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Pye Man
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Posted by: @alex728

I think Radio Seagull is still going but I couldn't monitor it on UTwente SDR due to QRM, various other low power stations are licenced on AM across the Netherlands, often on old Hilversum allocations that NL has always had 

https://radioseagull.com/#home.html

I hear Radio Seagull nicely in the evening on 1476kHz from Coalville in Leicestershire after Carillon Wellbeing Radio programmes have finished. (CWR has one or two interesting specialist programmes. There is a jazz show and a 1950s music show where the stuff that is played you won’t hear anywhere else on conventional radio except once in a blue moon.)

CWR uses a helical vertical rather like the one Caroline experimented with in the early 1980s. I think the CWR power is somewhat lower so it doesn’t get cooked! Not sure what power CWR is using but the signal is decent with me at about 45 miles distant day and night.

I really do not understand what the problem is with Ofcom and lowish power AM licences. Okay, AM is not commercially viable and there’s plenty of interference from appliances, etc., these days but organisations/community radio should be allowed to have a go and see how they get on audience wise. FM frequencies are limited and the MW band is going to waste. CWR proves that you don’t need a massive mast either.

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Posted : 16/01/2022 3:37 pm
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Alex728
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Posted by: @pye-man

I really do not understand what the problem is with Ofcom and lowish power AM licences. Okay, AM is not commercially viable and there’s plenty of interference from appliances, etc., these days but organisations/community radio should be allowed to have a go and see how they get on audience wise. FM frequencies are limited and the MW band is going to waste. CWR proves that you don’t need a massive mast either.

I had a look at Ofcom "txparams" out of curiosity, TBH I'm not sure if AM is that "unused" in Britain - 199 active licences are shown there (a large number belonging to the BBC, Global/Bauer etc) of which 13 are community radio stations including Radio Caroline and CWR 

Some CR allocations are very recent (2019 and 2020) as well! Permitted ERP around 100-250W for the bulk of them, so not too dissimilar from across the North Sea.

A fair proportion are targeted at the older generations of the British South Asian communities, so would be overlooked by those who do not understand the languages nor listen to 1970s Bollywood music - its the sort of thing an older "taxi uncle" might listen to in his car, whereas younger British Asian folk prefer more modern music on FM/DAB/online radio.

I suspect the main difference is NL has abandoned domestic AM broadcasting for the larger stations including the "Godzenders" (Christian religious stations) which shifted to DAB+ around 2015 and the mainstream Hilversum stations don't use it any more either; hence freeing up a larger number of frequencies for smaller stations to use.

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Posted : 16/01/2022 5:38 pm
Alex728
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Posted by: @wayned

Have to say, OFCOM don't seem that bothered about illegal radio broadcasts these days. Amateur radio repeaters are supposed to be "self policing" now. Every other car has a Bluetooth FM transmitter - if you're ever bored stuck in traffic, tune to 108 FM. You can hear all sorts! People listening to audiobooks, private phone calls, digital radio, podcasts, really dodgy tastes in music, etc etc.

Like everything I suspect OFCOM had their resources and budget absolutely slashed. Add that to the amount of broadband provider problems and dodgy gambling website adverts that seem to end up on TV channels...

The relatively low power Bluetooth transmitters are nowadays legal and tolerated in any CEPT country (including some with far more authoritarian regimes than the UK or the EU!). Its not uncommon for Felixstowe Radio (allocated 107.5 MHz) to be cut across by one of these especially in Ipswich where the signal is at low level, I was once trying to monitor from home it but was instead receiving someones phone call! I don't think they are viewed as a major problem as the interference signal disappears when the vehicle producing it goes out of range, but many people don't realise the signal does travel a few metres outside the car..

Ofcom nowadays only bust pirates who are blatantly interfering with other services (usually airband) or when those involved with them are linked to other unpleasant activities such as gangs/crime and they come to notice of the Police and local authorities - also setting up a pirate is less popular nowadays when LTE data costs are cheaper so its possible to listen to an online radio station even in the car with a mobile phone and an aux lead connection.

Agentschap Telecom and BNetzA have exactly the same problems with budget cuts, lack of resources and regulating online services so pirate stations (mostly FM) are still common on the Dutch/German borders, but many folk involved with them are mostly aged about 40-80+, broadcast sporadically, aren't part of the "gangsta rap" culture (which is as much an issue over there as it is here) and generally don't cause any other problems so they are by and large left alone. 

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Posted : 16/01/2022 5:56 pm
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Pye Man
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That’s interesting information. My understanding was that Ofcom were no longer issuing AM licences and that Caroline was something of an outlier.

Some years back when Classic Gold Hits allowed their 954 Herefordshire licence to lapse Sunshine took over the station but couldn’t get the 954 back and had to continue with just 1530kHz Worcestershire.

The BBC would seem to be desperate to get rid of their AM outlets for BBC LR and Global/Bauer hold onto some of theirs for strategic commercial reasons rather than audience per se.

Do the 13 community stations include the likes of Carillon Radio 1386 (as opposed to CWR) which I think might be a 1 watt station?

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Posted : 16/01/2022 5:57 pm
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Posted by: @pye-man

Do the 13 community stations include the likes of Carillon Radio 1386 (as opposed to CWR) which I think might be a 1 watt station?

yes, Carillion is shown on the list with 250W at Coalville. The only 1W station I can find on there is Radio BGWS (British Gurkha Welfare Society) based in Farnborough, SE England and is targeted at the (fairly large) Nepali community in that area who seem to be the extended families of retired Gurkha servicemen.

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Posted : 16/01/2022 6:05 pm
Pye Man
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250w is a considerable power for Carillon Wellbeing Radio 1476kHz. I didn’t expect it to be that much. Back in the day ILR Beacon Radio 303 Wolverhampton on 989KHz (later 990) only used 100w though, of course, the frequency was better suited to ground wave. The transmitter was in the lee of Sedgley Beacon so was to a certain extent shielded yet I remember receiving it in Stoke-on-Trent reasonably well.

The Carillon/Hermitage set-up is an interesting one with three stations. The lower power Carillon Radio has two transmitters on 1386 (Loughborough) and 1431 (Ashby-de-la-Zouch I think) and seems to have grown out of Hospital Radio. The transmitter for the more powerful Carillon Wellbeing Radio 1476 is at Coalville FC ground and Coalville also has Hermitage FM on 99.2 complete with a café and shop in the town. Perhaps being out of the major metropolitan areas (and in the case of CWR 1476 covering disparate towns) gives the stations some edge.

Community stations seem to be taking the place of ILR stations. Beacon Radio has long disappeared, its outlets absorbed by the larger groups and I think the 990 Tx which had broadcast Gold and Smooth at various times in recent years closed down a year or so back. Black Country Radio which grew out of The Bridge in Stourbridge seems to have taken over the LR mantle in the southern Black Country but reception on FM is a bit patchy. It’s a pity they couldn’t take over the 990 Tx but there is mast maintenance to consider (though the BBC are still using the site for 828kHz Asian Network) and the commercial broadcasters might be a bit touchy about the competition, even though they consider AM to be dead as a distribution medium.

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Posted : 17/01/2022 1:49 pm
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1431 KHz was allocated to ILR in some areas, when I was younger and lived in Caversham/Reading it was the frequency of the ILR station Radio 210 (which also transmitted on 97 FM, Global/Heart Thames Valley still use this, but have surrendered the MF allocation)

It looks like hospital radio stations are being allocated a different licence code LRSL (Long Term RSL?) and are indeed given 1W ERP licences (like a traditional AM RSL). Global (Smooth Radio) still use 1431 in South Essex (Rayleigh) with 350W permitted ERP.

 

 

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Posted : 17/01/2022 10:30 pm
Alex728
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I found the list of all the small licensed HF broadcasters in the Netherlands, they all get 1kW TX power - it matches up with data from an ITU website (HFCC) but there is a caveat the website curators don't actually know whether or not the stations are on the air; all they know is that Agentschap Telecom currently allowed them to use these frequencies..

https://radio-tv-nederland.nl/am/kg.html

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Posted : 25/01/2022 11:12 pm
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An interesting list and something to look for on the SW capable sets. 1kW should put in a decent signal.

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Posted : 28/01/2022 6:36 pm
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