Belar Simplifies RF Network Monitoring and HD Diversity Delay for Two Minnesota Public Radio Stations

2/27/2017 3:44:00 AM

West Chester, PA, February 27, 2017  Belar Electronics’ innovative approach to HD Diversity Delay has brought value to Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) for rock-solid time alignment of FM and HD programming, with its St. Cloud/Collegeville network location using the Belar FMHD-1 modulation monitor to seamlessly blend the two signals.

The St. Cloud/Collegeville location just west of the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul) comprises KNSR(FM) and KSJR(FM). Last year, the Minnesota Public Radio engineering team began evaluating potential placements for modulation monitors at several of its network locations due to ineffectual time alignment, limited remote connectivity options, and hardware failures that required lengthy overseas service periods.

Upon evaluating options at the 2017 NAB Show, the broadcaster ordered the Belar FMHD-1, which addressed all three of the above challenges. For HD Diversity Delay, the FMHD-1 incorporates Belar’s Automatic Delay correction (ADC) software, which, in cooperation with an Orban Optimod audio processor, automatically and consistently adjusts the eight-second-time delay without manual intervention. The ADC software continuously measures the signal error and communicates the necessary adjustment to the delay line in the Optimod, resulting in a far more pleasant HD Radio experience for listeners in areas where the two signals blend.

The FMHD-1’s novel Automated Channel Scanning software also provides value, as its automatic scan function continually toggles between the two stations, instead of requiring two separate modulation monitors. Belar created Automated Channel Scanning to simplify on-air compliance and quality of service and experience monitoring in consolidated RF facilities like MPR’s St. Cloud/College facility.

“The FMHD-1 talks to two Optimods, moving back and forth every five minutes to perform a time alignment check,” said Darwin Stinton, network radio engineer, Minnesota Public Radio. “The nicest benefit I have noticed is that I no longer hear from listeners experiencing time alignment issues. We used to have to go into the old monitor and make adjustments every couple of week. Now it’s a set-and-forget situation, and our listeners reap the benefits.”

Beyond time alignment, Stinton has found the integrated measurement tools to be effective and valuable from a time management perspective. He’s been able to put away the external spectrum analyzer to set up the HD Radio mask, run the peak FM signal and confirm compliance of the overall spectrum mask directly within the FMHD-1. He is able to monitor mask and many other FMHD-1 measurements both in the RF plant and remotely from the studio or his home office by using Belar’s WizWin software for IP connectivity.

“The richness of bar graph displays and histograms goes well beyond our previous capabilities,” said Stinton. “We can clearly see everything related to HD and FM audio, including left-minus-right, pilot injections and RDS injections, and the historical data allows to monitor and understand performance trends – something we were not able to do before. And since I typically work remotely, the relay and email alarms will come in handy when needed. However, since the system has been so rock-solid, I haven’t yet taken the initiative to set up all of these options.”

Stinton adds that Belar customer service has been exceptional. “Having never set up this kind of system, the service engineers at Belar talked us through the configuration processes we needed help with, including communications with the Optimods. Belar has proven longevity as an industry supplier with all produces made in the USA, and should we need repairs moving forward the turnaround time should be very streamlined.” 

About Belar Electronics

Founded in 1964Belar Electronics Laboratory, Inc. is the world’s leading manufacturer of modulation monitors. Used by radio and TV stations globally to monitor broadcast signals, Belar products are world-renowned for accuracy and reliabilityThese benefits are also recognized worldwide by manufacturers of transmitters and audio processors, which regularly rely on Belar monitors as test instruments to ensure their products meet specifications.  Contact Belar at (610)-687-5550 or visit them on the web at http://www.belar.com.

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