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CKUA Flips the Switch in Drumheller

Marc's Mailbag

A message from CKUA CEO, Marc Carnes:

To our dear 91.3 FM listeners, donors, partners and friends:

In March, I wrote to you to let you know about the impending decommissioning of our Hand Hills transmission tower. With the tower coming down, we must relocate to a new location and replace the transmitter that serves your listening area.

I am pleased to let you know that we have secured a new tower, and preparations to install a new transmitter are underway. Provided everything goes smoothly, we plan to “flip the switch” on July 30, at which point we will be transmitting from the new location.

The switchover itself shouldn’t result in a service disruption. However, those on the outer reaches of the current transmitter range will, unfortunately, lose their FM signal due to the move. As I noted in my March letter, a lack of suitable transmitter tower infrastructure prevents us from maintaining a powerful enough signal and similar service.

The following image shows you the expected change in broadcast reach.

Wait, what does that mean? Here’s a breakdown from our technical expert:

Current signal (in red):

  • The dotted red line represents the limit of fair to marginal signal levels. Most car radios should have a clear signal. Clock/kitchen radios may have static and other noises.
  • The hard red line represents the limits of a good signal. All radios should have a clear signal. The exception will be in valley areas where a phenomenon called multi-path may affect some radios.

New signal (in blue):

  • The dotted blue line represents the limit of fair to marginal signal levels. Most car radios should have a clear signal. Clock/kitchen radios may have static and other noises.
  • The hard blue line represents the limits of a good signal. All radios should have a clear signal. The exception will be in valley areas where a phenomenon called multi-path may affect some radios.

For those of you within the broadcast range, as you know, the geography of your listening region is unique. The variations in ground surfaces, angles, and elevation will impact the signal in localized areas. To what degree, we cannot say. With something like a radio signal, you can never 100% be sure of its pattern and reach until you turn it on. However, based on the engineering briefs we have done in concert with a third-party consultant, we anticipate it will be minimal.

Our ability to maintain service in your region is possible thanks to the Government of Alberta. When we first heard the news about the impending decommissioning of our tower in Hand Hills, we reached out to them as part of exploring our options. Appreciating the unique situation we were facing and the risk of losing connectivity to a portion of our province, they helped us to find the $250,000 required to replace the transmitter. We are immensely grateful for their action and support.

We’d also like to thank and acknowledge our new friends at Hybrid Wireless. They are a leading communications solutions provider, supporting telecommunications, energy, education and industrial projects in Western Canada. When they heard we were looking for a new tower for our transmitter, they gladly stepped up and offered a solution.

And lastly, we’d like to extend our appreciation to all of our listeners and friends in the 91.3FM region. Upon hearing about the plan to decommission our Hand Hills tower, many of you reached out with ideas, suggestions, and connections that enabled us to get to this point.

It takes a community to keep CKUA on the air. This transmitter relocation and replacement project is an example of just that.

Whether you tune in via 91.3FM, online, or via the CKUA App, thanks for listening,

Sincerely,

Marc Carnes

CEO, CKUA Radio