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UHF SATELLITE TRANSMITTER-RECEIVER DESIGN & OPERATION

Louis Katz
Thomas B. Friedman
Adler Communications Laboratories
New Rochelle, New York

Once a TV station has reached.a satisfactory


level of ERP for covering the major portion of
its service area it would then be desirable to
fill in the holes or cover additional commnities
with satellites. It is about time that TV stations stop hunting rabbits with elephant guns.

A UHF satellite installation is described.


Average field strength improvements of nearly 23 db
were obtained in a deep shadow area at Waterbury,
Connecticut. 80 db of straight RF amplification
was used in conjunction with high gain receiving
and transmitting antennas on a frequency of
700 Mc/s.

Preliminary
When the problem of designing commercial
equipment for UHF satellite transmitter-receivers
arose, it was soon evident that the design of
the equipment was more a function of the system
requirements rather than individual equipment
performance. While it is important that equipment meets the technical standards set up for
broadcast transmitters, it is easily seen that
the satellite must do a job for each installation
that may or may not resemble any other installation. This paper will deal with the filling in
of shadowed areas within the normal station
service area, and will leave to a later date the
problem of extending the service area. There are
then, several things we mutt know in order to
properly design a television satellite system.

The Philosophy of the ACL Satellite

The problem of providing optimum coverage


at minimum cost in TV service, either to small
separate communities or shadowed areas in large
communities, is one that has plagued UHF stations
from the beginning. In the past, either nothing
has been done about this problem, or attempts have
been made to correc-t the situation by increasing
power, or antenna height and gain, or both. In
some cases, these attempts have not proved satisfactory.
For example, the town of Waukesha, Wisconsinj,
is a town of about 30,000 people and is located in
a valley about 15 miles west of Milwaukee. With
20 KW of ERP from station WCAN-TV in Milwaukee,
Waukesha was receiving a signal of about 300
microvolts/meter over its downtown area which is
well below the minimum usable signal for UHF.
When ERP was increased to 200 KW, the signal over
the downtown area increased to not over 1,000
microvolts per meter. An additional increase to
1,000 KW of ERP would increase the signal only
slightly above the minimum Grade B signal. The
cost of such increased power is decidedly uneconomical to most stations in relation to the
additional population covered.

1. The characteristics of the primary


station coverage in the satellite area.
2. The terrain of the area.
3. The population density and distribution.
4. Availability and desirability of
sites for the equipment placement.

Site Selection
After the preliminary information has been
gathered, it is then necessary to analyze this
data so that a site may be picked.

On the other hand, a study shows that a


satellite transmitter with a power output of 50
watts and a directional antenna with a gain of 50
will provide Grade A service over the downtown
area from a 200' tower 5 miles away from the
center of town. The cost of such an installation
will be minor in comparison to that requir9d at
the main transmitter.

It is desirable that the retransmission be


horizontally polarized, so that a minimum of
inconvenience will be presented to the home
installation, if interference between direct and
satellite signals can be prevented. On the other
hand, there must be sufficient isolation between
the satellite receiving and transmitting antennas
to prevent excess feedback between them. It is
obvious that the ideal site, from this viewpoint,
is one at which the direct signal is at. right
angles to the retransmitted signal. It has been
found in practice at Waterbury, Connecticut,
where ACL has an experimental station in operation, that there is sufficient discrimination

This illustrates the great economies possible in increasing population coverage through
re-radiation of low powered signals over areas of
heavy population density rather than by attempts
to do the same thing by raising power at the main
transmitter. This action results in signal increases over very large sparsely populated areas
in an attempt to improve reception in outlying
or sadowed communities of relatively small area.

between direct and satellite signals when the


signals are oriented at a 900 angle, even when
the signals are of the saMne order of magnitude.
Some locations in Waterbuiry were found where

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excellent signal fromi either satellite or primary


station could be received when the receiving
antenna was pointed in the appropriate direction.
When the antenna was pointed midway between,
severe ghosting appeared.
The s-ite should be high to gain the best
possible signal from the primary station. Inasmuch as this application of satellites is to
fill in "holes" in the normal service area of the
mother station, it should be possible to pick up
a line-of-sight signal at the satellite location.
The selection of a high site is additionally

advantageous for re-transmission.

The selection of the site must also consider


area-that is not shadowed, but nonetheless will
be covered by the satellite. In general, there
will be no sharp demarcation line between shadowed and unshadowed areas in the same locality.
The selection of the site must be made so that
thle zone of confusion between primary and satellite signals will be minimum. The problem of the
zone of interference, or zone of confusion, is
now under study and methods have been proposed to
overcome it. The most feasible method, other
than discrimiinating between angles of arrival,
is to vertically polarize the satellite transmission. This may be inconvenient to the home
viewer if he wishes to pick up signals from other
stations with the same antenna.

set down on the diagram for use in physical design of the system equipment.

Euip2ment Desig
Once the overall system requirements are
determined from the site and the system diagram,
it is possible to proceed with the actual eqaipment design.

The receiving and transmitting antennas


extremely important,, and should receive the

are

closest attention. The receiving antenna should


have high gain both vertically and horizontally.,
sufficient bandwidth, good back-to-front ratio,
and a minimum of side lobes. The broadside array
with reflector, or "zigzag" antennas with stacked
elements will substantially fill the bill. Gains
as high as 23 db have been achieved with a 16
element, 4 x 4 broadside array, using end fed

dipoles.

The transmitting antenna will depend someon the area to be covered. Generally
speaking, it should have a narrow vertical beam-

what

width, good back-to-front ratio, and a relatively


wide horizontal beam. At the Waterbury installation one of the transmitting antennas used is a
32 element, 16 x 2 stacked array, with end-fed
dipoles. This was found to be quite satisfactory.
The horizontal beamwidth is about 500, and the
power gain is 50.
At Waterbury, both antennas are mounted on
the same tower, separated by 50 feet vertically,
and oriented at right angles to each other.

After the site has been selected, the field


strength available can be determined in the
usual manner and the power necessary to cover
the "hole" adequately may be calculated.

Tsolation between antennas is between 90 and 100


db.

It is, of course, advisable to have as much


power gain in the receiving and retransmitting
antennas as possible. This is desirable not only
to minimize transmitter amplifier requirements,
but also to provide greater isolation between
antennas to minimize feedback problems. It is
entirely possible that a relatively small increased antenna cost may provide a substantial
saving in real estate and extra tower cost by
requiring less physical separation between receiving and transmitting antennas.

In the design of the amplifiers, the output


directly proportional to the input and
sufficient bandwidth must be provided to retransmit the transmitted signals without degradation. The design of the amplifiers may be
must be

predicated on stagger-tuning or synchronous


tuning. Stagger tuning has the advantage of
greater economy due to its greater gain-bandwidth
product, but will present some tuning problems
for station personnel in day-to-day operation.
Synchronous tuning puts stringent requirements
on each amplifier, but considerably simplifies
maintenance problems.

The overall requirements of the system may


be analyzed conveniently by drawing a level diagram to take into account antenna gain, line
losses and required amplifier gain. Figure 1
shows such a diagram for a typical system. 'This
'is shown 'for a measured field strength of ten
millivolts per meter. Starting from the direct
field strength in dbu, the losses and gains may
be calculated additively and subtractively. The
system parameters of amplifier and antenna gains
may be specified on the basis of the average
required improvement in signal over the area to
be filled in.

In the Waterbury installation, the amplifiers


synchronously tuned, each with 13 db of gain
and 25 mc bandwidth at 705 mc. The overall gain
is 78 db, and overall bandwidth is 7.5 mc. The
amplifiers use 2C39A lighthouse tubes in a
grounded grid circuit, and are continuously
tunable over the entire UHF TV band. Peak power
output is presently 30 watts. Plans are now being made to increase power to between 50 and
are

100 watts.

It has been found that the amplifiers are


easy to adjust and tube replacement is simple,
since retuning requires only tuning the output
to maximum. AM operators, inexperienced in TV,
have adjusted the amplifiers satisfactorily

The level diagram is also a convenient basis


for visualizing the system requirements in terms
of equipment and components. Items such as
cable, connectors, adaptors and meters can be

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without undue difficulty.

in the Rules and Regulations, Section 3.686. The


latter method is of great importance in establishing coverage contours at some distance from a
station, where measurements can be made in open
country and a relatively clear transmission path
exists. Some of the factors to be considered in
the making of measurements on satellite transmissions and which favored spot measurements are

All tests so far have been made with-black


and white signals. Further tests will be required
to determine its suitability for use with color.
Inasmuch as this satellite operates from a high
signal area, the noise figure does not attain
great importance. If, however, it is desired or
required that it operate in a low signal area, alow noise pre-amplifier must be provided. The.
pre-amplifier should have wider band characteristics and will use either miniature or-planartriodes for low noise.

as

follows:

A. The absolute signal strength by itself


not all-important. Reception of a single
ghost-free picture at any location, from either
satellite or main transmitter is of equal importance. Thus observation of the picture accompanied each measurement.
B. .A non-directional antenna could not be
used for measurement, as it was desired to measure
the signal from both stations, taking advantage
of the receiving antenna directivity to discriminate against the unwanted signal. Again this
would be unfeasible in a continuous recording.
Careful orientation of the receiving antenna was
necessary to pick up one signal or the other.
C. In the heavily built-up areas of
Waterbury, where the re-transmitted signal was
directed, any radial recording with the necessarily
low antenna height of 10 feet or so would not
indicate the actual field strengths existing above
roof-toptype where actual receiving installations
would be located. It is well known that the
theoretical height-gain relationship cannot be
was

Photographs of the antenna system and equipment appear at the end of the paper.

Operation
For most economical operation, the satellite
should operate unattended. It is anticipated
that a remote on-off control, and a power output
monitor is all that will be required at the primary station. Housing requirements for the transmitter are extremely modest, consisting of a small
weatherproofed shack large enough to house a
standard relay rack. It should be accessible for
regular inspection and maintenance.

ACL has now in operation the experimental


satellite station at Waterbury, Conn., which has
been mentioned in this paper. The problem here
is as follows: WATR-TV located its TV transmitter 10 miles east of Waterbury, Conn., near
Meriden in order to obtain regional coverage of
the Hartford area. Although the town of Waterbury is theoretically covered by a signal which
is adequate according to FCC standards, in practice, the town is almost completely shadowed by
intervening hills.

applied to extrapolate field strength measurements, made under such conditions, from 10 to
30 feet.

D. It was felt that measurements simulating


actual home installations as closely as possible
should be made. Accordingly a field survey truck
with extendable tower, corner reflector antenna,
field strength meter and TV receiver was equipped
and used in the survey.

The ACL satellite is located about 2 miles


so,uth of the center of town at the WATR-AM location. The ground elevation here is about 300
feet above the downtown area.

The procedure followed was to draw several


radials from the satellite location through the
town as shown in Figure 2. The pattern of the
directional transmitting antenna is also shown.
The truck was then driven along each radial, as
closely as possible, and stopped at a number of
locations, usually in front of a residence. The

One of the self-supporting AM towers is


bein utilized to support the satellitei antennas.
The receiving antenna is at the 120 foot level,
and the cei-ter of the transmitting antenna is
at the 170 foot level. Since the AM tower is
shunt fed and hence grounded, no isolation problems are involved. The satellite amplifier rack
is placed in a shack built into the base of the

antenna

to6wer

was then erected so that the rewas aiit 35 feet high, or about

ceiving antenna

five feet above the roof top. Measurements


then made.

tower. Flexible coaxial cables are used for


transmitting and receiving antenna transmission
lines.

In ordert&odetermine whether the signal

p1cked up at any particular point

were

was coming from


the main transmitter or the satellite, the satellite was turned on for five minuites and then off
.for five minutes on a continuous cycle. Thus by
referring to the tine it was possible to know if
the satellite was on or off. When it was off the
receiving antenna was rotated for maximum signal
from the transmitter on MTeriden Mountain. The
field strength was recorded. At the same time
the picture quality was observed on the adjoining
receiver to see if any ghosting was present. The
orientation of the antenna was also noted.

Improvement in Signal Strength


The received field intensity at the satellite
site is about 10 mv/meter at the 120 foot height.
The retransmitted ERP is approximately 500 watts.
Th e improvement of signal strength was measured
as follows.

It was decided that series of discrete spot


measurements would be of more value than continuous radial recordings of the type described

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TABLE I

When the satellite transmitter came on for


its five minute period the antenna was rotated to
pick up the signal from that source and the same
procedure followed.

i
Population
Grades of Service and Percentag_eof
So Served.
From Main
From Satellite Transmitter
Per Cent receiving
46%
Principal City
0%
Coverage or better

While the satellite was transmitting it was


possible, of course, that the measured field
ccild represent an addition of both signals.
However, the excellent front to side discrimination of the receiving antenna of over 20 db, and
the fact that in practically all cases the angle
of pickup between direct and re-transmitted signals was approximately 900 tended to insure that
the satellite field was being rneasured in substantial independence of the direct field.
The series of measurements have been compared,
both as to ratio between direct and re-transmitted
field arni as to absolute values. Figure 3 is a
plot of the ratio between the two fields, shown on
probability paper. The improvement at 50% of
locations or more was 22.5 db or better, comparirg
to a power ratio of about 180 to 1. In Figure 4
the absolute signal strengths have been plotted,
again on a probability scale.

Per Cent receiving


Grade A Coverage
or better

66%

0%

Per Cent receiving


Grade B Coverage
or better

86%

18%

Conclusion
There are certainly many questions to be
decided, and problems to be solved in the use of
satellite transmitters to complement the service
given to the public by UHF stations. From the
experience gained by the experimental satellites
now in operation, we can judge that they can
provide a public service economically and profitably.

The improvements here considered in terms of


fields necessary for the variouls grades of service
specified by the Commission are very substantial.
Table 1 shows the relationship before and after
installation of the satellite:

NOTES
*

POWER IN A/2 DIPOLE

0 DBW
O DBU
DC M

I WATT

I MICROVOLT
DIRECTIONAL COUPLER
MICROAMMETER

RECEIVEO FIELD
10 MV/M

Fig. 1

80 DBU

Level diagram of TJI{ satellite transmitting system.

70

NEW MAP Of THt

CITY O

WATERBURY
CONN.
-

*FIG 2-MEASURING POINTS,


RADIATION PATTERN
AND COVERAGE
CONTOURS

-_tU

_Am
fJ&
U_18_ft

or,

Ir
&"

Fig. 2

Measuring points, radiation pattern and coverage contours.


71

40

10

20

-10

HO

C9)

r--)

rs. ^ nn 0

nn

no

LI

Fig. 3

[II111111~~11 illl111

f%f%

An

11111I1 1

aon

70

30

20

10

0.5 0_ 2 01 0.05

t~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~I

1I111|1l11111 -i M 0 -d

I I I I I I

60 .A)4

Ratio of signal improvement,, satellite to direct signal.

AIM XL1_1_
11111111
ovl I Iv I llIliil
|.9 9 9- |TE.L 9IA, c9ATn r YU1i| 1III!IIIIIIII
L11111 1P

PERCEN'T OF LOCATIONS AT WHICH VALUE EXCEEDS ORDINATE

--A

O- .01

\j

--a

Pi

40

60

70)

X 80

Es 90

100
0io

E4

98

WATR-TV

SATELLITE AT

99

95

I,,I,IIHH

i~ GRATDE B

GRADE A

Fig. 4

90

80

70
60
50

40
30

20

10
5

Absolute signal strengths from satellite and main transmitters.

kDLER COMMUNICATIONS LABORAT


New Rochelle, N.Y.I

WATERBURY, CONN.

99.9 99.8

m PRINCIPI

99.99

PERCENT OF LOCATIONS AT WHICH VALUE EXCEEDS ORDINATE


1

0.5

0Q2 01 0.05

0.01

Fig. 6 - Equipment rack, showing three of the six


RF amplifier stages.

Fig. 5 - UHF receiving and transmitting antennas


mounted on WATR-AM tower, transmitting
antenna near top.

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