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Rigger's Digest News for the TV & Satellite Industry

Issue 6

Installation work in the palm of your hand! DTT enters a new era with the launch of a low cost, free to view TV adapter!

Training Show Special

inside: Vision update

See page 4

DTT tips IRS guide Latest channel news Digibox news Installer manual Elliptical experiences Technical Solutions

Find out what aerial you should be installing

Plus The new Geodesy. Can you afford to drive without one?

PREVIEW of the only event for the TV & Satellite installation Technical industry in London this year!

Supported by

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s p i r g to t e g o t e ! c t n n a e h c m uip our q y e s s f i o m t s t ’ o h n o e l D ho w a h wit The only event in London this year which is dedicated to providing training for professionals in the TV & Satellite industry - so make sure YOU don’t miss out on this unique hands-on training opportunity! If you haven’t already registered for the training sessions call 01604 788244 or visit NOW!


Rigger's Digest Over the past few months, the industry has yet again experienced a surge of innovation and change. This time it involves digital terrestrial television, and after the plug was finally pulled on ITV Digital, the new emphasis is now on free to air digital television through an aerial.



How Goedesy can help you avoid speeding fines

Digibox update with Grundig


Unique multiswitches offers IRS solution


The first free to view receiver was launched last month, with a subsequent demand for aerial upgrades and call out inspections expected to be high.

Installation Manual hits the shelves Plus IRS Systems

For the first time in the history of digital terrestrial television, profitable opportunities have been created for all independent riggers without the restrictions previously associated with ITV Digital installations.

see page 26


Solutions Group has been chosen, initially by Pace, to co-ordinate a referral service where appointed installers are offered the chance to carry out any necessary DTT upgrade work required by consumers.

DTVA marks the beginning of a new era!

Hundreds of experienced, independent installers have already signed up because they know that each quality installation will mean they’ll continue to receive sales leads and make excellent profits.



With all this extra work available to installation professionals, a visit to the Riggers Digest Training Show is an excellent way to pick up useful DTT installations tips, measurement techniques and other technical solutions.

K Series developments

And because it’s the first major event on the TV & satellite installation calender this year, it’s also the place to be to see the launch of new and innovative product ranges before anybody else does. If you haven’t already signed up to the Direct Installer Referral Service but are interested in receiving sales leads, come along to the Riggers Digest Show to find out more. Fay Bliss Editor 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: © 2002 Solutions Group (UK) Plc.Reproduction Prohibited. E&OE.

New elliptical experience


Added features enhance Field Strength Meter

PLUS... Securing work for the independent installer 4 way addition to the Vision range Training event you can’t afford to miss Digital aerials and what you should be installing Technical Solutions DTT tips straight from the trade counter Securing the right connections DiSEqC installations SMATV revisited IRS explained Channel update

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news Riggers signing up for the Direct Installer Referral Service at Solutions Group, Northampton

Securing work for the Independent Aerial Installer When we look at the history of ITV Digital, there was always one glaring problem from the perspective of the independent installer, that is most consumers refer to the Yellow Pages or a known local company to install their aerial. They typically do not go to Dixons or Comet for this type of work. Yet for various reasons, the independent aerial installer seemed to be ignored by ITV Digital. Who knows how high the ITV Digital install figures could have been, if our industry had been encouraged to offer the service to its customers? The best the trade could hope for was to work as a sub-contractor for an offshoot of the broadcaster. This restricted what could be earned, who could work and who got the work. Most of the trade did not or could not participate. New Market

lose out. Solutions Group believed there was a need to do something for our industry sector. Manufacturers Requirements Solutions Group have spoken to a number of free-to-air set top box manufacturers and suggested that the independent installation trade would very much like to take on this installation work. The responses from the various manufacturers were very similar: 1. Because the product does not carry a broadcaster subsidy and provides a slim manufacturing margin, the project must be selffunding. 2. There must be one body that will coordinate the service. 3. There must be a single telephone number for consumers to call for each brand. 4. There must be control and feedback from every job.

sales lead referral service. A self-funding system that pays the installer the charges directly from pre-vetted consumers who have been made aware of any minimum costs, has the support of the manufacturers and does not require any up front fees, membership charges or other hidden costs to installers. It is open to all competent independent installation companies and has sufficient controls and feedback to maintain quality standards. What about the CAI? The CAI membership is very much encouraged to join the scheme. These businesses are checked by CAI inspectors and are usually well versed on the requirements of the industry. However we also acknowledge that there are some very professional companies outside the CAI that we would not wish to exclude, so although CAI membership is preferred, it is not compulsory. How does it work?

Now we have free-to-air digital TV through an aerial, with the installation work being thrown out to all who want it. But how do independent aerial installers gain referrals from consumers who want work done? Today the same broadcaster offshoot will use its select band of installers to take on work generated from the high street multiples: same rules, same restrictions. There seems to be no one body or association actually generating work for the independent installer. If these installers don't get a fair crack at the work, then distributors and some manufacturers will also

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Installer Requirements We began to formulate a proposal and asked a large number of installers what they wanted. Top of the list was a realistic fee for the work. Second was the ability to choose where they work. They also added that a call out charge for minor work would also help. Many wanted to keep the poorer quality installers out of the project. Sales Lead Referral Service We had enough information to develop the

In the case of Pace, a call centre of their choice interviews the customer by telephone to determine if an installer visit is required. The consumer is told that the compulsory call out charge WITHOUT aerial work will be £45.83 (£39.00 plus VAT) outside the M25. To add a digital aerial to the existing mast will cost £116.32 (£99.00 plus VAT) outside the M25, including call out charge. This charge is not for a replacement aerial, but an additional digital aerial. A drop cable is run from this new aerial directly to the receiver,

news bypassing any amplifiers, splitters, poor cable etc. In the case of the Pace FTA adapter there is an added complication because this product does not have RF loop through. But with this scheme, by connecting a separate digital aerial feed directly to the adapter the consumer's analogue installation remains untouched and unaffected. The time to install and fault-find is dramatically reduced and the number of jobs per day increased considerably. What Materials? Those of you who have installed DTT products in the past will be aware how critical the choice of products can be. We have generated a list of approved coax cables, aerials with balun and ‘f’ connectors, screened masthead amplifiers and power units with ‘f’ connectors etc. to maximise the performance of the installation. We have also included high gain aerials for those installations that need extra gain. All are wideband products in line with the DTI guidelines and must be installed to CAI installation guidelines. This list is being regularly updated as more products become available. What's in it for Solutions Group? Solutions Group is a trade distributor of reception equipment, including aerials, cable, amplifiers etc. All we ask is that the materials you use are bought from one of our branches. In this way we can monitor that you are using the right materials and we can make a small profit for the work we are doing. Our prices are very competitive and our after sales service is the best in the industry. We have 17 locations throughout the UK and a van delivery service to support those installers that want unattended delivery whilst out working. Our field sales executives will be pleased to visit you at your convenience to support you with product choice, technical information etc. What does the installer make from this work? The costs of running the call centre, the enquiry paperwork processing and general administration, works out to an average of £15 per call. This fee must be recovered, as there is no subsidy for this work. One of the key requirements from the manufacturers was that of feedback, but none of us like filling in paperwork. Perhaps the best way to encourage us to complete paperwork is to tie it to money! As a result, each sales lead you receive will actually be charged at £25, with £10

being credited back to you when you return the simple feedback form that is verified by the customer. All these fees are subject to VAT. What does this actually mean? Example 1 A consumer requires a call out. Their system does not have any spare SCART connections for their receiver, but the aerial is receiving DTT fine. They would be charged £45.83 (£39.00+VAT) call out plus another £57.57 (£49.00+VAT) for parts to make the system function correctly. They pay you £103.40, paid immediately. Your fee after returning the feedback form is £17.63 (£15.00+VAT) leaving you £85.77. Example 2 A consumer cannot make the adapter work. You arrive and discover that an elderly contract

aerial and the remains of the mast are in the gutter. Your charge is call out at £45.83 (£39.00 + VAT), digital aerial at £70.50 (£60.00 + VAT) and £105.75 (£90.00 + VAT) for new bracketry, replacement main aerial etc. etc. Total fee paid by consumer is £222.08. Your fee after returning the feedback form is £17.63 (£15.00 + VAT), leaving you £204.45. No Risk Remember if you don't receive any work, you pay no fee. Unlike advertising you have no marketing risk, no upfront payment. This is very profitable work, you keep the profits and if you can offer a quality installation service you will continue to receive sales leads and make excellent profits. What have you got to lose? If you are interested in receiving sales leads for profitable independent installation work in your area call 01604 787888.

Northern addition to sales force The latest Field Sales Executive to join the team at Solutions Group is Patrick Wells. Patrick joins the company after spending three and a half years managing media sales accounts on the other side of the Atlantic, and brings to the team a wealth of experience in the retail and distribution of electronic components. Now tasked with developing and securing business relationships in the North and North West of England on behalf of Solutions Group, Patrick is keen to get to know the independent retailers and installers in his area in order to help them make the right product choices and meet the demands of today’s consumers.

David Prague, Sales and Marketing Manager for Solutions Group, said: “The Field Sales team exists to build on the success of installation and retail businesses by offering support with product choice along with sound technical advice. “No matter where you are in the UK, we can bring our experience and innovative solutions to your doorstep.” If you would like to know more about the services and products available from Solutions Group call 01604 787888.

Field Sales Team

Jane Bell Scotland & Northern England

John Riley Midlands

Rebecca Pestell North London & Home Counties

Richard Quinlan South West England & Wales

IMPORTANT CONTACT NUMBERS Solutions Group Technical Helpdesk If you have a technical query or you would like to found out more about the Technical Design Service, call 01604 788252 or e-mail: Solutions Group Customer Service Helpdesk If you have a problem with any order received from Solutions Group, call 01604 788243 or e-mail:

Digibox problems... If you need to return a faulty digibox which is in warranty, call the manufacturers direct on the numbers below: Pace: 0800 834971 Sony: 0870 841 2350 Panasonic: 0800 1693012 Grundig: 0800 298 6117

issue 6 | 3

product news

Low cost Pace adapter is first to offer free-to-view digital TV

The new, compact DTVA is not much bigger than a pen The new DTVA from Pace is the first low cost, digital terrestrial adapter to hit the UK market, enabling consumers to access up to 15 free to air digital channels. The free-to-air set-top box is expected to accelerate the take-up of digital TV in the UK, providing a new and exciting path to digital for viewers who have yet to make the switch. Consumers purchasing the Pace Digital TV Adapter, at a one-off retail price of £99.99, will be able to instantly view digital TV, without a payTV subscription, by simply plugging the device into the back of their existing analogue TV sets. Once installed successfully, the adapter will automatically retune the TV set to pick up free-to-air digital channels. The Adapter, which is compact enough to fit into the palm of the hand, has also been built with embedded conditional access allowing viewers to upgrade to payTV services at a later date. The introduction of this modern, lightweight set-top box provides an ideal solution to the digital terrestrial switch over particularly in multiple TV environments such as hospitals, schools and apartment blocks, where it would perhaps be too costly to replace every TV set with a new integrated digital TV. Malcolm Miller, chief executive, Pace Micro Technology said: "The launch of the TV adapter brings us one step closer to the goal of affordable digital TV for all, and in turn cements the UK's global leadership in digital TV take-up as we work towards the target digital switch date of 2006-2010. "However, low-cost free-to-view technology is just one part of the solution to full take-up of digital TV; to achieve full switch, we need to take a fresh look at digital content to ensure it is both useful and compelling. The BBC's launch of three non-subscription Digital TV channels in

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depot update Gail Ellis has joined the central Customer Service Centre at Solutions Group’s headquarters in Northampton. Gail joins Customer Service Supervisor Eileen after spending a number of years in retail and distribution. “We offer the best after sales care in the industry, providing front line assistance to riggers across the country,” said Gail. Michelle Madden joins Depot Supervisor David Evans at Solutions Group, Leeds. Michelle has many years experience working in the electronic component sector and is keen to offer installers and retailers product ranges to suit their individual requirements.

March is a prime example of the content needed to ensure we achieve our goal. The onus is now on the Government to continue to support industry initiatives by providing clear, unbiased information to the public about Digital TV."

A warm welcome to Dave Wright and Adrian Shallcross who have recently joined the busy warehouse team at Solutions Group Northampton. The headquarter location has just recently opened a second warehouse opposite it’s existing site.

Independent research conducted on behalf of Pace in November 2001 revealed as many as half the UK population did not realise that digital switch over was a possibility in this decade and one third of those surveyed had no idea about the benefits of digital television and what it will mean for them .

Test & Measurement Training

The findings threw a shadow over the Government's plans to convert the remaining 60% of the population to digital by 20062010. But the announcement of a low cost receiver offering digital TV without a subscription, will ensure that the switch from analogue to digital remains a realistic goal. The DVB compliant adapter has a single Scart socket and a user-friendly electronic programme guide with interactive digital text. It also has it’s own user friendly remote control.

Following the tremendous success of the Test and Measurement training sessions held at Solutions Group depots across the country during the last three months, two training sessions on Digital Measurement will now be held at the Riggers Digest Training Show. Both staff and customers took part in basic test and measurement training programme which consisted mainly of digital measurement utilising the new and improved EP314 and the handheld DaTuM 10 from product specialist, Unaohm. Product Manager, Tom Carnie, co-ordinated the initiative: “I look forward to the Riggers Digest Training Show where once again riggers will have the opportunity to gain experience in measurement techniques with hands-on training. Due to popular demand we are now running two Digital Measurement training sessions at the Riggers Digest Show on day one and day two.”

Digibox news... The modernised digibox has the added feature of a side by side card reader, which is unique to the Grundig box, and a redesigned cabinet which is quite different to the GDS310/2 but remains silver. The high performance GDS3000 is the latest digital satellite set top box to be launched by Grundig and the first new release for Sky this year.

It has the added SVHS socket, a typical characteristic of the Grundig digibox, and like most of it’s predecessors, it’s located under the phono connections for improved picture quality.

product news

Vision offers unique solution for IRS distribution The new multiswitch range from Vision is proving to be an ideal solution for IRS installers requiring reliable units which have built in features which are both unique and value for money. The V75 range, which includes 8, 12 and 16 output versions, all have 4 satellite and 1 terrestrial input and incorporate a unique audible warning for the short circuit or overload protection circuit of the DC feed to the LNB. This innovative device is triggered and an alarm sounds if the installer creates a short circuit in the input coaxial cables, making it easier for him to identify the effected switch. It can be reset by disconnecting the switch from the main supply, clearing the short circuit condition (allowing for a 1 minute delay for the circuit to reset) and reconnecting. All Vision Multiswitches incorporate a switch-mode power supply for reliability and stability.

Often a feature normally associated with more expensive models, the 12 and 16 way Vision multiswitches also have input level controls on the satellite inputs to enable equalisation of signals from each satellite IF polarity and frequency band.

“The multiswitch is at the heart of the IRS system so the professional installer requires equipment which he knows he can rely on to do a job properly. The solid engineering and uncluttered design offers installers a high quality range which is incredible value.”

Richard Stallworthy, Vision Product Manager at Solutions Group, says: “Until recently, Multiswitch prices in particular have been held at artificially high levels by manufacturers whose pricing strategy has been based on the number of outlets served, not on the cost of production.

For a Vision catalogue and full specification, call your local Solutions Group depot or visit Don’t miss your chance to get to grips with the Vision range at the Riggers Digest Training Show on the 15th and 16th May. For further information call 01604 787888.

Multiswitch Multiswitch

8, 12 or 16 outlets Single switch installation


16, 24, 32 or more outlets Multiple switch installation Passive or active splitters required

New device helps avoid speeding penalties A revolutionary new device has just been launched which is capable of identifying the location of fixed speed cameras. The Geodesy has been designed to be fitted into cars, vans, bikes and trucks and is an ideal solution for professionals out on the road who want to avoid the penalties of speeding, With the number of speed cameras set to triple over the next few years and with convictions on the increase, speeding fines are becoming more and more difficult to escape. By simply fixing the Geodesy to your dashboard, you can be accurately and reliably informed in advance of all fixed cameras. Dubbed the ‘next generation total GPS solution’, it does not

rely on signals from the camera itself, but receives data from the Global Positioning Systems to calculate your exact location in real time. Using this satellite information and an extensive database of fixed speed cameras, the Geodesy alerts you up to a mile in advance with an adjustable audio and visual warning sign. The pocket size system is supplied with a Desktop Modem Interface which enables drivers to update their Geodesy with the latest speed camera location information. The Geodesy is placed in the modem which automatically dials up to a central database for the cost of a normal telephone call. The user friendly modem can download the entire UK database of speed camera location between 30 seconds and 3 minuites, ensuring your Geodesy is kept up to date with camera locations by adding new ones and removing inactive sites. The standard Geodesy

The Geodesey indicates position of fixed speed cameras like this one can itself be upgraded to the Geodesy Plus, giving you more reassurance with Speed Sensitivity and Auto Ranging facilities. The Geodesy Plus will initiate a warning sign if you are exceeding the speeding limit and introduce a shorter advance warning at lower speeds, making Geodesy time based rather than distance based as you approach a speed camera. For more information call Solutions Group on 01604 787888 or visit the Riggers Digest Training Show.

issue 6 | 5

product news

Installation manual hits the shelves! Installers working in the TV & Satellite industry now have a technical reference manual they can turn to when they find themselves in those challenging on-site situations.

Added features enhance analyser’s performance

An Introduction to Domestic Radio, TV and Satellite Reception has been written by a familiar face at Solutions Group, Bob Calaz, and it concentrates on the reception of terrestrial and satellite programmes as well as IRS and SMATV system planning. Bob, who runs the trade counter at Solutions Group, Berkshire, has produced the book not only for installation professionals but also for new comers to the industry, members of the public who are keen to learn more about reception and distribution of signals, and course students. “It is not necessary to have a knowledge of electrical and electronic circuits in order to benefit from this book. Many of the concepts are conveyed by some 300 drawings and photographs and the mathematics have been kept to a minimum.” The book does include a selection of specialist subjects ranging from DiSEqC Switching to Fibre Optics as well as useful technical tips and popular installation methods. For those of you who are familiar with the more sophisticated side of home entertainment, it also covers Home Cinema Systems and Plasma Displays.

The EP314 field strength meter from Unaohm has been updated to include a number of features designed to enhance its performance at no extra cost to riggers. The TV and satellite signal analyser, which also has a new sturdier carry case with built in sunviser and zip lid, now has a Local Oscillator function enabling the user to define the LNB Local Oscillator in order to give the down converted frequency. This function means that riggers will no longer have to refer to tables or make complicated calculations to determine the correct frequency of the Satellite Intermediate Frequency (Sat IF). The Data Logger function has also been updated to provide a more comprehensive and user friendly feature, which can be used to log both

analogue and digital information. This highly sophisticated function is ideal particularly for small distribution systems. Unaohm has also updated the On-Screen Display to include an extra level to the standard ‘On’ and ‘Off’. The additional ‘Transparent’ level allows access to all on screen information which means the spectrum can be viewed through any other data that may be displayed on-screen, similar to mixing Teletext with a channel picture on a television screen. Don’t miss the Riggers Digest Training Show on the 15th and 16th May, where you can experience hands-on training with Unaohm equipment. For more information on the ‘Digital Measurement’ training session call 01604 788244 or visit

Practical issues, such as Health & Safety and Selfhelp schemes, are also included.

New solutions for in-home distribution

Bob, who is responsible for a number of technical training courses for the CAI as well as for military and civilian personnel at the Career Transition Partnership, hopes his new book will act as a useful tool to anybody involved in domestic installations.

A new series of TV/FM signal boosters have been launched by Global Communications as part of its new range of in-home distribution solutions.

Call your nearest Solutions Group depot for your copy.

The “T Series” has been designed to enhance the quality of TV signals in poor reception areas as well as to distribute TV signals, including Sky Digital, around the home. They are fully compatible with the Sky Digital tvLINK system and are designed to carry the return signal back to the Sky Digibox, enabling viewers to watch and control programming from several locations.

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Built to offer a simple and compact solution for households requiring good quality television pictures in more than one room, the “T Series” includes a 2, 4 and 8 way model.

The T120 (2 way) and T140 (4way) can either be powered by the Sky digibox or via a separate mains power. The T180 (8way) can only be powered by the mains power supply.

product news

Raven launch elliptical range Raven will be unveiling a new range of antennas, including the Gemini range, at this year’s Riggers Digest Training Show. Renowned for their top quality, high specification equipment, Raven undertake regular testing of processes and materials, utilising the latest World Class Manufacturing techniques and state of the art technology. The Gemini range elliptical antennas has been designed with VSAT and digital transmissions in mind. A specific design criteria for multi satellite and motorised applications has been built in to eliminate non-symmetrical illumination of offset focus feedhorns. The Gemini Elliptical range is Raven’s flagship, combining superlative electrical efficiency with robust mechanical performance. Available from Solutions Group in 90cm solid steel and 70cm mesh versions, the antennas

have a maximum operational wind speed of 100Km/h but are designed to survive 180Km/hr wind loading. The 70cm has a gain of 36.2dBi. The -3dB beamwidth on the 70cm is 2.6 degrees and the 10dB beamwidth is 4.6 degrees. The 90cm has a gain of 38.4dBi. The -3dB beamwidth on the 90cm is 2.0 degrees and the 10dB beamwidth is 3.8 degrees.

Vision adds 4 way splitter to range A new 4 way, fully screened outdoor splitter has recently been added to the Vision product range. The V24-101 is ideal for digital or analogue signals and can be used to split either VHF, UHF or satellite frequencies.

Elevation range for both antennas is 10-60 degrees and cross polar rejection is greater than 28dB. They are designed to fit mast diameters of 38-60mm. According to Raven, independent tests prove that a Gemini antenna will satisfy requirements where a larger antenna is normally needed. Don’t miss Raven’s ‘ Elliptical Experience’ training session at the Riggers Digest training Show in May. For more information call 01604 788244 or visit

This unit will pass up to 500 mA DC through any output and is fully screened with ‘f’ connections. It is housed in high quality, weatherproof housing which is Vision is renowned for. It has an insertion loss of 8.8dB at 40 - 862MHz and 10dB at 950 - 2400. Call Solutions Group for more details.


24V SDS Drill (GBH-24VRE) with a 1.7A/H Battery Normal Trade Price £299

Stock Code: 91648

240V SDS Mains Drill (BH2-24DFR) Normal Trade Price £199

Stock Code: 90815

and get a 12V Cordless Drill


H WORT £109

See Bosch at the Riggers Digest Training Show on 15th & 16th May in London! Offer ends 31st of July 2002

For more information please call Solutions Group Headquarters: Tel: 01604 787888 Fax: 01604 787999 © 2002 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.

Multi-room kits UX2 UX3 UX4

UD3739 UD5355

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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



Amplfiers UP15U UP25U UP25A/B/CD UP17U/0V UP17U/18F

H ea rk throw Pa

Masthead Range

Rigger's Digest


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See us at

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

Easy to use

Cable Connections


SHOW SPECIALS! SHOW SPECIALS! SHOW SPECIALS! SHOW SPECIALS! Visit Antiference at the Riggers Digest Training Show and get these fantastic offers: Aerials

Multi-room kits

Outlet Plates

XG8 A XG10 C/D XG10 W/B

UX 4 - 2 in 4 out UHF/FM

Single Outlet 800

Buy 5 @ £15.99 each

Buy 5 @ £12.99 each

Buy 10 @ £1.99 each

Normal Trade Price £15.85 each

Normal Trade Price £2.38 each

Normal Trade Price £20.56 each

Call Solutions Group on 01604 787888 for further details. Offers apply to the 15th & 16th of May 2002 only. © 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.

product news

K Series goes automatic The popular K Series, from DTT reception experts FR, has undergone some developments and now includes an additional Automatic Gain Control feature. Launched two years ago, the channelised filters and amplifiers have become an ideal solution to the problems of closing the gap between analogue and digital channels, making digital terrestrial TV easy to distribute. Not only does the K series system allow control of the level of each individual channel, whether adjacent or not, it acts as a very efficient filter to keep unwanted interference from the system, thus improving the carrier to noise ratio, which is particularly important for digital signals.

With the introduction of AGC, the launch signal levels will not change once set. So if the transmitter levels are adjusted or the received levels change, the AGC compensates the gain to ensure the set level is maintained. So now the installer can filter, amplify and control the level of each individual channel, whether analogue or digital, adjacent or standalone. This is particularly useful where transmitters are being re-aligned and power levels increased. Too much signal can be as much of a problem as too little. Most DTT receivers can cope with a maximum 80dBuV of analogue signal and 70dBuV for digital signal. Using K series AGC ensures that this maximum is not exceeded. Ideally, the input level should be between 80 and 85dBuV analogue level, with a maximum of 95dBuV. Where the digital level is 17 to 27dB lower, the installer can reduce this difference to 15dB. The K120A has an AGC dynamic capability of 30dB and an output level adjustment between 110 and 120dBuV. Because K series is built in modular, single channel amplifiers, the full

120dBuV maximum output is available for analogue channels and the digital channels would normally be set 15dB lower at 105dBuV (dcp). When off-air levels are below the ideal, a screened masthead amplifier or K series pre-amplifier can be added to the input to lift levels in order to achieve maximum output. De-rating of the launch level may be required in the normal way where cascading of amplifiers is employed.



So now, where levels of digital and analogue signals change over time for various reasons such as transmitter adjustment, environmental effects, weather and seasonal reasons the new FR K series with AGC takes control. Typically, an 11 channel digital and analogue UHF head-end with AGC can be built for under £500 making K series superb value for money. Don’t miss K Series Explained at this year’s Riggers Digest Training Show on the 15th & 16th May.

Exploring NEW Manufacturing Boundaries in Satellite Communications... With an established history in manufacturing first class antennas to the communications industry, why choose anything else....?

The Gemini Range Designed with digital transmission in mind and specific design criteria for dual satellite has been builtin to eliminate non-symmetrical illumination of offset focus feedhorns (e.g For ASTRA and EUTELSAT dual illumination).

The Scorpio Range Featuring the new innovatively designed ‘Universal Adjustable Antenna Bracket’ Digital Compatibility at the Minimum Size. H ea rk throw Pa

Rigger's Digest




Available from Solutions Group (UK) plc Tel: 01604 787888 Fax: 01604 787999

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The training event you can’t afford to miss! Attendance at the Riggers Digest Training Show 2002 is expected to be high because it’s the only training event being staged in London this year for TV & Satellite installation professionals. The two day show is being held at the newly refurbished Heathrow Park Hotel, London, which is a well known venue within the industry and a popular location for riggers. With the show only weeks away, organisers at Solutions Group are confident it will be even more successful than the training event they ran last year at the same venue.


“We have had a fantastic response from professionals in the industry because it’s a new kind of show focussing on the main training programme which makes it a unique and exciting event,” said organiser Fay Bliss.

“It will provide essential product and system training in a classroom environment where riggers will experience hands-on training. They will get the chance to use a variety of high quality products, ranging from test equipment to SMATV modulators, and get actively involved in the training sessions.” Industry leaders such as Sky, Unaohm, Pace and Philips will be providing the comprehensive training programme and will cover a wide range of subjects, including digital signal measurement, high quality DTT installations and system planning. The sessions will advise you on how to ensure you deliver quality terrestrial and satellite signals to both domestic and commercial premises with fault finding tips, measurement techniques and other useful solutions. “There will also be an exhibition showcasing new and innovative products which will be running alongside the main training programme,

so technical experts will be on hand throughout the two days to offer and “A number of manufacturers, including Labgear and Raven, have chosen to use the Riggers Digest show to launch new product ranges, so visitors are in for a real treat! There will also be prize draws and competitions, including the chance to win a Sky+ box and a years subscription when you visit the Sky stand.” “The main aim of the event is to provide TV & Satellite professionals with essential product training. They will experience the benefits of a classroom environment and meet the manufacturers behind the latest technologies at the industry’s favourite location. Time spent at the show will be well worth it.” Admission is free but places in the training sessions are limited. For mor information visit: Training Show is on the 15th and 16th May 2002 and is open from 9am to 6pm.

Day 1 - Wednesday 15th May Day 2 - Thursday 16th May 9.30am - 10.15am


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10.30am - 11.00am

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TV Coaxial Cable Raydex

11.15am - 11.45pm


Switchline GII & the Upgrade Path for Sky+ Philips

12.00pm -12.45pm

TBA ITV Digital


1.45pm - 2.15pm

In-home Distribution Global Communications

Planning the Passive Network Triax

2.30pm - 3.15pm

Digital Measurement Unaohm

High Quality DTT Installations Vision

3.30pm - 4.00pm

K Series Explained FR

Masthead Amplification for Digital Reception Antiference

4.15pm - 4.45pm

The Elliptical Experience Raven

Digital Measurement Unaohm

Please note: This is the latest training schedule for the show and differs slightly from the schedule featured on the registration form. Please check the times and dates of your chosen training sessions. Solutions Group (UK) plc reserves the right to change the timetable for the overall benefit of the event.

11 | issue 6

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digital update

What is a Digital Aerial? The status of DTT in the UK has been in the spotlight for many months. Following the launch of digital terrestrial free to air receivers, DTT installations are still very much a part of every rigger’s workload. Quality installations are in demand now more than ever, so what aerial should you be using to ensure you deliver the digital signal reception your customers expect. Jeremy Kennedy, Technical Director at Solutions Group, explains what you should be installing and why. In September 1999 the Government announced the criteria for digital television before analogue terrestrial television broadcasts could be switched off: Availability Everyone who currently receives free-to-view analogue TV channels (BBC 1 and 2, ITV, Channel 4/S4C and Channel 5) must be able to receive those channels digitally (target: The current 99.4% coverage for analogue terrestrial channels other than Channel 5) Affordability Switching to digital must be an affordable option for the vast majority of people (target: 95% of consumers have access to digital equipment)

noted that masthead amplifiers do have a use but only when the received signal from the antenna is adequate, otherwise only a re-sited aerial or one with a higher gain will fix the problem. Two units (types) of measurement are used; one uses a half wave dipole known as dBd as the reference and the other, dBi is relative to an isotropic emitter. A manufacturer that quotes its aerial gain relative to dBi will show a higher gain figure than dBd, and this is why some manufacturers use this measurement as a marketing tool to present 'better' numbers! Flatness

It remains the government's case that this could start to happen as early as 2006 and be completed by 2010. Each analogue channel of 8MHz can provide at least 6 (and possibly 7) DTT channels of a quality similar to analogue. This means the present UHF TV frequency range has the capacity to provide many more TV Channels, or other TV received services or non-TV services. The government is currently reviewing the alternative uses for this frequency band and is expected to conclude on its preferred position during this year. If at that time, the preferred position is to allocate some of the range to nonTV services (such as mobile telephone), then international agreement will have to be reached before re-allocation can be made which is unlikely to be reached before 2005 at the earliest. So what should we be installing today to meet our customers' requirements throughout this changeover period?

There are two measurements for this; the most simple is to measure the gain across the claimed operating range of the antenna, the flatness can then be specified to be for example 10dB +/2dB and this is what is shown on most manufacturer's performance graphs. The other kind of flatness is measured within a single channel and is often referred to as ripple. The antenna should have no more than 3dB variation across its operating frequency band as anything much greater than this is likely to cause problems. Trying to maintain all of these channels within the operating window can become a challenge, particularly when you have the combination of large differences in transmission power and TV channel frequencies. For in channel ripple - the lower the better. Poor RLR (Return Loss Ratio) has a significant influence upon this (See Impedance Matching).

construction and the same number of elements (and therefore similar cost), we find a Group 'A' aerial to be 2-4dBs higher than a 'WB' (Wideband) aerial. The difference reduces to around 1-2dBs for Group 'B' and only 0.5dB for Group 'CD'. (This is why some aerial manufacturers do not make both 'CD' and 'WB' aerials, as the difference in gain is small). Front to Back Ratio This is the difference (quoted as a ratio) in gain for signals reaching the aerial from the front compared to the rear and is quoted in dB. It is important in reducing the interference that could be caused by any signal reaching the aerial from the rear and is particularly relevant where buildings or other structures behind the aerial can reflect the wanted signal. It is affected by the design and size of the reflector. Beamwidth This is a measure of the directivity of an aerial and is used to define the reception arc into the front of it. If an aerial is peaked on to a signal and is then swung to the left until the received signal drops by half (3dB) and repeated to the right, this total swing in degrees is known as the Beamwidth.Generally the more forward elements, and thus higher gain, the narrower the Beamwidth.

Side Lobes For TV reception, the ideal aerial would have good forward gain, with no gain in any other direction. Unfortunately this is not achieved with the aerials that we use! So we would say the lower the gain, other than in the forward direction, the better to minimise interference from unwanted signals.

Frequency Range Before considering the characteristics that are more critical to digital signal reception, here is a reminder of the important specifications of any terrestrial TV aerial and why they are important. Forward Gain This is a measurement of how much the off-air signal is amplified by the aerial when the aerial is pointed directly towards the transmitter. If the received C/N (Carrier to Noise) and /or BER (Bit Error Ratio) is insufficient, no amplifier will correct this situation. However it should be

12 | issue 6

The UK UHF terrestrial television coverage has historically been broken up geographically into different limited frequency bands for both economic and interference reasons. By having adjacent areas operating in different frequency bands, interference from adjacent transmitters is minimised and the costs at both the transmitter and receiver are reduced. For example, if we compare the gain specifications of Yagi aerials of the same type of

Remember that 'Side Lobes' exist 360 degrees in both horizontal and vertical planes around the aerial and can therefore potentially pick up interference from almost any direction. Impedance Matching The TV industry has standardised upon 75ohm impedance so televisions have 75ohm input impedance and we use 75ohm coax cable. However, most antenna dipoles are not 75ohm. Whenever there is a difference in impedance in

digital update a transmission line interface, a mismatch (reflection) occurs. This is referred to as either VSWR (Voltage Standing Wave Ratio) or RLR (return loss ratio); the greater the mismatch the more signal that is reflected at the dipole/cable interface and the greater the chance of interference. There are several methods of reducing this mismatch; the most commonly used for Yagi antennae is an impedance matching transformer (BALUN meaning BALanced/UNbalanced) while another method is to use a matched dipole such as is used on the Antiference TC and RX antenna ranges. Some antennae, such as Log Periodic do not require a BALUN for impedance matching as they are inherently near the required 75ohm impedance. In addition to reducing signal reflection, a BALUN can reduce an aerial's susceptibility to Noise interference.

reception is acceptable, and over time the received signal varies due to atmospheric conditions or obstructions for example and the sources of interference also vary, then in the vast majority of cases the picture quality may deteriorate but the picture will not disappear.

Mechanical Considerations Any quality antenna should provide years of quality viewing for the customer, which is achieved by good design and installation techniques. Note that if a cradle support is used the performance of the antenna will be degraded. Some antennae are supplied with 'tilting mechanisms' on the basis that in some circumstances tilting the antenna up may reduce ground noise to a greater extent than it reduces forward gain, thus improving C/N Ratio. The wider the Beamwidth of an antenna is, then the more likely that tilting will be required. All the above are important to any aerial, whether for analogue or digital signal reception; so what makes an aerial suitable for digital signal reception?

A BALUN reduces the inherent mismatch (resulting in signal loss) between the dipole and the 75ohm feed cable. Traditionally, the connection to the aerial has been with a 'saddle and clamp' but aerials are now available with 'F' connectors. The advantage of these aerials is that the connection to the aerial is consistent and repeatable, whereas the 'saddle and clamp' arrangement is dependent on how far the clamp has been tightened.

At present there is no agreed standard for a 'digital aerial' although a committee is working on this and we will advise when such a standard is available. In the meantime we need to consider the above specifications and the probable future of DTT. Particularly as we will see a significant number of new STB's released some with dual tuners others with diversity tuners requiring two aerials connections! Analogue If at the time of an analogue installation the




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Digital In the case of DTT (Digital Terrestrial Television), the picture quality does not deteriorate, as is the case with analogue, but will in adverse conditions 'freeze' or disappear altogether. Up until 2006, it is probable that current DTT services will continue to be transmitted in the present 'bands', but new services (such as pay TV) may use different bands and after 2006 there may well be a re-allocation that would make the present 'band' structure obsolete. Therefore, to provide the best probability for a 'future proof' DTT installation, you should install a WB aerial with sufficient gain and a good match (low RLR) to the feed cable. In addition you should use a high quality approved cable such as H109F, CT100 and PH100 to minimise interference entering the distribution system after the aerial and to ensure any electronics (such as mast head or distribution amplifiers) are well matched to the cable. Units with 'F' connectors 'in' and 'out' are our preferred solution.

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technical solutions

techNICAL SOLUTIONS If you have an installation problem or need advice on the right products to use then look no further than our TECHNICAL SOLUTIONS! Our Technical Support Team have the experience and knowledge to provide you with a total solution for all your technical requirements. If you have a technical problem you want solving then contact our Technical Team at Technical Solutions, Solutions Group, 1 Hartburn Close, Crow Lane Industrial Park, Northampton, NN3 9UE or call 01604 788252 or e-mail


I have just bought a Vision V40-104 RF Modulator, but it only has one input. The older models have inputs for left and right audio which combine to give mono. How can I combine left and right easily from a digibox to feed this? I’m concerned that the digibox will not be happy if I simply connect left and right together. Normally they are combined using two transistors inside the receiver to feed the internal RF modulator but I don’t fancy having to build an external circuit for every modulator that I sell. I know I can simply feed either right or left into it but I’m selling this as a “deluxe” model and it’s not really “deluxe” if it has just one half of a stereo transmission. M Pickering, London


To get sound from the source that you want to modulate, you need to extract the left audio signal only as the mono soundtrack is located in the left signal. This can be extracted via the scart lead, but most home entertainment appliances have phono audio left and right outputs, so it is much easier to use a phono lead and connect it to the left audio output on the appliance to the audio input on the modulator.


I have recently installed a DiSEqC H-H motor and I when I align the Dish it appear to be getting good signal levels and I am tracking the arc fine, but once I plug the receiver in, the signal seems to be much weaker even though I have taken the cable run losses into account. Bill Stanton, Morcombe


Try connecting your meter to the LNB when you tighten up the nuts on the dish, you will be surprised how easy it is to move the dish off alignment, be it over tightening in one direction or both.


Can you tell me if the new free-to-air DTVA from Pace can receive encrypted channels? J Hunt, Nottingham


The situation today is that the software is in the box but has been disabled by Pace because no broadcaster has commercial "control" of the unit and therefore, at present, subscription is not available to anyone with the product. The card reader is active but redundant because the software will not be active. However should any broadcaster with the same encryption decide later that they will offer a subscription service to consumers with the DTVA-UK, Pace can activate the software "over air" to support the pay channels.


I have installed a motorised digital satellite receiver for a customer and have connected his SKY Digital receiver to it via the IF loop through as he cannot have more than one dish on his home. I am receiving all low band channels but I am missing all the high band SKY Digital channels from 28.2deg east, do you have any ideas? K Adams, Sunderland


It sounds like the digital satellite receiver is not passing 22HKz. You need to connect a field analyser to the IF loop through on the back of the receiver. Put the receiver into standby and use the meter to power the LNB through the receiver. Turn on the 22KHz on the meter and see if the carriers are present, if not then the receiver will not pass 22KHz.

watch and record analogue and digital channels independently. The DTVA scart plugs into the break out box and then the rf out lead plugs into the VCR. The old analogue signal will be on the usual channels with the new digital signal on another.


I have connected my SKY Digital receiver to my television via scart, but every time I turn the receiver on my TV jumps to AV and stays there as long as the SKY box is on. How do I stop this from happening? T Price, Notts


If you press services on your remote control and select system setup, then select picture settings, you will find the option of scart control. Turn scart control off and the problem will go away.


My customer already has SKY Digital and would like to receive the Arabic channels on the Hotbird satellite as well. He is unable to run any more cables so how can I make the signal available for them? Peter McNought, Salisbury


If you are going to use a separate receiver for the Arabic channels then it is possible using a DiSEqC 2x1 to use just one cable. Feed the signals from the LNB's into the DiSEqC switch, make sure that the SKY Digital feed is connected to port A on the DiSEqC switch. Connect the other end of the coax cable to the non SKY Digital receiver. As long as the receiver has LNB loop through and passes 22KHz tone you can then feed to the SKY Digital box.


2X1 DiSEqC switch

How do you record programmes from the Pace DTVA to a VCR? S Evans,Birmingham


By connecting the DTVA scart to the VCR’s scart and then connecting the VCR’s scart to the TV’s scart programmes can be recorded. This does mean viewers can only watch the channel they are recording which is similar to a standard Sky digibox. Pace are apparently preparing to launch a ‘break out box’ which viewers will be able to use to

Digital Satellite Receiver

SKY Digital Receiver

When no DiSEqC switch is present and as long as the non SKY receiver is turned off, then the SKY box can receive the ASTRA signal.

issue 6 | 15

DTT know how

Trade counter tips for DTT Experienced aerial and satellite installer Mark Bartlett has been running the Solutions Group trade counter in Poole for the past four years so knows only too well the problems installers can face. With Digital Terrestrial Television now entering a new era, Mark tackles some frequently asked questions about DTT and offers some useful tips. Is Analogue being switched off? In my opinion the question should not be is it being switched off but when is it being switched off. An educated guess would be somewhere between four and eight years from now. What does this mean to the rigger in the street? With the new free-to-air digital terrestrial receivers now available, the whole DTT market is set to explode. There are approximately 16 million households

across the country that don’t want to pay a monthly subscription or have a dish on the wall, but would be more than willing to view clear digital pictures through a terrestrial aerial on their existing television set at the right price. How extensive is DTT coverage now across the country? In some areas of the country DTT signals are received with absolutely no problems at all. In other areas though, picture break-up and loss occurs. This still occurs in a lot of the installations already completed. The complicated nature of detecting these problems means that traditional rules do not tend to apply i.e one set top box or integrated television may work better than another. However some tips will enable you to reduce and in most cases alleviate installation problems completely. What sort of test equipment should I be using? To be able to recognise the problems that can occur on DTT transmissions, your meter should be able to read these three parameters. 1. C/N (CARRIER TO NOISE RATIO) 2. B.E.R. (BIT ERROR RATIO) 3. D.C.P. (DIGITAL CARRIER POWER) Some meters in the market place simply give you a pass or fail display. These can and do

2 | issue 6

work in a number of installations. However, I am aware of quite a few occasions where these test meters indicate good reception (pass) but when the set top box is installed it breaks up on a number of channels. This can also happen visa versa when the meter says fail the set top box goes and works (normally when another company has actually fitted a box and reaped the benefits). It is essential you understand the limitations of your meter. Can’t I use my old Analogue meter to read DTT transmissions? NO! NO! NO! Using your existing analogue meter will result in inaccurate measurements being taken. What does a digital terrestrial set top box need to work? The set top box manufacturers along with ITV Digital give these ideal readings.


55 to 65 dBµV

Analogue Carrier Power Digital C/N

< 80 dBµV


> 26 dBµV at the receiver or 30 dBµV at the head end (or channel B.E.R. 2 E-6 or better on DATUM 10/ EP 314) Quasi Error Free Point 2 E - 4

masthead is required then try and keep its gain to a minimum (13 -15 dB). The use of screened mastheads when used with other high performance components has been found to significantly improve quality. ‘F’ type amplifiers, such as the V20-100 from Vision which has a gain of 13dB, have also been found to improve and reduce interference. Good quality double screened cable is also necessary (CT 100/H109F ). Advise the customer that the electrician’s low cost single hair braid cable down the cavity is really not good enough! Avoid joins totally, even if this means drilling the outlet plate and bringing the cable directly in from the outside of the house. By improving measurement on D C P and C/N you will directly affect the B E R reading. Experimentation is the key here. I've had those readings and better and it has still failed. Why? Noise spikes (impulses) are a big factor affecting signal reception and can be caused by a number of things, including a moving car on the street below. These are often not detected by the average test meter because they happen so fast. To reduce the problems caused by environmental noise, it is imperative you use screened equipment along with good quality cable. F type aerials and screened accessories should be part of every installer’s stock list.

These readings can be improved if you follow some simple steps. Remember that D C P for a set top box can be as low as 55 dBµV which means extra high gain amplifiers may cause you problems. A good quality matched aerial should be used for reliability and performance. Try to avoid masthead amplifiers if you can. If a All Vision antennas are fitted with a ‘supermatch’ balun.

DTT know how


Cars produce environmental noise

Another way to reduce the effect of these spikes is to use something to shield the aerial, such as the roofline of a house, which can protect the signal against the noise being generated from passing cars etc. Several other forms of noise have also been detected in and around the household.

Fluorescent lighting and central heating thermostats are just two of many already being reported by installers at the trade counter. Bad earthing both in domestic and in communal dwellings has also caused DTT transmissions to break up.

part of the weekly workload for aerial riggers over the coming years so if you have any comments about this article or any other DTT issue visit the Riggers Digest Training Show on the 15th and 16th May at Heathrow Park Hotel or contact Mark at Solutions Group Poole on 01202 624441.

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Another hard day in Africa Paul Davies resigned as Technical Manager of Race Communications Ltd in October 2000 in order to return to his native South Africa. His ex-boss Bob Calaz, who runs Solutions Group, Berkshire, visited Paul earlier this year to check on his progress. Paul and his wife Caroline now manage a 80 hectare farm in the African bush some three hours drive from Johannesburg. They enjoy a peaceful lifestyle, being 30Km from the shops and reached in a 4-wheel drive vehicle over dirt roads. Paul has already erected 3Km of overhead three-phase wiring, only to be told that the poles are too short his current thinking is to dig out the ground beneath the wires so as to increase the ground clearance to the required amount! In the meantime, a portable generator supplies their needs. Visitors to the farm may be surprised to see a standard BSkyB zone 2 dish on the farmhouse roof. They would be even more surprised to fiond Paul inside watching Sky News on a widescreen TV receiver - imagine watching traffic jams on the M25 from the other side of the world!

A closer look at the dish picture will give a clue as to how this is achieved. The LNB skew angle indicates that it is not an ASTRA satellite that is being received. The signals are in fact from Panamsat 7 located at 68.5oE this satellite relays a Multichoice bouquet that includes a whole variety of UK programmes and Paul can always watch a Premier League soccer match at weekends.


Securing the right connection As part of a much larger project BSkyB recently conducted a survey of digital satellite installations across the UK.

Unsurprisingly, considering how much practice we've all had, the standard of quality was very high. That being said, there are one or two areas that still seem to be giving installers a few problems. Not least of these is the application and sealing of F connectors. Whether you use crimp type or screw on F connectors, and there are perfectly valid arguments for both types, what is important is that the connector is the correct size for the cable. The use of a connector that is too large or too small for the cable will invariably put a mismatch, or impedance change, on the feed that can be extremely detrimental to the smooth distribution of digital signals. It is important that you take care that the F connectors you use are the right size for the cable.

The most effective way of applying selfamalgamating tape onto a single F connector is as follows: Break off a piece two to three inches long and remove the backing. Hold one end against the exposed screw thread above the connector and stretch out the remainder to half its width. Wind the stretched tape around the thread in the same direction as the f connector tightens, keeping the tension to maintain half the unstretched width. Work down across the F connector onto the cable below in three or four turns. When the connector is fully covered, from the exposed thread above to a centimetre or so of the cable below simply break off what is left in the hand. Correctly applied tape is easy to recognise as it follows the contours of the connector and moulds around the exposed thread completing the watertight seal.

Where crimp type F connectors are used it is equally important that, as well as having the correct size for the cable, the proper crimping tool for the particular connector is also used. The use of the wrong crimping tool, pliers, or other stop-gap tools is even more detrimental to digital signals than having the wrong size connector.

The use of electricians insulating tape is pointless in an installation as rain and frost will quickly cause it to peel away. An external, unsealed F connector will allow water ingress into the cable very quickly and cause digital signals to fail, resulting in dissatisfied customers and inconvenient and expensive call backs. In some cases it can even lead to water finding its way into the set top box causing costly damage to the unit.

Having used the right connector with the right tools the next step, when fitting connectors outside, is to ensure that the connection is properly sealed. As yet there is nothing available in the market that seals better than properly applied self-amalgamating tape, but it must be properly applied.

Properly applied self-amalgamating will maintain its watertight properties for many years, it does not fall off and, at less than a penny per application, is the most cost effective way of protecting both your customers' investment and your own reputation for quality, long lasting work.

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issue 6 | 19


Taking a fresh look at IRS, MATV & SMATV System Components

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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

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product news

Digital Signal Measurement Testing and measuring reception is an essential part of every installation job. Digital signal measurement in particular is a daunting area, but a quality installation can be achieved if you know what to look for and use the right equipment as Tom Carnie at Solutions Group explains. The Digital Set Top Box has been designed in such a way that it is capable of detecting and correcting data received that is in error from that transmitted using powerful error correction circuits. In digital satellite and digital terrestrial receivers the first correction circuit is called Viterbi and is a complex software based system. The second correction circuit is called Reed Solomon and determines errors from hardware based comparison tables. (Remember the Hamming Codes of Reed Solomon Cross Interleaved Coding used in CD and Hard Drive technology?) The digital signal has several parameters that can be measured, and by making sure these are measured, you can achieve a quality installation. Digital Carrier Power (DCP) and Carrier to Noise Ratio (C/N) are straight-forward measurements, resulting in given levels displayed in dBuV, dBmV or dBm.

is because the value displayed is not absolute, but it is very accurate in relative terms. The benefit to the installer is the SNR will allow critical adjustment of the skew of the LNB. Bit Error Ratio (BER) Given that nowadays it is digital data we are measuring, there is a new parameter to remember. BER determines the ratio between the total data received and the data that has been corrected. The fewer errors corrected the better quality the signal. Interpretation of the BER is not always clear especially if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re more used to analogue voltage measurements.There is also the added complication that the BER of Satellite (QPSK) and Terrestrial (COFDM) differ, as there are many subsystems within COFDM. For the purpose of this article I will concentrate on explaining QPSK. The QEF is the Quasi Error Free value, 2E-4 (1 part in 2 x 10 4= 20,000).

Figure 1 Carrier

Carrier distortion due to reflections

Ideal shape with some interference


Carrier to Noise Ratio

Carrier to Noise Ratio It must be considered that C/N is not a definitive stand-alone measurement. By definition it is a ratio of carrier to noise that is being measured across the bandwidth and will not detect some distortions that will have detrimental effects to the data. Figure 1 above shows how the same C/N could be measured for both waveforms, due to the distortions being hidden within the signal bandwidth. In addition instruments that only estimate C/N and do not show BER will not be accurate enough to determine good quality. Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) This is an additional measurement available for QPSK. SNR is derived from a register inside the front-end electronics of the instrument. Note: When indicating SNR the Unaohm EP314 does not show a dB unit after SNR. This

30 | issue 6

This value, set by the engineers who designed the standard for digital broadcasting, is the target performance for a set top box and is measured post Viterbi or pre Reed Solomon. It is good for Set Top Box manufacturers but not so useful for installers as we shall see. The display of CHannel BER measurement (pre Viterbi) is the number of errors the Viterbi stage was able to detect and correct. It is the number of errors present on the Channel and it is the most important parameter for an installer to consider. Remember that until we have corrected the errors, we do not know how many there are. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re using Unaohm instruments the range is typically from 1.00E-2 up to xxE-8 and can be as high as xxE-22. The display of post Viterbi BER measurement (post Viterbi and pre Reed

Solomon) is the number of errors detected and corrected by the Reed Solomon stage. This number is obviously only a fraction of the initial errors coming from the Front-End as Viterbi will have corrected some of them. When CH BER is good, i.e has fewer errors, the indication of post Viterbi BER is very low and a long period of time is necessary to show the presence of an error. The error correction system input to output is measured in the following way: CH BER = the number of errors corrected by the Viterbi Corrector Post Viterbi BER = the number of errors corrected by Reed Solomon Corrector RU = uncorrected errors are the errors detected but not solved by the RS corrector QEF = is the Quasi Error Free position of 2.00E-4 For example, when CH BER is 1E-5 the post Viterbi goes to about 1E-13 to 1E-14 (outside its measurable range), it would be necessary to wait about 24 hours to have this value displayed. On the other hand, when post Viterbi BER equals 2E-4 (QEF), the CH BER is 2E-2 to 2E3. This may be good for a Set Top Box but not for an installation especially in a block of flats. If a cloud passes in front of a dish or it is raining, the CH BER dramatically falls and the signal may fail to lock. To ensure a quality installation, the QEF (post Viterbi) is not as good a measuring point as the Channel BER, which gives the quickest assessment of the signal, and will remain good in time under varying weather conditions. To achieve a quality picture look for a 1E-5 CH BER, or better, at the LNB output in order to obtain 1E-3 CH BER at the outlet socket. This will provide a good distribution network. The post Viterbi will display 1E-8, as that is the lowest value capable of being indicated (EP314). When QPSK measurement was first required in field test instruments. only the CH BER was adopted. After some time, instrument makers presented QPSK measurement with post Viterbi BER only. There reasoning was that as the Quasi Error Free target is the value for quality, and this is

signal measurement

In order to give the installation engineer as much information as possible, Unaohm instruments offer the post Viterbi BER, in addition to the CH BER, but as you can see in the Figure 2 opposite it has less to offer compared with CH BER. The post Viterbi BER is good for STB manufacturers because they have to demonstrate the quality of the receiver at this value. In considering the requirements for Digital Terrestrial (COFDM), much of the above is relevant. The target for quality is measured in the same way. The DCP, C/N and BER are required to ensure that a accurate installation is achieved. Figure 3 and Figure 4 below illustrate the relationship between some groupings of the C/N, Ch BER and Pv BER for the Unaohm DaTuM 10 handheld spectrum meter. It is important to understand that every combination of carrier number, code rate, guard and constellation will result in different curves of Ch BER and Pv BER. Having digested the contents of this article, here is what you should be measuring to get the box to work.

Figure 2

Waterfall Curves for QPSK


what should be measured. However, this measurement, as discussed above, is not dynamic enough for an installation engineer.

Tech Tip: Be aware that the Analogue level can be as much as 33dBuV above the Digital level and can overload the input to the terrestrial set top box. Typical maximum analogue input to the Digital set top box is 80dBuV.

Figure 4

DaTuM: BER as a function of C/N 2k carriers, 1/32 guard, 2/3 code rate 64 QAM constellation

C/N dB At the input to the Digital Satellite Set Top Box:

At the input to the Digital Terrestrial Set Top Box: DCP Min 50dBuV, Max 65dBuV (note) C/N Min 26dB CH BER xxE-6

DCP Min 47dBuV, Max 77dBuV C/N Min 12dB CH BER xxE-3 (xxE-5 at the LNB) Figure 3

DaTuM: BER as a function of C/N 2k carriers, 1/32 guard, 2/3 code rate 64 QAM constellation


1.0E+00 1.0E-01 1.0E-02 1.0E-03 1.0E-04 1.0E-05 1.0E-06 1.0E-07 1.0E-08 1.0E-09 1.0E-10 10







13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35


6.5E-01 3.8E-01 2.2E-01 1.3E-01 7.8E-02 4.6E-02 2.7E-02 1.6E-02 9.3E-03 5.5E-03 3.2E-03 1.9E-03 1.1E-03 6.6E-04 3.9E-04 2.3E-04 1.3E-04 7.9E-05 4.7E-05 2.8E-05 1.6E-05 9.5E-06 5.6E-06


3.2E-02 3.2E-03 3.2E-04 3.2E-05 3.2E-06 3.2E-07 3.2E-08 3.2E-09 3.2E-10 3.2E-11 3.2E-12 3.2E-13 3.2E-14 3.2E-15 3.2E-16 3.2E-17 3.2E-18 3.2E-19 3.2E-20 3.2E-21 3.2E-22 issue 6 | 5

satellite know how

DiSEqC switching made easy Setting up a digital satellite receiver to view more than one satellite is as easy as 1, 2, 3, when youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re installing a Pixx. Here we give you a step by step guide on how to set up the ADT 1200 and ADT 3500 to switch between two satellites using a 1.0 DiSEqC switch. 1 Make sure the set-top box is connected to the TV and the satellite dish is correctly aligned before the Set-top box is plugged in to the mains.

10 Press exit to leave the Signal Level menu and then move down to the Go to Auto Search option and press ok.

2 Plug the STB in to the mains and the Quick Setup Guide will be displayed on screen. Select Exit in the bottom right hand corner and the screen will display No Channel List.

11 You will now be in the Auto Search menu. Using the directional keys highlight box 1 and 2 in turn and use the ok button to put a tick in each box.

3 Press the Menu button on the remote control to bring up the main menu, as shown opposite. 4 Go down to User Installation> and press the right button to bring up the User Installation Menu and select Antenna Setup.


Auto Search

TV channel Radio Channel Program Guide Timer User Installation User Installation > Receiver Information Antenna Setup Auto Search TP Setup Parental Lock Options Data Transfer Factory Default go down to Quick Setup Guide

5 Once the Antenna Setup appears, Signal Level and press OK on the remote control.

AntennaSetup Antenna

1< >



Univ. LNB

YES < >

LNB Freq.1


LNB Freq.2


14/18 Volt

None < >

22KHz Tone

None < >


Port A < >

Motor Position Settings Signal Level Go to Auto Search

Signal Level 86 Locked 99

Note: If your primary satellite is not ASTRA, highlight and change the Satellite using the right key on the remote control. The antenna number will remain on 1 and the DiSEqC will remain on port A. 7 To exit the signal level menu press exit.

Positing Help

AntennaSetup Antenna

2< >


6 The strength and signal quality will be displayed as below.

Hotbird < >

Univ. LNB

YES < >

LNB Freq.1


LNB Freq.2


14/18 Volt

None < >

22KHz Tone

None < >


Port B< >

8 To select the 2nd satellite go backup to the antenna option and using the right hand key change the antenna number from 1 to 2. The name of the satellite will change to Hotbird and the DiSEqC option will change to port B. If this is not the required satellite then use the left and right hand buttons to select the required one. Signal Level 76 Locked 92

Motor Position Settings Signal Level Go to Auto Search Positing Help

2 | issue 6

9 Once you have selected the required satellite, go down to the Signal Level option and check the quality of the signal.

Antenna Satellite Univ.LNB LNB Freq.1 LNB Freq.2 14/18 Volt 22KHz DiSEqC

1 ASTRA YES 9750 10600 Not Used Not Used Port A

















Search Options Start

12 If you select the Search Option menu you can select to download FTA or scrambled channels only as well as Network search. To exit the Search Option press exit. 13 Once you are happy with your search options select Start and press ok to begin. 14 Once the STB has finished scanning the primary satellite it will switch to the secondary automatically and carry on downloading as shown opposite. 15 Once the STB has finished downloading press OK to exit the installation. You will now be able to view your chosen channels.

Auto Search



TP 12/48 43%

Freq 12188

Symbol 27500

FEC 3/4


Found The Following Channel(s)

TV channel

Radio channel



INFO Searching Complete Found 1768 Channel(s)


22K ON

signal distribution

SMATV revisited I think it was Billy Connolly who said that he did not need to learn Algebra, as it was unlikely he would ever visit there. The Simple Measures Achieve Trouble-free Viewing (SMATV) article in Issue 5 ventured to go there. The article referred to a need to avoid +and- 1, 5 and 9 channel relationships when designing a channel plan for a distribution system. This design principle is based on sound technical principles and here Tom Carnie, Product Manager, ventures further. Modulation and Sidebands (n+/-1) An amplitude modulation system, as used for the vision component of Analogue Television will produce sidebands above and below the carrier frequency extending out to the maximum modulating frequency and no further. The FM mono sound carrier at 6MHz above the vision carrier, just above the 5.5 MHz vision sidebands, in practice defines the spectral limit of the modulator's output. (An off-air broadcast signal will also have a Nicam digital carrier centred approx. 0.5 MHz above this). A simple modulator as used in a Digibox or VCR produces a double-sideband modulated signal with vision sidebands and 6 MHz sound carriers symmetrically above and below the vision carrier frequency but sidebands are not produced 5 or 9 channels away as a look at a Digibox output on an analyser will confirm.

related to the IF frequencies used in the receivers. Local oscillator interference (n+/-5) The front-end of a Television receiver operates on the Superheterodyne principle. The incoming signal is mixed with a local oscillator to produce constant IF frequencies on which the vision and sound components progress through the receiver. The Vision IF frequency used is 39.5MHz and is produced by mixing the incoming signal with a local-oscillator which always runs 39.5MHz higher than the vision carrier of the tuned channel. The difference product, ‘f’ oscillator minus ‘f’ carrier, is then filtered out (usually these days by a SAW filter) to produce the vision ( as well as colour and sound) IF.

In Analogue Television transmission, to conserve bandwidth and spectrum, the lower sideband of the transmitted broadcast signals is heavily filtered out leaving only a vestige, hence vestigial sideband (vsb) modulation. Professional grade modulators for distribution systems also produce a vsb output.

With UHF channel spacing of 8MHz, the localoscillator of a set tuned to channel n is therefore running only 0.5MHz below channel n+5 vision. Taking a practical case with a TV set tuned to Ch 40 with vision carrier at 623.25MHz. The local oscillator will be running at 623.25 + 39.5 = 662.75MHz which is 0.5 below Ch 45 vision at 663.25MHz.

Channel relationships The requirement to avoid +&- 1 is straightforward and is due to the inability of some older TV receivers to sufficiently reject adjacent analogue channels. (This does not apply to DTT multiplexes, because of their different level and type of spectral energy, and are routinely broadcast adjacent to analogue). The problem with +5 and +9 relationships is

There are recognised limits on local-oscillator radiation directly from TV receivers and at their aerial sockets, but television receivers in a block of flats, for example, could well be operating back to back a few feet apart through a wall with their aerial feeders sharing a common route and their aerials sharing a common mast. This local oscillator leakage may well cause patterning on pictures.

Image-channel interference (n+/-9) The wanted IF is produced from a channel 39.5 MHz below the oscillator, but the mixing process will also produce an ‘f’ carrier minus ‘f’ oscillator difference product from a channel similarly spaced above the oscillator frequency. For a set tuned to channel n, the problem is caused by channel n+9 which is referred to as the image channel. The problem is best illustrated by again looking at a practical case. Consider a set tuned to channel 40. The local oscillator will be running at 623.25+39.5 = 662.75MHz. If any sound carrier from channel 49 reaches the mixer it will produce the product 701.25-662.75 = 38.5MHz which is only 1 MHz away from the vision IF and could cause patterning. One of the tasks of the TV receiver front-end is image channel rejection to minimise the level of any n+9 image channel reaching the mixer. Over the years the performance of image rejection has been substantially improved and most modern receivers can tolerate quite high levels of n+9, a fact which has allowed relaxation in terms of Broadcast spectrum planning. It can be usefully demonstrated on the bench with a suitable vsb modulator, combiner and spectrum analyser set-up. Thanks to a number of readers, in particular Bill Wright of Wright’s Aerial, who sent their comments in about last issue’s article. My grateful thanks also to BBC Resources Department of BBC Scotland and in particular Mr. Noble MacPherson, whose response forms the basis of this article.

TECHNICAL Design SERVICE solutionsgroup



Within such a progressive industry, it can be hard for retailers and installers to keep up to date with product ranges and compatible items. That's why we offer a Technical Design Service that can provide you with technical plans and product advice for even the most complex installations.

01604 787888 issue 6 | 25

IRS concept

IRS System Planning As DTT, Satellite, DAB and CCTV are now required by most communal developments, the flexibility and coverage of IRS systems are essential in order to deliver these services. Here, Bob Calaz introduces the IRS concept and outlines the services that can be relayed.

Figure 1



Customer Requirements


Customers can now require some or all of the following services:

Multiband amp

Quattro LNB

4xIF amp

Multi switch

Multi switch



! FM radio ! Digital audio broadcasts (DAB) ! Analogue terrestrial TV ! Digital terrestrial TV (DTT) ! BSkyB digital satellite TV ! Analogue and digital broadcasts from other satellites ! CCTV relayed as UHF TV channels ! Satellite programmes relayed as UHF TV channels

Backbone cables 950MHz 2150MHz

Figure 2

Vertical low

1275 1170








Vertical high


Horizontal high

al 0MHz Vertic 1070

Horizontal low


iz Hor

ta l




Figure 3










Fundamentals of IRS The necessary terrestrial services are amplified and combined on to a single coaxial cable. A Ku band universal “Quattro” LNB gives the following outputs simultaneously: ! High band horizontal ! High band vertical ! Low band horizontal ! Low band vertical These signals are amplified and distributed together with the combined terrestrial signals on separate coaxial cables to one or more “multiswitches” that in turn deliver the signals to each outlet location, as shown in figure 1.

Multiband amp

Quattro LNB

An integrated reception system (IRS) can deliver all these services on a single coaxial drop-in cable to each viewing location.

4xIF amp

Multi switch

Multi switch

Multi switch

Multi switch

Multi switch

Multi switch

The multiswitch independently selects the appropriate LNB feed for each outlet according to whether the voltage from the satellite receiver is 12V or 18V and whether or not a 22KHz tone is present. The terrestrial signals are mixed with the selected satellite feed and relayed via the drop-in cable to the receiver. The system is “transparent” is as much that the satellite receiver and TV receiver will function as if they were connected directly to a single universal LNB and terrestrial aerial respectively. The cable links to the multiswitches are called backbone cables (see figure 2) Early IRS networks utilised two-cable backbone with the terrestrial signals diplexed on to one

26 | issue 6

IRS concept or both of the satellite IF feeds; most modern systems incorporate a five-cable backbone with the terrestrial signals relayed on a separate coaxial cable to simplify the adjustment of signal levels. If necessary, the backbone cables can be split to feed in two or more directions as shown in figure 3.

The factor that usually limits the “reach” of an IRS system is usually the maximum output level of the terrestrial TV head-end amplifier. Setting its analogue level too high will cause a form of third-order intermodulation distortion, known as “composite-triple-beat” (CTB), which will degrade the BER.

It is also possible to extend the IRS concept to provide access to two different satellites using a nine-cable backbone with four cables dedicated to each satellite and the ninth for the terrestrial signals. Each viewer could then access either satellite using DiSEqC commands generated either by the receiver or a stand-alone DiSEqC generator as described in section 27.3 of An Introduction to Domestic Radio TV and Satellite Reception. Three or more satellites could be accommodated using the same principles.

It is always necessary to check the required analogue launch level against the amplifier specification when planning a system. Check also that the FM and DAB launch levels do not exceed those of the analogue TV signals. For larger community systems it could be advantageous to use fibre optic links between remote sites to relay signals from a central headend location to two or more independent IRS systems, each covering a smaller area. Services Available

For most systems, the mains power supply is located at the head end location with dc power relayed to the multiswitches on one of the backbone cables. Only for larger systems would mains power be required at other locations. Careful planning is necessary to keep all the signal levels within their correct windows of operation throughout the system. This is especially true for the digital signals because the C/N ratio will be degraded by each amplifier or multiswitch. It is particularly important to measure the BER at each outlet location, even if the signal levels and C/N ratio are within their theoretical limits, since this will determine the overall performance of the system. There are several guidelines to follow when planning and installing a system: ! Incorporate some form of terrestrial filter (such as a cluster leveller) to remove extraneous interference. ! The level of the lowest terrestrial digital multiplex into the multiband preamplifier should be at least 42dBµ ! Try to avoid having more than four amplifiers and three multiswitches in cascade. ! Drop-in cables should preferably be not more than 40M long. ! Terminate all the unused outputs of each multiswitch.

Service FM Radio DAB Terrestrial TV Satellite IF

A site survey and field strength test will be required in order to determine the services available at any particular location. It will be necessary to consider the following: ! The signal strength of the relevant services. The minimum limits are given in chapter 5 but it is vital to get the best possible signals from the aerial or satellite dish. 2dB more signal means 2dB more C/N ratio throughout the system. A separate satellite dish would be preferred for each orbital location. ! Possible sources of interference, for example neighbouring TV transmitters, cellphone relay stations and microwave transmitters. This subject is discussed in detail in chapter 23. It may be necessary to consider the use of an aerial with a good front-to-back ratio or a dish location such that a nearby structure will provide screening against interference. Layout Concept Aspects to be considered include the following: ! Aerial/dish location and aesthetics, the rigidity of the supporting structure and local planning requirements ! The head end equipment location, availability of mains power and a system earth ! The length of the drop-in cables ! The location and number of backbone cables ! Number of coaxial cables in each backbone

Freq(MHz) 100 230 470 860 950 2150

H109F 0.6 1.0 1.4 1.9 2.0 3.2

CT100 0.6 1.0 1.4 1.9 2.0 3.0

! Future expansion (maybe two multiswitch outlets per viewing location) ! The number of multiswitches in cascade ! Access to the equipment for maintenance Equipment and Materials to be used For all but the smallest systems use equipment where terrestrial TV and satellite signals are relayed on separate cables. The make of equipment will depend on the size of the system and the facilities required. There are many products on the market for small systems. For larger systems choose equipment with adjustable gain and equalisation. The choice is more limited if more than five backbone cables are required. Compile a table of parameters for each item of equipment listing the following: ! Minimum/maximum input levels ! Maximum output levels ! Loss or gain at each relevant frequency Network Plan Prepare a schematic drawing showing equipment/outlets and cable lengths. If possible, make several copies these will be useful when calculating the signal levels at various frequencies. Identify the furthest point (the outlet at which the signal will be weakest). This is not always easy, especially if network taps are to be used. Mark up one copy of drawing to show gains/losses for terrestrial TV signals and cable losses at 860MHz. Typical cable losses per 10M are indicated at the bottom of the page. Mark up a second copy of the drawing to show gains/losses for satellite TV signals and cable losses at 2150MHz. This extract was taken from An Introduction to Domestic Radio TV and Satellite Reception, written by Bob Calaz and published by the Confederation of Aerial Industries Ltd. For more information call Solutions Group on 01604 787888.

CT125 0.5 0.8 1.2 1.6 1.7 2.6

CT167 0.4 0.6 0.9 1.2 1.3 2.1 issue 6 | 27



No ion t p i r c Subs ired! Requ

The compact Digital Television Adapter from Pace has been designed to provide UK homes with a new and low-cost path to digital television offering up to 15 FREE digital terrestrial channels.



DTVA friendly Electronic Programme Guide

· Automatic · Video

and Manual channel search

output - PAL, RGB, Composite, S-VHS




On/Off on front panel

· Fully

DVB compatible

Birmingham 0121 544 0220

Manchester 0161 746 8595

Nottingham 0115 982 6400

Tyne & Wear 0191 487 7676

East Yorkshire 01482 222295

Glasgow 0141 849 7440

Hertfordshire 01992 789650

Wembley 0208 451 1777

Cheshire 01260 299658

Woolwich 0208 316 0123

Leeds 0113 236 1111

Dorset 01202 624441

Berkshire 01344 621531

Edinburgh 0131 448 2900

Sheffield 0114 288 0111


the best place for Pace

· User

Northampton [HQ] 01604 787888

See Pace at the Riggers Digest Training Show on 15th & 16th May at Heathrow Park Hotel, London! © 2002 Solutions Group (UK) Plc. Reproduction Prohibited. E&OE. Pace ® and

are trademarks of Pace Micro Technology plc. ®

channel news

Channel Update... Anybody who has found Fox News interesting since it has been available over here may find the following American news feeds interesting. CBS New York is currently being carried on Eutelsat W2 at 16deg east. Frequency 11.190 Polarity Horizontal Symbol Rate 5632 FEC ¾. MSNBC is being carried on Telestar 12 at 15deg west. Frequency 11.521 Polarity Horizontal Symbol Rate 5350 FEC 7/8. CNN Headline News and CNN Live are on Telestar 11 at 37.5deg west. Frequency 11.495 Polarity Horizontal Symbol Rate 19500 FEC ¾.

These news feeds are all broadcasted in NTSC and require either a digital satellite receiver that can convert NTSC to PAL or a multi standard television set. “Shop” the home shopping channels owned by Granada and Littlewoods has ceased broadcasting on all digital platforms. Since the 11th of April 2002 QVC has replaced the spare channel on ITVdigital. With the recent departure of the Irish channel TARA, RTE One, RTE Network 2, TV3, TG4 and four radio stations have started testing on SKY Digital. Expect these channels to appear very soon in the SKY EPG. TV5 the French channel has begun testing on Sky Digital and can be found on frequency 11.856 Vertical 27500v 2/3. It is not known whether or not the channel will be free to air or encrypted.

MUX 1 1. BBC 1 2. BBC 2 7. BBC Coice 10. BBC Four 11. BBC NEWS 24

13. C Beebies

Since the start of the year we have seen changes to the VIACCESS encryption system. At the start of the year a French broadcaster switched to the VIACCESS 2 encryption format. This change in encryption system caused some problems with certain receivers not allowing them to unscramble the channels when used with an official viewing card. The VIACCESS 2 system required more memory from the receiver for the card to unscramble the required channel. Since then many other broadcasters have switched to the VIACCESS 2 system and STB manufactures have produced software to allow their receivers to work with the new system. At this moment in time other broadcasters currently using the SECA 1 system are issuing new SECA 2 viewing cards, it is expected that the majority of these broadcasters will have switched to the new SECA 2 system completely by the end of the summer. People using official SECA viewing cards in SECA CAMS will be pleased to know that it appears that the SECA CAMS running software version 1.04 and 1.05 appear to be working fine with official SECA 2 viewing cards. As of April 2002 a Spanish broadcaster has switched to the new SECA 2 encryption system. This system is more complex and offers the broadcaster a lot more security to their programming content.

BBC Parliament (AUDIO ONLY)

MUX 2 3. ITV 6. ITV 2 4. Channel 4

MUX A 5. Channel 5 19. QVC 44. TV Travel Shop

Satellite Launches...

New Skies Satellites successfully launched NSS7 on April 16th 2002. NSS-7 has been designed to replace the NSS-803 and NSS-K satellites at 21.5degees west. The satellite has nearly 3500MHz of capacity with the bandwidth spread over 36 C band and 36KU-band transponders in 11 high powered coverage beams covering America, Europe and Africa. NSS-7 will handle the existing television and

For those of you who are upgrading analogue terrestrial homes to digital, here is a reminder of the free to air channels available to viewers and the multiplexes they broadcast on.

12. CBBC


ASTRA 3A was successfully launched on March the 29th 2002 on board Ariane 44L from Kourou French Guiana. ASTRA 3A has 20 transponders with an EIRP52dBW. The satellite will be located at 23.5degrees east where it will take over the duties of Kopernikus 3. The satellite will operate in a frequency range of 11.45 11.70GHz and 12.50 12.75GHz.

Digital Terrestrial Free-to-air Channel Listing

Internet services from NSS-K and the video and data traffic from NSS-803. Intelsat903 was success launched on the 30th of March 2002. Intelsat 903 will replace Intelsat 601 at 34.5degees west and will continue to carry the current traffic. To find out more about this satellite you can visit Intelsat's web site. 03.asp

Other Launches due: > Stellat 5 is due to replace Telecom 2C at 5degrees west and has 35KU band and 10C band transponders. The satellite is due to launch at the end of May 2002.

48. ITN News Channel > Express A1R is due to launch sometime in June 2002 and be located at 40degees east. It has 5KU band, 12C band and 1L band transponders. > HOTBIRD 7 is due to replace HOTBIRD 3 sometime in June. HOTBIRD 7 will have 40 KU band transponders. > HOTBIRD 6 is due to replace HOTBIRD 5 in July. HOTBIRD 5. HOTBIRD 6 will have 28 KU band transponders. > EUTELSAT W5 is due to launch in July 2002 and will have 24 KU band transponders. Its destination is not yet known.

issue 6 | 29

internet update

Website gets a new image Solutions Group has relaunched it’s website to keep riggers and retailers up to date with the latest TV and Satellite product releases and industry news. UPDATE The number of consumers visiting has increased since the launch the first free to air DTT adapter, according to the site's official hit counter. The site has become a popular directory for consumers requiring local, professional installers to upgrade their aerial or inspect their reception problems. Instead of trawling through the yellow pages to find the installer who has the biggest advert, consumers can go to a directory dedicated to providing a comprehensive database of installation professionals in the UK and choose an installer according to the services they require.

According to the site’s Co-ordinator, Amy Pink, it has a clear, simple design which aims to keep TV & Satellite professionals informed about what’s going on in the industry: “The site is packed full of news, reviews and technical information, offering visitors a user friendly site which is both interesting and fun to use.”

Every company on the site is given the same amount of space in which it can include the services it provides, contact details and even a link to it's own website or e-mail address. What's more, it's simple to apply and completely free, so busy installers no longer need to waste time and money on expensive advertising!

This is a typical advert on the site. The colourful blocks at the bottom of the page clearly show which services each business offers. The site even got a mention live on air when a caller advised Radio One DJ, Emma B, to visit the site after she said she needed to find a professional aerial installer in her area. So if you got a call from Emma B, you know how she found you! If you're not listed on call 01604 787888 or visit

“As a response to popular demand, the site features headline articles from Rigger's Digest including the readers’ favourite, Technical Solutions. Visitors can e-mail their technical problems directly to the technical department from the site. The site enables visitors to download articles quickly as well as to subscribe to Riggers Digest, register for the Riggers Digest Training Show and request the latest Price guide from Solutions Group all at the click of a button.

FREE & Simple Internet Advertising For Your Business At 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.

The site includes the company’s facilities and services along with staff contact details and location maps for the nationwide trade counters. Visitors can link to a number of other useful websites including and To find out more about what the Solutions Group website has to offer visit:

30 | issue 6

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 provide.

To find out more about how to apply online visit or call 01604 788245 for an application form.

© 2002 Solutions Group (UK) Plc. Reproduction Prohibited. E&OE. * Advertising free to all Solutions Group customers, otherwise a small monthly administration cost will apply - contact Solutions Group for details.


Top digibox salesman scoops Sky prize

Sean completes Sahara Mission for Scope

Depot Supervisor for Solutions Group Woolwich, John Eillul, received a Sky+ box and a year’s subscription after winning a sales promotion at Solutions Group which was sponsored by Sky. John, pictured left, was presented with his prize by Barry Shuter, centre, and Mark Bonser, right, of Sky at the recent CAI Roadshow in Croydon.

Sean McCartney, Technical Manager for the SMATV division of Philips, has raised over £3000 for the charity Scope, after running in the ‘toughest footrace on earth’.

“Sky+ is the ultimate set top box so I’m chuffed to bits to win one. It’s certainly put an end to some of the arguments in my house because we can watch one channel while recording another and we don’t even need videotapes. The boxes ability to pause live TV is also a bonus because interruptions no longer mean I miss parts of a programme,“ said John.

Sean completed the gruelling Sahara Marathon in an amazing 33 hours which was a fantastic achievement for a marathon covering 150 miles, and a time he was personally proud of. "The race was tougher than I had expected because a lot of the time we were running against winds of up to 80 mph. Sand storms are very difficult to compete against and although we witnessed some of the worst conditions ever seen during a Sahara Marathon, I managed to complete the race which was my main goal.

Your chance to win a Sky+ box! Visit the Sky Stand at the Riggers Digest Training Show on the 15th & 16th May and you could be in with a chance of winning your very own a Sky+ Box and a year’s subscription!

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Among the friends and colleagues who supported Scope by sponsoring Sean, were the nationwide staff of Solutions Group (UK) plc who will be presenting a cheque to Sean at the Riggers Digest Training Show.

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“It was encouraging to know that completing the race would help the young children with Cerebral Palsy. I would also like to thank everyone for their donations and support."

th el, London - 15

issue 6 | 31

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INSTALLERS WANTED! TV & Satellite installers wanted in the London and Home Counties areas. Plus CCTV/ Alarm & Door entry engineers required. Contact Alan Cotton @ Rentrifone Tel: 020 8455 3304

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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.

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Riggers digest reaches around 10,000 professionals in the TV & satellite industry, so what better way to search for new members for your team! 32 | issue 6


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Archive Rigger's Digest Issue6 July 2002  

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

Archive Rigger's Digest Issue6 July 2002  

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