2016 NAB Product Review: Transmission

ATSC 3.0 was one of the notable themes of NAB Show, and transmission gear is at the heart of this promising new standard. With the physical layer of ATSC 3.0 nailed down enough, manufacturers are announcing products that are compatible with ATSC 3.0.

The other big theme among transmitter manufacturers was increased efficiency for solid-state transmitters. One manufacturer (GatesAir) says its new solid-state transmitter achieves 50 percent efficiency, a number thought unattainable perhaps 10 years ago.

presented a new UHF low-power transmitter and gap-filler series, the TUWH1000 and RUWH1000 line. These 1RU systems provide output powers up to 115W and feature high-efficiency operation.

Hitachi-Comark featured its Parallax medium- to high-power transmitter line, which can work with ATSC 3.0 modulation at powers up to 100 kW. Parallax’s power modules use Doherty amplifier technology to produce high efficiency, and a double-sided liquid cooling plate configuration improves RF power density.

GatesAir Maxiva ULXTItelco-Electrosys featured its Thalna line of low- to mid-power air-cooled transmitters that can reach up to 2.4 kW for either VHF or UHF operation. Itelco-Electrosys is now implementing Doherty power- amplifier technology to improve transmitter efficiency.

GatesAir unveiled two Maxiva PowerSmart Plus products: a medium-power solid-state transmitter and an exciter that is certified to work with ATSC 3.0. Using narrow-band power modules that are available in both liquid- and air-cooled configurations, the company boasts that the new Maxiva UAXT and ULXT power modules provide efficiency ratings up to 50 percent.

Nautel showed its NT line of low- to mid-power UHF transmitters that combine a modulator, amplifier, remote control, adaptive pre-correction and mask filter in a compact enclosure. One example is the NT500/NT1 that has power output up to 1 kW and uses enhanced adaptive pre-correction for maximum power efficiency. Nautel’s TV transmitters support ATSC 3.0 broadcasting.

Rohde & Schwarz debuted the compact TLU9 UHF transmitter, with power up to 200W. The TLU9 supports transport stream-over-IP functionality, adaptive digital pre-distortion and an optioning concept that makes it possible to integrate other components, such as two satellite receivers, within the transmitter housing.

RVR-Elettronica showed a range of transmitter products, including the DTVCA1K0UU1 1 kW UHF power amplifier. The company said the DTVCA1K0UU1 has both high gain and high efficiency, and the unit can be switched between analog and digital operation with software—no hardware changes are required.

announced that the DTA-2115B card, its high-end test modulator for satellite, terrestrial and cable modulation standards is now available. The DTA-2115B supports a range of standards, including DVB-T2, DVB-S2(X) and ATSC 3.0.

ONEtastic showed its clever OneDriver transmitter/exciter, which can provide output power up to 130W. The OneDriver can contain the exciter, power amplifier and GPS/GLONASS receiver for SFN operation in a single 1RU chassis.

TeamCast had multiple products address ATSC 3.0 modulation, and was a partner on one of the over-the-air ATSC 3.0 demos at the NAB Show. The company’s Stream4Cast prepares an IP stream to be transmitted on single-frequency networks in compliance with the ATSC 3.0 physical standard, and its exTra3.0 ATSC exciter is one of the first commercially available ATSC 3.0 exciters.

ABE Elettronica
showcased its LB series of panel antennas and its GNS 1000 GPS synchronizer for single frequency networks.

Dielectric’s TFU-WB series auxiliary UHF antennaAldena Telecomunicazioni debuted its ATS series omnidirectional turnstile UHF antennas for digital or analog TV applications. In addition, the company featured its Emlab RF coverage prediction software, of which there are several versions.

Dielectric showcased its TFU-WB series auxiliary UHF antennas, which are off-the-shelf systems targeting high-power UHF applications from Channels 14 to 51. With its streamlined profile, the TFU-WB reduces wind load up to 75 percent from traditional antennas.

Electronics Research Inc. (ERI) announced a partnership with T-Mobile to build TV antennas in an effort to clear the 600 MHz spectrum. For products, ERI debuted a new family of broadband high-band VHF panel antennas that includes a horizontally polarized high-band element as well as an element for circularly polarized radiation.

Jampro highlighted its JAT-U UHF super turnstile antenna, which provides a low wind load and a broadband response that covers the entire UHF band. The JAT-U can be enclosed in a radome, and is available in either top- or side-mount configurations.

American Tower
was on-hand to discuss its tower ownership and management functions. The company’s portfolio includes nearly 100,000 owned or managed tower sites on five continents.

Magnum Towers focused on its engineering and custom tower capabilities. Not only does Magnum manufacture guyed, self-supporting and monopole towers, it offers a range of engineering services on both existing and new towers for custom applications.

Sabre Industries was on hand to discuss its turnkey design, engineering and erection services for towers. The company can provide project coordination, site surveys, tower mapping and FAA feasibility studies for all types of broadcast and telecommunications towers.

Stainless Towers, now owned by FDH Velocitel and based in Lansdale, Penn., promoted its engineering services for the ongoing television channel repack. Stainless designed and installed a large number of broadcast towers throughout the U.S. and has the original engineering documents to enable efficient upgrades and tower re-loading.

Bob Kovacs

Bob Kovacs is the former Technology Editor for TV Tech and editor of Government Video. He is a long-time video engineer and writer, who now works as a video producer for a government agency. In 2020, Kovacs won several awards as the editor and co-producer of the short film "Rendezvous."