The Source eNewsletter
October 2023
Newsletter Index  Publisher:  Information Station Specialists Subscribe to The Source
Going Bigger
FCC Approving Larger, Higher Antennas for More Signal Coverage
Lake Almanor Installation
Left to Right:  Volunteer Randy Damsen (NB6X) and Peninsula Fire Protection District’s Board Member Mark Burham (K6FEJ) assemble the RadioSAFE (HPR.0990) Antenna near Lake Almanor.
Photo Courtesy of Peninsular Fire Protection District
LAKE ALMANOR CA:  A new, expanded-coverage RadioSAFE system at Lake Almanor, California, will provide a signal intended to envelop the region in northern California with information that could be critical in the next emergency. In May an earthquake near the Lake rattled plenty of nerves. In recent years wildfires have approached the area and just missed, sparking the need for the service. Cellular coverage in the area is spotty; and if power is severed or turned off, residents may suddenly find themselves in an information desert.
Morgan County Installation
Tuning Morgan County's RadioSAFE Antenna
Photo Courtesy of Electronic Communication Systems
Martinsville, IN:  Morgan County, Indiana, is one of many communities seeking to cover the most real estate possible by requesting that FCC approve signal coverage and antenna height waivers for their RadioSAFE service. Previously the County operated a portable radio system that provided conventional coverage. Now, County safety officials are watching the April date rapidly approach when they expect throngs of eclipse tourists to descend on Southern Indiana to see the moon’s shadow go by. Radio will be an efficient way to reach out with safety information during the event.
ORANGEBURG COUNTY, SC:  Orangeburg County in South Carolina has announced it will be installing 12 RadioSAFE systems intended to blanket the region, which is prone to flooding. The recent passing of Hurricane Idalia in August pointed to the need for an emergency information system resilient enough to provide updates when grid power and conventional communications are lost.

FCC allows safety agencies to seek waivers of antenna height, signal coverage and other parameters for both new and existing Information Radio Stations. At present, more than two dozen such waivers have been granted, permitting licensees to cover more ground cost effectively.
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Low Power FM Window to Open   ̶ Again
WASHINGTON, DC:  FCC has just announced that the application window for Low Power FM (LPFM) stations is being moved to December 6-13, 2023. The Source is just letting you know in case you are asked to explain why your agency isn’t applying for one. The LPFM service is not considered a good fit for most public safety agencies due to 1) limited frequencies available in populated areas, 2) requirements for new live programming daily, 3) the strict limitations on licensing and renewability and 4) the secondary status making them vulnerable to being sidelined by new FM broadcast stations and translators. Here are even more reasons why public safety agencies do not embrace LPFM. For more information on the service, see also the FCC’s LPFM webpage.
Lahaina Aftermath
The Aftermath at Lahaina
Shutterstock Photo
Radio Aids Maui Recovery
Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency Deploys Temporary Radio Stations to Advise Returning Residents
LAHAINA, HI:  What took an instant to incinerate will require lifetimes to rebuild. As Maui residents return to reclaim what remains, their Emergency Management Agency is keeping them updated by radio. Not surprisingly, their first radio antenna location is in the Town of Lahaina on the high school gym, which thankfully was spared. Broadcasts may include a wide array of details critical for re-entering residents: locating shelter and food assistance, air quality updates and the status of service restorations such as water and electricity.
Maui Radio Shipment
Radio Shipments Headed for Maui
Then there are the residents of communities such as Lahaina and Kula who can no longer gain access to their homes. “Displaced people have moved out to areas like Kihei and Kahului and are living with relatives, or some are in hotels,” Walt Pacheco, Communications Coordinator with the Maui Police Department, told The Source. The second radio station is being set up now in the island’s major city, Kahului – one of four RadioSTAT systems currently at the Agency’s disposal.
RadioSTAT Antenna Installed
RadioSTAT Antenna in Evidence atop the Lahainaluna High School Gym
Photo Courtesy of Harmer Communications
See RadioWorld's story "Hawaii Puts AM Radio to Work on Maui -- The state has acquired four portable emergency advisory radio systems." Aug 22, 2023.
Everything in Modulation
Information Station Specialists Turns 40
ZEELAND, MI: Information Station Specialists began in 1983 as a one-man service provider for the newly-minted Travelers Information Station (TIS) industry – filing licenses, voicing audio and performing installations. Today, the niche company continues to do all of that along with manufacturing transmitters, antennas and a spectrum of custom products that deliver information to the public. Added along the way: portable signage, internet streaming services and now solutions for broadcast stations and the HAM Radio market.
Tech at First Job 
Information Station Specialists Technician on an
Early Installation at San Antonio International Airport
Shutterstock Graphic
Comments founder Bill Baker, “We’ve tried to treat our customers right, and in return, they’ve more than treated us right, year after year.” In a marketplace hungry for consistency, Information Station Specialists has been a bright exception – maintaining the same phone number and mailing address for 37 years. The majority of company employees have been with the firm for more than two decades.

“We’ve survived two recessions, the pandemic, the internet, bird-flu, smartphones and even Y2K,” comments Baker. “Whatever comes next, we can probably help you tell the public about it.”
Early logo
Early logo
Early logo
Today's Logo
Information Station Specialists is credited with introducing key technologies into the Information Radio Station industry over its 40 years, including:
  • Portable stations.
  • Stations designed for building rooftops.
  • Premanufactured fixed and portable groundplanes.
  • Portable stations on trailers with changeable message signs.
  • Synchronized, fixed radio signals,
  • The use of digital audio files.
  • Hand-portable stations.
  • Network-controlled stations.
  • Transmitters with full 5000 Hz bandwidth.
  • High efficiency antennas with increased range.
  • StreamCAST simulcasting with Alexa Advisories.
See for more.
© 1983-2024 • Information Station Specialists, Inc. • All Rights Reserved
PO Box 51, Zeeland, Michigan, USA, 49464-0051, Phone 616.772.2300, Email

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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.