How do I monitor my Strata RX or RXL receiver performance?
Both the Strata RX and RXL systems include a “Radio Monitor” feature incorporated into the Configurator application. Connect a computer running the Configurator application to the receiver host data port and establish a serial data connection to the radio system. Select the Radio Monitor tab. You can simultaneously monitor important receiver performance indicators, such as Signal-to-Noise-Ratio, Receive Carrier Level and Pre and Post Viterbi Bit Error Ratio. Please see the Strata RX and RXL Operator Guides for more details.
Why doesn’t the Strata Configurator automatically load my radio configuration?
The Strata TX and Strata RX Configurator applications include both on-line (connected) and off-line (disconnected) capabilities. Therefore the Configurator application requires that the user select what action is required. To ensure proper Configurator operation, the following steps should always be used when retrieving and/or modifying a Strata TX or Strata RX system configuration.
- Connect and power the Strata radio system just as it will be used in actual operation, i.e., interconnect all IF, RF and power cables and power the radio system.
- Ensure there are no system error indications, i.e., you should see a green front panel LED illuminated indicating proper system operation.
- Connect a computer with the MRC supplied Strata Configurator application installed to the radio system host data port using the DB9 serial data “null” cable supplied. For those computers equipped with a DB25 serial data (COM port) connector, it will be necessary to obtain a DB9-to-DB25 adapter. You must use the MRC supplied DB9 serial data null cable in either case.
- Start the Strata Configurator application and select the computer serial data port to which you are connected. When the Strata Configurator establishes a serial data connection to the radio system, please note the following details:
- The presence of detected system modules in the equipment list will be darkened
- The installed module firmware versions will be displayed.
- The Configurator “default” settings will be displayed in the various tabs
- You may modify the displayed system default settings if you desire after which you must use the Program Radio button to “load” these settings into the Strata radio system. You should always use the “Save Settings to File” feature after you have successfully configured your Strata system since it is usually much easier to modify a current system configuration as opposed to creating a new one.
- You may also use the “Load from File” feature to load a desired system configuration so long as the loaded configuration matches the system hardware you are configuring.
- A better method is to use the Load from Radio feature and actually retrieve the installed radio system settings. If any system settings are changed, use the main page Program Radio control to load these settings into the radio system.
Note: When the Strata Configurator establishes communications with the radio system, it also determines the RF frequency band, including the start and stop band edge frequencies, and one or two other factory only options depending on the system equipment configuration. The user cannot change these factory only settings.
Why doesn’t my HPU Blue RF Power LED light when I transmit?
Recent versions of the Strata TX HPU (2 GHz systems) incorporate a voltage comparator circuit designed to alert users if and when the HPU RF output power is below expected levels. Assuming the HPU Green (Power) LED lights when the radio system is placed in the transmit mode (TCU and/or TXU Blue transmit LED is ON), under certain conditions this RF output indicator might not light. For example, if the user adds additional RF attenuator (transmitter backoff level adjustment) this action might lower the HPU RF output power below the comparator low level threshold adjustment point. If you find that only certain presets result in not lighting the Blue HPU RF Output LED, assuming this condition is not limited to either digital or analog operating modes, it’s possible this situation can be ignored. To be certain you should connect an RF power meter to the HPU RF Output connector and measure the RF output power using all presets. MRC has recently changed the RF low output threshold point adjustment which is expected to only indicate low HPU RF output power when the HPU RF output is below 10 milliwatts. Please contact MRC Customer Service if you have any questions concerning this feature.
What is the NTSC Pedestal option – what setting should I use?
This situation has generated a lot of confusion since the correct NTSC pedestal option depends both on the video signal applied to the Strata MPEG encoder and what equippment is used to decode the digital video signal. Potential confusion results from the use of the term, “No Pedestal”. This term actually means that the Strata TX MPEG decoder “expects” a video signal applied to the Signal In jack that does NOT contain a 7.5 IRE pedestal. In this case the Strata TX MPEG encoder will add a 7.5 IRE pedestal. If the applied video input signal does contain a 7.5 IRE pedestal and this option is selected, the MPEG encoder will add an additional 7.5 IRE pedestal resulting in a 15 IRE pedestal video signal.
Use the NTSC Pedestal matrix chart below to determine which Strata TX and/or Strata RX NTSC pedestal option should be used.
NTSC Pedestal Levels
|RX Decoder||TX Encoder|
|Strata NO Pedestal||Strata Pedestal||Tandberg NO Pedestal||Tandberg Pedestal|
|Tandberg Alteia Plus||15IRE||7.5 IRE||15 IRE||7.5 IRE|
|Strata RX NO pedestal||7. 5IRE||0 IRE||7.5 IRE||0 IRE|
|Strata RX Pedestal||15 IRE||7.5 IRE||15 IRE||7.5 IRE|
- Most Tandberg MPEG decoders automatically add a 7.5 IRE pedestal.
- Both Strata TX and Tandberg encoders provide a choice of pedestal or no pedestal.
- The Strata RX decoder permits the selection of pedestal or no pedestal option.
Using the matrix above, select the combination that results in the desired 7.5 IRE video pedestal.
Can I use my Strata TXU with any HPU?
No. Strata TX systems that are ordered with a companion HPU (High Power Amplifier) are adjusted at the factory for optimum Intermodulation Distortion performance (IMD). Because the small signal gain characteristics of microwave amplifiers vary with different solid state devices, a TXU and companion HPU are adjusted as a pair. While you can use a TXU without its companion HPU, your Strata TX system will not provide optimum performance if you connect an HPU other than the unit that was intended for use with the mated TXU.
About BAS Relocation…
Can I keep using my old analog equipment?
Some equipment can be modified to meet the new 12 MHz FCC emission mask requirements. However, the picture and audio quality are greatly reduced. Nextel will replace a broadcasters analog only radio with a new analog and digital radio.
My existing radios are dual band ( 2 and 7 GHz ). Will Nextel replace these with dual band radios?
No, in most cases only the 2 GHz portion of the radio is eligible for replacement by Nextel. However, There may be unique situations where this is not feasible. Check with your local Nextel broadcast engineer for eligibility.
Are my spare analog radios eligible for replacement?
Yes, if the radio is still functional. Nextel will replace it with an analog and digital radio.
Do transmit (ENG) antennas need to be replaced?
No, there is no reason that TX antennas need to be replaced. Nextel will not provide replacements.
Do Central Receive antennas need to be replaced?
At a minimum a new PCS/MMDS filter will need to be installed. Some antennas will need a new feed assembly and other antennas will need to be completely replaced. Contact MRC for details.
Does my antenna control systems need to be replaced?
At a minimum your control systems will need to be upgraded with new software and new slave controller. In most cases the entire control system, Master Controller and slave, will need to be replaced. These upgrades or replacements are to accommodate the control and monitoring for digital operation and the 17 MHz to 12 MHz band switching.
Will I be able to upgrade my system to transport High Definition Video?
Yes, by using external HD encoders or decoders and the standard ASI ports. All MRC radios are HD ready.
Do MRC radios support a split channel operation?
Yes, MRC radios are capable of transmitting two 6 MHz wide signals in one 12 MHz band. MRC has conducted extensive field testing using split channel in a large metropolitan environment.
Are 2 GHz fixed links included in the Nextel replacement program?
Yes, All equipment operating in the 2 GHz BAS band are eligible for replacement by Nextel.
Why is the FCC taking away our analog capabilities?
The FCC is not taking away analog capabilities. As a matter of fact all replacement radios are analog and digital ready. Just remember that the analog will operate at a reduced deviation in the 12 MHz channel plan.
I already own a CR.2. Does it need to be replaced?
If you already own a CR.2 transmitter it will be upgraded with the latest software and RF modules to support the 12 MHz channel plan.
I already own a CR.4. Does it need to be replaced?
If you already own a CR.4 receiver it will be upgraded with the latest software to support the 12 MHz channel plan.
Will I be supplied loaner equipment when my existing MRC CodeRunner or Strata equipment is required to be returned to MRC for upgrade to analog and digital operation and the new 12 MHz channel band plan?
Nextel has requested that MRC adopt a “one touch” upgrade process for all existing CodeRunner and Strata transmitters and receivers. This means that any existing equipment eligible for upgrade will be replaced with a combination of new and “re-manufactured as new” components. Your existing equipment will need to be removed and the upgraded replacement system installed in it’s place. Therefore, no loaner equipment is required.
Can I send my CR2 and CR4 in now for BAS upgrade?
No. There are several steps that must occur before eligible CodeRunner or Strata is able to be upgraded. An authorized approval must be obtained from Nextel before returning any equipment to MRC for upgrade. This approval will be provided after Nextel has started the Market roll-out and station equipment verification and comparable replacement process.
How do stations that have CR2 and CR4’s retain the current channel plan, and change to the new one quickly?
The general idea is that the whole market gets digital ready radios, and one day starts running on the new channel plan. This will require a very easy method to change the channel plan of the radio. MRC has made provisions for the Operator to select between channel plans. This is a feature that is currently included in CodeRunner , Strata and MRX4000 series equipment.
Are Omni Pol. Antennas necessary for digital operations?
It is true that COFDM works exceptionally well with omni pol. Antennas. Especially when performing a “rolling” transmission (transmitting live video from a moving vehicle) or an extreme close in shot. It is recommended that a directional antenna be used for all other situations. MRC offers and antenna switch boxes as well as omni pol. antennas for upgrades.
Will COFDM work in other frequency bands?
Yes, MRC offers dual band systems. Although, Nextel will only pay for the 2 GHz portion. Customers have the option to upgrade to a dual band system ( 2 and 7 GHz).