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GatesAir To Streamline Chicago PBS UHF TV

24/05/2017

USA: WTTW-TV - the primary PBS member station serving the Chicago market - has selected GatesAir to fulfil its FCC TV spectrum repack requirements.

GatesAir will supply its recently-announced Maxiva ULXTE high-efficiency, liquid-cooled UHF TV transmitter in preparation for WTTW's relocation from UHF channel 47 to 25.

Owned by Window to the World Communications, Inc., WTTW carries the PBS network on its main channel, with WTTW Prime, Create/World and PBS Kids on its secondary channels. With its assignment to "Phase 6" in the Midwest/Chicago region, WTTW is legally mandated to complete its relocation to UHF channel 25 by October 18, 2019. According to the FCC's transition timetable, stations affected by the TV spectrum repack are moving in phases to avoid causing interference with other stations in their market.

GatesAir provided a complete range of technical services to help facilitate the transition, including comprehensive transmitter site evaluation. The company later delivered a full transition plan across replacement, installation and commissioning of the new Channel 25 transmission system.

"This relocation is a very challenging and complex process because we must keep our existing channel on the air until our official switchover in October of 2019, and then 'flip a switch' to transition our operation to channel 25 flawlessly," said Michael Tompary, WTTW's Director of Engineering. "GatesAir sent an engineering team to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of our transmitter site, and worked out the best possible plan for replacing our transmitter with the new ULXTE model, given our limited space and the hard deadline we're facing."

The ULXTE will replace a GatesAir Sigma (legacy) transmitter that was installed about 15 years ago. Based on the company's green, high-efficiency PowerSmart Plus transmitter architecture with broadband amplification, the compact ULXTE utilises the latest 50-volt LDMOS amplifiers to reduce size, weight and energy consumption while increasing power density. The ULXTE integrates GatesAir's new ATSC 3.0-ready XTE exciter, which increases processing power and incorporates its patented RTAC technology. Working harmoniously, these various systems greatly reduce total cost of ownership over the life of the transmitter.

Tompary finds the ATSC 3.0 attributes of the XTE particularly compelling, given that the transmitter will be ready to address advanced services made possible by the new standard after the repack period concludes. WTTW will leverage other benefits from working with GatesAir on the path to ATSC 3.0, including a simpler migration due to matching power levels for ATSC 1.0 and ATSC 3.0 standards within the ULXTE system. GatesAir's ATSC 3.0 Guarantee program will also provide WTTW with a comprehensive program of product support and technical services across installation, commissioning and ongoing operation of ATSC 3.0 systems.

"Migrating to the advanced ATSC 3.0 DTV broadcast standard is an essential goal for us, as we want to deliver programming to mobile devices and expand our audience - especially when it comes to attracting the younger demographic," Tompary said. "We based our purchase decision on our positive experience with GatesAir and the exceptional service they have provided us over the years."

The ULXTE installation is contingent upon the design of a new antenna that will be installed as part of a multi-station antenna farm atop the Willis Tower, which is managed by Vertical Bridge, the owner of the Chicago high-rise.

"We're delighted that WTTW has again put its faith in our transmission technology, as well as entrusting us with the installation of their new TV spectrum repack DTV transmission infrastructure," said Joseph Mack, Vice President of Sales, Americas, GatesAir. "With the most extensive manufacturing and service operation in the United States, GatesAir is uniquely prepared to accommodate WTTW and other broadcast organisations with the industry's most comprehensive repack solution, encompassing evaluation, equipment and engineering services. We're also uniquely positioned to provide accelerated delivery, installation and commissioning timelines, which greatly benefit stations that are subject to concrete relocation deadlines."

Pictured: Willis Tower, Chicago.

www.gatesair.com


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