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NAB 2003Secret No More: NAB “Last Minutes”

More than a few companies cloak their NAB new product introductions in secrecy, right up to the last minute. In this case, the “last minute” is this issue, which comes out the first day of the show. With that in mind, here are some last-minute unveilings not previously covered:

Ai (C958): Ai (formerly Acrodyne) will take the wraps off its new Quantum Depressed Collector IOT transmitter family, which is available in both analog and digital. It uses the latest generation of plug-in-style Depressed Collector IOTs, both three and five stages.

Ai calculates that in the NTSC configuration it can save stations up to 70% of their power bill. Also, protection of the IOT is achieved without a crowbar-type device. And, it uses de-ionized water cooling.

Ai also hopes you’ll stop by to check out the new ATSC Digital Repeater. It can operate on or off channel, and provides an answer for those looking to replace their non-DTV-compatible translators.

Ai will also show off its new Advanced Wrap Around Correction.

(Rohde & Schwarz transmitters will also be in the booth. See the company’s listing, also in this article.)

Axcera (C367): The spotlight will be on its all-new Pioneer and Pioneer DT low- to medium-power transmitter lines. These compact, LDMOS-equipped rigs will be available in both analog and digital.

These are completely modular designs, using a chassis/backplane configuration, and will be available in power levels from 10W to 6kW analog, and up to 3kW digital. Their broadband amplifiers cover the entire UHF band. According to Axcera, this feature minimizes spare parts stock, which is especially important to group owners and networks. Of course, this design allows for simple and inexpensive channel changes. The need for channel changes has become common during the DTV build-out.

The Pioneer series also has parallel amplifier and power supply modules that can be removed and replaced while on the air.

Assuring that this series won’t be made obsolete, Axcera designed it so it could drive a high-power Visionary series IOT transmitter. The exciter section can also be used to drive the high-power, solid-state Innovator series transmitter.

Axcera is also now offering high-efficiency MSDC IOT tubes as an option for the Visionary DT series. Customers can now choose a standard IOT, a three-collector IOT, a five-collector IOT, water cooling, oil cooling, digital or analog, all in the same transmitter design.

The company will also be spotlighting its distributed transmitter (DX) network. This technology allows a station to use multiple solid-state transmitters to achieve the penetration necessary to replicate the coverage of its analog channel in mountainous terrain.

CPI/Eimac (C2720 & N1329): The company has been testing a complete K3 IOT and cavity system that is (at press time) demonstrating efficiencies of 58% with 32kW average power output in uncorrected 8-VSB service. The K3 MSDC design employs a three-stage depressed collector, is cooled with biodegradable oil pumped at 20psi, and operates from a 34kV beam supply.

Several innovations to the current production K2 digital and NTSC series are incorporated into the cavity assembly, including Eimac’s advanced input filter circuit, and cyclonic air cooling of the output window ceramic.

Dielectric (C424): No doubt, Dielectric is excited to announce that it will introduce FLEXLine, the company’s first flexible air dielectric cable that will be available in 7/8- through 6 1/8-inch configurations. It will feature precision-fitted connectors and the same 10-year warranty when purchased with a Dielectric antenna.

Itelco USA (SU4676): The Constant Efficiency Amplifier (CEA) tube will be featured in a new DTV transmitter, along with a host of Itelco’s vast lineup of RF equipment.

The company will also be showing off a new exciter, and low-power transmitters that are already being installed in the field. The company also reports a major contract to supply 10kW solid-state transmitters to the Air Force’s Spacelift Range System. Few specifics were available at press time, because of the nature of the contract.

Itelco will also show a variety of latest technology IOT-equipped transmitters.

Ktech (SU6121): No specifics were available, even at this late date, but look for the company to show off a new TV translator line to complement its low- to medium-power DTV transmitter lineup.

L3 Communications (C344): The company has confirmed that it has a purchase agreement with Thales Broadcast & Multimedia (C2000) to supply 39 Constant Efficiency Amplifier (CEA) tubes. Apparently, most are destined for use in Thales’ all-new Paragon transmitter, debuting at the show. It’s possible that a Paragon CEA-equipped transmitter could be on the air by show time.

NSI (C2409): NSI will introduce the next-generation CAMPAC remote camera control system, a high-quality remote system with a full feature set commonly found in broadcast camera systems.

It will also spotlight its 300 Series System Control Unit (SCU). It solves the problem common on ENG remotes, where the remote control system has to provide seamless integration of a mixture of existing legacy equipment, from existing antennas and radios from multiple vendors, to extended functions of new digital-ready products.

The SCU 300 series advances NSI’s “open solutions” architecture, where the station’s choice is not limited today, or in the future, by closed-end single vendor systems.

NUCOMM (C104): The company has announced a significant upgrade to its Analog Coder STL solution. According to the company, the NUCOMM Analog Coder is the first DTV STL solution that enables transmission of the DTV signal plus a T1 data pack over existing analog radios, effectively converting an existing analog STL to digital.

The Analog Coder is now available with up to four analog audio subcarriers to support aural STL applications and other control and audio channel applications.

NUCOMM’s Analog Coder Modulator/ Demodulator configuration was designed to be a compact, cost-effective solution that can be incorporated into virtually any analog infrastructure.
The Analog Coder Modulator accepts the 19.39Mbps ATSC input in either the DVB-ASI or SMPTE 310 format. It modulates the ATSC and T1 data pack onto a 1Vp-p baseband signal. That signal can be integrated easily to any analog microwave link by simply switching the audio subcarriers off and setting the video emphasis to “flat.”

The Analog Coder Demodulator receives and demodulates the baseband output from an analog receiver and outputs the 19.39Mbps ATSC signal, as well as the T1 data pack signals.

RF Technology (C2408): RF will be announcing the introduction of an innovative ENG central receive system that has been designed to reduce the time and expense of installation and the need for maintenance. Key to the company’s ability to introduce these innovations is the fact that all its major subsystems are manufactured and supported by one company: RF Technology, of course.

Control/monitoring of the antenna subsystem comes via a serial digital connection that’s multiplexed onto the RF signal cable. A prime power supply is also multiplexed onto the RF cable to eliminate the need for any additional multi-conductor cabling or multi-contact slip rings, and greatly reduces installation and wiring time, and the need to continually maintain the slip-ring assembly.

Its continuous rotation positioner features an optical encoder for feedback of azimuth to provide accuracy. In addition, a sealed stepper motor drive assembly is included, which requires no maintenance.

Rohde & Schwarz (C653): The company will be displaying an air-cooled, solid-state LDMOS transmitter (1kW DTV), liquid-cooled LDMOS transmitter (18kW DTV), and a compact, tabletop transmitter in the Ai booth.

Ron Merrell is the executive editor.