THE FLORIDA TRANSPONDER
The State of Florida leases its own satellite transponder - Transponder 18 on SES-2(KU). SES-2 is located near the middle of the satellite constellation, at 87 degrees West longitude. Using this transponder, programming reaches anywhere in the continental U.S. and Puerto Rico, parts of the Caribbean Basin, and parts of Alaska. The Florida Transponder can be accessed by educational institutions, as well as government agencies and commercial enterprises.
The Florida Transponder is a completely digital platform. Digital compression on the Florida Transponder allows the state to increase the number of potential users, since a digital feed utilizes less bandwidth than an analog feed. Digital compression also allows the state to pass on more savings to state users through lower rates.
WFSU-TV SATELLITE SUPPORT SERVICES
WFSU-TV manages The Florida Transponder for the state. It is our goal to assist you in securing satellite services and work with you to fill your needs for teleconferences, classes or other video feeds. We are also here to provide your school or agency with the information you will need to convert any existing satellite downlink system or network to receive digital feeds from the Florida Transponder, or to purchase and install a new downlink.
Programming on the Florida Transponder utilizes the DVB-S2 format. "Digital Video Broadcasting - Satellite - Second Generation" (DVB-S2) is an enhanced DVB specification. DVB-S2 is based on the DVB-S standard which is now being used for satellite broadcasting, and the DVB-DSNG standard, which is used for satellite news gathering. The system allows transmission of one or more MPEG-2 audio/video streams, and is capable of using various modulation schemes with concatenated encoding. For programming on the Florida Channel we utilize the 8PSK modulation format, with a Symbol Rate of 3.2 Mega Symbols and FEC of 2 / 3.
DVB-S2 Integrated Receivers/Decoders (IRDs)
We can suggest two IRDs for use at downlinks who want to receive The Florida Channel. The first is the Sencore MRD 3187A, a professional-grade, broadcast quality IRD. The second is a less expensive, "Pro-sumer" set top model, the Coship CDVB5112.
Of course, these are likely not the only two DVB-S2 IRDs available. Downlink sites are free to research other models that might better suit their needs or budget. But, they should be sure that any other IRD that might be suggested is capable of DVB-S2 reception. Standard DVB-S IRDs - including those they may already have in-house - may not be compatible with this newer DVB format.
Picture and Signal Quality
Reception of these digital feeds can be susceptible to interference from the weather - rain and heavy cloud cover - so "tiling" or "pixilation" of your picture is something that will happen on occasion. Downlink Sites can take steps to minimize those problems.
Sites should do regular maintenance on their downlink dishes to ensure the best quality signal. That includes making sure the dish is peaked and that it is aimed correctly for optimum reception. SES Americom, the company that owns SES-2 - the satellite the Florida Transponder calls home - regularly posts Center-of-Box information on their website: www.ses.com.
From the SES homepage, click on “Fleet and Coverage” which is one of the selections at the top of the webpage. When the associated page loads, select "Technical Data" from the links on the left-hand side of the page; from the Technical Data page, click on the “Center of box” link. This will bring you to a list of SES satellites and from there you will be able to choose “SES-2.” When you click on the "SES-2" selection, a new page will come up which details COB for SES-2 for a period of several days. This information is updated regularly, so you can check your dish throughout the year.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The times referenced on this page are GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) / UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) which you will have to convert to your local time (click to check).
For More Information
If you need more information on how you can utilize this communications resource, or have any questions about DVB-S2; the equipment necessary for sending or receiving digital feeds; or any other questions related to the Florida Transponder, call Rick Potrikus at (850) 487-3170, x345.
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