SNG Broadcast Services in the UK has opened up an independent fixed receive network for wireless cameras, a move that promises to transform electronic newsgathering (ENG) in London.
Using camera-back transmitters and antennas from Link Research, SNG’s new receive network lets broadcast producers and camera crews operate wireless cameras live in the nation’s capital without having to bring in a satellite uplink or an ENG vehicle and engineering crew.
Broadcasters and news agencies can take Link wireless camera systems into central London and cover news and live events immediately. Crews can operate freely, roaming about to cover stories, and transmit from their cameras to the dedicated receive hub and fiber-inject points located on one of London’s tallest buildings, said SNG owner Ken Suckling. A Link COFDM wireless hub located at this key position overlooking central and south London provides all-around coverage.
According to Suckling, his company’s fiber-inject points and COFDM receive hubs allow broadcasters to have live camera connectivity “without the need to invest in any infrastructure.”
SNG testing showed that Link wireless cameras operate reliably on the ground in an area that covers Westminster, the London Eye, Vauxhall, Canada Gate, Leicester Square, Tower Bridge, the Bank of England and parts of the Square Mile in the city. In the tests, cameras were fitted with standard Link XP 100mW camera transmitters operating at 2GHz. Reception is also possible from outside the central area using 1W and 5W Link amplifiers.
The new London receive hub also provides a helicopter camera receive site. Link’s experience has been that helicopters can typically operate in a range of more than 70mi, with a 5W amplifier in the helicopter and the built-in diversity system tracking the aircraft. The helicopter would normally be able to stay “on station” for between two and three hours depending upon flying time to and from the location.
The local camera feed and helicopter signal are connected to the SNG Broadcast Services, South London network control center. From there, the signal can be transmitted to European and transatlantic satellites, Genesis Networks’ international fiber facility or London Telecom Tower, depending upon the broadcaster’s requirement.