Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Surprise move of WRCR (Rockland County, New York) to 1700 kHz limits Troubadour 1700 AM's night reception to Acme Park and immediately adjacent properties

This development could not have come at a worse time! I had just embarked on a campaign to find additional transmitter sites in downtown areas of the Nashoba Valley and North Central Massachusetts, having sent proposals to building owners in Concord, West Concord, and Fitchburg, plus a contact in Ayer, with letters of inquiry to Groton and Pepperell waiting in the wings, when all of I sudden at work I discover a new signal on the car radio at 1700 kHz, just after sundown, coming in loud and clear. I knew instantly it was bad news. Here is my commentary about it posted on

For the past 10 years, the last thing most of us Part 15 broadcasters using the expanded AM band worried about was new, full powered, licensed stations from within our own national borders coming on our frequencies and blowing us away. Only the occasional new station authorized by the CRTC in Canada was of any concern. The FCC stopped approving of both moves into the expanded band and new stations coming on there many years ago now. So this move of WRCR, formerly a 500 watt station on 1300 kHz with a deteriorating transmitting infrastructure, is totally unprecedented on the part of the FCC and has grave implications for the future and stability of Part 15 broadcasting in the expanded AM band.
In the hours and days ahead, there may be a few interruptions in both Troubadour 1700's AM and FM signals as I work through a few issues spawned by this development. Although Part 15 transmitters have come a long way in recent years, a $225 transmitter still cannot match a $20,000 transmitter's accuracy and stability. I am going to try to lessen the "motor boating" effect that occurs when the two signals collide, which my SSTran AMT-5000 transmitters enable me to do. Also, the FM antenna has still not been precisely trimmed for 97.9 mHz. It's a job I have put off for more than two years. (It is still trimmed for 89.3.) With no AM reception at night beyond a thousand feet, it is imperative that the FM's signal is maximized. This will require the FM to go off air for several hours.

As a postscript, night time reception of Troubadour 1700 AM in the mid-Horsepond Road and North Shirley/Bull Run Restaurant neighborhoods, where the signals from WRCR and Troubadour 1700 arrive at a near 90 degree angle from each other, may still be possible on home radios and portables with internal loop antennas. Turn the radio to see if we are still heard in the null of WRCR.