Dielectric Revamps Production Floor To Meet LPTV Repack Deadline

(Image credit: Dielectric)

RAYMOND, Maine—Dielectric is revamping its production floor and workflow in response to the final stretch of the FCC’s TV spectrum auction and the Sept. 5, 2022, deadline for displaced LPTV, TV translator and FM stations to move to new frequencies, the company said.

While the company shipped nearly 1,100 high-power repack systems over the 12 phases of the repack affecting full-power stations, the needs of this constituency of broadcasters is somewhat different. A great deal of collaboration will take place on the front end among Dielectric, transmitter companies and tower owners to ensure the most cost-effective systems are deployed by LPTV stations, the company said.

With expediency as the goal, Dielectric has recalibrated its precision automatic pole machine, first commissioned for the repack of full-power stations. The machine is equipped with a Bridgeport head with an automated flex drill.

Driven by Dielectric’s CAD package, which includes the appropriate custom programming for each low-power antenna, the system ensures low-power antennas can be built faster than previously possible, it said.

“The poles range from 15 to 25 feet long for lower-power slot antennas, and fit into a series of saddles on the machine,” said Cory Edwards, director of OEM, distributor, and Southeast Asia sales at Dielectric.

“The CAD software, which automatically uploads once the design work is completed, tells the flex drill precisely where every slot and hole on the antenna should be located. We can finish an 8-bay antenna for an LPTV customer in less than an hour, compared to what previously took nearly a full business day, and antenna tuning times have improved by 50 percent, which means quicker deployments,” he said.

In recent months, Dielectric has used the machine and automated workflow to manufacturer nearly 60 Powerlite low-power TV antenna systems. The systems include those for “analog sunset” LPTV stations facing an early July deadline. Another 60 are in the works, and Dielectric expects up to 500 more in the coming months, he said.

The Powerlite Series, which serves broadcast requirements of 6kW or less, includes all required RF components in a single system, making it easier to meet the challenging deployment schedule facing LPTV stations, he added.

It ships with Dielectric antennas, transmission line, tunable filters and RF components. The company recently added a 5kW tunable filter to the series, helping Dielectric to meet specific transmitter power levels that have become more common in the LPTV repack project, he said.

See Dielectric at the 2021 NAB Show, Oct. 10-13, in LVCC booth C7215.

More information is available on the company’s website

Phil Kurz

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.