The Broadcasters' Desktop Resource

Power Conservation Techniques for AM Broadcast

As the costs of power continue to increase, there are efforts on many fronts to make the transmitter plant more efficient. Just moving to solid state transmitters is the obvious, but can there be more?

For example, better planned and insulated transmitter buildings reduce air conditioning costs. However, while FM can reduce power use by use of more antenna bays, AM stations have pretty much been required to run full transmitter power, including sidebands in order to maximize coverage.

Recent tests, some conducted extensively in Alaska have shown tremendous potential for significant savings. Indeed, on September 13, 2011, the FCC announced that they would accept applications to implement new technologies, generally identified as Modulation Dependent Carrier Level (MDCL). The Media Bureau Public Notice is here.

Data From the Field

Some of the results were explained at the Nautel Users’ Group in April 2012. As an outgrowth of that presentation, Nautel has built a comprehensive resource page on Power Saving MDCL Technology.

The tests in Alaska involved both Nautel and Harris transmitters. Given the electricity costs of as much as $0.46 a kWh, the saving of 25-30% can be significant.

Of course, more information will be posted here. Keep an eye on this page for updates.