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Radio Show: Workshops for Engineers

The NAB Radio Show will feature a lineup of technical workshops concentrating on the fundamentals of radio transmission systems.

The NAB Radio Show will feature a lineup of technical workshops concentrating on the fundamentals of radio transmission systems.

Three full-day sessions will discuss the basics of transmitter design and troubleshooting, AM and FM antennas, and the latest information on in-band, on-channel digital audio broadcasting.

Designed for both new and experienced engineers, these workshops will cover many basics of radio engineering and offer a solid introduction to the proposed IBOC digital broadcasting.

Attendees at the technical workshops will receive a certificate of attendance that qualifies for Society of Broadcast Engineers re-certification credits.

Antenna fundamentals

The AM/FM Antenna Certification Workshop on Sept. 12 will feature presenters Benjamin Dawson, president of Hatfield and Dawson; Ronald Rackley, vice president of du Treil, Lundin and Rackley Inc.; Thomas Silliman, president of Electronics Research Inc.; and Bob Surette, manager of RF engineering for Shively Labs.

As the final element in the broadcast technical chain, antenna systems are vital to providing good signals to the radio audience. This workshop is designed to help engineers understand the workings of antenna systems, how to maintain them and how to get the most from them.

The morning presentations will provide a complete overview of AM directional antenna systems, how they are constructed, how they operate, and how to troubleshoot them when problems occur.

According to Ron Rackley, the goal of morning sessions is “to bring engineers who are responsible for AM directional antennas to the point they understand the basics of their antenna systems … a level of familiarity that will let them confidently approach questions of maintenance, performance evaluation, and if necessary, corrective action.”

FM antenna system design, construction and maintenance will be covered in the afternoon. Directional FM antenna pattern development and design also will be addressed. Silliman and Surette will lead the afternoon sessions.

Digital plans

At the Digital Radio Certification Workshop on Sept. 13, representatives from Ibiquity Digital Corp. will provide attendees with the latest on IBOC digital radio. Presenters will include Scott Stull, director of broadcast business development; Pat Walsh, vice president of wireless data business development; Glynn Walden, vice president of broadcast engineering; and Jeff Detweiler, broadcast technology manager.

Also presenting will be Tom Wroblewski, strategy and implementation engineer for Lincoln Mercury Engineering, and Bill Whikehart, senior technical specialist of Visteon, who will deliver a paper on in-vehicle use of data transmitted by IBOC stations.

As IBOC digital radio moves closer to reality, with Ibiquity planning rollouts in six cities in coming months, the workshop will be of interest to those planning to start broadcasting digitally.

Morning sessions will discuss the business opportunities afforded by digital broadcasting, including potential revenue-producing wireless data applications. The afternoon will offer updated information on the IBOC system and a chance to discuss IBOC implementation, and its estimated costs, with representatives of companies offering IBOC products, such as exciters, transmitters, antennas and combiners, in a panel format moderated by Detweiler.

“All interested parties – general managers, program directors and engineers – would benefit from the morning sessions,” said Stull. “The afternoon panels would be of greater interest to engineers and other technical staff at the station, regional or group levels.”

Transmitter tips

Finally, the seventh annual AM/FM Transmitter Certification Workshop will be held on Sept. 14, led by Radio World columnist John Bisset.

This workshop includes a review of the basic building blocks of transmitters and will discuss a variety of real-world transmitter failures to help develop troubleshooting skills in engineers.

To further illustrate the art of troubleshooting, the “Chief Engineer’s Lessons Learned” panel discussion will present other engineers’ disasters and how they recovered.

A panel of experts from major transmitter manufacturers will be on hand to discuss maintenance tips for their products and review the basics of site maintenance.

With the advent of IBOC, this workshop also will feature an updated session on preparing your transmitter site for the technology.