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Is it Time for a New Transmitter?
Many are familiar with the Nautel NV and VS series of transmitters. A fairly recent addition is the NVLT series (NV light), which, while based on the NV design, is missing one major feature: It will not operate as a combined amplifier for HD Radio. It's strictly an analog FM transmitter. Still, it has many (if not all) of the features of the NV. Nominal power levels range from 3.5 to 40kW.
versions: 1, 2, 3 or 5kW, with an integral exciter and low-pass filter. (One of the options available is an external exciter kit, which you would use should you want to broadcast with HD Radio). The exciter has a composite input, and three additional inputs -- two for SCAs and one for RDS. Optionally you can add a stereo generator module with AES and analog inputs. Local control is done via the front panel LCD interface, but the unit has Ethernet support, so if your site has IP connectivity, then you can gain access to the transmitter remotely by that means. BE's RGUI (Remote Graphical User Interface) allows for the control and monitoring of up to eight different STX LP transmitters. RGUI also provides for complete diagnostics of the transmitter, as well as event logging.
Another new BE product is the STXe exciter, which is basically a stand-alone version of the integral exciter for the STX LP series. This exciter has a built-in controller with an updated GUI. Ethernet support allows for http access from anywhere assuming your site has IP connectivity (using a PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone). Additionally, the STXe supports SNMP. With the addition of BE's VPe (Vector Power Enhancement, which is their peak-to-average power reduction technology) the STXe can also operate in the IBOC mode, allowing for the transmission of HD Radio. (DRM+ is an option for stations outside of the U.S. where it is used for DAB in the VHF spectrum.)
Continental Electronics has been maintaining its familiar line of high-power FM transmitters: the 816R series. Power levels range from 11kW to 21.5kW (using the 816R-2C) up to 40kW (the 816R-7C). A single tube is deployed as the final amplifier (4CX15000A, 4CX20000E, or 4CX25000C depending on the power level). All of the series are self-contained, except the 816R-7C, which uses a separate power supply cabinet and external harmonic filter.
The 816R-HDR (HD Radio-ready) is a high-power combined amplifier for IBOC applications. You can buy it up front as an FM-only transmitter, while planning to add the IBOC components (the Exgine-enabled 802Ex digital FM exciter, along with an exporter) later on. Continental's D816HD series transmitters range in combined TPO from 18kW to 56kW at digital power levels of -20dBc to -10dBc. These combined transmitters use only one tube each, the final power amplifier tube. The D816HD series transmitters are also completely self-contained, including the harmonic filter. (The 70 kW has two high voltage rectifiers and plate transformers located in two separate chassis.) D816HD transmitter systems work with Continental's 802Ex digital FM/HD exciter to provide forward looking fully adaptive pre-correction, system and HD Radio performance monitoring and on-channel spectral analysis.
These combined transmitters may be set up in several configurations: single exciter to drive both transmitters; dual exciters; or, dual exciters and automatic coaxial switcher/combiner. The D816HD-20 will go up to 25.2kW of analog with an IBOC level of -10dBc; the D816HD-25 tops out at 34kW of analog with at -10dBc; and the D816HD-28L will reach 38kW of analog FM with an IBOC level of -10dBc.
It will soon be 2014 and I hope that you will take some time to look in to new features that are available from many of the transmitter manufacturers. Remote access and control, and IBOC capability, are the prominent features that have appeared in the last 10 years. It's not 1980 anymore and many of the features found today are put there to make your life easier.
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