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Field Report: Belar FMHD-1
You need to install WizWin on a computer so you can access the unit over an IP network. There is a small configuration associated with that. Afterward you have access to all the measurement data the unit generates. The first page view you will likely view is the basic one that shows the frequency, whether or not you are actually transmitting IBOC, and what streams are available. You can rapidly read the SIS and PSD associated with all the IBOC streams you are transmitting. One parameter that has to be checked on a regular basis is the analog vs. digital delay sync.
The spectrum display is useful and interesting as well. As I said, the measurements were taken off-air, and wouldn't be good enough for proof measurements. However, the settings comply with NRSC-G201A quite well, so after a proof is finished, you could have a lot of confidence that performance is remaining constant by using the spectrum display from the FMHD-1.
As an analog receiver, I found the demodulated base-band was incredibly quiet - at least an order of magnitude better than the off-air tuners we're using for an air monitor. I don't see specifications for the amount of quieting performance for this radio; my ears just say that it's awesome.
As a user I only have one complaint with this unit - and that is the setting of the IP address. To do that, first download another small piece of software from Lantronix, learn how to use it, and then use it to figure out the IP address of the FMHD-1 as it comes from the factory. You then use that same software to change the IP to what you want. It's rather awkward. Fortunately, you'll likely have to do that only once.
The analog and digital outputs are available simultaneously on the rear apron - configured from the popup menu. My only wish for an additional feature for the FMHD-1 would be the ability to stream audio outbound via IP. Using the device while on our network allowed me to connect it to an outside antenna with lots of signal - but unfortunately in that mode I'm not able to enjoy the sound of this device. By plugging a pair of headphones in to the front of the unit (or otherwise routing audio out of it) you're going to hear the very finest level of detail in your transmitted signal.
Irwin is transmission systems supervisor for Clear Channel NYC and chief engineer of WKTU, New York. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor's note: Field Reports are an exclusive Radio magazine feature for radio broadcasters. Each report is prepared by well-qualified staff at a radio station, production facility or consulting company.
These reports are performed by the industry, for the industry. Manufacturer support is limited to providing loan equipment and to aiding the author if requested.
It is the responsibility of Radio magazine to publish the results of any device tested, positive or negative. No report should be considered an endorsement or disapproval by Radio magazine.
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