fremont, Mich. / Seoul, Korea
Contact:

Re: Best Translator Facilities In Michigan

Post by cckadlec » Fri Jun 11, 2021 10:23 pm

Ben Zonia wrote:
Fri Jun 11, 2021 9:38 pm
FM Fool shows all of the Big Rapids area stations as 1Edge and 2Edge propagation to a generic Fremont address. None are LOS. A couple are in quite a deep terrain hole. How high is your outside antenna? It doesn't take much of a hill to substantially attenuate signals. The VFR Map shows some fairly substantial hilly areas in between Big Rapids and Fremont. Enter RQB or FFX Airport Codes to get in the ball park, and then you can scroll around.

http://vfrmap.com
Thanks for the reminder that VFR Map exists. Been a while since I've visited the site!

I don't use an outside antenna at all. I am solely a mobile DXer, but I use a portable radio at home as well as it performs equally as well as anything I have ever used over the years with very easy 200+ mile reception on a regular basis. (My 500 TOH ID project was done with my portable from home). But my elevation with the portable is about 860 feet (ground elevation + house height added) and rather close to a "generic Fremont address" if you were to enter in the town or ZIP code.

102.3 comes in very well for the most part but that's about where it ends for Big Rapids. 97.3 is great too, though technically Reed City. There are some hills, but I have never found anything of significance, though they are likely closer to Big Rapids in rural areas I have little reason to pass through. Cadillac stations, as I said, are similar but far worse. To even hear the Cadillac stations is pretty rare here. A few used to be common but of course, as are the times -- they're on IBOC frequencies nowadays. Of the Big Rapids ones, even 102.3 sometimes in Newaygo will lose its RDS and get staticy, though I have a feeling they sometimes go on low power now and then as they would be poor in White Cloud even. 100.9 runs IBOC, but WKKV's IBOC often takes 100.9 out here, especially in the summer. The 99.1 translator, which covers a H*** swath of the middle of the state, comes in here, but geez, it's not listenable or anything. I can hear it driving around town sometimes. I was always scared they would come on at 250w and take out my usual preset of WMYX. Not even close. Then the same in Whitehall with the 99.1 sports translator that was supposed to fire up (technically from Muskegon). But they let their window to go on the air pass by and never came on. No complaints. The 107.7 translator in Big Rapids WOULD be easily listenable but they're smack on top of 107.9's IBOC, which absolutely buries them to death. And there is WVCY to deal with too. I can't hear it unless my car is in the perfect spot. Furthermore, they were broadcasting on 96.5 a few years ago for about 3 or 4 months. And THAT signal was awesome. I could hear them clear to Muskegon before Zeeland took it over. Clear signal, no IBOC to deal with, pretty open. Went off the air and never came back on. No explanation from anyone. (Again, no complaints either!!) 103.9, a full-power, is the same. I could hear them the other week in BELDING (!) on a pretty dead day, which I thought was amazing. They're like 107.7 here. Park in the right spot or aim right at them and I can hear it. But they're buried under WVGR's IBOC otherwise, until I get east of White Cloud.

Big Rapids stations just are useless here. Either terrain obstructions weaken them or they're on IBOC frequencies or on the same frequencies or adjacent to Milwaukee stations that dominate here. But still, 250w translators at 25 miles should be clear otherwise. With favorable terrain between here and Grand Rapids, many of those are easily listenable and with RDS (for those with it).


[ Radio and weather geeks, beware! Coastal tropo studies, the 3-hr. Seoul AM Radio Listening Guide, 6-hr. 500 Top-of-Hour IDs, and Chinese FM at www.chriskadlec.comTuner: Grundig G8 • Location: Fremont, Mich. ]

ChrisWL1980
Posts: 267
Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2019 2:36 am

Re: Best Translator Facilities In Michigan

Post by ChrisWL1980 » Fri Jun 11, 2021 10:45 pm

I was in northern Montcalm County not long ago and there was no sign of Rewind on 99.1, just WFMK. I couldn't get 107.7 either. I remember WBRN used to have a second translator in Reed City (95.1 IIRC). WBRN's coverage isn't great either despite being 5kw, likely due to the sandy soil.
What's the terrain like between Cadillac and Houghton Lake? I usually have very little trouble picking up Cadillac FM's in that part of the I-75 corridor between Roscommon and St. Helen. That seems to be about as far east as they'll go with the exception of WJZQ (which is a "Cadillac" station on paper only). When I'm visiting family in Otsego County, I can get WOLW and WCKC faintly, but they're on wide open channels. The others are either on the same frequencies as or adjacent to locals.
I did manage to pick up 91.9 WGCP (with RDS) in Flint a few years ago and 104.9 WAIR in Saline about 15 or so years ago, both during tropo openings. WYBR is an occasional visitor in Washtenaw County during summer tropo.



Post Reply Previous topicNext topic