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‘Split-Level’ Combining Said to Reduce FM Power Costs

'Split-Level' Combining Said to Reduce FM Power Costs

Harris says it is getting a lot of interest from FM clients in its new HD Radio combining method.
As RW Online first reported in April, the company unveiled a new technology that it believes offers FMs a much more efficient method of transmitting an HD Radio signal. It says the Split-Level Combining System approach can reduce a station’s power costs by 5 to 25 percent compared to the high-level method, “and enables stations to continue using existing FM analog transmitters that are already operating near peak capacity.”
Harris announced the concept during the Public Radio Engineering Conference. An article by its co-developer, Steve Fluker of Cox Radio, appears in an upcoming issue of Radio World. Harris Principal RF Design Engineer George Cabrera was co-developer.
Harris describes the approach this way:
“Split-Level Combining uses the existing FM transmitter and a new common-amplification FM/HD Radio transmitter to generate the required FM analog power. Driving both ports of the high-power combiner with analog FM power improves combining efficiency, reduces combiner losses, reduces existing FM transmitter power requirements and improves overall system efficiency, resulting in lower monthly operating costs. With the Split-Level Combining System, the analog transmitter is no longer required to operate at higher-than-normal power levels to offset combining losses.
“Split-Level Combining,” it continued, “also allows a station to use the existing transmission line and antenna system for optimum radiation of both the digital and analog signals. Additionally, for stations with physical space constraints at their transmitter site, Split-Level Combining allows broadcasters to remove the current backup transmitter and utilize the common amplification FM/HD Radio transmitter as a lower power backup FM transmitter.”
The developers say Cox station WPYO(FM) in Orlando, Fla., used two Harris transmitters – a HT-5FM analog and a Z16HD digital – with a standard 3-dB high power combiner to prove the concept.