This Month's Stories
January 9, 2010
January 2010 Newsletter
SBE Chapter 48 / SMPTE Rocky Mountain Section
December 2009 Meeting Report:
DTV Volunteer Luncheon at Park Hill
Date: Friday, December 11, 2009
Time: 11:30AM to 1PM
Location: Park Hill Golf Club, 4141 E. 35th Avenue, Denver, CO 80207
Luncheon: Holly Buffet, $20 per person
At this year's luncheon we recognized members who contributed to the public education effort related to this year's DTV Transition. The SMPTE-SBE48 annual Christmas luncheon was held at Park Hill Golf Club on Friday, December 11, 2009 with 26 members and guests attending.
Almost everyone present received a certificate for having participated in the public education effort leading up to the DTV transition on June 12, 2009. Jim Schoedler of SMPTE Rocky Mountain Section, Marilyn Hogan of the Colorado Broadcasters Association, and Nikki Shears of the FCC Denver office each thanked and congratulated the awardees. All told, over 70 local engineers and TV station personnel participated in phone banks or public walk-in clinics between December 2008 and the DTV transition in June.
A special word of thanks was given to Ken Highberger of KUSA who spearheaded the Colorado DTV soft tests and to Doug Price of KRMA for providing the phone bank capability.
by Jim Schoedler
Chairman, SMPTE Rocky Mountain Section
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Random Radio Thoughts
Cris Alexander, CPBE, AMD
Crawford Broadcasting Company
An IBOC Interference Solution
I reported in these pages several months ago the ongoing issue of AM IBOC interference that my company has been battling out on the left coast. Specifically, the upper primary digital carriers of our KBRT (740 kHz, 10 kW-D, Avalon-Los Angeles) were interfering with the analog signal of KFMB (760 kHz, 5 kW-D, San Diego) in and around Orange County.
This situation is unique for a number of reasons. KBRT has been operating from its present facility and on 740 kHz since 1952. KFMB moved to 760 kHz in 1961 as part of the clear channel realignment and is thus the “newcomer” under the Communications Act; they must accept any and all interference from KBRT that occurs as a result of the overlap produced when they moved onto the channel.
A year or so after KBRT fired up its digital carriers several years ago, KFMB started complaining about hiss under its analog audio in Orange County. This situation is also unique because KFMB has a weak signal (between 0.5 and 2.0 mV/m) in this area while KBRT has a very strong signal (25 to 100 mV/m). Arguably, the area where the interference was being reported is all outside the “metro grade” contour as defined by the FCC rules, i.e. there isn’t enough signal there to overcome manmade electrical noise in a heavily urbanized area. Nevertheless, there was hiss present under KFMB’s already noisy signal and a few die-hard KFMB listeners in that area were evidently complaining.
I won’t go into all the details of all the testing, the voluntary power reductions and the back and forth between KBRT and KFMB. But I will share with you the ultimate solution, one that I believe can be applied in most cases of adjacent-channel AM IBOC interference.
In late November, during talks with iBiquity Digital about the situation, one of their back-room engineers said something to the effect of, “I don’t think those upper primaries are really doing anything for KBRT anyway because they exist with all that interference from KFMB’s lower audio sideband.” The light bulb suddenly came on. If we don’t really need the upper digital primary carriers, why transmit them at all?
Actually I had asked that question several times over the prior couple of years and gotten a consensus that the upper primaries must be present for the system to work. But what the iBiquity engineer said rang true – the fact that the KBRT digital signal was working well with its upper primaries thoroughly polluted with interference from KFMB was prima facie evidence that we didn’t need those carriers.
And so it was that we reduced the KBRT upper primary digital carriers to -45 dBc in early December, which was tantamount to shutting them completely down. I would have shut them down altogether except some ugly things happened in the Nautel NE-IBOC HD exciter when I reduced the uppers below -45 dBc.
Shortly after making the reduction, I drove the KBRT signal, listening on a Kenwood HD receiver, and surprise! The digital coverage was as good and robust as it had ever been, at least in and around Los Angeles and Orange County. We may have lost some fringe digital coverage to the north, but our core was solidly intact.
And so it is that I have concluded that this solution can be applied in many situations of adjacent-channel IBOC-to-analog interference. I say “many” because there is one more or less obvious requirement: that the opposite digital sideband be interference-free. In the case of KBRT, our nearest neighbor down the dial is KSPN on 710 kHz. This 30 kHz spacing leaves our lower 5-10.2 kHz digital primary carrier spectrum in the clear. Stations that are crowded on both sides will likely suffer some digital signal area loss if one set of primaries is reduced.
So now that we have the solution for AM IBOC interference, the question is can we do the same thing with FM? Can we reduce the power in our digital carriers on one side to treat IBOC interference to adjacent-channel stations? Will doing so allow power increases in the non-interfering digital carriers to some level higher than -20 dB?
If you have news to share with the Rocky Mountain radio engineering community, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The KE0VH Hamshack
Happy New Year everyone, I hope this finds you ready to go for a new year after the holidays, and I pray that this year you will “Live Well and Prosper” (a different take on the Vulcan best wishes, but definitely appropriate).
I want to first of all share with you a bit of radio history, this came from an internal company email string that discussed “the good old days”, as written by Salem Communications own Scott Horner and some other folks. You have GOT to see the pictures at the site stated in the email.
Scott writes: Well, I guess I have to add to this email since it really brings back the memories and I have attached some photos to share from the WIBBAGE days. I worked there in the mid 1970's with Steve Hnat when Fairbanks Broadcasting owned it; I remember the day the Kevin Metheney came in as P.D. and changed the call to WZZD and moniker to Wizzard 100. Steve was a real great guy and had great talent in designing his own line of audio processing and studio equipment. His driving force was to make WIBG sound like FM on AM as in those days WYSP-FM and WIFI-FM were dominant.
I well remember the WFIL-WIBG rivalry as anyone who grew up in Philly-South Jersey ADI would; one of my first jobs out of high school was a board op for WFIL in about 1971. Talk about what was a cool gig working as a board op for the major talent at WIBBAGE! I wonder what type of IT job today would compare to that! Anyway that was a long time ago and now I have to prepare for a Salem budget meeting so more on this subject later. Enjoy the photo link below...
Also, if you really like looking at old transmitter sites, take a look at this page:
hawkins.pair.com/wcbs_wfan.html. An amazing nostalgic look at WCBS and WFAN back in the heyday for sure.
I thought you might like to see a couple of pictures that I took while up on a Cheyenne Mountain trip with Ray, AAØL, the Chief Engineer for the Citadel stations in Colorado Springs. Ray is really one of the most knowledgeable transmitter engineers I have ever met, and has really taught me a lot in a short amount of time. He is a long time and very avid Amateur Radio operator as well, and has built many transmitters, different systems, and so much that I bet he could write a book (I suggested he do so!). I am really trying to get him to get on the SBE IRLP Hamnet with us and he spends a lot of time on 2 meter SSB, and 80 meter HF.
AAØL with KKMG Gates FM-5 Backup
KEØVH tuning the KGFT 816R-4C
From the “hamshack”, for those who build a lot of PL-259 antennas, (I can see how this “widget” would work for other types of connectors too) you should see this article for a really helpful hint at http://www.eham.net/articles/22841. Very very clever indeed getting the ends nicely on coax.
Also, could there be a run on our ham frequencies by other services because of little use? There is a good question being asked in an article on QRZ.com. Check out the article at http://forums.qrz.com/showthread.php?t=230693.
I found a great informative website that is dedicated by and large to amateur radio and electronic discussions. There are informative podcasts offered that are very interesting to our hobby. The website is at http://www.icqpodcast.com/. These are offered by Martin (M1MRB) and Colin (M6BOY). Also, I have really enjoyed watching some of the videos produced by Randy, K7AGE at his site http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmsFhz_dyAg&feature=related. He offers many interesting ham radio videos both instructional and informative such as operating moonbounce, amateur satellite, setting up soundcards, and many other topics. He also has many videos that show you “how to”. Also, if you are interested in Amateur Television (fast scan) there are some interesting videos here: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=amateur+television&search_type=&aq=f.
This “Add” was sent to me by our illustrious NØZUQ:
Dodge Colt $500.00 — HAM RADIO ACCESSORIES $25,000
We were blessed with a truly “White Christmas” this year.
Here are some pictures from the KEØVH QTH.
Lets all try to be the “smart engineer” in 2010! Live long and prosper!
73’ for this month
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Featuring News, Rumors and Views
From Usually Reliable and Irrefutable Sources
By Clay Freinwald
SBE Seattle Chapter 16
Welcome to the new year ! Gee, we managed to escape Y2K + 10.
Last year at this time we here in Western Washington were putting up with lots of snow and ice – This year, relatively dry and mild. This is very good news in light of the Howard Hansen Dam situation. Thus far mother nature has been very kind.
Just before Christmas Entercom closed on their deal selling their transmitter sites at Cougar and West Tiger mountains to American Tower Company. These two facilities were very much part of my life for many years…West Tiger since 1987 and Cougar for the last 10 years. Entercom, like a lot of broadcasters, has been going through tough times and apparently a shot of income was just what the doctor ordered. The company sold a number of their other sites across the country as well. Over the years, ATC has become the big frog in the tower business with over 20,000 towers and sites. This move will give them 3 facilities on West Tiger and 2 on Cougar.
Along with this change Entercom, my employer for the last 13+ years, advised me that it was time for a change in status for me. Whether or not I will continue to have a relationship with them, at this point, remains to be seen. If not, I will likely strike out on my own and join others that don’t have a full time job but rather rely on a number of smaller paychecks. Hanging out ones ‘shingle’ is a bit daunting…hopefully things will work out well.
Enough of me – How about other stuff – Like looking back on this past decade for some interesting tidbits.
- The economy has certainly been the big story the last couple of years as we all saw our 401K’s sink. Looking at the Dow over the past 10 years is interesting….It’s off about 1000 points since 1-1-2000. (Note how I overlooked the period in the middle)
- The number of people un-employed is a sign of the times. Ten years ago it was under 6%, today its more like 15%
- Life expectancy is up by about a year over the last 10..Guess this means I have to work longer?
- Film cameras have died. It’s rare that you find someone today that does not have a digital camera.
- Percentage of homes with land-line phones is down from 96 to 91% while those that own cell phones is up from 36 to 71%. Some have land-line phones only because it comes with DSL.
- Cell phones have been transformed from simple wireless telephones to devices that do things that were thought impossible 10 years ago. Some of us are still not impressed.
- Number of PC’s sold in 1999 – just under 15,000….in 2009 - - just under 30,000. Number of laptops sold in 99 – 7200, in 2009 – almost 19,000.
- How about the Yellow Pages? Does DEX know about his life expectancy?
- We have seen the death of the Pay-Phone. Recently a restaurant I frequent had someone come in an pay the owner $150 for the one on the wall that hadn’t been used in some time.
- 10 years ago we had no idea what an I-pod or I-phone was, not to mention U-Tube, Twitter, Facebook etc. Then there are Apps.
- TV’s became flat and larger and then miniature with tiny screens being the current rage.
- GPS has become common to zillions of devices and millions of people now depend on them. I still wonder what would happy should a huge solar flare knock out those birds!
- Cable has changed the TV landscape forever. No longer are we able to complain about re-runs of Leave it to Beaver….Now we have 100’s of channels of not-much to
- Telling time has changed too – Analog time indicators are becoming scarce, as are those that know how to read them.
- Tape, of all kinds, has gone away…Yet we STILL see pictures of a 10inch reel to reel whenever TV runs a phone recording. That will probably last 10 more years as even though tape is gone, the term is still used by the talking heads that just can’t bring themselves to say ‘server’
- A whole generation is emerging that lack telephone or personal communications skills. To deal with that we may all have to quit talking and take up texting to communicate with them. Wonder how many young people know what Dial-Tone is?
- The FAX machine is just about dead, certainly in the next 10 years it is likely to become a dinosaur.
- Broadcast TV finally made the switch to digital and now has challenges to remain a viable industry
- 10 years ago the TV antenna was forgotten, now it’s been re-discovered. Even Rabbit Ears are being re-discovered by a generation that has no idea what an aerial is.
- New is on-line everything from dating to TV programs to ….you name it.
- Newspapers are dying at an alarming rate. You tell someone about something you read ‘in the paper’ and if they are not over 50 they wonder what you are talking about.
In 10 more years you have to wonder if any will survive.
- Paper Instruction manuals have gone away, today’s equipment comes with a CD.
- Advertising brochures and catalogs have met a similar fate…today you’d better be ready to shop on-line.
- Snail main is rapidly being replaced by email to the point that the Post Office is in a quandary. When someone asks for your address you are more likely to give them your email adr.
- Print advertising no longer tells you where the firm is located but rather gives you their Web Address – www:kindascary.com
- And for sure, the typewriter is gone. For a while we used to have one around to deal with envelopes, but now that those are history…..
- Surprisingly there are some terms that are still with us – TV, Radio and Wireless.
- Component level servicing is something else that has gone away. The term is still here, it’s just that the components are larger.
- Compression has invaded everything – TV Spots are (again) loud…to the point that Congress is restless. Recording studios have apparently declared all out war on dynamic range. Highly compressed MP3’s have become the new gold standard for audio. Digital compression has made possible digital TV, Radio, Cell Phones and a slew of devices that been made possible by throwing away parts of the original.
- One thing we have all become familiar with - AARP, Medicare, Aging, and the feeling that perhaps we should have chosen some other vocation.
One of the big news items of late has been the fact that all those wireless devices take up spectrum and the growth of this industry is causing significant pressure to get more of it. Whereas the good Lord is no longer making the stuff, the race is on to get it from someone else. And guess what? Broadcasting is again under the cross-hairs of those that would like to see us give up what we have for their benefit. If you think about it for a moment, what in the world happened to those that are supposed to manage this finite resource when they decided to create a checkerboard pattern of TV station use across the country? Would it have been possible to better use the TV broadcasting spectrum in such a way that there could have been a number of open channels, nationwide, rather than a open channel here and there? I just don’t get it.
I spotted these jewels on a recent newspaper ad insert – An add for component video cables …Get this – “Uses dielectric insulation” …..all I can say is Wow !
As I write this we are getting close to the market wide test of the new 2GHz ENG band plan, hopefully all will go well as we make another milestone change in the way we do TV. Congrats to Greg Thies who has been working this issue for some time.
Here’s an item that I spotted recently – It’s a list of recommendations for travel to a certain mountain top transmitter site – Full tank of gas, 2 gallons of drinking water, 5 day supply of MRE’s, warm clothing and a blanket, Tire Chains, always a 4x4 (never a 2wd vehicle), portable GPS, 10 day supply of medications, First Aid Kit, Pen and Paper to leave a note in the event you have to walk out, a crank-type flashlight, a good walking stick and………Always tell someone where you are going and when you should be expected and check in often. Where is this advice for, you may ask? Tiger Mountain?
Nope – Travel to Mt Wilson, near Los Angeles. Come to think about it, this is good
Advice for traveling to our mountain top sites in this area too.
The economy seems to be improving, according to those that are employed that make these predictions. In broadcasting, Clear Channel has been able to tap into new funds while Citadel has been forced into bankruptcy.
One light at the end of the tunnel ….Elections are coming again. Granted we are several months away from the beginning of the political spending season. Some are predicting that there could be as much as 3 Billion bucks to be spent. Just what our industry needs.
Have you tuned to 87.7 or 87.9 lately on your FM radio? Well don’t be surprised if you hear an un-licensed radio station. This is not a local situation….From what I understand this situation has become a national epidemic. In some cases, these ‘FM stations’ are really Channel 6 stations operating without video in a clear attempt to thumb their nose at the Commish.….with the FCC, thus-far, not being very effective. Kind of reminds me of the days when CB was the rage and the un-licensed crowd overwhelmed the Feds. Guess if enough do it, it eventually will become OK.
Every wonder of the Feds are going to test the national portion of EAS? Well, it’s finally going to happen. The first test using an EAN…The Event Code that everyone’s EAS box is pre-programmed to respond to. This first test, early this month, will be in Alaska.
It will be interesting to see how it works out.
Ford is apparently taking HD Radio quite serious as it has become the leading American car maker to embrace the technology. They have now taken it a step further by not only installing HD radios in this vehicles but have incorporated the ‘tagging’ feature that enables listeners to order up tunes they hear on the air for loading into their personal entertainment systems. I have long felt that had it not been for the car radio, radio would have likely died with the advent of TV. The historic relationship between the two is now being expanded at the local level with the transmission of traffic information that is sent to vehicles via radio …and now tagging has been added. In this new decade, look for even more opportunities for these two historic items to work together.
A ‘dark’ AM station in Greenville, SC, was recent hit by thieves who made away with, reportedly 100,000 in equipment. I would think that the, off the air, station would be a beacon to those that prone to this line of work.
The Seattle area has pretty well adjusted to the new means of rating determination, the PPM. Now another PNW market is about to come on line….Portland. I’m sure that there is a lot of hand-wringing going on down there to see what kind of picture PPM paints in the Rose City. Certainly a number of historic ‘apple-carts’ were upset in this area with the change. Reports are the biggest looser with the switch to PPM was Classical Music stations, Talk format also lost. By the end of this year, 2010, Arbitron will have almost 50 markets running this system.
KUSE-LD has become the 5th TV station to go on the air from West Tiger Mt on Ch 46.
For many years there has been an effort by many to get more technical expertise at the FCC. Finally some news on that front. The following is from Vinny Lopez, President of SBE –
Senate Bill S. 2881 would add technical expertise to FCC Commissioners’ offices
December 16, 2009 Indianapolis, IN - A bill introduced on Monday in the U.S. Senate would potentially add one electrical engineer or computer scientist within each of the offices of the five FCC Commissioners.
Introduced by Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and co-sponsored by Senator Mark Warner (D-Virginia), Senate Bill 2881 would authorize each FCC Commissioner to add one staff assistant position to the three that are currently authorized. The new position of “staff engineer” would require that the holder either have a degree in electrical engineering or be a computer scientist. If eventually passed, the new authorization would affectively undo a loosening of requirements for technical staff at the highest level of the FCC that began more than 25 years ago.
Vinny Lopez, CEV, CBNT, president of the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE), remarked, “Ensuring the technical integrity of the FCC decision-making is perhaps our most important legislative goal. This legislation will go a long way toward returning technical expertise to the FCC Commissioner's offices." Lopez added, “We encourage other members of the Senate to support this well-crafted legislation. SBE will seek the introduction of a companion bill in the House and we will urge rapid passage of both Bills in the House and the Senate.”
The proposed legislation, which would amend Section 4(f)(2) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 154(f)(2)), explains that the “staff engineer” would provide each commissioner with technical consultation when appropriate and interface with the Office of Engineering and Technology, Commission Bureaus and other technical staff of the Commission for additional technical input and resources. The staff engineer would need to hold an undergraduate or graduate degree from an institution of higher education in their respective field of expertise.
The last serious attempt to increase the technical resources within the Commissioner’s offices was in October of 1991 when then Rep. Don Ritter introduced HR. 3501, which would have required that at least one member of the Commission be skilled in the engineering sciences.
Senator Snowe’s bill would not seek to replace any of the existing staff assistants in each Commissioner’s office but rather authorize each Commissioner to add one assistant.
The Society of Broadcast Engineers is the professional organization of television and radio engineers and those in related fields. SBE has more than 5,500 members in 114 chapters across the United States and in Hong Kong. SBE members can also be found in more than 20 other countries. Most chapters meet monthly and offer educational programs and an opportunity to network with other engineers. SBE offers the largest and most recognized certification program for broadcast engineers, operators and technicians, with more than 5,000 certifications currently active. The SBE also offers a growing number of on-line and traditional educational courses and seminars for the technical broadcasting community.
For more information about SBE, contact John L. Poray, CAE, Executive Director, at 317-846-9000 or visit the SBE web site, www.sbe.org <http://www.sbe.org/> .
I spoke with Marty Hadfield the other day, just prior to him taking over the engineering reins at the newly formed Alpha radio broadcast cluster in Portland. One of his first challenges will be to create a new facility for the group that is presently operating from 3 different locations in the Rose City. (That must be a grind). Still hard to believe that Marty will be moving to Portland after all these years in this market. Personally, I have a lot fond memories of PDX. I move up here in 1957. (I know, that’s a long time ago…)
Looks like more FM’s on the band as the Feds appear to be moving forward with their long sought after plan to eliminate the requirement that LPFM’s protect full power stations 3rd adjacency. This will not likely result in a flood of new stations in this area as he band is pretty packed as it is.
Could it be? The FCC taking interest, much less action, on an FM stations modulation level? In this case, yes. KRTO, in California, according to the FCC report was observed running 110% modulation. Shame shame.
I see where the Blu-ray Disc Assn has come up with a standard for 1080P 3-D movies. With the popularity of Avatar the new Sci-Fi flick….This might just be the time for the mode. Wonder how far we are from seeing 3-D broadcast TV? Would really be cool for sports.
The Comcast/NBC deal is certainly interesting. With the amount of TV content showing up on-line these days, coupled with the ever increasing percentage of folks with high-speed connections, it’s not much of a mystery how Comcast seeing this going. Much of it at the exclusion of broadcast TV I fear.
Another tower fell this past month. In this case a 400 footer belonging to WRCE in Central NY, 60 miles from Syracuse. One worker was reported killed.
I would like to end this session with the following items to ponder–
- I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.
- Nothing is worse than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.
- There is great need for a sarcasm font.
- Was learning cursive really necessary?
- Map Quest really needs to start their directions on #5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.
- Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.
- Bad decisions make good stories.
- You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.
- Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.
- I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.
- I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.
- I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.
Here’s wishing you the very best in 2010 and beyond ! Hope to see you here next month.
Clay, K7CR, CPBE
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Amateur Radio News
Compiled By Tom Weeden, WJ9H
Thanks to Madison Chapter 24
On Saturday, November 21, astronauts Mike Foreman and Randy Bresnik completed the second EVA (extravehicular activity) of their mission. While on the 6 hour, 8 minute EVA, Foreman installed the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) antennas for 2 meters and 70 cm on the Columbus module. NASA ISS Ham Radio Project Engineer Kenneth Ransom, N5VHO, told the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) that this new antenna — along with another VHF antenna — was developed by ARISS in cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA) to support an experiment involving the maritime Automatic Identification System (AIS). “Both antennas were installed on the Earthfacing starboard edge of the Columbus module,” he explained. “The AIS antenna is forward and the ARISS antenna is aft. The ARISS team is planning to migrate some stowed Amateur Radio gear to take advantage of the new antenna.”
Frequencies available for transmission to and from Columbus will be 2 meters, 70 centimeters and 13 cm. To start, two radios for 2 meters and 70 cm that don’t see much use on the ISS will be moved and installed in Columbus.
Around 5:30 on the morning of October 6, George E. Smith, AA2EJ, of Barnegat, New Jersey, got a phone call that changed his life: He had just found out he had won the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2009 “for the invention of an imaging semiconductor circuit -- the CCD sensor.” Smith will share the prize money with two other recipients: Charles K. Kao, of Standard Telecommunication Laboratories in the United Kingdom and Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Willard S. Boyle, of Bell Laboratories. Boyle and Smith invented a digital image sensor — the CCD — that has become an electronic eye in almost all areas of photography. The CCD — invented in about an hour over lunch when Smith and Boyle worked at New Jersey’s Bell Labs — was, according to Wired Magazine, the first practical way to let a light-sensitive silicon chip store an image and then digitize it. In short, it is the basis of today’s digital camera. According to Wired, the “most amazing thing about the invention” is that Boyle and Smith came up with the design so quickly. With Bell Labs threatening to take the funds from their department and transfer the money to other research, Boyle had to come up with a competing semiconductor design. He got together with Smith, and within an hour, they came up with the idea and sketched it all out on a blackboard. “One morning in October, 1969,” Boyle wrote on his Web site, “I was challenged to create a new kind of computer memory. That afternoon, I got together with George Smith and brainstormed for an hour or so on a new kind of semiconductor device, drawing a few sketches and equations on a blackboard. We called it a chargecoupled device: A ‘CCD.’ When we had the shops at Bell Labs make up the device, it worked exactly as expected, much to the surprise of our colleagues.” “Amateur Radio has always attracted individuals who want to understand and exploit nature’s laws,” fellow Nobel Laureate Joe Taylor, K1JT, told the ARRL. “These are essential characteristics for first-rate scientists, as well. The 2009 Nobel Prize in Physics honors the invention of an imaging semiconductor circuit -- the CCD sensor used in digital cameras, the Hubble Space Telescope and many other scientific and consumer devices. It was no great surprise to learn that one of the Laureates, George Smith, is also a radio amateur.” Taylor was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1993 “for the discovery of a new type of pulsar, a discovery that has opened up new possibilities for the study of gravitation.” Smith will travel to Stockholm, Sweden for the award ceremony on December 10. It is certain that his picture will be taken by the international media, made possible through the technology that he and Boyle pioneered.
(Excerpts from the American Radio Relay League’s <arrl.org> web site)
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By Tom Weeden, WJ9H
Madison Chapter 24
In response to calls by wireless providers, computer manufacturers, economists and others, broadcasters are starting to build their case on why the FCC and Congress should not acquire part, or all, of the TV broadcast spectrum for wireless and broadband use. After comments by Blair Leven of the FCC and a paper commissioned by the Consumer Electronics Association that was released on the day comments were due on spectrum needs for wireless broadband service, TV broadcasters rallied to tell their side of the story. There were a number of filings made by groups of broadcasters and a couple of comments from individual broadcast companies.
The groups that filed included a joint filing by all of state broadcast associations and a group called the Local Television Broadcasters which consisted of the following broadcast groups: Allibrition Broadcasting, Bahakel Broadcasting, Boise Telecasters, Cocola Broadcasting, Communication Company of America, Evening Post Publishing, Granite Broadcasting, Gray Television, Jovon Broadcasting, Local TV, McGraw-Hill, Media General, Meredith Broadcasting, Midwest Television, Smith Media and WNAC.
Another group was the Broadcast Service Coalition which consisted of Lin Television, MPS Media, Manship Media, New Age Media, Nexstar Broadcasting, Pappas Telecasting and Sinclair Broadcast Group. The final large group to file comments was the Public Television Licenses which consisted of most if not all of public TV stations. Individual station groups filing were Univision Communications, Inc and Lima Communications. One manufacturer filed. Sezmi filed comments describing a number of products that they were introducing that used available digital TV signals.
The broadcasters’ comments detailed services that they currently provided, new services that they planned to provide including mobile TV, and questioned how efficiently the wireless industry was using the spectrum they already have including whether some companies were warehousing some of their spectrum and if they were building efficient cellular networks.
Most of the broadcasters questioned the logic of the Bazelon paper issued by the Consumer Electronics Association. They questioned the theory that placing the value of what the spectrum could be sold for in auction was of more value than the public and viewer services that broadcasters provide.
The State Broadcasters Associations questioned the Bazelon paper’s point that if TV was available by cable TV services, broadcasters did not need to use spectrum. If you followed Bazelon’s logic, Broadcasters stated that the same point could be made for various wireless services, like voice and Internet services, that could also be delivered by wire and did not need spectrum to operate. Univision made a point that the Hispanic viewers they serve rely on broadcast TV heavier than the general population. Besides the comments, a number of broadcasters made ex parte visits to the FCC. They included Media General, Fox Television, NBC Universal, NAB, Texas Association of Broadcasters, PBS and Sezmi. Broadcasting and Cable reported on December 1st, (http://www. broadcastingcable.com/article/391338- FCC_to_Issue_Spectrum_Comment_ Request.php) that a spokesman for the FCC said that they would be asking for comments on spectrum use soon, but would not give specifics. Meanwhile, the spectrum issues will play out in the press and media as broadcasters, wireless and computer industries, and members of the Commission continue to make comments.
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Monthly Local Oscillator
Cris Alexander, CPBE, AMD
Crawford Broadcasting Company
The November issue of The Local Oscillator is hot off the virtual presses and available for your online perusal and amusement at
This Link to download your pdf copy.
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SBE Releases Education Survey Results
November 24, 2009 – As part of the SBE Education Committee’s long range planning efforts a survey related to continuing education was sent to members via email on September 24. The goal was to find out how members feel about the current services, better understand the topics they desire, and how and when it is convenient for members to take courses. Members had three weeks to complete the survey. The results are in and the data has been compiled. Immediate goals for using the information gleaned from this survey include identifying relevant topics and instructors to create SBE University self-study courses and webinars, especially as they relate to preparing members for certification or recertification. Click here to review the detailed survey findings.
SBE Announces Next RF Safety Course
by John Poray
February 24, 2010 – The next SBE RF Safety Course, available as a webinar (live presentation on the Internet with audio heard via telephone), will take place February 24 from 2:30-5:45 p.m. EST.
This three hour course, recently updated, provides an overview of RF radiation issues and practices for broadcasters, including the biological effects of RF radiation and the distinct differences between RF radiation and ionizing radiation, FCC and OSHA regulations, workplace hazards, transmitter sites and more. Instructing the course will be noted RF safety expert Richard Strickland of RF Safety Solutions.
For more information on how to register one or more people, click here.
SBE CAREER SERVICES CAN HELP
The state of the national (and world) economy continues to have its affect on most industries, including broadcasting. In these uncertain times, your professional association can serve as a valuable source of available broadcast engineering jobs across the U.S.
Your membership in SBE gives you access to SBE’s career service tools. These services can be a big help if you need to find a new job. Employers can also make use of these services when they need to fill positions with qualified engineers. The SBE JobsOnline members-only service is free. On a typical day, more than 100 broadcast engineering jobs are listed and the list is updated almost every business day as new job postings are received by the SBE National Office.
SBE members may also post their resume for free with the SBE Resume Service. Anyone can view the resumes at the SBE website, with the names and contact information hidden from view. For a small fee, employers can request copies of the resumes they are interested in, which then includes the names and contact information.
SBE also has begun a new SBE service called SBE InternshipsOnline. Similar to the SBE JobsOnline, employers can post engineering internships for free. Anyone can view the postings (also free). The new service is intended to help match those who offer engineering internships with students looking for those opportunities.
Do you make your broadcast engineering services available on a contract basis? The SBE maintains an SBE Contract Engineer Directory. This alphabetical list, organized by state, lists the name, technical services offered, geographic area covered and the contact information for each contract engineer listed. For a small annual fee, contract engineers may be included on this list.
Information about all of these services can be accessed at the SBE website, www.sbe.org on the Career Services page or click the links above in this article.
Career Helper and Job Search Tips
We’ve run articles in the past about portions of this valuable series on career assistance.
Here is a comprehensive listing of articles by Deborah Walker, CCMC Resume Writer / Career Coach.
Check out this link:
Excelsior College announces Certification Courses
by Rebecca Troeger
Excelsior College, in partnership with the Society of Broadcast Engineers, offers college credit to enrolled students for the completion of select SBE certifications. Apply up to 11 credits earned through SBE certifications plus any credit earned from other approved sources toward any of Excelsior College's more than 40 degree and certificate programs. Of particular interest to SBE members are the Associate Degree in Electronics Technology, Bachelor's Degree in Electronics Engineering Technology, and Associate or Bachelor's Degree in Technology with a specialty in Electronics/Instrumentation Technologies.
Complete your degree requirements with Excelsior's flexible learning options including online and CD-ROM courses. You can maximize your SBE Certifications with Excelsior College. The following SBE certifications have been evaluated toward Excelsior College credit:
Certified Broadcast Radio Engineer
Certified Broadcast Television Engineer
Certified Senior Broadcast Radio Engineer
Certified Senior Broadcast Television Engineer
Certified Professional Broadcast Engineer
For more information check out SBE's partnership page on Excelsior College's website at SBE.Excelsior.edu.
College Credit for Your SBE Certification:
The Society of Broadcast Engineers and Excelsior College have teamed up! Your current SBE Certification may qualify for credit towards a degree from Excelsior College or could help you finish that degree you’ve been working on at another institution. If you’re interested, contact Excelsior College by calling toll-free at (888) 647-2388 to learn about the details.
When you are ready to submit your SBE Certification for credit to Excelsior College,
download the SBE transcript request form at www.sbe.org or www.excelsior.edu,
or contact the SBE National Office for a copy. When you’ve completed the form,
e-mail, fax or mail it to Megan Clappe, Certification Director at the SBE National
Office, who will prepare your transcript and send it to Excelsior College.
Society of Broadcast Engineers
9102 N. Meridian Street, Suite 150
Indianapolis, IN 46260
SBE CertPreview Software
SBE CertPreview sample certification test software is now available.
It’s Microsoft Windows-based and replaces the previous DOS-based software.
New sample tests are available for Broadcast Technologist, Audio Engineer,
Video Engineer, Broadcast Networking Technologist, Broadcast Engineer and Senior
Broadcast Engineer in both radio and television. Sample tests include 50 to
100 questions and indicate when an incorrect answer has been given. It provides
a list of resources from which to learn more about a subject. Cost for each
SBE CERTpreview practice test is $27 plus $3 shipping. Contact the National
Office to order a copy.
Certification Exam Session Dates:
The SBE National Certification Committee certification exam session
dates for 2009 are listed below. Check the list below for the exam period
that is best for you. For more information about SBE Certification, see your
Chapter Certification Chair or
contact Megan Clappe,
Certification Director at the SBE National Office at (317) 846-9000, or email@example.com
|November 6-16, 2009
|September 18, 2009 Date Past
|February 5-15, 2010
||December 31, 2009
|April 13, 2010
||March 26, 2010
|June 4-14, 2010
||April 16, 2010
|August 6-16, 2010
||June 4, 2010
|November 5-15, 2010
||September 17, 2010
Fees are as Follows:
|Broadcast Networking Technologist
|Senior Broadcast Engineer
|Professional Broadcast Engineer
|AM Directional Specialist
|Digital Radio Broadcast Specialist
| *does not include first year membership
note: SBE Certification exams are administered only by SBE and are proctored
in-person by qualified and approved representatives of SBE. No other organization
is authorized to administer SBE exams.
Click here for
more information about SBE Certification.
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Garneth M. Harris
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