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Field Report: Deva Broadcast SmartGen Mini
The SmartGen Mini encoder has five native methods to connect, front panel USB, two ports of TCP and two ports of UDP. It seems apparent that the device is intended to exist on the public Internet receiving data or configuration from multiple sources without needless exposure to hacking. On the Advanced RDS tab the port IDs and access rights are set. With choosing access rights, a particular UDP port can be set to a non-standard IP Port ID, and access to any of the data and configuration settings can be enabled or disabled through the port.
RDS Programming gets a little more involved on the Advanced RDS tab. This is where multiple data sets are laid out; where the individual RDS data components are selected and repetition rates are scheduled. If ODA groups are being sent (i.e., traffic data or song tagging). There is a useful spinning wheel diagram that can show how repetition rates, time slots and delay times will affect the amount of useful data that is sent every 60 seconds.
Although UECP is the native communication protocol for RDS encoders, many, including the SmartGen Mini can also accept ASCII text for a scrolling PS, RadioText or other data. Using its application, a port is configured to accept data for the appropriate part(s) of the RDS stream, then the system providing the data, such as a radio automation is set up to send the ASCII data to the correct IP/Port. Documentation on the acceptable syntax could be a bit more explicit, but with some trial and error I was able to get my automation system to send artist/title successfully.
In the details
There are a couple of caveats regarding the SmartGen Mini application. Keep track of the included CD; you will need it to install the USB driver. Some features like dynamic (scrolling) PS are easier to manage using the embedded Web page as opposed to the application.
Although the application is a powerful configuration tool, the most effective use of the SmartGen Mini is for feeding live data over an IP or USB connection. The encoder can support RadioText+ and is fully compliant with the latest encoder communication standards UECP EBU SPB490 Version 7.05. The SmartGen Mini has the ability to parse incoming scrolling text into phrases reducing the chance that consumer radios will display partial or nonsense words.
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Deva updates firmware and documentation very often as improvements happen. Even in the course of evaluating the SmartGen Mini, there were a couple of releases including an extremely helpful instruction manual on configuring the RDS encoder for RadioText+. It’s important to keep checking back with the site for updates.
Overall the SmartGen Mini is an extremely useful and powerful RDS encoder in a small package.
Thomas is vice president of engineering for Lincoln Financial Media, Atlanta.
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