Global effort by Thales, RFS brings nationwide TV to Tanzania

Radio Frequency Systems,  has just completed a television broadcast project in Tanzania that will  bring free-to-air television to more than 90% of the population that has access to electricity...

Radio Frequency Systems (RFS),  has just completed a television broadcast project in Tanzania that will  bring free-to-air television to more than 90% of the population that has access to electricity. The project added seven transmission sites to an existing pair, delivering nationwide broadcast of Televisheni Va Taifa (TVT) to the African nation's 37 million people for the first time.

Funded by the Tanzanian government, the project is centred on a one-stop-shop strategy. RFS, a global broadcast radio-frequency solutions provider, offers capabilities in tower design and construction, broadband panel arrays and coaxial transmission lines, and could draw from centres of excellence around the globe. These different strands were brought together through logistics management and on-the-ground coordination, completing the project in time for its official inauguration last month.


Partnering with turnkey provider Thales Broadcast & Multimedia, RFS carried out the design, manufacture, testing, delivery, installation and commissioning of the towers and antenna systems for all seven transmission sites. The sites are located at Lindi, Kigoma, Kagera, Mbeya, Mara, Tabora, and Tanga, with varying tower heights of 65m, 70m, and 90m. Transmission powers are 2kW (Tabora, Mara and Kigoma) and 5kW for the remaining sites, all broadcasting in Band III on Channels 6 to 11.

The self-supporting, tubular leg steel towers have a triangular cross section. Mounted on each is a multi-panelled, multi-array of RFS model 656 Band III VHF TV panels, designed for operation in harsh environments. Specifically, five of the seven sites were each fitted with a 656-16D panel array, each of these in turn comprising four levels of four panels and fed with equal power to deliver an omni-directional horizontal radiation pattern (HRP). For the two remaining sites - Lindi and Tanga - a directional HRP was required.


RFS Heliflex 1-5/8-inch air-dielectric coaxial transmission line (HCA 158-50J), connectors, filters and accessories completed the picture, with all product supplies finally converging at Dar-es-Salaam harbour. And this, according to Gérard Daudu, RFS Product Manager - Towers, was when the real challenge began: "In spite of very difficult access to the sites and arduous civil engineering works in hard and rocky soils, the project has been completed successfully. Throughout this project, the RFS team found solutions to overcome each obstacle. We had tremendous support and assistance from Tanzania Broadcast Services (acting for TVT), and from our local agents Energy & Telecoms Limited. The Tanzanian people, too, themselves could not have been more helpful and hospitable."

This particular project is part of a multi-stage roll-out of free-to-air broadcast services in Tanzania, with yet more transmission sites to be developed in the future. Previously, these regions had limited access to television programs via satellite dish. Now, as more transmission sites are added, everyone, everywhere in Tanzania will be able to view locally-produced programming that reflects local interests, politics and culture.

"We are delighted to have contributed to the development of broadcast services in this still-young nation," added Gérard Daudu.

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