“Very pleased with the capability of monitoring multiple parameters in the NV40 and love the ability to monitor even from home, using the AUI web interface… the cherry on top of the pie is the built-in spectrum analyzer on the AUI screen. Thanks, Nautel!”
-Manny Garcia, Chief Engineer
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Nautel Reliability & Ease-of-Use are a Sure Bet for Vegas Broadcaster
KISF is a regional Mexican music station serving the City of Las Vegas, NV, and is part of the Univision Radio Group transmitting the Piolin network. Our station is a Class C facility with 32 kW TPO analog / 27 kW analog+digital output.
As part of our on-going Black Mountain consolidation project where 10 different FM stations are being set up to transmit from a master antenna, we started looking at a replacement of our old BE35A transmitter. Although this 27 year old transmitter was operating within parameters, it was going through successive parts replacement and its operation was becoming more expensive. We also found that trying to add HD capabilities to it was less cost effective than acquiring new equipment with HD capabilities.
In addition to HD operation, we wanted to merge non high voltage solid state technology into our operation at a cost effective range, and were looking for an architecture that provides high redundancy for good reliability. A group of Univision engineers began evaluating options that are available for our power level and cost requirements and after an extensive analysis we chose the NV40 transmitter from Nautel.
The NV40 is a single cabinet FM transmitter that offers the highest solid-state power in the industry. It includes a digital exciter with pre-correction, a plug-in upgrade to the HD Radio Exgine, and a 17” AUI touch screen interface for full control both locally and remotely. We were attracted to the NV40 by its small footprint, extensive redundancy and hot-swap serviceability, and also liked the fact that everything was included in a single cabinet right down to remote control access. Among the useful embedded capabilities of the NV40, the most significant are the AUI and its web interface, the use of the Importer-Exporter-Exciter interface for HD, and the Exciter internal RDS capabilities.
From an engineering standpoint, one of the most attractive capabilities is the fact that there is no single point of failure at the IPA level. As an engineer dealing with tube transmitters (and solid state) my experience has been that is very likely that with a single point failure the IPA is what would bring a transmitter down. In the case of the NV40 one can sleep a bit better knowing that if one of those IPA’s fails you still have another 15 (or 1 per PA) and the transmitter is still on the air. The same can be said about the power supplies and the PA’s — redundancy is a plus.
Remote access is also very important to us. Our KISF transmitter site is located at Black Mountain, on the south east corner of the Las Vegas valley, about 16 miles southeast of downtown. Access to the site is through a service road recommended for 4×4 vehicles, meaning it isn’t very easy to get to the site, so we rely heavily on remote capabilities. We have been using external remote controls with the old transmitter as well as with the current backup transmitter over a 5.8 GHz Aurora link. Now with the NV40 we rely on its AUI web interface to control it, using the same 5.8Ghz link. We still have our Burk unit to do RF switching and to control our backup transmitter but we have plans to migrate the control of our older transmitters to the NV40 remote control functions.
I’m very pleased with the capability of monitoring multiple parameters in the NV40 and love the ability to monitor even from home, using the AUI web interface, the IPA and PA current, voltages, forward and reflected power levels at different stages , as well as temperature and even the RPMs on the fan. Though we use external VSWR sensor alarms, it is good to know that the transmitter itself can give you accurate VSWR readings at different stages. The cherry on top of the pie, though, is the built-in spectrum analyzer on the AUI screen. Borrowing analyzers was becoming harder and harder, and having it there and being able to web interface and see it from any place is a wonderful thing. Thanks, Nautel!
There are a few things I’d like to see implemented in this product – an intake vent on the front doors would help with temperature control on the PA’s, and I’d really like to see Blackberry software to access the AUI. But, on the whole, I’m very happy. Nautel’s customer support is exemplary. The sales engineers were precise and helpful on addressing our transmitter issues and implementing solutions for us; the technical support people made our pre-configuration and installation process very smooth.
At first every new technology is difficult to assimilate but with the support of Nautel’s tech people along with the practicality and straight-forwardness of the NV40 architecture, our installation was a good experience. I’d say with little hesitation that KISF now has the best signal in Las Vegas.
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