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Driller killer SNG van

A new newsgathering vehicle, one of a series built for a major broadcaster, posed an unusual challenge for Megahertz. For business reasons, the broadcaster is using leased vans, so no holes can be cut or drilled into the vehicle. After five years the van should be returned in good condition to the lease company, and the equipment transferred to a new vehicle.

“It forced us to do a lot of engineering head-scratching and intelligent application to come up with a solution,” said Jon Flay, managing director of Megahertz. “The racks and technical furniture are secured in the van using seat mounting points, and the satellite dish is mounted using roof rack fixing points.”

The broadcaster was also keen that the unit be as environmentally friendly as possible, so specified the capability of running the technical systems on batteries for six hours. In fact, thanks to smart load shedding so only the equipment needed is powered up in each stage of the newsgathering process – acquisition, editing and transmission – Megahertz has achieved as much as eight hours. This means the batteries can be charged overnight to support a complete day’s work, using the engine to top up the battery only in extreme circumstances.

The roof-mounted VSAT satellite link can be switched between Ku-band and Ka-band, and there is a bonded cellular link and a terrestrial microwave antenna, so the signal can get back from almost anywhere. A small mast can lift the antennas above the traffic for improved transmission.

The vehicle, which Flay claimed “is a very ingenious, very capable and very cost-effective solution for one-man newsgathering,” is on show at IBC.