By Marian Dicu
Technical Manager, National FM
BUCHAREST, Romania - National FM is a Romanian national FM radio network consisting of 40 frequencies covering most of the nation.
In 2007, at my yearly visit to the IBC show I met Simon Daniels from APT, a company that I knew nothing about.
At the time, we were using a software solution from AudioTX to broadcast a morning show from one city to another. Simon told me that they had a hardware solution for “every now and then” audio transmissions. One of APT’s tech wizards, I believe it was Willie Woodside, warned me that he wouldn’t recommend a 24/7 transmission via plain internet but that I should still try out a pair of their encoders. A couple of months later I received a message saying that a pair of APT Horizon codecs (renamed as APT IP Codec) were on their way to me for testing purposes … no strings attached.
After a few days of indoor testing I decided to put them on the air so I sent one of the units to another city 500 kilometers/300 miles away from the main studio. Even knowing that the internet in Romania is one of the best in the world, I still had my doubts about the stability of the connection during a three-hour show. Remember that this was happening in 2008! After a buffer increase, creating bigger delay but better stability, the Horizons became the main signal transport between our studios and we kept the software solution as a backup.
A few years later APT became part of WorldCast Systems and I was delighted to see that Simon and Willie were still there … answering to my occasional emails.
In the meantime, we bought more encoders for our infrastructure. We are now using a pair of APT IP Codecs with MPX over AES to transport music from the main audio processor to our Bucharest transmitter site.
The transmitter there is an Ecreso Helios FM 2000 (now named Ecreso FM 2000W).
Another pair of APT IP Codecs connect Bucharest and Oradea via the public internet. Our sister network, Favorit FM, uses the APT Silver “simplex - one-way solution” to bring the signal from the studio to the satellite uplink site.
And … the big surprise ... the pair of APT IP Codecs that started it all are still in service!
In this pandemic time, we built a mobile studio in our off-road Rover. It is able to broadcast from anywhere where there is an LTE (4G) signal. We are currently doing the morning show from outside, in a natural environment, until the situation stabilizes or winter comes.
The old Horizons are still doing an excellent job, over 4G or public internet, depending on what’s available in different locations.
We are very pleased also with WorldCast Systems’ Ecreso family of transmitters. We have in service more then 10 units, 100W, 300W, 750W, 1000W, 2000W and 3000W models. The web interface works like a charm and the options can be very helpful (sound processor or Smart FM option).
The only products that we haven’t used so far are the Audemat monitoring equipment that look to be quite exquisite. But the Ecreso transmitters have great on-board monitoring tools for modulation, audio and other parameters.
I hope I made you, at least a bit, curious to try some of WorldCast Systems products. They are great!