A remote pickup unit or RPU is a radio system using special radio frequencies set aside for electronic news gathering (ENG) and remote broadcasting. It can also be used for other types of point-to-point radio links.
Radio is the technology of signalling or communicating using radio waves. Radio waves are electromagnetic waves of frequency between 30 hertz (Hz) and 300 gigahertz (GHz). They are generated by an electronic device called a transmitter connected to an antenna which radiates the waves, and received by a radio receiver connected to another antenna. Radio is very widely used in modern technology, in radio communication, radar, radio navigation, remote control, remote sensing and other applications. In radio communication, used in radio and television broadcasting, cell phones, two-way radios, wireless networking and satellite communication among numerous other uses, radio waves are used to carry information across space from a transmitter to a receiver, by modulating the radio signal in the transmitter. In radar, used to locate and track objects like aircraft, ships, spacecraft and missiles, a beam of radio waves emitted by a radar transmitter reflects off the target object, and the reflected waves reveal the object's location. In radio navigation systems such as GPS and VOR, a mobile receiver receives radio signals from navigational radio beacons whose position is known, and by precisely measuring the arrival time of the radio waves the receiver can calculate its position on Earth. In wireless remote control devices like drones, garage door openers, and keyless entry systems, radio signals transmitted from a controller device control the actions of a remote device.
In broadcast engineering, a remote broadcast is broadcasting done from a location away from a formal television studio and is considered an electronic field production (EFP). A remote pickup unit (RPU) is usually used to transmit the audio and/or video back to the television station, where it joins the normal airchain. Other methods include satellite trucks, production trucks and even regular telephone lines if necessary.
An RPU is used to send program material from a remote location to the broadcast station or network. Usually these systems use specialized, high audio fidelity radio equipment. One manufacturer, Marti, was best known for manufacturing remote pickup equipment, so much so that the name is usually used to refer to a remote pickup unit regardless of who the actual equipment manufacturer actually is.
A terrestrial network is a group of radio stations, television stations, or other electronic media outlets, that form an agreement to air, or broadcast, content from a centralized source. For example, PBS (U.S.) and BBC (U.K.) are TV networks that provide programming for local terrestrial television station affiliates to air using signals that can be picked up by the home television sets of local viewers. Large networks are mostly national, but there is also a Global Television Network.
Marti Electronics, a division of BE, manufactures RF Remote Pick-Up equipment for the broadcast industry. Marti has been supplying such hardware since 1960 with few competitors in its very vertical market. Because this equipment was so ubiquitous for so many years, the words "Marti" and "RPU" have become almost synonymous among broadcast engineers.
Today much of the remote broadcast use digital audio system fed over ISDN telephone lines. This method is favored because of reliability of telephone lines versus a radio link back to the station. The radio RPU remains much more favored for ENG however, because of its flexibility.
A telephone, or phone, is a telecommunications device that permits two or more users to conduct a conversation when they are too far apart to be heard directly. A telephone converts sound, typically and most efficiently the human voice, into electronic signals that are transmitted via cables and other communication channels to another telephone which reproduces the sound to the receiving user.
AM broadcasting is a radio broadcasting technology, which employs amplitude modulation (AM) transmissions. It was the first method developed for making audio radio transmissions, and is still used worldwide, primarily for medium wave transmissions, but also on the longwave and shortwave radio bands.
A radiotelephone is a communications system for transmission of speech over radio. Radiotelephone systems are very rarely interconnected with the public switched telephone network, and in some radio services, including GMRS, such interconnection is prohibited. "Radiotelephony" means transmission of sound (audio) by radio, in contrast to radiotelegraphy or video transmission. Where a two-way radio system is arranged for speaking and listening at a mobile station, and where it can be interconnected to the public switched telephone system, the system can provide mobile telephone service.
A broadcast auxiliary service or BAS is any radio frequency system used by a radio station or TV station, which is not part of its direct broadcast to listeners or viewers. These are essentially internal-use backhaul channels not intended for actual reception by the public, but part of the airchain required to get those signals back to the broadcast studio from the field. usually to be integrated into a live production.
A telecommunication circuit is any line, conductor, or other conduit by which information is transmitted. Originally, this was analog, and was often used by radio stations as a studio/transmitter link (STL) or remote pickup unit (RPU) for their audio, sometimes as a backup to other means. Later lines were digital, and used for private corporate data networks.
Base station is – according to the International Telecommunication Union's (ITU) Radio Regulations (RR) – a "land station in the land mobile service."
A telephone hybrid is the component at the ends of a subscriber line of the public switched telephone network (PSTN) that converts between two-wire and four-wire forms of bidirectional audio paths. When used in broadcast facilities to enable the airing of telephone callers, the broadcast-quality telephone hybrid is known as a broadcast telephone hybrid or telephone balance unit.
In audio engineering, a mix-minus or clean feed is a particular setup of a mixing console or matrix mixer, such that an output of the mixer contains everything except a designated input. Mix-minus is often used to prevent echoes or feedback in broadcast or sound reinforcement systems.
In electrical signalling an analog current loop is used where a device must be monitored or controlled remotely over a pair of conductors. Only one current level can be present at any time.
An intercom, talkback or doorphone is a stand-alone voice communications system for use within a building or small collection of buildings, functioning independently of the public telephone network. Intercoms are generally mounted permanently in buildings and vehicles. Intercoms can incorporate connections to public address loudspeaker systems, walkie talkies, telephones, and to other intercom systems. Some intercom systems incorporate control of devices such as signal lights and door latches.
Digital access carrier system (DACS) is the name used by British Telecom in the United Kingdom for a 0+2 pair gain system.
Music on hold (MOH) is the business practice of playing recorded music to fill the silence that would be heard by telephone callers who have been placed on hold. It is especially common in situations involving customer service.
A television station is a set of equipment managed by a business, organisation or other entity, such as an amateur television (ATV) operator, that transmits video content via radio waves directly from a transmitter on the earth's surface to a receiver on earth. Most often the term refers to a station which broadcasts structured content to an audience or it refers to the organization that operates the station. A terrestrial television transmission can occur via analog television signals or, more recently, via digital television signals. Television stations are differentiated from cable television or other video providers in that their content is broadcast via terrestrial radio waves. A group of television stations with common ownership or affiliation are known as a TV network and an individual station within the network is referred to as O&O or affiliate, respectively.
Microwave transmission is the transmission of information by microwave radio waves. Although an experimental 40-mile (64 km) microwave telecommunication link across the English Channel was demonstrated in 1931, the development of radar in World War II provided the technology for practical exploitation of microwave communication. In the 1950s, large transcontinental microwave relay networks, consisting of chains of repeater stations linked by line-of-sight beams of microwaves were built in Europe and America to relay long distance telephone traffic and television programs between cities. Communication satellites which transferred data between ground stations by microwaves took over much long distance traffic in the 1960s. In recent years, there has been an explosive increase in use of the microwave spectrum by new telecommunication technologies such as wireless networks, and direct-broadcast satellites which broadcast television and radio directly into consumers' homes.
A POTS codec is a type of audio coder-decoder (codec) that uses digital signal processing to transmit audio digitally over standard telephone lines at a higher level of audio quality than the telephone line would normally provide in its analog mode. The POTS codec is one of a family of broadcast codecs differentiated by the type of telecommunications circuit used for transmission. The ISDN codec, which instead uses ISDN lines, and the IP codec which uses private or public IP networks are also common.
Remote controls are used any time a two-way radio base station is located away from the desk or office where communication originates. For example, a dispatch center for taxicabs may have an office downtown but have a base station on a distant mountain top. A Tone remote, also known as an EIA Tone remote, is a signaling system used to operate a two-way radio base station by some form of remote control.
The Telos Alliance is an American corporation manufacturing audio products primarily for broadcast stations. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, the company is divided into six divisions:
Broadcast Electronics (BE) is a manufacturer of AM and FM transmitters, Marti Electronics STL and RPU equipment, developer of the AudioVAULT radio automation system and parent company to Commotion - a social media company for radio.
WBEC is a radio station broadcasting a News Talk Information format. Established in 1947, the station is licensed to serve Pittsfield, Massachusetts, United States. The station is owned by Townsquare Media and features programming from ABC News Radio and Premiere Networks, including Premiere's talk network and Fox Sports Radio.