This top-of-the-line computer program offers a completely new mapping engine that uses the same polygon mapping database as our Probe and AM-Pro programs. FMCommander produces detailed atlas-like FCC coverage, contour overlap and minimum separations maps. Users will find new drag and drop labeling with the ability to assign colors to the labels, automatic text boxing, arrow and line drawing tools and multiple undo.
An antenna pattern editor automatically designs directional antenna patterns. The editor also has, user friendly, drag and drop pattern point editing.
FMCommander contains a handy profiler tool that will quickly produce a terrain profile graph between any two points clicked on the map.
When using the the minimum spacings map screen, the user can model the 70 dBu principal city service contour (or other contours of choice) at any point, simply clicking by the mouse. For a YouTube video about FMCommander’s minimum spacings study click here.
Using the included U.S. Census population databases, the program will automatically calculate the population within the modeled station’s contour.
All mapping layers, including county lines, political divisions, city names, lakes, rivers, AM towers and FM zone boundaries are included in the price of the program. Additional optional overlays include population scatter-grams, FCC tower database plotting that includes the FCC registration numbers, airports and railroads.
FMCommander provides fully customizable screens, map backgrounds, font selections and colors. (Click here to see the Main Screen using a dark green background with multi-colored text fonts.)
The coverage map below is a “graphics only” capture from the program’s “Find Information” screen.
FMCommander combines the resource tools of contour-to-contour and FCC separations studies with instantaneous interactive maps. Find new ways to upgrade stations or to move transmitter sites under short space. The program’s contour-to-contour search procedure is designed to be used for non-commercial and commercial FM station allocation studies, boosters, translator studies and low power FM.
FMCommander will also produce standard FM-channel, minimum spacing, section 73.207 and 73.215, tabular and map based separation studies for all station classes including the proposed C4 class.
The Separations Mapping screen is shown above. This is an interactive screen. If you click a given location with your mouse, the program will recalculate the study using the coordinates of your point as the reference station’s location. The minimum spacing circles are plotted at each relevant transmitter location and they define areas where another transmitter cannot be located when using the studied channel. While the location selected above shows no channel availability, drop-in channels are easily identified. The minimum spacings circles can also be filled with a color which makes drop-in channels pop-out to the eye of the user.
For contour to contour studies, FMCommander’s display screen and print-out shows the amount of prohibited contour overlap or clear space in two easy to read columns labeled “In” for incoming overlap and “Out” for the overlap your reference station causes to other stations. (See table above.) The amount of contour overlap is represented by the distance between the appropriate interference contours and protected contours. Lack of contour overlap, received or caused, can be confirmed when the display shows no negative figures (overlaps) in the “In”, incoming column and no negative figures in the “Out” column. Negative distances, colored in red, indicate the intrusion of an interference contour over a protected contour of another station.
When placed in the “Detailed” overlap mode, FMCommander will automatically check 180 degrees of arc of the interference and protected contours of the reference station. If overlap is found ‘along any azimuth’, the call letters of the affected station will turn red in the listing and the greatest amount of contour overlap will be shown in the table.
FMCommander interfaces transparently with V-Soft Communication’s FCC based, 30 arc-second and 30 meter digital terrain databases. For maximum agreement, these are the actual database in daily use at the FCC Media Branch. Other terrain elevation databases that can be used by the program include the V-Soft U.S.G.S. 3 arc-second, the new satellite corrected National Elevation Datum (NED) 3 second or 30 meter terrain elevation databases, the Shuttle 3 arc-second Radar Topography Mission database and the GLOBE 30 arc-second terrain database. The program quickly calculates the maximum power allowable in any direction. The effect of terrain attenuation and directional antennas is automatically applied using FCC methods.
In the example above, KUNY has a 3.2 km incoming overlap with KZSE. The map screen above maps out the actual overlap. Click here to see a complete allocation study for KUNY created with one click of the “Allocation” icon.
FMCommander opens up the page that displays the station’s operating parameters when you click on the call letters (either from the “Main Screen” table or the station list on the “Find Station Information Screen.”) You can resize this screen or any of the FMCommander map screen windows to your liking by dragging one of the corners.
The screen shown above will also display the station’s operating parameters and its relationship with the reference station. FMCommander’s “hot-spot” screens give you the ability to change a given station’s operating parameter with the click of the mouse and thereby instantly model the effect of a change in channel, power, antenna height, frequency or geographic coordinates. For example, clicking the “Change” menu and then the “Call” menu will bring up the call letter change box where you can edit the call sign.
You can create a directional antenna pattern for your reference station using FMCommander’s powerful interactive antenna pattern editor and attach the pattern to the instant record or save it as a user pattern file for future use. If FMCommander sees a station in the FCC database which uses a directional antenna, it will automatically apply the pattern to its contours. FMCommander accesses the FCC’s LMS database to acquire all 36 effective field azimuth values, and the extra azimuth values the FCC may include, to represent the patterns minimas and maximas.
FMCommander prevents you from making a mistake, such as producing a station that exceeds the maximum distance service contour for its class. An example of one of the helpful pop-ups is shown below:
Context sensitive help-screens pop up to remind you of the operating instructions as well as provide tables for, maximum power and antenna heights for classes, maximum distances of allowable protected service contours for all classes and the minimum distance allowed for section 73.215 short-spacing between classes.
In addition to contour-to-contour interference checks for non-commercial educational FM studies, FMCommander features an array of convenient routines to determine whether interference to channel-six TV exists as spelled out in Sec 73.525 of the Commission’s rules. The program has the ability to map an FM station’s channel-six interference area and the protected grade B contour of channel-six TV stations. As a part of this process, FMCommander searches the television database for channel-six television stations within the cut-off distance. The protected grade B (and grade A) contour for all such TV-6 stations is automatically calculated as is the allowable signal of the FM station at such contours. Additional routines are built-in to determine maximum power when the FM station is co-located with a channel-six television station. For a video on a few of the Find Information Mapping Screen’s features click here.
FMCommander features an automatic “tracking” routine for searching for open channels. Simply place the program it in the “Seek” mode and let it do the searching for you.
The “C0 downgrade” feature will automatically downgrade all class C stations with an HAAT below 450 meters to the C0 class. This allows the user to find drop-ins and upgrades that require C0 downgrades to fit. All stations capable of being downgraded to C0 are suitably labeled with an underline of the call signs or the light blue color separation circle for maps.
At the click of your mouse, FMCommander will perform a “Protected Zones” report.
FMCommander’s spacings tables uses the FCC’s revised I.F. spacings, which include the channel 253 to channel-six TV relationship. The program automatically uses the latest Canadian treaty spacings and relevant Canadian protected contour values. Minimum spacings from the 1994 Mexican treaty, as revised in 1997, using international class classifications, are applied when there is a relationship with Mexico.
The program uses the same FCC database used by all our V-Soft programs. FMCommander’s clear, straight-forward printouts feature the parameters of the station being checked, (reference station) printed in the heading. The 60, 57 or 54 dBu protected contour distances are predicted from the Commission’s F(50-50) table, while the 40, 54, (80) and 100 dBu interference contours are derived from the Commission’s F(50-10) table. All contours are in kilometers and are predicted using the actual FCC TVFMINT FORTRAN algorithm as published in FCC report No. RS 76-01 by Gary C. Kalagian, so the numbers you get should match identically with the Commission’s. In addition to the columns showing measures of incoming and outgoing contour overlap interference, FMCommander’s printouts feature the radiated power, antenna HAAT & COR AMSL, distance to, azimuth to, reverse bearing from and geographic coordinates of each pertinent station. Also included is the exact distance of the database station’s protected and interference signal contours. The print-outs include information on whether the station operates as an old rule directional or new rule Sec.73.215 directional. The print-outs also list information on antenna polarization, beam tilt, licensee ownership, file numbers and cut-off dates.
Click below for a PDF file example of FMCommander’s various printouts.
The integrated database screen (Station Filer) allows the user to easily access, change or correct the FCC’s database information. Multiple key full FCC database searches can be performed allowing the user to direct the collected list to screen, to a printer or to a text file. The “Filter” can be used to select those stations that match the query criteria within a user’s set distance. For a screen listing the user may click any of the stations listed on screen to see the entire record. Click the “Station Filer” link (above) to see the Station Filer screen. If a station has a directional antenna pattern, the “Pattern” button will be visible. Clicking this button will bring up an azimuth pattern display plotting the pattern along 36 or 360 points as interpolated from the FCC’s standard patterns and any extra pattern points that may be included. The extra pattern points will also be shown in the displays tabular field value listing.
FMCommander has a handy Internet Mapping Option Module, that allows synchronization and interactivity with the Acme Mapper (7.5′ Topographic Maps), MS Bing Maps, Google Maps (Street Views) and Google Earth where the program can plot a station’s coverage or ‘area-to-locate’ map.
The new WatchDog™ module has been completely updated.This optional module allows the user to prepare a list of addressees and add stations’ call signs to that list. Full channel-studies containing Sec. 73.207 separations reports and Sec. 73.509 contour to contour reports for each station on the list can be sent by automatic email attachments. The WatchDog module is fully integrated with FMCommander and it becomes one of the main menu options. The entire list of emails can be sent automatically on a recurring basis without user intervention, running as a background task. Using the interactive mode, the WatchDog model will print out reports for the entire list or for a single addressee. These reports can also be sent automatically by email in the interactive mode. The screen shots, seen below, show the module’s main and setup screens. The program is opened by a menu item on the FMCommander Mainscreen.
FMCommander was created by engineering consultant Doug Vernier. The newest release adds many new and powerful features. V-Soft Communication’s programs are widely used by technical consultants and broadcast engineers throughout the U.S. The program is packaged with the official 2010 group block US Census population data and FCC’s most recent FM database, which includes channel-five, six and LPTV television station data.
We have a complete technical support program to support FMCommander and all the other V-Soft Communications programs. This includes unlimited use of our toll-free WATS line and unlimited access to program updates as they happen. Fresh database downloads are available every day from our client’s access web-page.
For more on FMCommander please give us a call. (319-266-8402) or send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.