Satellites, STLs and RPUs at NAB2001

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The hot item of discussion for radio propagation was not terrestrial distribution, but rather the upcoming satellite radio services. Both XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio will begin their services this year.

The satellite news for stations is that SEDAT (Spectrum Efficient Digital Audio [satellite] Transmission) has been deemed not-so-efficient and was to be terminated at the end of May. ABC Networks will migrate its remaining full-service satellite formats to Starguide III.

Public Radio Satellite Service (PRSS) unveiled to NPR affiliates a new concept to store and forward programming on an as-needed basis, featuring a user interface and scheduling/programming system to replace the OS-2-based SOSS, with the possibility of returning programming via Web FTP. This also holds promise for the many commercial networks distributed by PRSS.

On the STL and RPU side, Moseley has added a T1 backup capability to its Starlink SL9003Q 4-Channel linear STL and showed a (non-portable) 450MHz digital RPU system, the Aries 400S (see Pick Hits, page 43).

Marti Electronics unveiled an RPU transmitter, the SRPT-40A, which features a new synthesizer, more powerful RF amp and a new front panel, including reflected and forward power metering. Also shown was a new analog composite STL transmitter, the STL-20C/950. The STL-10A features a new 10W amplifier along with a new front panel. Also shown was a new Cellcast for digital systems for use with digital cellular phones and overseas. It includes a POTS port as well.

Energy-Onix bills its new TeleLink as “the world's only reliable STL that utilizes the Internet.” TeleLink requires at least a 128kb/s connection and can have one studio unit feeding multiple transmitter sites at great distances.

Bext is the exclusive broadcast representative for Breezecom (wireless equipment) and showed a T1 equivalent 2GHz spread-spectrum RF link.

By far, IBOC digital broadcasting was on the radio agenda most frequently, and it was talked about the most at the many coffee klatches and in exhibitor booths. While NPR has an official “no official” position on it, NPR staged a two-day pre-NAB seminar at its Public Radio Engineering Conference almost entirely devoted to IBOC.

Hal Kneller is president and chief engineer of Heartland Broadcasting, and director of engineering for WGCU-FM/WMKO, Fort Myers, FL.

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