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February 7, 2009

 

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February 2009 Newsletter

SBE Chapter 48 / SMPTE Rocky Mountain Section

January 2008 Meeting Report

"The Digital Television Era:
Surviving the Transition from Analog to Digital"
a complimentary All Day Seminar

Date:          Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Time:          8:30AM Registration and Coffee, Seminar 9:00AM to 4:00PM
Location:    KUSA, 500 Speer Blvd, Denver 80203
Sponsor:     Burst Communications
Presenter:  Tektronix Inc.

With the DTV transition almost upon us, whether delayed until June or less than a month away, the need to make precise measurements of digital television signals becomes ever more important. Helping engineers understand those measurements was the purpose of January’s meeting titled “The Digital Television Era: Surviving the Transition from Analog to Digital”. This all-day seminar, held in KUSA’s spacious and comfortable training room, was sponsored by Burst Communications and presented by Tektronix, Inc.


Presenter Bill Cohn of Tektronix discusses typical SDI measurements

Speaker Bill Cohn, Tektronix Video Applications Engineer, started off with a quick review of analog composite and component video, and then made the transition to digital video and audio by comparing and contrasting some of the typical measurements now required with their earlier analog counterparts.  With the help of a 57 page booklet Bill walked nearly 60 attendees through many digital concepts and parameters including ancillary data and closed captions, Dolby Digital audio, and even dual link HD SDI.

After a barbeque lunch that Burst provided, Bill continued the seminar with the topic of MPEG measurements.  After reviewing MPEG basis, he showed photos of picture impairments, discussed the errors that cause them, and related the discussion to ATSC recommended practice A78 for transport stream verification. The day concluded with a look at ATSC RF and the need to measure such parameters as Modulation Error Ratio, Error Vector Magnitude, Equalizer tap settings, and the 8VSB constellation.  Throughout the day Tony Copley and Scott Howard of Tektronix provided demonstrations of the concepts using real world test equipment.


Scott Howard demonstrates use of the MPEG analyzer

We would like to thank KUSA for providing the venue and Burst Communications for sponsoring the seminar and providing lunch and refreshments.

Report by Jim Schoedler
SMPTE Rocky Mountain Section Chair

 

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Random Radio Thoughts


Cris Alexander, CPBE, AMD
Crawford Broadcasting Company

New Nautel Products
We took delivery back in December of a couple of new Nautel transmitter products. In San Francisco, we installed an NX-50, a 50 kW solid-state AM transmitter that was introduced at NAB 2008 (I placed the order for the transmitter at the show). This new rig is not much bigger than my refrigerator, and it features a touch-screen GUI interface that is fully accessible via the LAN (or the Internet, if you choose to grant that access). In addition to its small size, high efficiency and cool GUI interface, the NX-50 also features some great diagnostic tools, including real-time load analysis. A Smith Chart display is available on the GUI screen, locally and remotely, so that the rotation and condition of the load are always known. A spectrum display, complete with NRSC/iBiquity mask, is also available along with a display of the IBOC signal constellation. That transmitter has been on the air for a little over a month now without any issues. I plan a trip out to look at it early this month.


Nautel NV-40 40 kW FM at CBC-Detroit

In Detroit, we installed a Nautel NV-40, a 44-kW solid-state FM transmitter that has roughly the same footprint as a typical 25 or 30 kW tube-type FM transmitter. Like the NX-50, this rig features a touch screen GUI interface with spectrum display, signal constellation, modulation display and more. We’ve had this rig on the air since right after Christmas with no issues.


NV-40 Interface Screen

One thing we’ve learned, however, is that the NV-40 puts out a lot of heat. About 3,000 cubic feet per minute of hot air must be either vented outside or compensated with a closed-circuit air conditioning system. We were unprepared for this, probably because we received (to my knowledge) the first unit of its type delivered. Even Nautel’s sales people did not have the full picture as we were making the deal and doing the planning. For the past month, we have been running the transmitter venting into the transmitter room, and that’s fine as long as it’s 20 degrees Fahrenheit outside, but once things start to warm up, we’re going to have a problem. So we have a mechanical contractor working on hooding the transmitter and ducting it outside with a 3,000 c.f.m. fan. We’ll also provide an outside air intake for make-up air.

In warmer climates, it would probably be necessary to run the NV-40 in a closed loop air system. Running at close to 30 kW, it will take about 10 tons of air conditioning to keep up with the heat output. Keep in mind that we’re running the rig in the linear FM+HD mode, so it’s not all that efficient. When in Detroit last month, I noted 960 amps at 43 volts on the PA for 26.7 kW TPO. That works out to about 65% efficiency, so we’re dumping 14.5 kW of heat into the room. That’s a lot!

Embedded Exporter
First generation HD Radio generation equipment was all based on a PC architecture, essentially a PC wrapped around an iBiquity-manufactured “DUC” (digital up-converter). Anyone who has operated first generation equipment for very long is acutely aware of its limitations – occasional lock-ups, freezes, hard drive failures and other PC weirdness. A restart would fix most of the problems, but the reboot process could take six or seven very long minutes.

Next generation HD Radio generation equipment is now available and shipping. The version 4.x architecture is not PC based. Instead, it is integrated into a contiguous device, what iBiquity and the transmitter manufacturers call “embedded.”

The advantages are obvious: no operating system, no boot up, no hard drive, and none of the PC weirdness. You turn the power on and it’s up and running within a second or two. Also, the exporter and HD generator each take up only one rack unit. How cool is that??

But all is not sunlight and roses. Installation of any piece of equipment with the new architecture requires updating or replacement of all the equipment. When we took delivery of the NV-40 in Detroit, for instance, it was supplied with the new Nautel Exporter Plus v. 4.3 exporter. This exporter was already matched with the Exgine in the transmitter, but it would not talk to the data export from our RCS NexGen automation system. We faced the same issue on the west coast with the NX-50 and in Denver at KLZ, where we purchased an Exporter Plus and AM IBOC (HD generator) to replace the original NE-IBOC.

There were essentially two problems. One is that the parameter units were all different in the new architecture equipment. In the old architecture, the units were in samples; in the new, they are in microseconds. It would seem to be a simple matter of finding out the sample rate and converting, but no one seems to have that information! So setting up a replacement AM IBOC means essentially starting from scratch to get the spectrum, delay etc. all right.

The other problem is that what we called PAD (program associated data) in the old architecture is now PSD (program service data) in the new. The PAD export provided by RCS and other automation manufacturers is not compatible with the PSD format required by v. 4.3. Fortunately, RCS was very responsive and within just a few weeks, they had a beta update ready for us. That update allows us to select the old PAD format or the new PSD for any station, making it possible for us to run older generation HD equipment on some stations and v. 4.x architecture on others within the same cluster.

Okay, so make that three problems. The third problem is that any importer connected to a v. 4.x exporter must also have v. 4.x architecture. In Detroit, Nautel had to loan us a new generation importer until we can get our BE importer updated with the new software.

So a word to the wise: upgrading to the new embedded exporter architecture is a worthwhile endeavor that will most certainly improve reliability (and save rack space), but there is considerably more involved than just replacing the exporter. Better check out the entire situation before taking that leap.

 Better late than never, after we had figured this all out on our own, iBiquity released “HD Radio Tech Bulletin - 3” that explains all this. Contact Tom Walker at iBiquity if you didn’t get this (walker@ibiquity.com)

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

Greetings all, a pretty busy month here at Entercom Denver. We continue to prepare for the upcoming Personal People Meter systems incoming to us here. The first part of the month was spent looking at the drawings of our audio paths in the studios and getting the configuration figured out for the primary and backup paths. I met (over the phone) a guy at Arbitron who was formerly a radio engineer, and he was really great help, understanding what we needed and how to implement it with a fair amount of ease, so this shouldn’t (famous last words) be too difficult. And another happening here at the Entercom Denver Studio/offices, I have started a battery recycle program for all employees. Interstate batteries, our supplier here in Denver, will take recyclable batteries from us when we order supplies from them. So I have a bin for anyone who wants to bring batteries from home to discard in one of our lunchrooms and it does fill up fairly quickly. I encourage all of us engineering types to do what we can in our facilities to be more “green” in this manner. We certainly use a lot of batteries at the radio stations, and at home too.

I am preparing as of this writing for the Alice 105.9’s 36 hours for kids radiothon February 11-13th at Denver’s Children’s Hospital. I always look forward to and also dread this event as it is a wonderful opportunity to serve the community (and work) with my engineering work, but also you hear a lot of sad stories and meet people who are dealing with what has to be one of the most heart wrenching events to happen to us, severely or terminally ill children. But the stories are inspiring as well, as Children’s Hospital is the best place in the world for these hurting families to come too. If you get the chance I encourage you to listen in either over the air in Denver or via the Alice 1059 website during the days of the broadcast. We will also have a webcam on from there too so check it out if you can.

There is a great article up at www.eham.net about how to use a digital photo frame that is becoming very popular for family pictures, now an amateur has written a very interesting article about using one of these devices to display QSL cards! I might actually do this myself sometime. See the full article at www.eham.net/articles/20827. This would really make a great Hamshack extra display especially when you might have a guest present or for a public display of some sort.

And now, I have joined everyone else in the new millennium as I have been reminded a few times by getting DSL at home. We had stayed on dial up for all this time to save money and because the need to have it at home just was not justifying spending the money to do so. But one of my sons wanted to be able to play his X Box games with friends and since he has a job, is splitting the cost with us. I had fixed up a dial up system at the studios to keep an eye on things and adjust them when necessary, but it was as you would guess it could be painfully slow at times. Now of course all is much faster and I can access the VPN at work directly with much faster access and control. And now too I will be able to access Kenny’s K4KR ham station remotely in Chickamauga Georgia from my Hamshack once he gives me access. We have played around with this several times and it is really cool to have his big station accessible from anywhere. He had used it in this manner when vacationing in Florida and using his laptop computer with Internet access to talk over the IRLP and HF. Pretty cool stuff.

Don’t forget too our SBE IRLP Hamnet, the first and third Saturdays of the month, the net will be on February 7th and 21st. Details at www.qsl.net/ke0vh/SBEhamnet.html.

Have a great February!

73’
De KEØVH

 

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Clay’s Corner

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

By Clay Freinwald
SBE Seattle Chapter 16

After all the hype….the planning…. the publicity….the promotion….the advertising….FCC actions etc etc – The politicians get involved and  - thwap ! – The end of broadcast analog TV is moved four months to June 12th.    If you recall, your faithful column writer predicted that the proposed deadline was going to be elastic.  Once again the ‘rubber rules’ prevail.   Not sure how this will change the plans of stations that are jumping the gun.  Here locally, Belo’s KONG has been telling the world that Channel 16 was going to switch early.    For those stations that are fearful that ‘chicken-little’ viewers would have a fit, or they would loose revenue, perhaps this is good news.  For stations that have been keeping the old analog giant happy with bailing wire and duct tape and were looking forward to seeing the old rig leave or perhaps had already scheduled antenna changes etc….Not a happy day.   I wonder what the Vegas odds makers are going to play this new date ?...I wonder how the folks in WDC feel about the stations in Hawaii that have already made the switch…Will they have to turn analog  back on?

As was the case last month when we met, the big news continues to be the economy.  Perhaps because misery loves company, industries  - other than broadcasting – have been in the news announcing major layoffs.    This is a situation that is feeding upon itself.   The more fear there is, the more individuals and corporations hunker down and contract thereby increasing the velocity of the downturn.   I suspect that some of this is a natural contraction or adjustment in compensation for the perhaps artificial ‘high’ we have enjoyed over the last few years.   Will things get back to where they were is the $64,000 question.

Some of the highlights of the past month have to include the announcement that a couple of our native success stories have been impacted by all of this …Microsoft, Starbucks and Boeing (not to mention Wamu).    Clear Channel is re-thinking and eliminating.  Entercom has stopped matching 401K’s and frozen salaries….and the beat goes on.   None of this looks good for our end of the business.  It’s certain that stations will be trying to do more with less in every department.   Already we have some examples in this market where full time engineering slots have been eliminated in favor of part timers.   In smaller markets, contracting is the way things get repaired.   Now – this mode of doing things is moving to even the largest markets.

It’s not been that long ago we had 4 daily newspapers in this area.   First to go was the King County Journal.   Now the PI is for sale along with the threat if they don’t find a buyer, they will be gone also.   It’s not too far to imagine that this area will be down to two newspapers.   The Tacoma Tribune (owned by McClatchy) and the Seattle Times (49% owned by McClatchy).

In these market conditions one thing is certain, advertising prices are going down as Radio, TV and newspapers all are pulling out the stops to sell to reluctant advertisers.

Some are predicting that we will see another round of broadcast station consolidation.  This time due to the need that owners have to maximize the economy of scale.  This is already happening in our area with CBS and Clear Channel doing a swap to increase the size of their ownerships in certain markets.   According to BIA, the number of radio stations that were sold in 2008 fill by almost 27 percent with the value of those sales down about 50%...   Sounds just like houses!

Non-Com’s have been impacted as well.  In Indiana, Northeast Indiana Public Radio has announced that they are going to try and sell 3 of their stations.   A lot of NCE’s rely on contributions that are no longer there at levels necessary for continued operation.   KVTI in Tacoma is a station that relies heavily on State Funding, their budget has been cut to the bone.

On the lighter side –

Pictures- Don’t forget your pictures.    I have been busy snapping images of things in my travels, some of which you will get to see in this issue of the Waveguide.   This is your
Invitation to take your digital camera to work with you and snap a few for the rest of us to
View.   Just send them to me at – k7cr@blarg.net.   JPG’s please – and include a caption so we will know what we are looking at.   What kind of pictures do we want?  People and things related to broadcasting in this area – If you are not sure, send me the pic’s anyway.

On the political front – I am encouraged by comments coming from the new Administration that they are interested in things of technical and science.   Let us hope that this trend continues.    It was recently reported that this will be the first president to use email and a Blackberry…Gee, I would have thought that Clinton would have used email…

The Illinois Governor, Blagojevich has been making a lot of news in his battle to keep his job.   Interesting that a couple of Chicago radio stations have offered him a job, assuming that he looses his present one, to do a talk show.    (A lot of unprintable thoughts here)

The local Radio ratings are out – The simulcast pair of KIRO AM & FM are in the lead followed by Warm, KUBE and KISW.    In this latest survey….Talk Radio us up and Country is down.    The shift of KIRO’s long time news/talk lineup to exclusively FM and the change of 710 AM to sports/talk will be interesting….as will the shift to PPM from diaries.

In an expected move, President Barack Obama has named Michael Copps, a Democrat, as acting chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. In a statement released by the FCC, Copps said - "I am honored to be designated as Acting Chairman of the FCC, I thank President Obama for his confidence in me and for this opportunity to serve. I know that I have a truly gifted and terrific team to work with. I pledge every effort I am capable of to help steer the Commission through its current transition to new leadership."
Copps replaced outgoing Kevin Martin.

It’s again time to make plans for this years NAB…April 18-22 this year.   From what I read,  prices will be lower on airfare as well as hotels.   This will be the last year that I will be attending the spring event as a member of the SBE Board of Directors, as I complete my 9th year on the BOD this coming October.   Yes we have term limits and it’s time that others fill my chair.  It’s been a great experience and a real honor to be able to represent you in that body.     I will have more to report on this next month.

Not sure how many listened to or viewed the swearing in of our new president – Looking back, to 1929 is this item -  www.shorpy.com/node/5384
Throwing the Switch: 1929 …February 27, 1929. Washington, D.C. "Testing installation for radio broadcast of the Inauguration." On the eve of the Great Depression, a sound check for the presidency of Herbert Hoover.    For some reason, some of that equipment looks familiar…..Just kidding….I started in this business, part time, in 1959.

If you are like me, with your 401K getting whacked, you are going to be working longer than you had hoped for.   So how are you going to keep sharp?    Drink Coffee.  A recent study concluded that Drinking coffee during midlife can slash your risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease by 65 percent.  

HD Radio continues to make strides with the automakers with a number of brands announcing that the mode will be standard equipment in their new vehicles.   This news is a mixed bag – Glad they are incorporating the technology – Hopefully someone will be buying a new vehicle to hear it.

We are saddened to hear about the passing of Denny Granard.   For years he was part of that smiling team at Westlake Electronics having retired to Montana a few years ago. 

An interesting item, not impacting us here, but....   The FCC has just re-allocated TV Ch 15 in Los Angeles to the Los Angeles Sheriffs Dept for their exclusive use.   Perhaps, thankfully, we don’t have the need for this in our area. (lets hope we never will)

If you are recently out of work and don’t mind re-locating to the other coast – here’s an item –  The FCC is looking for a chief of its spectrum coordination branch, and a
few other good engineers. Its Web site posts vacancies for a Supervisory Electronics Engineer branch chief (salary range $120K to $153K) and several electronics engineers ($86K to $133K). ….Boy, if I were not so old !

Amateur Radio continues to grow….According to recent figures In 2008, the total number of US amateurs rose 1.2 percent, from 655,800 in 2007, to 663,500 in 2008.   Speaking of which – I love my new Elecraft K3.   The review in last months QST explains why I am so excited.   I’ve been a Ham for a number of years and have become more interested in the hobby of late…Can’t wait to get some more antennas up this summer in time for the next solar cycle (pray for sun-spots)

Speaking of Ham Radio – For those of you that are involved with Radio – Here’s a cool site – www.ham-radio.com:80/k6sti/roster.htm.

Now that the Waveguide is totally on-line, I am trying to provide you with links to interesting sites – Here are a few more (let me what you think of this and if you find it interesting)

 

Is the twisted pair going to go the way of analog everything ?  According to a recently published news report Verizon Communications Inc., the second-biggest U.S. telephone company, said it will do away with traditional phone lines within seven years as it moves to carry all calls over the Internet.   Could Qwest do the same thing here?   I have to admit that I am still a copper user with a phone and DSL.    I know a lot of folks have switched their phone and Internet service to cable providers.   Verizon’s FIOS service is perhaps will become the new normal.

Usually I talk about the weather early in my column…After record setting cold and snow followed by epic amounts of rain we were blessed with weeks of fog and inversions, the latter making trips to West Tiger wonderful as it was a quick trip to blue skies and sunshine….now we are getting back to more normal weather.  According to those that think they know why when it comes to weather comes this - 
sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2009/108/1?rss=1

Neural Audio has been sold to DTS Inc. The have announced  plans to expand its offerings in the broadcast, satellite radio, automotive and gaming markets. DTS makes decoders for surround sound processors.   According to Tom McGinley, the local office is not closing.   If you recall, we had a chapter meeting there a while back.

A couple of announcements from the SBE National office –

1 - The SBE University  (on-line, on-demand broadcast engineering education) is now open. Three courses are available with more in development.

For the SBE University: Cris Alexander (author and catalyst) and his Education Committee including those who have assisted with reviews and provided suggestions for the three courses now available: Ray Benedict, Gary Cavell and Stephen Poole

2- The all new 7th edition of the SBE Television Operators Handbook has been published and is now available.

For the TV Op Book, the Certification Committee including authors, Dane Ericksen, Doug Garlinger and Joe Snelson. With assistance from  Megan Clappe and Holly Essex at the National Office with acquisition, editing, layout and production work.

FOR BROADCASTERS:  The RMT schedule always steps on some toes.  If someone out there can come up with a test matrix that avoids morning drive (radio), evening newscasts and prime time (TV), play-by-play sports – while meeting day/night and other legal requirements -- the Test Coordinator (Roland Robinson) and I will give it our thorough attention.  If you have questions or concerns about the 2010 RMT schedule, please speak up before we start drafting it.  Right now would be a good time.

 

Here’s an item to put a smile on your face.   If you are like me, one of the fist things you learned was how to read the resistor color code …and I bet I know the one you remember to this day – Here are some others –

1-  Big Boys Race Our Young Girls But Violet Generally Wins
 
2- Bowling Balls Roll Over Your Grandma But Victim Gets Well.

As many of you know, I love to play with our language (I still have people talk about my piece on the use of –ph- from years ago.   Here’s some fun with the word – up.

Lovers of the English language might enjoy this. It is yet another example of why people learning English have trouble with the language.  Learning the nuances of English makes it a difficult language. (But then, that's probably true of many languages.)  
 
There is a two-letter word in English that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word,  and that word is 'UP.'  It is listed in the dictionary as being used as an [adv], [prep], [adj], [n] or [v].

It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP?  

At a meeting, why does a topic come UP ? Why do we speak UP, and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP  a report? We call UP our friends and we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.  

At other times the little word has a real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.  

To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP is special. And this up is confusing:  
A drain must be opened UP  because it is stopped   UP.

We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.   We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP !  

To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP , look the word UP  in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4 of the page and can add  UP to about thirty definitions  

If you are UP  to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more.  

When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP.. When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP. When it rains, it wets UP the earth.. When it does not rain for awhile, things dry UP..  

One could go on & on, but I'll wrap it UP , for now  ........my time is UP , so time to shut UP!  


That’s it for this month – Enjoy NTSC for a while longer – till next month –

Clay, K7CR, CPBE

-0-


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Amateur Radio News

Compiled By Tom Weeden, WJ9H
Thanks to Madison Chapter 24

Amateur radio operators who keep an eye on the ionosphere and solar weather have recently noted several items that are out of the ordinary.

First, 2008 was a year of very low solar activity. More than 40 percent of the weeks in 2008 had zero sunspots. Hams are reporting that quiet solar conditions are providing low-noise long distance contacts on the lower HF bands.

Second, observations made by NASA instruments onboard an Air Force satellite have shown that the boundary between the Earth’s upper atmosphere and space has moved to extraordinarily low altitudes. These observations were made by the Coupled Ion Neutral Dynamics Investigation (CINDI) instrument suite, which was launched aboard the U.S. Air Force’s Communication/Navigation Outage Forecast System (C/NOFS) satellite on April 16, 2008. Presumably a lower ionosphere would decrease the skip distance on HF communications.

Third, NASA’s five THEMIS spacecraft have discovered a breach in Earth’s magnetic field ten times larger than anything previously thought to exist. Solar wind can flow in through the opening to “load up” the magnetosphere for powerful geomagnetic storms. But the breach itself is not the biggest surprise. Researchers are even more amazed at the strange and unexpected way it forms, overturning long-held ideas of space physics. THEMIS project scientist David Sibeck of the Goddard Space Flight Center says, “this could result in stronger geomagnetic storms than we have seen in many years.” In December the American Radio Relay League received a request from the FCC asking that ARRL members provide technical educational assistance to their communities concerning the FCC-mandated digital television (DTV) conversion scheduled for February 17, 2009.

According to ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager Allen Pitts, W1AGP, Amateur Radio clubs across the country are being asked to develop and implement plans to provide information throughout January and February about the DTV conversion in their areas. The FCC is leaving it up to the clubs to decide how to do this, as local groups understand the communities in ways that the FCC does not. Each community is a little different, Pitts said, so plans carried out by the clubs will vary from community to community.

Pitts stressed that hams should not make “house calls,” sell any equipment or do actual installations; the request is only to distribute technical information and FCC materials. He commented: “As we all know, some folks just never get the message until too late. Materials for presentations, education and many other activities are available online at www.dtv.gov/outreach.html.

Excerpts from the American Radio Relay League’s arrl.org web site, http://www.sciencedaily.com, and http://www.science.nasa.gov/headlines


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LIFE WITH HD RADIO

Kent Randalls – Portland
Chapter 124

There are 12 FM HD signals (nine with HD2) and four AM HD signals on the air in the Portland market.

Go here for a complete list.


There are now over 100 HD Radios to choose from.  See www.hdradio.com/buyers_guide.php.

 

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SBE News

SBE INTRODUCES THE SBE UNIVERSITY

The Society of Broadcast Engineers has announced the opening of the SBE University; a series of on-line, on-demand courses  designed to bring expert instruction on a variety of technical radio and television topics to broadcast engineers at an affordable price.

Beat the recession with these all-new, affordable "nuts and bolts" courses available to take anytime at your convenience. No travel, hotel or other costs to eat up your limited training budget, these courses are developed by experts for the SBE.  The first course offered by the SBE University is AM Antenna Modeling and enrollment is now open.

Two more courses, FM Transmission Systems and Matching Networks and Phasing will open for enrollment on January 9.  Courses on technical television topics and additional radio courses will be announced soon.


SBE RF Safety Web-Seminar for Broadcast Engineers

The Society of Broadcast Engineers will present the SBE RF Safety Course on Thursday, May 21 from 6:30 pm to 9:45 pm, EDT (3:30 pm to 6:45 pm PDT). The course is designed for broadcast station personnel such as chief and assistant chief engineers, transmitter site engineers, ENG and SNG maintenance personnel and management that need to have an understanding of RF safety issues and regulations. Instructing the course will be RF safety expert, Richard Strickland of RF Safety Solutions.

Course Description & Content
The SBE RF Safety Course provides an overview of RF radiation issues and practices for broadcasters.

  • Biological effects of RF radiation and the distinct differences between RF radiation and ionizing radiation FCC and OSHA regulations - what they are and what you need to do to comply Workplace hazards
    • Transmitter Sites
    • SNG and ENG trucks
    • Remote operations (where news personnel can find problems such as on rooftops)
    • The unique issues at AM stations
  • RF hazard protection equipment - you may not need it but your contractors probably will
  • Signs - what they mean and what you need Each participant will receive a course “hand-out” via e-mail prior to the course.

The course makes use of MS Power Point and is interactive - questions can be asked at any time during the course. Those who complete the course will receive a certificate of completion through the mail from the Society of Broadcast Engineers. It is recommended that persons taking the SBE RF Safety Course have at least a basic knowledge of electronics and understand the concept of frequency. Taking this course meets the FCC education requirement for those working in broadcast RF exposure areas. SBE recertification credit may also be earned by completing this course.

Log-in Port Reservations
To accommodate the anticipated interest in this course, we encourage SBE chapters to consider hosting the course at a suitable training site where local members can be accommodated, such as a broadcast station conference room with Internet connection and telephone line.

At each site where more than just a few will gather, an LCD projector and screen will be needed with an Internet-connected computer for the video portion of the training. The audio will be via toll-free telephone connection and should be amplified as needed for the size of the audience. Log-in ports are limited to only nine for this course.

There is no fee charged for a chapter to host a course. Each participant will register individually.

Each host-site organizer will be given a web-address and a toll-free telephone number to access the course.

The course is limited to nine log-in ports. The number of participants at each log-in port is only limited by the seating capacity of the room and the audio and video equipment used to listen to and view the course. To reserve one of the nine ports, contact the SBE National Office at RFSafetyCourse@sbe.org or (317) 846-9000. We’ll need to know your name, your chapter and email and telephone contact information for the person hosting the site. We’ll also need the name and address of the location and the number of participants the location can accommodate for the course.

Log-in port reservations by SBE chapters will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis and are being offered solely to SBE chapters through February. Beginning March 1, log-in port reservations, if still available, will be open to anyone. To hold the chapter’s log-in port reservation, at least one individual paid registration must be received within two weeks of reserving the log-in port.

How Individuals Can Register
Each individual participant must be registered for the course. Registrations must be received by 12:00 Noon EDT on Wednesday, May 20.

Course Fee:
SBE members - $85 per participant

Non-members - $125 per participant

We encourage people to register using the SBE’s on-line system. Once a chapter has reserved a log-in port, the chapter location will be listed on the SBE website. Go to the SBE website, seminars page: http://sbe.org/edu_seminars.php and click on the location you wish to attend. Complete the registration form. Payment can be accepted using VISA, MasterCard or American Express. Registration using a check for payment may be mailed to the SBE National Office at SBE, 9102 N. Meridian Street, Suite 150, Indianapolis, IN 46260. You may also fax your registration form with credit card information to SBE at (317) 846-9120.

Questions? Call SBE at (317) 846-9000

About our Instructor, Richard Strickland
Richard Strickland founded RF Safety Solutions in 2001 after ten years as Director of Business Development for Narda Safety Test Solutions, the world’s leading supplier of RF safety measurement and monitoring products. He initiated the development of RF radiation training courses at Narda and has conducted courses ranging from basic employee awareness seminars to in-depth application specific courses. Audiences have included environmental health and safety professionals, engineers, technicians, attorneys, communications industry professional consulting engineers and senior managers of major corporations, government organizations, and professional groups.

He has been both a featured speaker and a member of the radio frequency radiation panel at the National Association of Broadcasters, the Radio Club of America, and the International Wireless Conference and Exposition.

Mr. Strickland has provided consulting and training services to ABC Radio, ABC Television, British Aerospace, Cornell University, ESPN, Lockheed Martin Corporation, NBC, Raytheon Corporation, SpectraSite Communications, Trinity Broadcasting and the U.S. Coast Guard. He holds an MBA from the University of Massachusetts and a B.A. in Physics from Bridgewater College. He has had more than 35 articles on RF safety, high-power amplifiers and radomes published and has conducted more than 150 public and in-house training courses on RF safety and measurement. SBE is pleased to have Mr. Strickland serve as our instructor for this course.

Cancellation Policy
Participant cancellations will be accepted up to ten business days prior to the course and will receive a full refund, minus a $25 cancellation fee. Cancellations received less than 10 business days prior to the course will not be eligible for a refund. Substitutions are permitted. The SBE reserves the right to cancel or reschedule a course due to insufficient participant registration or other reasons beyond its control.

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.

Excelsior College announces Certification Courses

by Rebecca Troeger
Excelsior College

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:
• CBRE
Certified Broadcast Radio Engineer
• CBTE
Certified Broadcast Television Engineer
• CSRE
Certified Senior Broadcast Radio Engineer
• CSTE
Certified Senior Broadcast Television Engineer
• CPBE
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.

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 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 mclappe@sbe.org

Exam Dates Location Application Deadline
February 6-16 , 2009 Local Chapters December 31 , 2008
April 21, 2009 NAB April 1 , 2009
June 5-15, 2009 Local Chapters April 17, 2009
August 7-17, 2009 Local Chapters June 5, 2009
November 6-16, 2009 Local Chapters September 18, 2009

Fees for 2009 are as Follows:

Certification Level Member Non-Member
Broadcast Technologist $45 *$45
Broadcast Technologist $45 $111
Broadcast Networking Technologist $55 $121
Broadcast Engineer $60 $126
Audio/Video Engineer $60 $126
Senior Broadcast Engineer $85 $151
Professional Broadcast Engineer $110 $176
Specialist Certification    
AM Directional Specialist $55 $121
8VSB Specialist $55 $121
Digital Radio Broadcast Specialist $55 $121
  *does not include first year membership    

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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Newsletter Committee

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

  Garneth M. Harris

  Tom Goldberg - On-Line Editor

We encourage your feedback and submissions, please contact us through the NEWSLETTER link on our contact page.

Newsletter archives are available online. Visit our Newsletter Archive for an index of newsletter back issues. Note: Old newsletters may contain outdated information, web links or email addresses. News archives are not updated when relevant information changes.

Views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the official positions of the Societies, its officers, or its members. We regret, but are not liable for, any omissions or errors. The Denver SBE and SMPTE Newsletter is published approximately twelve times per year. It is prepared with a combination of text and graphic data. Submission deadline is 10 days before the last day of each month. Other SBE or SMPTE chapters are permitted to use excerpts if attributed to the original authors, sources, and the Denver SBE/SMPTE Newsletter.