GatesAir launches program to train next generation of RF engineers

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In direct response to the growing scarcity of qualified RF Broadcast engineers, GatesAir will launch new RF training and education initiative focused on operations and maintenance for next-generation TV and radio transmission sites. Designed for today’s younger, IT-educated broadcast engineers, the new initiative from GatesAir’s Service department will launch with an ‘Introduction to Broadcast Transmitter Technology’ course.

At the 2018 NAB Show, GatesAir, a global leader in wireless, over-the-air content delivery solutions for radio and TV broadcasters, will share detailed information on this new course, and highlight its broader RF training and educational initiatives, alongside its latest high-efficiency Maxiva (TV, DAB Radio) and Flexiva (FM and digital radio) transmitters.

“As the industry shifts to modular, solid-state transmitters and IP-based infrastructure and networking, our broadcast customers are seeking engineers that have specialised RF transmission knowledge as well as an IT skillset,” said Bryant Burke, VP, operations, GatesAir. “Since many new professionals entering the field have IT backgrounds, this new introductory training program responds to our customers’ pressing needs to find qualified engineers that can operate and maintain their next-generation, over-the-air content delivery systems. We are addressing broadcasters’ concerns regarding the shortage of broadcast engineers, and leveraging the current crop of IT-savvy engineers for ATSC 3.0 and other next-generation DTV and digital radio networks.”

The new training program, launching in May 2018, is an adjunct to the company’s long-standing ‘RF:101’ course, designed for trainees with a basic understanding of RF technology. Recognising a growing number of RF:101 participants lacked an RF background, GatesAir proactively implemented this new entry-level RF training course designed to prepare IT professionals for an RF transmission-centered career.

The ‘Introduction to Broadcast Transmitter Technology’ course begins with three pre-requisite webinars that must be successfully completed online. Upon completion, students will attend a four-day, hands-on training workshop at GatesAir’s Quincy, Illinois campus. The program emphasises safety, and limits the workshop to groups of 8-10 trainees to ensure personalized hands-on training. It also covers fundamentals, such as operational maintenance of liquid- and air-cooled solid-state transmitters, digital modulation schemes including ATSC 3.0, DVB-T2, and DAB Radio, and troubleshooting and repair of modular transmission components.

The new program is open to anyone—even non-GatesAir customers—with the interest and drive to acquire RF transmission skills. Participants receive a certificate of completion, but in the future, the program may be expanded to offer SBE credits.

“Our training programs are just one of the ways we’re serving our customers and the broadcast industry,” Burke said. “We also continue to offer post-sales equipment training, as well as extensive consultation, installation and other support services related to the on-going spectrum repack.”

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