Is it Time for a New Transmitter?
October is the time of the year we need to think about capital purchases for the following year. Transmitters are one of the most expensive of capital items, so I'll outline the new and updated products available now.
Harris Broadcast is offering its Flexiva Compact Class line of FM transmitters, which come in 50W, 150W, 300W, 500W, 1kW, 2kW, 3kW and 3.5kW (analog) versions, and they are very compact - the largest requires four rack units. They're frequency-agile, with broadband amplification, so there's no need for tuning of course. The unit has an integral direct-to-carrier digital exciter, stereo generator, and RDS generator as well. Flexiva can operate at full rated power with up to a 1.5:1 VSWR and will reduce power proportionally up to 3:1 VSWR before shutting down. Fast analog VSWR protection circuits mute the transmitter instantly in the event of a shorted or open antenna or line to protect the transmitter. The lower power versions of this transmitter (up to 550W) operate on line voltages from 100 to 250Vac; the higher power versions, 208 to 250Vac (single phase, and between 47 and 63Hz).
It looks to me like Harris designed this transmitter line to handle less-than-ideal transmitter sites. What if you wanted to build an N+1 site to backup an entire cluster? This transmitter could be the way to go for such a plan. Some of its features could make that idea fairly easy to implement and manage; for example, it has a Web-based HTML GUI and SNMP support, so (assuming you have IP access to the transmitter site) it would be easy to bring it up on the air from just about anywhere. It has five different program source inputs: two AES, two composite and one analog. Each input is monitored for valid program content and can be programmed to switch to a valid backup source should the main source drop below a predetermined threshold and time interval. Upon restoration, the program can automatically switch back to the main source.
You can buy this transmitter for analog FM now and be able to upgrade it to a combined amplifier for analog and digital after December 2013 when the new Flexiva G4 Exgine is released. New features will then include hybrid crest factor reduction, real-time adaptive correction, a built-in spectrum analyzer, and host audio extraction. (If that becomes your plan, make sure you size the amplifier correctly; for example, the largest version of this transmitter (FAX 3.5K) will provide 1.7kW of analog FM at the -10dBc IBOC level.)
A few final optional features to mention: Add an Orban 5500 to it for built-in audio processing; or add a GPS receiver for Single Frequency Network synchronization.
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