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The high quality sound programmes from AIR studio centres are normally transported to the AIR transmitting centres with the help of Department of Telecommunications land lines. These gave way to VHF-FM transmit/receive systems in some of the AIR centres. Now, AIR has introduced the new generation microwave studio-transmitter link (STL) for better reliability and quality. AIR is having three types of STL called STL-01, STL-02 and STL-05. The numbers 01, 02 and 05 describe the number of base band (50 Hz - 15 kHz) channels that could be transported. STL-01 is taken up for discussion, as it is existing at number of stations. The description of the STL-01 system, the variations of STL-02 mainly in the base band, interface units and the measurements are also described in this article.

General Description
The Studio Transmitter Link (STL) system consists of a transmitting system (STL-TX) housed in the studio premises and a receiving system (STL-RX) housed in the AIR transmitting centre. A low loss cable connects the STL TX/RX to the two-metre dia microwave dish antenna usually mounted on a 50 m self-supporting tower at either end. In addition, a VHF service channel in duplex mode is provided at both the ends for voice communication between the AIR studio and transmitter ends through a multi-element yagi antenna mounted on the top of the tower. The need for the service channel arises from the fact that there is no RF monitoring facility of the transmitted sound programme at STL-TX. Fig. 1 and 2 show the front views of the STL TX-01. It may be seen from the Fig. 1 and 2 that the STL TX-01 and STL RX-01 have complete redundancy of the entire system except for LO11 (logic card) and PCO2 (parameter control card) units. These two units together ensure auto/manual changeover between the units. The STL system is meant to operate unattended round the clock. The STL TX/RX is powered by an external power supply unit kept adjacent to the STL rack with floating batteries. This unit takes 230 V ; 50 Hz AC and supplier + 24 DC to STL Tx/Rx. The

Induction Course (Radio) service channel is energised by another external power supply unit placed over that of STL TX/RX. Very little maintenance is called for. Only regular cleaning and occasional monitoring of the front panel meter readings is required. Originally the STL was designed and developed by the manufacturer for multi voice channel (6 to 120 channel) duplex transmission/reception in telecommunications. Transmitter and receiver were then housed in the same rack. For AIR, the transmitter and receiver are separated. It is for this reason lower half of the rack is blank. Besides one may find wiring in some modules meant for both transmitter and receiver such as TM 11, CM 01, AI 01, LO 11, PC 02 units.


Studio Transmitter Link - Transmitter (STL-TX)

The schematic diagram of STL-TX 01 is shown in Fig. 4. The STL transmitter essentially consists of eight sections. i) ii) iii) iv) v) vi) vii) viii) A single audio input transformer (LT 11) which splits the audio input into two equal audio outputs for (1+1) system. The base band unit (1+1) consisting of a music amplifier AT 01, and a base band interface unit GT 01 which is a 15 kHz low pass filter. The radio frequency unit (1+1) which generates the carrier, FM modulates and generates microwave (RF) power. (L1 TR SR04 A/B). An antenna change over unit which selects one of the (1+1) RF outputs for feeding to the antenna. (L1RF-Tx). A low loss cable connected to a microwave dish antenna at suitable height above the ground. Two identical (1+1) dc-dc power supplies. (DC-11). Two identical (1+1) monitoring (CM-01) and Alarm inter-face units. (AI 01). One each of logic (LO 11) and parameter control card (PC 02) which selects one of the RF outputs to be connected to the transmitting antenna.

Transmitter Base Band Unit The transmitter base band units of STL-TX-01 namely the music amplifier (AT 01) and the base band interface unit (GT 01) are separate modules mounted as shown in Fig.1. The audio input (0 dBm at 600 ohms balanced) to the STL-Tx is fed to the line transformer (LT 11) mounted on the rear side of STL unit. This gives two equal outputs across 600 ohms to feed two identical musical amplifiers (AT 01) of the 1+1 system. STI(T) Publication 52 004/IC(Radio)/2001

Studio Transmitter Link Music amplifier has a switch by means of which pre-emphasis network is selected. It may be ensured that 70 sec. Pre-emphasis is selected. A 3 dB and another 0.5 dB step attenuators are incorporated in the two audio stages of the amplifier. The 3 dB step attenuator (rotary selector switch) is brought to the front panel for control. This rotary switch is kept normally in zero dB position. A VU meter is mounted in the front panel to monitor the output level of the amplifier. The calibration of the VU meter has been carried out with rotary switch at zero dB position. The output of this amplifier is fed to the base band interface unit (GT 01) which is essentially an unity gain active 15 kHz cut off low pass filter. The output of GT 01 is about -14 dBm across 75 ohms. The pot R8 in AT 01 may be used for this level adjustment if necessary. The frequency response at the output of GT 01 will be -14 dBm + 1 dBm at the audio frequencies of 50 Hz, 125 Hz, 8210 Hz, 10 kHz, 14 kHz and 15 kHz with the preemphasis out of circuit. The base band output from base band interface unit GT 01 is taken to the RF transmitter tray through an external cable as shown in Fig. 1. The schematic diagram of this tray is shown in Fig. 5. The base band signal is routed through a dummy model BT 1(which the manufacturers uses only for multiplexed telephone channel relay equipment) to the OT 11 unit, voltage controlled oscillator (VCO) operating on one fourth of the final carrier frequency, which is maintained accurately by the reference oscillator PLL synthesiser module (RO 11). The modulated output is frequency multiplied four times and amplified in the "Frequency Quadruple and Pre-amplifier unit" (AT 31). This output is further amplified in the RF power amplifier unit" (PT 31) to produce an RF output of 4 W maximum. Finally a directional coupler unit (MT 31) is employed to monitor the forward power before it is taken to the antenna change over unit (LT RF-Tx) mounted on a separate panel on the top of the RF transmitter tray. A test circuit adopter unit (TM 11) on the underside of RF transmitter tray provides the various circuits for visual monitoring of the different parameters through a front panel meter (MT 01) in association with the 12- position selector switch. PANEL METER READING IN STL TRANSMITTER Switch Position 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Indicates What ? PRIM - 12 V d.c. + 12 V d.c. + 24 V d.c. RFT (RF output) power Meter Reading 2 2 2 2 2 1.6 1.25 Remarks For 24 V DC Input - 12 V output from D.C.-D.C. Power supply (DC-11) unit. + 12 V output from D.C. D.C. power supply (DC-11) unit. + 24 V output from D.C. D.C. power supply (DC-11) unit. For 4 watts 3 watts approx. 2 watts. Approx. May be calibrated for 1 w to 4 w by adjusting the control in the PT 31 unit and using through line RF 004/IC(Radio)/2001

STI(T) Publication


Induction Course (Radio) watt meter at installation. Locked VCO VCO unlocked the time of

6. 7.

PLL PLTL locked PLT (PLL error volt)

Normally 2 0 Normally 1 Less than 1 Greater than 1


PLL (VCO frequency)

Normally 1 2 0

When locked 5 V d.c. PLL unlocked (error voltage 2 to 5 V d.c.) PLL unlocked (error voltage 5 to 8 V d.c.) VCO correct frequency VCO below correct frequency VCO above correct frequency

If output power is less than 1 W the RFT LEDs in CM 01 and LEDs in AI01 will glow. If PLL is unlocked PLT LED in CM01 and LEDs in AI01 will glow. In both the above cases action is initiated through logic card LO 11 to effect the change over of the units. Antenna Change Over Unit LIRF Tx. The layout of this unit is shown in Fig. 6. AC 31 (two numbers) are microwave devices called circulators which pass RF energy only in the direction of the arrow marked. RF output from each of the 1+1 RF trays are connected to two circulators. This energy goes to the RF switch (AS 32) if it is closed or to the dummy load (DL 31). At any instant depending on whether A or B system is selected (either in Auto/manual/override modes), AS 32 will connect that unit to the antenna filter. The dummy load is capable of safe dissipation of the fully rated output power continuously round the clock. However, if it is not desired to dissipate the power in dummy load, the U link for +12 V supply to quadruple unit can be changed. If, however, this unit is selected either in auto mode or override mode, the supply to the quadruple is automatically made through. Transmitting antenna and Feeder The output from the transmitter is fed to the parabolic dish antenna of 2 metre diameter with a low loss RF cable. The gain of the antenna is approximately 26.7 dB. The antenna can be used either in horizontal or vertical polarization. If the ribs of the antenna are horizontal, it is horizontal polarization and if they are vertical, it is vertical polarization. Both the transmitter and the corresponding receiver dishes should be of the same polarization for maximum antenna coupling. Normally horizontal polarization is used. If a number of links are operating from a given site to either same site or sites in close direction, different polarizations may be used to avoid interferences between links. If repeater stations are involved, the receiving and the transmitting polarization could be arranged to be different.

STI(T) Publication



Studio Transmitter Link Small length of this RG8AU cables are used at either ends of the low loss feeder to enable convenient bending for connection at either ends.

Carrier Monitor (CM 01), Alarm Interface (AT 01), Logic Unit (LO 11) and Parameter Control Card (PC 02). The carrier monitor card essentially monitors the functioning of the PLL loop (PLT) and the RF output power level (RFT). Two LEDs red and yellow are provided for each of the parameters RFT and PLL. If the phase lock loop fails or the RF out power falls below one watt, the corresponding red and yellow LEDs in this unit will glow. The alarm interface unit flashes red (alarm) and yellow (status) LEDs for any one individual faults of RFT/PLL or both. The red LEDs in CM 01 and AI 01 glow only as long as the fault persists. If the fault is removed by some process, the yellow LEDs only glow till manual resetting is done by pressing the RESET button in AI 01 unit. This is to help us to know that the fault had occurred but has been removed of its own, so that in case of repetitive faults, some action could be taken. The alarm interface unit AI 01 also initiates action through logic unit (LO 11) to switch over the other unit from hot standby condition to change over for transmission. The mimic diagram of PC 02 unit is shown in Fig. 7. Green LEDs marked A & B show that systems A & B are powered. LEDs (1) or (2) lights depending on if system A or B is connected to the antenna. Pressing any one of the manual buttons enables connecting that system to the antenna and simultaneously Manual LED glows. If Auto switch pressed, the auto LED glows and the system A gets connected to antenna if both systems A & B are healthy, otherwise selects the other healthier unit. Simultaneously Man LED goes off. The screw driver switch marked N with 4 slant lines on its side together with LED marked over is meant for over-ride control. This control over rides the manual and auto modes. Normally this switch is against the position marked N so that manual/auto functions operate normally. Override control is useful, if the logic card develops a fault. However, if this switch is rotated to , , , positions, the system can override the manual/auto functions. The table accompanying the mimic diagram in Fig. 7 explains the various functions of the system in the 4 override positions.

DC-DC Power Supply (DC-11) Unit

Each of the system has its own switch mode d.c.-d.c. power supply. This unit requires + 24 V d.c. input to give + 12V, -12V and +24 V d.c. The front panel screw driver control in this unit can be adjusted to give + 12.1 V in the +12 V output pin of this unit under load conditions. By this setting other output voltages (-12 V and + 24V) gets automatically set for correct voltage. This unit incorporates over voltage and over current protections. External supply unit operating from mains supply provides + 24V d.c. to the DC-11 unit with floating batteries. STI(T) Publication 55 004/IC(Radio)/2001

Induction Course (Radio)


Studio Transmitter Link Receiver (STL-RX)

The schematic diagram of STL RX-01 is shown in Fig. 8. The STL receiver essentially consists of the eight sections similar to STL transmitter. i) ii) iii) iv) 2 m dia microwave dish antenna mounted on a tower of suitable height and a low loss cable connects the received RF power into the receiving system. Antenna filter and RF hybrid divider unit. The radio frequency receiver unit (1+1) which recovers the base band signal from the modulated RF carrier. The base band unit (1+1) consisting of base band interface unit (GR 01) and the music amplifier (AR 01) and the muting switch (AS 11) which disconnects audio under squeltch operation. A single audio line transformer which provides the audio output. Two identical (1+1) DC-DC power supply units. Two identical (1+1) monitoring (CM 01) and alarm interface units (AI 01). One each of Logic (LO 11) and parameter control card (PC-02) which selects one of the audio outputs.

v) vi) vii) viii)

The receiver has a threshold sensitivity of the order of 80 dBm. But it is advisable to use the system at 40 to 60 dBm.

Receiving Antenna and Feeder

A 2m dia parabolic dish antenna having a gain of approximately 26.7 dB is usually mounted at a suitable height on a self supporting tower. The mounting of the antenna should be such that it matches with polarization of the transmitted signal. It is exactly identical to the transmitting dish. The receiving parabolic dish antenna must be carefully adjusted to look into the transmitting dish at the time of installation and subsequently a watch may be kept on its mounting. The low loss cable takes the received signal from the antenna to the STL receiver unit housed close to the tower. Small length of RG8AU cables are used at either ends of the low loss feeder cable to enable convenient bending of the feeder for connection at either ends. The IF level can be used to, approximately, evaluate the RF signal level received at the input of the wide band filter. The meter readings at switch position 9 (IF) is made to read 2 when the RF input is 40 dBm. By feeding the various level of RF input signal from the signal generator, one can calibrate this meter, so that it would provide an indication of the RF signal input. Following are the sample calibration: STI(T) Publication 56 004/IC(Radio)/2001

Studio Transmitter Link RF Input - 20 dBm -30 dBm -40 dBm -45 dBm -50 dBm -55 dBm TM 11 Reading at RF Input switch Position 9 2.1 -60 dBm 2.05 -65 dBm 2.0 -70 dBm 1.9 -75 dBm 1.8 -80 dBm 1.4 -85 dBm TM 11 Reading at switch Position 9 1.25 0.9 0.6 0.45 0.4 0.35

Test Meter Card (TM 11)

The test meter circuit (TM 11) is identical in transmitter and receiver as both contain the circuitry meant for transmitter and receiver. However, in the AIR supplies only those relevant to the transmitter or receiver sections are wired. The various parameters that are taken up for monitoring are PRIM, +12 V, -12V, PLR, PLRL, OSCR, IF and PLL. In the receiver switch positions 1,2,3,8,9,10,11 and 12 only are used. These are indicated in the front panel near the rotary switch of the receiver. The normal deflections in the meter have been standardized to either (2) or (1). The various details of the parameters monitored are summarized below : Switch Position 1. 2. 3. 8. 9. Indicates What ? PRIM - 12 V + 12 V OSCR IF Meter Reading 2 2 2 2 2 Remarks 24 V D.C. Input Local oscillator output For 40 dBm input. (This reading can be used for knowing the approx. RF input level to the STL if calibrated as described in the text. PLL locked PLL not locked PLL Locked (voltage 5 V d.c.) PLL not locked (voltage 2 to 5 V d.c.) PLL not locked (voltage 5 to 8 V d.c.) VCO-Rx correct frequency VCO-Rx below correct frequency VCO-Rx above correct frequency

10. 11.


2 0 1 <1 >1 & < 2 1 2 0


PLL (VCO Freq.)

Alarm Interface Unit (AI 01)

The alarm interface unit ORs individual alarm conditions RFR or PLR. If anyone or both are set, the summation LED in this unit are lit. The red LEDs glow only as long as the fault persists, the yellow LED registers the status of the fault till it is manually reset with the reset switch in this unit.

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Induction Course (Radio)

Logic Unit (LO 11) and Parameter Control (PC 02) Units
The logic unit is a microprocessor based card that monitors the failure of the phase lock loop (PLR) or the poor S/N ratio evaluated in (CM 01 Rx) unit and takes action for auto changeover. The parameter control card serves to display the various operation condition of the 1+1 STL receive system through a mimic diagram.



In STL 02, the music amplifier AT 01 of the transmitter and AR 01 of the receiver are not present. Instead, a unity gain card EK 11 is provided to match coder/decoder to the base band interface unit GT01/GR01. Base band equipment is a stereo coder/stereo decoder made by Rhode and Schwarz for the transmitter/receiver respectively. These have no redundancy. The cut off frequency of the low pass filter in the base band interface unit of the transmitter (GT 01)/receiver (GR 01) is 250 kHz instead of 15 kHz in STL 01. The noise unit monitor filter (BPF) NF 42 in the carrier monitor unit CM 01 Rx used for evaluating S/N ratio of the received signal has a bandwidth of 100 kHz in STL 01 and STL 02. STL 02 Coder The stereo coder operates in the time division multiplex (TDM) mode with soft switching over 14 stages, the switching frequency itself being 38 kHz. In effect therefore the TDM is at 532 kHz. This technique produces spurious signals only above 500 kHz which can be easily suppressed. The pilot carrier is at 19 kHz derived from a 4.256 MHz crystal. Mono and stereo outputs are available. The main features of this unit are extremely high cross talk attenuation, very low harmonic distortion, high S/N ratio. The built-in high amplitude stability and low harmonic distortion AF oscillator at 500 Hz can be used for measurements. Signal lamps in the front panel provide various indications such as absence of preemphasis/pilot tone and the operating mode selection. Modulation of the coder and its functions are indicated by the built-in peak voltmeter. The entire coder is built in a single PCB. Stereo Decoder All the attributes of the coder enumerated above are equally valid to the decoder also. The stereo decoder uses the TDM decoding technique. The stereo multiplex signal is connected alternatively at the rate of 38 KHz to the left and right channels. A phase locked loop ensures right switching conditions in the decoder. The input/out are balanced. The entire decoder is contained in a single PCB.


Service Channel (RT 33)

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Studio Transmitter Link The service channel is mounted at the top of the transmitter and receiver racks. It is a VHF (68-88 MHz) trans-receiver. The transmitter output power is 15 watts. Yagi antenna mounted at the top of the towers on either end is used for the service channel. This antenna may be used both in horizontal and vertical polarizations. Normally vertical polarization is used. The hand set with a press to talk (PTT) switch is employed at either end for voice communication. These units can be removed from the racks and kept at any other convenient location at either end. M/s Meltron has developed an interface unit with which telephone facilities can be extended to the transmitter site with this service channel without the use of land lines.


External D.C. Power Supply for STL TX/RX.

The external d.c. power supply unit from IMEC, Ahmedabad operates from the main supply to provide regulated 24V d.c. output at 5 to 7 A. This can change a set of floating batteries besides supplying the STL Tx/Rx for which suitable terminals are provided at the rear of the unit. The performance can be monitored. The current drawn can be boosted between 5 and 7 A with the help of a potentiometer etc. fuse provided can take care of the battery. Buzzer alarm sounds if battery draws more current.

Measurements on the Link

The basic minimum measurements that are required to be made on STL links are : Frequency response Harmonic distortion Signal to noise ratio Linearity check (level response)

These are not new to the AIR installations. But in the STL links, none of the above can be carried out at the transmitter in isolation. However, it is possible at the receiver end. In such a case for STL-01 one would require equipment like audio oscillator, DNL meter etc. which are normally available in AIR stations besides a microwave signal generator. To carry out such measurements on STL 02/STL 05, one would require microwave signal generator with stereo/PCM modulation capabilities. Therefore, the simplest way in the practical station situation is to take overall measurements from the studio centre to the transmitting centre. This will require co-ordination with the studio end. Normally, when the system is handed over after installation, manufacturers have already made certain adjustments in various units. One is therefore not required to make any specific adjustments during the measurements. However it is worth while to mention them here. STI(T) Publication Input at the LT 11 audio input transformer 0 dBm across 600 ohms at 10 kHz Output of GT 01 (Tx.) Front panel attenuator at 0 dB 14 dBm across 75 ohms. RF signal level at receiver input shall be better than 60 dBm. 59 004/IC(Radio)/2001

Induction Course (Radio) Input to GR 01 (Rx) 20 dBm across 75 ohms.

Output of audio output transformer 0 dBm across 600 ohms Front panel attenuator at 0 dBm position.

Frequency Response Feed 0 dBm across 600 ohms to the input of the transmitter and measure the output at the receiving end at various frequencies like 50 Hz, 125 Hz, 820 Hz, 1 kHz, 6.3 kHz, 14 kHz and 15 kHz. The frequency response shall be within + 1 dB. Signal to Noise Ratio Feed 820 Hz at 0 dBm across 600 ohms at the transmitter input. Read the output of the receiver with a selective level meter. Switch off the signal and measure the noise. The signal to noise ratio should be better than 60 dB. Distortions Feed 820 kHz at 0 dBm across 600 ohms at the input of the transmitter. Measure the distortion at the output of the receiver, it should be less than 1%. Cross Talk Feed normal level at studios on 1kHz and note the output level of any wanted channel. Remove the tone from this channel and feed it in any other channel. Measure the noise level in the wanted channel. Determine the cross talk level in the wanted channel below its normal level. This should be better than S/N ratio. Repeat the same with tone in all the other channels. Four such measurements indicate the cross talk of other channels on any one wanted channel. Repeat the same at any low and high frequencies also.

STI(T) Publication



Studio Transmitter Link

Fig. 1 Studio Transmitter Links TX. Terminal (Front View)

STI(T) Publication



Induction Course (Radio)

Fig. 2 Studio Transmitter Links RX. Terminal (Front View)

STI(T) Publication



Studio Transmitter Link

AT01 Music Amplifier

GT01 Base band Interface Unit

BT61 Dummy


AT31 Frequency Multiplier & Preamplifier

PT31 RF Power Amplifier

MT31 Directional Coupler

Reference Oscillator LT11 0 dBm 600 I/P Audio Line Transformer RO11 Antenna Change Over Unit L1RF-Tx 0 dBm 600 Audio Line Transformer LT12 P/D From Antenna To Antenna


AR01 Music Amplifier

GR01 Base band Interface Unit

BR61 Dummy

IA31 IF Amplifier & Demodulator

IF72 IF Filter

AR31 Frequency Multiplier & Preamplifier


Reference Oscillator RO11

Fig. 3

Block Diagram of TX. RX.

STI(T) Publication



Induction Course (Radio)

L1TR SR04A RF Unit (Tx A) L1RF-Tx Ref. Fig. 5 Antenna Change Over Unit Ref. Fig. 6 RF Unit (Tx B) LO 11 CM 01

DC 11 AT 01

GT 01

AI 01

PC 02 AI 01

CM 01

Ref. Fig. 5 L1TR SR04B

GT 01 DC 11

AT 01

Fig. 4 STL-01 Transmitter A & B)

Rotary switch Test Monitor

Audio Input Power RF Amplifier

Dummy BT61 PT31

TM11 AT31 OT11 Reference Oscillator VCO Frequency Multiplier & Preamplifier RO11 RF Monitor 1.7v Directional Coupler

MT31 + 36dBm 50 ohm Maximum 4W

Fig. 5 Transmitter SR04 A/B Tray STI(T) Publication 64 004/IC(Radio)/2001


Audio I/P

Studio Transmitter Link

From L1TR MT 31 From Control Unit LO11 To Antenna

AS32 L1RF AF 31 Antenna Filter RF Switch

CS32 Control switch





DL31 Dummy Load

DL31 Dummy Load

Fig. 6 Antenna Change Over Unit

Fig. 7 PC02 MIMIC Diagram for STL-Tx.

Condition of Leds for Various Positions of OVR Switch --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------POSITION OF SWITCH A B 1 2 OVR AU. MAN. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ON OFF ON OFF ON OFF OFF ON ON ON OFF ON OFF OFF OFF ON OFF ON ON OFF OFF ON ON OFF ON ON OFF OFF --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------STI(T) Publication 65 004/IC(Radio)/2001

Induction Course (Radio)

L1TR SH11 A L1TR SR04 A RF Unit (Tx A) Dummy Load DL32 Hybrid Power Divider RF Unit (Tx B) DC 11 AR 01 AS11 Muting Switch


GR 01

Ref. Fig. 9

CM 01

AI 01

Antenna Filter

LO 11

PC 02



CM 01

AI 01 AS11

Ref. Fig. 9 L1TR SR04 B

GR 01

AR 01 DC 11

Fig. 8 STL Receiver

IF Amplifier & Demodulator

- 26 + 3dBm 75 ohm

IA31 IF Filter Dummy BR61 Test Monitor IF72 TM11 To GR01 (Base Band Interface Unit) Ref. Osc. RO11 1427-1660 MHz Max.- 3dBm 50 ohm AR31


Frequency Multiplier and Preamplifier OR11 Osc. Monitor

Fig. 9 STL Receiver STI(T) Publication 66 004/IC(Radio)/2001


Audio O/P

Muting Switch