California broadcasters opt for broadband

The advent of simulcast digital/analog services means that mountain real estate is now at a premium. This, and the considerable cost involved in deploying new infrastructure, has spawned a search for alternative solutions. A consortium of four Los Angeles, Calif., broadcasters has banded together to share broadcasting facilities atop Mount Wilson. A broadband antenna system, designed and manufactured by Radio Frequency Systems (RFS), will initially support seven combined analog and digital services, with the capacity to accommodate 12 digital or analog services from channel 32 to 56.

Initial operation will incorporate four digital and three analog services. RFS also developed a full wavelength combiner designed to accommodate the very high combinations of peak power and frequency in the system -- such as channel 50 at 85 kW. The new combiner features reduced loss and have double the surface area for dissipating heat. The design allowed room for another two combiner chains to be installed.

By the time the DTV deadline is reached, just about all of Los Angeles's broadcasters will operate from Mount Wilson -- a projected 43 out of 50 services which equates to a lack of space if each broadcaster were to have separate antennas.

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