CKUA-AM's Last Day is November 19th

CKUA-AM's Last Day is November 19th

Postby radiofan » Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:40 am

Original Subject Title: CRTC Approves deletion of CKUA 580 Edmonton

Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2013-483

Ottawa, 12 September 2013
CKUA Radio Foundation
Edmonton, Alberta
Application 2013-0377-6

CKUA-FM Edmonton – Deletion of an AM transmitter

The Commission approves an application to amend the broadcasting licence for the English-language FM radio station CKUA-FM Edmonton by deleting its AM transmitter CKUA Edmonton.

Read the full CRTC decision here

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Re: CRTC Approves deletion of CKUA 580 Edmonton

Postby jon » Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:31 pm

Reading the decision, the drop-dead date for CKUA to be off 580 is December 12th, right in the middle of the DX Season, which will be nice.

Haven't heard if there are any celebrations or on-air events planned as it marks the longest use of a single frequency in Alberta. As CFCK, the station was signed on in 1923 by Taylor and Pearson as Edmonton's second radio station, sharing airtime on 580 with CJCA. The station was sold to the University of Alberta in 1927 and became CKUA. It wasn't until 1934 that CKUA was all alone on 580, no longer having to share the frequency in Edmonton.

The CRTC has yet to consider applications for the future use of 580 in Edmonton.
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Re: CRTC Approves deletion of CKUA 580 Edmonton

Postby Rocky » Mon Sep 16, 2013 1:15 pm

Maybe I missed something somewhere along the way, but why did CKUA voluntarily surrender the license for 580? Could they not have sold it to another party? It's not like an AM to FM
conversion where the license is being transferred.

An infusion of cash for a non profit operation seems to make a lot more sense than just giving it away.

Did CKUA own the AM transmitter site, or was an expensive lease the reason for sticking with FM only?
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Re: CRTC Approves deletion of CKUA 580 Edmonton

Postby Aaron » Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:05 pm

580/94.9 are a simulcast, not separately licensed stations, so it couldn't be sold.
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Re: CRTC Approves deletion of CKUA 580 Edmonton

Postby Toomas Losin » Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:30 pm

jon wrote:Reading the decision, the drop-dead date for CKUA to be off 580 is December 12th, right in the middle of the DX Season, which will be nice.

I last listened on 580 in 2011 and logged six stations over three weeks: CKUA Edmonton AB, KIDO Nampa ID, KMJ Fresno CA, KRSA Petersburg AK(!), KTMT Ashland OR, and KUBC Montrose CO. There's rich pickin's there. My log says that KIDO and KMJ were best but CKUA was difficult, not heard every night. Looking at its night pattern I can see why!
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Re: CRTC Approves deletion of CKUA 580 Edmonton

Postby jon » Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:50 pm

Toomas: When DX'ed from East and then South Burnaby in the last half of the 1960s, CKUA was the second to last station in Alberta that I heard. That left only CHFA-680 and I'd have heard all the non-LPRTs in Alberta. I did hear them a couple of years later before KNBR San Francisco signed on on a Monday morning. Not long after that, I even heard one LPRT: CBXB-860 in Banff.

To make a long story short, CKUA has always been difficult from Vancouver. Though in my day, you had CKXR-580 in Salmon Arm and 50KW CKY-580 in Winnipeg, both there pretty much every evening, on top of Fresno, Nampa and Oregon.

I think that WIBW-580 in Topeka, Kansas was also there on occasion, too.
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Re: CRTC Approves deletion of CKUA 580 Edmonton

Postby Eldon-Mr.CFAY » Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:45 pm

Hi Everyone,
Great dx catches Toomas on 580 AM. I think KRSA in Alaska is very good, I do not think I have ever heard them!!! Yes Jon I certainly agree with you CKUA 580 was hard to hear back in the late 60s and 70s! I did hear them a couple times but not a regular at all. The most regular station I got on 580 was KFXD Nampa Idaho, in almost every night and Ashland, Oregon was there quite frequently. Hearing WIBW is also a good catch, never heard that one from Greater Vancouver over the years to date. I have been following your dx Toomas and you certainly have had some great TP and Asian dx catches recently. Keep it up! Interesting to hear about it.

Jon I have a question for you, how would you rate Edmonton as a dx location for mediumwave dxing compared to your many years of dxing in Burnaby back in the 60s etc..??? I know several dxers were in IRCA back in those days dxing from Edmonton such as John Oldfield and the late Percy K... among others. In the 80s I found Calgary, Alberta to be a good dx location especially considering I was almost downtown. Testing out loop antennas in the day and at night generally I did not find much TVI or noise then, was on the ground floor of the apartment building with my office and workshop though. Perhaps the grounding was good in the building which might have helped. But was quite pleased with results there! I know you moved to a new home location in Edmonton in the p
ast year Jon. Have you found the new Edmonton location better than your old one for AM reception?

Anyway just a few thoughts about this. I have often thought that one ideal location for AM Dxing aside from near the oceans would be a rural town location in Southern Saskatchewan perhaps a place like Assiniboia, a fair distance south of Regina. I am speaking about this in terms of Domestic North American DX from the States and Canada and perhaps Mexico. If you are interested in TP Pacific or Trans-Atlantic dx from foreign countries obviously the rural ocean locations like Newfoundland or west coast of Vancouver Island would be best!

Take care everyone! 73s

Eldon

Take care everyone!!! 73s
Bye . . Mr. CFAY "Frequently On The Frequency"
The CFAY Website: http://cfayradio.wordpress.com
CFAY Radio: http://tinyurl.com/l9qqmh
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Re: CRTC Approves deletion of CKUA 580 Edmonton

Postby jon » Mon Sep 23, 2013 6:39 pm

CKUA to drop AM signal in November
By Edmonton Journal, Edmonton Journal
September 23, 2013 6:00 PM

EDMONTON - CKUA will tune out its 580 AM frequency in about two months.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has agreed to allow the radio station to surrender the signal.

CKUA, which broadcasts across Alberta, applied to the CRTC last winter to delete the frequency because it couldn’t afford to make $1 million in upgrades to its AM transmitters in Beaumont.

As of late November, listeners will only be able to pick up CKUA via its FM network — including 94.9 FM in Edmonton — and the Internet.

Station staff estimate that losing the AM signal will affect 500 listeners in northeastern communities such as Bonnyville, Lac La Biche and Cold Lake because they live in a pocket not reached by CKUA’s FM signal.

An exact phase-out date has yet to be announced — “late November” is the time frame mentioned on ckua.com.

CKUA 580 AM launched in 1923. The station erected its current AM transmitters and towers in 1960, 12 years after starting its FM network.

The listener-funded station moved into a new headquarters on Jasper Avenue last year. CKUA’s annual fall fundraiser runs from Oct. 17 to 27.
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Re: CRTC Approves deletion of CKUA 580 Edmonton

Postby jon » Mon Sep 23, 2013 6:41 pm

From ckua.com:

The AM Transmitter

Earlier this year, we shared with you the significant challenges we face in continuing to broadcast on our AM frequency (see below for details). We have now received word from the CRTC, and CKUA will stop broadcasting on 580AM in late November. We’d like to hear from any listeners who may be affected by this decision – please write to us at am@ckua.com.


Significant Challenges

The AM site requires an estimated $1M in upgrades to make it compliant with Industry Canada Safety Codes. CKUA was given a deadline of 2014 to complete that work.

The costs to run the AM Transmitter make it the most expensive in the CKUA network. The land for the AM site is leased on a year-to-year basis and should the landowner decide to sell it, CKUA would need to relocate the AM site. Relocating is not a simple process, as AM sites require large tracts of a very specific type of land and have a complex underground antenna structure in addition to the actual towers. The cost to purchase the land, should it be available for sale, is in the millions of dollars. The total investment needed to rebuild the AM site on secured land could run up to $5 million dollars. CKUA filed an application with the CRTC to relinquish use of the AM frequency because we cannot afford to make the investment necessary to operate it.

Practically speaking, the AM Transmitter is largely redundant. It is a repeater for CKUA’s FM broadcast signal and our FM network provides coverage to virtually all the areas that the AM currently reaches.

CKUA does not have $5 million dollars to invest in the AM service. Even if we had the necessary funds available, it’s not the best investment relative to the other uses for the money, such as funding new programs or making necessary upgrades to our FM infrastructure, much of which also need repair.

We are confident that given the coverage of our FM network, we can find solutions for almost everyone who may be affected.

FAQs

Why hasn’t work been done on the AM site to keep it upgraded?
The CKUA AM towers and transmitters were established on their current site in 1960. The shelf life of a transmitter is 15 to 20 years and 40 to 50 years for the towers. The AM transmitter itself is has been upgraded but the towers are past their shelf life. They have survived this long because CKUA engineering staff have ingeniously kept things in good working order but at some point, as with any infrastructure like this, a full replacement needs to take place.

What specifically is not in compliance with Industry Canada Safety Codes?
The specific violation is “the use of open line transmission cables feeding power distribution to the three towers is exposed and poses contact safety concerns.” While this may sound like a trivial issue, it pretty much requires a total re-build of the AM site in order to address it. There were several other Safety Code citations also noted in the report which CKUA has been able to address.

How much does it cost to run the AM site on an annual basis?
The AM service costs approximately $50,000/year to run and the bulk of that is the cost to lease the land. It is the most expensive transmitter in the network. The issue is not so much related to operating costs as it is to the estimated $5M in capital required to secure the land and make the necessary repairs.

Why didn’t CKUA purchase the land to the AM before the price skyrocketed?
The AM site was established at its current location in 1960 and at that point, the parcel of land was not for sale. The land was available for purchase in 2006 at the height of the real estate market and it commanded a multi-million dollar price tag. CKUA did not have funds at that point to purchase the land. CKUA is on a year-to-year lease and the current owner is expected to sell the land at some point; however, given land values in the area where the site is located, it will cost millions of dollars to purchase.

Why can’t CKUA move the AM site?
Relocating is not a simple process. AM sites require large tracts of a very specific type of land and have a complex underground antenna structure in addition to the actual towers. CKUA would face similar challenges from a financial perspective as we’d need the capital available to purchase a new tract of land.

Why can’t CKUA rent space on someone else’s AM towers?
Unlike FM radio, AM signals cannot easily be combined. In most cases, they require their own separate towers and underground antenna structure. While it is possible to combine two frequencies into one antenna array there are many technical considerations that must be met and it is a very expensive process, provided it is even feasible for the frequencies in question.

When will the service be discontinued?
On September 12, 2013, CKUA received notice from the CRTC to approve the deletion of the AM Transmitter from our license. We will be discontinuing service in late November.

Which areas will be impacted by the loss of the AM?
Based on our assessment of coverage maps, we anticipate the following communities primarily in the North-Eastern part of the province to be affected:

• Wainwright
• Cold Lake
• Bonnyville
• Lac La Biche
• Slave Lake
• St. Paul
• Provost
• Vermillion
• Westlock

Other Ways to Listen

We will continue to broadcast on our 16 FM Transmitters and online at ckua.com.

We are also carried by the following providers:

SaskTel 855
Shaw Direct (Star Choice) 828 or 492
Telus Optik 7046
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CKUA-AM's Last Day is November 19th

Postby jon » Tue Sep 24, 2013 9:04 am

A DX'er just e-mailed me with the text of a message just received by a friend of his directly from CKUA, specifically stating November 19th as the last day of CKUA-AM.

I had wondered if CKUA would choose their 86th anniversary, November 21st, but apparently not. That anniversary, and date, does not count the station's previous life as CFCK, before the University bought the station.
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