ESPN’s new teleport facility expands the network’s distribution

Category New studio or RF technology — station Submitted by ESPN Design Team ESPN: Roger Roy, sr. dir.; Glenn Scanlon, assoc. dir.; Shannon Schaar, assoc. dir.; Robert Longfield, dir.; John Cistulli, dir.; Richard Masotti, ...
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New studio or RF technology — station

Submitted by
ESPN Design Team

ESPN:
Roger Roy, sr. dir.;
Glenn Scanlon, assoc. dir.;
Shannon Schaar, assoc. dir.;
Robert Longfield, dir.;
John Cistulli, dir.;
Richard Masotti, mgr.;
Paul Emmendorfer, dir.

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Alberton environmental management
APW/Mayville racks
Bard air conditioning
Crystal Vision monitoring
FM-200 fire suppression General Dynamic 700- 70TCK Torus antenna
MCL MT4000-750K-1 power amps
Microwave Filter C-band filter
MITEQ U-9953-6-1K C-band upconverter
Norsat LNB low-noise block converter
Oldcastle shelter
Opticomm Optiva fiber transport system
Quintech LS series active L-band splitter
Specialty Microwave C-band switch/load
VertexRSI ModuMAX power amp model MPCD-61000/R
Viasat 8009A C-band antenna
WB Walton antenna hot air de-icer

ESPN’s new teleport facility expands the network’s distribution

Seven years ago, the initial discussions took place regarding the feasibility of developing a parcel of land near the ESPN campus for the sole purpose of transplanting its antenna resources to one common area. The reasons for this were many, but the main one centered on the security concerns of having antennas placed in parking lots and along the busy thoroughfare that runs adjacent to ESPN. By the end of December 2008, the project will be completed. The last antenna will have been moved, and the trademark pictures of several transmit antennas in front of the original ESPN buildings along Middle Street will have to live on solely in one’s memory.

The new teleport facility is situated on 10 acres in Southington, CT; this parcel of land is part of the main campus — the campus straddles both Bristol and Southington. The teleport is comprised of five terraces, each lower than the preceding by 10ft. This allows for a clear line of sight to domestic and international satellites by all 22 antennas on the teleport. Eighteen antennas, ranging from 4.5m to 11m, were relocated to the teleport, and four additional antennas were purchased, three of which are 9m antennas and one 7m Torus antenna. The Torus antenna is mammoth in size, measuring 24.4m in length, 7m in height and has the functionality of 35 7m C/Ku-band antennas with feed assemblies fully populated. ESPN has chosen to position this antenna to give it optimum reception along the domestic arc. With 30 feed assemblies aligned, gone are the days when the network had to reject feed requests because of the lack of antenna resources. The addition of the Torus for domestic reception frees up 10 4.5m agile antennas for international reception, an area of the company that is experiencing rapid growth.

The majority of ESPN networks are distributed by seven C-band transmit antennas powered by state-of-the-art 1kW solid-state power amplifiers. These amplifiers were chosen for their wideband characteristics, built-in redundancy and ease of maintenance. ESPN selected 1:2 phase combined traveling-wave tube amplifiers (TWTs) to power three Ku-band antennas for distribution of its international networks to targeted areas not reached by C-band distribution. Fiber optics are used to transport signals between the teleport and the transmission control room; loose tube conduits and air-blown fiber were chosen for their flexibility in meeting future needs.

The completion of this teleport, and the expansion capabilities it provides, will allow ESPN to expand upon the 53,000 feeds it currently receives each year, thereby enhancing distribution to the 196 countries and territories currently receiving ESPN content. In addition, ESPN is well positioned to support its parent company, Disney, as new initiatives are developed.