SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, 30th April, 2018Broadcast Australia (a BAI Communications Company) has been recognised at a global level for its innovative approach to the methodology it uses for its TV transmission and antenna system testing. The testing methodology was pioneered by one of Broadcast Australia’s (BA) radio frequency (RF) engineers, Stephen Heazlewood.

Recognising this innovative and proven method, Heazlewood was invited to contribute to the leading industry publication, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Engineering Handbook. Published by Routledge in the United States every 10 years, Heazlewood (pictured left) was the only Australian invited to co-author a chapter for the 11th edition of the Handbook.

The chapter by Heazlewood titled TV Transmission Line and Antenna System Measurements, explains the tried and tested methodology BA has implemented to ensure its broadcast transmission systems run as efficiently as possible, with minimal distortions. This practice also allows for more effective tracking of system performance over time, as well as enabling early identification of potential issues, to minimise faults that could lead to the interruption of transmission. As a result, BA is able to proactively determine an issue before one arises ensuring its customers, like ABC and SBS, are not disrupted.

The process means that antennas are configured to their optimal standard, using a combination of traditional analysis techniques and by utilising new post processing methods to quantify performance. By improving the efficiency of the antenna, the most critical element of broadcasting that delivers the broadcasting service, the new process minimises the risk of transmission failures resulting in increased broadcast reliability.

“This methodology is an example of the type of innovation encouraged and supported within Broadcast Australia. We saw an opportunity to iterate and improve our existing technology and practices and I’m really pleased this has been highlighted in the NAB Handbook, as we strongly feel it should be adopted as the industry standard,” said Heazlewood. “We’ve been able to drive a lot of positive change for our customers in Australia because we’re able to understand in a more objective way the health of the antenna system which leads to less disruption, especially critical disruption. Based on the success we’ve had with this methodology we are now looking at other areas where we can apply this best-practice testing technique.”

Heazlewood is one of the engineers at BA that maintain its sites in all conditions, delivering transmission to 99% of the Australian population. He was selected to co-author the NAB Engineering Handbook with Todd Loney, President at Electron Dynamics, Canada.

“It was a pleasure to collaborate with Broadcast Australia’s Steve Heazlewood for our contribution to the 11th edition of the NAB Engineering Handbook. Steve’s depth of skill and understanding of antenna system design and operation is evident. The network analyser post processing software Steve developed is unmatched in our field and provides an excellent platform to record and analyse trends in an antenna systems performance,” said Loney.

Chapters are written to be accessible and easy to understand by all levels of engineers and technicians. A wide range of related topics that engineers and technical managers need to understand are covered, including broadcast documentation, FCC practices, technical standards, security, safety, disaster planning, facility planning, project management, and engineering management.