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WLAV Tower Relocation

Discussion pertaining to Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Muskegon, Battle Creek, Big Rapids, and Michiana
Arthur Mometer
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WLAV Tower Relocation

Post by Arthur Mometer » Tue Oct 30, 2018 4:04 am

This was a huqe topic, so let's keep it going.

The last post was about the other tower near the WNWZ site, which has the WGRD-FM auxiliary, which is 1.7 kW at 120 meters HAAT and for a short while had the main WGRD-FM licensed facility. That area is about 6 miles closer to WWDV, which is too far from the WLAV LIC facility for ideal replication of the nondirectional service area. The tower there is 500 feet though.


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MWmetalhead
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Re: WLAV Tower Relocation

Post by MWmetalhead » Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:14 pm

I'll summarize my earlier thoughts (since lost forever thanks to Russian hackers):

--Cumulus has begun the process to apply for planning commission approval of a zoning variance in Ada Twp in hopes of being able to construct a new tower just up the road from the one torn down last summer. GOOD LUCK with that. In the late 90's, the Township (and many residents) fought the 475-foot Michigan State Police communications tower tooth & nail. The State Police had the benefit of an eminent-domain type law crafted specifically for it by Lansing and signed into law by Engler, thus neutering the township's ability to block construction. No such benefit exists for Cumulus.

--The temporary WLAV TX site from the WBBL tower site (near Lincoln Lake Rd and 6 Mile Rd) does a lousy job of serving Ottawa County listeners, and in a few cases, a not-so-good job of serving western Kent County listeners. This temporary site uses 20 kW from 97 meters HAAT as opposed to 50 kw from 150 meters HAAT (the parameters of the since demolished officially licensed TX site).

--In early October, WLAV applied for a new temporary site. This one is located on the campus of Grand Valley State University's Allendale area campus, at the tower site of WGVU-TV. This site calls for usage of 9.4 kW from 161 meters HAAT, although much less power than that would be sent toward Holland, Grand Haven and Muskegon in order to remain within the confines of WLAV's licensed service contour. This should greatly improve reception across Ottawa County, modestly improve reception across far western Kent County, but greatly diminish reception across much of eastern Kent County. Ionia, Montcalm, Barry and Eaton counties will see an enormous drop-off in reception.

--Despite the disadvantages presented in mostly rural areas east of Metro Grand Rapids, the fact more households will be within the projected 60 dBu and 70 dBu (city grade) contours from the proposed GVSU site as compared to the current WBBL temporary site should serve to benefit WLAV's listeners and advertisers overall.

--Recall that WLAV had planned to co-locate on the WFUR-FM tower near John Ball Park but is unable to do so due to structural integrity issues. The mast was determined to be unsuitable to support the added weight of WLAV's transmitting antenna (or antennae as the case may be). This determination evidently wasn't made until WLAV's tower site of several decades was torn down to pave the way for a new residential development. WLAV did not own its longtime tower site; it leased the space. This set of circumstances led Cumulus to scramble to find a suitable temporary backup site. Not long after signing on from a temporary antenna located 2/3 of the way up WBBL's tower, numerous listener complaints of poor reception began pouring in.

--Where does WLAV go from here? Well, as I said earlier, I don't think there's a snowball's chance in hell of their proposed site in Ada Township being approved by the township. They could try to apply for a major license modification that would allow usage of the GVSU site long-term, but at greater power & height levels than what is currently being proposed for temporary use. Similarly, they could try to apply for a major license modification to use (on a permanent basis) either the WTNR site NE of Zeeland or the WBBL site in Grattan Twp (north of Lowell; SW of Greenville). There are various FCC spacing regulations that could limit viability of some or all of the above options. The final option would be to try to make a deal with the owner of the land near the WFUR AM/FM studios to build a new structure that would support WLAV's transmitting antenna.

My guess is it will be late 2019 at the soonest before WLAV successfully finds a permanent home with permanently licensed facilities.


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radionut
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Re: WLAV Tower Relocation

Post by radionut » Wed Oct 31, 2018 2:19 pm

I think once the re-location to the GVSU happens the Average WLAV will no longer have reception issues. It all comes down to where the Sales people are selling. I highly doubt much is being sold in eastern Kent County. Ionia, Montcalm, Barry and Eaton counties. I'm sure a some though.



Trophyhead
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Re: WLAV Tower Relocation

Post by Trophyhead » Tue Nov 06, 2018 2:45 pm

I had a sketchy signal on Sunday morning when I tuned in "Breakfast in the Basement." Writing to you on the anniversary of Uncle Ed's birth, let me say I was thankful to hear "Juke Joint Jump" by Elvin Bishop, Steve.

Will this WGVU arrangement strengthen the quality near US-131 and Pine Island Drive?

Signed,
Curious



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MWmetalhead
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Re: WLAV Tower Relocation

Post by MWmetalhead » Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:03 pm

I believe that is a somewhat hilly area, correct?

If so, the added height from the GVSU site might make reception a little more stable in your area. Tough to say for sure, as you're probably a little closer to the BBL site distance wise.


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Re: WLAV Tower Relocation

Post by Trophyhead » Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:37 pm

Where the freeway crosses Pine Island is a pretty good rise in elevation from the West River intersection, that's for sure.

Not to be an "old horse," but I remember tuning in Aris on LAV with a fringe signal when I was up by Reed City in the 80s, and being able to pull in 96.9 by Mt. Pleasant.

A thumb-shaped Sony is not the most discerning device with which to make assertions about the changes in their signal.



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MWmetalhead
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Re: WLAV Tower Relocation

Post by MWmetalhead » Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:56 pm

Has anyone heard anything new about the planned move to GVSU?

I've been unable to uncover any new info.


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bosco
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Re: WLAV Tower Relocation

Post by bosco » Sun Nov 18, 2018 11:30 am

They have the STA to go to the GVSU tower. My guess is that it is "just" product availability. With the TV repack going on across the country, antenna manufacturers are way behind on orders and tower crews are very much booked up.



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MWmetalhead
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Re: WLAV Tower Relocation

Post by MWmetalhead » Wed Nov 21, 2018 3:32 pm

They are definitely still on the BBL tower. Signal between Ionia and Grand Ledge is solid.

Signal in my parents' basement, despite having full size windows near the receiver, is rotten! All I can get is a faint, crackly signal. The receiver is on the south end of the house, which doesn't help. Two interior walls, the north concrete wall, and a hill sit between the receiver and LAV's antenna. 107.3 comes in fairly well but not crystal clear on that same unit.

WHTS, WSNX and WBFX are receivable in stereo with decent reception. Ditto WKFR and WMUK. LAV is much weaker than all the above and is nearly unintelligible. WFGR and WTRV come in crystal clear.

The fact stations 30 to even 45 miles away are coming in so much more easily than LAV is a pretty big indictment of LAV's current setup. The funny thing is - 96.9 comes in clear as a bell in the car in this neighborhood.

Edit: after tinkering with the antenna wire, I've managed to improve LAV's reception. I now can get a clean monaural signal. Stereo fades in and out. Even tiny WGVU-FM delivers a more reliable stereo signal. Again, terrain is a factor here.


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Re: WLAV Tower Relocation

Post by MWmetalhead » Sun Dec 23, 2018 8:22 am

Anyone have any updates on this?

My guess is Cumulus/WLAV is having to wait a very long time for a directional antenna to be manufactured that meets the necessary specs for the GVSU site.

Suffice to say, the station over-promised and has severely under-delivered on its signal restoration timeline!


MEMO TO 89-EX: FIX YOUR SHITTY SOUNDING AUDIO!! WE CAN HARDLY HEAR THE FRIGGIN' STATION! Thanks in advance.

Arthur Mometer
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Re: WLAV Tower Relocation

Post by Arthur Mometer » Sun Dec 23, 2018 1:46 pm

Last edited by Arthur Mometer on Sun Dec 23, 2018 1:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.


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Arthur Mometer
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Re: WLAV Tower Relocation

Post by Arthur Mometer » Sun Dec 23, 2018 1:49 pm

MW Said: My guess is Cumulus/WLAV is having to wait a very long time for a directional antenna to be manufactured that meets the necessary specs for the GVSU site.

There's someone on this board who could do it.


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cckadlec
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Re: WLAV Tower Relocation

Post by cckadlec » Sun Dec 23, 2018 9:43 pm

I had assumed they had long since moved to Allendale, but didn't take much of the process into consideration (and not very invested in them to care too much). Just seemed they picked up and moved to the WBBL tower pretty quickly when they had to, so I figured maybe they'd do the same here. But at the same time, here in Fremont, while their signal improved quite a bit after they got the Allendale approval - which could very well be conditions this time of year compared to summer - it still has the null in the exact same spot (as it did with the WBBL tower) where I can still hear either Zion or Sheboygan, depending on the day.


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Re: WLAV Tower Relocation

Post by MWmetalhead » Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:55 pm

I think WLAV has made some equipment improvements to its STA site in Grattan Twp (north of Lowell).

The indoor signal at my folks' house - while far from perfect - was much better this time than my past couple trips to town. Could actually pick up the stereo pilot without a ton of effort on a basement bookshelf stereo. The last two or three times, that was impossible.

The station is definitely still using the Grattan Twp site. Signal strength remained pretty good into the Grand Ledge / Delta Twp area.


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Re: WLAV Tower Relocation

Post by Arthur Mometer » Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:43 am

Before we were so rudely interrupted by the computer hack destroying our painstaking work, we had determined that the WBBL tower site was not suitable for a permanent location for WLAV, because of short spacing to WQHH DeWitt and possibly WUFN Albion, even under Section 73.215. Unless some major rule changes are proposed and or adopted, and implemented, that is still the case. There are some innovative techniques being used for translators on such channels, but I don't recall seeing that in the REC proposals either. I need to look at that again however.

Keep in mind that the WBBL site was chosen because it was and still is a Greenville station. WBFX 101.3 also ended up out there because after the old WMAX-FM was sold to the owners of WION Ionia, they wanted it to serve Ionia with a 70 dBu signal. They could not be WMAX-FM at that time because they were no longer coowned with WMAX 1480. And with the COL still in Grand Rapids, they changed it to WYON. Then they squeezed in 101.7 into Muskegon Heights, originally WKJR-FM, which complicated or prevented a TL move back closer to Grand Rapids. Pathfinder later even bought it with the idea of moving back near the WLAV-FM tower. They got as far as pushing 101.7 almost into Lake Michigan.


"I'm meteorologist Arthur Mometer."

"Those of you who think you know everything are very annoying to those of us who do."

"Lies have to be repeated and repeated to be believed. Truth stands on its own merit."

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