By Mark Laura and Tony Peterle
Long Island, New York, USA - Sachem Public Schools, located in Lake Ronkonkoma on Long Island, New York, operates a non-commercial educational FM station, WSHR. Operated largely by the students, the station takes a very professional approach and broadcasts a CHR format.
Around the year 2020, Sachem began an RFQ process for a new 5-kilowatt transmitter. WSHR General Manager and Chief Broadcast Engineer Mark Laura says the focus was on a transmitter that could operate in a somewhat-harsh environment. He wanted something that was durable, had good redundancy, robust design, and solid construction, plus a built-in audio processor that can provide good audio performance and a signature sound. “Our station is in a very competitive market! We need to stand out. Our radio station is a very important asset to our school district. I wanted to be sure that we purchased a well-designed transmitter that was able to give us what I wanted and keep us within budget. The Ecreso line of transmitters was the perfect solution for us.”
Mark had seen the Ecreso 10kW FM transmitters at NAB, and was intrigued by the design and the 65-plus-year history of the company. “I liked the clean, planar design of the amplifiers, and the hot-swappable components for easy maintenance. You could see the quality in the circuit design, and the overall construction of the transmitter. The engineers and design team did a superb job!”. After a second look at the following NAB, Mark chose the Ecreso 5kW Full Redundancy version for the WSHR transmitter project, with dual exciters, extra power supplies, and other features designed to maximise uptime.
The transmitter was delivered before the new building was ready for it, and a replacement power input panel was shipped to accommodate the 208V three phase at the site (European 3 phase is 380V). Tony Peterle from WorldCast Systems joined Mark and his team in early November 2021 to assist with the installation. “Mark had a great crew and we had the power panel swapped out and connected to the mains in about 40 minutes. Once the RF line was tightened up, we put it on the air. Total installation time was maybe an hour all told,” says Peterle.
The new transmitter has performed flawlessly, and Mark says their students, community residence, school administration, and board members have noticed the improved signal quality and coverage. “We had a few storms pass, and some fluctuation in power due to the high wind conditions. At first, I was a little concern, but the transmitter handled everything like a champ! I was very happy (and relieved) to see how well our Ecreso transmitter functioned!” says Mark.
The new transmitter is much more energy efficient than their old one, and Sachem may also choose to test the Ecreso Smart FM technology to realize even more savings on operating power costs.
Mark appreciates the built-in audio processing and RDS encoder, and the embedded website makes it easy to control from his office on the other side of campus. Another thing Mark noted was the excellent customer service. “The folks at WorldCast Systems have an excellent team of people who quickly answered my questions and concerns. If you’re in the market for a new transmitter, speak to Tony and the good people of WorldCast Systems about the Ecreso line of transmitters! You won’t be disappointed!"