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Ranch Radio Turns to Barix for STL

To resolve interference, stations switched to internet-based approach

In Radio World’s Aug. 3 issue, the Buyer’s Guide section focuses on audio transport, including codecs and STLs.

Ranch Radio Group brings a diverse array of music and talk radio to picturesque Texas Hill Country through five stations: The Raptor on 106.5 MHz; The Ranch at 92.3; Hill Country Fox (93.9 and 96.5, as well as 92.3 HD-3); The River (106.1) and The Hill Country Patriot (104.3 and 102.1). 

Connecting its Kerrville-based studios to tower sites spanning three towns are internet-based studio-transmitter links using Barix Instreamer encoders and Exstreamer decoders. Its most recent Barix-based STL deployment, for The Raptor, went live last summer. 

Barix Exstreamer 100

The group originally deployed STL antennas at the studio and transmitters, but the topography of the region created challenges. 

Mario Garcia

“We were having issues with interference, so we decided to switch to an internet-based approach,” said Mario Garcia of managed service provider KerrPC, who serves as Ranch Radio Group’s network administrator.

While the main studio uses a fiber internet connection, the tower sites each use a different, local wireless internet service provider with varying connection characteristics. 

“The Barix devices work perfectly over all of the connections,” said Garcia. “We worked with Barix to optimize the encoding settings and protocols for each link and discovered that uncompressed PCM audio via RTP works great over all of them and maximizes our audio quality.”

[Read More Buyers Guide Reviews Here

Garcia praises how easy it is to set up point-to-point STL links with Barix devices. 

“All I need is a Barix unit at each end and an internet connection, and I can set it up in just minutes,” he said. “And once they’re set up, the remote management interface lets me do everything I need from my desk. I also like that the devices’ security settings let me lock them down, preventing not only malicious intrusions but also errors by internal staff.”