TERNEUZEN, Netherlands — Broadcast Partners, with its head offices in Netherlands, is a market leader in full-service FM network operations in Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark. All of our transmitters need reliable RDS encoders. Broadcast Partners uses RDS encoders from several major manufacturers.
We regularly try and test new RDS encoders with our in-house-designed and developed RDS analyzing software. The benefit of using our own analyzing tools is that when some specific tests are required we can simply add that functionality.
For a new FM network we were looking for RDS encoders and tested the Deva SmartGen 5. At first, we did the test over an Internet connection. The prototype SmartGen 5 was in Bulgaria but tested from Netherlands. Of course the MPX output could not be analyzed but the content of the RDS groups were real time sent back to Broadcast Partners via Internet by Deva’s DB-5000 RDS decoder for further analysis.
The SmartGen 5 can be controlled by RS-232, USB, LAN, WAN or worldwide by Internet. A configuration change can be done easily from our offices. That saves a lot of travelling time because our transmitters and their RDS encoders are located all over the country and also in Belgium and Denmark. Thanks to that remote control we do not have to send service engineers to all of our transmitter sites when a configuration change needs to be made. From our offices we are able to implement changes on a whole radio network in less than one hour using only a single engineer.
The most common settings can be changed by Web interface. The more advanced settings can be controlled by the user-friendly, free software, “SmartGen RDS/RDBS Encoder Manager.” Once a configuration is made you are able to backup a SmartGen 5 easily and restore that file to all other SmartGen 5 encoders in your FM network.
A first look shows a simple but efficient user interface. When servicing is required on a transmitter site, almost all parameters can be controlled on the front and are shown on the display. This saves a lot of time because with that concept it’s rare that a laptop should be used and connected to an RDS encoder.
The SmartGen 5 has the connectors that a quality RDS encoder needs; besides a LAN it has a serial port and USB to feed with a UECP RDS stream. When a second serial port is required you can use a serial to LAN device that you attach to your network. In that way for example, a second UECP stream with only TMC information can be fed by TCP or UDP to the SmartGen 5 while the serial port is busy.
Only two BNC connectors are present, one for the RDS or RDS+MPX output and, if needed, one for the pilot or MPX input from a sound processor or stereo encoder. With these two BNC connections all possible MPX routings on a transmitter can be completed. It’s just a matter of configuring on the front or by LAN if loop-through or side chain is required.
You don’t have to open the unit and change some jumper settings or connect to the right BNC on the rear panel.
As a network operator we use only UECP-compatible RDS encoders. The SmartGen 5 is compatible with that protocol. That means that also the RDS can be switched off or on by UECP, just like the RDS level. So changing the RDS deviation remotely over Internet is possible.
For Broadcast Partners the support of the manufacturer or dealer is important. We like the way Deva implements new features or improves existing functionality. Of course each new product has some minor things that could be improved but we appreciate the way and speed Deva implements or improves certain items.
Broadcast Partners service engineers are happy with the SmartGen 5 as result of the KIS principle: Keep It Simple. The RDS encoder is able to do all that we need: from a simple configuration for a local radio station to a complex RDS configuration with EON and TMC implementations for several radio stations. As easy as the SmartGen 5.0 can be used or configured, all you need is the knowledge of the RDS specifications to implement what you need.
Yves Vermeersch is a broadcast engineer with Broadcast Partners.
For information, contact Todor Ivanov at Deva Broadcast in Bulgaria at +359-56-820027 or visit devabroadcast.com.