Mobile, digital EBS tested at ground zero


When the World Trade Center collapsed Sept. 11, it brought down cell phone
and radio communications vital to emergency personnel, exposing the
vulnerability of the existing emergency broadcasting system.

Saying they might have a solution, several technology companies, station
group owner Sinclair and noncommercial WNYE-TV have unveiled a mobile, digital,
Internet Protocol (IP)-based system capable of sending data to a portable
receiver using the the DTV spectrum.

The idea was to test the viability of using multiple low-power transmitters
on a single frequency that would insure against a complete system failure if one
location is knocked off the air.

The prototype data broadcast system was built in four days and tested at the
beginning of this month.

It was able to deliver Web content and live streaming video over the air from
WNYE-TV's facilities in Brooklyn to a mobile unit, with a 4-inch single wire
antenna, located at the site of the towers' collapse.

Data broadcast equipment provider SkyStream Networks, transmitter
manufacturer Acrodyne and DOD contractor Hicks & Associates joined WNYE-TV
and Sinclair in building and testing the system.