Columbia — Premier transmitter, test and measurement and studio equipment manufacturer Rohde & Schwarz today announced WMIT-FM, which serves Asheville, N.C. (Nielsen Market #159) and surrounding areas, has cut its energy costs by 15-20 percent with its recent upgrade to an R&S THR9 FM transmitter.
Operated by the nonprofit Blue Ridge Broadcasting Corporation, WMIT delivers Contemporary Christian music to its home market of Asheville and the surrounding four-county area. However, because the station’s transmitter and antennas are sited on top of 6,600-foot Clingman’s Peak, WMIT has a potential audience of nearly five million spread across portions of seven states.
The station’s aging transmitter needing to be replaced, and Joshua Pierce, WMIT chief engineer, wanted to reduce operating costs and space requirements without sacrificing broadcast quality. He also needed a transmitter with a product life expectancy of at least 15-20 years.
With the R&S THR9, WMIT moved away from air-cooled, vacuum tube technology to a liquid-cooled, solid-state design. The station realized immediate operating cost savings, as the control room’s air conditioning requirements fell from 15 tons to 4 tons.
Installation was so simple, Pierce handled it himself in September 2015. The self-contained 20kW unit fits in a single standard rack and accepts native input of 3-phase 208V. Plus, the pump for the liquid coolant system is housed inside the transmitter cabinet, which is less than seven feet high and easily fit through the transmitter room door.
“The fit and finish and attention to details shows Rohde & Schwarz is very customer oriented,” Pierce said. “After installing the R&S THR9 liquid-cooled transmitter, I’m done with air cooled.”
Normal operation is virtually silent because all subsystems, including the power supplies in the amplifiers and the power combiner, are liquid-cooled. “When walking in the room, the only noise comes from the auxiliary equipment, and the transmitter delivers 76 percent efficiency right out of the box,” Pierce said. “I’m impressed by the fact that the pumps and cooling fans are not set and self-run, but adjust speed automatically to the temperature you set.”
As far as performance, Pierce said the R&S TCE900 exciter provides excellent audio quality without colorization. “What comes in goes out, without adding or subtracting any artifacts,” he explained. “The audio is transparent and remains true to the original.”
With an energy efficiency of up to 75 percent, the R&S THR9 family of high-power FM transmitters makes terrestrial audio broadcasting extremely efficient. Its space-saving, fully redundant liquid-cooled design lowers energy costs, minimizes space requirements, and minimizes maintenance expenses over the entire system lifetime. The R&S THR9 delivers FM output power of up to 40kW per rack, with space for additional system components or even multi-transmitter systems, allowing Rohde & Schwarz to offer the highest power density per rack.