NCE 2021 Filing Window Potential Opportunity Map

The maps on this page show "opportunity zones" for potential noncommercial educational broadcast stations in the 2021 NCE Filing Window for Reserved Band channels 201~220 (88.1~91.9 MHz).

Understanding the basic rules for placement of NCE stations

Unlike LPFM, NCE does not use minimum distance separation requirements between other Reserved Band stations. Instead, NCE uses a prohibited contour overlap model and unlike translators, the contour overlap has to go "both ways". In other words, not only can't the proposed station interfere with existing stations, those existing stations can't interfere with the new NCE station. So what does this mean?
  • Co-channel: The 40 dBu interfering contour of the proposed station can't overlap the 60 dBu protected contour of an existing station and likewise, the 60 dBu protected contour of the proposed station can't overlap the 40 dBu interfering contour of an existing station.
  • First-adjacent channel: The 54 dBu interfering contour of the proposed station can't overlap the 60 dBu protected contour of an existing station and likewise, the 60 dBu protected contour of the proposed station can't overlap the 54 dBu interfering contour of an existing station.
  • Second and third-adjacent channels: The 100 dBu interfering contour of the proposed station can't overlap the 60 dBu protected contour of an existing station and likewise, the 60 dBu protected contour of the proposed station can't overlap the 100 dBu interfering contour of an existing station.

Other important things to know:

  • NCE stations must also protect commercial FM stations on the non-reserved (channels 221~300, 92.1~107.9 MHz) portion of the band using the distance separation requirements in §73.207 of the FCC Rules. This means that stations on 91.5 must protect 92.1 (third-adjacent), 91.7 must protect 92.1 (second-adjacent) and 92.3 (third-adjacent); and stations on 91.9 must protect 92.1 (first-adjacent), 92.3 (second-adjacent) and 92.5 (third-adjacent). Using the §73.207 charts, stations must protect "intermediate freuquency" channels 10.6 and 10.8 MHz above the proposed station. For example: 88.1 must provide IF protections to 98.7 and 98.9 all the way up to 91.9 providing protections to 102.5 and 102.7 MHz.
  • Unlike in commercial FM rules, Class B1 and B stations operating in the Reserved Band all have 60 dBu contours and they are protected from other Reserved Band stations as such.
  • NCE stations must also provide protections to full-service TV Channel 6 stations. There are a couple of complex methods to demonstrate that compliance. NCE stations are not required to protect TV translators or low power TV (LPTV) stations, including "Franken FM" stations (operating on Channel 6 like a radio service).
  • NCE stations are not required to protect LPFM stations or FM translator stations.
  • NCE stations are required to protect foreign FM stations near the borders. There are specific rules and policies when protecting these stations. These maps use the basic distance separation methods as outlined in §73.207 but in the event of short-spacing, it may still be possible to place a station. Check with REC or your consultant for details.

About the green dots

When you retrieve a map in this system, you may see green dots. Each dot is spaced one minute of latitude and longitude. Each map is 2 degrees latitude by 2 degrees longitude. Now that you understand the basic rules for placement of NCE stations, each green dot signifies an area where there is at least one Reserved Band channel that is:
  • Outside of the 40 dBu interfering contour of any co-channel Reserved Band station,
  • Outside of the 54 dBu interfering contour of any first-adjacent channel Reserved Band station,
  • Outside of the 60 dBu protected contour of any second or third-adjacent channel Reserved Band Station, and
  • Meets the minimum distance separation required under §73.207 in respect to commercial FM stations on 92~108.

A dot on a location does not mean a channel is available

Instead, if the desired site is in an area that has a dot, then you may wish to check the REC NCE Search for potential channels. You can verify your findings with REC or the consultant of your choice. It is important to remember that the channel still needs to be checked for availabilty based on actual contour overlap. It's also important to remember that in full-service radio, directional antennas are much more complicated and very directional antennas, like the ones used for FM translators may not be used. Antennas must give a specific minimum power (-15 dB) in all directions compared to the peak power of the station. Areas that show with a small cluster of dots may not have availability where areas with a large cluster of dots will have a better chance for availability, especially if the proposed station location is deep inside of that cluster. Even inside of these clusters, availability and power levels may be limited on a per channel basis.

In other words, if you are looking in an area without any green dots, then a channel is not likely available.

Pretty much, all areas surrounding the 100 major media markets are unavailable.

How to use the map

Using the pull down box below, select the latitude range and then the longitude range you want to check. Each map section covers 2 degrees of latitude by 2 degrees of longitude. Once you pull up a map, you can use the navigation to move to adjacent maps in 8 different directions. This interactive map covers the continental United States only.

Map of continental United States with coordinate grid lines.

Availability outside of the continental US

(Click the links for more information)
  • Hawaii - No availability in Honolulu and on most of Oahu. Widespread in the rest of the state.
  • Alaska - Availability limited in the cities. Widespread in the rest of the state.
  • Puerto Rico - Availbility extremely limited to the center part of the island.
  • US Virgin Islands - Availability is extremely limited and may be subject to coordination issues with the British Virgin Islands. - contact REC for assistance.
  • Guam - no availability on the island.
  • CNMI - One channel may be available for Saipan and Tinian Islands.. - contact REC for assistance.
  • American Samoa - no availability throughout the territory.

If you have any questions regarding NCE or you are interested in filing in the window, please contact REC Networks at 844-732-5736.


Select the map you want to check..

NOTE: This mapping system is best experienced with a faster desktop computer. We have noticed that these maps may be sluggish on older computers. The displays are not optimized well for mobile browers. Tablet users may get an acceptable experience.
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