i3 Intelligent remote control of radio towers

i3 Intelligent remote control of radio towers

Bell Canada is one of Canada’s largest providers f radio and television services. They also supply the transmission services for various digital and analogue platforms. Some however were beginning to show their age, with control panels for the antenna arrays over 50 years. They used a combination of timers and relay logic to control the timing sequences of local antenna arrays. The needed updating with intelligent remote control of these towers.

IMO provided technical help in converting the relay-based control systems used to control and synchronized the analogue antenna arrays. Working with the local engineering contractor they selected a modern PLC-based system. Markedly, it provided a faster, more reliable system with remote control and monitoring capabilities covering many sites.

The antenna sites consisted of four or more geographically positioned towers. By turning a combination of towers on or off aims the radio signal in a certain direction at different times of the day, week and month. This allows other radio stations, including some from towers broadcasting from the USA, to operate without signal interference.

Intelligent remote control adio towers

The centralised control system coordinated tower control for multiple locations. Connection was to the relay-logic control panels in the individual towers, presenting challenges at times of repairs and maintenance. Furthermore, limitations to the remote monitoring of stations required someone stationed on site.

In the new scheme, the control adopted an Ethernet network, with a fibre optic network to connect the various remote tower sites to provide intelligent remote control. The new scheme used a 15” i3DX Intelligent Control Station to provide high performance PLC control needed to monitor and control local and remote tower sites, and also to communicate with antenna control system. Using the second independent Ethernet port in the i3DX, a second network was established. This allowed maintenance and programmers to remotely program the array’s sequence control, monitor status, and also receive alarm notification and access to the i3DX’s built in data logging function.

IMO’s XEL-BSSA expansion modules in each of the remote, antenna panels replaced the relays and timers. The expanded connectivity offered by the expansion modules supported enhanced monitoring for each site. IMO also provided on-site training, programming assistance, and after sales technical support to aid the client in the development and deployment of the system.


Said the System Integrator. “With the changes that have been recently implemented, we now have an upgraded, modern and faster system. Overall, it met our requirements for the discrete control of antenna sequencing. Also, it added more functionality and associated cost value as the controller used offers a significantly improved set of features. Finally, it provided the ability to have remote access over a private network, and faster, more precise control over our legacy equipment.”

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