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WTTA-TV powers up with new transmitter

WTTA-TV powers
up with new transmitter

In August of 2003, WB-affiliate WTTA-TV launched WB38 News at 10 p.m. to better serve its Tampa Bay, FL, community. The newscast features local coverage as well as national and international stories.

This past year, station management determined that the power costs to run the station’s old transmitter were unreasonably high; plus, the equipment was breaking down constantly . The transmitter facility is almost an hour from the studio, which means a reliable system was essential to prevent the loss of valuable airtime. The station selected a new QDCN2 (Quantum water-cooled two-tube ESCIOT MSDC-equipped analog/digital transmitter). The unit replaced a three-tube pulsed klystron system that provided 120kW peak sync output power. The new transmitter would supply the same output power as the old system, but would result in significant redurced utility costs.

The engineers’ task was to keep the old transmitter going while the new transmitter was being installed in the same room. One of the limitations was the space. Equipment had to be moved many times to get things “shifted” into place. A team of WTTA-TV and Ai engineers worked closely together to accomplish the moving project. The new heat exchangers had to go where the old ones were already placed. The new HVPS also had to go in the same area as the old ones. The team accomplished this with few problems, and the placement is now working fine.

There were also other limitations. When construction began in April, steel was unavailable and so, in turn, was conduit. Construction came to a halt until after the May ratings book, until conduit was on-site.

Then, the team had one month to finish the project before the July ratings book. The change was made overnight on June 28. The plumbing, hanging of the RF system, placement of cabinets, inter-cabinet wiring, etc., were all completed successfully.

The new transmitter provides a cleaner picture and signal. And the power bills, including air conditioning, went from more than $20,000 down to $8000 per month. It is more reliable, has newer technology, runs cooler than the old transmitter and takes up less space. The weather in Tampa, FL, can be hot, humid, wet, moldy and windy. There is a great deal of lightning activity. The power lines can bounce around quite a lot, but the new transmitter proves to work efficiently.

Design Team
Acrodyne (Ai):
Andy Whiteside, VP, eng.
Ray Kiesel, VP, research and dev.
Jay Gamerman, project mgr.
Jeff Powis, project mgr., site layout, installation/commissioning
Equipment List
Ai QDCN2 transmitter Vote Now!