Nearly one year since Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, many TV stations remain dark due to widespread destruction of the country’s infrastructure and power grid. To help broadcasters resume broadcast services to local communities and meet accelerated repack deadlines, Dielectric expedited antenna orders to Puerto Rican TV stations impacted by the storms.
To date, Dielectric has received 11 orders from Puerto Rican broadcasters, 10 of which are for spectrum repack antennas. The eleventh order will replace an antenna damaged in the storms. The orders, which include top-mounted and side-mounted primary antennas, are in various stages of manufacturing and shipping.
“While the spectrum repack is challenging for all U.S. broadcasters, those in our ‘51st state’ are starting from scratch,” said Jay Martin, Dielectric’s VP of Sales. “During the intense storms, many of their TV towers collapsed, and essential infrastructure for fiber networks, microwave links, and electrical power was damaged. Those that escaped damage managed to stay on the air provided they can fuel their generators during regular power outages.”
To accelerate the restoration process, the FCC amended its spectrum repack transition plan to re-assign TV stations across Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to a new Pre-Phase 1 deadline of Wednesday, August 1. Prior to this change, Puerto Rican stations were not slated to move to their post-repack channels until either Phase 3 or 10, with deadlines of 2019 or 2020, respectively.
Without this FCC action, these broadcasters would have need to invest in the restoration of existing operations — only to spend more money to relocate to their new post-repack channels one year later.
Among the repack orders destined for Puerto Rico are mid-to-high power, side-mount UHF antennas from the TFU Series; and TLP Series antenna from Dielectric’s Powerlite UHF low-power family. Dielectric also delivered the necessary RF filters and components to OEMs for these systems.
Martin noted that 80% of the orders were from long-term Dielectric customers.
“We won over some broadcasters that worked with other vendors in the past due to our responsiveness andpainstaking attention to detail,” he added. “When you go through many design iterations and reach ‘rev 6’ of the proposal process, the customer realizes how dedicated you are to meeting their needs. We’re honored to help all of these broadcasters return to the air.”