Dielectric Designs VHF Antenna System for Sutro Tower Repack Project in Compliance with Stringent Earthquake Code

March 28, 2019

Two San Francisco broadcasters will leverage structurally complex, top-mounted stacked antenna array; Dielectric to showcase THV Series of VHF antennas at 2019 NAB Show

RAYMOND, Maine, March 12, 2019 — As a leading maker of innovative TV/FM broadcast antennas, Dielectric has completed the design of a technically complex, stacked antenna array for San Francisco DTV broadcasters KGO-TV and KRON-TV. The stacked array—a specialty of Dielectric’s—is slated for installation later this year atop Sutro Tower in downtown San Francisco.

KGO-TV, the market’s ABC owned-and-operated affiliate currently broadcasting on VHF channel 7 will be repacked to channel 12. KRON-TV, the Nexstar Media Group-owned MyNetworkTV affiliate now broadcasting on UHF Channel 38 (Virtual Channel 4) will be repacked to channel 7, once vacated by KGO.

Dielectric THV Series directional pylon antennas have been customized to each station’s unique needs. The stacking of KGO’s antenna on top of KRON’s required a careful design process to factor in earthquake compliance and other critical, environmental considerations.

“This is one of our most complex repack antenna designs, in large part due to the strict earthquake code that applies to antennas installed in the San Francisco Bay Area,” said Keith Pelletier, vice president and general manager, Dielectric. “Our mechanical engineering team also ensured that KRON’s antenna could support the weight of KGO’s antenna. These design considerations called for a grade of steel that is much thicker and stronger than that which is customary for antenna construction. By design, the stack will be capable of handling the extra weight, and compliant with all earthquake restrictions.”

According to Pelletier, the final designs are currently being reviewed by a third-party structural engineering firm in San Francisco to ensure that they meet the earthquake code. The antenna array will then be constructed during the second quarter of 2019.

“Sutro Tower is scheduled for Phase 9, which means that the installation must be completed by May 2020,” said Pelletier. “We will be ready to ship in June of this year, and install the system by the end of 2019. This will ensure that the new stacked array is up and running before the strict repack deadline.”

Challenging Installation Planned

The stacked antenna array will be affixed to one of the three “candelabra” arms extending from the top of 977-foottall Sutro Tower. In order to meet the earthquake code the stacked array is being reinforced with guy wires which are anchored at the top of the candelabra platforms.  Dielectric specializes in tower top and tower stacks but the guy wire requirement is unique to Sutro Tower.  The installation grows trickier given the densely-packed downtown residential neighborhood and busy streets surrounding the tower – a job that only a handful of specialized tall tower crews can accommodate.

Each station chose to customize top-mount (slotted coaxial) designs to avoid possible interference between the antennas and the tower that could affect radiated patterns and power levels. Pelletier notes that the design offers the industry’s lowest windload – yet another critical consideration for this project.

Dielectric will also supply its auxiliary antenna (TLSV series) antenna, as part of an effective strategy to ensure a clean repack process with no off-air time.

“Since KGO is already operating in the VHF band, we will install an auxiliary antenna lower down on the tower that allows them to operate on channel 7,” Pelletier said. “That frees up the tower top and allows us to install KRON and KGO new antennas on top of the tower and allows KGO to remain on the air. Once that’s completed, KGO can move to its permanent antenna on top and Sutro Tower will remain outfitted with an auxiliary VHF antenna.”

Pelletier adds that as many as 50 of the 900 TV stations that Dielectric is assisting with repack have selectedDielectric’s stacked antenna array designs, which he calls a “Dielectric-developed specialty.” Dielectric will demonstrate its range of VHF repack antennas, including the THV Series, at the forthcoming 2019 NAB Show from April 8-11 in the Las Vegas Convention Center. Dielectric exhibits at Booth C2213.

About Dielectric

Based in Raymond, Maine, Dielectric LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group. Dielectric is a leading provider of innovative broadcast products. Now celebrating its 76th year of operation, the company builds and delivers antennas and RF systems optimized for every TV and FM radio broadcast need since 1942. Dielectric is an innovative, customer-centric organization with a long history of engineering excellence in designing and manufacturing high-quality broadcast solutions. As a trust partner of broadcasters worldwide, Dielectric maintains its legacy of advanced, precision RF solutions while building in features that prepare broadcasters for the future. More information can be accessed at www.dielectric.com

Austin-Peay State University Delivers Hands-On, Educational Production Experiences with Hitachi HDTV Cameras

March 28, 2019

Purchase of three Z-HD5000s expands university’s use of durable, high-quality cameras from sporting arenas to instructional television studio

Woodbury, NY, March 11, 2019 — The Department of Communication at Austin-Peay State University (APSU) is proud to offer students real-world, hands-on experience in a full array of television and sports broadcasting disciplines. Building on positive experience with cameras from Hitachi Kokusai Electric America, Ltd. (Hitachi Kokusai) in the university’s athletic arenas, the department has expanded its use of Hitachi cameras into its instructional television studio by purchasing three new Z-HD5000s.

Hitachi Kokusai will exhibit in booth C4409 at the 2019 NAB Show from April 8 to 11.

Located just 45 minutes from Nashville in downtown Clarksville, Tennessee, APSU is a four-year public university with more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students. APSU Television (APSU-TV) operates 24 hours per day and features student-produced news, public affairs, sports and special event programming. The APSU Department of Communication also offers the only Sports Broadcasting major in the state of Tennessee, providing students with live production experience on APSU football and basketball broadcasts, as well as video scoreboard productions.

While APSU-produced programming can be seen on outlets ranging from the campus cable channel to the EPSN+ streaming service, the department’s primary focus is on the educational experience. “Even though our department does productions, they are all embedded within our curriculum,” said Kathy Lee Heuston, professor and interim chair, Department of Communication at APSU. “Even our sports broadcasts are part of the curriculum. We properly train the students, and then they apply those skills on actual productions.”

That emphasis on experiential learning was core to the university’s earlier purchase of six Z-HD5000s from Hitachi Kokusai for its basketball and football venues, the Dunn Center and Fortera Stadium. “Our objective was to have a professional camera to teach the students on, so they would be prepared when they went out into the real world,” said Lee Heuston. “The Z-HD5000 met all of the requirements while best fitting the budget, making it the first time the department was able to purchase professional-level cameras.”

“While streaming Ohio Valley Conference games on EPSN+ was not a consideration when we bought the Hitachi cameras, it was a huge benefit when we started with ESPN+ that we already had cameras that met ESPN standards,” added Steve Sawyer, video production coordinator at APSU.

When it came time to upgrade the department’s educational television studio, the Hitachi cameras were again a natural fit. “Our previous studio cameras were not professional-grade and were due for replacement, so we needed to upgrade to make everything function the way we wanted,” explained Lee Heuston. “Adding more Z-HD5000s gave us consistency, so once the students learn how to use them in the studio, they’re immediately able to use them in our other venues.”

While the three new Z-HD5000s are deployed in fixed positions in the studio, the arena cameras are deployed in various combinations of tripod-based, ladder-mount and handheld operation depending on the sport. Sawyer highlights the cameras’ durability as particularly valuable for the rigors of their athletic productions. “The Z-HD5000s are very rugged,” he said. “We’re constantly setting up and tearing down the cameras, and moving them across campus. We’ve had absolutely no problems – they’re like tanks.”

The visual quality of the Hitachi cameras has also benefited APSU’s productions. “We use other cameras in certain situations, such as robotic basketball backboard cameras, and there’s just no comparison in quality,” said Sawyer. “When we do need to take those other shots, we use them very sparingly, because you can definitely see the difference.”

The quality improvement compared to APSU’s earlier studio cameras was similarly evident. “When we had the older cameras in the studio alongside content coming from the Hitachi cameras in the arena, you could see the quality difference,” said Lee Heuston. “Now, with the Z-HD5000s feeding our NewTek TriCasters, we get very clear pictures and the results really look professional.”

Last but certainly not least, Sawyer compliments the intuitive nature of the Z-HD5000s as well-suited to their educational goals. “The Hitachi cameras are very easy to teach,” he said. “Everything is very well-placed in the layout of the controls.”

Those instructional benefits align nicely with the department’s primary objective. “We are very fortunate to be able to use the Hitachi cameras in our classroom environment as well as in our productions, to give our students hands-on experience with professional equipment that will benefit them after graduation,” concluded Lee Heuston.

About Hitachi Kokusai Electric Inc.

Hitachi Kokusai Electric Inc., headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is a company that manufactures broadcasting systems, security and surveillance systems, wireless communications and information systems. Fiscal 2017(ended March 31, 2018) sales totaled 171,791 million Yen. For more information on Hitachi Kokusai Electric Inc., please visit the company’s website at http://www.hitachi-kokusai.co.jp/global/en/index.html.

Navori to Unveil QL 2.1 Digital Signage Software at DSE 2019

March 28, 2019

Latest generation of market-leading software integrates dynamic 8K processing, conditional triggering software and CAP (Common Alerting Protocol) support among other features

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, March 11, 2019 – Navori has announced Digital Signage Expo as the official launch of its QL 2.1 software, incorporating a host of new features that capture the trend of greater intelligence in digital signage today. The updates empower customers to take full advantage of data integration and high-resolution image processing, while also making digital signage easier to control and manage directly from the software.

The QL 2.1 software release also extends Navori’s System on a Chip (SoC) interoperability to new platforms, and introduces Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) support for the first time.

“Navori is amplifying the power of data in digital signage for more sophisticated needs such as audience analytics, inventory tracking, room scheduling and emergency notification,” said Jeffrey Weitzman, managing director, Navori. “Our customers want content to be dynamic and responsive as opposed to being pre-planned and scheduled. The QL 2.1 digital signage software release delivers that flexibility.”

Navori will directly address these trends with its new conditional playback and triggering software. The application leverages data-tagging of media assets, players and scenarios, along with real-time data integration with systems, to enable more flexibility in dynamic, targeted content delivery that is meaningful to audiences. For example, retailers can base what is playing on specific screens in stores on inventory levels or deliveries. Similarly, promotions can be dynamically removed from digital signage playlists if inventory levels run low, and hit a pre-set threshold that triggers the spot to be expired.

First introduced at ISE in February, Weitzman notes that Navori’s approach fully integrates control and management into the software. “There is no extra programming or complexity required for the end user. Our new conditional triggering capabilities will analyze data sets and respond with relevant content based on what’s happening in the moment.”

Other new features for QL 2.1 on demonstration at Digital Signage Expo include:

  • Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) Support: To be introduced for the first time at DSE, QL 2.1 now supports the XML-based data format for CAP, which exchanges public warnings and emergencies between alerting technologies.
  • New mobile interaction app: that streamlines digital signage content management for businesses and organizations. The app, built into QL Manager as part of Navori’s QL 2.1 software update, frees employees from the desktop while they work to keep content fresh. The software ensures that approved users are not required to funnel all changes and update requests through a central IT or marketing manager, or sit in an office and manage everything through a CMS.
  • Insane Performance Rendering: Navori’s “wow factor” in QL 2.1 is its IPR technology, which drives 8K video walls or four clusters of 4K digital signage displays from a single media player. IPR uses only 20 percent of the CPU when displaying 8K content due to its efficient processing power, and can frame-accurately synchronize with any content type, including HTML5 and tickers, since the entire workflow is centralized on one workstation.
  • LG webOS SoC Player: The QL 2.1 software release extends Navori’s native support for SoC displays to LG’s webOS platform. Standard Navori QL Player strengths carried over to the LG integration include a proprietary graphics engine, broadcast-quality content playback, template and ticker support, player monitoring, proof-of-playback reporting, and automated software updates.

“The mobile interaction app is an especially exciting development that extends the potential pool of content contributors, and makes it easy to update content from iOS and Android devices,” said Jerome Moeri, CEO, Navori. “Pre-defined control reduces the number of steps it takes to review, manage and publish digital signage content, which ensures that content and messaging is fresher, more dynamic and quickly up-to-date.”

Navori will demonstrate QL 2.1 and its various new applications at Booth 2809 in the Las Vegas Convention Center from March 27-28.

About Navori

Navori is an enterprise committed to providing the most reliable, user-friendly software application available in the industry. An exclusive leader in the global digital signage industry with more than 20 years of experience, Navori’s digital signage engine is built with everyone in mind and has been made accessible through a standardized product. Navori has an innovative software engineering team that refines and enhances its software daily, balancing efficient design and operation with exceptional performance. Visit navori.com for more information.

Dielectric Launches New RFHawkeye System for RF Monitoring at 2019 NAB Show

March 28, 2019

IP-connected system delivers real-time data, alarms and other benefits to establish a comprehensive transmission linesystem monitoring capability

RAYMOND, Maine, March 28, 2019 — Dielectric, the leading maker of broadcast antennas and RF systems, will unveil its new RFHawkeye monitoring system at the 2019 NAB Show (April 8-11, Las Vegas Convention Center). Co-axial transmission line systems,  an expensive and essential component of any broadcast system, are subjected to a wide variety of environmental and operational conditions that can lead to previously undetectable, but undesirable and potentially damaging, changes over time. This new IP- connected system now gives broadcasters a way to monitor the performance and condition of this critical part of the broadcast RF system in real-time, 24/7 and under full power.

A monitoring point for Dielectric’s RFHawkeye system is affixed near the top of the tower at WGME-DT in Portland, Maine for real-time, 24/7 monitoring.

“Undetected deterioration of line or elbow components has repeatedly been shown to result in extensive damage and down time,” said Dielectric’s VP of Sales, Jay Martin. “RFHawkeye performs continuous time domain measurements of the RF system while the station is on the air at full power, providing advance warning of deterioration to local or remote operators, enabling early corrective actions.”

RFHawkeye establishes a foundation for centralized monitoring of transmission line conditions by remote operators at the regional or group level. Additionally, RFHawkeye lays the groundwork for a future Dielectric managed service that can enable monitoring of the RF transmission line system on behalf of the customer.

“The key benefit of RFHawkeye is that it can discern small, undesirable, and potentially damaging changes in the transmission line from the small benign changes in the antenna 24/7, while the station is on the air,” said Martin.

Time domain data is available during full power operation, offering valuable information for the RF engineer to assess without taking the station off-air. RFHawkeye delivers readily accessible and accurate results since it continuously collects real-time data under real-world conditions, and compares it to the baseline measurement. RFHawkeye also detects arcs inside the line, and provides the time stamp plus the arc’s location.

Dielectric has installed a prototype of RFHawkeye at WGME-DT in Portland, Maine and will review results at NAB. Development of the final production version continues, and all attendees are invited to visit Booth C2213 to see the system in operation.

Simple installation

RFHawkeye installation is simple. The system consists of a line section, or monitoring point, and a 2RU proprietary data logger powered by proprietary custom software. The software collects and analyzes system performance data at the tower site.

The line section is inserted post-RF System (mask filter) inside the building, prior to the gas barrier, in a non-pressurized, controlled environment. That section monitors performance of the transmission line system beyond the transmitter and mask filter from a single monitoring point.

RF Hawkeye gathers data to produce a “characterization” of the normal ranges of operation of the system. This characterization allows the operator to define thresholds for individual components and monitor how the system performs over time. RFHawkeye sends an alarm or warning to system administrators over the IP network at the first sign of technical anomalies. From the software dashboard, users can recall a diagram showing the location of an issueon the transmission line run, the elbow complex, or the antenna input.

“Perhaps the gas barrier is failing above the elbow complex, or connectors are failing in the transmission line 500 feet up. RFHawkeye provides a pre-diagnostic heads-up to tell crews how far up the tower to climb, and where to pull the system apart for faster, safer inspections,” Martin added. “This pre-emptive approach inspires maintenance at the first sign of trouble, preventing costly downtime and catastrophic failures in the future.”

Martin notes that in addition to removing the high costs of periodic VSWR sweep services, RF Hawkeye could reduce insurance rates at TV stations by enabling more consistent maintenance. “A failure that goes unchecked over time can quickly contaminate or destroy an entire transmission system,” he said. “RFHawkeye will preserve capital investment in RF equipment.”

24/7 Monitoring Service Support available

As more broadcast engineers retire, Martin notes that RFHawkeye provides a modern IP-oriented solution to replacetraditional passive RF monitoring skillsets, and can support remote 24/7 monitoring support from Dielectric’s Raymond, Maine facility.

“Today’s younger workforce of centralized digital and IT engineers that are replacing the traditional local chief engineer will find value in RF Hawkeye’s IP-connected architecture to inform of potential problems,” said Martin.“With an appropriate service contract in place, Dielectric can respond to problems from our service center,proactively warning local personnel of the need for inspections and repairs, and coordinating efforts on behalf of our broadcast customers. With 77 years in business, Dielectric envisions this service as an important, new service to the industry in the post-repack period, while lessening the load for our customers.”

About Dielectric

Based in Raymond, Maine, Dielectric LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group. Dielectric is a leading provider of innovative broadcast products. Now celebrating its 76th year of operation, the company builds and delivers antennas and RF systems optimized for every TV and FM radio broadcast need since 1942. Dielectric is an innovative, customer-centric organization with a long history of engineering excellence in designing and manufacturing high-quality broadcast solutions. As a trust partner of broadcasters worldwide, Dielectric maintains its legacy of advanced, precision RF solutions while building in features that prepare broadcasters for the future. More information can be accessed at www.dielectric.com

Qligent Hires Business Development and Sales Engineering Experts to Support Global Growth

March 27, 2019

Art Leisey and Lang Cooksey bring years of expertise in broadband and broadcast markets to newly created positions

MELBOURNE, Florida, March 27, 2019Qligent, a specialist in enterprise-level, cloud-based content monitoring and analysis, has appointed Art Leisey and Lang Cooksey to newly created business development and sales engineering roles, effective immediately. Both positions report to John Shoemaker, Qligent’s Director of Sales.

The two positions were developed to address business growth in the broadband and broadcast markets, according to Shoemaker. Leisey will serve as Business Development Manager and focus on the North American broadband market, with an emphasis on cable, IPTV and OTT service providers. Cooksey will serve as Project Manager and Sales Engineer and assist Qligent customers in both verticals worldwide on all technical matters throughout the sales journey.

Leisey brings three decades of broadband industry experience and problem-solving innovation to his new role. As president and owner of CableCom Specialists, Leisey developed the first PC-based switching system which allowed Emergency Alert System integration into a complete Cable TV channel lineup. He later sold the technology to Trilithic, where he served as Director of Technology for nearly 15 years. This led to the formation of Trilithic’s EAS division, where Leisey successfully directed development of protocols and procedures for EAS systems throughout North America and Canada.

Leisey’s innovations at CableCom Specialists also include hardware and software tools to support early pay-per-view movie switching systems, with several deployments to Top 10 MSOs. He later held technical and regional sales management positions at Alltec Global and Mega Hertz, where he further developed long-term business relationships with leading cable and telecom service providers.

Leisey believes that Qligent’s technology will help solve the escalating quality of experience (QoE) that consumers face with broadband video delivery, particularly with OTT services. “The quality of experience is, at best, lacking within these services,” he said. “Consumers are quick to unsubscribe, or move on to another option, if the service is problematic. Qligent brings a problem-solving approach in collectingmetrics and data on signals from the source point to the end user, which will help our customers win the battle against churn. Importantly, Qligent’s Vision platform uses common-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware that quickly delivers an ROI for broadband service providers.”

Cooksey’s 15 years of broadcast and IT experience make him a perfect fit for his project management and sales engineering responsibilities at Qligent, where he will help customers initial system designs, field applications and post-deployment problem-solvingamong other tasks. Cooksey has held roles of increasing responsibility with some of the broadcast industry’s biggest names, including Harris Broadcast, Snell and Vizrt.

He joins Qligent from Telestream, where he spent five years as Enterprise Sales Engineer. At Telestream, he specialized in helping customers migrate from on-premise to cloud workflows — an opportunity he expects to see often at Qligent.

“The next logical step for many broadcasters is to migrate from on-premise to cloud-based workflows, and integrate more applications within existing IT infrastructure,” said Cooksey. “This is a model that Qligent has pioneered on the monitoring and analysis side of the business. As broadcasters deploy more OTT services and the number of media delivery platforms multiply, it’s important to transition these businesses to more efficient workflows that minimize hardware costs and requirements on the monitoring side, and apply the big data and analytics that can help them retain and grow viewing audiences.”

ABOUT Qligent

Qligent architects complete monitoring, visualization and delivery analytics solutions for broadcasters, content distributors, ad agencies, regulators and network operators. Based in Melbourne, Florida, Qligent’s software-defined approach provides an open, vendor-agnostic platform to monitor performance, integrity and compliance of multiple signals, streams and systems across enterprises of any size. Its solutions provide the same consistent quality of content and service across multiple delivery platforms simultaneously.

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