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February 4, 2008

 

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February 2008 Newsletter

SBE Chapter 48 / SMPTE Rocky Mountain Section

January 2007 Meeting Report

Audio Over IP: Can It Really Work?

Date:           Thursday January 24, 2008
Location:     CBS Radio (KIMN, KOOL) 1560 Broadway, Suite 1000, Denver 80202
Time:           6:15 PM Refreshments, 6:45 PM Presentation
Topic:          Audio Over IP: Can It Really Work
Presenter:   Kevin Campbell, APT

Synopsis:   In the past broadcasters have utilized a number of different Telecommunication mediums to move content. Mediums ranging from balanced Analog copper circuits, microwave systems both licensed and unlicensed and Synchronous based systems such as V.35 or T1. We are at the beginning of a sea change in the way broadcasters move content for a range of applications including STL, TSL, SSL and Remotes. We are at the beginning of the IP age.

This presentation clarified the pitfalls and challenges along the way to creating your IP Broadcast Chain. These challenges and pitfalls are divided into two areas, Network related parameters and Equipment Related Parameters. We examined the advantages to implementing or migrating to an IP Transport mechanism. Finally we looked at all the issues covered and answer the question posed: " Audio Over IP: Can It Really Work?"

Speaker Biography: Kevin Campbell is a graduate from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow and the University of Ulster (UU) and holds a Post-Graduate Diploma in Computing and Information Systems. He joined APT in July 2003 and is currently responsible for US Operations within the company. Campbell has overseen numerous audio distribution and contribution projects with commercial and national broadcasters utilizing APT‚s hardware codec range throughout Europe and North America.

Host: We would like to thank Barry Walters and CBS Radio for hosting this meeting.

 

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Random Radio Thoughts


Cris Alexander, CPBE, AMD
Crawford Broadcasting Company

January Program
We had an excellent turnout at the January SBE-48 chapter meeting and technical program. Some 28 people signed the roster, but there were more present than that. We completely filled the CBS Radio conference room and spilled out into the lobby. The technical program, “Audio Over IP – Can it Really Work?” presented by Kevin Campbell of APT, was well received and generated a good discussion. Our thanks to Barry Walters and CBS Radio for hosting this event, and thanks to Kevin Campbell and APT for the technical program.

While we don’t have another official calendar slot for a radio-oriented technical program until September, quite a number of those in attendance did inquire about the next event. There were so many queries in fact that we may want to consider scheduling some such programs outside the regular SBE-48 chapter meeting calendar. Jim Schoedler and I will discuss this and see what the possibilities are.

What Was I Thinking?
Last September, I put together a daytime power increase application for KLVZ (810 kHz, Brighton). The application specified 10 kW-day using the existing three-tower array; no changes were proposed to the existing nighttime facility and site. Because the app contained a good number of conductivity measurements on stations to the north and south, I really expected processing to take a long time. The FCC surprised me, however, with a grant last month. Total processing time: four months and 16 days. That has got to be some sort of FCC record!

Now I’ve got to start thinking about building the new facility. Although it will use the existing tower line, the pattern will be different. The biggest challenge is designing a phasing and coupling system that will meet (or at lease come close to) the HD Radio specification for bandwidth and symmetry. With a negative tower that gets close to being positive on the upper 15 kHz sideband, this is going to be tough. We’ll also have to deal with bringing in three-phase power, increased air-conditioning and all that. We’re even considering a whole new building.

It remains to be seen whether we’ll tackle this project in 2008 (we have three years to get it done, which gives us until January of 2011). Whatever the timing, when we’re done, the little 1 kW daytimer “peanut whistle” that we bought back in 1995 will have come a long, long way!

Daytime Skywave
With sunspot numbers still at or close to zero as we head into February, many out there are continuing to see daytime AM skywave propagation. In late January, our folks in Alabama were trying to partial a nighttime pattern on 850 kHz. This proved to be impossible in the deep nulls. Field strengths much below 1 mV were impossible to read with any accuracy because of all the co-channel interference (can you guess where some of it was probably coming from?).

They told us a month or so ago that Cycle 24 had officially begun. Has it? As of January 23, sixteen days had passed with no visible sunspots. Should we be surprised to find very little ionization in the D-layer? The good news is that the F-layer is also not ionizing much, so not a lot of the medium-wave signals that make it through the D-layer to the F-layer are reflected back to earth.

You can keep an eye on the condition of the D-layer at:
www.sec.noaa.gov/rt_plots/dregion.html.

SBE IRLP Hamnet
A reminder… those of you that are licensed amateur radio operators, we invite you to join us for the SBE IRLP Hamnet on the first and third Saturdays of each month at 11:00 AM Mountain. The net is open to both members and non-members. It meets locally on the WA2YZT repeaters on 146.805 MHz and 447.175 MHz with a CTCSS tone of 186.2 Hz. Those outside the Denver area can get into the net via the Internet Radio Linking Project (IRLP) by connecting to the Great Lakes Reflector, (9610). Simply find an IRLP node in your area and key in 9615 on your DTMF pad. IRLP nodes are listed in the ARRL Repeater Directory, or you can search by zip code or other criteria at www.irlp.net.

More information about this net is available online at:
www.qsl.net/ke0vh/SBEhamnet.html

Remember that you can claim a half recertification credit for checking in!

Certification
If you missed the registration deadline for the next certification exam window, or if there are no dates in the window that work for you, you’re not necessarily out of luck. The SBE will work with you in such situations on an as-needed basis. Simply contact Megan Clappe at mclappe@sbe.org. Once you clear it with Megan, I will be happy to work with you to proctor the test, within or outside the window.

If you have news to share with the Rocky Mountain radio engineering community, drop me an email at crisa@crawfordbroadcasting.com.

 

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The KE0VH Hamshack


Jack Roland
jroland@entercom.com
Entercom Denver

In January, the WA2YZT repeater group guys (and ladies) got together at the Country Buffet in Englewood and had lunch and “eyeball” QSO’s. The group included WA4OHW Ed Milner, his harmonic (daughter) KDØBHA Emily, KEØVH Jack Roland, KDØCIC Amanda Alexander, harmonic of W5WCA Cris Alexander, WAØMGJ Tim Cutforth and his harmonic Carl, also an engineer. Then we had WA2YZT Paul Deeth, WA2KEC Wayne Wicks, KCØRPS Jim Langsted, WGØN Dave Baysinger, and finally KDØAID Kelly English. This was the first get together of repeater users, and it was a great time of food, talk and socializing that we hope to make a regular event for those of us in the Denver area.

One of the things that we discuss on the repeater locally is the diversity of Amateur Radio and the many areas of interest there are. Truly something for anyone who has an interest in radio and communications. There is a system available to send and receive email via HF called the Winlink 2000 system, and now there is a VHF tie in to this system called Telpac for email. This is an intriguing idea. Winlink 2000 Telpac stands for TELnet PACket bridge and is an enhancement of the previous experimental WL2K SMSNode. Telpac software provides streamlined setup to deliver full WL2K BBS capability to the wireless ham user using AX.25 packet in combination with WL2K’s Telnet Servers. You can see more details and information at www.winlink.org/. Now unfortunately for most of us, the HF side of this mode uses an expensive PACTOR3 modem. But the Telpac VHF part of this mode can use just a regular TNC or a computer soundcard set up with the FREE AGWPE soundcard software the essentially emulates a TNC www.elcom.gr/sv2agw/. There is a great informational website at www.kc2rlm.info/soundcardpacket/ that is a great “how to” and primer for soundcard “TNC” type operations and setup for packet, APRS, and more. As I was researching this information I found that there are already two Telpac machines operating in the Denver area, one just south of DIA east of Chambers road, WØUAW, and in Parker, WØNYE.

Cliff, NØZUQ has his repeater up on Lookout Mountain at the Entravision transmitter site, (Thanks Wayne, WA2KEC who is the DOE for Entravision) Cliffs repeater frequency is 449.425, pl 94.8 by the way, and will be a backup for our SBE IRLP Hamnet operations locally. Cliff maybe will also be putting his APRS digipeater up at that site, pending approval by Wayne and Cliffs decision on this. And this comes at a great time, as my KEØVH-4 digipeater, now housed in the Channel 4 KCNC TV transmitter building, will have to come out because of the upcoming move to the new HD building and tower being completed soon. WA2YZT repeater operations will not be affected though as the machine will move to the new facility too, thanks to the CBS Corporate Engineers and Paul, WA2YZT. Then, I am thinking about creating a TelPac node out of my digipeater.

Finally, I will be taking a hiatus during the month of February for our SBE IRLP Hamnet. Paul, WA2YZT and Cris, W5WCA will be the net controls for the meetings of this “Chapter of the Air” for the month. I will be back as Net Control in March. Details on how to join our net, open to any amateur radio operator, are at www.qsl.net/ke0vh/SBEHamnet.html.

73’ for this month, de KEØVH

 

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AMATEUR RADIO NEWS

Compiled By Tom Weeden, WJ9H
From Chapter 24 - Madison

Atlantis Delayed
NASA has announced that the space shuttle Atlantis, which was set to launch into space on December 6 to the International Space Station (ISS), would be delayed until January after a failure occurred in a fuel sensor system while Atlantis’ external fuel tank was being filled. The shuttle will transport Columbus, the space laboratory built by the European Space Agency (ESA). Columbus has two Amateur Radios on the International Space Station (ARISS) antennas attached to its nadir side, and will also provide scientists around the world the ability to conduct a variety of life, physical and materials science experiments.

One of the four engine cutoff, or ECO, sensors inside the liquid hydrogen section of the tank gave a false reading. NASA’s current Launch Commit Criteria require that all four sensors function properly. The sensor system is one of several that protect the shuttle’s main engines by triggering their shut down if fuel runs unexpectedly low. Atlantis’ scheduled launch on December 6 was delayed after two liquid hydrogen ECO sensors gave false readings. A third sensor failed after the tank was drained of fuel.

The mission, STS-122, will bring seven astronauts, three of whom are licensed amateur radio operators, to the ISS: Commander Stephen N. Frick, KD5DZC; Pilot Alan G. Poindexter; Mission Specialist Rex J. Walheim; Mission Specialist Stanley G. Love; Mission Specialist Leland D. Melvin; Mission Specialist Hans Schlegel, DG1KIH, of Germany, and Mission Specialist/Expedition 16 Flight Engineer Leopold Eyharts, KE5FNO, of France.

Flight Engineer Dan Tani, KD5DXE, already on board the ISS, will depart when Atlantis returns to Earth. Eyharts will stay behind on the ISS and take his place.

Excerpts from the American Radio Relay League’s Web site at arrl.org

 

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Clay’s Corner for January 2008

Featuring News, Rumors and Views
From Usually Reliable and Irrefutable Sources

By Clay Freinwald
SBE Seattle Chapter 16

As usual, no shortage of news this month to report on.

It appears that some folks will never learn….. The FCC has told Absolute Toy Marketing, owner of Hobbytron, for apparently selling unauthorized FM transmitters and ignoring the Enforcement Bureau’s request for information. The commission ordered Hobbytron to provide the information and states that failing to do so could result in an $11,000 fine per violation or per day

Seems to me that as long as there are pirate broadcasters, there will be a demand for equipment. You don’t hear of these guys building their own equipment.

With the coming elimination of over the air analog TV we are starting to see an increase in the number of on-air and print media pieces on the subject. It’s reported that 43% of households rely on over the air TV. A recent study showed that about 12% of these viewers are expected to sign up for cable or satellite service thereby delaying the need to purchase a new set. Doing the math, does this mean that a lot of folks will be purchasing ATSC sets? What happens to the long established brands that have been developed? I was talking with someone the other day who was telling me many stations who will now be operating on UHF channels will continue to use their old VHF number in their marketing. Could this mean that channel 38 will be calling themselves channel 4? - could be. In KOMO’s case, it would sound a bit funny to have them say ‘working 38 you’

Then there is WWAZ-TV in Green Bay, Wi (Hawk fans know the place). They have asked the FCC for permission to turn off their analog now and not wait until next year.

Meanwhile, the FCC has taken about 2.8 Billion in the second round of bids for new spectrum for internet access and mobile devices. Reportedly there are some 214 companies that are vying for 1,099 slices of spectrum that will become available in 2009 when analog TV moves to the dust-bin of history. Why does this sound like a feeding frenzy? If you look above those TV towers and spot something circling, you now know what it is.

Broadcasters along the US/Mexican border view this a bit differently because they fear that residents there will be able to continue to use their old sets to receive across the border TV stations putting them at a disadvantage. Reported some legislation is working its way through congress to grant them some relief. This sets up some interesting dynamics…Wireless outfits that want the spectrum but might not get it when they want it due to broadcasters that are fearful of Mexican competition. Who wudda thot?

Perhaps a bit of good news, according to the CEA, more than half of US households have a DTV.

Many AM Broadcasters, as they consider HR-R, are now dealing with the issue of what to do with their antenna system. To help with that issue, NAB will be holding an antenna seminar on March 6 & 7. One of the instructors is our own Ben Dawson.

By now most of you are familiar with the role played by WWL in the Katrina disaster. WWL became the life-line for news and information after this storm, and many powerful lessons have been learned in the process. As a result of this, I began asking what would we do in this area after our big-one? One of our problems is that we automatically assume that all the existing Radio and TV stations will continue to broadcast and all the communications circuits from government entities, EOC etc will be in place in such a way that the public will be fully informed. We need to be concerned about what happens when the conventional methods are not working and how to connect the EOC’s to the public. Whereas AM Radio seems to be what people, historically, turn to when the power is off and normal has departed, it seems to make sense to find a way to automatically link those powerful transmitters on Vashon to the EOC’s in a way that they could make use of them when the chip (studios,phone lines, STL’s etc) are down. On the 24th I presented this issue to the Central Puget Sound LECC at a meeting at NOAA at Sand Point where I found considerable favorable reaction. I also handed-off this project to that group. My thanks to Tom McGinley for his role in getting this idea back on the front burner. It’s now in the hands of the CPS/LECC Chair, Phil Johnson. I’m sure that he would appreciate your help and support.

If you have been in broadcasting in this area for a long time, or are curious about some of the history of radio in this market, check out Rainier Radio. www.rainierradio.org. (You will have to register) Hat’s off to these guys for keeping some of this great history alive.

Locally, MSFT has partnered with Clear Channel to piggy back on un-used portions of it’s HD Radio spectrum to deliver data streams to devices, including subscription data services. I figured that this was a logical move, given their efforts with FM sub-carriers around the country.

The matter of localism promises to continue to be a hot-button topic. The present FCC is trying to deal with the issue and keep its foot out of its own mouth. With the political pendulum swinging to the left, one can expect big changes coming from the east.

Many Broadcasters are busy wondering where future revenue is going to come from with the pie being cut into smaller pieces. Everyone knows that the On-Line PC has, in many ways, become the information and entertainment center of the average home, certainly it has cut deeply into broadcasters bottom lines. A recent report shows that streaming audio and video advertising revenues have jumped 40% to 1.38 Billion Bucks last year. I have to believe that a lot of broadcasters were caught sleeping. The only bright spot seems to be political advertising, thankfully we are in an election cycle, hopefully next Christmas will keep the flow going, however, next January must be worrisome.Stock prices of many broadcast companies have also been feeling the pinch as many of them have gone down to record lows. Let’s face it, Broadcasting’s luster has left the building. Satellite Radio is no better with Motley Fool calling XM the ‘Worst stock of 2008’. …. Ouch !

It is interesting to note that XM and local coffee provider, Starbucks, recently ended their join marketing agreement, however XM continues to carry the ‘Starbucks SM Café’ channel.

Congratulations to KPLU on their January 25th ground-breaking for their new digs in Parkland. The very popular station, which has studios in Seattle and Parkland on the University Campus, looked long and hard at what they should do as they continued to outgrow their birthplace. In the end, the elected to build a new facility immediately adjacent to the PLU campus. The facility will carry the name of the stations former and long time manager, Martin Neeb. On the technical side, the project will be headed up by CE Lowell Kiesow with assistance from Nick Winter who will be working full time for the station.

Congrats also go out to KNHC as they began broadcasting in HD-R on the 25th from their new Nautel V7.5 transmitter on Cougar Mt. The station operates with a directional antenna (with a null to the SSW). I was able to decode the HD signal to about Kent. To early to determine the HD coverage, however I am sure they would love to receive reports. Buzz Anderson is the Engineer that’s putting it all together.

Ford has made a lot of HD-R backers smile with the announcement that they will make HD Radios available in their 09 models. My prediction of a couple of years back remains the same. Within a few years, all OEM car radios will come with HD as standard equipment.

Remember the story about the light aircraft that struck and took down the tower for legendary KFI in L.A. back in December of 2004? Looks like the station, overcoming strong opposition from pilots and local government, will finally be able to get a better signal with a replacement tower, however the new one will be 76 feet shorter at 684 feet. The station has been operating with a 200 foot tower in the mean time.

The FCC’s ‘fine’ machine is working well. Here are some recent examples –

$7000 for a West Helena, Arkansas station for EAS violations, I love this one. While being inspected it was discovered that their EAS endec was in manual mode, the DJ that was supposed to know how to operate it was not present and the GM did not know how to operate the equipment. Read the details –File # EB-07-OR-096

The commish is not happy about the fact that they found an un-licensed 1620 Khz station operating from the Mt San Jacinto Campus in San Jacinto, Ca. They measured 65,000 uv @ 100 meters. The limit for an un-licensed operation is 14.8 uv at 30 meters.

The FCC did extend the waiver for the Sprint/Nextel conversion….again. Someday this 2-Gig transition will be competed…or so goes the rumor.

Motorola is fighting back with the announcement that they are introducing a mobile device for playing live TV to expand it’s reach in portable consumer electronics. It’s interesting how the 20 inch TV is on its way out, being replaced with 40 to 50 inch sets at home, meanwhile, the term ‘small-screen’ is being re-defined as something really small that you can carry in your pocket. Verizon Wireless has been working with MediaFlo as a means of getting TV to these gizmo’s. Media Flo as several of their Ch55 facilities in the Puget Sound area.

The battle between HD-DVD and Blu-ray had some recent movement with the announcement that Warner Bros was backing Blu-ray. Just how long did it take for VHS to win over Beta, or tape over wire? Toshiba insists that the war is not over.

For those of you that are involved with Amateur Radio, or just follow this stuff. Looks like 2011 will be the next sun-spot maximum. With our growing amount of electronic stuff, one can only wonder what the impact of future solar storms will be.

Our own Jim Dalke will become the new ABIP Inspector, working with the WSAB.

Copper thefts continue to be a problem in this area. If you are driving along a stretch of highway that has light poles, but no light, could very well be that thieves have snatched the wiring. With copper prices at all time highs, many owners of these systems have clearly are not prepared….After all, this has not been a problem. Some have begun painting all their copper wire a unique color and then advised law enforcement and scrap dealers of what to look for. I again warn broadcasters to be very concerned about this issue…And so how is your alarm system?

You may recall that many musicians still don’t like the sound of solid state amplifiers, preferring vacuum tubes to do the job. I bet you did not know that some rectifiers sound better than others ! Check out www.vacuumtube.com/guitartubes.htm.

Now for some very important educational material - The following item comes via old friend Jack Barnes (ex – KOMO)

Tools and their proper uses...

DRILL PRESS: A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your soda pop across the room.

WIRE WHEEL: Cleans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light.

ELECTRIC HAND DRILL: Normally used for spinning pop rivets in their holes until you die of old age.

SKIL SAW: A portable cutting tool used to make studs too short.

PLIERS: Used to round off bolt heads. Sometimes used in the creation of blood-blisters.

BELT SANDER: An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor touch-up jobs into major refinishing projects.

HACKSAW: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle. It
transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.

VISE-GRIPS: Generally used after pliers to completely round off bolt heads.

TABLE SAW: A large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood projectiles for testing wall integrity.

TWEEZERS: A tool for removing wood splinters and wire wheel wires.

RADIAL ARM SAW: A large stationary power saw primarily used by most shops to scare neophytes into choosing another line of work.

STRAIGHT BLADE SCREWDRIVER: A tool for opening paint cans. Sometimes used to convert common slotted screws into non-removable screws.

HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer, in recent times, is used as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts adjacent to the object we are trying to hit.

DAMMMMIT TOOL: Any handy tool that you grab and throw across the garage while yelling DAMMMMMIT" at the top of your lungs. It is also, most often, the next tool that you will need!That’s it for this month.

If the good Lord is willing, I will see you here in the next issue-

Clay, K7CR, CPBE.

 

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THE YXZ REPORT

by Kent Randles K7YXZ CBRE
Senior Engineer Entercom-Portland
Co-Chair, Portland/Vancouver ECC
Chapter 124 Secretary
water-cooled at sbe124 dot org

LIFE WITH HD RADIO
Holding at 12 FM HD signals (nine with HD2, and one with HD3) and three AM HD signals on the air in the Portland market. For a complete list, see www.ibiquity.com/stationlist_hdradio.php?theState=OR&sortBy =StnMarket&theCity=PortlandOR#stationlist.
Looks like 99.5 KWJJ will be the first station in the Portland market to have a low-level combined FM+HD transmitter, and a tube one at that. It should be on the air by NAB. Initial eye-opener: not real efficient, and so it produces a lot of heat ? requiring several tons of air conditioning to keep the ambient air below 80 degrees.

Randy Pugsley is still hoping to get HD going on 1040. Sweeps of the antenna system shared with 1410 have to be done during the day at least 2 hours away from sunrise or sunset to avoid getting interference, limiting the off-air time to Sunday mornings.

Ibiquity has requested that as part of the proposed merger between XM and Sirius satellite radio companies, HD Radio technology be required in all the satellite receivers. I kid you not. See www.radioink.com/HeadlineEntry.asp?hid=140536&pt=todaysnews

TOP 40 RADIO FANS
If you are a fan of Top 40 radio of the 60's and 70's, you will enjoy reading a current interview with now-retired Bill Drake at www.radioandrecords.com/Profiles/index.asp.

SOME SAD NEWS
Tom Cauthers' wife of 44 years, Midge Cauthers, died on January 3nd. She co-hosted many SBE BBQs at their house in Sandy. She will be greatly missed .

 

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Directional Antenna Proofs without Field Measurements?

by Jim Dalke, CPBE AMD
Seattle Chapter 16

The NAB Science and Technology Department sponsored a two day seminar in November on a radically new way of proofing AM directional antenna arrays. The new method would replace the present field work that involves making hundreds of measurements and extensive analysis. The new proofs would use computer modeling for design and then carefully and accurately sampling and monitoring the RF current in each antenna.

Ben Dawson, one of the seminars presenters and developer of the new technique, says this new method of proofing antenna performance could cost as little as ten percent of the present methods, and cut the proof time from weeks and months to a few days.

The new method of proofing is called "antenna modeling" and involves computer analysis of hundreds of the physical and electrical characteristics of the antenna array and phasing system to predict the antenna current in each tower of the array and accurately predict the directional pattern. The two-day seminar provided broadcast engineers with the basics needed to utilize computer modeling software for designing performance-optimized AM directional antenna phasing and coupling systems to improve directional antenna performance.

Dawson talked about how he had used the new computer analysis on several off-shore directional systems where the traditional FCC required proof was not needed to produce excellent results and performance.

AM antenna expert Ron Rackley joined Dawson, along with antenna modeling software specialist Jerry Westberg, to lead the seminar demonstrating how moment method modeling makes analysis of actual tower current distributions possible and how the computer modeling technique is used to proof an array.

The FCC is now considering a proposal to allow the use of computer modeling for the purpose of evaluating AM antenna performance. The availability of fast personal computers allow the broadcast engineer to accurately model tasks that in the past required days and weeks of tedious work.

With accurate antenna current monitoring, this new technique will not only simplify the proofing of a new directional array, but will make maintaining the array much easier by simplifying or eliminating the requirements for regular monitor point measurements.

 

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THE FCC ADDRESS OWNERSHIP AND LOCALISM

By Tom Smith
Chapter 24 - Madison

At the December meeting of the Commission, one final rulemaking was issued on newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership. The FCC also issued two notices of proposed rulemaking: One dealt with localism issues and the other with diversity of owners of broadcast stations.

In the final rulemaking concerning newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership, the Commission adopted rules that would allow for the ownership of a newspaper and one TV or radio station in a top 20 market. No one will be allowed to own one of the top four TV stations in a top 20 market and a newspaper. They also adopted rules that would allow for joint ownership of a newspaper and a broadcast facility in a smaller market, when it is shown that either the newspaper or the broadcast facility is failing, and there are no other prospective buyers for the failing entity.

In the proposed rulemakings, the Commission is proposing a number of rules to allow for more diverse ownership by individuals, small businesses, minorities and women. These proposed rules will be prohibited from being race- or gender-based. The proposed rules are aimed at helping the small guy get into broadcast ownership, no matter who he or she is.

In the other proposed rulemaking, the Commission is proposing rules that would adopt renewal processing guidelines to ensure local programming, make stations create local advisory boards, better educate the public on the public service obligations of broadcasters, and how to become more active in ensuring the broadcasters obligations. They are also proposing assistance in helping prospective audio broadcasters find FM spectrum, including developing spectrum search software. And finally, they wish to extend Class A status to all LPTV stations that provide three hours or more of local programming per week.

Some of these proposed rulemakings will put more regulatory requirements on broadcasters; just how much that will entail will become known when the full report and orders are released.

From FCC Releases (www.fcc.gov)

 

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DTV Converter Box Rebates

Be Ready for the end of Broadcast Television as we knew it...

Applying for converter box coupons:
Web: www.mydtv2009.com
Phone: 800-DTV-2009

Stations needing DTV education graphics for their Web site:
www.dtvanswers.com/graphicelements

PowerPoint presentations from NAB’s November 28 meeting:
www.dtvanswers.com/powerpoint
The NAB suggests that the best information to convey to viewers is:
1-Date of transition
2-How to get coupons
3-Costs of DTV sets
4-List of stations that will broadcast DTV
5-Where to get boxes

 

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SBE News

SBE CHAPTER OF THE AIR

HamNet meets the second Sunday of each month at 0000 GMT on 14.205 MHz. Hal Hostetler WA7BGX is the Control Station.

Any amateur operator is welcome and encouraged to participate.

SBE Offers Digital Specialist Certification

Following recent changes in the FCC rules recognizing the viability of digital radio and the official endorsement of multicasting, the National Certification Committee of the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) is proud to announce its next specialist certification, Digital Radio Broadcast (DRB). This specialist certification will qualify an individual's knowledge of digital radio broadcasting including audio processing, studio-to-transmitter links and transmission of multi-channel digital program streams. The first set of exams will be offered during the November exam period.

SBE President, Chriss Scherer, CPBE CBNT remarked that, “while broadcast and media engineering continues to evolve to cover a broad range of technologies, certain aspects of broadcast engineering have a specific and specialized knowledge base. This is why the Specialist Certifications were developed.”

The specialist will include knowledge of importers, exporters, the various methods of combining analog and digital transmitters to antenna systems, delivery of digital audio signals and data to transmitter sites, transmitter emission mask measurements, AM and FM FCC rules, monitoring of digital signals and bandwidth requirements for AM antenna systems.
With this specialist certification, the engineer or technician carries the credentials needed for successful installation of digital radio transmission systems. The specialist certification will focus on the current in-band, on-channel transmission system being deployed in the U.S., and will be called the SBE Digital Radio Broadcasting Specialist.

By becoming a certified specialist, a radio broadcast engineer can assure his or her manager that he or she is up to date on the latest technology. Digital audio broadcasting is different than traditional analog services. An individual's ability to certify his or her knowledge of the entire system rather than just a single part will bring confidence to both the individual and station management.

To apply for the SBE Digital Radio Broadcast specialist certification, applicants must currently hold SBE certification at the Broadcast Engineer, Senior Broadcast Engineer, or Professional Broadcast Engineer certification level. The exam will consist of 50 multiple-choice questions and one essay question. Following the roll-out of the specialist certification, the SBE will release an update to its CertPreview software of practice tests. To obtain an application for the Digital Radio Broadcast specialist certification, go to www.sbe.org/Specialist_Cert.php on the SBE website or contact the SBE National Office.

College Credit for Your SBE Certification:

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.

Megan Clappe

Certification Director Society of Broadcast Engineers
9102 N. Meridian Street, Suite 150
Indianapolis, IN 46260
mclappe@sbe.org

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 2008 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 mclappe@sbe.org

Exam Dates Location Application Deadline
Apr 15, 2008 NAB Feb 29, 2008
Jun 6-16, 2008 Local Chapters Apr 18, 2008
Aug 8-18, 2008 Local Chapters Jun 6, 2008
Nov 7-17, 2008 Local Chapters Sep 19, 2008

Fees for 2007 are as Follows:

Certification Level Member Non-Member
Broadcast Technologist $40 $103
Broadcast Networking Technologist $55 $118
Broadcast Engineer $55 $118
Audio/Video Engineer $55 $118
Senior Broadcast Engineer $80 $143
Professional Broadcast Engineer $105 $168
Specialist Certification    
AM Directional Specialist $50 $113
8VSB Specialist $50 $113
Digital Radio Broadcast Specialist $50 $113

Please 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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Bill Harris - Editor In Chief
  (505) 767-6735
  billharris@ix.netcom.com

  Garneth M. Harris

  Tom Goldberg - On-Line Editor

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