WorldCast Group To Supply Antenna Switch Technology At Sutro Tower

In support of the TV repack of wireless spectrum now occurring in the U.S., two WorldCast Group companies—WorldCast Systems and Connect—have been selected to develop and supply an Antenna Switch Controller System along with a unified monitoring platform for the RF operations (DTV and FM) at Sutro Tower. Overlooking San Francisco from its 977-foot-high steel tower, Sutro Tower is used by television and radio stations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

The initial order of controllers is 10 for TV and five for FM stations, controlling approximately 35 motorized RF switches. WorldCast Group said that equipment delivery is expected by the end of this year.

The TV repack, ongoing for the next few years, is impacting TV stations and sites across the country with many broadcasters changing frequencies and acquiring new hardware. Sutro Tower is replacing several antennas, adding additional RF feeds on the tower and replacing its existing antenna control system. Following a tender launched in 2017, WorldCast Systems was selected to incorporate hardware and software from both the Ecreso (RF) division and Connect, WorldCast Systems’ sister-company specifically focused on management and monitoring software.

The combined system is based on a new product called the Ecreso Switch Controller (ESC) — under development specifically for Sutro Tower — that will be responsible for moving the RF switches as required by the customers.

The combined system is based on a new product called the Ecreso Switch Controller (ESC) — under development specifically for Sutro Tower — that will be responsible for moving the RF switches as required by the customers.

The combined system is based on a new product called the Ecreso Switch Controller (ESC) — under development specifically for Sutro Tower — that will be responsible for moving the RF switches as required by the customers. The ESC maintains safety in all operations and monitoring/recording data for real time display and detailed analysis. Rather than a one-off design, the ESC can be easily configured to manage different types of sites and configurations, and will be ideal for future customers seeking small- or large-scale RF monitoring and control systems.

Each ESC is capable of managing 5 motorized RF switches, with all the necessary capabilities (interlock management, measuring RF levels to ensure safe operation, etc.). Built on FPGA hardware, the controllers will link to form a network that can manage which connections are possible, based on safety requirements and the needs of Sutro and their tenants. One controller unit will be installed for each broadcast customer at Sutro Tower.

The Ecreso Switch Controller is not the first WorldCast solution deployed by Sutro, which is already a customer of the Audemat Control Silver and the WorldCast Manager for the monitoring and control of various connected devices and switches. The WorldCast Manager, developed by Connect, is now able to interconnect with the new Ecreso Switch Controller, providing a data archive and supporting public displays of antenna system status and data throughout the building.

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