August 2014 Issue  
Newsletters  Publisher:  Information Station Specialists Subscribe to The Source
ebola virus
Ebola in My Backyard?
Communities, Hospitals, Universities Begin to Plan
USA:  With the Ebola Virus (EVD) running unchecked across parts of Africa, the discussion among many, domestically, has turned to “what if.” (See NY Times article "Ebola Could Strike 20,000,..." August 28, 2014.)

Similarly, in an August 29 article, the Associated Press reported that the University of Buffalo had already begun special health screenings for West African students to make sure they don’t have symptoms before entering the campus for classes.

So, The Source reached out to a number of US health departments who own RadioSTAT Portable Radio Stations to see how they would utilize the resource should the virus become an issue locally. Below is a summary of the most common viewpoints expressed.

The most likely application would be to speak to people lining up in vehicles at a screening, Treatment Center or POD (Point of Dispensing). The broadcast would explain methods of minimizing person-to-person contact and how the treatment (if any) is being administered. Critical information designed to increase a person’s chance of recovery would be included. Messages could advise if emergency supplies such as blankets, food, masks, etc., are available and where the public could obtain them. The goal would be to make the operation more efficient while protecting those participating, including health workers themselves.
A Disastrous August
Radio<em>STAT</em> Uses during Mount Baldy California Flood
California Quake and Flood Test Information Radio Services
MOUNT BALDY, CA:  In a single hour on the 3rd of August, almost 5 inches of rain fell on the California mountain town of Mount Baldy.

One man died when his car washed off the road and thousands more were stranded as rivers of mud cascaded through residences, blocking roadways.

The near-500-year rainstorm hit so fast, Firefighter Robert Strickland scarcely had time to program his RadioSTAT Portable Radio Station to assist the public:  “I needed to get to people to dig them out,” he relates.

Strickland was able to broadcast information on AM 1610 to tell residents in the Los-Angeles-area community how to seek assistance. He was also able to coordinate a team of volunteers, 200 of which were from local churches.

All that water amidst one of the worst droughts the State has ever experienced.
South Napa Earthquake & Travelers Information Stations
Building Damaged by South Napa Earthquake
Then on the 24th, the 6.0-magnitude South Napa Earthquake rattled more than nerves in the North San Francisco Bay Area. The Quake was the most significant seismic event the region had experienced in 25 years.

Dozens of community Information Radio Stations apprised motorists of streets blocked by 60 broken water mains, 6 gas-fed fires and piles of debris. The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services tagged approximately 100 structures as "no longer habitable."

Near the epicenter, Richmond, California’s, Kathy Gerk utilized her city’s station to “disseminate immediate and critical lifesaving information to our community to help save lives, property and the environment.”

Though 70,000 lost power, all Information Radio Stations The Source is aware of remained on the air. Miraculously, no lives were lost. Property damage, however, is expected to exceed 1 billion dollars.
Just Relax, OK?
Virtual Agreement among Commenters that TIS Audio Filter Should Be Wider
WASHINGTON, DC:  In the recently completed FCC proceeding, commenters have made it clear that audio filters on Information Radio Stations are counterproductive.
TIS Filter Icon
All commenters are supportive of eliminating filters or relaxing them to the 5-kHz value in order to increase broadcast intelligibility. The notable exception is the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), which is opposed to elimination but conditionally supports relaxation of the filters to the 5-kHz value – the condition being that the stations are not broadcasting music. FCC rules for the Service do not allow the broadcast of music.


“Vowels fall within the 3-kHz audio spectrum with consonants falling into the 4-kHz to 6-kHz audio spectrum. Ever wonder why we repeat letters phonetically in our telephone conversations? (Telephone bandwidth is limited to 3 kHz.) This is why…it is notable that the Commission is showing considerable interest in AM broadcast improvement. The Traveler’s Information Service is an integral part of the AM broadcast spectrum. Thus, the quality of TIS facilities deserve equal consideration.”
Richard W. Burden Associates

“Emergency speech is vital in emergency communications. A misheard emergency message is a serious risk with [the current] 3-kHz response ceiling, and opening it up to 5 KHz would help. TIS stations need this upgrade to get through the clutter clearly with their emergency messages.” 
Richard Phoenix, North Plainfield, NJ

“The compelling reason to allow the relaxation is to improve the intelligibility and, as a result, the usefulness of the TIS service. Improvement of the TIS service not only enhances its value to licensees and listeners but also increases the public’s awareness and use of the AM broadcast band. Changing the audio filter requirement to 5 kHz will not create demonstrable degradation in adjacent AM broadcast stations’ services due to the strict channel-spacing and separation rules already imposed on Traveler's Information Stations.”
William W. Baker, AAIRO
What Did You Do this Summer?
Avon Grove Emergency's Information Radio Station Antenna
In the above photo, Avon Grove Regional Emergency Management (AGREM) raises an Information Radio antenna atop a water tower located near West Grove, Pennsylvania. From that location, in July, AGREM conducted extensive radio signal testing and measurement.
Zion National Park Travelers Information Station
The supplier technician onsite assesses the Information Radio Station at Zion National Park’s East Entrance in early August. The Park has four TIS stations, two in the Park and two positioned to provide information as visitors approach from the East and West on Utah State Route 9.
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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.