NAB Show Preview: Next Gen Repack Antennas In The Spotlight


Here’s something 2018 NAB Show attendees may wish to make note of: Dielectric, the manufacturer of antennas and RF systems for TV and radio broadcasters, will present a variety of spectrum repack antennas engineered to deliver next-generation broadcast standard signals.

With the FCC’s approval of ATSC 3.0 in November 2017 and the official approval of the full suite of ATSC 3.0 standards at the 2018 CES Show, the broadcast industry is poised to start the transition from its broadcast-specific transport backbone to an IP-based transmission stream that can carry multiple 4K video programs, mobile and interactive services. At NAB, Dielectric will display the features designed into their ATSC 3.0 compatible UHF/VHF repack antennas and components, including safety margins that the company claims withstand the higher peak to average power ratios (PAPR) of the new standard.

“Since ATSC 3.0 uses OFDM modulation rather than ATSC 1.0’s 8-VSB, the PAPR is 2-to-3db higher,” said Dielectric VP/Sales Jay Martin. “Not only do our ATSC 3.0-compatible repack antennas and filters meet these higher peak power demands, but our band-tunable filters are being tuned to ATSC 3.0 before they ship from our facility. In this way, the installed equipment won’t need to be re-tuned later should the customer decide to switch to ATSC 3.0.”

Dielectric is also preparing broadcasters for ATSC 3.0 with its FutureFill feature, which increases power density by 7-to-9dB close to the tower, and reduces the main lobe gain by 1.2-to-1.4dB. The broadcaster can, if additional transmitter power is available, increase the TPO to overcome the main lobe gain reduction, or use Single Frequency Network (SFN) technology to enhance reception at the periphery of the service area.

“FutureFill allows an existing ATSC 1.0 antenna to be adjusted so that its performance is boosted for ATSC 3.0, without having to be taken down from the tower or replaced,” said Martin. “With the transition from ATSC 1.0 to ATSC 3.0, we’re going to see greater focus on power density, higher vertical polarization ratios and polarization diversity, as well as the use of single frequency networks (SFNs), all of which boost reception across the coverage area.”


Dielectric will exhibit at Booth C2613 at the 2018 NAB Show, scheduled for April 9-12 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.