Just returned from another round of work on the new radio station for Radio Voz, the radio station of Idaho Community Action Network in Burley, Idaho. This 5600 watt station is a progressive, Spanish language voice in one of the most conservative states. It has an incredibly passionate and loyal audience, even though it is just over a year old now.
We had installed a link using wifi… which we have had great luck with for a number of stations, but this one had a lot of dropouts- where the sound would disappear for a few seconds, sometimes on and off for hours.
When I got there, we figured out that the culprit was probably giant clouds of steam from a potato processing plant in the path. So, we had to attempt something I have never done before– a two hop link using low-cost wifi gear. The gear for each hop costs about $600, plus hardware for mounting dishes, cables and so on.
After quite a bit of pounding the pavement around town for a good relay site, we found a suitable location at a flour mill. At the top of this giant building, we could see both the studio building and the radio tower across town. Once we connected it all together, it has worked like a charm, not a single drop out since!
I am working on documenting this method of setting up cheap studio transmitter links. If you are interested in reading the drafts and giving me suggestions to help with clarity, or more technical suggestions, I am happy to share what I have so far.
Here is a diagram I drew of the entire station set up, including the main studio, the recording studio, studio transmitter link (including the relay station on top of the flour mill) , and the tower site.