March 2016 Issue Text-Only Printable PDF
Newsletters  Publisher:  Information Station Specialists Subscribe to The Source
Michigan DOT First with High Quality HARs
Mackinac Bridge HAR Sign
SAINT IGNACE, MICHIGAN:  It makes sense for the Western Hemisphere’s biggest suspension bridge to have something else big to boast about: The Mackinac Bridge in Northern Michigan now sports the widest audio bandwidth of any Highway Advisory Radio Stations operated by any department of transportation in the 50 states.
Mackinac Bridge 2016
Motorists make their way across Mighty Mac.
The FCC approved in February the new 5000 Hz filtering formulation that effectively expands HAR stations’ bandwidth by almost 70% without the necessity for transmitters to be re-certified. It took the Mackinac Bridge Authority fewer than 3 weeks after the announcement to get the HQ 5.0 upgrade kits procured and installed on its pair of stations that flank the Span to the north and south.
Mackinac Bridge HAR installation
Techs above the tollbooths transition the HAR transmitter to top quality audio.
The difference in overall audio quality and intelligibility is apparent. Technicians making the changeover noticed immediate differences such as being able to hear the “dge” sound in the word “bridge” and the “t” and “s” sounds in the broadcast - which before had been rolled off by the transmitters’ original 3000 Hz filters.

At this time, the FCC has approved the filters for installation only on TR.6000 Transmitters manufactured by Information Station Specialists.
U of NV Reno Students
University Broadcasts Text Alerts On-Air
Augments Student Safety by Simulcasting Notifications to
Area Motorists
RENO, NV:  When motorists need to receive immediate emergency information, safety officials don’t want drivers digging for mobile phones. That is why Emergency Manager Ed Atwell at the University of Nevada Reno envisioned a means of transmitting text-based alert messages – not only to cellphones and PC’s – but also to automobile radios near his campus.
UCI's Flashing ALERT Sign
Flashing ALERT Signs installed at intersections on the UCI Campus in Irvine, California, activate in an emergency and direct motorists to the school’s Information Radio frequency for detailed information.
Atwell explains, “An emergency message goes out as a text/email message to all faculty, staff and students, as well as anyone who has registered contact information via personal cellphones, and also scrolls on all university PC’s and monitors. At the same time, the message is automatically enunciated and broadcast, interrupting the normal radio programming on our campus’ Information Radio Station.”

The method of tying text alerts and radio broadcasting together was given the name “ENcast” by Information Station Specialists and can be instituted on many CAP/EAS compliant notification systems such as E2Campus/Ameralert, AlertSense and others.

Related technology can be used to automatically engage solar-powered emergency signs – such as the one pictured above in use by the University of California Irvine – in conjunction with text-based notifications. The signs can advise motorists to take a specific action and/or to monitor a special radio frequency for more information.

The understanding that motorists are at risk when dangerous situations arise is beginning to take hold not only at universities but in the communities that envelop them. On a Saturday night in Kalamazoo, Michigan, last month, an Uber driver began randomly executing people he encountered during a crime rampage that spanned the evening. Because the incident took place at locations that were near – but not on – the Western Michigan University Campus, students were perplexed that the administration did not notify students of the imminent danger just miles away. In published articles, University President John Dunn admitted that the school had failed to provide adequate updates to students and staff. But it was motorists – both on and off the WMU campus – who interacted innocently with this threat for six hours until the shooter was apprehended. The largest loss of life were five women in a vehicle who encountered the shooter in a parking lot. Four lost their lives. See the WMU Kalamazoo story.
Messages to The Source
Keeping Delaware Aware
“For special events, we promote our radio station WTMC on 1380 AM as a way to get real-time info. Our electronic message signs will say “Tune to WTMC 1380 AM.” You can also listen to WTMC on the DelDOT app as we stream. We have begun to install more static signs advising “Travel Info – Tune to WTMC 1380 AM” also and we continue to add more 1380 repeater sites.

"I am a big proponent of using [Highway Advisory] Radio.”
Gene Donaldson
TMC Operations Manager
Delaware DOT
Delaware DOT (DelDOT) is the only entity in the nation that utilizes a former full-power broadcast station - which they purchased outright - with its audio linked and synched to multiple HAR stations to push the effective coverage virtually statewide.
TIS Pioneer Comments
“Over and over again I see the value of what we know as ‘TIS.’ Thanks for perpetuating this important community service.”
Dick Burden
Engineer on Early LAX Airport TIS Station
Burden Associates
Canoga Park, CA
FCC:  Report Radio Pirates Promptly
If you hear something, say something more than "Aarg!"
WASHINGTON, DC:  Since the dawn of broadcasting, running a radio station without a license has been frowned upon. Not only does it inevitably cause interference to legally licensed station operators, it can result in steep fines and seizure of equipment if the “pirate” is caught by the Commission.

On March 1st, the FCC issued an enforcement advisory that reminds us:  “WARNING: Unauthorized Radio Broadcasting is Illegal.”

The advisory lists handy resources you can use to look up the real radio stations in your area and determine if a signal that is interfering with yours is a licensed operation – or not.

It then provides a link you can use to file a complaint . . . "against the scalawags!"
© 1983-2022 • Information Station Specialists, Inc. • All Rights Reserved
PO Box 51, Zeeland, Michigan, USA, 49464-0051, Phone 616.772.2300, Fax 616.772.2966, Email

• • •
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.