Grand Rapids
Hibbing Bemidji
Bagley Brainerd

Nuts & Volts

 Reception Tips
 Remote Kit

The obligatory rant about the equipment that makes Northern Community Radio run . . . enter the land of the supergeek.

Studio Facilities
Our studios aren't fancy by anyone's definition, but thanks to money raised through the Capital Campaign, we've been able to update some of our equipment. Everything starts at the studio, specifically with some sort of playback device. We play audio from CD players, recorded and live feeds off the Public Radio Satellite System, turntables, an ENCO automation system, and other devices.

Mixing board

Heart of the Beast
Northern Community Radio's on air system is a marriage between a Logitek audio router system and Mosiac control surface tied into the ENCO "Digital Audio Delivery" system.  The Logitek router system puts the correct inputs to the correct outputs, at the command of the ENCO system.  ENCO serves as a centralized place to store any audio which is either locally produced (like Real Good Words) or from the satellite (like the World Café). It cuts down dramatically on the number of tapes shuffled around the station, and since the audio stays in the computer, it is of much higher quality. It also allows us the capability to run all night long unattended. 

Once the audio comes from the console, it goes through some electronic gymnastics before it finally gets to the transmitter site. Our current audio processing is made by Aphex Systems. This box handles equalization, and does some multi-band compression to make us sound louder while still staying within legal modulation limits.  Now that the audio has been processed, it goes to the transmitter site. We use an analog microwave STL (Studio to Transmitter Link) operating in the 950 megahertz band, specifically, a Moseley PCL 6000.  KAXE broadcasts 2 subcarriers... a 57kHz RDBS signal for the Now Playing data displayed on receivers capable of RDS/RDBS data and also the MN Talking Books on a 67kHz subcarrier using the FMeXtra digital subcarrier. 

Transmitter Site
The signal is received by the STL receiver at the transmitter site, then fed into the exciter of our transmitter. Our transmitter is a Harris HT-25FM. The exciter is a small transmitter operating at a relatively low power level. This drives the intermediate stage of our transmitter, which in turn drives the final stage. All stages in the transmitter are solid state, except for the final tube. The final tube in our transmitter is a rebuilt Econco 4CX20,000A. If you know anything about tubes, you know that this is one BIG tube. Once the signal comes out of our transmitter, it goes through a filter to prevent interaction with the other FM transmitter at our site. Finally, it is fed through 315 feet of 3" rigid copper transmission line to our antenna. The antenna we use consists of 12 circularly polarized antennas stacked on top of each other.

Nominal Transmitter specifications
Plate Voltage: 9.6kv
Plate Current: 2.20a
Transmitter final efficiency: 78.6%
Final TPO (Transmitter Power Output): 16.500kw (The transmitter is rated up to 25kw)
Final ERP (EFFECTIVE Radiated Power): 100kW


Now you have it . .  All the gory details of how Northern Community Radio gets from our studios to your radio.

Northern Community Radio 800-662-5799
KAXE260 NE 2nd Street • Grand Rapids, Minnesota 55744 • 218-326-1234 • FAX: 218-326-1235
KBXE 305 America Avenue NW • Bemidji, Minnesota 56601 • 218-333-9005
Grand Rapids - 91.7 FM • Bemidji - 90.5 FM • Brainerd - 89.9 FM • Ely - 103.9 FM