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CKOI-FM Maintains Super-Power Status With Solution From Dielectric

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  • pt
  • January 4, 2024

    by -- Dielectric

    Dielectric Communications today announced that it supplied engineering and custom manufacturing services to Montreal’s CKOI-FM 96.9, owned by Corus Entertainment, as the station took steps to resume broadcasts at the full 307,000 Watts for which it is licensed.

    One of only five super-power stations in Canada, CKOI maintains a downtown Montreal transmitting site. Without the modifications provided by Dielectric, CKOI FM would have been forced to reduce power to 122,800 Watts permanently or move the antenna from the top of the CIBC building to the outskirts of town, thereby losing both its tremendous range and market.

    “CKOI-FM is one of Canada’s leading FM stations and a heritage station in Montreal, so it was essential that the antenna performance improvement be carried out in the most precise, innovative, effective, and cost-efficient manner,” said Jack Hoeppner, national director of engineering at Corus Entertainment. “Dielectric was the only company to respond to the challenge of collecting data and making the necessary calculations to deliver such a solution in a timely manner. When we had completed the project, it was as though we had walked through uncharted territory, bringing the modifications to a successful conclusion through the expertise of Dielectric.”

    Gord Henke, president of D.E.M. Allen & Associates, consulted on the project. He helped Corus to determine that, considering the age of the antenna, its unique upper and lower vertical and horizontal design, paired with the site restrictions, necessitated a custom redesign of the antenna to bring it into current NIR antenna and feedline standards. Dielectric studied the effects of several antenna modifications, supplied calculated data on the results, and offered technical assistance in planning the implementation of the project.

    The integrity of the 42-year-old installation was maintained, with the antenna spacing and other elements modified to reduce downward non-ionizing radiation. With assistance from Dielectric at a test range near Montreal, custom tuning was finalized, ensuring that the antenna impedance yielded a proper match and was ready for high-power broadcasts by the start of the BBM ratings period. During an Industry Canada review of the site following modification of the antenna, the inspector stated that the changes were “like night to day.”

    “Though there is no evidence to show this site was causing harmful effects, Corus wanted to be proactive in enacting strong safety measures as embodied in Industry Canada’s Safety Code 6,” explained John Chapman, VP and general manager of Dielectric’s broadcast products. “To address this goal, we provided end-to-end services including initial engineering, manufacture of unique replacement parts, and final tuning of the modified FM antenna. Dielectric has had a successful history of re-engineering these types of FM stations, some of the first ever built, and helping to improve the working and living environments immediately surrounding antenna sites. We’re very proud to have played a role in preserving the rich legacy of CKOI-FM.”

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