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Upside Down Under

By Marvin Baker, a new weekly column in The Kenmare News

 

Boosting the FM variety...

Posted 2/26/14 (Wed)

If you think the 13 FM radio stations in Minot are kind of lame, point your antenna the opposite direction.

Depending on where you live, and I’ll use Kenmare as a reference point, you can receive up to 11 additional FM radio stations free.

Installation of a good antenna, preamplifier and down-lead wire will give you stunning results.

One station on 102.3, is commonly known as SUN 102. CHSN has been on the air in Estevan, Sask., for several years. It has a pretty strong signal in this part of North Dakota and broadcasts an adult contemporary format.

Less than a year ago, CKSE went on the air at 106.1 in Estevan. Broadcasting from the same tower as SUN 102, it has a classic rock format. Both stations push 100,000 watts from a 300-foot tower.

Another powerful station is on 101.5 and is broadcasting from Warmley, Sask. The call letters are CBK, originating in Regina, but it’s often referred to as CBC Radio 2. It’s  Canada’s public broadcaster and airs a variety of music and news programs. Radio 2 transmits 100,000 watts from the top of a 1,005-foot tower.

There’s a second station in the small town of Warmley that is actually a repeater station of CJME in Regina. CJME-FM has a news/talk format and broadcasts 100,000 watts on 107.3. The tower is 970 feet high. If you are interested in what’s going on in Regina, this station has the pulse of the big the city.

There are two FM stations in Weyburn, Sask., but this is where reception in North Dakota gets a little dicey.

CKRC, on 103.5, plays classic hits and has a 273-foot tower. It’s available in the Kenmare area, but KZZY, a Devils Lake station on the same frequency, will sometimes interfere.

 CKRC was once a popular station on 630 AM in Winnipeg, but after it went off the air, the call letters were re-assigned to the Weyburn market.

CHWY in Weyburn is very similar to CKSE. It just went on the air in December and plays a mainstream rock format on 106.7. The closer you go to Minot, however, you begin to get interference from Christian station KHRT on 106.9.

CBKF isn’t a very powerful station but broadcasts a clear signal in and around Kenmare as well. This is the French version of CBC and it broadcasts on 91.9 in Bellgarde, Sask. The power is only 4,700 watts and the tower 300 feet so as soon as you drop into the Des Lacs River Valley, it’s gone.

On numerous occasions, CFWF, on 104.9, is also available in this area. Branded “The Wolf,” this active rock station comes from Regina without translators sending 100,000 watts from its 640-foot tower just to the northwest of the city.

Facing northeast, Brandon, Man., station CKX is available on 96.1 FM. Once called “West Man’s Best Rock,” it recently switched its branding  to “Bob FM.” Sometimes, however, KYYZ in Williston will overpower CKX.

It’s seems a departure from the norm, but CKX has 88,000 watts and uses a 1,236-foot tower.

CIWM is also a consistent Brandon station that caters to Manitoba’s First Nations people. It’s on 91.5 and uses a 1,167-foot tower to push 100,000 watts.

For country music fans, CKXA, on 101.1, is branded as “continuous country,” blasting out 100,000 watts from a 1,146-foot tower.

There are other FM stations in the area that can also be accessed with proper equipment.

Again, using Kenmare as a reference point, the website FM Fool lists a total of 63 FM stations that are potentially available. Among them, KGCX, 93.1 in Sidney, Mont., KBTO, 101.9 in Bottineau, KEYA, 88.5, Belcourt, KCAD, 99.1, Dickinson and KQLZ, 95.7, Beulah.

Most of the Bismarck stations are shown as well, but it’s not a true list because KDVL, 102.5 in Devils Lake can often be heard but isn’t on FM Fool.

It’s an interesting tool because not only does it give you the call letters, it also tells you the frequency, the transmitting power, the power it should have at your location, the path of the signal, the distance from your location to transmitter, the azimuth of the signal and in most cases, the height of the antenna.

Unfortunately, FM Fool doesn’t list the stations that have recently gone on the air, but it does take into account multiples that transmit on the same frequency.

There’s also a website called TV Fool that allows you similar information in case you want over-the-air TV from Regina, Brandon or Devils Lake.