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Nautel, Beasley Media Group and PILOT Demonstrate Multiple Audio Services over One FM Station via HD Multiplex

Groundbreaking demo conducted live at 2018 NAB Show follows all-digital experiments earlier in the year at KKLZ.

NAB 2018, Booths N6031 and N2037FP – In a live demonstration at the 2018 NAB Show, Nautel, PILOT and Beasley’s Las Vegas FM KKLZ demonstrated the ability to transmit multiple IBOC sidebands within the station’s signal, using Nautel HD Multiplex. The experimental demonstration, conducted in partnership with PILOT (NAB’s coalition of innovators, educators and advocates dedicated to advancing broadcast technology and cultivating new media opportunities) and Xperi, provided two independent IBOC sidebands on each side of KKLZ’s regularly programmed analog FM carrier. The demonstration, featured at the Nautel and PILOT (in Futures Park) booths, encompasses several minute-long loops of audio content, intentionally placed on the “even” dial positions surrounding KKLZ (which is on 96.3 MHz). The four digital sidebands are located at 96.0, 96.2, 96.4 and 96.6 MHz, frequencies that are not normally associated with standard FM radio stations in the U.S., and provide capacity for up to 12 HD Radio audio services in addition to the FM carrier. Beasley suspended its regular HD Radio programming during NAB Show exhibit hall hours to support the live demonstration.

The live demonstration at the NAB Show is a follow-up to all-digital FM radio tests performed earlier in 2018 at KKLZ, when a variety of test signals, including a 600 kHz-wide HD Multiplex signal, consisting of three pairs of IBOC sidebands, were transmitted during overnight hours. The test successfully demonstrated over-the-air reception of 15 separate audio services.

To conduct the over-the-air tests, experimental authorization was obtained by station owner Beasley Media Group.

“The intent of this test is to start a conversation in the industry on what an all-digital transition may look like,” said Philipp Schmid, Nautel Research Engineer. “Our tests show that a broadcaster can maintain their present day hybrid FM+IBOC operation while adding 200 kbps for dedicated all-digital data casting applications. When the value equation for the spectrum tips in favour for digital transmission, the FM carrier can be replaced to provide an all-digital configuration, which will increase coverage area and open carriers for wider application on existing HD Radio receivers.”

“This collaboration with Xperi and PILOT is showing what can happen in the future with digital broadcasting,” said Kevin Rodgers, Nautel President and CEO. “We are grateful to Beasley Media Group for supporting us in these tests and are looking forward to addressing the needs of broadcasters well into future generations with unique transmission solutions.”

About Nautel
Nautel is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of AM and FM radio broadcast transmitters. With more than 16,000 transmitters deployed in over 177 countries since 1970 and more than 8,000 deployments of AUI-enabled transmitters, Nautel continues to lead the way in providing valuable new solutions for digital radio broadcasting and other applications.

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