An Installation Solution For FCC Repack Stations



Throughout the ongoing 39-month FCC repack that started in April 2017, 1,049 stations in North America will change channels to clear spectrum space for wireless broadband services.

A significant number of these stations looked to Germany for help, and hired Rohde & Schwarz to provide a turnkey solution for their transmission and other in-building equipment needs to support the FCC repack.

Dermac Group, an exclusive Rohde & Schwarz partner, supports Rohde & Schwarz’s installation services and coordinates efforts with many of the top contractors in the industry to handle the very specialized work required for the repack.

“The FCC has set a very compact timeline, the availability of resources is very slim, and the knowledge of this new technology is limited as well,” explained Robert “Mac” McAfee, Dermac’s EVP/COO.

According to McAfee, single-owner stations may not have the internal resources or expertise to manage all aspects of the build. Plus, it can be almost impossible to maintain day-to-day operations without being overwhelmed with repack technical issues and FCC reimbursement paperwork.

Dermac can install equipment, decommission old equipment, properly dispose of hazardous materials, and coordinate efforts with other contractors, when necessary. All customers receive a scope of work (SOW) and dedicated project manager.

“We don’t want surprises and neither do our customers,” McAfee added. “That’s why we eliminate risk by analyzing every aspect of the project, making sure tasks and timelines are communicated properly, and accounting for any potential issues along the way.”

Dermac begins the process with detailed site surveys and engineering review, complete with drawing packages. McAfee said the high level of detail “saves money, time, and a lot of aggravation.” For example, one station installing a liquid-cooled Rohde & Schwarz transmitter saved more than $150,000, because the engineering review showed the facility would no longer require a specialized cooling system.

“Our drawing packages are the best in the industry right now, because they provide the level of detail everyone really needs to make sure everything works,” McAfee said. “Broadcasters like what we’ve created, and they see the value in how much easier it makes the job. Our drawings help us eliminate as many of the potential issues as possible, and improve the efficiencies of other vendors and contractors, too.”