A broadband antenna and RF system are lastly arriving in Puerto Rico
The WJKL-FM transmission tower in the distance northwest of Caguas, Puerto Rico
For a generation of Puerto Ricans, “Alfa Rock 106” was home to rock and roll music nowhere else to be found on the FM wheel. Times are changing and shortly after midnight on March 3, 2018, WCAD-FM ended its airtime.
Just before Christmas 2018, the station was reborn and later accepted new callsigns that better reflected the current program.
Now a dielectric DCR-M financed by the listener is installed.
It was installed by Dielectric’s CALA region for the No. 2 licensee of radio stations in the US: Educational Media Foundation (EMF).
The dielectric DCR-M is used for what is now WJKL-FM 105.7, licensed to San Juan, Puerto Rico. The 50 kW Class B signal comes from a transmission tower in a rural area of Aguas Buenas south of San Juan. It’s on a peak in a mountainous, rural area that isn’t easy to get to.
EMF worked closely with Dielectric – and RBR + TVBR learned Univision – on a broadband antenna design. In the future it will support both WJKL on 105.7 MHz and a second station.
This station is WKAQ-FM 104.7, the longtime Latin Top 40 station that serves Puerto Rico and much of St. Thomas and St. Croix, USVI, as “KQ105”.
Don’t worry: Univision is not involved in any transaction with EMF as it is a KQ105.
Rather, the WKAQ-FM tower, which is adjacent to the tower used by WJKL, is being decommissioned after years of use and abuse by hurricanes and other weather-related raids. Therefore, WKAQ-FM and WJKL will be on the same tower.
The center-fed DCR-M from Dielectric supports both frequencies (with 1 MHz spacing) through a special design with reduced shaft spacing, which makes future field coordination superfluous.
In addition, EMF has added a new, specially developed two-station branch combiner that serves both transmission frequencies and prevents intermodulation problems caused by signal mixing in the transmitters.
The DCR-M was side-mounted on a mountaintop tower with a radiation center at 118 feet above the ground (1,787 feet above sea level) and was specified to withstand the stormy weather elements of Puerto Rico that were intensified during hurricane season.
In fact, the project was delayed due to several violent storms, including Hurricane Maria in 2017, which caused widespread devastation on the island. The project was revived once power was restored to the remote site and general infrastructure restored. Then COVID-19 came along and put the plans for KLOVE Puerto Rico in a nutshell.
Site Development Director Kim Allison The antenna design complies with the tower’s weight and wind load specifications. “This was very important given the remote location of the tower,” she said.
Dielectric worked closely with saber Develop a custom mounting system that could support the unique design of the well spacing. This included a spacer bar for the tapered tower architecture and a bracket design that eliminated complex anti-rotation elements for the antenna bays.
Dielectric also added its “Funky Elbow” design to reduce the ground radiation from the DCR-M through an inter-bay feed system that optimizes signal coverage without directing radiation down from the tower.
Keith Pelletier, VP / GM of Dielectric, notes that everything was shipped in a single container to keep costs down. Saber designed the standoff bar in short, modular sections that fit neatly next to Dielectric’s antenna.
“This project was a love job for Dielectric given the unforeseen delays and challenges EMF faced on the way to installation,” said Pelletier. “We are grateful for the opportunity to support EMF and its mission to bring Christian radio programs to audiences across Puerto Rico.”
Additional coverage from Brian Galante.