Rogers TV RF Systems at 33 Dundas Street East: 2012
The Rogers TV studio complex at 33 Dundas Street East, near the corner of Yonge Street in downtown Toronto, Canada. The seven story building was acquired by Rogers Media in 2007 and after a completed renovation in 2009, became home to four TV stations and various production studios. CITY-TV, CFMT (Omni 1), CJMT (Omni 2) and the CityNews Channel. In 2012 Sennheiser Canada was retained to completely replace the wireless mic system for the entire building and to resolve performance issues with both the IFB and intercom systems.
The general incentive for the replacement was poor performance of the building-wide distributed antenna system and unreliable/failing wireless equipment that was originally installed in 2009. The antenna system was to provide complete building-wide coverage: from the exterior roof-top shooting location to the basement facilities. In addition, complete exterior coverage of Victoria Square - which sits between the Eaton Centre and the Rogers TV building - as well as sidewalk locations along the north and west sides of the building - was part of the requirement. The antenna system was combined at each floor using an RF-over-fiber DAS that was deployed in the original installation in 2009. RogersTV engineering preferred to continue to use this system.
Each floors' original antenna systems were replaced with a copper based "antenna grid" - for both Rx (diversity) and Tx. This antenna grid was then combined and inserted into the fibre node at each floor - which terminated at the DAS equipment racks in the basement central equipment room. Each floors inputs/outputs was optically combined with the DAS system at that location.
The dynamic range of the fibre transport system and the poor gain structure, was determined to be one of the variables affecting the original systems' performance. This node property combined with a small number of high-gain antenna produced the unreliable conditions in the antenna system: high-gain scenarios near the original antennae created overload conditions at the nodes and elevated the over-all RF noise floor - while bringing the level down at the node, caused the far-distant production areas to have unreliable RF levels, resulting in spotty coverage and drop-outs. To solve this problem, a lower gain "antenna grid" was designed; a larger number of lower gain antennae would "normalize" the RF levels entering the Rx fibre nodes but provide better coverage by minimizing the distance between mobile devices and antennae. On the Tx side, amplifiers were used at each floor's Tx fiber nodes, to bump up the level prior to splitting to each of the Tx antennae on that floor. The system required combining a total of 58 antennae distributed across 7 floors plus exterior locations on the 7th floor roof and the main floor building entrance. (Rx and Tx.) This is the largest combined antenna system in a fixed installation in Canada.
The new Sennheiser wireless microphone system operating range was selected to provide isolation from the Tx systems (Lectrosonics IFB and Telex Intercom) This facilitated a building wide coordination that allowed any device (Rx or Tx) to be used anywhere in the building and exterior locations. Filters were placed below 450 MHz and above 700 MHz - as well as between the microphone and intercom ranges. General frequency plan below - antenna location drawings, combining system and coordination documents are available from the PDF link: