Dielectric has aggressively seized the market-leading position as a TV repack supplier with the order of its 500th antenna for the multi-phase repack process. Nexstar Media Group Station KSHV-DT, serving the Shreveport, LA market, will install the antenna in the first quarter of 2019 in alignment with phase 2 of the FCC repack transition schedule.
Dielectric’s 500th repack antenna is a TUA-P4-4/10H-1 SM broadband, side-mount, auxiliary antenna that the station can use on both its current and future UHF channel assignments. Dielectric custom-designed the antenna to radiate in a unique, directional, peanut-shaped pattern to optimize coverage over the Shreveport and Texarkana regions. KSHV will seamlessly transition from UHF Channel 44 to its post-repack Channel 16 once this antenna array is installed.
“Reaching this 500th antenna milestone demonstrates the level of commitment and confidence that broadcasters have in the quality of our repack antennas, our support to the broadcast industry, and the work we are doing to deliver orders to meet the transition timeline,” said Jay Martin, VP of Sales for Dielectric. “Since reaching our 500th antenna milestone with long-time customer Nexstar, we’ve taken at least 42 more orders for spectrum repack arrays, and we’re shipping about 100 antenna systems per quarter. Business is moving at a fast and furious pace.”
Of the 987 U.S. DTV stations impacted by the spectrum repack, Dielectric has provided technical designs for 917 of them, and more than half of these proposals have resulted in antenna orders. At the present time, Dielectric is focused on building and delivering antennas that are slated for installations across phases 1 to 4.
TUA antennas are ideal for broadband applications that are horizontally polarized. In addition to antennas, Dielectric brings together all required components for a standalone broadcast antenna system, including filters, switches, combiners and transmission line. This allows broadcasters to make one call for all their broadcast needs.
“There is a serious shortage of qualified crews to work on complex installations on tall towers that will likely cause an ‘installation bottleneck’ in the field, perhaps even before the end of 2018,” said Martin. “For broadcasters in danger of missing the scheduled deadlines for their main antennas for any reason, we are ready with a ‘Plan B’ through our TFU-WB Antenna Series for medium-to-high power broadcasters, and our Powerlite Series for low-power broadcasters. Both are side-mounted designs allowing for faster, easier installation that can be handled by most rigging crews. While different products, they share many of the same bandwidth characteristics and applications.”
Dielectric opened a second, repack-focused production facility last December to accommodate the large influx of repack business. This has allowed Dielectric to get out in front on the production side, and ensure faster deliveries for customers on what has become a very aggressive installation schedule. However, Martin emphasizes that broadcasters who invest in planning well in advance for larger systems will reap dividends in the end.
“We’ve especially been working to expand our WB inventory, building 8-bay modules 40 at a time, and shipping them out within weeks of order,” Martin said. “If broadcasters need the higher gain 16-bay or 24-bay WB auxiliary arrays, these more complex antenna systems require more lead time to build and ship. Therefore, broadcasters should be thinking today about lining up broadband auxiliary antennas to ease their deadline pressures, and carry them over until their permanent main antennas can be installed.”