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Height above average terrain (HAAT) (or less popularly, EHAAT, Effective Height Above Average Terrain) is used extensively in FM radio and television, as it is actually much more important than effective radiated power (ERP) in determining the range of broadcasts (VHF and UHF in particular, as they are line of sight transmissions). For international coordination, it is officially measured in meters, even by the Federal Communications Commission in the United Statesmarker, as Canadamarker and Mexicomarker (both of which use metric) have extensive border zones where international stations can be received on either side of the international boundaries. Stations that want to increase above a certain HAAT must reduce their power accordingly, based on the maximum distance their station class is allowed to cover (see list of broadcast station classes for more information on this).

Before metrification at the FCC, the procedure to figure HAAT was relatively simple: from the proposed or actual antenna site, either 12 or 16 radials were drawn, and points at 2, 4, 6, 8, and radius along each radial were used. The entire radial graph could be rotated to achieve the best effect for the station. The altitude of the antenna site, minus the average altitude of all the specified points, was the HAAT. This can create some unusual cases, particularly in mountainous regions—it is possible to have a negative number for HAAT (the transmitter would not be located underground, but rather in a valley, with hills on both sides taller than the transmitter itself, for example).

The FCC has divided the Continental United States into three zones for the determination of spacing between FM and TV stations using the same frequencies. FM and TV stations are assigned maximum ERP and HAAT values, depending on their assigned zones, to prevent Co-channel interference.

FM broadcast zones in the U.S.
The FCC regulations for ERP and HAAT are listed under Title 47, Part 73 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).


Zones I and I-A

  • Maximum HAAT: 150 meters (492 ft)
  • Maximum ERP: 50 kW
  • Minimum co-channel separation: 241 km (150 miles)

Zones II and III

  • Maximum HAAT: 600 meters (1968 ft)
  • Maximum ERP: 100 kW
  • Minimum co-channel separation: 290 km (180 miles).


In all zones, maximum ERP for analog TV transmitters is as follows:

  • VHF 2-6: 300 kW
  • VHF 7-13: 316 kW
  • UHF: 5,000 kW

Maximum HAAT

  • Zone I: 305 meters (1000 ft)
  • Zones II and III: 610 meters (2000 ft)

Minimum co-channel separation

Band Zone I Zone II Zone III
VHF 272.7 km

(169.5 miles)
304.9 km

(189.5 miles)
353.2 km

(219.5 miles)
UHF 248.6 km

(154.5 miles)
280.8 km

(174.5 miles)
329.0 km

(204.5 miles)

Zone layouts

Zone I (the most densely populated zone) consists of the entire land masses of the following states: Connecticutmarker, Delawaremarker, Illinoismarker, Indianamarker, Marylandmarker, Massachusettsmarker, New Jerseymarker, Ohiomarker, Pennsylvaniamarker, Rhode Islandmarker, and West Virginiamarker; in addition to the southern and eastern portions of Virginiamarker; the areas of Michiganmarker and southeastern Wisconsinmarker south of 43° 30' north latitude; the coastal strip of Mainemarker; the areas of New Hampshiremarker and Vermontmarker south of 45° north latitude; and the areas of western New Yorkmarker south of 43° 30' north latitude and eastern New York south of 45° north latitude. In addition, Zone I-A (FM only) consists of all of Californiamarker south of 40° north latitude, Puerto Rico and the U.S.marker Virgin Islandsmarker. (If the dividing line between Zones I and II runs through a city, that city is considered to be in Zone I.)

Zones I and I-A have the most "grandfathered" overpowered stations, which are allowed the same extended coverage areas that they had before the zones were established. One of the most powerful of these stations is WBCT in Grand Rapids, Michiganmarker, which operates at 320,000 watts and 238 meters (781 ft) HAAT.

Zone III (the zone with the flattest terrain) consists of all of Floridamarker and the areas of Alabamamarker, Georgiamarker, Louisianamarker, Mississippimarker, and Texasmarker within approximately 241.4 kilometers (150 miles) of the Gulf of Mexicomarker.

Zone II is all the rest of the Continental United States, Alaskamarker and Hawaiimarker.

See also

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