Pacifica Network Uplink Page

Pacifica KU Downlink Dish on the roof of WPFW Radio

Pacifica Radio ABR 200/202 Receiver Settings

Pacifica Radio uses AMC-1, KU Transponder 13 (horizontal) at 103.0 degrees west. There is both digital and analog audio and video traffic on transponder 13. The receiver you have may or may not have been pre-programmed to receive the Pacifica Program feed only. The following information may be helpful if you have to change or reset the receiver.

The Current KU Uplink schedule can be found here:

KU Uplink schedule.

If you are looking for a list of typical equipment required to receive the Pacifica feeds, follow this link.

The Pacifica audio feed is currently being operated in "dual-mono" mode. The "left" channel is used for regularly scheduled feeds such as the Pacifica National Newscast. The "right" channel is currently used for re-feeds of missed programs, and also backhaul feeds to FSRN from KPFA, unmixed speeches and interviews from Pacifica National Programming to the main Pacifica stations (KPFA, KPFK, KPFT, WPFW, WBAI), as well as the Pacifica affiliates.


If you are having problems locking to the signal, or have a reason to believe the programming is not correct in the ABR receiver, the settings on the following page can be tried. Before you attempt to reprogram the ABR receiver, make sure that your receive dish is properly aimed at AMC-1 (103 degrees west). Almost all the problems reported to Pacifica have resulted from improper aiming and not a failure with the ABR receiver or the uplink.

When setting up your receive dish, be sure to check with the AMC SES Americom Satellite Operations Center (800) 255-6122 to obtain the "center of the box" forecast for AMC-1. This fine alignment information is critical for a dependable signal in marginal areas and in times of heavy rain and snow.

If you have any questions concerning the KU system, please call the Pacifica Consulting Engineer: Don Mussell (808) 828-0209, or via e-mail: , or CCSS (800) 345-8728 before making any changes to the ABR-200 receiver.

The following settings are current as of May, 2013. These settings work on all of the ABR receivers, but some are automatic on the newer ABR-202A. These settings are accessible and can be changed by using a personal computer attached to the M&C port (RS-232, DB9, female) located on the rear of the ABR receivers. Please consult the ABR manual for more information. For ease of troubleshooting, you might want to download the ABR-200 setup program from the WEB:

"http://www.well.com/user/dmsml/downloads/abrterm.exe"


ABR-200/202 SETUP INSTRUCTIONS

Using a PC connected to the M&C port, use the ABRTERM setup program to access the internal programming of the ABR-200. When you are connected to the ABR, the following data entries should be used (all entries are in BOLD type, set your computer keyboard to CAPS ON:


login: HOMEYD
OD (this sets the ABR to the operator debug mode)
>OPERATOR DEBUG MODE
IN 9346 (this resets the unit to factory defaults)
Login again using password: HOMEYD
enter: CC 1,11710900,256000,1 (Channel 1 configuration)
FD 1,5,1,7 (Format definition)
OD (operator debug mode)
LC 1
OD
FS 1
AQ 2 (initiates acquisition search mode)
ST 0 (means stereo lock, allow extra time if weather is cloudy, rainy or snowing)


Pacifica (KULeft and KU-Right)
Uplink: 14010.900
Downlink: 11710.900
L-Band: 960.900
Bandwidth: 400 KHz
EIRP: 26.2 dBW

Pacifica (KPFA)
Uplink: 14007.300
Downlink: 11707.300
L-Band: 957.300
Bandwidth: 200 KHz
EIRP: 23.2 dBW

The ABR receiver should lock and receive the Pacifica signal within a few minutes. When the signal is acquired, RF sync and audio sync will be lit GREEN. No RED fault lights should be lit. Signal light should be on and steady with a good signal, and a marginal signal is indicated by a flashing display. Check cables and dish alignment if signal light flashes.


Most ABR-200 receivers are now failing, due to the age and inferior design of the original power supply. A replacement power supply is no longer commercially available, so if and when an older receiver fails, a new receiver is the only reliable path to restoring service

Also relevant is the lithium backup battery installed inside the receiver. Many of these units are at least 10 years old, and the batteries are equal in age, and are usually unable to hold a charge for very long, if at all. In some cases, I have seen them short and cause a power supply failure. It would be wise to replace the battery if it has never been done before. In the case of a power supply replacement, you should also replace the battery at the same time. The batteries can be found in many places, including Radio Shack (Part Number 23-037).

In the event of a power supply failure, backup battery failure, or a loss of ability to access the programing functions, a master hardware reset may be needed. Be aware that this will require complete reprogramming of the memory of the receiver, so only perform this function as a last resort. The ABR can be reset by connecting pins 8 and 12 on the aux port, powering off and powering back up. This will clear the ABR back to factory defaults. Depending on the firmware version, to regain access to the unit, you may need to use the alternative password: "SIMPSON" (all caps). "HOMEYD" (all caps) is the default password if the firmware version is more recent. After gaining access, a software reset will be needed to clear all memory and start over. This is done with the "MR" command.

TROUBLESHOOTING COMMANDS

EB ? (EB/NO signal level query; 10.0 is good signal, 6.0 marginal)
AG ? (signal power, if 255 no signal present, 85 to 150 is OK)
FL ? (fault log query)
CF 0 (Clears all current faults)
NF ? (number of signal fades)
SL ? (number of sync losses between receiver and uplink)
ID ? (display the serial number of ABR unit)
DP ? (display all parameters stored in ABR unit)
LC ? 1=Enable remote switch 0=disable
AM 0 = allow unlocked frequency reception

FREQUENCY INFORMATION

Pacifica Feed:
Downlink Frequency: 11710.900, 256K, QPSK

The ABR can be configured to receive the Pacifica Feed as detailed below.

Other services can be accessed via the receiver by configuring the other
channels that are programmable via the computer M&C port, as detailed below.


Detailed Instructions:

Pacifica Feed
Channel Identifier = 2 (set by uplink)
Frequency = 11710.900 MHz
Bitrate = 256000 bits/sec
Modulation = QPSK

These parameters can be stored in the ABR200 with the CC command (for Channel Configuration):

CC 2,11710900,256000,1

You then use the FD command (Format Definition) to store a few more parameters that matter:

FD 2,5,2,7,0,0 (the first number is the format number)

If you really want to know what all these numbers mean, check the manual!

Now that all of this is stored in the ABR200, you just need to issue a FS command (Format Select) any time you want to tune the receiver to the Pacifica feed. In this case, you'd command:

FS 2

which would select the format definition (FD) #2 that you just defined.

There's one more thing we need to tell you about, stereo vs, left or right channel only, but first let's set up the other feeds.


KPFA Feed
Channel Identifier = 1
Frequency = 11707.300 MHz
Bitrate = 128000 bits/sec
Modulation = QPSK

CC 1,11707300,128000,1
FD 1,5,1,7,0,0
FS 1



Stereo feeds vs. Left vs. Right

Almost all the Pacifica feeds come in as mono on the left or right channel. Pacifica puts *different* programming on the left and right channels. In other words, if you listen to both channels, you'll hear two completely different programs coming out of the two speakers (one may be silence). Most affiliates install a switch on the audio output to go to either the left or the right channel. For those who have a computer attached to the receiver at all times, the ABR200 also allows you to select which channel (from the satellite) you want to hear on BOTH left and right audio outputs. Effectively you are thus selecting either the "left" or "right" program on the Pacifica feed.

This is set with the LR command (Left/Right), as follows:

LR 0 Stereo
LR 1 Reversed Stereo
LR 2 Left from satellite goes to BOTH audio outputs on receiver
LR 3 Right from satellite goes to BOTH audio outputs on receiver

These same settings can be incorporated into the FD settings for each feed (see FD examples above). In the FD command, the fifth digit controls the Left/Right setting. In the examples above, this was the first of the two zeros. So if you wanted to set the receiver to listen to Pacifica Left, you would do the following:

FD 2,5,2,7,2,0 (note fifth number is now 2, not 0)
FS 2

To set it up for Pacifica Right, you would do:

FD 2,5,2,7,3,0 (note fifth number is now 3)
FS 2

All this changing of the FD settings defeats the purpose of FD, which is to act as format "presets" for the receiver that you can select with a simple FS command. Therefore, it is recommended that you set three separate FD's for Pacifica: stereo, left and right. That is, set it up as follows:

FD 20,5,2,7,0,0 (stereo)
FD 22,5,2,7,2,0 (left)
FD 23,5,2,7,3,0 (right)

Then next time you need to hear Pacifica Left, just command an FS 22.


When wiring up the ABR200 into your audio system, you will find the AT (Audio Test) command useful.

AT 0 Normal operating state (no tone)
AT 1 1 kHz tone, left channel
AT 2 1 kHz tone, right channel
AT 3 1 kHz tone, both channels (check phase)

All of this and more is documented thoroughly in the Comstream ABR200 manual.

Here is a link to a page that describes the differences between the ABR-200 and the newer ABR-202.


For more information on how to access the ABR from a computer, or any other questions concerning the Pacifica KU system, please call Don Mussell at:
(808) 828-0209
or e-mail:

For information about Pacifica's programs and feed schedules,
please call the Pacifica Uplink at KPFA: (510) 848-6767 ext. 214

Thanks to Chris Campbell at WREK, Atlanta for help with ABR-200/202 commands and instructions.


This Web Page was last updated on October 8, 2013

2013 Broadcast Engineering Services of Bonny Doon