RadioPlanner 2.1 User Manual

Mobile and Broadcast Network Planning

Part 1   Part 2   Part 3 
Radio and TV Broadcast

RadioPlanner 2.1 perform the coverage calculation for the transmitters of television and radio broadcast, as well as automatically determine the population in the coverage area based on the OpenStreetMap project base. Based on the results of the calculation, a list of localities covered by broadcasting is formed, indicating the population in each locality and the total population in the coverage area.

Broadcast Network

The characteristics of the radio equipment of the base stations are set in the Broadcasting Network menu. After creating a new project, the list of transmitters is empty.

Figure 37. Broadcast network

Toolbar:


               - Create a new base transmitter


               - Import sites from *.csv file
         

               - Sort transmitters in alphabetical order
 

               - Delete all activetransmitters

Study Radius               Maximum radius of calculation from transmitters, km. The larger the radius, the longer the calculation time.

To create a new transmitter, click on Broadcast Network in the Tree View interface, then click the button           in the panel that opens, then select the template from which the new transmitter will be created.


You can also import sites from CSV files (text format, where the separator is a semicolon).
This is a universal format in which you can save a spreadsheet from any spreadsheet editor (Excel, LibreOffice Calc, and others), as well as databases.

The required fields for each point object are the transmitter name, the Latitude, and the Longitude. Format coordinates - HEMISPHERE degrees minutes seconds (N35 23.8 36) or HEMISPHERE decimal degrees (N12.34567). 


To import sites, click on the button         (import sites from *.CSV) and select a CSV file, then select a template on the basis of which new base stations will be created with coordinates of imported sites.

Figure 38. CSV file sample

When clicking in the Tree View interface panel on the created transmitter, the Transmitter Details panel will open, where you can edit the name, coordinates, specify additional text information about the transmitter, and find out the elevation of the transmitter relative to sea level.


Using the tools on the Transmitter Details panel, you can do the following:

 - Create a new transmitter as a copy of this transmitter
   

- Move transmitter up or down
 

- Delete transmitter
 

- Load the transmitter parameters from a template
 

- Save the parameters of the transmitter as a template
 

- Position the map with the transmitter at the center of the screen

Figure 39. Transmitter Details

Name                               Transmitter name, text field.
Other Information          Text box for any additional transmitter information
Latitude                           The geographical latitude of the base station in the format specified by the user in Settings
Longitude                        Geographical longitude of the base station in the format specified by the user in Settings
Site Elevation                  Site elevation relative to sea level, m
Radio Equipment           Name (model) of Radio equipment, text field
Frequency                       Transmitter carrier frequency, MHz
Tx Power                          Transmitter power, W
Cable Type                       Type of main cable for transmission or reception path
Cable Length                    Main cable length, m
Cable Loss                        Loss in cable, dB Calculated value.
Additional Loss                Additional losses, dB - combining losses, losses in jumpers and connectors. Any additional losses.
Total Loss                         Total loss, dB. The calculated value.
Antenna Height               The height of the center of radiation of the antenna relative to ground level, m
Antenna Gain                  Antenna gain relative to an isotropic radiator, dB
Azimuth                          The azimuth of the antenna in degrees
Beam Tilt                         Tilt of antenna in degrees. Down is negative; up is positive.
Antenna Model              Antenna name, text field. Automatically filled with the antenna pattern file name when selecting a pattern.

Field Strength, dBuV/m    The value of the field strength, dB(μV/m) for calculating the contours according to the FCC propagation                                                    curves. For more details, see the section FCC contours.

Curve                                FCC curve from set F (50.50); F (50.10); F (50.90). For more details, see the section FCC contours.
Add Map Layer                 Adding a contour with selected parameters to the map as a layer

Color for Strongest (Most Likely) Server    

                                            The color that will be used to indicate the coverage for this transmitter when calculating the zones of                                                       maximum field strength at the receiving point (Strongest Server)

Antenna pattern file is a standard MSI file that can be downloaded from the antenna manufacturer’s website. Antenna patterns are integrated into the project file.

Propagation Models for Radio and TV Broadcasting Projects

When working with TV and radio broadcasting projects, the user can choose from the following propagation models:


-    ITU-R P.1812-4 model
-    ITU-R P.1546-6 model
-    Longley-Rice (ITM) model v 1.2.2

 

 

ITU-R P.1812-4 Model

 

This propagation model is described in detail in the Mobile Networks section. The model parameters for TV and broadcast projects are similar.
 

ITU-R P.1546-6 Model

 

The model is based on recommendation ITU-R P.1546-6 (08/2019): “Method for point-to-area predictions for terrestrial services in the frequency range 30 MHz to 4000 MHz."


Model ITU-R P.1546-6 is empirical because it is based on experimentally obtained field strength curves versus distance for different frequencies, antenna heights, path types, and time probability. In Recommendation ITU-R P.1546-6, in addition to these curves, losses are also determined by the terrain clearance angle correction from the receiver side and the correction for the height of the obstacles surrounding the receiver. These corrections are determined by the features of the terrain and obstacles in a particular territory.
 

Figure 40. ITU-R P.1546-6 Propagation Model

Percentage of Time, %                                     The procedures deliver the field strength exceeded for this percentage of time. A value                                                                                  of 1% is used to calculate interference; 50% is used to calculate service areas.


Percentage of Location, %                              The procedures deliver the field strength exceeded for this percentage of locations.


Margin, dB                                                         Prediction confidence margin. Since the received power level calculations are estimates,                                                                              the prediction margin lets you specify a safety margin in dB so that you can be more                                                                                    confident your signal level estimate is indeed above the specified signal level.


Path Type                                                           -    Land
                                                                            -    Cold Sea
                                                                            -    Warm Sea

 

Apply Terrain Clearance Angle Correction    This uses the terrain profile to adjust the field strength at the receive point for terrain                                                                                      blockage on non-line-of-sight paths.


Add Clutter Loss                                               Take into account the clutter loss. The user can manually set the clutter loss for each                                                                                  type of clutter, based on third-party data on the amount of loss. For this, you need to                                                                                     specify Add clutter loss and enter the corresponding losses into the table.


Use Clutter Attenuation

According to Rec. ITU-R P.1546-6              Calculation of clutter losses in accordance with Rec. ITU-R P.1546-6, depending on the                                                                                  height of clutter.
Clutter Data                                                       Use default clutter data or Use custom clutter data - The choice of the clutter data that                                                                                will be used for calculations - the default clutter or the custom clutter. Custom clutter is                                                                                created in the Clutter Editor (see the section Clutter Editor).

Longley-Rice (ITM) Model v 1.2.2


The Longley-Rice propagation model is also known as the Irregular Terrain Model (ITM). RadioPlanner 2.1 uses version 1.2.2 of the Irregular Terrain Model in PTP-mode. This propagation model is considered the industry standard for calculating radio coverage in North America.

Figure 41. Longley-Rice propagation model parameters

Conductivity, S/m                Conductivity of the ground over which the signal propagates (Siemens per meter).
Dielectric Constant              The dielectric constant (relative ground permittivity).
Refractivity                            Atmospheric refractivity, measured in N-Units
Climate Zone                        The following Radio Climates can be selected:
                                                -    Equatorial (Congo)
                                                -    Continental Subtropical (Sudan)
                                                -    Maritime Subtropical (West Coast of Africa)
                                                -    Desert (Sahara)
                                                -    Continental Temperate, common to large landmasses in the Temperate Zone,
                                               -    Maritime Temperate, over land (United Kingdom and Continental West Coasts)
                                               -    Maritime Temperate, over sea
Antenna Polarization         Antenna Polarization
                                               Horizontal / Vertical
Time Variability, %              Time variability, %
Situation Variability, %       Situation variability, %
 

Area Study Details

In this panel, the user selects the type of calculation and sets its parameters.
For broadcast networks, the field strength (dBµV/m) of the radio signal at the receiving site is usually calculated.


For projects “radio or TV broadcasting,” you can choose the following types of calculations:


-    Field Strength at Remote
-    Strongest (Most Likely) Server

Field Strength at Remote

The base map displays areas with different colors, where the corresponding level of radio signal strength is present at the reception point.

Figure 42. Field Strength at Remote menu

Area Study Resolution                   -    Low
                                                           -    Medium
                                                           -    High
                                                            The resolution with which the result of the calculation will be presented. The resolution                                                                                corresponds to one pixel of the screen for zoom = 11 (low detail), zoom = 12 (medium), and zoom                                                              = 13 (high). For a geographic latitude of 55 degrees, this is approximately 40, 20, and 10 meters,                                                                 respectively. The higher the resolution, the longer the calculation time.
Number of Levels                              The number of field strength levels (1-8)
Color                                                   Color level
Values                                                 field strength (dBµV/m
Description                                        Text field to describe signal level
Rx Antenna Height                            Rx antenna height relative to ground level, m

Figure 43. Field Strength at Remote for TV DVB-T2 Transmitter

Strongest (Most Likely) Server

The strongest server map is a map showing the identity of the transmitter supplying the strongest received signal at each grid location. The colors that show coverage from different transmitters can be assigned to each transmitter or can correspond to a group of transmitters with the same frequencies.

Figure 44. Strongest (Most Likely) Server menu

Area Study Resolution    

-    Low
-    Medium
-    High
The resolution with which the result of the calculation will be presented. The resolution corresponds to one pixel of the screen for zoom = 11 (low detail), zoom = 12 (medium), and zoom = 13 (high). For a geographic latitude of 55 degrees, this is approximately 40, 20, and 10 meters, respectively.
The higher the resolution, the longer the calculation time.


Rx Antenna Height    Rx antenna height relative to ground level, m


Required Service Threshold    Required service threshold for Strongest Server calculation, dBuV/m
 

Use Colors Assigned to Each Transmitter    Color assignment to the transmitter is performed by the color specified in the “Transmitter Parameters” menu


Use Colors from the Table    The color assignment will be performed according to the table depending on the frequency of the transmitter

Figure 45. Strongest (Most Likely) Server for TV DVB-T2 broadcasting network

FCC Countours

RadioPlanner 2.1 allows you to calculate service and interference contours from FCC propagation curves. These contours are used in North America in accordance with FCC rules, as well as in some countries as a recommendation when planning television and FM broadcast stations.

FCC contour calculation is performed in the parameters menu of the transmitter for which the contour is calculated. Enter the required value of the electromagnetic field strength and also select the type of FCC propagation curve:


- F (50,50) - Curve of the service contour for FM broadcasting and analog television
- F (50,10) - Curve of the interference contour
- F (50,90) - Curve of the service contour for digital television

 

After clicking the Add map layer button, the FCC contour appears on the base map as a vector layer. The name of this layer displays information about the name of the transmitter, the type of curve, and the field strength level. By default, service contours are displayed in black and interference contours in red. You can change the display settings of this layer as you wish; working with it is no different from working with other vector layers on the map.

For more information on designing broadcast stations using FCC curves, see https://recnet.com/faq-contours or https://www.fcc.gov/media/radio/fm-and-tv-propagation-curves-graphs

Figure 46. FCC Contours + Longley-Rice coverage

Point Calculations

The user can see results of the calculation of the field strength at any point in this panel.

You can change the current point on the map by clicking the mouse on the place you want. The path profile is a vertical section of the terrain between the transmitter and the receiver with information about land elevations, forests, and buildings. The colors that mark the various obstacles on the profile correspond to the colors of the landcover model.


The path profile shows the heights of the antenna radiation center of the selected transmitter and the receiver, as well as the Fresnel zone for the radio beam, the loss in free space, the diffraction loss due to the terrain, and the obstacles surrounding the receiver.


The transmitter is selected on the left side of the panel in the general network Broadcast Network. Find the transmitter you need and click on it with the mouse (not to be confused with the activity tag), after which information on this sector will appear above the path profile.
 

Figure 47. Point Calculations

Under the path profile, a table appears with the results of calculating the field strength.

Calculation of the Population Covered by Television and Radio Broadcasting

RadioPlanner 2.1 allows you to automatically determine the population in the coverage area based on the OpenStreetMap project base. Based on the results of the calculation, a list of localities covered by broadcasting is formed, indicating the population in each locality and the total population in the coverage area.


To calculate the population, you first need to calculate the coverage area from the transmitter (or several transmitters). Calculation of the population will be performed for the very minimum field strength level from the Area Study Details menu. To display the calculation results, go to the Report menu and click on the Population Coverage button, after which a table will appear listing the settlements covered by the broadcast. The total area of coverage in square kilometers is indicated under the table, as well as the average coverage radius (only when calculating coverage from one transmitter).

Figure 48. Population Coverage Report

Air-to-Ground Communication

RadioPlanner 2.1 calculates coverage areas for ground-to-air and radio navigation aeronautical systems operating in the VHF, UHF, and microwave frequency bands.

Figure 46. Air-to-Ground Communication calculation example

Before starting work, you should select the project type "Air-to-Ground Communication" in the Settings menu (see the Settings section).


The set of parameters for the base station of the mobile aeronautical service is completely similar to that of the mobile communication network (See Section Mobile Networks - Base Stations).


The set of equipment parameters for the mobile aeronautical service station is similar to the set of parameters for the mobile communication network (See Section Mobile Networks - Mobile Stations), except for the antenna height, which is not specified here (the height of the mobile station for the mobile aeronautical service is used as a parameter in the menu "Area study details"). In addition, in the Air-to-Ground Communication projects, parameters are specified for only one type of subscriber station.

Propagation Model for Air-to-Ground Communication

The propagation model is a hybrid model based upon the recommendation ITU-R P.528-3 (02/2012) "Propagation curves for aeronautical mobile and radion avigation services using the VHF, UHF and SHF bands" and the recommendation ITU-R P. 526-14 "Propagation by Diffraction."


The applicable hybrid model takes into account the following factors affecting the propagation of radio waves along the air-to-ground path:


-    Free space loss
-    Diffraction loss along the path taking into account the curvature of the Earth and the terrain profile extracted from the digital elevation model SRTM
-    Variation of the received radio signal due to multipath fading

 

In the used hybrid model, rain fading is not taken into account; therefore, the frequency range of its applicability is limited to 7000 MHz (100 MHz-7000 MHz).
 

Figure 47. Propagation model for Air-to-Ground Communication

Time Availability, %          Percentage of time (usually 95%). By choosing a particular time percentage, the calculated received power                                              values are the power levels that will be exceeded at least that percentage of time.


Margin, dB                         Prediction confidence margin. Since the received power level calculations are estimates, the prediction                                                    margin lets you specify a safety margin in dB so that you can be more confident that your signal level                                                        estimate is indeed above the specified signal level.

 

Area Study Types for Air-to-Ground Communication

For the Air-to-Ground Communication project, you can choose one of the following area study types:


-    Received power Air-to-Ground link
-    Received power Ground-to-Air link
-    Strongest (most likely) Server Air-to-Ground link


Received Power Air-to-Ground/Ground-to-Air link

 

 

In these types of calculations, the map displays different colors of the coverage area for different heights of the mobile station (aircraft). You can set from one to eight different altitude levels.


After the calculation is completed, the level of received power at the current point for different heights will also be displayed in the status bar.
 

Figure 48. Received power Air-to-ground link


Area Study Resolution                          -    Low
                                                                  -    Medium
                                                                  -    High
                                                                  It’s the resolution of the result of the calculation. The resolution corresponds to one pixel of                                                                          the screen for zoom = 7 (low detail), zoom = 8 (medium), and zoom = 9 (high). For a                                                                                        geographic latitude of 55 degrees, this is approximately 720, 360, and 180 meters,                                                                                          respectively. The higher the resolution, the longer the calculation time.


Required Service Threshold                The minimum threshold level of the received signal, dBm


Mobile Antenna Height Reference     -    Sea level
                                                                 -    Ground level


Number of Levels                                 Number of altitude levels


Color                                                      Color level


Height                                                    The value of the level height of the mobile station for which the coverage area is displayed, m


Description                                            Text field

Strongest (Most Likely) Server Air-to-Ground Link


The strongest server map is a map showing the identity of the sector supplying the strongest received signal at each grid location.

 

Sector colors can be assigned automatically or by the table of frequency groups.
 

Figure 49. Strongest Server menu

Area Study Resolution                             -    Low
                                                                     -    Medium
                                                                     -    High
                                                                     It’s the resolution of the result of the calculation. The resolution corresponds to one pixel of                                                                         the screen for zoom = 7 (low detail), zoom = 8 (medium) and zoom = 9 (high). For a                                                                                       geographic latitude of 55 degrees, this is approximately 720, 360, and 180 meters,                                                                                          respectively. The higher the resolution, the longer the calculation time.


Required Service Threshold                     The minimum threshold level of the received signal to calculate Strongest (Most likely)                                                                                 Server, dBm


Mobile Antenna Height Reference        -    Sea level
                                                                    -    Ground level


Apply automatic color assignment       Assigning colors to BS sectors is performed automatically in random order.


Use Colors from the Table                      In these types of calculations, the map displays different colors of the coverage area for                                                                              different heights of the mobile station (aircraft). You can set from one to eight different                                                                                  altitude levels.

Point Calculations for Air-to-Ground Communication

This menu displays the terrain profile from the selected base station to any point at the height of the mobile station. The current point on the map can be changed with a mouse click. The profile is a vertical section of the terrain between the base station and the mobile station with information about elevations.

The terrain profile shows the heights of the radiation centers of the antennas of the base and mobile stations, as well as the 60 % Fresnel zone for the radio beam, free space loss, and diffraction loss due to the terrain. The base station for which the profile will be shown is selected in the left part of the panel in the general base stations tree. Click on the sector of the desired BS (not to be confused with the activity icon), after which information on this BS will appear above the terrain profile.


The height of the mobile station is selected in the drop-down list on the right above the terrain profile from the set of heights specified for calculating coverage areas in the Area Study Details   - Received Power Air-to-Ground link.
 

Figure 50. Point calculations for Air-to-Ground Communication example

Some features of calculating coverage areas for aeronautical radio communications are given in Appendix 1.

Appendix 1. Some Features of Coverage Calculating for Air-to-Ground Radio

For a certain combination of data (heights of the base and mobile stations, frequency, power, service threshold, and time availability), a band may appear on the radio coverage area indicating lack of communication (in the example below, such a band is present at a distance of 107-134 km in the radial direction from the BS).

This means that in this zone, the mobile station (aircraft) will be in the area of the strong influence of multipath due to reflection from the Earth's surface and time availability will decrease. Model ITU-R P.528-3 (02/2012), which is based on the IF-77 Electromagnetic Wave Propagation Model by M.E. Johnson and G.D. Gierhart, specially designed for aeronautical radio communications, takes this effect into account. A plot of received power versus distance for the example in question is shown below. It shows that at a time availability of 95% for the level of -88 dBm (-118 dBW), the curve has a bend, which determines the dip in the received power and the corresponding band in the coverage area.

In fact, the appearance of such a band in the coverage area does not mean a significant, within 5-7 percent reduction, in time availability in this area. In practice, such a decrease in time availability in a small area within the coverage area can be considered acceptable.
In order to take this assumption into account, a calculation should be made for the average power of the received signal (time availability 50%), taking into account the additional margin for fading within 5-7 dB:

After which, the calculation result for the example considered above will look like this:

Appendix 2. Examples of Calculations for Various Wireless Networks and Broadcasting Networks

There are several project examples for various wireless and broadcast networks in the software package.