May 2019 Highway Issue Text-Only Printable PDF
 Publisher:  Information Station Specialists
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When Ice Cometh
Motorist Advisories Are Triggered Instantly when Conditions Get Dicey
KINGMAN, AZ:  When Hualapai Mountain Road near Kingman, Arizona, becomes treacherous due to ice, county officials don’t need to concern themselves with changing the messages being broadcast on the County’s Highway Advisory Radio Station. It all happens automatically.
Conditions on roads near Kingman, AZ, change rapidly. Above are images of the same road on two consecutive days in February 2019.
Conditions on the steep, two-lane road often change without warning. When ice is detected, pavement sensors trigger a paging burst that is relayed to an ALERT AM Advisory Radio Station on the mountaintop that instantly switches its broadcast to exclusively air warning messages to motorists. When conditions improve, the station’s broadcast goes back to normal, all without operator intervention. The same wireless cue has the capability of triggering other devices such as flashing beacons/LED signs in concert with the radio station’s message change.

The Information Radio service was installed by Mohave County’s Public Works Department in 2017 to advise commuters who use the steep mountain road that dangerous ice is present on the pavement. A secondary goal is to enhance safety for visitors approaching or leaving the popular Mohave County Regional Park, which sits atop the mountain, some 3000 feet above the city. Hualapai Mountain Road is the sole means of getting to the park – and often more importantly - back down the mountain.

States Mohave County’s Traffic Control Supervisor Gregg Whaley, “This radio application proves a successful addition to the County’s motorist information network, in the observation of Public Works, road users and citizens served.”
Please Don't Go!
Kentucky County Advises Motorists
When Not to Enter the Interstate
LA GRANGE, KY:  Ramp metering controls the rate at which drivers merge onto a busy thoroughfare. But Oldham County Kentucky is going one step farther by advising motorists when not to enter their busy highway – at all!

The County, adjacent to Louisville, is bisected by Interstate 71, a major commute route into and out of the city. When a major incident backs up I-71 traffic, unaware drivers often inadvertently add to the congestion and cost themselves time by entering the fray at one of the County’s four interstate interchanges. Now, eight wirelessly controlled, solar-powered signs have been installed in advance of the associated entrance ramps to tell people to stay on the surface streets when interstate gridlock sets in.

When activated, the signs’ 12” amber beacons flash to attract attention, while “Stealth Sign” LED displays can be independently selected to advise against going north, south or both north and south.

Designed in coordination with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the unique system is controlled on a VHF frequency from Oldham County Emergency Management’s 911 Center at La Grange, Kentucky.

The FCC Wants Your Opinion

WASHINGTON DC:  Technology advances have a been responsible for music listeners departing the AM band over the years to listen to FM radio, satellite radio and internet streams. Now, the FCC wants us all to consider what would happen if AM radio stations had the option to broadcast in full digital (M3) technology. Would we buy a $200 receiver to see if our favorite AM station has returned to rock 'n roll?

The American Association of Information Radio Operators (AAIRO) is opposed to the FCC’s “Notice of Inquiry” on the matter due to the severe interference digital stations would present to other radio stations that share the band. Read AAIRO’s position here and send along your comments to include with the filing.

Or file on your own at this link:  Media Bureau Docket RM-11836. The filing deadline is May 13, 2019.
See also Radio World's article "FCC Wants Your Input on Digital-Only AM Proposal" by Susan Ashworth, Apr 22, 2019..
DelDOT's Innovative Highway Radio Service Featured in National Article
DOVER. DE:  This state’s Department of Transportation continues to build a Highway Advisory Radio (HAR) system that stands apart from similar systems in the other 49 states. Due to its limited geography and high population density, Delaware has been able to accomplish something not possible elsewhere: virtual statewide signal coverage that reaches millions of motorists.

Recently, Radio World magazine featured DelDOT in a national article, which put the spotlight on their system’s unique character, i.e., "DelDOT Believes in the Power of Radio" by James Careless, Apr 9, 2019.

Today, Delaware is the only state that:
  1. Purchased and operates a former AM broadcast station – rebranded “WTMC - 1380” operating at 250 watts in Wilmington, Delaware - as the centerpiece of their HAR network.
  2. Blankets the state with a single highway radio information program on synchronized 10-watt “repeater” stations, to create border-to-border service on the 1380 AM frequency.
  3. Operates within the conventional AM band on Frequency 1380. (Most HAR stations are at the ends of the band (530 kHz or 1610-1700 kHz).
  4. Also simulcasts on an FM translator. The WTMC programming is also heard on 98.5 FM in the Wilmington area.
Radio That's Borderline
North Dakota DOT's New US/Canada
Highway Advisory Radio Service Is on the Air!
PEMBINA, ND:  Motorists on I-29 entering the US from Canada will now receive information via car radio as they come across the border utilizing an ITS.6000 Highway Advisory Radio System.

The plan is to get motorists better informed about procedures and documents before they arrive.

Additionally, I-29 traffic lines into the US can be lengthy at times. Helping drivers avoid delays is another goal of the service. This new station joins others on the Canadian border and a half dozen operated by Customs and Border Patrol on the US / Mexican border
See "Radio Crosses the Line" in The Source.
Reagan National
Re-Adds Airport Radio Service
Replaces Legacy Service with
21st-Century System
WASHINGTON, DC:  National Airport was one of the early adopters of the TIS/HAR service in the 1970s. After an absence of a number of years, the Airport is back on a new frequeancy and with new technology. Its new Information Station IP station boasts full 5000 Hz bandwidth and is operated via wireless IP from the Airport’s offices, allowing Airport officials to update ground travelers on construction projects underway and to issue safety advisories immediately when required.
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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.