Information Station Specialists is the best known source of travelers information stations, highway advisory radio, advisory signs and services needed to reach motorists with public service information. Learn more about Information Station Specialists.
               Information Station Specialists website 

Plan your ALERT AM system.
Customer Review

“AM radio is our next step in improving overall communications during emergencies. When the power goes out and telephone lines are down with no computer and everything stopped, residents can turn on their AM radios to hear emergency advisories. During an emergency, designated people from state/local public service agencies call an answering-machine line and immediately put an emergency update on the air to the community."
Mike Williams, Director
San Marcos Pass Fire Department, CA
Wildland Residents Association, CA
See how Mike manages his ALERT AM system: SMPERS 1040 AM.

Related Links

Return to the ALERT AM home page.

Review ALERT AM technical specifications.

Below are things to consider in setting up an ALERT AM service in your area. Feel free to email us for personal planning assistance (or call Bill Baker at 616.772.2300 Ext 102). We have a network of representatives across the country; and, after initial brainstorming, we can put you in touch with one in your area who can visit your site(s), help test frequencies and find the best antenna location(s) — even install the system — whatever is needed.
Step 1:  Choose a general location for coverage.
On a local map, find the approximate geographic center of the listening area you want to cover. The ALERT AM signal will propagate to a radius of 3-5 miles (25-75 square miles) from this point in all directions. If this coverage does not encompass the desired listening area, consult us regarding adding synchronized transmitters or portable transmitters for your system. See the Signal Penetration webpage, regarding in-home/in-vehicle listening parameters.
Step 2:  Determine National Weather Service reception.
Verify reception of a National Weather Service channel (162.400-162.550 MHz) at the desired location. You can see coverage areas online at this NOAA web link.
Step 3:  Choose a specific antenna location.
Unless multiple stations are required, select a specific building or property near the geographic center for antenna installation. Consult with us on the proposed location, before the decision is finalized. We offer the following antenna installation styles:

Yard Style (most popular)
The equipment is in a building with the antenna/groundplane system in an adjacent yard. Advantage: high security. Example: yard-style drawing.

Isolated Style
The equipment and antenna/groundplane system are on a pole, if there is no building. Advantage: high flexibility of location. Example: Isolated-style drawing.

Requirements for yard and isolated styles: There should be no underground obstacles or structures taller than 25 feet in the immediate vicinity of the antenna and at least a 40x40-foot area of open ground for pole and groundplane installation. Make certain 120 volts of AC power and telephone service or, if remote control via a network is desired, that network service is also available.

Note:  We do not recommend installing antennas on rooftops or within 50 feet of buildings that contain electronics because of the potential for interference.

VP.9000 Vertical Profile Antenna Support and Grounding System (an option for either yard or isolated style)
If ground space is at a premium, choose the optional Vertical Profile Antenna Support and Grounding System (VP.9000). Because no groundplane is required, only one square foot of open-ground area is needed. All wiring is inside the pole. The VP.9000 is aesthetically pleasing, highly secure, and is the only antenna solution that meets hurricane wind standards in all parts of the United States.

Requirements: pole placement 50+ feet from a building in grass, dirt or paved areas; no objects taller than 25 feet in close proximity; coaxial cable may be buried or strung overhead to the support pole; pole is set in 6’ post hole with good earth contact in the lowest 4’ of the hole. (When used on AM frequencies below 1000 kHz, a 20’ solid groundrod is driven beside the pole.) Concrete, asphalt or tamped dirt may surround the pole to 2" below grade to stabilize it. Examples:
Step 4:  Conduct a frequency search.
We will provide a menu of AM frequencies that meet FCC separation standards from which to select. We'll even give you our seasoned recommendation with suggestions and instructions on how to test them ahead of time! Make your choice, and we will prepare and submit to the FCC the application on your behalf, immediately.
Step 5:  Apply for a FCC license.
Request a simple License Application Questionnaire, so we may secure your operating license from the FCC in a timely manner. The questionnaire requests basic contact information and details about the proposed antenna location and frequency chosen for broadcast, with which we can also assist you. When we receive your completed questionnaire, we will prepare the necessary engineering work and submit your formal application to the FCC for approval, which often takes a few months. As part of an overall license package, we will handle any additional filings you may require to get up and running, such as temporary licenses, minor adjustments and the required FCC notification that your station has been built.
Note 1:  Because FCC processing time is unpredictable, we recommend you request licensing and other FCC documentation services as soon as you know for sure you will have a station − definitely no later than when you place your radio equipment order.
Note 2:  The FCC considers 10-year, renewable licenses for emergency advisory radio stations secondary to full-power broadcast stations. This means, that in a rare situation in which a full-power station might move into a given area, an Information Radio station already in that vicinity might need to change frequency. We can assist.
Step 6:  Consider product options you require.
Consider 4-day battery backup option to keep the station on the air during loss of AC power. If the station is in an unattended location, consider getting a Power Loss Notification Module.
If you need more coverage than one station can provide (a 3-5 mile radius from the antenna, approximately 28-78 square miles), email us about the GPS Frequency Stabilization option. ALERT AM synchronization works well with leased land lines, fiber or wireless audio control. The Vertical Profile Antenna Support and Grounding System is ANSI/TIA rated to withstand hurricane-force winds as well as for essential communications in critical areas where failure of a structure could damage buildings or present a hazard to life. The 2x Signal Booster offers up to double the efficiency/range of the station’s existing antenna.
Consider including an optional Signal Measurement Radio Receiver that allows you to measure the radio station’s signal intensity and to verify compliance with FCC rules.
If you want to notify motorists that critical messages are being broadcast, ask about the Flashing ALERT Sign System, which can be triggered via your community's or agency's own existing 2-way radio systems.
Stream broadcasts via HearMoreInfo StreamCASTs or broadcast text-based system alerts automatically via our ENcast option. IP-Based Audio Control includes network-based control of the audio program (with flash-drive backup) and an audio management software suite.  See a comparison chart of audio control methods to help you decide which you're most interested in.
Consider garnering our professional recording services for creating broadcasts, in some instances free.
Contact Bill Baker for planning assistance.
Step 7:  Consider whether you want to include installation services.
We provide two affordable, time-efficient installation service packages, which are summarized on this webpage.
Step 8:  Obtain a quote.
Provide us the following details to receive a precise quotation:
  • Your name, agency, phone and fax numbers; email address, if desired.
  • Product name: ALERT AM Emergency Advisory Radio System.
  • Installation style: yard or isolated.
  • Options of interest.
  • Indicate "turnkey" installation or whether you will prepare your own transmitter site.
For extended range emergency adivsory broadcasts, see our RadioSAFE Wide Area Emergency Broadcast Radio Systems, which offer s coverage areas of 5 to 20+ miles radius.
Step 9:  Choose 'All Hazard' counties for NOAA warnings.
To target automatic Emergency Alert System and National Weather Service warnings and watches from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, consider which counties you want to have programmed into your system. Consider adjacent counties in the direction from which weather approaches.
Step 10:  Complete a system configuration form.
If pretty sure you might want to purchase an ALERT AM System, please complete and fax or email us this programming questionnaire, so we can prepare the system for you.
Step 11:  Prepare your transmitter site.
If you will not be contracting us for "turnkey" installation, you may get ready by preparing your transmitter location yourself. This preparation is detailed in our instructions manuals for ALERT AM Systems. Contact Bill Baker to request an advance copy of your station's manual, which details exact site preparation procedures. Let him know you are interested in the ALERT AM Emergency Advisory Radio System and which installation style and options most interest you.
Step 12:  Tell listeners about your station.
The most important way to let motorists know about the station is with signs. It's also important to begin developing other types of communications (such as refrigerator magnets, news releases and posters) as soon as you purchase the system, so listeners can be made aware as soon as your station becomes operational. Then continue communicating about the station at regular intervals throughout each year — to keep it present in listeners' minds. We can send examples and templates of these types of communications on compact disc at no extra charge.
Contact Us All Products at a Glance Alert Stations across the USA Customer Support Policy Site Map
Customer Support Policy For Emergencies Case Studies FCC Frequencies & Licenses
Founding & Firsts For Health Applications FAQs Installation, Testing, Training
Privacy Policy For Highways FCC-Permitted Broadcasts Professional Recordings
For Visitor Information Glossary of Radio Terms Purchase Options
  For Other Common Applications News from The Source Rentals  
For License-Free Stations Operators' Zone Streaming
  Why Customers Say They Buy

©  1983-2021  • Information Station Specialists, Inc. •  All Rights Reserved
PO Box 51, Zeeland, Michigan, USA, 49464-0051, Phone 616.772.2300, Fax 616.772.2966, Email Form

The USA's best known source for information radio station equipment, related products and technical services.

 Trademarks: 2X Signal Booster, ALERT AM Emergency Advisory Radio System, ANXX AM Radio Antenna, AP55 Digital Message Player, ENcast Emergency Notification Broadcast System, FAS.6000 Flashing Beacons & Controller, FASTrack Quick-Erect Sign, FlashCAST Internet Broadcast Service, Flashing ALERT Sign System, FlexPlane Factory-Assembled Groundplane, Free-Radiate On-Premise Radio Broadcast System, HearMoreInfo Internet Broadcasts, HPR.0990 High Performance Antenna, i A.M. Radio Transmitter, Information Station Specialists, InfoRadio Format, Information Station Classic, Information Station IP, Information Station USB, InfOSpot AM Radio Transmitter System, IP8 Digital Message Player, IP.76 Digital Message Player, ITS.6000 Highway Advisory Radio Network, LIGHTNING LED Portable Changeable Message Sign, MGR.021 Digital Audio Management System, NX8R Digital Message Player, EventCAST Portable Information Radio Service, RadioSAFE Wide Area Emergency Broadcast System, RadioSTAT Portable Emergency Advisory Radio Station, RE 2.5 Range Extender Outdoor Antenna and Tuner, Severe Storm Detector, Signal Measurement Radio Receiver, Stealth Sign, StreamCAST Internet Broadcast Service, SS.3000 Free-Standing AM Radio Antenna System with Tower, Stylized ISS Logo, SX.200 Wattmeter, Talking House AM Radio Transmitter, TH.5 InfOspot Transmitter, TR.6000 Transmitter Model HQ 5.0, TMS.020 Digital Audio Management System, TR.6000 Transmitter Model 15.73, VoiceStar Portable Highway Advisory Radio Station (with or without Changeable Message Sign), VP.9000 Vertical Profile Antenna Support and Grounding System, Wireless Audio Link..

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, wateter, 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.