Covering Storms: Do You Have the Right Tools to Weather the Storm?

June 4, 2014

We’re living in an era of monster storms, polar vortexes, and disastrous tornadoes—times when an up-to-the-second weather report can make a life-or-death difference. The best weather stories – and the ones we stay glued to – are those that keep the live coverage going from start to finish.

Unfortunately, a mobile news crew with a shivering or otherwise miserable-looking reporter broadcasting live tends to be the most powerful way to make current conditions real to viewers. But in some weather situations traditional satellite and microwave trucks by themselves can’t cut it for live shots. Winds over 40 miles per hour (60 km/h) mean microwave trucks can't deploy their mast. It's a major safety issue as high winds have been known to snap a microwave mast or even tip a truck over, and extreme cold can keep the mast from going up at all if its lubricating oil freezes. Generators hate freezing weather, and if the snow really piles up, that bulky truck isn’t going anywhere.

Tweet from @TomlinM - "Hoping they brought Dejero. @TedDanielFOX25: Wind so strong in Boylston in Boston a dish on a sat truck just blew off"

But what happens when the truck has to stop transmitting and lower the mast because the winds have gotten too strong? Or what about rain fade or other conditions that cause a drop in satellite bandwidth?  Bonded uplink systems can be used as a backup or a bridge for microwave or satellite links to keep live coverage going on the air when the traditional approaches fail – especially during adverse weather coverage.

For example, take the Dejero LIVE+ VSET. It’s a bonded wireless transmitter; it can be mounted in a vehicle and used as a backup in a satellite or microwave truck, or as a primary transmitter if installed in an ordinary passenger vehicle. All this compact transmitter needs is a little power from an inverter and a means of mounting antennas on the roof, and voila – any car can morph into a roving ENG unit, able to access places that are off-limits to the big trucks. With the push of a button, the LIVE+ VSET can even transmit from a moving vehicle as it travels to the next location, making it ideal for covering fast-moving storms and keeping the story fresh and exciting.

Tweet from @CBCcameraman: "@CBNCS LIVE driving around and covering the spring blizzard in downtown Halifax @MulliganCBC @DejeroLabs"

One of our most popular solutions for on-the-go coverage is the Dejero LIVE+ 20/20 Transmitter. A reporter and camera operator can grab this highly portable and rugged unit, no bigger than a small briefcase, and walk or drive right to the heart of the storm. With a LIVE+ 20/20 Transmitter on board, a vehicle can broadcast live while on the move. In a recent example, a news crew provided continuous, live coverage while reporting weather and traffic conditions in a blizzard. 

But what if you need to go live in an area with weak cell coverage? Dejero has you covered with the new Dejero LIVE+ Booster, a high-reach connection and signal booster that extends connection reception when transmission conditions aren’t the greatest. By simply plugging a Dejero LIVE+ 20/20 Transmitter into a Dejero LIVE+ Booster, an ENG crew has the best of both worlds – a mobile transmitter for broadcasting far away from the news van, or a vehicle tricked out with both systems to provide maximum cellular reception when transmitting on the go.

And finally, newsgathering just doesn’t get any more mobile or flexible than with your very own smartphone. The Dejero LIVE+ Mobile App turns iOS and Android phones into the world’s most compact bonded cellular transmitter. Imagine being able to capture video wherever you are, without having to go back to the station for another device or vehicle, or when other equipment simply isn’t available—all by launching an app on your phone.

The mobility provided by the LIVE+ VSET, LIVE+ 20/20 Transmitter, and LIVE+ Mobile App allows news crews to break down and set up quickly, helping them to track the path of the storms.

When the weather becomes the headline news of the day, the best way to stand out in a crowded local news market – and provide an important public service – is to offer viewers the most immediate and complete information possible. This can be challenging, if not impossible, with traditional broadcasting technology. But bonded uplink solutions such as the Dejero LIVE+ Platform are delivering the tools broadcasters need to be first and best in their coverage from virtually any location. 

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