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QComm’s QForce Airborne Drones Deliver Reports For Illinois Television Station WTVP

Drone technology gathers data for RF and Proof-of-Performance reports on station's new transmitter.

QCommunications (QComm), an engineering project management and UAS installation vendor specializing in The Spectrum Act (REPACK project), has presented Illinois television station WTVP with an RF Study and Proof-of-Performance Report on its new transmitter and antenna system compiled completely from technical data collected by drones.

WTVP, a PBS station that serves approximately 20 counties in central Illinois with one high-definition channel and four standard-definition channels, installed the new antenna, transmission line and transmitter in compliance with the federally mandated FCC Spectrum Repack channel assignment.

The drones, non-human members of QComm’s QForce Airborne Division, used proprietary technology to safely gather signal strength readings during the multi-county survey, eliminating safety concerns for tower climbers as well as the possibility of human error. The units are custom configured for QComm and manufactured in the U.S. by BFD Systems.

According to Bill Porter, Chief Engineer at WTVP, the station contracted QComm and its QForce Airborne Division as WTVP migrated from its legacy DTV transmitter to a new system in accordance with The Spectrum Act. After the old antenna was removed and the new Spectrum Repack antenna was installed, QComm’s QForce team measured the performance of the new transmitter, antenna, and waveguide. QForce verified the coverage pattern and quality of service as well as documentation data of the new broadcast equipment.

Porter explains, “WTVP’s contracting of QComm’s QForce Airborne division was a result of specific needs based on the federally mandated FCC Spectrum Repack assignment project. Our existing transmitter became obsolete following the Repack. We needed the old transmitter to be decommissioned and removed, and also needed to confirm proof-of-performance for our new equipment to ensure that it was not interfering with neighboring broadcasters. The QComm QForce Airborne team made it extremely easy to plan and execute the legacy transmitter removal as well as conduct an RF field strength study on the new one.

“I was very impressed with the professionalism, high quality and excellent service QComm’s QForce Airborne team provided,” he continues. “The team was extremely helpful in guiding me through the sometime daunting FCC Spectrum Repack requirements, and their services were 100 percent reimbursable under the FCC 399 guidelines. I can’t say enough good things about our experience working with them and I would definitely recommend them to my broadcasting colleagues.”

Tony zumMallen, President/General Manager of QComm, concludes, “We really enjoyed helping the WTVP team with this project. This is a classic example of how sophisticated drone technology can easily assist broadcasters with projects related to the FCC Spectrum Repack. Our QForce Airborne Division utilizes specially manufactured drones and proven signal verification and coverage mapping technology to capture the characterizations of antenna systems. This system allows measurements of Horizontal Radiation Patterns (HRP), Vertical Radiation Patterns (VRP), Effective Radiated Patterns (ERP), polarization discriminations and many other specific modulation parameters while providing overall uncertainties in the order of 1-2dB as well as utilizing 3D and thermal/infrared systems in our latest service offering burnout prevention and detection caused by transmission line leaks or excessive reflected VSWR power.”


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