Ensuring high transmission quality requires regular checks of the efficiency of the radiating systems. They must be checked to ensure that they are in line with the design specifications, avoiding power reductions or lobe distortions. ORS’s Austrian technicians have used a drone that can “measure” even the tallest towers.
Austrian public radio and television tested an innovative method of measuring antenna efficiency. The tests were carried out by theORS Group, a technical structure controlled by the public broadcaster, which is responsible for transporting content across different platforms (from terrestrial transmitters to satellite, from cable to IP). The ORS Group manages around 430 sites, regularly checking their characteristics and performance. One of the most important is on the Gaisberg (a 1288-metre mountain in the northern Alps east of Salzburg), which serves around half a million residents in Salzburg and the surrounding area.
Designed in Germany, it is shielded
The idea of using drones for measurements is not new, but the data was often inaccurate due to the large number of signals broadcast by the most important radiant systems and the high powers involved. But the apparatus developed by ARGE Rundfunk-Betriebstechnik (a working group made up of ten German broadcasting companies) has solved the problem thanks to shielding that allows more precise values to be obtained, making it possible to verify the characteristics of the signal and the angle of dip (the angle at which the signal must take when it leaves the antenna, in order to concentrate it in the desired listening area).
If the pandemic has forced radio stations to set up emergency studios in presenters’ homes in order to keep broadcasting and protect them from contagion, in Austria draconian measures were taken. The national radio station literally ‘locked up’ the presenters working for Hitradio Ö3, the pop channel of Austrian public radio ORF. Their studios in Heiligenstadt, in the 19th district of Vienna, were converted into housing and 22 people (after medical checkups) were put into isolation from March 19th to March 26th, 2020. As well as presenting their programmes live, they lived and slept in the flat for two weeks. (Hopefully none of them had tested positive after the lock in).
All the most famous voices
Apart from the Station Manager, Georg Spatt, who accompanied the team on this adventure, there were six presenters and DJs: Robert Kratky, Andi Knoll, Sheyda Kharrazi, Verena Kicker, Tina Ritschi and Tarek Adamski. The other fifteen members of staff included journalists, programming specialists and technicians. The offices were converted into rooms with bathrooms, communal areas such as a coffee bar and all essentials, from a TV to a washing machine, without forgetting the keep fit equipment. Meals were delivered through a security gate.