February 2016 Issue Text-Only Printable PDF
 Publisher:  Information Station Specialists
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A Fair Question
Travelers Information Stations, TIS, FCC Part 90 Rules for TIS
WEST PALM BEACH, FL:  In January 2016, the 104th South Florida Fair attracted more than a half-million patrons to an area already packed with people – the nexus of US98, Interstate 95, Florida’s Turnpike and the Palm Beach International Airport. All are within five miles of its gates.

Last year the Fair’s management asked how it could better communicate with vehicular traffic as it winds its way into the event’s parking lots. And perhaps more importantly, how to direct patrons to exit those lots in an orderly fashion should that become a sudden priority.
South Florida Fair Logo
Smartphones present a problem for in-vehicular communication due to their distraction factor and because not all patrons own them. So the Fair’s Director of Safety and Security Randy Hoffer selected the EventCAST

to provide the solution.

The 1690 AM broadcast was on the air a full week in advance as well as during the course of the 17-day affair, which spanned the last two weeks in January. With a signal range of up to 5 miles, all major inbound thoroughfares were saturated with the signal. A set of trailer-mounted Changeable Message Signs (PCMS) faced inbound traffic at four locations to alert motorists to the new service.
"South Florida Fair was very pleased with the results." 
. . . Randy Hoffer Safety/Security Director
Everything was going fine, and then came the storms. Hoffer explains, “We thought we were prepared for everything, until torrential rains caused the Fair to delay opening one day by six hours. But our pre-recorded messages all had the original opening time in them.
Portable Changeable Message Sign
Portable Changeable Message Sign
"So, in a matter of minutes we were able to record a new message [with corrected times] and load it into the station’s [USB Port]. This certainly made it obvious what a flexible system this truly is in an emergency.”

Hoffer says the Fair intends to use the service each year, if possible, and is now determining “how to best use the station in emergency situations. “

It may engage the service permanently because of year-round activities at the 19,000 seat “Perfect Vodka Ampitheater,” also located at the Fairgrounds, which has parking and traffic challenges of its own around the calendar.
FCC Approves New TIS Improvements
Operators Report Dramatic Differences
in Audio Intelligibility & Overall Quality
WASHINGTON, DC:  On February 18th, the Commission fired the starting gun that begins the race to elevate the broadcast quality of hundreds of Information Radio (TIS) Stations from coast to coast. Approved were two new devices for use in combination with the industry-standard TR.6000 Transmitter – a 5 kHz audio filter and a 5 kHz audio processor. The FCC now allows either device to be paired with an unfiltered TR.6000 Transmitter to produce a high-quality 5000 Hz broadcast.

The 2015 Report and Order, which allows the expansion of the TIS audio bandwidth by a full 67%, comprised the first technical improvement to the service in its 40-year existence. It’s a big one because it solidly puts TIS stations on a more level playing field with regular broadcasters in terms signal quality and presence. Many AM broadcast stations operate with similar audio bandwidth, though some have significantly more.
HQ5.0 Filter HQ5.1 Processor
HQ 5.0 Audio Filter HQ 5.2 Broadcast Quality Audio Processor
Both devices recently passed rigorous FCC-mandated testing to prove to the agency that in combination with an unfiltered TR.6000 Transmitter, the signal output “rolls off” appropriately, according to the FCC- prescribed formula developed specifically for TIS. FCC rules permit their use exclusively with TR.6000s.

The HQ 5.0 Audio Filter is a simple-to-install solution that provides the 5000 Hz bandwidth for a TIS station. Its passive design means that it merely plugs into the audio line that feeds the TR.6000 Transmitter – but you don’t have to “plug it in” to an outlet. No power supply is required.

The HQ 5.2 Broadcast Quality Audio Processor also brings the full 5000 Hz bandwidth to the party, but it adds some tasty extras: it limits and compresses the audio signal to produce more loudness and range; it adds high-end pre-emphasis to counter the de-emphasis built into automobile receivers and produces a brighter and more intelligible result.

Regarding the processor, its first adopter, Police Chief Kevin Valentine at Bernardsville, NJ, comments, “This new upgrade to our station has dramatically improved the strength and clarity of our signal.” The University of Kentucky placed the HQ 5.2 Processor on-line the week of February 21st.

In their first week of availability, some 18 licensees have taken delivery on one of the signal improvement devices. In addition, all new TIS stations from Information Station Specialists now come with the HQ 5.0 Audio Filter technology built into their TR.6000 HQ 5.0 Transmitters.
5 kHz TIS Service - First Out of the Gate
HQ 5.2 Processors HQ 5.0 Filters
  • Bernardsville, NJ
  • University of Kentucky
  • Auburn, WA
  • Los Alamos County NM (2 locations)
  • Nocatee/Tolomato CDD. FL
  • Grosse Ile, MI
  • Avon Grove Regional Emergency Management, PA
  • Arches National Park, UT
  • Upshur County, WV (8 locations)
  • Douglas County, NE
  • Illinois Department of Transportation
  • Delaware Department of Transportation
  • New York State Thruway Authority
  • Hartsfield-Jackson-Atlanta International Airport, GA
  • Cincinnati International Airport, OH
  • Haleakala National Park HI (2 locations)
  • Michigan Department of Transportation at Mackinac Bridge (2 locations)
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Information Radio Stations is a generic term synonymous with Travelers Information Stations (TIS), Highway Advisory Radio Stations (HAR) / Highway Information Systems & Low Power Radio Stations (LPR). Operation of the stations is governed by FCC Part 90.242 Rules. A FCC license is required. Information Radio Stations may be fixed or portable. Subcomponents may include transmitter, antenna and ground system, digital voice player, wattmeter, cabinet with conventional or Corbin locks, lightning arrestors for RF, power and telephone lines, coaxial cable. Most stations employ black maximized antennas to discourage ice accumulation and security measures to prevent unauthorized program access. Options include synchronization, battery backup, solar power, remote programming by local, network or telco, multi-station audio distribution via RF or LAN / WAN or wireless network.