| Having Trouble
Picking Up WUGA?
by Phil Allen, former chief engineer at WUGA
Speaking broadly, there are generally two types of reception
inquiries we receive on a continuing basis. The first
is directly related to the power we are authorized to
use and the second, to atmospheric conditions. We'll try
to explain these circumstances in such a way that you
aren't snoozing before you reach the bottom of the page.
Our main channel upgrade was completed in December, 1996.
Since then, the new antenna and increased power have provided
a strong signal to many who once struggled to hear "Morning
Edition" or "The Commons".
What can I do today to improve my reception?
If you're still unable to pick up a strong signal, or
if you're a listener tuning in from a more distant area,
the best advice we can give you is to get an external
antenna - provided your radio receiver has terminals for
one. Look at the rear of the unit. There are usually two
or three screw terminals on the lower left side of the
receiver. If the terminals are there, you can add an external
antenna called a "dipole." These are the "Tee"
shaped flat wire antennas sometimes packed with new receivers.
Radio Shack and many "hi-fi" dealers carry this
antenna. It should cost about 5 dollars. If you are really
ambitious, you can put up a full blown FM antenna outside
your home. Aim it in the direction of Crawford, and see
if varying the direction a small amount either way improves
If there are no screw terminals, chances are good that
your radio uses its electrical cord like an antenna. Try
straightening the cord instead of having it bundled up
neatly behind the radio. You might try tuning in our translator
on 97.9 FM. It may be providing a stronger signal where
WUGA has received much positive feedback from listeners
since we began broadcasting via our translator, a low
powered auxilliary transmitter, from the studios on the
campus of the University. Its assigned frequency is 97.9Mhz.
It is intended to provide "fill in" service
to the downtown area, to the campus and to those areas
of West Athens that have difficulty receiving the main
channel because of topography. It is extremely low powered
- the theoretical coverage area is only about seven (7)
miles. If you live within this area, you should be able
to tune to either frequency, 91.7 or 97.9 and receive
exactly the same programming 24 hours a day.
The second type of reception problem reported by listeners
is of the "I was able to pick you up but I can't
now" variety. These problems arise twice during the
year, usually at roughly the same times each year - Spring
and Fall. The standard explanation involves laying the
blame on atmospheric temperature fluctuations. When the
atmosphere undergoes significant heating or cooling, its
ability to propagate radio waves is affected. Generally,
once some equilibrium is reached, the problems are gone
until the next cycle. Now that we've upgraded the main
channel, hopefully these fluctuations will be less of
a problem for the majority of WUGA's listeners. However,
those listeners living in fringe coverage areas may have
Admittedly, these explanations are not very scientific
but hopefully they are clear. If you're interested in
a more detailed discussion, please contact us at the address