Thursday, March 12, 2009

From the Mountain to Your Radio - Your Pledge at Work

VPR Director of Engineering Rich Parker send this note yesterday:

It's the first day of our membership drive with volunteers answering phones and we always get a lot of questions about how VPR signals get to various parts of Vermont. When VPR started, there was only one transmitter, WVPR at 89.5 - it was on the top of Mt. Ascutney, overlooking Windsor, Springfield and the Connecticut Valley. Due to the faithful and generous support of our listeners and underwriters over these past years, we are now able to broadcast across the state of Vermont and nearby border states from nine full service FM stations and fourteen low powered translators - carrying VPR News and Information and VPR Classical to our listeners.

Because of technical advances and innovations, and with some infrastructure support in the form of grants from CPB (Corporation for Public Broadcasting) we are also able to provide the new digital HD radio to our listeners. With the capability for 'multi-casting' - putting multiple program streams on one frequency - we are able to serve our listeners better with more of the program services they enjoy. This is particularly important as we continue to expand our VPR Classical network - in areas where there is not an available signal for VPR Classical yet, it can often be heard on the HD-2 multicast channels of our other VPR News and Information stations.

But how does all this get to you - or more importantly, how does this all get into your radio? VPR has the majority of it's transmitters atop many of the high mountain peaks of Vermont. Today, we'll show you a little bit of the WVPS facility atop Mt. Mansfield.

The picture above was taken in late October, shortly after WVPS went on the air with it's new antennas, on a brand new tower atop Mt. Mansfield. The day before, tower riggers had just finished installation of the last panel antenna - it was a beautiful and sunny fall day!

As you can see from the picture, Mt. Mansfield can be a difficult place to work for much of the year, but the high elevation is key to the wide reach which WVPS has across the northern part of our state. When you turn on your radio to 107.9, you can picture the radio waves coming out of those panels at the top of that tower, going through all that ice and snow, and finally ending up at your radio receiver. While it sometimes seems like magic, it is the result of a great deal of hard work by our capable and very talented engineering staff - who sometimes have to go up there to work under less than ideal conditions.

We'll be profiling our other sites as time goes by - I hope you'll stay tuned; and I hope you'll make a pledge - we really couldn't do it without you! For the VPR Engineering staff - Mike Seguin, Brian Marshall, and Asa Sourdiffe I say 'Thanks for your support all these years!' 

Rich Parker, GSEC
Director of Engineering
Vermont Public Radio

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