Information Station Specialists is the best known source of traveler's information stations, highway advisory radio, advisory signs and services needed to reach motorists. Learn more about Information Station Specialists.
     
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Information Station Planning Steps


Below are things to consider in setting up an Information Station service in your area. Feel free to email us for personal planning assistance (or call Bill Baker at 616.772.2300 Ext 102). We have a network of representatives across the country; and, after initial brainstorming, we can put you in touch with one in your area who can visit your site(s), help test frequencies and find the best antenna location(s) — even install the system — whatever is needed.
Step 1 - Order a frequency search.
We will develop a list of AM frequencies that are open in your area and send them to you with our suggestions and instructions on how to monitor them. Contact us to order a frequency search. Just provide the general area where the radio station might be located. This service includes the license application work (Step 6, below), as well, should you decide to move forward.
Step 2 - Survey the listening area.
Survey the streets and roadways where listening is required with an automobile digital AM radio tuned to your candidate frequencies. Monitor all of the candidate frequencies throughout the listening area at least once during daylight hours and at least once after dark. Select the frequency that is best for your needs. (See why nighttime monitoring is important.)
Step 3 - Choose a general location for optimal coverage.
Use a map to select a general antenna location such that a 3-mile-radius circle fully encompasses the roads and streets that require coverage. The signal will usually carry 3 to 5 miles and be heard much farther away on some radios; but the strongest part of the signal will always be in that area. If a certain street, highway or intersection is critically important to cover, consider locations within a half-mile. Mark the map to show the area within which the antenna should be located to meet your coverage goals. (See the Signal Penetration webpage, regarding in-home/in-vehicle listening.) Consider where signs will be placed to alert motorists entering the area about the Information Station. (See Flashing ALERT SignTM Systems.)
Step 4 - Determine the site for antenna installation.
For best coverage, the immediate area near the antenna should be free of objects that exceed 25 feet (about 2 stories.) This includes tall buildings, trees, terrain features, power and communication poles and towers. We do not recommend installing antennas on rooftops or within 50 feet of buildings that contain electronics because of the potential for interference and equipment damage. This does not apply to non-building oriented situations, such as isolated-style installations, in which a cabinet with the electronic equipment is attached to the antenna support pole.
Step 5 - Choose an antenna mounting style.
If your site has a building that would host the radio station, choose yard style. If there is no host building at the site, choose isolated style.

Yard Style Installation (recommended)
Equipment in a building with the antenna/groundplane system in an adjacent yard. Advantage: high security. See drawing.

Isolated Style Installation
Equipment and antenna/groundplane system on a pole where there is no building. Advantage: high flexibility of location. See drawing.

Requirements for Yard and Isolated Styles
There should be no underground obstacles or structures taller than 25 feet in the immediate vicinity of the antenna and at least a 40x40-foot area of open ground for pole and groundplane installation. Make certain 120 volts of AC power and telephone service is available; or, if remote control via a network is desired, that network service is also available. (NOTE: although the IP Information Station can operate via Ethernet connection, it may also be programmed locally through its USB port. In that case, no network lines would be required at the site.)

Optional VP9000TM Vertical Profile Antenna System for either Yard or Isolated Style
If ground space is at a premium, choose the optional Vertical Profile Antenna System (VP9000). Because no groundplane is required, only one square foot of open-ground area is needed. All wiring is inside the pole. The VP9000 is aesthetically pleasing, highly secure, and is the only antenna solution that meets hurricane wind standards in all parts of the United States. See drawing.

Optional 2X Signal BoosterTM offers up to double the efficiency/range of the station’s antenna, allowing the transmitter to run at less wattage or allowing the signal to have twice the signal intensity at a given distance. It functions with upper-band (typically 1610-1700 kHz) antennas only and is recommended for federal government agencies that do not have a signal intensity limitation; also for any operator in a challenging environment who requires maximum signal intensity to cut through woods, buildings and obstructions. (NOTE: local government licensees must seek a waiver of FCC rules to allow a signal intensity above the standard 2.0 mV/m limitation.)
Step 6 - Complete a FCC License Application Questionnaire.
Complete and return this simple License Application Questionnaire, so we may secure your operating license from the FCC in a timely manner. The questionnaire requests basic contact information and details about the proposed antenna location and frequency chosen for broadcast, with which we can also assist you. When we receive your completed questionnaire, we will prepare the necessary engineering work and submit your application to the FCC for approval, which often takes a few months. As part of an overall license package, we will handle any additional filings you may require to get up and running, such as temporary licenses, minor adjustments and the required FCC notification that your station has been built.

NOTE 1: Because FCC processing time is unpredictable, we recommend you request licensing and other FCC documentation services as soon as you know for sure you will have a station – definitely no later than when you place your radio equipment order.

NOTE 2: The FCC considers 10-year, renewable licenses for information radio stations secondary to full-power broadcast stations. This means, that in a rare situation in which a full-power station might move into a given area, the Information Station already in that vicinity might need to change frequency. We can assist.
Step 7 - Consider equipment.
Contact Bill Baker to brainstorm the best setup for your application and to receive a quote.

Checklist for Receiving a Quotation
Provide Bill the following details for a precise quote: 
  • Your name, agency, phone and fax numbers; email address, if desired. 
  • Product name: Information Station (Classic or IP Version) Version.
  • Installation style: yard or isolated with or without Vertical Profile Antenna option. 
  • Desired options. See options noted on the Technical Specifications webpage.
Step 8 - Prepare the transmitter site.
You can get ready for installation by preparing your transmitter location. This preparation is detailed in the instruction manual provided with the system and includes 3 primary activities:
  1. Antenna Support System Preparation
    For yard and isolated-style stations, this includes setting the antenna support pole, burying the coaxial cable and groundplane in the earth beneath.
  2. Equipment Cabinet Installation
    For building-oriented stations, this means locating the equipment cabinet inside the building with the antenna support pole in the yard next to the building. For isolated style stations, it means installing the equipment cabinet on the pole at the antenna site.
  3. Power, Telephone and Network Services Installation
    For building-oriented stations, this means making sure the 120VAC power and a shielded-line telephone or network service are present/installed at the equipment operating location in the building. For isolated-style stations: installing power and shielded telephone or network lines into the equipment cabinet. (Note: telephone lines are required only for Classic stations. Although the Information StationIP can operate via Ethernet connection, it may also be programmed locally through its USB port. In that case, no network lines would be required at the site.)
Contact Bill Baker if you would like an advance copy of your station’s illustrated instruction manual, which details the exact site preparation procedures. Just tell him whether you are interested in the Classic or IP, outlined in the Information Station homepage linked below, Information Station and which installation style, frequency and options you have selected. We offer turnkey installation services and Bill can provide a quote for your project.
Step 9 - Plan the broadcast.
The Information Station package can, if you choose, include professional recordings, ready to broadcast. And, remember, you can stream broadcasts via the optional HearMoreInfoSM StreamCastSM Service. See our What May Be Broadcast webpage for information about permitted content.
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