Dielectric to Show Reimbursable Repack-Ready Hardware at 2017 NAB Show

The Dielectric TFU-WB antenna was introduced to service spectrum repack needs. It is also now ATSC 3.0-ready for next-generation over-the-air transmission.

Dielectric will exhibit its innovative, now-shipping TFU-WB UHF antenna to simplify transitions associated with the Spectrum Repack – along with a message for broadcasters that accentuates why now is the time to purchase and prepare.

The TFU-WB was introduced last spring as an off-the-shelf solution for quick installation of an auxiliary antenna during the repack while TV tower equipment is modified. Importantly, there is now added financial value in purchasing the TFU-WB antenna, based on FCC initiatives that will ensure the broadcaster’s investment is well protected.

The TFU-WB is a low-cost, side-mount, UHF broadband pylon-type antenna designed for higher voltage handling capabilities that also offers 75% less windload, lower overall weight, and greater cost-efficiency compared with UHF panel antennas. With its broadband capability and robust power input of 60kW, the antenna can accommodate multiple channels simultaneously, likely to be especially useful during the 39-month repack window, if there are site conditions that might delay the installation of the main antenna.

Once the main antenna is installed, the TFU-WB can be immediately put into backup service – available at short notice if there are problems with the main transmission line and/or antenna system due to harsh weather, lightning strikes or other unforeseen events.

“Since this antenna’s debut at last year’s NAB Show, the FCC has added interim or transitional antennas to the list of equipment that qualifies for reimbursement under the TV Broadcaster Relocation Fund created by the Spectrum Repack,” said John Schadler, vice president of engineering for Dielectric. “The FCC will now consider reimbursement for both the interim antenna and the final, permanent antenna.

Preparing for ATSC 3.0

As is typical with Dielectric engineering, the TFU-WB antenna’s capabilities continue to evolve heading into the 2017 NAB Show. While still valuable as an interim antenna, notably due to its broadband adaptability from channels 14 to 51, the TFU-WB’s inherent higher voltage handling capability also offers customers a futureproofed antenna system with a higher peak to average power ratio (PAPR) than other designs.

This is particularly advantageous as the industry considers the transition to the new ATSC 3.0 standard, currently the subject of a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) by the FCC. ATSC 3.0 is based on the Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex (OFDM) technology which has PAPR typically 2 or 3 dB higher than those present in today’s ATSC 1.0 standard. The TFU-WB is designed to accommodate these higher ratios comfortably.

It is widely expected that the deployment of ATSC 3.0 will include the widespread use of Single Frequency Networks (SFN), involving the addition of several additional transmit facilities operating synchronously with the main transmitter facility to provide a more uniform service area. One economical SFN approach under consideration is for broadcasters to co-locate these additional facilities and use common transmission line and antennas. The TFU-WB is ideal for such applications because it can accommodate all channels in the UHF TV band and it has the high PAPR capability needed when multiple channels are combined into one antenna.

“For any station that wants to stay on the air without interruption while their permanent transmission site is being built, interim antennas are the key,” said Schadler. “By futureproofing the TFU-WB and designing other Dielectric UHF antennas with ATSC 3.0-ready technology, we are addressing every pertinent challenge and opportunity for the broadcaster upfront.”

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