“At $2,400 per year savings in power, we will pay for the transmitter in just over three years!”
-Casey Williams, Station Manager
Nautel’s VS Series transmitters offer:
- Industry first innovations such as IP audio, Livewire and Shoutcast support, audio backup, advanced control and optional Orban Inside
- Easy upgrade path to digital broadcasting
- Outputs of 300 W, 1 kW, and 2.5 kW
- Outstanding value starting at just over $5,000
“We can anticipate and potentially resolve problems without going to the actual transmitter site, savings us maintenance time and costs. So not only are we saving money, but we have more features and utility than we did with the old model.”
-Casey Williams, Station Manager
Saving Power, Money and Time with
VS Series Transmitters
We hear more and more these days about higher efficiency air conditioners, transmitters, lights, UPS equipment and other things that can be done to reduce energy consumption and save money as well as the environment. Many broadcasters think this only applies to vast studio complexes and high power transmitters.
This article from Casey Williams at Heartland Broadcasting Corp. in Florida shows that a low power Class A FM station (4.1 kW ERP) can save noticeable money with Nautel’s VS Series transmitters and in this case, it pays for itself!
See bottom of this page for “Power Saving Tips for Radio Stations”
Ownership has been trying to save money by improving efficiencies all around the station, whether it’s proper use of office supplies, better management of air conditioning and heating systems, more energy efficient lighting, or even capital investments where payback is certain. To this end, replacing a 15+ year old FM transmitter design with newer technology has yielded significant power savings at our remotely operated WZSP FM transmitter site.
Casey Williams, station manager, pictured with the Nautel VS Transmitters at WZSP in Arcadia, Florida.
In early 2011, WZSP installed a new Nautel VS1 transmitter (operating at 1400 W output) to replace an earlier model of another brand which was considered quite state-of-the-art in the mid 1990’s. The two charts supplied by the electric utility (below), Florida Power and Light, detail consumption patterns over a two year period. The spike in usage in December 2010 was caused by a failure of the tower light photocell leaving the incandescent lights on 24/7.
Florida Power and Light’s detailed consumption patterns for WZSP over a two year period. The spike in usage in December 2010 was caused by a failure of the tower light photocell leaving the incandescent lights on 24/7.
While utility rates vary widely depending upon location, in our case, we went from an average monthly charge of $600 to around $400 by nothing more than swapping out the transmitter. Since our site is sealed and air conditioned, part of that savings is in cooling costs. At $2,400 per year savings in power, we will pay for the transmitter in just over three years!
We have since been able to affect additional power reductions at the site as well. These included LED security lights, LED tower lights and better weather stripping around the door. Our typical electrical bill is now around $350-$375 per month; slightly higher in the hottest summer months, slightly lower in the coolest winter months.
There are side benefits to the new Nautel VS1 transmitter as well, because it has features the old transmitter did not. Our station is subject to STL fades a few times a year in early mornings. The VS1 is programmed to play emergency content from the transmitter. We also have the ability over the Internet to remotely monitor the transmitter much better than we could before – this way we can anticipate and potentially resolve problems without going to the actual transmitter site, saving us maintenance time and costs. So not only are we saving money, but we have more features and utility than we did with the old model. We will soon use our Internet stream to back up the STL to maintain real-time programming for those rare but annoying STL fades.
I would not have believed the short-term payback that has resulted from our new VS1 transmitter purchase. I’d suggest that all stations conduct a simple study to see if buying a new, more efficient transmitter would benefit your station financially as it has ours. Our old transmitter was still very reliable, but the numbers spoke for themselves.
Zolfo Springs, FL
Power Saving Tips for Radio Stations
A quick checklist of ways to save electricity:
- LED or CFL lights to replace halogen and incandescent.
- When legal, apply to turn off tower side lights.
- Purchase higher SEER rated air conditioners when replacements are required.
- Tint windows that receive intense sun with reflective material.
- Check doors and windows seals for leaks and repair as needed.
- Some utilities offer a free energy audit or have a modest cost – take them up on the offer and implement recommendations which usually detail payback periods.
- Solar may be beneficial in some cases.
- Do not “over air condition,” set temperatures to 78 or higher in rooms with no people such as transmitter rooms, etc. This is not a problem if racks, etc. have good ventilation.
- When purchasing UPS equipment, compare efficiency among brands and models.
- Consider turning off computers and monitors when they will not be used for eight or more hours.
- When contemplating the purchase of a new transmitter, always compare efficiency and make it a major factor in your purchase decision. Even 1 kW of additional consumption will add up over a year’s time. Look past the purchase price on all large items and compare efficiencies and determine lifetime costs.
- Some utilities offer a discount for consumption in off-peak hours. Utilize this as much as possible.
- Verify with your utility that your services are on the most cost-effective rate tariff available for your facility. For instance, in some cases a demand service could be more or less costly than a regular metered service. If you are on demand metering, use caution when testing high power auxiliary transmitters; use a generator if possible, this tests both at the same time to avoid spiking the demand meter.