Highlands and Islands Airports

Customer Stories

Nautel VR125D, 125 watt, dual NDB transmitter (front and rear views) at Inverness.

Multiple NDB replacement contract for Highlands and Islands Airports

Systems Interface Limited (SIL), Nautel’s United Kingdom based distributor, has successfully installed and commissioned the first four, of seven, replacement Non-Directional Beacons for Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) at Inverness, Campbeltown, Benbecula and Kirkwall Airports in the Scottish Highlands and Northern Isles. This was successfully completed despite storms Dennis, Ciara and Jorge providing trying installation conditions at these remote airfields. The remaining three NDBs for Dundee, Barra and Islay Airports will be installed during 2021.

Nautel ATU-LP at Campbeltown.

The NDB replacement program is due to a UK wide Doppler VHF Omnidirectional Radio Range Beacon (DVOR) rationalization project, whereby many DVOR guidance facilities will be either withdrawn or become unsupported. As a result the Nautel NDBs will be the only means of navigating to these Airports and conducting an approach if an aircraft is not GPS equipped or the GPS signal is unavailable.

Nautel equipment being installed and commissioned by SIL is the Nautel VR125D NDB Transmitters with Nautel 250W Antenna Tuning Units.

NDB antenna and ATU-LP at Campbeltown.

Two systems will also be supplied with SIL designed 10m self-supporting masts.

HIAL is a limited company wholly owned by the Scottish Government. It owns and operates 11 airports in the Scottish Highlands and the Northern Isles and Western Isles. It handles over 1.7 million passengers a year and employs around 620 people across the 11 airports.

Learn more about NDB Systems

Nautel adds… After extensive research into the most common antenna-related field issues, the ATU-LP and ATU-HP automatic antenna tuning units were developed to:

  • provide industry-leading, state-of-the-art antenna impedance matching to the associated Vector NDB transmitters under all weather conditions
  • mitigate the effects of seasonal ground conductivity variations and the build-up of salt and other environmental contaminants on antenna insulators
  • provide a constant and stable coverage when used in conjunction with Vector NDB transmitters

To learn more about the development, testing and functionality of the ATU-LP and ATU-HP automatic antenna tuning units please read more in the following white paper Engineering the All Weather Antenna Tuning Unit (ATU)

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