Cogeco completes radio stations’ transition to new antenna on Mount Royal

A five-stage reorganizing of radio station antennas on the Mount Royal Antenna has been completed, with the most notable change being that the city’s most powerful FM transmitter CKOI is now broadcasting from Mount Royal instead of the CIBC building downtown.

Cogeco Media president Michel Lorrain told me the process (approved by the CRTC in September) was completed before the holidays, but the stations were at 80% power until everything could be properly tested, and the ramp up to full power happened last week.

(Warning: Lots of technical nerdy antenna talk ahead.)

Now, instead of transmitting from four different antennas (three at Mount Royal, plus CKOI), all four stations — CHMP-FM 98.5, CFGL-FM 105.7 (Rythme FM), CKOI-FM 96.9 and CKBE-FM 92.5 (The Beat) — are on a new eight-bay antenna from Italian manufacturer SIRA that wraps around the tower just below the upper platform.

The new installation also allowed Cogeco to implement an increase in power for The Beat, which was authorized in 2013 to increase to 100,000 watts from 41.4kW.

The other three Cogeco stations were previously on three separate antennas on the upper platform, about 20 metres higher. The lower height will have a slight impact on their signals, but not significant enough to be noticed. CHMP-FM has increased its power from 41kW to 48kW to compensate, and CKOI-FM, which had planned to go to 147kW, will instead go to 148kW. On the CIBC tower it was broadcasting at 307kW.

The new antenna setup gives Cogeco more control, and will open the door to HD Radio broadcasts. So far, only CFGL-FM 105.7 has HD running, and its sole HD signal simply rebroadcasts the analog signal of the same station.

CBC diagram of upper platform FM antennas (the list of transmitters on the left antenna has some errors)

With a vacancy on its upper platform FM antenna, CBC/Radio-Canada has moved CBM-FM (CBC Music 93.5) there, maintaining its power at 100,000 watts. The two other FM transmitters have Bell’s stations — one has just CITE-FM (Rouge FM 107.3) and the other has CHOM, Virgin and Énergie.

Below, as best as I can piece it together (so there may be errors), is the full list of FM and TV stations (and their auxiliary or standby transmitters) on the Mount Royal Antenna, from top to bottom (heights are given as centre of the antenna measured from the base of the tower):

Upper platform

CBC TV antenna: Kathrein UHF 16M/4P K723147 at 101.1m

  • CBFT-DT (Radio-Canada Télé, Channel 19) 447,820W
  • CBMT-DT (CBC Television, Channel 21) 436,340W
  • CKMI-DT-1 (Global TV, Channel 15) 8,000W
  • CFJP-DT (V, Channel 35) 17,710W

TV antenna: Dielectric TF-10HT at 98.1m

  • CFTM-DT (TVA, Channel 10) 11,000W
  • CFCF-DT (CTV, Channel 12) 10,600W

CBC FM antenna: ERI SHPX-8BC-SP at 99.0m

  • CBFX-FM (ICI Musique, 100.7 MHz) 100,000W (Standby at 51,280W)
  • CBM-FM (CBC Music, 93.5 MHz) 100,000W
  • CJPX-FM (Radio Classique, 99.5 MHz) 8,700W (Standby at 235W)
  • CBF-FM (ICI Première, 95.1 MHz) 100,000W (Standby at 2,890W)
  • CBF-HD (ICI Première, ICI Musique Classique, 95.1 MHz)
  • (CHMP-FM was moved off this antenna)

Bell FM antenna: Dielectric DCR-M-8 at 98.6m

  • CJFM-FM (Virgin Radio, 95.9 MHz) 41,200W
  • CKMF-FM (Énergie, 94.3 MHz) 41,400W
  • CHOM-FM (97.7 MHz) 41,200W
  • (CKBE-FM was moved off this antenna)

Bell FM antenna: Dielectric DCR-M-8 at 97.5m

  • CITE-FM (Rouge FM, 107.3 MHz) at 42,900W
  • CITE-HD (Rouge FM, CJAD, TSN 690, 107.3 MHz)
  • CFGL-FM was moved off this antenna)

Below upper platform

Cogeco FM antenna: SIRA FMC-03/32 8B/4P at 77.0m

  • CKOI-FM (96.9 MHz) 148,000W
  • CHMP-FM (98.5 MHz) 100,000W (Standby at 46,500W)
  • CKBE-FM (The Beat, 92.5 MHz) 100,000W (Standby at 45,000W)
  • CFGL-FM (Rythme FM, 105.7 MHz) 48,000W (Standby at 48,000W)
  • CFGL-HD (Rythme FM, 105.7 MHz) 1,911W

Below Cogeco antenna

Micronetixx SFN-16 LRFR (North) at 62.14m

  • CKMI-DT-1-AX (Global standby, Channel 15) at 8,000W

Micronetixx SFN-16 LRFR (West) at 62.14m

  • CBMT-DT-AX (CBC standby, Channel 21) at 402,500W

Micronetixx SFN-16 LRFR (East) at 62.14m

  • CBFT-DT-AX (Radio-Canada standby, Channel 19) at 412,500W

CBC FM antenna: SIRA FMC-02S/48 6B/8P at 43.5m

  • CBFX-FM-AX (ICI Musique standby, 100.7 MHz) at 51,280W
  • CBM-FM-AX (CBC Music standby, 93.5 MHz) at 25,510W
  • CBME-FM (CBC Radio One, 88.5 MHz) at 25,000W (Standby at 25,000W)
  • CIRA-FM (Radio Ville-Marie, 91.3 MHz) at 36,200W
  • CISM-FM (89.3 MHz) at 10,000W
  • CKUT-FM (90.3 MHz) at 5,003W

Ground-level antennas

  • CJFM-FM-AX (Virgin Radio standby, 95.9 MHz) at 510W
  • CHOM-FM-AX (Standby, 97.7 MHz) at 510W
  • CJNT-DT (Citytv, Channel 49) at 4,000W
  • CKUT-FM-AX (Standby, 90.3 MHz) at 115W

Coming soon

  • CHAA-FM (103.3 MHz) at 1,700W

9 thoughts on “Cogeco completes radio stations’ transition to new antenna on Mount Royal

  1. media man

    Excellent technical info for the media tech types like myself, BUT conspicuously missing is Citytv. Why aren’t they there?

    I’m on an OTA situation due to budget limitations, and get all the locals except City and i know others in the same situation..

    Why isn’t Rogers interested in improving their Montreal situation?

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Excellent technical info for the media tech types like myself, BUT conspicuously missing is Citytv. Why aren’t they there?

      They are. City’s antenna is not on the Mount Royal Antenna, but on a building next to it. It’s listed under “ground-level antennas”.

      Reply
  2. Rob Braide.

    There is something called Saftey Code 6 (Industry Canada) that limits the level of non-inonizing radiation emitted from any broadcasting tower. Pretty sure CBC’s multiple additions to the Mount Royal tower blew past that years ago. With the addition of the new COGECO stations the permitted levels must be way in the rear view mirror. It’s a real danger.

    One of our techs at Standard years ago told me once that every time he was up at the transmitter site he wanted to tell people sunbathing near by to run for their lives.

    Try using your key fob electronic door opener on your car in the parking lot next to Smith House and you’ll see what I mean.

    The conversation about the Rf emitted by water meters has always made me laugh.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      There is something called Saftey Code 6 (Industry Canada) that limits the level of non-inonizing radiation emitted from any broadcasting tower. Pretty sure CBC’s multiple additions to the Mount Royal tower blew past that years ago.

      There was a moratorium for a while on new additions to the Mount Royal Antenna for a while, but it was eventually lifted.

      Because the digital TV transmitters use less power than the analog transmitters they replaced (except the 400kW CBC and Radio-Canada stations), I believe there’s actually less overall RF coming out of it than there was before. Cogeco’s antenna is also optimized to minimize the amount of RF pointed toward the ground. But Safety Code 6 is still a consideration, and its why Cogeco’s transmitters weren’t running at full power to start. It’s also why when there’s any work on the tower that requires a human actually going up to the antennas, most stations broadcasting from the tower either have to shut down, reduce power or switch to their standby transmitters.

      Reply
    2. The Inquisitor

      Actually, the safety code 6 is more than ok at the Mt-Royal transmitter site, the safety code 6 measurements have been made every new station installed in the tower and CBC is respecting the new more restrict code 6 without any problems.

      Reply
  3. Tim

    So is Télé-Québec still broadcasting from the Olympic Tower? I thought I read somewhere that with Desjardins moving in they were also moving to the mountain…

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      So is Télé-Québec still broadcasting from the Olympic Tower?

      For now, yes. The stadium wants to open the rooftop to tourists as part of some yet-to-be-announced plan, which requires moving transmitters off the tower. CHAA-FM Longueuil has already gotten approval to move to Mount Royal, leaving Télé-Québec and CIBL-FM with unclear plans.

      Reply

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