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NAB2005 focuses industry attention on 2GHz BAS relocation

Nextel representatives present details on the 2GHz BAS relocation during a meeting with broadcasters at last week’s NAB convention.

There is a little more than 31 months left until the relocation of 2GHz Broadcast Auxiliary Service incumbents must be completed. NAB2005 provided an important venue for the broadcasters, the companies and the technology needed to pull off an effort that will see every BAS incumbent moved from existing 17MHz wide channels used for analog point-to-point microwave transmission to 12MHz COFDM operation.

On the show floor, huge banners trumpeted the BAS relocation effort, proclaiming various microwave radio vendors’ and ENG truck builders’ readiness to assist with the transition.

Off the show floor, about 100 station and station group RF engineers and technicians gathered April 19 in a meeting room to listen to Nextel’s relocation plan.

During the meeting, Michael Degitz, Nextel vice-president Nextel Spectrum Resources, and Cindy Hutter, director Nextel Broadcast Engineering, laid out the relocation plan. As previously reported in ENG Update, the United States will be divided into eight regions for the purposes of the relocation effort. A Nextel team in each region will work with broadcasters and frequency coordinators to relocate BAS incumbents.

Nextel will pay for the cost of new equipment to replace existing microwave transmitters, receivers, control devices and other ancillary equipment – as long as it’s working and being used. Nextel will also compensate stations for hiring outside labor to replace existing equipment or reimburse stations for the cost of using its own engineers and technicians to do the swap. Additionally, the company will pay for shipping charges.

The Nextel representatives asked those attending the meeting to do three things to assist in the transition:

  • Talk to station management about its options;
  • Inform the station general manager, news director, accountants and legal departments about the 2GHz relocation effort;
  • Form local coordinating committees to work with Nextel.

In various vendors’ booths at the convention, microwave radio vendors introduced new models or updates to existing models to ease the transition. Many shared features that may be important for smooth reconfiguration. Those included dual bandwidth operation to accommodate existing needs and post-reconfiguration needs; dual analog and digital operation for the same reason; and pre-set setting storage to help engineers respond to specific transmission eventualities even when they are not on-site.

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