Using our extensive knowledge of the FM spectrum and the technical Rules of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Smith and Fisher can determine if spectrum exists for the drop in of new commercial or noncommercial educational FM stations in any market. Coverage and interference studies define the extent of service provided by the new facility.
Our site location service can help the client identify existing tower and building sites within the allowable allocation area. Alternatively, we can define areas within which a client can consider constructing a new tower for the station’s antenna. We can also provide assistance in filing with the Federal Aviation Administration for approval of new structures and can then help in the filing for FCC Antenna Structure Registration.
Once a channel is identified and a suitable site is chosen, we can prepare the engineering portion of the FCC Petition for Rulemaking for the new FM facility. Following Commission grant of the proposal, we can confirm the engineering parameters and assist in the filing of the FCC Application for Construction Permit for the new station.
If a client has filed an application (for a new or modified facility) which is mutually exclusive with other applications, Smith and Fisher can review those competing applications for engineering errors. If problems are discovered, we can prepare the engineering support for the filing of an opposition to that application.
We can also define the extent to which all applications form a “daisy chain” and offer suggestions, if possible, for ways to extricate a client’s application from the group. If successful, the application can then be granted by the FCC.
Smith and Fisher can help clients determine if the coverage of their station can be improved through power increase, site re-location, antenna change, height increase or a combination of these factors. Our site location service can help in determining the best site available within the constraints of FCC coverage and interference requirements. With respect to site changes, if there is an existing tower/tall building within the desired area and it is registered with the FCC, we can provide contact information.
If a new tower must be constructed, we can help define the area in which the tower must be located and assist in the filing for FAA approval and FCC tower registration. For applications that require a new antenna, we can work directly with any antenna manufacturer to develop an efficient, cost-effective antenna solution that yields the desired coverage.
If a translator would enhance a full-power station’s coverage, Smith and Fisher can conduct channel studies, provide site location analysis, and design a facility that will serve the client’s coverage goals and meet the FCC’s interference requirements. We can then prepare the engineering portion of the FCC Form 349 application and upload it into the online form.
Smith and Fisher can design a booster facility that can fill in a station’s coverage gap due to terrain shielding. Using our software tools, we maximize a booster’s coverage while minimizing interference to the main facility. Site location, antenna selection and power levels are all key to effective booster design.
Smith and Fisher can prepare the engineering portion of an FCC Application for License and upload the data into the on-line form (FCC Form 302-FM). We can also help a client determine if a change made between the issuance of the Construction Permit and the construction of the actual facility can be made on a license application or if a modification application must be filed first.
Smith and Fisher can design and prepare the engineering portion of an FCC application for an auxiliary or backup facility.
Special Temporary Authority
In some cases, a client needs to put a facility on the air quickly and usually temporarily. Smith and Fisher can assist in the design of such a facility and then prepare and file the engineering portion of such an FCC application.
With a thorough understanding of the Commission’s technical rules, Smith and Fisher can assist clients with their interpretation and help answer specific questions relating to these sometimes complex regulations. Studio and transmitter location requirements, transmission standards as well as coverage and interference Rules are a few of the many issues that we can address.
Smith and Fisher can prepare any type of map a client desires. Coverage contours for any station can be created. These maps include population values using the latest U.S. Census data and can be used for station advertising.
Predicted Signal Studies
Smith and Fisher have software that can identify, on a predicted basis, station coverage of a given area or impediments that may adversely affect reception of a particular station’s signal. These impediments can include terrain obstructions and interference from other co-channel and adjacent-channel facilities.
We provide to our clients detailed maps on which the desire station’s signal strength as well as predicted interference to that signal can be plotted. Our studies identify the cause of the potential or actual problem and we can offer specific solutions stations can use to overcome the reception issue.
In some cases, it is advantageous to have actual field strength readings in order to clearly define actual coverage and signal reception issues. Smith and Fisher can prepare a detailed field measurement program that fits the scope of the and then implement that plan in the field, using signal strength meters and receivers to capture both signal strength values and audio quality observations.
Our report of findings not only summarizes the data collected, but also offers solutions to whatever reception problems are identified by the project. Our firm also specializes in helicopter measurements of in-place antenna patterns. Signal strength readings are taken as the helicopter flies around a station’s antenna at a given height and distance.
Multiple circuits are conducted and the readings averaged along each azimuth and plotted on a circular graph. These measurements can then be compared to the theoretical pattern in order to determine if the antenna is performing properly or if there are significant signal degradation effects from the mounting structure.
Smith and Fisher can take the lead management position in the construction of a new or modified FM facility. We maintain the software and industry knowledge to be involved in the initiation, development, execution, controlling, and closing stages of any broadcast project. Smith and Fisher strives to achieve all of the project goals and objectives while honoring the preconceived project constraints, including scope, time, and budget.
Smith and Fisher can site-inspect any station’s studio and transmitting facilities and prepare a report which inventories the equipment (and its condition) associated with it. This can be important in cases where a station buyer performs a due diligence assessment or a prospective buyer wants to know more about the facility under consideration. If need be, this service can be combined with a signal measurement or picture quality observation program designed and implemented by us.
If a client is looking to buy or sell an FM station, Smith and Fisher can provide a range of services that can be used to compare various stations in the market (or to simply look at a single station) with respect to coverage, interference-free coverage, and improvement possibilities. Maps and population reports detailing the results of these studies can be provided.
RFR Exposure Issues
Smith and Fisher can calculate a station’s ground-level RF contribution to the environment surrounding the transmitter site and provide that calculation in an engineering statement. This can then be used as part of an Application for Construction Permit or an Application for Renewal of License. Calculations can also be made of complex broadcast sites, where RF contributions from many stations must be considered.
In cases where actual power density values must be determined, we have the expertise and state of the art equipment necessary to conduct detailed RFR measurements and provide guidance to clients to ensure that all areas are compliant with the Commission’s human exposure guidelines and to significantly reduce station liability in this regard. In complex RF environments, we have the tools to determine individual station contribution to the overall power density in any area.
In cases where a client is considering the construction of a new broadcast tower or an increase in height of an existing tower, Smith and Fisher can file the necessary Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Form 7460-1 for approval. In addition, we can work with the client to identify potential aeronautical issues with specific sites and act as liaison with the FAA if problems are identified.
If additional aeronautical expertise is required, Smith and Fisher can provide contact information for various Aeronautical Consultants we routinely work with and coordinate a given project’s FCC allocation considerations with the FAA considerations to arrive at the optimum site location.
FCC Antenna Structure Registration
Once a new or modified structure receives FAA approval, Smith and Fisher can help the client register the tower with the Federal Communications Commission on FCC Form 854. Not only is this an FCC requirement, but a broadcast construction permit cannot be issued until such registration is complete. One benefit to tower registration is that this database is routinely searched by broadcast and non-broadcast telecommunications owners for the co-location of facilities, which can be a source of additional income for the tower owner.
If a technical issue arises involving the Federal Communications Commission, Smith and Fisher can deal directly with the engineers at the FCC. We have relationships with most of the engineers and Bureau chiefs and we can help stations resolve issues or answer questions raised by the Commission.