WCVB-TV  NewsCopter-5

Recent upgrade to a 2-gHz
COFDM digital microwave system


Reporter Ron Gollobin



Gyro-stabilized camera (aimed to the rear to avoid bug hits)
and further back, the GPS-aimed microwave antenna system.


14.5 lbs of ballast in the tail helps to counter-weight the chin turret camera in front.



Previous pilot, Dave Adams


Current pilot, Mark Smith  (right)

December 2005
The chopper was used to track down the source of interference
to microwave signals used for electronic news gathering

This project used a spectrum analyzer with two belly-mounted receive antennas

The belly-mounted radome had one internal microwave antenna used for
"look forward" and another for "look down".



Time for the routine 100-hour inspection and partial overhaul.



During this scheduled downtime, WCVB Flight Photographer Steve Colvin
helped to plan for the addition of new digital microwave gear.



Bob Colford of the WCVB-TV engineering staff
reprograms the Kenwood TK-830 UHF two-way radio for the updated WCVB frequency plan.


The lowly and very common Larsen NMO-450 antenna provides UHF communications.
An old but classic GE Custom MVP receiver provides a UHF cueing capability ( IFB ).
Motto:  If it works extremely well, don't fix it.



Cameraman's position left-side rear.  (before upgrade)


Audio & communications console above and to the rear of the cameraperson.
Many non-critical photographer listening adjustments are made by feel.


A gyro-stabilized camera control system for the chin turret.



The flight photographers check out some of the new gear.  The older analog microwave gear
has been replaced with a digital COFDM microwave system from MRC.



This upgrade also included a digital microwave repeater capability. 
WCVB's Mike Fosco performed most of the preliminary testing.



The microwave transmitter is compromised of the three small white boxes to the right.
The microwave repeater receiver is compromised of the two white boxes to the left.
The large black box on the bottom is part of the gyro-stabilization system.


Rick's flight taken 9-15-2004


Route-128 in Needham at takeoff. 
All chopper approaches to the ch-5 studios must be to and from the south.



Approaching downtown Boston from the south.
This day, one of the Big Dig tunnels had a leak which caused the traffic jam at bottom center.
The chopper was sent to investigate after photographers on the ground
tried but failed to approach the vicinity... due to the traffic jam.



Just doing our job...    looking at Lewis Wharf,  Long Wharf  & Columbus Park.



Old Charlestown Navy Yard with Everett and Revere to the far North


Looking west.



Directly above the Fleet Center revealing the chin turret camera and lights.  





100 Federal Street    (for RADIO-1 base station)


One Financial Place for RADIO-5 news dispatching and the live CityCam camera


One Boston Place for a primary newsgathering microwave receive site.


One Beacon Street  (RADIO-3  IFB transmitter)




Almost home...









Another safe flight for ch-5 news photographer Zip Bradwell.



With new microwave gear and a fresh 100hr aircraft inspection,
flight photographer Steve Colvin is off to the next news assignment...