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May 31, 2021 7:27 pm  #1


What Happened To CKTB's Signal?

Normally, 610 comes in perfectly in Toronto and has a great signal everywhere in Southern Ontario. But for much of Monday afternoon, the station is all but gone on my radios and there's no explanation on their website if they're operating at reduced power. 

Perhaps there's transmitter maintenance going on, although it would be odd to have that during afternoon drive. It's still very hard to hear at 7 PM. But clearly (or make that, not so clearly!) something's going on. Is anyone else hearing or not hearing this? Whatever it is, I hope they'll be back at full power soon. 

 

May 31, 2021 10:24 pm  #2


Re: What Happened To CKTB's Signal?

I'm in Mississauga, right down by the lake and can barely hear 610. Normally it's a decent signal.

 

June 1, 2021 7:53 am  #3


Re: What Happened To CKTB's Signal?

Still almost non-existent as of Tuesday morning. Whatever it is, they can't fix it quickly. 

     Thread Starter
 

June 1, 2021 8:17 am  #4


Re: What Happened To CKTB's Signal?

Its highly likely that the person who knows how to fix AM transmitter issues no longer works there.   Maybe he got the Bell Let's talk about you not working here speech back in Feb.

 

June 1, 2021 9:26 am  #5


Re: What Happened To CKTB's Signal?

A friend of mine called the station (apparently, it's remarkably difficult to get hold of anyone, with neither reception or the newsroom answering) but he did finally get an explanation. 

He was told a storm that came through on the weekend damaged something in the transmitter and they're waiting for a specific replacement part that hasn't arrived yet. In the meantime, they're on much lower power and that's why the signal in the GTA is so bad.

So, if you're a fan of Tom McConnell or Tim Denis, you might have to wait as late as Thursday to hear them clearly over the air. The live stream, of course, has not been affected. 

I have to say I'm very surprised to hear it will take that long to fix a problem that's the life blood of any radio station - its ability to get its signal out to listeners. 

     Thread Starter
 

June 1, 2021 8:14 pm  #6


Re: What Happened To CKTB's Signal?

No back up transmitter?

 

June 1, 2021 8:27 pm  #7


Re: What Happened To CKTB's Signal?

I assume that's what they're using. 

     Thread Starter
 

June 2, 2021 1:04 am  #8


Re: What Happened To CKTB's Signal?

RadioActive wrote:

A friend of mine called the station (apparently, it's remarkably difficult to get hold of anyone, with neither reception or the newsroom answering) but he did finally get an explanation. 

He was told a storm that came through on the weekend damaged something in the transmitter and they're waiting for a specific replacement part that hasn't arrived yet. In the meantime, they're on much lower power and that's why the signal in the GTA is so bad.

So, if you're a fan of Tom McConnell or Tim Denis, you might have to wait as late as Thursday to hear them clearly over the air. The live stream, of course, has not been affected. 

I have to say I'm very surprised to hear it will take that long to fix a problem that's the life blood of any radio station - its ability to get its signal out to listeners. 

Parts aren't easy to source these days for AM transmitters especially if they were manufactured overseas.

 

June 2, 2021 12:24 pm  #9


Re: What Happened To CKTB's Signal?

Many AM stations are using Nautel solid state transmitters which are well regarded for their efficiency and reliability. Nautel makes many of these in Nova Scotia and sells them around the world.

Of course we don't know what transmitter CKTB uses, but most stations have full functioning back up transmitters and the listener never knows the difference.

I am just guessing they have a directional mult-tower antenna array where the RF power from the transmitter is fed to a 'phasor' where the power is divided / phased and sent to the antennas to create the directional radiation pattern. Damage to this device could prevent full power being applied even if the transmitter was undamaged unless a back up phasor is in place.

As RadioActive says the signal is the lifeblood of a station, I'm sure these guys know what they are doing and wish them a speedy repair.
 

Last edited by darcyh (June 2, 2021 12:25 pm)

 

June 2, 2021 12:39 pm  #10


Re: What Happened To CKTB's Signal?

Actually, any AM radio station should rotate between transmitters as a test to verify that the backup is in good working order at all times. No excuses. 
 


RadioWiz & RadioQuiz are NOT the same person. 
RadioWiz & THE Wiz are NOT the same person.
 
 

June 2, 2021 1:15 pm  #11


Re: What Happened To CKTB's Signal?

darcyh wrote:

Many AM stations are using Nautel solid state transmitters which are well regarded for their efficiency and reliability. Nautel makes many of these in Nova Scotia and sells them around the world.

Of course we don't know what transmitter CKTB uses, but most stations have full functioning back up transmitters and the listener never knows the difference.

I am just guessing they have a directional mult-tower antenna array where the RF power from the transmitter is fed to a 'phasor' where the power is divided / phased and sent to the antennas to create the directional radiation pattern. Damage to this device could prevent full power being applied even if the transmitter was undamaged unless a back up phasor is in place.

As RadioActive says the signal is the lifeblood of a station, I'm sure these guys know what they are doing and wish them a speedy repair.
 

According to Radio-Locator, CKTB has a five transmitter setup. I don't know if all of them are used for their day and night patterns.

 

June 2, 2021 1:18 pm  #12


Re: What Happened To CKTB's Signal?

darcyh wrote:

Many AM stations are using Nautel solid state transmitters which are well regarded for their efficiency and reliability. Nautel makes many of these in Nova Scotia and sells them around the world.

Of course we don't know what transmitter CKTB uses, but most stations have full functioning back up transmitters and the listener never knows the difference.

I am just guessing they have a directional mult-tower antenna array where the RF power from the transmitter is fed to a 'phasor' where the power is divided / phased and sent to the antennas to create the directional radiation pattern. Damage to this device could prevent full power being applied even if the transmitter was undamaged unless a back up phasor is in place.

As RadioActive says the signal is the lifeblood of a station, I'm sure these guys know what they are doing and wish them a speedy repair.
 

Good information darcyh.  Also stations with a back up transmitter are really just interested in covering their main service area.  As long as St. Catherine's and area has a good signal with the back up, CKTB won't really care if their lower power isn't putting much of a signal into the GTA or fringe areas.  They don't get any revenue from this region anyway.  Their life blood is the St. Catherine's region, and this is the priority. 

 

June 4, 2021 6:38 am  #13


Re: What Happened To CKTB's Signal?

darcyh wrote:

No back up transmitter?

I heard (through a lot of static) Tim Denis lament a tough week on Friday, noting they've been on a "standby transmitter" since Monday. So there's the definitive answer to the question. He says the "part" they needed is in and they expect to replace it on the weekend. (Why they're waiting until then is beyond me.) He expects the signal to be restored by this coming Monday, if not sooner. 

And he joked that the part was "delivered by Amazon." (Clearly, they're not signed up for Prime!)

Actually, the fact it took as long as it did is surprising. The outage lasted a full week - an eternity in radio. 

     Thread Starter
 

June 4, 2021 10:22 am  #14


Re: What Happened To CKTB's Signal?

I wouldn't be to hard on CKTB.  There are many, many reasons why they might be in this situation.

There might have been a failure of electrical equipment that supplies power to their TX site and therefore not within their ability to repair.

There might have been a failure of the switch that transfers their antenna pattern or switches to the backup transmitter (if they have one at the TX site).

An insulator on the bottom of one of the towers might have cracked (big job to repair).

Someone may have stolen all their copper ground wires.

A high power, multi-tower AM site is a complicated facility.  It's amazing they run as well as they do.
 

 

June 4, 2021 1:02 pm  #15


Re: What Happened To CKTB's Signal?

Well, whatever that part was, they've replaced it. The station is back at full power just after noon Friday and coming in perfectly in Toronto. Nice to have them back!

     Thread Starter
 

June 4, 2021 1:19 pm  #16


Re: What Happened To CKTB's Signal?

And let's not forget that just a few years ago they got rid of their onsite engineer who lived in St Catharines. In fact I believe a  number of these rare birds were let go in other local Bell markets.
We've come a long ways from when the engineer had to practically live at the tx site.

 

June 4, 2021 1:51 pm  #17


Re: What Happened To CKTB's Signal?

to my knowledge they still have a onsite engineer....  Just one not as experienced perhaps but there is someone trained and in the chair.  

 

June 4, 2021 2:26 pm  #18


Re: What Happened To CKTB's Signal?

Sort of like news and announce staff....you know "not as experienced but .....someone trained and in the chair"
doing double the work at half the salary.
Good enough in the radio world of today. 
And shareholders love it.

 

June 4, 2021 2:47 pm  #19


Re: What Happened To CKTB's Signal?

The call of the day:

Sonny from Richmond Hill demanding to know why they didn't just go to Radio Shack or The Source to get the missing part. After all, they sell all kinds of electronics!

Tom McConnell, who had to field this guy's ignorance, patiently explained they don't sell this kind of stuff there, and that they had to have it FedExed up from the States. It happened Friday, he related, the parts place isn't open weekends, so they had to wait until Monday, and then it didn't reach Mississauga until Wednesday and had to be picked up. 

Sonny's next question: why did you use FedEx? There were apparently better ways to get it there. No sound of any heads exploding at the station, but McConnell did say they ordered two of the missing component, whatever it is, so that if it ever happens again, they can, as he put it, "plug and play."

     Thread Starter
 

June 4, 2021 4:27 pm  #20


Re: What Happened To CKTB's Signal?

RadioActive wrote:

The call of the day:

Sonny from Richmond Hill demanding to know why they didn't just go to Radio Shack or The Source to get the missing part. After all, they sell all kinds of electronics!

Tom McConnell, who had to field this guy's ignorance, patiently explained they don't sell this kind of stuff there, and that they had to have it FedExed up from the States. It happened Friday, he related, the parts place isn't open weekends, so they had to wait until Monday, and then it didn't reach Mississauga until Wednesday and had to be picked up. 

Sonny's next question: why did you use FedEx? There were apparently better ways to get it there. No sound of any heads exploding at the station, but McConnell did say they ordered two of the missing component, whatever it is, so that if it ever happens again, they can, as he put it, "plug and play."

They "listen" among us.
 

 

June 4, 2021 7:06 pm  #21


Re: What Happened To CKTB's Signal?

I think Tom is the only show host in the GTA and environs to take calls from Sonny. He seems to have mastered the skill of "taming" him.

 

June 4, 2021 7:18 pm  #22


Re: What Happened To CKTB's Signal?

Yeah, I noticed that. The guy made himself a pariah on just about every other station and talk show in Southern Ontario. Only CKTB takes his call. And you're right - McConnell takes a tiny bit of his nonsense before putting an end to it. It's a tricky mix, but he manages to make it work. 

     Thread Starter