01.21.2005 08:00 AM
WNYW, WNBC launch combined RF system from Empire State Building

Consisting of two new antennas, a channel combiner and transmission line from Dielectric, the system offers the stations’ engineers a high degree of flexibility.

WNYW and WNBC began full-time use of a new combined analog RF system from the Empire State Building in Manhattan last month.

Consisting of two new antennas — a main antenna mounted to the spire atop the building and a backup located on the building’s mooring mast— a channel combiner and transmission line from Dielectric, the system offers the stations’ engineers a high degree of flexibility because of a “significant amount of patching and switching that allows them to utilize any part of the antenna they want,” according to Jim Stenberg, the company’s director of RF system business development.

Work on the system began immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attack on the World Trade Center as broadcasters coped with the loss of a major transmitting site. According to Stenberg, there was not available aperture for two new antennas on the Empire State Building. After negotiations, Channel 68 moved off the top of the tower to make room for Channels 4 and 5.

By June 2002, WNYW and WNBC had secured their new positions on the Empire State Building and early plans were being made for the combiner system to be located on the 82nd floor of the building. Design, fabrication and in-plant testing began, and by March 31, 2004, the entire system was ready to ship from Dielectric’s plant in Raymond, ME.

By mid-summer, both stations were on the air from the auxiliary antenna stationed on the mooring mast, and in December they went operational from the new main antenna on the spire.

Separately, another combiner at the Empire State Building for the DTV signals from CBS, NBC, ABC, WWOR, WNET, WPIX went on the air Dec. 17, 2004, said Stenberg, and a new four channel VHF combiner for Channels 7, 9, 11 and 13 will be commissioned soon.

For more information, visit www.dielectric.com.

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