The rain over the tropics has played havoc with the model of satellite decoder installed in remote Indigenous broadcasting services this wet season. Rain fade during heavy rain events caused the decoders to default back to a pre set channel.
In some situations where there was a dish over 2.5 meters the problem did not exist. Kowanyama which received 1.4 meters of rain the highest on record did not lose its satellite service “size does matter” when it comes to sat dishes in the tropics.
For the first time ever the QRAM RIBS services had a built in redundancy that kept them connected to the world. Several factors made this possible. Funding from Commonwealth Government’s commitment to Indigenous Broadcasting Program ( IBP) was a huge factor. The combined QRAM boards and IBP vision to upgrade the radio services in the Cape, and the expertise of QRAM Contractor Gerry Pyne and the broadsoft staff for their design and installation work.
QRAM will do everything possible to ensure that “closing the gap” in broadcasting services to remote Queensland continues. QRAM working closely with peak body IRCA in Alice Springs has been testing another decoder model for the remote networks.
Broadsoft Gerry Pyne bench tested the new model over a 3week period replicating a remote situation during heavy rain storms using a normal size satellite dish and existing LNB. The trial was very successful and Broadsoft and IRCA are now working together to support the remote technicians on setting up the new model decoders.
The new model has features which include the ability to monitor each decoder remotely over the WAN broadband at each station location. In the event of a decoder lock down an alarm will be triggered and an email sent back to the hub centre or mobile device.
The new Model as shown in the Photo above is rack mounted and solid, unlike the current domestic decoder now installed and causing problems. In a domestic situation the domestic decoder (black Box) is sufficient as it can be re set by the householder. However in a remote situation such as a remote indigenous radio service, then it is not the right tool box for the job.
QRAM installed one of the new model decoders at Yarrabah recently and it has not failed.
The installed decoder, at Yarrabah is part of a modern ensemble of equipment that QRAM is monitoring, the equipment also includes the latest Nautel FM transmitter the transmitter is one of the most efficient in terms of power use on the market and can also be monitored remotely and can be turned on or off. will use the information gained for the QRAM network services and also make available information to IBP and to the remote sector. QRAM will roll out the new model to all of the Black Star network as part of our normal maintenance visits before the next wet season.