The technology of the modern radio and TV broadcast plant is changing. Today, technology is infiltrating the physical plant at a rapid pace, but what about the basics? RF Boot Camp was developed to offer basic knowledge regarding the operations of a broadcast radio or television RF plant.
The program covers the distribution of program and data content from the studio to the RF transmission points. It is sponsored by NAB Labs.
Chairing the workshop is Garrison “Gary” Cavell, president of the engineering consultancy Cavell Mertz & Associates and editor-in-chief of the next NAB Engineering Handbook. He also is the former president of the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society.
Cavell explains the idea behind the session, “The NAB proposed this session years ago to help address the diminished opportunities for cross-training and learning. While this session cannot possibly teach everything there is to know, the intent is to provide a baseline level of understanding, and to point attendees in directions for further learning and exploration.”
He does stipulate though, “The session is not intended for accomplished, experienced engineers or those experienced in RF systems. Instead, it is intended for people in the industry who are not RF-savvy, but who find themselves having to get more and more involved with broadcast plant signal flow and the RF transmission part of the plant.”
“Our typical attendees include IT and computer networking professionals, production and news personnel, and even station managers and owners,” he said.
The boot camp is a two parter.
The morning session, 10–11:30 a.m., starts with the absolute basic: “What Is RF — How Does It Work?” It also offers a spectrum primer followed by an introduction to the basic broadcast transmission systems. The morning section ends looking at transmission infrastructure — buildings, lines, towers and antennas.
The afternoon session is longer, 2–5 p.m. It takes on RF systems in use — AM, FM, TV and microwave. It also looks at RF transmission plant safety and transmitter facility maintenance tips.
Besides himself, Cavell said that lecturers include Cindy Cavell, former television news tech manager, TV chief engineer, winner of three technical Emmy awards, the SBE/AWRT Female Engineer of the Year award and this year’s recipient of the TVNewsCheck’s Women in Technology Leadership Award; Mike Rhodes, a registered professional engineer, former president of AFCCE and newly appointed Baltimore-Washington SBE frequency co-coordinator; Dan Ryson, a former CBS Radio regional director of engineering for the Philadelphia-Pittsburgh-Baltimore-Washington and Winston-Salem markets, and member of the SBE national frequency coordinating committee; Paul Shulins, Boston regional chief for Greater Media; and John Bisset, author of the popular “Workbench” column for Radio World and a member of the Telos Alliance team.