On Your Mark, Get Set, Go

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go

By: Keith Pelletier.

When the FCC finishes issuing new channel assignments to U.S. broadcasters participating in the spectrum repack, it will be like the starting gun going off on a race.

With that proverbial shot, more than 1,000 broadcasters will sprint to build new TV transmission facilities. The finish line is the 39-month deadline by which they must all be broadcasting on their new channel assignments.

During this race, broadcasters will compete for resources such as:

  • RF engineers and consultants
  • Antenna design services
  • Transmission equipment manufacturing
  • Tower crews for on-site installation ranging from simple to complex

For this reason, we’re urging broadcasters to jump the gun. Be proactive and begin investigating new products as soon as possible.

Based on our experience with the DTV transition years ago, we know that tower crews and RF transmission equipment will be in great demand as broadcasters all push at once to relocate their channels. This time around, we’re likely to see a push for temporary/interim antennas followed by a big push for permanent/master antennas.

We have broadband products that were specially designed for the challenges of the repack. And if you ordered from us before, our application engineering team still has all those specs on file—including tower mounting, coverage patterns, power levels and more—and we can hit the ground running with your new plans.

Our long-time customer American Tower Corporation, in Woburn, MA, has already put in an order for $3.9 million in equipment to ensure repack readiness. According to Peter Starke, the company’s Vice President, Broadcast said, “We recognized that long lead times are necessary for RF transmission suppliers, like Dielectric, to acquire and fabricate large, rigid coax transmission components we need for our new broadband antenna repack/ATSC 3.0-ready projects.”

“When the FCC proposed its 10-phase repack cutover transition plan, Jim Stenberg, our principal engineer for RF broadcast, recognized the need for auxiliary antennas at tower sites where repack construction complexities may not permit enough time for a permanent new channel solution to be built. Some stations might even have to cut over to their new channels in only 15 months,” Starke said.

“Jim recommended that we order Dielectric TFU-WB broadband antennas so that our TV tower tenants would have the security of no downtime during the tight repack schedule,” Starke said, “And the flexibility to use the antenna for either their current or new channels.”