Page 1

Rigger's Digest News for the TV & Satellite Industry

Autumn 2001

Inside: Affordable Motorised DiSEqC Mount Latest Antiference Masthead Amplifiers New FTA Digital Satellite Receivers Home Distribution Solutions from Labgear Digital Terrestrial update Sky Spot NEW! Classified Ads NEW! Appointments Technical Solutions

Sky+ the future is with us!

More exclusive news updates and product reviews inside!


News for the TV & Satellite Industry

Riggers Digest now reaches over 10,000 professionals in the TV and Satellite industry throughout the UK, including installers, retailers, broadcasters and manufacturers. It is seen by many to be a useful and informative publication so we’ve decided to gather together the technical expertise and innovative ideas it takes to produce each issue and host a two day, hands on Training Show next summer. Our readers will be able to take full advantage of a comprehensive training programme, meet the manufacturers as well as ask those in

F

Contents

Rigger's Digest

45A

the know any burning technical questions. The first show will be held in London next summer so make sure you leave a space in your diaries! This issue also has lots of new features including Classified Ads, Appointments and a chance to win up to £50 of TV and Satellite equipment in this issue’s competition! Fay Bliss Editor

Product News 4 4 5 6 8 10 12 14 17 19 19 20

Sky+ introduced Affordable DiSEqC Mount New VA Fox from Humax Sky Personal Planner New Handheld Meter from Unaohm Brand new range of Antiferance Mastheads Latest Digital Satellite receivers from ADT Total control from Labgear New dual coaxial cable in time for Sky+ Truth behind Mid-stage amplifiers Revolutionary aerial Tile and Slate Clamp DAB performance

In General Solutions improves Customer Service Rigest Digest Training show Sky opens new Call Centre Digital Terrestrial update Win up to £50 of TV & Satellite products!

2 3 8 22 26

Regulars 17 25 29 31 32

Riggers Digest Solutions Group (UK) Plc National Headquarters, 1 Hartburn Close, Crow Lane Industrial Park, Northampton NN3 9UE Tel: 01604 787888 Fax: 01604 787999 e-mail: marketing@solutionsgroup-plc.com www.solutionsgroup-plc.com © 2001 Solutions Group (UK) Plc. Reproduction Prohibited. E&OE.

Autumn 2001

Sky Spot Satellite News Classified ADs Appointments Technical Solutions

1


News

new staff Hassan Shariff joins Depot Supervisor Neil Clacken at Solutions Group Wembley. Hassan, who has recently graduated with a HND in Business Studies, believes this is a unique opportunity to be part of the digital television revolution “We are the number one trade supplier, particularly in this area, because we understand the needs of installers and can provide them with the right products at the right prices” he commented. Joining Solutions Group as a Service Engineer in its digital Service Centre is Jerry Cooper. Jerry has many years experience working in the service division of a well known national retailer so is familiar with the problems which can occur with digital systems. “The benefits of having an in house service centre is that we are able to provide innovative product repairs to ensure complete customer satisfaction.” Eileen Millard has joined Solutions’s Customer Service Centre as a Customer Advisor. Eileen will be working alongside Martin Coughlan to ensure they continue to provide an efficient after sales service. Eileen has many years experience working within a customer service environment so is fully prepared to offer front line assistance to Riggers nationwide.

Autumn 2001 2

Becky Carr is the latest addition to the Solutions Group Accounts Team at Headquarters in Northampton. Becky, who is also currently studying for an NVQ in Bookeeping and Accountancy, will be working alongside Mick Craddock as a Purchase Ledger Clerk.

Solutions speeds up Customer Service Centre Solutions Group is always thinking of new ways to make your life easier, particularly when it comes to after sales assistance. Following the launch of its National Service Centre earlier this year, Solutions Group has introduced a new returns procedure which speeds up turn around times significantly.

you and Solutions Group to track the item’s progress. Once you have been given an RAN, an ‘Authorised Returned Goods Note’ will be sent to you, which must be completed and returned with the faulty goods to ensure they are replaced or repaired in the minimum time. Pace has introduced a new returns procedure which offers an immediate free replacement on ‘in warranty’ Pace set top boxes.

Now all customers will receive a yellow After Sales Support Card with their delivery, indicating the telephone number and e-mail address of both the Customer Services Department in Northampton and the Technical Support Team.

If you have a faulty box, simply call 0800 834971 and Pace will send out a replacement box the same day.

If you have a faulty item, you simply contact the Customer Service Centre on 01604 788243 to obtain a RAN (Returns Authorisation Number). This will enable

Once you have installed the new box and collected the faulty one from your customer, call Pace and they will arrange to collect it from you.

Useful Numbers! If you need to return a faulty ‘in warranty’ digibox, call the manufacturers direct on the numbers below:

Pace Sony Panasonic Grundig

0800 834971 0870 8412350 0800 1693012 0800 2986117

Digibox Update Sony has relaunched its digital satellite receiver as the new VTX-S760U.

Apart from a slight change in colour, the silver set top box is identical in appearance to Sony’s previous model. But with its improved RF screening and unique optical audio output, used in conjunction with a suitable hi-fi and optical lead, the box’s picture and sound quality promises viewers an exceptional entertainment experience!

New Digital Satellite Receiver for FTA The KDR is a brand new professional digital satellite receiver designed to receive digital signals covering 9502150MHz. The unit will receive one free to air programme from a QPSK multiplex, but many more channels can be received in that multiplex with the addition of low cost KDD modules. The KDR converts channels to A/V out and requires a modulator, such as FR’s KMU.


TrainingShow

Rebbecca Pestell has become the third field based Sales Executive to join Solutions Group (UK) plc.

Riggers Digest will be taking to the road next year for a two day Training Fair.

Rebecca, who previously worked at Headquarters in Northampton, now concentrates on giving new and existing customer a one to one service in and around the London area.

2002

The free event, which will be held in London next summer, is the only show for the TV and Satellite industry dedicated to providing installers and retailers with a comprehensive training programme. Visitors will be able to attend training sessions covering a wide range of subjects including: SMATV/ MATV Installations Digital and Analogue signal measurement DTT and Digital Satellite Systems (ITV Digital; BSkyB) H to H Installations Fibre Optic Technology Digital Satellite reception via the PC Effective signal distribution Technical experts and industry leaders

will be on hand to offer useful technical tips and answer any burning questions. And if that isn’t enough, visitors will also get the chance to meet the manufacturers behind the latest technological advancements, as well as see the products in action. “Since we launched Riggers Digest a year ago it has proved to be an enormous success with readership now exceeding 10,000!” said Editor Fay Bliss.

News

Rigger's Digest

Another one for the road

“Although we are a trade distributor of TV & Satellite equipment, we offer more than just a product range. We provide informative product literature, an efficient delivery service, a Technical System Design service and an in-house Repair centre. We also offer our customers free advertising space on tv-installers.com and comprehensive training opportunities.

“It has become an invaluable source of information for installation professionals, retailers, manufacturers and broadcasters alike, so what better way to offer practical advice and technical support first hand than to take it on the road.”

“At the end of the day, we have the ability to ensure customers receive the support and advice they need to run their retail or installation business successfully.”

If there are any subjects you would like to see featured in the training programme or you would like more information, call the show hotline on 01604 788207.

If you are a retailer or independent installer who would like to know more about the services available from Solutions Group, call 01604 787888.

Digital Service Centre Efficient in-house repair facility for analogue and digital systems

Highly trained repair engineers

Out of warranty products also serviced

Average repair cost of a Digital Satellite receiver is only £42!

Contact Customer Services Tel: 01604 788212 e-mail: customer service@solutionsgroup-plc.com

solutionsgroup

(UK)Plc


ProductNews

Sky+ to Revolutionise Television Sky+, the Personal Television Recorder (PTR) from Sky, has finally been launched onto the UK market.

DiSEqC drives affordable motorised mount

The set-top box, which has been manufactured by Pace, is the UK’s first integrated Personal Television Receiver/ Recorder and Service for Sky Digital.

As DiSEqC control becomes a standard feature of digital satellite receivers, multi-satellite digital reception is at an all time high.

Designed with two digital satellite tuners, viewers now have the option of recording one channel

Modern day consumers are becoming aware of the channels on offer from the multitude of satellites above the earth, and they rely on you, the installer, to provide the right equipment at the right price. Installing a motorised system is one way of exploring the different satellites out there, and the new SM2UNI H-H mount from SATCONTROL is a sturdy, yet affordable option for households nationwide.

whilst watching another Sky broadcast, or a pre-recorded programme. Its 40 gigabyte hard drive allows the recording of up to 20 hours of programming whilst maintaining the high digital quality of the original broadcast and without the need for video tapes. Sky+ integrates its functionality with the EPG, enabling viewers to control recordings and programme selection with ease. A new remote control has also been designed to operate the set-top box and incorporates typical VCR controls. The Sky+ box does require two feeds but is supplied with a quad LNB, which leaves two LNB outputs for additional Sky set top boxes or idtv’s.

The SM2UNI is also the first HH that can actually be programmed from the dish. There are east and west controls on the mount which enable you to align the mount using a field strength meter.

The systems set up is similar to a normal Sky digibox except ‘USING SKY+’ has been added to the Service menu on the EPG which takes you through the system’s initialisation.

Therefore, the tracking of the dish over the arc can be controlled whilst you are outside with the equipment. However, the receiver must be turned on first before you can activate the east and west controls on the mount.

The Sky+ box uses the usual subscription package to Sky channels but its recording facilities will be available for a charge of around £10.

Once you are sure the dish is following the arc correctly, you can then program the satellites into the memory of the H-H mount

‘USING SKY+’ has been added to the EPG

Autumn 2001 4

This is certainly a DiSEqC mount with a difference because it works with DiSEqC versions 1.0, 1.1 and 1.2, depending on the DiSEqC version available from the receiver It has the facility to store up to 50 satellites, indicating its compatibility with most s a t e l l i t e receivers.

‘SIGNAL TEST’ will assess the signal of both feeds

from the dish by a simple combination of presses to the east and west buttons. Alternatively you can use the more traditional, but perhaps more time consuming, method of aligning the dish via the receiver. The SM2UNI has a horizontal rotation range of 72° which will cover the majority of satellites received in the UK. It also takes up to a 110cm dish allowing for even some of the weaker satellites to be received if required. The mount is capable of moving at 1.5° per second and its “state of the art” design means it operates with very little noise. To aid installations, the mount is supplied with a bracket which can be fitted to a pole with a diameter of between 2066mm. The bracket also has a builtin scale to indicate the elevation. Once you have established the amount of elevation required by the mount, the bracket can be adjusted accordingly using the scale. The SM2UNI is also available from Solutions Group as part of a complete motorised DiSEqC pack. Contact your nearest depot for details. The new HH120 has been launched by Stab. This H-H mount has been extended another 2 inches so that it can take up to a 120cm dish. The mount is also more suitable for dishes with larger spacing between the U bolts.


The VA Fox is the latest digital satellite receiver to be added to Humax’s extensive range of set top boxes.

The input frequency range of the receiver is 950-2150MHz and has a symbol rate range of 2 21 Ms/s.

The VA FOX, a FTA receiver with embedded VIACCESS™, has some of the features of both the HUMAX FOX and the VA5200 whilst maintaining its own unique style which sets it apart from the rest.

DiSEqC 1.0 is supported making it suitable for use with 2x1 and 4x1 DiSEqC switch.

The VA FOX is housed in the same small stylish housing as that of the FOX. The only physical difference that can be noticed between the two models is the discreetly placed single card slot on the front of the receiver.

For those of you who want more, the VA FOX also supports the DiSEqC 1.2 system which will allow you to connect the receiver to a suitable DiSEqC Horizon-Horizon mount (see page 4). Installation time is very quick and navigation around the menus is extremely user friendly.

The receiver supports the VIACCESS™ encryption which is used by such broadcasters as the French TPS package, French ABSAT package, the Arab ARABESQUE package as well as many others.

Once the required channels have been downloaded, channel-changing time is less than 1 second. When you have selected the channels you want, the box will also support wide screen transmissions, subtitles, teletext, multiple audio transmissions and the electronic program guide.

ProductNews

Humax launches new receiver

Humax has also added the feature of upgrading software via the ASTRA Satellites at 19.2deg EAST to ensure viewers experience all the latest updates. For more information on the range of Humax receivers available, call your nearest Solutions Group depot.

The VAFOX is fully MPEG-2 and DVB compliant and capable of receiving SCPC (Single Channel Per Carrier) & MCPC (Multiple Channel Per Carrier), from C & KU band satellites.

NEW PRE-AMPLIFERS

Fig.1 Pre-amplifying all channels

A T

Three new UHF pre-amplifiers for Fracarro K Series are now available. Ideal for amplifying a low level channel or group of channels before equalisation and launch. Available in Wideband (2160), Band IV (21-37) and Band V (38-68). These units are powered from the K Series PSU (KP35).

Model Frequency (Stock Code) Range

Gain

CH 21-35

17dB

108dBµV

MPO5AF

CH 36-68 606-862MHz

14dB

108dBµV

MP45AF

CH 21-68

15dB

108dBµV

(86905)

(86922)

470-596MHz

470-860MHz

A T

T

K K K K K

K K K K K

Fig. 3 Pre-amplifying weaker signals from another transmitter

A 45A

F

each

T

T

K K K K K K K K K K

© 2001 Solutions Group (UK) Plc. Reproduction Prohibited. All offers subject to availability and may be changed without prior notice. All prices exclude VAT, CP&I, E&OE.

Autumn 2001

£9.50

Fig. 2 Pre-amplifying a group of weaker channels

Maximum Output

MPO4AF (86888)

K K K K K K K K K K

5


ProductNews

Binley is top of the class! Solutions Group customer Binley Aerial & Satellite Services Limited has been awarded The CAI 2001 Company of the Year Award at this years CAI Show held in June. The company, based in Coventry, came out top in the CAI’s inspection reports between May 2000 and May 2001, proving to be an all round excellent company. Frank Downes, Managing Director of Binley Aerial & Satellite Services Ltd, received his award from Richard Stallworthy, National Accounts Manager at Solutions Group. Frank was very proud to have been given the award and the plaque will take "pride of place" in his showroom.

Extended Personal Planner for Sky+ The recently launched Personal Planner has been extended to give DTH Sky viewers complete control of their Sky+ box. The service, which has become an integral part of the EPG and reminds viewers when a particular programme is about to start, amongst other things, can now describe the status of each programme featured in the viewers programme schedule when used with a Sky+ set top box. A number of status descriptions can be listed including ‘RECORDED’, ‘PART REC’ or simply ‘VIEWED’ in order to enable viewers to monitor the hard drive’s content. The Sky+ Planner also conveniently indicates the available disk space just above the menu.

key which will allow viewers to copy programmes onto a VCR tape. The ‘Series Link’ function in the Sky+ Planner works in a similar way to the Series Link in the standard Personal Planner, except it will enable the automatic recording of the correct sequence of episodes within a particular series onto the hard drive rather than just remind the viewer an episode is about to start. Once the hard drive is full, programmes can easily be deleted or copied onto a tape.

Unlike the Personal Planner on a standard Sky digibox, which includes an ‘Autoview’ key to allow the VCR to record a programme unattended, the recording facility on the Sky + box is activated via the box’s remote controls. The Sky+ Planner does have a ‘Copy’ /////

CUSTOMER CALLBACKS ARE EXPENSIVE! Do you supply TVs, Satellite Receivers, VCRs or DVDs? As high as 30% of Customer Call Backs for audio and video faults have turned out to be loose SCART connectors. NOW Solutions Group offers a Low Cost SCART Lock that really grips the SCART connector without any modification!

“...And it really works! They say the simplest ideas are the best. This is certainly a simple - but ingenious - solution to a common problem and well worth using”. What Satellite, August 2001 L CIA RY SPEUCTO RO E! INT PRIC

Buy 10 and pay only

£1.50

Normal Trade Price

£1.99 each

For more details contact Solutions Group on Tel: 01604 787888 Fax: 01604 787999 © 2001 Solutions Group (UK) Plc. Reproduction Prohibited. All offers subject to availability and may be changed without prior notice. All prices exclude VAT, CP&I, E&OE.

Stock Code: 87109


Global Hotel Components SKY A

Spe Priccial e

...

SMC

(Satellite Master Controller)

£109.99

each

Normally £126.98 each stock code: 83981

al Speiccie Pr

5 Channel Sky Digibox Rack

£649

each

Normally £699 each

Equaliser/Combiner

£89.74

stock code: 84916

each

stock code: 86293

Call your nearest supplier for more details: Edinburgh Northampton [HQ] 01604 787888 Fax. 01604 787999 Wembley 0208 451 1777 Fax. 0208 451 1223

Birmingham 0121 544 0220 Fax. 0121 544 0440 Cheshire 01260 299658 Fax. 01260 299674

0131 448 2900 Fax. 0131 448 2626

Woolwich 0208 316 0123 Fax. 0208 316 0126

Glasgow 0141 849 7440 Fax. 0141 849 7445 Dorset 01202 624441 Fax. 01202 632453 Manchester 0161 746 8595 Fax. 0161 746 8596

Nottingham 0115 982 6400 Fax. 0115 982 6020 East Yorkshire 01482 222295 Fax. 01482 222213 Tyne & Wear 0191 487 7676 Fax. 0191 487 6699

Sheffield 0114 2880111 Fax. 0114 2880333 Leeds 0113 236 1111 Fax. 0113 236 1122 Hertfordshire 01992 789650 Fax. 01992 789651 Berkshire 01344 621531 Fax. 01344 624526

© 2001 Solutions Group (UK) Plc. Reproduction Prohibited. All offers subject to availability and may be changed without prior notice. All prices exclude VAT, CP&I, E&OE.

D VE ...

PPRO


ProductNews

Sound and vision quality starts at the top! A brand new range of Masthead Amplifiers has just been launched by Terrestrial television specialist, Antiference.

All products are fully screened, to protect signals from external interference, and are built with a flip top lid for easy access to all components for connection or line power.

line-power through facilities on one or more leg thereby enabling simple installation in conjunction with one or more masthead amplifier.

The new products, which have been designed specifically for domestic and small commercial property markets, consists of Masthead Amplifiers, Combiner/ Splitters, Diplexers and MultiRoom Kits.

The design incorporates saddle and clamp connections and you will find that the cable aligns with the centre terminal as you push it through the outer braid saddle.

Of particular interest will be the range of Multi-Room kits, which incorporate both the amplifier and power supply unit. With the increasing demand for additional TV/FM points in even the smallest of dwellings, these represent a very simple and cost effective way of meeting customer requirements.

Also included within the range is a universal power supply, designed to meet the power requirements of the entire range of new models.

Once the connections are tightened, the screened lid can be easily replaced with the weather proofed grommets put back into place.

All units designed for external locations are housed within a weatherproof housing incorporating rubber grommets on all cable entries.

Both low and high gain, grouped and wideband units are available.

The ‘head room’ on the new range of amplifiers has been considerably improved to prevent installers from accidentally overloading the units with analogue signal when trying to increase the digital signal, thus reducing the risk of encountering problems in the field.

The heavy duty ABS housing is fitted with a steel bracket and supplied with a 1.5-2 inch V-bolt and clamp. The bracket is also reversible to allow for surface mounting.

A range of diplexers/ combiners are also available in the same format. All incorporate

Full specifications and pricing details are available from your local Solutions Group Depot.

AD70

Handheld QPSK & Digital Satellite Meter Specifications Measures all parameters required for digital satellite (QPSK) distribution including True BER, SNR, RF level, frequency offset. Variable symbol range from 1-30 Mbaud. Programmable LNB voltage supply with 22KHz tone switching and DiSEqC.

NEW!

Handheld, battery powered meter weighing only 600g!

For more details contact Solutions Group (UK) plc Tel: 01604 787888 Fax: 01604 787999 © 2001 Solutions Group (UK) Plc. Reproduction Prohibited. All offers subject to availability and may be changed without prior notice. All prices exclude VAT, CP&I, E&OE.


Masthead Range Amplfiers UP15U UP25U UP25A/B/CD UP17U/0V UP17U/18F Multi-room kits UX2 UX3 UX4

Low noise, UHF wideband High gain, UHF wideband High gain, grouped UHF amp, VHF combine UHF/FM combiner amp

2-out UHF amp and P1200 3-out UHF amp and P1200 2-in 4-out UHF/FM and P1200

Wideband Combiner/Splitter UC1000 2-into-1 or 1-into-2 UC3000 3-into-1 or 1-into-3 Diplexers UD22U/F UD20U/V UD3437 UD3739 UD5355

Bra nd Ran NEW Ava ge ilab NOW le !

UHF/FM UHF/VHF Up to ch 34/ ch 37 and above Up to ch 37/ ch 39 and above Up to ch 53/ ch 55 and above

Screened

Easy to use

Cable Connections

®

Available from your local trade supplier: Northampton [HQ] Wembley 01604 787888 0208 451 1777

Birmingham 0121 544 0220

Cheshire 01260 299658

Edinburgh 0131 448 2900

Glasgow 0141 849 7440

Dorset 01202 624441

0191 487 7676

Fax. 01604 787999

Fax. 0208 451 1223

Fax. 0121 544 0440

Fax. 01260 299674

Fax. 0131 448 2626

Fax. 0141 849 7445

Fax. 01202 632 453

Fax. 0191 487 6699

Manchester 0161 746 8595

Woolwich 0208 316 0123

Nottingham 0115 982 6400

Leeds 0113 236 1111

Hertfordshire 01992 789650

Berkshire 01344 621531

East Yorkshire 01482 222295

Sheffield 0114 288 0111

Fax. 0161 746 8596

Fax. 0208 316 0126

Fax. 0115 982 6020

Fax. 0113 236 1122

Fax. 01992 789651

Fax. 01344 624526

Fax. 01482 222213

Fax. 0114 288 0333

Tyne & Wear

NEW!

© 2001 Solutions Group (UK) Plc. Reproduction Prohibited. All offers subject to availability and may be changed without prior notice. All prices exclude VAT, CP&I, E&OE.


ProductNews

ProductNews

Access all areas with an ‘Advanced’ digital receiver A new range of digital satellite receivers has just been released onto the UK market by Korean manufacturer ADT. The PIXX ADT1200 and the PIXX ADT3500 have been designed by ‘Advanced Digital Technology’ to perform as free-to-air receivers with access to encrypted channels via the ADT3500 model. Here, Andrew Bull reviews the models on offer. ADT's new entry level model is the PIXX ADT1200 which is a FTA (free-to-air) receiver. It is one of the most compact digital satellite receivers around, measuring a mere 250mm x 175mm x 65mm. It is housed in a black casing with a channel display and weighs only 1.2kg. On the front panel you will find the standby button as well as the channel up and down functions with all other controls activated via the remote control. The channel display will indicate whether or not the receiver is in standby and which channel you are on. At the back of the receiver, you will find an F type LNB input, a TV and VCR scart for simple and quick connection to other

the local oscillator settings, unlike other receivers. If you are only downloading from one satellite, then really its is just a case of following the onscreen options by pressing ‘OK’ until you are asked to choose the satellite you want. Once you have selected the satellite you require, just leave the receiver alone to download. Download time from major satellites such as HOTBIRD and ASTRA is very quick and you will be watching the channels you want in no time at all. Throughout the installation, a guide is presented on the left hand side of the screen indicating where you are in the installation process and how far you have

a truly versatile machine capable of receiving SCPC (single channel per carrier) and MCPC (multiple channel per carrier) transmissions. It has the usual full FEC range as well as auto detection and supports 4:3 and 16:9 video formats. It can store up to 2000 TV and Radio channels or 1024 transponder settings. The power consumption is a maximum of 25W, but it the ADT1200 has no modulator. The receiver does have its own EPG guide as well as the added function of a pause button on the remote control which will pause the current picture. The ADT1200 will support subtitles as well as multi soundtrack broadcasts giving the best of both worlds. The receiver will also allow you to access teletext from your TV remote control. By pressing the TXT button on the ADT's handset, you will be informed whether or not the channel has teletext and if it does you also have the option to disable it. For those wishing to view encrypted channels, the new ADT3500 is a FTA (freeto-air) receiver with twin common interface.

applications and two RCA connectors so you can connect the box to a HI-FI. RS232 interface is another feature for future software upgrades and the transferal of data from one receiver to another. The mains lead is fitted with a UK mains plug so you do not need to fiddle with awkward adaptors. The receiver ’s remote control is ergonomically designed to allow full access to all the main functions you require without having to readjust your grip.

Autumn 2001 12

Once the receiver is turned on, getting started couldn't be easier. You are greeted by the welcome screen where you are asked to choose the language you require, the default being English. ADT have gone out of their way to make the installation as simple as they can. They have assumed the system you are modifying has a standard universal LNB, so in most cases you won't have to change

to go, giving you the reassurance that something is actually happening. The ADT1200 supports DiSEqC functionality allowing for connection to a suitable DiSEqC switch so the user can gain access to more than one satellite when used with an appropriate dish and LNB set-up. For those who want more, the receiver has DiSEqC 1.2 and when used with a suitable DiSEqC horizon-horizon mount, such as SM2UNI from SATCONTROL pictured right, it can scan the skies for numerous satellites. The ADT1200 will work with PAL and NTSC transmissions making it suitable for those who like to watch feeds from American sources. The receiver is fully DVB complaint and has a symbol rate range of 1-45Msps making it //

The box is available in the popular champagne colour with the standby button on the front of the receiver as well as a menu, ok, volume + & - and the channel up and down buttons. The LCD display is behind a bubble see through facia and the twin common interface slots are concealed behind the front panel. The remote control operates the same as the ADT1200. Once powered up, the ADT3500 software is very similar to the ADT1200, maintaining their unique but user friendly plug and play operations to get the user up and running. Navigation around the menus are very simple and a pin number is required before you can change any vital settings that affect your viewing. The only change to the menu is the added option of the Common Interface consolation which will inform the user of what type of CAM (Conditional Access Module) is inserted if any, plus

the viewing card information if inserted in to the CAM. The receiver has a favourite TV/Radio channel list which allows the person to select the channels that they view or listen to regularly without having to go through the hundreds or thousands of channels which may have been downloaded in to the receiver's memory.

By accessing the TV or Radio edit functions of the receiver you can then move, lock rename, delete, sort, and create your favourite channels list enabling you to fully edit the services that you can receive. If you wish to switch between two channels the receiver has a recall button, but it will only recall the last one you were watching. By pressing ‘select’, a list will appear down

the left hand side of the screen. You can move up and down one channel at a time or you can jump a page at a time making it quicker to get through a vast amount of channels. To find out more technical information about the program you are watching press the “I” button and you will be given the normal on screen display plus the frequency, polarity, symbol rate and PIDS (Package Identifier).

COMPLETE MOTORISED DiSEqC PACK Contains:

Universal DiSEqC H-H Mount

0.7dB Universal LNB (Alps)

75cm or 90cm Quality Dish

Wall Mount (not pictured)

(1.0/1.1/1.2)

Stock Code

67

FROM...

£

.99

Description

TRADE PRICE

BULK PRICE (6+)

£13.53 £16.85

87126

75 (70x88)cm Dish

£15.99

87143

90 (85x95)cm Dish

£19.99

82145

0.7dB LNB

£10.49

87092

H-H Mount

£39.95

01480

Wall Mount

£6.19

£9.99 £38.63 £5.84

For further details contact Solutions Group Tel: 01604 787888 Fax 01604 787999 © 2001 Solutions Group (UK) Plc. Reproduction Prohibited. All offers subject to availability and may be changed without prior notice. All prices exclude VAT, CP&I, E&OE.


ProductNews

ProductNews

Access all areas with an ‘Advanced’ digital receiver A new range of digital satellite receivers has just been released onto the UK market by Korean manufacturer ADT. The PIXX ADT1200 and the PIXX ADT3500 have been designed by ‘Advanced Digital Technology’ to perform as free-to-air receivers with access to encrypted channels via the ADT3500 model. Here, Andrew Bull reviews the models on offer. ADT's new entry level model is the PIXX ADT1200 which is a FTA (free-to-air) receiver. It is one of the most compact digital satellite receivers around, measuring a mere 250mm x 175mm x 65mm. It is housed in a black casing with a channel display and weighs only 1.2kg. On the front panel you will find the standby button as well as the channel up and down functions with all other controls activated via the remote control. The channel display will indicate whether or not the receiver is in standby and which channel you are on. At the back of the receiver, you will find an F type LNB input, a TV and VCR scart for simple and quick connection to other

the local oscillator settings, unlike other receivers. If you are only downloading from one satellite, then really its is just a case of following the onscreen options by pressing ‘OK’ until you are asked to choose the satellite you want. Once you have selected the satellite you require, just leave the receiver alone to download. Download time from major satellites such as HOTBIRD and ASTRA is very quick and you will be watching the channels you want in no time at all. Throughout the installation, a guide is presented on the left hand side of the screen indicating where you are in the installation process and how far you have

a truly versatile machine capable of receiving SCPC (single channel per carrier) and MCPC (multiple channel per carrier) transmissions. It has the usual full FEC range as well as auto detection and supports 4:3 and 16:9 video formats. It can store up to 2000 TV and Radio channels or 1024 transponder settings. The power consumption is a maximum of 25W, but it the ADT1200 has no modulator. The receiver does have its own EPG guide as well as the added function of a pause button on the remote control which will pause the current picture. The ADT1200 will support subtitles as well as multi soundtrack broadcasts giving the best of both worlds. The receiver will also allow you to access teletext from your TV remote control. By pressing the TXT button on the ADT's handset, you will be informed whether or not the channel has teletext and if it does you also have the option to disable it. For those wishing to view encrypted channels, the new ADT3500 is a FTA (freeto-air) receiver with twin common interface.

applications and two RCA connectors so you can connect the box to a HI-FI. RS232 interface is another feature for future software upgrades and the transferal of data from one receiver to another. The mains lead is fitted with a UK mains plug so you do not need to fiddle with awkward adaptors. The receiver ’s remote control is ergonomically designed to allow full access to all the main functions you require without having to readjust your grip.

Autumn 2001 12

Once the receiver is turned on, getting started couldn't be easier. You are greeted by the welcome screen where you are asked to choose the language you require, the default being English. ADT have gone out of their way to make the installation as simple as they can. They have assumed the system you are modifying has a standard universal LNB, so in most cases you won't have to change

to go, giving you the reassurance that something is actually happening. The ADT1200 supports DiSEqC functionality allowing for connection to a suitable DiSEqC switch so the user can gain access to more than one satellite when used with an appropriate dish and LNB set-up. For those who want more, the receiver has DiSEqC 1.2 and when used with a suitable DiSEqC horizon-horizon mount, such as SM2UNI from SATCONTROL pictured right, it can scan the skies for numerous satellites. The ADT1200 will work with PAL and NTSC transmissions making it suitable for those who like to watch feeds from American sources. The receiver is fully DVB complaint and has a symbol rate range of 1-45Msps making it //

The box is available in the popular champagne colour with the standby button on the front of the receiver as well as a menu, ok, volume + & - and the channel up and down buttons. The LCD display is behind a bubble see through facia and the twin common interface slots are concealed behind the front panel. The remote control operates the same as the ADT1200. Once powered up, the ADT3500 software is very similar to the ADT1200, maintaining their unique but user friendly plug and play operations to get the user up and running. Navigation around the menus are very simple and a pin number is required before you can change any vital settings that affect your viewing. The only change to the menu is the added option of the Common Interface consolation which will inform the user of what type of CAM (Conditional Access Module) is inserted if any, plus

the viewing card information if inserted in to the CAM. The receiver has a favourite TV/Radio channel list which allows the person to select the channels that they view or listen to regularly without having to go through the hundreds or thousands of channels which may have been downloaded in to the receiver's memory.

By accessing the TV or Radio edit functions of the receiver you can then move, lock rename, delete, sort, and create your favourite channels list enabling you to fully edit the services that you can receive. If you wish to switch between two channels the receiver has a recall button, but it will only recall the last one you were watching. By pressing ‘select’, a list will appear down

the left hand side of the screen. You can move up and down one channel at a time or you can jump a page at a time making it quicker to get through a vast amount of channels. To find out more technical information about the program you are watching press the “I” button and you will be given the normal on screen display plus the frequency, polarity, symbol rate and PIDS (Package Identifier).

COMPLETE MOTORISED DiSEqC PACK Contains:

Universal DiSEqC H-H Mount

0.7dB Universal LNB (Alps)

75cm or 90cm Quality Dish

Wall Mount (not pictured)

(1.0/1.1/1.2)

Stock Code

67

FROM...

£

.99

Description

TRADE PRICE

BULK PRICE (6+)

£13.53 £16.85

87126

75 (70x88)cm Dish

£15.99

87143

90 (85x95)cm Dish

£19.99

82145

0.7dB LNB

£10.49

87092

H-H Mount

£39.95

01480

Wall Mount

£6.19

£9.99 £38.63 £5.84

For further details contact Solutions Group Tel: 01604 787888 Fax 01604 787999 © 2001 Solutions Group (UK) Plc. Reproduction Prohibited. All offers subject to availability and may be changed without prior notice. All prices exclude VAT, CP&I, E&OE.


ProductNews

Total Control from Labgear There is growing awareness of Labgear's latest ranges of in-home distribution products among professional installers. Labgear has led this technology for many years and recently has been working quietly to upgrade and expand its comprehensive ranges. In doing so it has moved away from its rivals in making reliable, easy-to-install systems. Here Labgear’s Technical Manager Andy Wade takes a closer look at the products on offer. The company's latest release of products provides effective home distribution solutions and clearly appeals to those installers looking to develop new business opportunities with consumers. Digitally equipped homes now number almost one in three, yet in the majority of cases the new channels are only accessible on one main TV screen. What better time could there be to take advantage of the simple idea of distributing set-top box outputs around the home? Often householders are completely unaware that this is possible, but once seduced by the prospect of having 'digital' channels available on all their sets, along with the ability to work the remote control from other rooms, an irresistible consumer demand is created. Many homes already have simple aerialfed distribution systems with a 4- or 8-way amplifier. When these households go digital, there exists an ideal opportunity to upgrade the system to distribute set-top box and VCR outputs. Equally, why not add high quality FM and DAB radio signals for those mini hi-fi systems in the study and children's bedrooms?

domestic system handling satellite IF as well as VHF and UHF signals. The MRX351 (1+4-way) and MRX390 (1+8-way) units are ideal when a digital satellite installation is done at the same time. They are also the perfect choice for new-build and major refurbishment projects. The MRX290 (1+8-way) has a single main input and is for installations in flats where the signals arrive on one cable from a multiswitch, rather than from individual aerials. Customers concerned about security will appreciate the auxiliary UHF input provided on these products. It allows connection of a CCTV camera (via a modulator) and the signal is available on all connected TVs. MSR Amplifiers The MSR ranges are enhanced infra-red capable versions of the classic multi-way amplifier. MSRs are the ideal way to upgrade older systems to add IR control capability - usually this just involves adding a new cable run from the set-top box location to the amplifier input, and swapping the old amplifier for an MSR.

Handylink Digital Each of the three Handylink Digital products forms the hub of a comprehensive Product Family Handylink Digital MRX351 MRX390 MRX290

Autumn 2001 14

The MSR3x0 range features separate VHF inputs and a special radio output which allows the installer to provide a dedicated

radio outlet for the main hi-fi system in the lounge (another example of how Labgear's carefully thought-out equipment allows you to do a first class job!). Infra-red options Labgear offers two quite distinct IR extender systems for use with the new products (see the features panel below). Infra-red accessories are ordered separately from the main amplifier units, allowing the installer optimum choice in their selection of hardware. Handylink control is an IR re-emission system and requires a base unit near to the controlled equipment. It is compatible with most manufacturers' products, including digital satellite and digital terrestrial settop boxes and almost all VCRs. This system will appeal to the customer who wishes to control several items of equipment from remote rooms. The Labgear Digilink system is for the customer who only wants to control a Sky Digibox. No base unit is needed with this system, which works directly via the RFOUT 2 connector of the Digibox. In a Digilink equipped system, RF-OUT 2 of the Digibox must connect directly to the Labgear distribution unit, in other words the Digibox must be the last item in the UHF loop-through chain.

Feature Summary Convenient one-box wiring hub for the full-featured home system Inputs for satellite IF, UHF TV and VHF radio bands Outputs for ‘master’ outlet, plus 4 or 8 other rooms UHF ‘uplink’ feed for distributing set-top box and VCR outputs Full infra-red remote control of set-top equipment from remote rooms Comply with Sky specifications for ‘Sky Homes’ use

MSR Amplifiers MSR1x0 MSR3x0

Enhanced multi-way VHF/UHF amplifiers Full infra-red remote control return from all outputs MSR120 & MSR140 - one VHF/UHF input, 2 or 4 outputs MSR340, MSR360, MSR380 - separate VHF & UHF inputs, 4, 6 or 8 outputs, plus extra VHF radio output Ideal for upgrading older systems

Handylink infrared system

The total control solution - compatible with most IR remote controls MRX120 starter kit - all items for control from one remote room MRX110 room kit - adds control from one additional point

Labgear Digilink infra-red system

Economical and discreet control for Sky Digiboxes MRX930 room kit - provides Digibox control from one remote room

Outlet Plates Labgear now has a comprehensive range of fully screened outlet plates for the digital home. Single ‘IEC’ and ‘F’ types Diplexed - Radio & TV Triplexed - TV, Radio and SAT Designed for UK wall boxes (not modified European units) High screening performance ideal for DTT Optional built in secondary telephone socket on most types Combines triplexed master outlet, UHF uplink inlet and phone point all on one 2-gang plate (type PSW242T). Ideal for use with Handlink digital products.


Spot

Raydex/CDT, the leading manufacturer in the UK for TV cables, have developed a cable solution for the new Sky+ system. The development engineering team at Skelmersdale have been working in conjunction with Sky to produce a cable for the new Sky+ set top box that requires two signal feeds for the built-in dual tuner. The new twin coaxial cable called 'CT63 Dual', is available on 100 metre reels. This cable, the first to be tested and approved by Sky for use with Sky+ installations, has been designed to be aesthetically acceptable and electrically correct. Typical questions that have been asked by installers so far when considering the new cable are as follows: Q: Why is the cable so small? A: Drilling holes for cable access can be time consuming and noisy and can be the cause of concern for a customer. The new dual cable rolls up to an O/D of less than 9.7mm fitting the 10mm hole previously drilled to take the single CT100 coaxial it replaces. Q: What's the longest length run of cable that you can use? A: Typically up to 25 metres depending on local conditions. You should consider switching to CT100 for runs of 30 metres and over. Q: Does the quad LNB indicate that you might need to install up to four CT 63 from Raydex cable feeds from the dish? A: Yes, and this is another good reason for using the smaller cable which is available in a CT63 single or dual version. The impact of four of the smaller cables on a wall is considerably less than four CT100 cables. Q: What about bending the cable during installation? A: Double screened tape and braid 'CT' cables are designed to give optimum performance for fixed installations. A minimum-bending radius of 25mm is recommended to avoid bursting the outer foil screen. When bending the dual cable to one side simply clip/secure the cable before the bend area, bend the cable allowing the dual coaxial to twist, then clip/secure the cable again after the bend area. Each coaxial has been designed to

DC In-car charger for Unaohm EP313 & EP314

take an equal length path meaning that the cable will tend to roll slightly away from the wall. This is considered acceptable and quite normal. Q: What connectors and clips should I use for the new dual cable? A: 'F' connectors and Shotgun cable clips are available from your nearest Solutions Group depot. Do not attempt to nail the cable to the wall through the web between the two coaxial components. Q: Is there a danger of signals crossing between the two coaxial cables? A: The dual coaxial cables run side by side and any 'crosstalk' between the two would cause major problems. The new cable has been designed with a heavy copper screen to prevent signal transfer from one cable to the other. Q: What's the best way to split the cable down the centre to fit the connectors? A: Start the tear on the centre web with a sharp knife then simply peel the two coaxial cables apart as far as required to reach the terminations on the set top box or LNB. Tearing the cable apart without starting it off with a Stanley knife can result in the loss of insulation from one coaxial or the other. Q: When can I get hold of the new cable? A: The cable is available now. Call Solutions Group for more details.

NE

W!

Plugs into EP314 & EP313 models For more details call Solutions Group on 01604 787888

Sky have recently introduced a new interactive service for consumers that installers should also find very useful. It’s called 'Sky Enquiries' and can be found at option 6 in the Interactive section of the Sky Guide. Designed to answer some of the most asked questions as well as solve common problems, the service is easy to navigate through a simple menu system. On entering the Sky Enquiries domain, customers are given four initial options: Questions and Answers; Technical Assistance; Other Services; Feedback. Questions and Answers When this option is selected customers are asked to select from four headings: Financial; Sky Box Office; Subscriptions; General. Financial answers questions about billing and subscription; Sky Box Office provides answers about ordering Box Office movies and explains the occasional use of Macrovision copy protection; Subscription answers questions on the available options and shows how to get detailed information. General, as the name implies, answers enquiries on various subjects including Sky Text, PIN numbers etc. Technical Assistance This option from the initial menu will probably prove the most useful for installers. The four options presented on entering this section lead to answers on the Sky Remote Control as well as picture and sound problems. It offers solutions to common reception problems encountered by consumers and also describes the process of performing a ‘Connection Check’. Other Services This is a special section Sky uses for receiving contributions from selected focus groups of customers on a wide range of subjects. Focus Group members have a special ‘Sky Service Key’ that must be entered before this section will operate. Feedback The last item in the Sky Enquiries menu is 'Feedback'. This section gives viewers the opportunity to forward comments on to both the Customer Service Team and Technical Team at BSkyB. The new Sky Enquiries service contains a wealth of useful information and solutions that will not only be a useful service for consumers. It will also help the installer by answering many of the questions and solving the problems that have previously involved a return visit to the site. For this reason alone it is well worth bringing the new service to customers' attention and giving a small demonstration of its features as part of a professional installation.

Autumn 2001

Fits all standard in-car cigarette lighters

I'm glad you asked me that…

ProductNews

CT63 Dual Coaxial available in time for Sky+ launch

17


TAKE TWO? 0% oorffder Receive 5 drill bit your nexnt you buy a whe ill for Bosch Dr £299.99 24V GBH 24VRE Drill or 24V GBH 24VFR Super fast 15 minute charger 2 1.7AH batteries available with 24VRE model Electronic charge indicator Offer ends 30st of November

For more information please call Solutions Group Headquarters: Tel: 01604 787888 Fax: 01604 787999 © 2001 Solutions Group (UK) Plc. Reproduction Prohibited. All offers subject to availability and may be changed without prior notice. All prices exclude VAT, CP&I, E&OE.


Richard Stallworthy Product Manager Solutions Group (UK) plc I read an article recently comparing the benefits of “mid-stage” amplifiers with conventional amplifiers using input level control attenuators. It was an article penned by a well-known distributor and was less than honest in its appraisal of the benefits of the “mid-stage” design without showing the negatives as well. The conclusions were as expected extolling only his version of the facts. You wouldn’t expect the MATV industry to be a follower of fashion; in fact most of the principle players are beyond their 50’s heading fast towards the cardigan and slippers era. Yet there seems a definite fashion swing towards launch amplifiers with built-in “midstage” level control. “Mid-stage” attenuation can have benefits but it is not the only way to control amplified signals and can actually degrade the possible signal quality available. It can also introduce the danger of cross-modulation and inter-modulation components if the uncontrolled pre-amplifier is overloaded. Turning the “mid-stage” attenuator will not reduce the input signal to a manageable level. Most supporters of the built-in preamplifier/ “mid-stage” attenuator design claim it is the only way to amplify DTT signals and that other methods are inferior. This is evidently misleading.

The principle of pre-amplifying the incoming signal before setting the launch output level required is not disputed. The question is, where is the best place for the pre-amplifier? Amplifiers work best when running near maximum where their inherent noise figure has least effect on the amplified signal. A pre-amplifier built-in to the launch amplifier might be convenient, but normally the MATV head-end is some distance from the receiving aerials so the down-lead cable attenuates the incoming signal before reaching the pre-amplifier (see Fig.1). This consequently reduces the available carrier to noise ratio unnecessarily before the signal is preamplified. The reason for their support of this method is that in-line variable attenuators reduce the carrier to noise ratio of the required signal as the amount of attenuation increases. So in conventional designs where the attenuator is at the input to the amplifier, there is a risk of degrading the carrier to noise ratio of the incoming signal. Their solution is to increase the signal level before control. There is no dispute about this. Increasing the signal level before control will reduce carrier to noise problems. But why position the pre-amplifier at the bottom of the down-lead cable in the first

Who wants Noise?

place? The best place surely, for the preamplifier is at the top of the mast next to the aerial as soon as the signal is received and where the carrier to noise ratio is at its best (see Fig. 2).The message is “amplify the signal before you lose it, not afterwards”. Using a high quality screened masthead pre-amplifier with high output capability before the down-lead cable losses are incurred will give better results than putting the pre-amplifier in the same casing as the launch amplifier. Using a masthead amplifier has several benefits. 1. Pre-amplifies the signal before downlead losses. 2. Installer chooses the level of preamplifier to suit the job. 3. Reduces the amount of gain in one box. 4. Generally cheaper for a better result! So you see, “mid-stage” pre-amplifiers are not new. A good masthead amplifier and conventional launch amplifier with input level control forms the equivalent in technique to a “mid-stage” design and will work better in most cases. The important measurement is not to arrive at the input of the launch amplifier with too much signal. So a launch amplifier with a 120dBuV maximum output (subject to the number of channels) and 40dB gain cannot have more than 80dBuV of signal input. At least with a masthead amplifier, we can choose one with the right amount of gain to achieve this required level. After all it’s only a fashion!

Why is the use of a pre-amplifier a more important aspect to think about than the use of a launch amplifier? This is a question Technical Director, Jeremy Kennedy, is asked all to frequently. Here, he takes a closer look at the benefits of ??? Firstly, we have to understand or at least accept that to provide consumers with a quality picture, you need to provide the Television or Set top box with an adequate signal level. The Television signal must be sufficiently free from noise, commonly referred to as C/N (Carrier to Noise). As we know, if the signal level is too low from the aerial, no amplifier will achieve a clean, noise free picture, because the received C/N will already be too poor. NF (Noise Figure) is the method used to measure the amount of noise that any amplifier or component adds to our ' clean' Television signals. The aerial is the best source of achieving more signal, as anything we place after this point will add noise and reduce the C/N ratio. Data sheets, or technical brochures, are available to indicate specifications for the NF of amplifiers. So, the first point to mention is that the first amplifier has the most significant impact upon the final C/N, emphasising the fact that it should be chosen accurately to ensure it has a low NF. Secondly, the location of this first amplifier is important because it can maintain the best C/N for system. Let me explain why. The aerial’s job is to collect as much of the desired signal as possible and then transfer these signals onto cable with the least loss (an aerial with a BALUN does this the best). Once the signals are on the cable, the greater the cable run you have the lower the C/N will become. This is why we mount masthead amplifiers 1 metre down the cable or use dipole amplifiers, which of course results in almost no loss between the Aerial and amplifier. To conclude, in areas of weak signal, firstly use a good aerial with a BALUN. Secondly place a low noise pre-amplifier close to the aerial or use a Dipole Amplifier. Lastly, use double screened cables and screened outlets. Following this practice will improve the quality of picture significantly and may well resolve DTT lock ups.

Fig. 1

Fig. 3

Fig. 2

66dBµV

50dBµV

30m

Autumn 2001

No Amplifier

Built-in Pre-amplifier

Dipole Amp + 17dB 2dB NF

+40dB

Dipole Amplifier

But I must also state that when you have very good signals from your aerial the C/N is normally good enough that none of the above will appear to make a difference, in other words you can get away with a lot and still provide a quality picture. Good Hunting! 59dBµV

45dBµV

+12dB

+40dB

Fig. 4

30m

30m

40dB

Mid-stage Amplifier

18 The diagrams above, show off air levels required from the aerial to achieve the same system C/N (44dB) at the output.

Revolutionary Tile and Slate Clamp A new tile and slate clamp has been launched to reportedly “change the way TV aerials are fitted forever”, according to its UK manufacturer. “Wall brackets and lashing kits may be a thing of the past with the introduction of this clamp which can be fixed securely to tiles and slates on most roofs”, claimed George Sanderson, who invented the clamp along with Ian Chismon. The device is supplied with a 1ft mast and can be discreetly placed on most buildings in relatively no time at all. The clamp is fixed to the tiles using wing nuts with 3 slide cleats that go under the tiles. Each slide has a catch at the top to prevent it from slipping off the roof. Its strength is enforced against strong winds and it has been tested extensively against corrosion. “We have been installing aerials for 15 years so this product truly has been designed by riggers for riggers. This is something the trade has been looking for and we believe every rigger will carry one or two with him”, continued George For more information call Solutions Group on 01604 787888.

ProductNews

ProductNews

The truth behind “Mid-Stage” Amplifiers


Richard Stallworthy Product Manager Solutions Group (UK) plc I read an article recently comparing the benefits of “mid-stage” amplifiers with conventional amplifiers using input level control attenuators. It was an article penned by a well-known distributor and was less than honest in its appraisal of the benefits of the “mid-stage” design without showing the negatives as well. The conclusions were as expected extolling only his version of the facts. You wouldn’t expect the MATV industry to be a follower of fashion; in fact most of the principle players are beyond their 50’s heading fast towards the cardigan and slippers era. Yet there seems a definite fashion swing towards launch amplifiers with built-in “midstage” level control. “Mid-stage” attenuation can have benefits but it is not the only way to control amplified signals and can actually degrade the possible signal quality available. It can also introduce the danger of cross-modulation and inter-modulation components if the uncontrolled pre-amplifier is overloaded. Turning the “mid-stage” attenuator will not reduce the input signal to a manageable level. Most supporters of the built-in preamplifier/ “mid-stage” attenuator design claim it is the only way to amplify DTT signals and that other methods are inferior. This is evidently misleading.

The principle of pre-amplifying the incoming signal before setting the launch output level required is not disputed. The question is, where is the best place for the pre-amplifier? Amplifiers work best when running near maximum where their inherent noise figure has least effect on the amplified signal. A pre-amplifier built-in to the launch amplifier might be convenient, but normally the MATV head-end is some distance from the receiving aerials so the down-lead cable attenuates the incoming signal before reaching the pre-amplifier (see Fig.1). This consequently reduces the available carrier to noise ratio unnecessarily before the signal is preamplified. The reason for their support of this method is that in-line variable attenuators reduce the carrier to noise ratio of the required signal as the amount of attenuation increases. So in conventional designs where the attenuator is at the input to the amplifier, there is a risk of degrading the carrier to noise ratio of the incoming signal. Their solution is to increase the signal level before control. There is no dispute about this. Increasing the signal level before control will reduce carrier to noise problems. But why position the pre-amplifier at the bottom of the down-lead cable in the first

Who wants Noise?

place? The best place surely, for the preamplifier is at the top of the mast next to the aerial as soon as the signal is received and where the carrier to noise ratio is at its best (see Fig. 2).The message is “amplify the signal before you lose it, not afterwards”. Using a high quality screened masthead pre-amplifier with high output capability before the down-lead cable losses are incurred will give better results than putting the pre-amplifier in the same casing as the launch amplifier. Using a masthead amplifier has several benefits. 1. Pre-amplifies the signal before downlead losses. 2. Installer chooses the level of preamplifier to suit the job. 3. Reduces the amount of gain in one box. 4. Generally cheaper for a better result! So you see, “mid-stage” pre-amplifiers are not new. A good masthead amplifier and conventional launch amplifier with input level control forms the equivalent in technique to a “mid-stage” design and will work better in most cases. The important measurement is not to arrive at the input of the launch amplifier with too much signal. So a launch amplifier with a 120dBuV maximum output (subject to the number of channels) and 40dB gain cannot have more than 80dBuV of signal input. At least with a masthead amplifier, we can choose one with the right amount of gain to achieve this required level. After all it’s only a fashion!

Why is the use of a pre-amplifier a more important aspect to think about than the use of a launch amplifier? This is a question Technical Director, Jeremy Kennedy, is asked all to frequently. Here, he takes a closer look at the benefits of ??? Firstly, we have to understand or at least accept that to provide consumers with a quality picture, you need to provide the Television or Set top box with an adequate signal level. The Television signal must be sufficiently free from noise, commonly referred to as C/N (Carrier to Noise). As we know, if the signal level is too low from the aerial, no amplifier will achieve a clean, noise free picture, because the received C/N will already be too poor. NF (Noise Figure) is the method used to measure the amount of noise that any amplifier or component adds to our ' clean' Television signals. The aerial is the best source of achieving more signal, as anything we place after this point will add noise and reduce the C/N ratio. Data sheets, or technical brochures, are available to indicate specifications for the NF of amplifiers. So, the first point to mention is that the first amplifier has the most significant impact upon the final C/N, emphasising the fact that it should be chosen accurately to ensure it has a low NF. Secondly, the location of this first amplifier is important because it can maintain the best C/N for system. Let me explain why. The aerial’s job is to collect as much of the desired signal as possible and then transfer these signals onto cable with the least loss (an aerial with a BALUN does this the best). Once the signals are on the cable, the greater the cable run you have the lower the C/N will become. This is why we mount masthead amplifiers 1 metre down the cable or use dipole amplifiers, which of course results in almost no loss between the Aerial and amplifier. To conclude, in areas of weak signal, firstly use a good aerial with a BALUN. Secondly place a low noise pre-amplifier close to the aerial or use a Dipole Amplifier. Lastly, use double screened cables and screened outlets. Following this practice will improve the quality of picture significantly and may well resolve DTT lock ups.

Fig. 1

Fig. 3

Fig. 2

66dBµV

50dBµV

30m

Autumn 2001

No Amplifier

Built-in Pre-amplifier

Dipole Amp + 17dB 2dB NF

+40dB

Dipole Amplifier

But I must also state that when you have very good signals from your aerial the C/N is normally good enough that none of the above will appear to make a difference, in other words you can get away with a lot and still provide a quality picture. Good Hunting! 59dBµV

45dBµV

+12dB

+40dB

Fig. 4

30m

30m

40dB

Mid-stage Amplifier

18 The diagrams above, show off air levels required from the aerial to achieve the same system C/N (44dB) at the output.

Revolutionary Tile and Slate Clamp A new tile and slate clamp has been launched to reportedly “change the way TV aerials are fitted forever”, according to its UK manufacturer. “Wall brackets and lashing kits may be a thing of the past with the introduction of this clamp which can be fixed securely to tiles and slates on most roofs”, claimed George Sanderson, who invented the clamp along with Ian Chismon. The device is supplied with a 1ft mast and can be discreetly placed on most buildings in relatively no time at all. The clamp is fixed to the tiles using wing nuts with 3 slide cleats that go under the tiles. Each slide has a catch at the top to prevent it from slipping off the roof. Its strength is enforced against strong winds and it has been tested extensively against corrosion. “We have been installing aerials for 15 years so this product truly has been designed by riggers for riggers. This is something the trade has been looking for and we believe every rigger will carry one or two with him”, continued George For more information call Solutions Group on 01604 787888.

ProductNews

ProductNews

The truth behind “Mid-Stage” Amplifiers


Flexibility takes you further

Available from your nearest

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Š 2001 Solutions Group (UK) Plc. Reproduction Prohibited. All offers subject to availability and may be changed without prior notice. All prices exclude VAT, CP&I, E&OE.


Surprisingly, radio attracts more listeners daily than TV attracts viewers

Current Transmitter

Digital Audio Broadcast has been around for several years and the BBC and Digital One commercial broadcasts are now well under way (see opposite). Originally, DAB was introduced as a better radio system for mobile use. It meant reception could be snap, crackle and pop free the length and breadth of the country without constantly re-tuning and with each station on the same frequency across the country. The “Hi-Fi” fraternity soon identified the benefits of the high quality reception possible from DAB and broadcasters were keen to exploit the higher number of programme slots available, compared to the FM band II frequencies between 88 to 108 MHz.

S u r p r i s i n g l y, s o m e e q u i p m e n t manufacturers seem to suggest that DAB signals need only a portable or indoor antenna, but those with experience of digital TV signals will know differently. Receiving DAB requires a dedicated aerial for reliable reception in moderate to poor areas. DAB behaves just like digital TV reception where low signal level is expected. Impulse noise and poor carrier to noise ratio will cause lock ups in the audio stream just like lock ups in digital TV. A basic outdoor DAB aerial usually consists

Emley Moor Holme Moss Sheffield Idle

of a half wave dipole mounted vertically. This is not a “DAB omni” although it does receive signals from all round 360°. In weaker signal strength areas a multi element array is required aligned to the nearest transmitter. Most manufacturers offer traditional Band III “Yagi” antennas which will generally work adequately. However, the gain displayed by these models is not linear across the whole DAB radio band so the DAB multiplexes will arrive at different levels. A popular option for installers over the last year has been the inexpensive LPVA DAB antenna, designed using log periodic technology. It has a flat 9dB gain right

This gain graph illustrates the super flat performance across DAB frequencies. Gain

dB 10 9 8

BBC site

Digital 1 site

Keighly Pontop Pike Bilsdale Kirk O’Shotts Craigkelly Peterborough Sandy Heath Waltham Kilvey Hill Belmont Chillerton Down Crabwood farm Midhurst Toot Hill (Romsey)

Ridge Hill Naish Hill Blunsdon Salisbury The Wrekin Churchdown Hill Dover Hastings Heathfield Divis

across all the DAB bandwidth as well as high directivity and superb front to back ratio for 'interferring signal' rejection. Its lightweight design and compact size also ensures low wind loading. The MATV/IRS installer must also consider DAB when designing systems and specifying amplifiers. An amplifier must have at least a Band III input or when using a single input amplifier, it must cover the DAB frequencies. The FR channelised K series range includes a DAB filter with 14dB gain and 105dBuV output. It is particularly very effective in removing other unwanted frequencies, such as Public Mobile Radio which shares Band III. The market has been slowed by the gradual expansion of coverage and the current high cost of receivers. However, new transmitters are coming on stream almost weekly and now cover nearly 80% of the population. The cost of receivers is expected to fall again this autumn so that by next year, tuners could be below £200, as the cost of the chipset reduces and the volume increases. Currently DAB radios can be purchased for under £300. Tuning a DAB radio is frequency transparent. The user display only shows the radio station name not the frequency tuned.

dB 15 20 25 210

220

230

For more details on the full range of DAB aerials available for all signal situations contact Solutions Group on 01604 787888.

Autumn 2001

7 Front-toback ratio

Digital 1 Current site Transmitter

Crystal Palace Alexandra Palace Guildford Reigate Bluebell Hill Sutton Coldfield Turners Hill Bromsgrove Oxford Mendip Purdown Bath Wenvoe Hannington Daventry Bow Brick Hill Zouches Farm Winter Hill Alsagers Bank Moel Y Park

This growth in radio use is set to explode as Digital Audio Broadcast coverage expands and DAB radio becomes more affordable.

DAB is currently used to broadcast some 50 radio stations in Band III between 216 and 230MHz though this may eventually expand to the end of band III at 240MHz. It is also proposed that local DAB transmissions will use the “L” band in the future.

BBC site

ProductNews

Log Periodic provides top quality coverage

21


Autumn 2001 44. TV Travel Shop 48. ITN News 49. S4C Text 50. ITV Select Info 51. ITV Select 1

8. CH 4 Wales

9. Text

14. Four Text

16. ITV Text+

20. ITV Sport

41. Film Four

42. E4

10. BBC Text

11. News 24

12. Parliament

90. Adult Channel

47. Wellbeing

98. ITV Sport Select

33. MTV

32. UK Gold

46. Two Way TV

99. ITV Sport Plus

35. Taste CFN

29. British Eurosport

23. Sky Sports 3

MUX D

39. Nikelodeon/Paramount

38. UK Style

37. Play UK

31. Breeze/ Men&Motors 36. Discovery Kids/Wings

30. Granada Plus

24. Sky Movie Max

22. Sky Sports 1

MUX C

88. ITV Digital Info

43. UK Horizons

28. Carlton Cinema

27. Cartoon Network

© 2001 Solutions Group (UK) Plc. Reproduction Prohibited. E&OE.

91. TV X

56. Adults Only 1

55. ITV Select 5

54. ITV Select 4

53. ITV Select 3

52. ITV Select 2

19. Shop

18. TeleG / S4C2

26. Sky One

15. NTLi

6. ITV2 / S2 / Utv2

7. Choice

25. Sky Premier

21. Sky Sports 1

MUX B

13. BBC Knowledge

4. CH 4 / S4C

2. BBC 2

5. CH 5

MUX A

3. ITV1

MUX 2

1. BBC 1

MUX 1

With consumers demanding a multitude of channels via their digital terrestrial systems, it can be frustrating for both you and your customer if a specific channel can not be received. We’ve printed a chart below to remind you which channels broadcast on which multiplexes in order to help you identify any reception deficiencies your customer may be experiencing. Only customers who receive menu A will be able to watch all channels, depending on the area of course. Those customers who don’t receive all multiplexes i.e those with ITV menues B-G, will only receive channels broadast on the multiplexes they can detect.

Digital Terrestrial Update

DigitalTerrestrialUpdate

22


Watch and record Digital TV on your PC!

For further details contact Solutions Group Tel: 01604 787888 Fax: 01604 787999

This high performance digital satellite reception card allows you to view Digital Satellite Television, listen to Digital Radio and access Satellite Internet via your PC. Digital television transmissions can be recorded, making this PC card one of the most advanced on the market today! A 2 CI Slot is NOW available for your PC for the use of CAMs and cards for Pay TV Services.

WinTV

DVB-s

ti h ! w ts w slo o N CI


Guidelines have been issued jointly by the BBC and the CAI, which have been written for all professional installers of UK-based digital satellite receiving systems. The guidelines have been produced to ensure the efficient distribution of viewing cards and maximise card security. Installers may be acting on behalf of individual households, sheltered accommodation, commercial/ office premises, local authority housing or other buildings, but in all instances, installers must observe the following procedures when obtaining Free-to-air digital satellite cards. All viewing card requests should be made by phone to the Free-to-view call centre. Telephone 0870 243 8000 which is open from 8.30am to 11pm. Make sure you have the following information before you contact the call centre: 1. Number of viewing cards required at each installation address. 2.The full installation address, including postcode and internal reference (eg department/room number). 3. A named individual (eg caretaker, office manager) who will be responsible for taking delivery of the viewing card(s) via the postal system. 4. Your own name, company and contact telephone number. If more than one viewing card per installation address is required, bear in

!

mind that it takes longer to send out these additional cards. The installation address will receive the first viewing card by first class postage approximately 5 working days from the original request to the call centre. Additional cards will usually arrive at the installation address within 10 working days. To avoid any confusion, it is important to make your customer aware of this process.

New bracket arrangement on the Sky digidish

Viewing cards may be activated either by modem call-back or by requesting activation over-air by phoning the call centre (0870 243 8000). Over air activation can take up to 24 hours, depending on bandwidth demand at the time. When activating cards over-air, set top boxes should be left switched on with viewing cards inserted correctly. Replacement viewing cards will be despatched ‘pre-activated’ during any mass card changeover. Each viewing card will be pre-matched (‘paired’) to a specific set-top box. Therefore, all viewing cards will be sent to the installation address directly. Instructions will be provided regarding swapping the viewing cards, including how to match each replacement card with each particular set top box. Sending cards directly to installation addresses rather then you the installer during card changeover will ensure this procedure minimises any effort required to match replacement viewing cards with settop boxes in use.

If you’re installing a quattro LNB with a satellite switch, here’s a quick reminder of which leg on the LNB connects to which input on the satellite switch.

Inputs

Dish of the Day

SatelliteNews

Guidelines issued for digital satellite installers

Polarity

Band

13V/ no tone

V

Low Band

18V/ no tone

H

Low Band

V

High Band

18V/ 22KHz

H

High Band

The design incorporates a small spirit level to assist in installation as well as multichoice bracket positions allowing for a wide variety of installation requirements. The unit is also adaptable for pole mounting, although the required 'V' bolt is not included with the dish pack. These are however available from your local Solutions Group Depot under stock code 05237 for single units, or stock code 75056 in bags of 200. This new design is now common to all manufacturers and offers a number of advantages over the previous designs, not least of which is commonality of assembly and installation. The other important advantage of this design is the ability to install the dish on non-vertical surfaces whilst allowing the dish to be correctly aligned for optimum reception. The new design of dish is, of course, also compatible with the Quad output LNB included within the recently launched SKY+ Personal Video Recorder.

Second Sky box available to viewers BSkyB is now offering households a second digibox with a reduced subscription fee of £12 per month. Sky digital viewers, who had previously been limited to one set top box per installation address, can now have two, with a duplication of their current subscription package available on the second box. The second box will cost viewers around £215 with an installation charge of £50, which will involve an dish upgrade to incorporate a multifeed LNB. The second box must be connected to the same telephone line as the original box to ensure both boxes are in the same household.

Autumn 2001

13V/ 22KHz

The ‘Dish of the Day’ for this issue is the recently introduced Zone 1 Sky Digidish.

25


Competition

WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN!

Take time out! WORDSEARCH

Take time out to find eleven words associated with the TV and Satellite industry hidden in this wordsearch and you could win yourself up to £50 worth of vouchers to spend at any Solutions Group depot! Simply send your completed wordsearch along with your company name and contact details to: Fay Bliss Riggers Digest Solutions Group (UK) plc 1 Hartburn Close Crow Lane Industrial Park Northampton, NN3 9UE Entries must be received by November 16th 2001. All the correct entries will be put in a hat and the winners will be drawn at Headquarters on 19th November. Winners will be announced in the next issue of Riggers Digest!

S P A C M O U R E T E M O T R

A H O L B X Q V D A S O E E S

G I L I D I G I L A L L C X O

J I A L I A B E N N B E S S D

A A T P S A T C B E I N S T I

M Y I L T O S E I V E S K E S

P B G U R I A R E E T L X N H

L E I T I M E R H V O C A I G

I P D X B O R S H L S M K S M

F H M O U N I A O I C S S I A

I D V V T L A M U C A B E G S

E N P S I L O U Q E R E R I H

R S W A O U O M E R T J I D I

£100 worth1st prizeofof products up for grabs! £50 - 2 x 2nd prizes of £25! Riggerman to the Rescue! During the course of my day, I receive a number of calls from installers requesting assistance with both installation and maintenance problems. The vast majority of these are dealt with quite simply and speedily. However, now and again, there are some problems which can tax even the most experienced... An installer called the other day to say that he had a problem with an installation that he had carried out some 12 months earlier and which had performed satisfactorily until now. During discussions with the installer, it was determined that he had moved the aerial a couple of months earlier in order to improve reception of channel 5 and at that time everything had performed OK.

Autumn 2001 26

However, now all receivers on the system (4 in total) were displaying a rolling white bar on all channels. The normal cause of this is a 'mains hum', usually brought about by failure of a smoothing capacitor in either the distribution amp or masthead amplifier

power unit. As no masthead was fitted the 4-way distribution amp became the prime suspect. However bypassing the amplifier did not solve the problem and the fault was present even on the aerial feed. Further investigations by myself revealed that when the installer moved the aerial to improve its reception, he had placed it directly under the fluorescent light fitting in the loft. The installers customer had been in the loft a few days earlier and forgot to switch the light off. Turning the light off cleared the problem straightaway!

Riggerman

Y K I K N C A B L B A I E Z C

P A E T H R A C S N B A S L N


Rigger's Digest

TrainingShow 2002

Comprehensive training programme covering: SMATV and MATV Installations Digital and Analogue signal measurement DTT and Satellite Systems (ITV Digital; BSkyB) H to H Installations Fibre Optic Technology

FREE show dedicated to training installers and retailers in the UK TV & Satellite industry!

Digital Satellite reception via the PC Plus much more! Meet the manufacturers, see the latest products in action and pick up useful technical tips!

RD

Heathrow Park Hotel 2002 Rigger's Digest

2002

SHOW HOTLINE: 01604 788207


Appointments

Appointments In the TV & Satellite industry

TV & SATELLITE INSTALLERS WANTED! Professional Installation company requires experienced TV & Satellite installers.

Contact Steve Hastings Northampton Aerials 283 Wellingborough Road Northampton, NN1 4EW Tel: 01604 231123

employment

in the TV & Satellite Industry

Solutions Group (UK) Plc is a fast growing highly successful trade distributor of analogue and digital satellite and terrestrial TV products throughout the UK. We have 16 trade counters across the country and are always interested in hearing from experienced and enthusiastic individuals seeking a challenging but rewarding position. If you are interested in finding out more or you know someone who is, please write with your CV to Carole Cooper at: Solutions Group (UK) Plc 1 Hartburn Close Crow Lane Industrial Park Northampton NN3 9UE

solutionsgroup

(UK)Plc

To advertise FREE* call 01604 788244 *Free to Solutions Group customers.

*

tv-installers.com

Free & Simple Internet Advertising For Your Business At tv-installers.com we have worked to create an easy and efficient way for consumers to locate local installers and retailers, which could help YOU to increase your business. We can offer your company a clear, well laid out web page of your own - no sharing with competitors! Each advert space has room for a photograph, introductory text about your company and full contact information. We'll also display the main types of services you

Autumn 2001 31

To find out more about how to apply online, visit www.tv-installers.com. Alternatively call 01604 788207 for an application form. Š 2001 Solutions Group (UK) Plc. Reproduction Prohibited. "Microsoft", "Internet Explorer" and "Flash" are all trademarks of their respected owners. E&OE. * Advertising free to all Solutions Group customers, otherwise free for 90 days only. After this period a small monthly administration cost may apply - contact Solutions Group for details.

TM


NEW!

®

Sky+ PTR

2500s Sky Digital Receiver

DTR735-IM ITV Digital Receiver

solutionsgroup

(UK)Plc

the best place for Pace

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Northampton [HQ] Wembley 01604 787888 0208 451 1777

Birmingham 0121 544 0220

Cheshire 01260 299658

Edinburgh 0131 448 2900

Glasgow 0141 849 7440

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Tyne & Wear

NEW!

© 2001 Solutions Group (UK) Plc. Reproduction Prohibited. All offers subject to availability and may be changed without prior notice. All prices exclude VAT, CP&I, E&OE.

www.solutionsgroup-plc.com

Pace and

are trademarks of Pace Micro Technology plc.

®

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ClassifiedAds

Classified Ads For professionals in the TV and Satellite industry

Receivers & Accessories Humax Digital Satellite R e c e i v e r VA C I - 5 3 0 0 FTA/Viaccess + 2 C I slots £187. Tel: 01260 299658 Strong SRT 4375 Digital/ Analogue CI Receiver/ Positioner £199 Tel: 01604 787888. Humax CI-5100 FTA + 2 C I slots £156. Tel: 0131 448 2900. Humax Receivers F1-CI-5100 FTA + 2 CI slots £156, IRCI5400 with built in IRDETO £227, VA-5200 with twin card slot & embedded Viaccess £187, VACI-5300 built in Viaccess £187, F1 Fox £100 Tel: 01604 787888. PC Satellite Card £144 & PC CI Slot £80 both from Hauppauge Tel:020 8451 1777.

Strong Digital/ Analogue CI Receiver/ Positioner £199, Humax VA-CI 5300 £187, Tel: 0113 236 1111. PC Satellite Card from Hauppauge £144 Tel:01202 624441.

Aerials & Accessories Super High Gain Wideband 96 Element Digital Gold Aerial £16 Tel: 01260 299658.

Amplifier 12dB-110dBµV 47862MHz £271 Tel: 0115 9826400.

MATV/SMATV Test Equipment Unaohm EP319 Field Strength Meter, Ex-display, QPSK, COFDM - NG99 Generator £1953 Tel: 01604 787888. Satellite Handheld Meter (AD70) Ex-display, with QPSK £264 Tel: 0161 746 8595.

Launch Amplifiers 34dB116dBµV 5 input £35, 42 dB119dBµV 5 input £48 Tel: 01604 787888. Distribution Amplifiers 4 way Labgear MSR 140 FM/TV £14, 7way Global FM/TV Amp including power supply £30, Tel: 01604 787888

H-H Mount Silent Gold 99G £42 Tel: 0113 236 1111.

Dish & Accessories 90cm Dish offset Sat 12901 £48, 0.8dB Universal Twin Alps LNB £33, SMW LNB with High stability local oscillator of +/-1.5 MHz - 0.8dBtyp noise figure £129 Tel: 01604 787888.

Philips G2 Range 1 way Tap 2x2, IF & 1 Terrestrial input £19 Tel: 01604 787888. SAT/TV Switch A/B Manual Satellite Switch £3 Tel: 020 8316 0123 Global Digibox Rack for SMATV £576 and SMATV Pro 4 - 4 Channel headend unit £1760 Tel: 01604 787888.

Installation Equipment Ladder 3 section 11-29Ft £137 Tel: 01202 624441

To advertise FREE* call 01604 788244 or fill in the form below and return to Riggers Digest, Solution Group, 1 Hartburn Close, Crow Lane Industrial Park, Northampton NN3 9UE *Advertising is FREE to all Solutions Group Customers. Otherwise a £25 charge will apply per issue.

Name:

Telephone:

Company Name:

Fax:

Address:

email:

Postcode:

Business Type: Retailer Installer Other Are you a Solutions Group Customer? Y

Adverts should arrive no later than 15th November 2001 to be included in the Winter edition of Riggers Digest only. N

Please provide text for your advert in the space below. Please ensure you include contact details i.e phone number: (25 words maximum)

Autumn 2001 30

Archive Rigger's Digest Issue4 September 2001  

This an archived copy of a previous edition of Rigger's Digest. Prices quoted will no longer be valid and some products featured or adverti...

Archive Rigger's Digest Issue4 September 2001  

This an archived copy of a previous edition of Rigger's Digest. Prices quoted will no longer be valid and some products featured or adverti...

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