WSEW equips new tower sit with Dielectric FM antenna

FM Tower implemented for WSEW by Dielectric

Dielectric is helping a longtime Maine-based radio station, WSEW-FM, settle into its new tower site just across the Maine border in New Hampshire with signal from a new high-performance antenna. The non-commercial Christian broadcaster will light up its new transmission system from Barrington, New Hampshire in the early days of 2021, with a new Dielectric DCR-H FM antenna installed and ready to radiate.

WSEW has relocated from its longtime tower site in Sanford, Maine to improve signal strength and Christian Radio content coverage for higher populous areas in New Hampshire, such as the cities of Manchester, Nashua and Portsmouth. WSEW has taken the opportunity to fully modernize its RF system.

“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.”

Malone’s market penetration was previously limited through the use of a log-periodic antenna system with linear, slant polarization.  In addition to 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 285 feet.

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. “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,” commented Malone. “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 adds that while Dielectric’s antenna options were “clearly impressive from a technical perspective”, the company’s responsiveness in the early evaluation stages was a “cut above competitive suppliers he considered”.

“They were highly responsive to my initial inquiries along with a can-do spirit that I truly appreciated,” concludes Malone. “Once I made my decision, 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.”

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