October 12, 2021

Helicopter installation of RFS broadcast antenna to serve one of Belgium’s largest regions

RTBF selects RFS to supply and install futureproof broadcast UHF antenna to enable continued service throughout spectrum changes


Hannover, October 12 2021 – Radio Frequency Systems (RFS), a global designer and manufacturer of total-package solutions for wireless and broadcast infrastructure today announces its work with RTBF (Radio Television Belge Francophone) to deliver broadcast equipment in Profondeville to enable continued DVB-T2 service as frequency bands change to accommodate 5G. 

The 15m long UHF antenna was selected due to the radomed panel design which allowed a cylindrical form factor to give a much lower wind resistance and avoid the need for an external radome. This allowed for both a lighter and more cost-effective solution which can also accommodate a third-party DAB antenna, enabling the single site to support television and radio transmission for the entire population of the Walloon region in Belgium. 

RFS provided a complete end-to-end service, designing and manufacturing the antenna, while also taking responsibility for the logistics and installation, working with TSN, a leader in specialist construction projects to ensure a seamless transition to the new equipment. This involved removing existing equipment and replacing it with the new system which is over 2.5 tonnes lighter. Using a specialist Kamov 32 helicopter capable of moving this weight of equipment, the old antenna was removed in two parts due to the weight. The tower was then prepared to ensure legacy fittings would not impact the performance of the new solution and new steelwork installed to fit the new antenna to the tower. The helicopter was then used to move the RFS antenna into position before it was secured and the installation completed, making it ready to transmit. Despite delays due to adverse weather, the entire operation was completed in a single day. 

Sandrine Wilhelm - Regional Sales Manager at RFS commented, “This was a big undertaking for RTBF, changes to broadcasting frequencies meant it was essential to change equipment, however, the logistics were challenging. At RFS we were pleased to be able to solve a number of those challenges, from weight and design to installation, delivering a solution that will serve their needs for years to come.” 

Dave Thickett, Systems Sales Director at RFS added, “At RFS we have a culture of problem solving for our customers. For each project we identify the pain points and look to draw on over 100 years of industry experience to solve them. At RTBF Profondeville, it was necessary to increase the the height of the antenna to match the gain of the old antenna on the new frequencies. This would normally mean an increase in windload but the use of the cylindrical shaped panel meant that the windload actually decreased and tower strengthening was avoided, providing a smarter solution to the problem.”


About RFS

Radio Frequency Systems (RFS) is a global designer and manufacturer of cable, antenna and tower systems, plus active and passive RF conditioning modules, providing total-package solutions for wireless infrastructure. 
RFS serves OEMs, distributors, system integrators, operators and installers in the broadcast, wireless communications, land-mobile and microwave market sectors. As an ISO compliant organization with manufacturing and customer service facilities that span the globe, RFS offers cutting-edge engineering capabilities, superior field support and innovative product design. RFS is a leader in wireless infrastructure. 

RFS® is a registered trademark of Radio Frequency Systems. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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