The Z-Channel Reception Tips Page

If you listen to KZRO-FM locally on the radio, here's a few tips to get the best sound and signal possible...

Anytime you transmit a high power FM radio signal in the mountains you're asking for trouble. In a perfect FM world, the world would be flat like in the Midwest. However, with the terrain we have here in Northern California, it pays to take care in the way you pick up an FM station. Simply, hills+mountains+high power FM=reflected signal. KZRO covers over 24,000 square miles which requires a lot of power. A staticy sound indicates you're picking up not only our main signal, but that same signal reflected off of near by terrain. This reflected signal arrives at your antenna later than the main signal causing the problem.

Much depends on where you live in relation to our transmission tower (located on Broadcast Ridge near the Mt. Shasta Ski Park). If you have a line of sight view of our tower, you'll get a clean signal. If you're having reception problems, below are suggestions to make your listening experience more pleasurable.

In some cases, you may be getting too much signal because of the reflections. Using your antenna and placement of your stereo/radio are essential for maximum reception.

Next to the quality of your radio, your antenna and its alignment are the most important factors in getting our signal well. FM signals travel in waves that are spaced about 10 feet apart. In a mountainous area such as ours, chances are that you'll have hills blocking the path to our tower. The location of your radio and antenna in your home or office, and quality of the signal thereof can differ greatly by simply moving them to a different location in the room (sometimes a foot or two can make a great difference). If you're listening with a boombox, try moving and testing it at different locations within the room. If you have a dipole antenna thumb tacked to a wall, re-orient it.  

The type of antenna you use can make a big difference too. Stores like Radio Shack offer a variety of low cost, easy to install antennas that can make our signal sound better.

Our signal covers 5 counties, from Yreka to Red Bluff. There are hills everywhere, making distant reception even more of a problem. Say you're in Yreka or the Scott Valley areas. This puts you some 30 to 40 miles from our tower, and what you need is more antenna gain to make us sound better. I'm talking roof antenna. For an investment of fifty bucks or less, you can scoot over to your local Radio Shack (not a plug) and pick up one of a few different types of FM antennas (and coax) made specifically for this purpose. The best way is to mount this small antenna on a TV mast, but quality results can also be obtained by placing it in your attic. You will be amazed at the difference in the quality of not only our station, but those "new" stations that pop up on your radio dial. Cheap investment, better sounding music.  

The mountainous terrain causes these little puppies problems. Again, try moving it to a different location. Also, many times the actual antenna is built into the power cable so try and re-orient this power cable for best reception.

Great strides have been made over the years in the internal circuitry concerning signal gain, signal rejection and other factors of small as well as component radios. If yours is 10 or 20 years old, consider picking up a new one. 

Our friends at Northland Cable make our station available in both North and South Siskiyou County. If you subscribe to Northland Cable, you can get our signal on that wire that comes into your house, using their master antenna. Basically, all you need is a coaxial T-connector (available at electronic and drug stores) which splits the coax cable from your cable into to two leads, plus one extra short piece of cable. After splitting the cable into two leads, connect one to your radio antenna input (which may require a cheap 75 to 300 ohm matching transformer) and put the other one back where it came from (to your antenna or VCR). It's simpler than it sounds, but if you have questions, give your local Northland Cable office a call..   

Just like in real estate, good reception in the mountains can be summed up in three words. Location, location, location. Take a couple of minutes and try relocating your radio or antenna because it could make all the difference in the world. And unless you're within direct line of sight to our transmitter tower, don't expect a clean signal if you're blocked by hills and using a coat hanger and a piece of aluminum foil in place of a broken antenna (don't laugh, I've had people call the station complaining about reception, and this is what they were using). 

Chances are, if you're having reception problems, with the investment of a little time and/or a few bucks, you'll be able to clean up your Z100fm signal considerably, and enjoy the long blocks of music we offer even more.

Here's more helpful information from stations KALX Berkeley, WLNZ
Lansing, KHPR Honolulu and KZQX Chalk Hill, TX., all dealing with this
very problem. Also this in depth article from Fanfare Electronics.



Big Tree Communications 
PO Box 1234 
Mt.Shasta, CA 96067 
Studio/Sales: 530 926-1332  Fax: 926-0737


Z-Channel Radio LLC 2019