Working within the FCC’s labyrinth of technical Rules and policies can reward a broadcaster who wants to improve coverage by upgrading a station’s transmitting facilities. H&E’s intimate knowledge of the Rules, as well as our successful experience in finding upgrade possibilities for clients, provides the capability to achieve the best possible FCC authorization. Exact projections of contours, demonstrations of terrain obstructions, and propagation predictions by alternate methods may be needed as today’s tightly-packed frequency tables are mined for remaining upgrade possibilities.
Since its founding, H&E has specialized in the design and adjustment of AM directional arrays. One of our particular strengths is the design and adjustment of antenna systems and circuitry to combine the operation of two or more stations onto a single tower or a set of towers.
In order to satisfy the full range of RF needs of broadcasters, H&E also designs point-to-point microwave links in all of the available bands (950 MHz and 2, 7, 13, 18, and 23 GHz) and completes the appropriate FCC technical forms.
H&E’s expertise in cable television matters is most often relied upon by municipal governments in the administration of their local franchises. We analyze new or rebuild system designs and conduct or evaluate proof of performance measurements, both in terms of franchise requirements and FCC technical standards.
H&E’s design and presentation capabilities are supported by extensive computing facilities, including a multi-user UNIX system and a network of Apple Macintosh desktop computers. One full-time programmer is on staff.
Our software includes proprietary programs for propagation prediction, RF exposure analysis, DTV interference analysis, method-of-moments impedance calculations, circuit design, and AM directional array optimization. Some of our software has been purchased by the FCC, and we maintain the latest available version of the FAA EMI programs.
To succeed, a broadcast station obviously must have adequate coverage. Superior coverage enhances the competitive position. At H&E, we use proprietary computer techniques to calculate coverage, with accuracy verified by our 55 years of field strength measurement experience. Combining the latest in propagation algorithms with terrain databases and U.S. Census break-downs, we determine true effective coverage through the use of in-house resources.
We can also account for interference from co- and adjacent-channel stations and even self-interference from existing or proposed booster facilities. When coverage is projected on our copyrighted constant-resolution maps, our clients can see just what areas and people they serve, or can serve, as well as how they can improve or extend that coverage. The sample map included on this website is an example of this capability. The coloring shows those areas that receive certain minimum signal levels from an actual station in San Francisco. Projection of the FCC F(50,50) contours, too, shows how inadequate they are for predicting actual coverage.
H&E has developed a complete set of allocations analysis and design tools to assist TV stations in the transition from analog NTSC to digital television (DTV) service. The tools include the full capability to perform FCC OET-69 interference analyses, which are required for the study of proposed changes to allotment facilities. Such changes could include revised antenna types and patterns, increased power and/or height, or the selection of a new transmitting site. The OET-69 methods are used in conjunction with more sophisticated terrain-sensitive coverage prediction tools to provide optimized DTV implementation solutions.
Buying a station is often the fastest way to add or expand a market for a broadcaster, and part of structuring a successful purchase is knowing the capabilities and condition of the transmitting and studio facilities. The experience of H&E’s professional staff allows us to evaluate existing facilities, anticipate capital expenditures, assess present market coverage, determine potentials for upgrade, and check compliance with FCC Rules. Due diligence services are frequently needed, and provided, on short notice.
We have been pleased to work over the years with pioneers who develop "emerging technologies," as well as with those far-sighted clients who first apply them. Digital audio broadcasting, advanced television, IVDS, and personal communications systems are all technologies with which we are or have recently been involved, and we look forward to their early commercial applications.
Most of the H&E engineers have testified as expert witnesses in court or at hearings on behalf of clients. We are credentialed by professional registration and by experience, and our expert qualifications are generally recognized and accepted by both sides. We also practice forensic engineering in the settlement of insurance claims. Increasingly, as public concerns grow over RF radiation exposure, we assist clients by explaining technical concepts to lay audiences, both in written material and in oral presentations.
Improvements to transmitting facilities can be made with great assurance of success and with minimal disruption to station operations. With our experience designing transmitting systems, preparing equipment bid specifications, evaluating proposals, and commissioning installations, H&E provides the needed technical support for a broadcaster to proceed with confidence.
Basic to improving most broadcast transmitting facilities is the need for approval from government agencies. H&E has long been known for preparing complete, thorough, and published accurate applications that meet the government’s rules and internal policies.
Particularly in this era of competition for acquiring or improving broadcasting facilities, it is essential that these filings withstand FCC and FAA staff scrutiny, as well as any competitive challenge.
Measurement of the actual radiated or received signal levels is needed in some circumstances, and H&E has capabilities second to none. Our measurements van is equipped with a 30-foot pneumatic mast, for measuring TV or radio coverage free from ground disturbances. It has also been used for special projects such as HDTV development tests. Our airborne package consists of various custom receive antennas, which may be fitted to either fixed-wing aircraft or helicopters, for AM, FM, VHF, UHF, or cable-leakage measurements; it can measure both azimuth and elevation patterns of installed antennas. Both systems utilize GPS positioning systems for navigation and for accurate recording of measurement locations. Automated recorders collect simultaneous streams of data such as position, altitude, field strength, and orientation, which our computers can reduce to coverage maps or to plots of antenna radiation patterns.
Within the FCC Rules is considerable room for site selection and antenna system design to maximize coverage. H&E has developed the analysis tools to optimize FM transmitting facilities, from site analysis to net coverage gain. This also includes FM boosters, where a poor design can cause more harm than good to a station’s coverage.
One of H&E’s early services to universities and school districts was the development of the ITFS band and the introduction of talk-back capabilities. That band now has become of commercial interest to wireless cable companies. We consult with ITFS licensees as their wireless cable partners seek to integrate and develop those markets, in accordance with the latest FCC policies.
Recent changes to FCC Rules allow common ownership of more than two stations in a single market. H&E can quickly provide the required FCC showing to define a radio market for duopoly ownership conditions.
For select clients, H&E regularly monitors all FCC activity that might affect their stations. We analyze FCC actions to see if potentially adverse ramifications exist, and we assist with necessary filings to protect against such problems. For a flat monthly fee, these retainer clients are provided with unlimited telephone consultation with our staff. They are also assured that H&E will not undertake, without their prior specific permission, work for competing stations.
With the advent of circular polarization, antenna design became even more critical to the successful improvement of a station’s plant. H&E has great experience in the design of custom antennas to maximize coverage within FCC power limits.
We literally "wrote the book" on TV transmitter RF proof measurements (see NAB publication #ISBN 0-89324-110-5), and we lead the industry in ensuring proper installation of common-mode, high-power UHF transmitters.
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Sonoma, California 95476-6509
© 2016 Hammett & Edison, Inc.