A noncommercial religious FM radio station that debuted in 1991 and shifted to its current broadcast frequency in 2010 is ready to make the latest update to its operations in Sanford, Me.
A new tower site on the New Hampshire side of the Maine state line is ready to be fired up by this station devoted to “The Word” of G-d. And, it is using a new Dielectric DCR-H FM
antenna that’s just been installed and ready to radiate to bring new vigor to its broadcasts.
The new transmission system is expected to be fired up in the early days of 2021 by WSEW-FM 88.7 — a Class B that’s getting a power increase with the new antenna.
Until getting a construction permit for its jump in wattage, WSEW was a 10kw facility from a site just to the west of Sanford, Me., bringing a city-grade signal to Portsmouth, N.E. Now, with 17kw from the Barrington, N.H., site, much improved coverage of greater Portsmouth is being had, while its distance now stretches to Old Orchard Beach, Me. in the north to Newburyport, Mass. in the south.
“While the location change brings us closer to higher-density populations, we needed a
completely new antenna system design with a difficult to achieve directional pattern,” said
Ron Malone, President of Word Radio, who operates and administrates WSEW and four
other Non-Commercial FM stations in Maine and New Hampshire. “Dielectric delivered the
circular polarization we needed to reach our audience with greater signal quality and
stability than our current antenna. We also now have a well-engineered antenna built to
withstand challenging climate for the decades ahead.”
WSEW’s market penetration was previously limited with the use of a log-periodic antenna
system solution using linear, slant polarization.
In addition to the advantages of circular polarization, the side-mounted, six-bay antenna will have a prime position on the 400-foot tower to maximize coverage, with its center of radiation at 287 feet above ground level.
“Listeners traveling through our coverage area will no longer sometimes hear the swishing
sound of multipath, or experience occasional signal drops,” said Malone. “Our position on
the upper third of the tower, along with the circular polarization, will greatly improve the
listener experience for legacy and new listeners.”
The new Dielectric antenna also includes a radome.
Malone added, “For maximum reliability in adverse weather conditions, broadcasters generally choose to protect their radiating elements by covering them with radome enclosures. That is what we have elected to do as part of the DCR-H design. Allowing ice to form on the antenna will de-tune the system, and reflect power back down the transmission line. The antenna loses its ability to radiate its designed allotted power (17kW ERP), and creates problems for the transmitter. Dielectric’s radome eliminates these reflected power concerns caused by wintry weather, and offers a far more affordable option that adding electrical heaters within the antenna elements, which after a few years develop maintenance issues.”
Malone also says that once a decision was made to work with Dielectric, “they went straight to work with computer modeling. They used a collaborative software program to develop the directional radiation pattern using scaled tower models, radiator sizes, dimensions and test frequency while factoring orientation of the antenna for our tower position and geographic spread. They met a tough deadline for delivery with good communication skills and very fair pricing. They basically treated our small organization as if we were VIPs.”