In 2011, a new owner took over the CP for a station in Lost Hills, California. This is an area north of the Bakersfield Market. I was called to act as Chief Operator in the early spring of that year while temporary operation took place from Wasco, CA. The process of securing a location for a transmitter site for full power operation took a long time. Then, once a location was secured the process of permits for land use took even longer.
Finally in late winter 2014, it looked as if construction could be planned for spring. Consulting engineer, Hal Williams, made it clear from the beginning that Nautel would be the choice for the transmitter. I visited the Nautel booth at NAB in April 2014 and needed no further convincing.
Our transmitter location is over 3,400 feet high so transmitter power needs would be reasonable. But, our biggest challenge would be the very remote location. This mountaintop is more than two hours drive from the studio location. Additionally, the budget was a huge issue. So, reliability, remote control and monitoring were extremely important in our decision to purchase a Nautel VS Series 2.5 kW transmitter.
“I’ve been dealing with remote transmitter control for years and this has simply been the easiest, most feature-rich solution ever! All of this functionality is most helpful when you have a transmitter literally in the middle of nowhere.”– Dave Kalahar, CE
The addition of the Orban Inside option on the VS2.5 allowed us to save on processing costs and installation. The Orban option sounds great too! This transmitter also allows for remote adjustments any place any time via an Advanced User Interface (AUI). That has to be my favorite feature, the AUI interface over the internet. Complete control and monitoring of the transmitter from anywhere I go.
Our STL system is based on an Ubiquiti Networks Rocket Dish technology. The 37-mile path from studio to VS transmitter is IP based. That makes using the AUI convenient. I can check everything about our VS2.5 transmitter from home, my iPad or really anywhere. I’ve been dealing with remote transmitter control for years and this has simply been the easiest, most feature-rich solution ever!
To date we’ve had only one problem. Following a power outage, I lost the AUI interface. A service call was quick as the courteous Nautel technician talked me through a remote operation to reset the AUI. Quick, easy and it worked. I should also point out that this was on a weekend!
I’ve not seen any error reported from the Nautel except occasional loss of audio. Not the transmitter’s issue, but I appreciate the report. In fact, error reporting goes deep. The VS2.5 will send me alerts via text or e-mail if something faults. To be clear I’ve set this feature up and tested it but I’ve not yet had an alert. The AUI also includes what I call the “ET Phone Home” feature. The transmitter will check in with the Nautel “mother ship” for heath checks if you enable this feature. That same functionality will allow a Nautel tech to look over the transmitter remotely and alert you of any potential issues.
All of this functionality is most helpful when you have a transmitter literally in the middle of nowhere. Before taking a two-hour drive to the wilderness to repair a transmitter it’s nice to have a better idea of what’s going on before arrival. In conclusion, this was one of the best choices we made for the operation of KQMX.
CBT – Contract Engineer
Bakersfield, CA, USA