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Dielectric's Presence Across The Philippines Continues

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Dielectric's presence across the Philippines continues to grow as regional partner 90 Degrees North has won several TV and FM projects that will bring both new and improved services to urban and remote populations.

90 Degrees North has recently designed and/or installed Dielectric antenna systems for TV5, PCMC (Philippine Collective Media Corporation) BEAM (Broadcast Enterprises and Affiliated Media), AMBS (Advanced Media Broadcasting System) and Aliw Broadcast Corporation. The latter two are long-time radio broadcasters new to TV broadcasting, with 90 Degrees North managing their initial TV system launches.

The nation of 7,641 islands is amidst a DTV transition that today brings ISDB-Tb digital TV services to approximately 50 percent of the Filipino population. While most DTV channels are UHF assignments, most analog services are broadcast in the VHF band — and more specifically in the low-band, which few antenna vendors support today. 90 Degrees North is currently installing a mix of Dielectric low-band VHF and UHF antennas at 11 TV5 tower sites with more possible sites to come, as well as Manila-based sites for AMBS and Aliw.

"An abundance of Channel 2-6 low-band VHF antennas in service today are approaching end of life, and many of these broadcasters are preparing to refresh their analog infrastructure given the uncertainty of DTV transition timelines outside the Mega Manilla region," said Cory Edwards, Southeast Asia Sales and OEM Manager, Dielectric. "The team at 90 Degrees North has a sterling reputation with broadcasters throughout the Philippines, and a proven track record of designing analog and digital TV systems with Dielectric antennas that optimize coverage over challenging coverage areas."

In addition to owning and operating 90 Degrees North, John 'Achie' Denna is out in the trenches managing these Dielectric TV and FM installations throughout the country. The shift from low-band VHF analog to UHF digital TV requires a change to the RF systems design and integration approach, and Denna works closely with Dielectric engineers to carefully plan coverage patterns and choose the right products for both.

"Low-band VHF is especially useful in rural and sparsely populated areas, requiring very large antennas that propagate over very long distances and provide coverage to remote areas" said Denna. "We propose DCR-Q ring antennas to provide low-band VHF customers with the long-distance coverage they need today. These stations can continue to use these antennas when they are ready to go digital, which offer the added benefits of reduced weight and windload on the towers as new equipment is added."

Denna is also working with FM broadcasters throughout the region to refresh analog infrastructure. 90 Degrees North recently won a large contract with PCMC that will raise Dielectric antennas at 106 PCMC sites throughout the country. That rollout remains in progress, with Denna and his team installing mostly DCR-T ring-style antennas at 45 low-power sites to date. Deployments are expected to continue well into 2024, and will include higher-power DCR-C and DCR-H ring-style antennas for 10kW and 20kW stations in Davao City, Manila and Quezon. 90 Degrees North will also install new Dielectric TLP UHF antennas for select PCMC TV stations.

90 Degrees North has been installing TFU-WB UHF antennas for multichannel DTV customers that need a broadband solution, while choosing Powerlite low-power antenna models for single-channel broadcasters. Powerlite deployments includes a single-frequency network (SFN) for BEAM in Manila, with low-power Dielectric DLP and TLP UHF antennas working together to fill in specific targeted regions. BEAM operates TV systems in the three major Philippines metropolises of Manila, Cebu and Davao, as well as four additional cities in three provinces. Network planning software from Dielectric partner PROGIRA is used to optimize SFN coverage for BEAM and other clients.

"We created specialised patterns for these low-power SFN antennas to ensure proper synchronised coverage across all ites, with network coverage criteria and digital system parameters sharply defined through the PROGIRA spectrum planning software,” said Edwards, who said most of the SFN antennas average 2.5kW TPO.

Denna notes that Dielectric’s market share in the Philippines continues to rise as the country’s DTV transition moves forward. "All primary and secondary cities now have robust digital coverage, and we’re moving into the tertiary cities to perform system designs, confirm power levels and make decisions about which antennas to use," said Denna. "Throughout all this, Dielectric has captured more than 40 percent of the TV and FM broadcast market here in the Philippines, which is a major feat considering that Dielectric has only had a presence in the country since 2018."

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