In June 2017 the European Union’s Radio Equipment Directive came fully into force, and despite having gone live over a year ago, not everyone is aware of it. So what is the Radio Equipment Directive, and how can it affect your next installation project?

First published in 2014, the Radio Equipment Directive deals with the placing on the market of radio-electric equipment. While it’s mainly focused on the manufacturer of the products themselves, it affects distributors and installers as well. That’s because all products sold, specified and installed must now conform to the directive.

The RED along with other directives, which include the low Voltage Directive, requires equipment to comply with a high level of electrical safety; with an adequate level of electromagnetic compatibility; and to operate in a manner that promotes efficient use of the radio spectrum.

RED applies to all equipment that intentionally transmits or receives radio waves. This includes ALL domestic TV signal amplifiers, which must as a minimum meet the requirements of EN 303 354 V1.1.1 (2017-03)3, “Amplifiers and active antennas for TV broadcast reception in domestic premises; Harmonised Standard covering the essential requirements of article 3.2 of Directive 2014/53/EU”.

What Should I Install In My Projects?

Amplifiers must have an EU Declaration of Conformity (DoC) and affix the CE marking. The DoC can either be included in the product or referred to an online version. There are no official logos other than the CE logo, meaning installers can be confident that the product meets the specification if they see that logo.

There are different classes in RED, however. So it’s important that installers are aware of these. The classes have been produced to fit the varying requirements of the TV transmitter changeover caused by the reallocation of broadcast spectrum to mobile phones.

Class 0 – Not filtered. This was decided upon in part due to the varying timescales for implementation of LTE across the EU, it allows suitable filters to be used for the local environment

Class 1& 2 – For future use when LTE takes over the 700 MHz band and may also be below 470MHz

Class 3 – 15dB inbuilt LTE filter but not for use in channel 60 areas.

Class 4 – 15dB LTE filter allowing use of channel 60.

Class 3 products do not pass Ch 60 without severely degraded reception. There are still 121 transmitters using this frequency as of now. Locally to Sheffield Belmont services 710,00 homes still uses channel 60. Whilst this is not long-term after 2020 it still means that the consumer will lose channels they potentially had before a RED amplifier was installed.

The specification for inbuilt filters on Ch 59 amplifiers is just 15 dB of LTE protection, but for the at800 standalone filter, supplied free if you have interference, it is 22–26 dB. There are filters on the market that have 40 dB of rejection. Considering that in some cases LTE signals can be 20 dB greater than TV signals, then in these cases the internal filter is not giving an adequate rejection and an external filter would also be required – more noise. It would be much better to fit a class 0 amplifier with an appropriate external filter in the first place.

Class 0 amplifiers allow use of channels 61-68 for the distribution of locally modulated services such as CCTV, hotel ‘in-house’ video and, in a domestic situation, for the distribution of signals such as Sky TV from the RF2 port of the Sky receiver (which are set at Ch 68 by default) or by using an add on IO link.

Currently, the UHF band used for TV has only 40 channels. With up to 9 muxes per transmitter, and signals from adjacent transmitters being visible, it can be difficult to find a clear channel to carry locally modulated signals. Unlike classes 1-4, a class 0 amplifier gives access to the LTE bands (channels 61-68) for local signals, provided that adequate filtering is used to suppress any LTE signals that may be received.

PROception Products and RED

Blake UK are compliant with the Radio Equipment Directive 2014/53/EU and meet the harmonised standard EN 303 354 for Class 0. The difference for its Class 0 designation is that the internal immunity of its products is excellent, in some cases over 15dB higher than the pass mark. The noise level of the amplifiers is significantly lower than one with a filter, according to tests its some 2.5dB better.

Blake UK products work on all current UK DTT channels up to and including 60. They are compliant to current electrical safety and EMC regulations, they are extremely resilient to interference and overloading, and cope with multiple carriers and promote efficient use of the radio spectrum.

In cases of strong LTE interference, a separate LTE filter should be fitted. These are supplied free by at8004, or higher performance models can be purchased from www.blake-uk.com. (To pass channels up to and including channel 59 use proLTE1/59, or if channels 58 and 59 are not required, use proLTE1/57).

Most of the Blake amplifier designs were suitable for RED well before the 2017 implementation. Stocks in the market pre-RED implementation do not carry any DoCs but are still compliant as they were placed on the market prior to the requirement to do so. Stocks sold later have the DoC.

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