A.F. Associates and Thales team for WGCU digital transition

For stations in the nation’s smaller markets, overcoming the myriad challenges — both financial and technical — surrounding DTV can be daunting. Many of these stations have turned to professional system integrators for direction in finding innovative and affordable ways to meet the government mandate.

In what was described as a phased-in three-year transition, Florida Gulf Coast University's WGCU-DT sought the help of systems integrator A.F. Associates (AFA) and Thales Broadcast.

Beginning its transition in 2000, the university-owned and operated public television (and radio) station completed its digital infrastructure first, renovating two existing edit suites to accommodate new digital equipment. After nearly three years, the station went on the air on February 25th and is now broadcasting a single digital channel 24 hours a day at low power (50 kW ERP). The station is currently passing through the national PBS 1080i HD loop but plans to eventually multicast several digital channels as well.

Working with the existing space to minimize cost--part of an analog facility built over six years ago--AFA designed and implemented a temporary digital equipment room and master control suite.

Once the new internal facilities were complete, Thales Broadcast & Multimedia was called in to get the digital station’s signal on the air. In 2000, the company supplied a NTSC two-tube, 60kW Thales IOX transmitter (replacing an old RCA unit), and then earlier this year, a 4kW Thales Ultimate solid-state transmitter was installed.

For more information visit www.afassoc.com and www.thales-bm.com.

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