BPR-3: Application Procedures and Rules for FM Broadcasting Undertakings

Issue 5, Amendment 2
December 2011

Spectrum Management and Telecommunications
Broadcasting Procedures and Rules



This revision to BPR-3 reflects fundamental changes in protection criteria for existing FM broadcast stations effective January 1, 2011 (Canada Gazette notice SMBR-003-08). The changes are as follows:

  • existing incumbent stations are protected to their 54 dBµV/m service contour as per the official coverage map or based on the interference criteria set forth in Section C-1.1.17 of this document, whichever provides the greater protection. When a realistic service contour of the incumbent station is calculated using the propagation method outlined in Section C-3.2.1(c), this contour is protected to a distance not exceeding the F(50,50) distance. Interference from the incoming station is calculated using the F(50,10) propagation curves.
  • in cases where the 54 dBµV/m contour of the existing incumbent station extends beyond the distances given in Section C-1.2.2, protection is based on the applicable distances given in Section C-1.2.2 for the station class.
  • most existing limitations on the existing incumbent stations are predicated on protecting the other existing stations to the maximum parameters of their class. The Department will consider requests, on a case-by-case basis, for limitation changes of existing incumbent stations based on the new criteria.
  • existing incumbent stations retain the right to increase parameters to the maximum permitted for their class (unless limitations were applied to them when the technical certificate was issued) and the incoming stations are required to accept any additional interference that may occur under these circumstances as outlined in Section C-1.5; the incumbent stations are also required to accept that their service area under maximum parameters may experience some level of interference from incoming stations.
  • international protection of Canadian stations from U.S. stations will continue to be based on the 1997 revisions to the FM Working Agreement Between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America Relating to the FM Broadcasting Service. It must be clearly understood that the proposed changes apply to domestic protection between Canadian stations only.
  • the revision also introduces the concept of “maximum protected contour” which is defined by a radius for a given class and is analogous to the previous definition of “protected contour.”

Section A: International Agreements

Within 320 km of the Canada-United States border, FM broadcasting allotments and assignments in Canada are subject to the terms of the Agreement Between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America Relating to the FM Broadcasting Service and the Associated Working Arrangement of 1991. The Agreement was amended in June 1997, according to the terms of the Changes to the 1991 Working Agreement Between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America Relating to the FM Broadcasting Service.

The Working Agreement between the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Industry Canada states the basis upon which both administrations propose to consider responses to border area allotments and assignments. It also defines technical criteria for the notification of FM allotments and assignments. Acceptance of such allotments or assignments shall be obtained from the United States before authorization to implement the Canadian proposals is granted.

It should be noted that applications for new assignments or changes in facilities of existing Canadian stations within 320 km of the common border have to meet both domestic and bilateral criteria.

It should also be noted that under the revised agreement, U.S. low-power FM stations (LPFMs) are defined with an effective radiated power (ERP) of 250 watts and an interfering contour (34 dBµV/m) whose maximum extension is 60 km.

Section B: Preparation of Technical Submissions Supporting Applications for FM Broadcasting Stations Using Primary Assignments

B-1. Application Requirements

An application to the Department for a broadcasting certificate shall be accompanied by an application to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) for a broadcasting licence, unless the application is exempted from CRTC licensing requirements. The two applications shall be filed simultaneously.

Although the CRTC has established criteria to exempt certain categories of FM broadcasting from its licensing requirements, Industry Canada maintains its requirements for the submission of technical applications because of spectrum management needs.

B-1.1 Requirements

B-1.1.1 This section outlines departmental requirements for applying for a primary FM assignment other than low and very low-power applications. It also applies to applications where Subsidiary Communication Multiplex Operation (SCO) is proposed.

B-1.1.2 An application for a broadcasting certificate and for changes to an existing station shall be made on departmental form IC-3050A, Application for a Broadcasting Certificate for a Regular Power Undertaking. An application form for a broadcasting licence is obtainable from the CRTC.

When submitting an application to the Department electronically, the applicant shall use the following e-mail address DBCE-APPS@ic.gc.ca.

Applications should include the following documentation:

  • a1) departmental form IC-3050A (in PDF format);
  • b1) the electronic brief ( in PDF format), including any required maps prepared in accordance with BPR-1;
  • c1) contours (MapInfo format: *.DAT/*.ID/*.MAP/*.TAB or GIS format: *.MIF,*.MID) (see Section 3.4);
  • d1) departmental form IC-3052A, Commitment Form, in PDF format.

All necessary forms are available on Industry Canada’s website at http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/h_sf01700.html#broadcasting.

It is the responsibility of the applicant submitting the application to ensure that all electronic documents submitted have the necessary signatures.

The Department reserves the right to request a signed attestation to verify the authenticity of an application and may hold the processing of the application, until a satisfactory attestation has been received.

When submitting written application, the following documentation shall be included:

  • a2) one copy of departmental form IC-3050A;
  • b2) one copy of an engineering brief in suitable loose-leaf binders with identifying labels. The brief should be carefully prepared and include all the detailed technical information as outlined in Section B-2;
  • c2) one copy of the departmental form IC-3052A, Commitment Form (refer to BPR-1, Section 1.2);
  • d2) one reproducible copy of a map showing the pertinent field strength contours (3 mV/m and 0.5 mV/m) and another one showing the "comparative contours" for change of facilities applications or AM to FM conversions. Comparative contours are not required for low power to regular power changes of facilities.

B-1.1.3 All proposed antenna structures whether new or modified, low or full power, must comply with the requirements of CPC-2-0-03 and Section 2 of BPR-1. In addition to meeting the requirements on site sharing, land-use consultation and public consultation, applicants must also fulfill other important obligations including: compliance with Health Canada's Safety Code 6 guideline for the protection of the general public, compliance with radio frequency immunity criteria, notification of nearby broadcasting stations, environmental considerations and Transport Canada/NAV CANADA aeronautical safety responsibilities.

B-2. Engineering Brief Sections

The order of material presented in the engineering brief should be maintained as listed below to simplify processing in the Department. The metric system known as SI (Système International) shall be used throughout the engineering brief.

B-2.1 Title Page

The title page should include the submission title, project or reference number, date, name and address of applicant, name of consultant and location of the station. The following parameters of the proposal shall also be listed: frequency, maximum and average ERP and effective antenna height above average terrain (EHAAT). If elliptical polarization is proposed, maximum and average ERP shall be listed for both the horizontal and vertical polarizations.

B-2.2 Table of Contents (Index)

To be prepared as a cross-reference to pages and sections of the brief.

B-2.3 Summary Sheet

To be prepared as per Appendix 2 attached.

B-2.4 Main Section of Brief

B-2.4.1 Introduction — A general statement of the purpose of the brief in relation to the application, including the principal centre(s) to be served with the proposed grade of service.

B-2.4.2 Discussion — There should be a discussion on the design considerations necessary to accomplish the applicant's objectives, including the location of site, and choice of frequency (here the consultant should be guided by the requirements set forth in Section C).

B-2.4.3 Interference Analysis — An analysis of interference to related station(s) and allotment(s) is required as detailed in sections C-1, C-5 and C-6.

B-2.4.4 Assumptions and Sources of Information — List and explain all assumptions and sources of information used in compiling the engineering brief.

B-2.4.5 Transmitter — The intent to use a type-approved transmitter(s) in accordance with Broadcasting Equipment Technical Standard 6, Technical Standards and Requirements for FM Broadcasting Transmitters (BETS-6), shall be made clear, either by specifying the make, model and type-approval number, or by a statement that the transmitter will be type-approved prior to on-air operation. The rated power of the transmitter shall be specified.

B-2.4.6 Description of Antenna System

The following details are required:

Antenna –
Manufacturer, type, number of bays (if applicable) power gain and vertical radiation pattern. For directional antennas, the horizontal radiation pattern of the polarization used is required. If both vertical and horizontal polarizations are used, the composite horizontal pattern is required. If elliptical polarization is used, the horizontal pattern, based on the field vector maximum, is required. The electric field is used here to define the polarization.
Transmission Line –
Manufacturer, type, length in metres, and efficiency.
Combiner –
Manufacturer and operational characteristics.
Polarization –
Horizontal, vertical, circular or elliptical polarization as proposed.

B-2.4.7 Ancillary Equipment — All other equipment shall be listed.

B-2.4.8 Determination of the Location of Service Contours — The location of service contours shall be determined by the method as detailed in Section C-3 and Section 3 of BPR-1. The contours to be determined are: 3 mV/m (70 dBµV/m) and 0.5 mV/m (54 dBµV/m).

In cases where proposed FM stations are located in areas of mountainous terrain or in the proximity of other natural obstacles, an additional analysis will be necessary to establish more realistic locations for the service contours. In preparing contour maps for these cases, the contours as determined from the standard method (refer to Section C-3) above should also be shown on the map with broken lines.

B-2.4.9 Special Analyses and Undertakings Relative to Interference to Other Broadcast Services — Analyses shall be submitted with appropriate undertakings made in regard to all potential interference situations with other broadcasting stations as a result of the operation of the proposed FM facility. The following are some examples of interference possibilities with other broadcasting services which should be explored for each proposal:

  1. "Ghost" reflections of National Television System Committee (NTSC) television signals from the new FM antenna structure (refer to Section C-7, BPR-4);
  2. distortion of AM radiation patterns by the new FM tower located in the vicinity of an AM antenna array;
  3. isolation of AM, TV and FM transmissions, where such services are co-located;
  4. interference to television service due to harmonics of the FM operation (Section C-6.1);
  5. interference to TV channel 6 from broadcasting stations on FM channels 201 to 220 (Section C-6.2);
  6. intermodulation with other broadcasting services in the vicinity of the proposed station (Section C-5); the 115 dBµV/m contour shall be determined and shown on a suitable map (Section C-5);
  7. assessment and control of maximum field strengths for FM broadcasting stations in relation to immunity-type interference (Section C-5);
  8. the use of third- or fourth-adjacent channels allotted to the same centre (Section C-1.6);
  9. interference to low-power and very low-power FM assignments. Although these are unprotected assignments, they should be notified of potential interference to their service. Such notification shall be made by letter to the affected broadcaster with a copy forwarded to the Department, preferably at the time of application, but in any event no later than one week after the application is gazetted by the CRTC.

Note: The potential interference under (a) shall be assessed when the proposed antenna structure is in excess of 30 metres and within a distance of 500 metres of a TV station.

B-2.4.10 RF Exposure, Land-Use and Public Consultations, Immunity-Related Interference, Environmental Assessment and Transport/NAVCANADA Safety-Related Issues

Refer to sections B-1.1.3 and C-5 and to CPC-2-0-03 for the requirements on these issues.

B-2.5 Antenna Location and Diagrams

The location of all structures and antenna sites that are of relevance to the analyses undertaken for the purpose of the application shall be provided in the engineering brief.

An elevation diagram of the structure and transmitting antenna as per Appendix 3 and a block diagram of major units of the transmitting system are to be included in the engineering brief.

For rooftop installations, an elevation diagram of the building, including the height of the rooftop above ground, is to be included in the engineering brief.

B-2.6 Vertical Radiation Pattern

The vertical radiation pattern of the antenna (relative field versus degrees below the horizontal) shall be plotted in rectangular coordinates from 0° to 90° below the horizontal.

B-2.7 Horizontal Radiation Pattern

If a directional antenna is employed, the horizontal radiation pattern is required. True north shall be clearly indicated on the polar plots of the horizontal radiation pattern. The relative voltage field shall be plotted using a linear scale with the option of adding the dB references if desired.

If the application is approved, the pattern shall be certified by means of range tests, scale-modelling or other recognized engineering methods, and include the effects of the mounting structure. The margin of accuracy shall also be provided. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the antenna selected for installation be certified by the manufacturer and that it meet all the requirements of the proposed broadcasting undertaking, including those in Section C-8.2.

B-2.8 Pattern Data Tables

Vertical and horizontal pattern data (if applicable) must also be provided in tabular format in the relative field (%). Vertical pattern data shall be provided at 0.5 degree intervals from the horizontal to 10 degrees below and at 1 degree intervals otherwise. Horizontal pattern data shall be provided at 10 degree intervals starting from true north with supplemental values included for all maxima and minima that fall between those intervals.

For electronic applications, a text file containing the pattern data is required. The data should listed in two columns with one column for azimuth (horizontal) or elevation angle (vertical) and the other column for relative field value.

B-2.9 Maps

B-2.9.1 A map (scale 1:50,000) shall be provided with the proposed antenna site marked thereon and its geographical coordinates (latitude and longitude) shown.

B-2.9.2 A map showing the service area contours, as required in Section B-2.4.8, shall be provided. For further details concerning the preparation of maps for engineering briefs, refer to BPR-1, Section 3.

B-2.9.3 The latitude-longitude geographical projection shall be used and the datum NAD83 must be specified. The Department is not supporting datum NAD27 and will only consider NAD27 if it is justified and warranted by special circumstances.

B-3. Applications for Multiplex Operations

B-3.1 Application Requirements

An FM broadcasting undertaking wishing to initiate Subsidiary Communication Multiplex Operations (SCO), including Radio Broadcast Data System (RBDS) operations, shall submit the following information to the Department for an amendment to the broadcasting certificate.

  1. a description of the program source and the method of modulating the multiplex subcarrier(s);
  2. the frequency or frequencies of the multiplex subcarrier(s);
  3. a description of the means used to ensure that the technical requirements are being adequately met;

B-3.2 Non-broadcasting Applications

SCO applications that are not related to broadcasting and have provisions for third-party communications services are authorized under the Radiocommunication Act and Radiocommunication Regulations. These are subject to authorization fees. The policy provisions for the use of multiplex services are outlined in the Spectrum Utilization Policy 1452 MHz, Spectrum Policy Provisions to Permit the Use of Digital Radio Broadcasting Installations to Provide Non-Broadcasting Services (SP-1452). The authorization procedure is published in the Client Procedures Circular 2-1-03, Licensing Radiocommunication System Using FM Subsidiary Communication Multiplex Operation (FM/SCO) or Digital Radio Broadcasting (DRB) Installations.

B-4. Technical Operation of Broadcast Transmitter Plants

A description of the technical equipment in compliance with the minimum requirements specified in Section 5.3 of BPR-1 shall be submitted prior to on-air tests for the approved facility. If unattended operation is proposed, a statement that the unattended operation meets the minimum requirements of Section 5.3 of BPR-1 is required.

B-5. On-air Testing Procedure

B-5.1 When the construction of the authorized facilities is complete, notice of on-air testing shall be given to the District Office Manager at least three weeks (unless otherwise specified in the letter of authority) prior to transmission tests. Departmental permission from the district office is required for testing.

B-5.2 During on-air tests, identification of the station shall be made preferably at 15-minute intervals, giving as a minimum the call sign, frequency and location of the station. In the case of rebroadcasting stations without capability to originate the aforementioned information, the broadcaster will be responsible for making the public aware that the new station is being tested. As an example, a notice could be placed in the local press which would explain that the broadcaster should be contacted in the event of interference difficulties that might develop. The broadcaster shall implement any instruction given by departmental representatives at the district, regional or headquarters level.

B-5.3 The required scope and duration of such on-air emission tests will depend to a large extent on the potential for interference that might be caused to existing broadcasting stations or other radio services. Such details of the testing shall be agreed upon with the local District Office Manager soon after the issuance of the letter of authority.

B-5.4 Following successful on-air tests, the applicant shall certify to the Department under the authorized approval of a qualified licensed professional engineer that the station is ready to commence operation in accordance with the approved technical submission. Permission shall then be requested to commence normal broadcasting operations.

B-5.5 As-Built Changes

It is recognized that in many cases the final installation may not be exactly as described in the original technical submission. In such cases, the certification mentioned in B-5.4 shall clearly describe all changes from the original submission and shall include, at the minimum, revised pages for the technical brief (or an addendum describing the changes), a revised official contour map and a comparative contour map if applicable. The Department will then determine if an application for a change of facilities is required. In most instances, this will not be necessary and the Department will simply update the database and the files accordingly. Note that, depending on the changes made, the CRTC may independently require the submission of an application. The applicant should contact the Commission for advice if required.

B-6. FM/NAV/COM Compatibility

B-6.1 Preamble

Aeronautical radionavigation and communications (NAV/COM) services in North America are assigned in the frequency band 108-137 MHz, upper adjacent to the FM band. As a result, there exists a potential for interference to these aeronautical services.

B-6.2 Types of Interference Mechanisms

B-6.2.1 Type A interference — normally radiated by FM stations.

  1. Type A1 — spurious emissions generated by a single transmitter or intermodulation products generated by multiplexed transmitters, falling in the aeronautical frequency bands.
  2. Type A2 - FM sideband energy falling in the aeronautical frequency bands (only from FM transmitters operating near 108 MHz).

B-6.2.2 Type B interference — normally generated in the aeronautical receiver.

  1. Type B1 — intermodulation generated as a result of two or more FM signals whose product falls on a wanted RF channel in use by the aeronautical receiver. Note that at least one FM signal must be large enough to drive the receiver into non-linearity.
  2. Type B2 — overload of the RF section of an aeronautical receiver due to one or more FM signals, leading to desensitization.

Protection criteria are found in Appendix 8.

B-6.3 Interference Analysis

B-6.3.1 Each application for an FM transmitting undertaking (primary or secondary assignment) is subject to an FM/NAV/COM compatibility analysis. Depending on the result, the following may take place:

  1. if no interference is predicted, it is presumed that compatibility exists,
  2. if the potential for interference is low, a conditional technical acceptance is granted subject to:
    • monitoring during on-air testing of the station, or occasionally,
    • flight tests during on-air testing of a station in complex electromagnetic environments,
  3. if the potential for interference is high, the engineering brief is considered not acceptable and the application is returned.

B-6.3.2 When conditional technical acceptance is given, the applicant is notified accordingly. If the application is approved by the CRTC (also conditionally), the letter of authority issued by Industry Canada will specify the testing and monitoring that will necessitate the broadcaster's full cooperation. The letter of authority will also specify the period required as notice to the Department before the on-air testing takes place. Adherence to the terms of the notice is mandatory.

B-6.3.3 The FM station shall test at the authorized parameters and pass the monitoring and/or flight tests before it is authorized to start normal scheduled broadcasting. However, if interference is detected, remedial measures shall be taken to eliminate the interference. If interference is not eliminated, authority for scheduled on-air broadcasting will be denied.

B-6.3.4 If interference to NAV/COM facilities is caused by the FM station during scheduled on-air broadcasting, the holder of the broadcasting certificate will take remedial measures to eliminate the interference, even to the extent of closing down the station, if so requested by the Department.

B-6.3.5 Because FM broadcasting stations transmit at much higher powers than NAV/COM facilities, it is important to limit spurious signals from FM stations to prevent interference to NAV/COM reception. The Department requires all regular FM stations to suppress spurious emissions in the band 108-137 MHz to -85 dB as a condition of authorization. This suppression level, which is measured off-air, is more stringent than the suppression level specified in BETS-6, which is a bench test standard. The applicant may have to employ external filtering to comply.

B-6.4 Interference Prediction Model

Compatibility analyses and interpretation of the results are performed by Industry Canada staff and NAV CANADA.

The Department has prescribed protection criteria and developed an interference prediction model (Appendix 8) that is used for FM and aeronautical frequency assignments.

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