Receiving Tank Radio's FM signal
Compared with some community radio stations that are fortunate enough to be able to transmit from a very high location, Tank FM is currently disadvantaged.
The location of a broadcasting transmitter is determined by the licensing authority, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and it was this organisation which selected the location of Tank Radio's main transmitter at Greenhill.
Given that we must transmit from a less than ideal location, and given that, compared with our commercial broadcasting cousins who are permitted to run ten or twenty thousand watts, some listeners may have difficulty receiving the one thousand watt signal from Tank FM.
The effective range of an FM broadcasting station is affected by four primary factors:
1. the height of the transmitting antenna above sea level
2. the transmitter power level in watts
3. the nature of the receiving antenna - is it indoors or outdoors, is it a special FM band antenna, is it's polarisation correct
4. the nature of the terrain between the transmitter and the receiver - is it flat, hilly, mountainous.
Since the first two items are dictated by the ACMA, and the fourth by Mother Nature, the only factor over which you, the listener, has any control is the receiving antenna.
Just as television signals are affected by hills, trees and house walls, so too are FM radio signals. And just as you need an outdoor antenna for television reception, particularly in fringe areas, an outdoor antenna for FM radio can be the difference between receiving Tank FM properly, and a weak, noisy signal - or no signal at all!
Most electronics outlets, and many appliance retailers and electrical wholesalers sell suitable antennas and associated hardware, that can be installed quite easily by the home handy person.
In selecting an antenna for FM radio the most important parameter is that it is made specifically for the FM band. Some outlets will sell "do everything" antennas that are supposed to work for both television and FM radio. Most of them are a waste of money. They are at best a poor compromise and often cost considerably more than a dedicated FM band antenna.
When erecting an antenna for the reception of Tank FM, the elements (rods) of the antenna need to be vertical, and the antenna needs to be aimed in the direction of Greenhill.