Tanana Valley Gains Efficiency With GatesAir

FAIRBANKS, ALASKA—Tanana Valley Television and Radio has experienced significant growth over the past several years, after its beginnings as a small local broadcaster. This includes the addition of three FM radio stations and two DTV stations, as well as the operation of an NBC affiliate on Chena Broadcasting, LLC through a Shared Services Agreement.

GatesAir Maxiva’s slim design helped save energy for Tanana. Energy efficiency and streamlined maintenance have been top priorities for our RF operation, given our harsh climate and remote location outside of Fairbanks. To deal with that, we opted to install GatesAir’s Maxiva VAX VHF air-cooled transmitters to power all three stations; as well as a Maxiva Compact UHF for a small remote translator site.

The decision to install Maxiva transmitters—as well as GatesAir’s Flexiva transmitters at our FM stations—has delivered significant savings in cost, time, and labor due to the transmitters’ exceptional energy efficiency, reliability and space-saving designs. Much of this is due to GatesAir’s PowerSmart transmitter design, which slims down the footprint and the amount of spare parts needed through what the company calls “broadband amplification.”

The Maxiva transmitters replaced another company’s 6kW solid-state analog transmitters at our Fox and CBS affiliates that had been converted to digital in the field. Those transmitters were highly inefficient, delivering less than 10 percent AC to RF efficiency. The expenses added up. This meant we could not fully seal the building, and at -40 to -50 degrees, even the smallest leak would drastically reduce the transmitter building temperature. We required electric heat to keep the transmitters happy, and our electric costs shot through the roof all winter.

Since the Maxivas are so compact, we were able to integrate them into a single rack with custom power and I/O panels. This single rack replaced the two large racks for our previous transmitters, and I closed off the existing transmitter air plenums and fully sealed the building since I no longer had to provide supplemental air. This eliminated 3kW of supplemental electricity to heat the building during the winter, and we have since realized dramatic savings in electricity. Our power bill dropped to almost one-third of its previous level, prompting the electric company to inquire if anything was wrong. We told them that we made energy-smart upgrades that enable us to use far less power, and that this would be the “new normal.”

The Maxiva VAX design also delivers modularity and operating efficiencies for maintenance. Components slide into position quickly on installation, with minimal labor. Once on air, hot-swappable amplifiers and power supplies make it very simple to maintain. If a module fails, the Maxiva reduces power proportionally, instead of automatically dropping to a minimal power level. This means I can live without a power amplifier or power supply, and simply swap them with new modules once I reach the transmitter site while the system remains on the air.

The Maxiva also offers various front panel and remote IP-based monitoring options. Integrating all my GatesAir Maxiva and Flexiva transmitters into a single Burk ARC Plus network gives me the big picture at a glance. With the web interfaces of each transmitter I can check or change almost any setting from my web browser or smartphone.

We are very pleased with the performance and anticipated return on investment with our GatesAir transmitters. For all of these reasons, GatesAir has become one of our preferred suppliers for TV and radio systems.

Thomas Bohnet has worked with Tanana Valley Television & Radio for 14 years. He currently serves as its director of engineering. For more information, please contact him atthomas@tvtv.com.

For more information please visitwww.gatesair.comor call 513-459-3447.