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April 4, 2009

 

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March 2009 Newsletter

SBE Chapter 48 / SMPTE Rocky Mountain Section

February 2009 Meeting Report: Annual Banquet

Honorees for 2009: The Engineers and Managers of the Lake Cedar Group

Date:          Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Time:          6:00 PM No Host Cash Bar, 7:00 PM Dinner and Presentation, Reservations Required
Location:    Green Gables Country Club, 6800 W Jewell Ave, Denver, CO 80232
Honorees:  The Engineers and Managers of the Lake Cedar Group
Speakers:   Mr. Mark Cornetta, Lake Cedar Group CEO and General Manager of KUSA
                    Mr. David Lane, Director of Operations, KCNC

The SBE48 chapter and SMPTE Rocky Mountain Section returned for the 3rd year to the Green Gables Country Club for our annual banquet. This year's theme was honoring the LCG station engineers and managers for their achievement in completing the LCG DTV transmission facility on Lookout Mountain.

Many of the engineers who worked
on this project attended the dinner

Each year our chapter recognizes a individuals and groups in our community who have made noteworthy contributions to our industry. This year's award recognizes the engineering achievement embodied in the new Lake Cedar Group transmission facility on Lookout Mountain and the engineers and managers who brought the project to fruition. Surmounting unbelievable obstacles this group created one of the most modern and best built transmitter locations in the country.

Accepting the award on behalf of the Lake Cedar Group was be Mr. Mark Cornetta, LCG CEO and General Manager of KUSA, Mr. David Layne, Director of Operations, KCNC and Mr. Rick Craddock, Engineering Director of KMGH. We also recognized all the engineers and engineering managers who contributed to the LCG facility.


Jim Schoedler, Brad Torr and Scott Barrella present plaques
to David Layne, Rick Craddock and Mark Cornetta

Mark and David Entertained and Educated

After the award ceremony, Mark provided a fascinating timeline of many of the events and challenges faced in completing this project. He pointed out that this was a project which "literally did require an act of congress!" Then David Layne of KCNC provided an illustrated overview of the project with many photos during the construction showing some of the heavy lifting, blasting, and management behind it. We all got an appreciation of just how amazing this facility is.

Report by Tom Goldberg

 

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Random Radio Thoughts


Cris Alexander, CPBE, AMD
Crawford Broadcasting Company

PPM Encoding
I suspect that by now, most Denver-Boulder stations are encoding PPM. At CBC-Denver, Amanda received a stack of encoders and monitors in early February. Installing them was a snap. The only issue that she had was getting a sample rate changed to 48 kHz (the encoders were all set for 48 kHz; one of the sources was set for 44.1 kHz).

Jack Roland told me that Jeff Garrett could hear a slight change in the audio on the Entercom FM stations as a result of the coding. He’s got a lot better ears that I have!

Breaker Trouble
Last month, we had a strange problem out at the KLTT transmitter site. The 200-amp 480-volt 3-pole breaker feeding the 50 kW main transmitter (Nautel ND-50) started tripping. After a reset of the breaker, the transmitter would come up normally. This breaker trip would always happen in the afternoon, between 2:00 and 3:30 or so. You could almost set your watch by it.

Using a clamp-on ammeter, we looked at the leg currents and found them to be normal, about 96 amps per leg. Even if the voltage sagged by 20%, it wouldn’t push the current up anywhere near 200 amps. That and the afternoon regularity of the trips led us to think that perhaps there was some switching going on at United Power, but a check with them told us otherwise.

That pretty much left the breaker itself, which is a really expensive one with separate adjustable magnetic fault trips in addition to the thermal tripper. I hated to think about replacing that. In fact, I had resolved to replace it with a fused disconnect if it came to that.

So we had an electrician from Berg Electric come out and take a look. We powered down the panel and he pulled the breaker, finding something interesting in the process. The C-phase wire was warm to the touch and black where it went into the breaker. The electrician noted that the Allen screw holding it was not tight. He cleaned up the wire, reinstalled the breaker and honked the Allen screws down really tight on the wires. No more trips since that work was done, almost three weeks as of this writing.

Evidently, the Allen wasn’t tightened sufficiently when the breaker was installed back in 1995. It wasn’t too loose, but it was loose enough to have a little resistance, and that produced some heat. As the heat produced more and more oxidation on the copper, the resistance increased, producing more heat. The breaker must have been getting hot enough to cause a thermal trip (it had always cooled down by the time Amanda or Keith got to the site to reset it). With almost 100 amps flowing in that wire, it doesn’t take much resistance to produce a lot of heat. 0.01 ohms of resistance would produce 100 watts of heat, plenty enough to send that breaker into a thermal trip after awhile.

The moral of this story is to add an IR thermometer check of all your breakers to your list of regular maintenance tasks at the transmitter site. You might save yourself some grief!

Neutral
At our Los Angeles transmitter site, I recently ran into an interesting but vexing electrical problem. When operating from generator power, the external interlocks on the transmitters would open, taking them off the air. That issue was traced to the phasor controller, which would go dead during generator operation.

A check of the 240-volt feed to the controller showed good voltage when on the gen, but a check from leg to neutral showed zero volts on one leg and 240 volts on the other. While the phasor controller uses the single-phase 240-volt source for the RF contactor solenoids, it uses one leg to neutral (120V) to run the 24-volt power supply that operates the relays.

When on utility power, Edison provides a neutral from a center tap on one of the delta secondaries, so the controller works fine when the power is on. The 24-volt supply operates normally and the interlock relays are all closed.

The generator, however, provides no neutral, only three phase wires in a delta (no center tap is provided). The 120-volt panel at the site is fed from a 10 kVA step-down transformer that provides a neutral from the low side of the secondary winding, so all the 120-volt loads work fine on gen or utility power.

So with the mystery solved, I’ve got to find a way to fix it. You can’t simply tie the neutrals together (for obvious reasons), so I will have to create a neutral for the one and only 240-volt single-phase load in the plant. I’m thinking a small isolation transformer with a center-tapped secondary.

If any of you have any thoughts or ideas, I’d love to hear them.

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

We have had a quite busy February at the Entercom Denver stations.  As I said last month, I was getting ready for the KALC Alice 105.9’s 36 hours for kids to raise money for The Denver Children’s Hospital.  Pete Chamberlain, myself and Simon our IT guy were of course on hand with the our infamous yellow rack remote gear and now new access via our VPN over the internet to control all AudioVault functions for the folks on air.  Happy to say that this year, even with the poor economy, they raised 1.4 Million dollars!  Last year’s total was 1.5, so what a blessing it was in this time of economic downturn.  We did have our main ISDN portable unit fail on us right at the beginning though, but with the POTS line Tieline backup, we missed nothing as the operator at the station was on top of things and switched to the backup while I got the backup Telos Zephyr ISDN on line and running properly.  It was very successful and next outing for the remote gear is for ALICE’s St. Patrick’s day broadcast the weekend of St. Patrick’s day.  Stop by Fados downtown at 19th and Blake if you can and check out the gear live in action.

The Arbitron Personal People Meter system gear arrived not to long before the Children’s Hospital remote was due to occur, and so as soon as that was done I dove headlong into getting the PPM boxes on line thru the STL’s, T-1’s, and the internet streaming audio paths for all 4 stations here.  It really is pretty simple really to install these and get them running.  A simple insert in the audio chain before the links to the transmitter sites, and turn them on.  Of course, it involves new wiring runs as we also did not have the rack space for anything new really in our Master Control/Shop.  So, Jeff my boss ordered up new racks, and thanks to the work done prior on a new UPS system and removing a wall in the shop, it we have just enough space to put in the 3 8 feet tall racks.  But, it will really give us some new space for more rack gear if we need it.  Plus, all PPM systems worked fine on the first try!


               2 of the 3 new Racks                  The KOSI PPM Encoder and monitor stack

The encoded signal could be read by the Arbitron engineer over the telephone, so all I did was to hold the phone receiver up to a monitor speaker and he was able to check the encoding.  Worked like a charm, so all I need to do now is hook up the alarm relays and I am ready to go!  The Sangean HDT-1 receivers in the racks are used to monitor the HD and Analog signals for the PPM system.

Now on to Ham items!
I promised an issue or two ago that I would have pictures of the restored electronically anyway the old Zenith H-500 Transoceanic radio that my wife bought me a while back.  3 new tubes and a rebuilt rectifier, along with some new caps and the radio receives, but still has a bit of AC hum in the audio.  Actually receives very well.  This is a “treasure” radio for me, bought for me by my wife and since restored to working condition with the help of my friend and boss Jeff, KEØMT, will be a radio I don’t see ever selling, but will give it to my kids when I get old.  Beautiful old radio, the AM sounds really amazing, of course KEZW (www.studio1430.com) sounds really amazing on this rig with the nostalgia/adult standards format.  What a neat old radio.  It is on the right here in this picture.

On the left is a 1958 or so (I am guessing) Vintage Elmac PMR-6A ham and broadcast band receiver, actually a mobile radio using a homebrew power supply I built again with Jeff’s help.  This radio is a match to my Elmac AF-67 transciter, a 40 watt rig with a 6146 tube as the final that I have in my Hamshack now for AM operations on HF.   See this at my ham  homepage www.qsl.net/ke0vh.  At this point though, I don’t have room in the shack for it as my Hallicrafters SX-110 is in place next to the AF-67, so for now I have the receiver in my office to demo for whoever might be interested.  By the way, this is a great website if you have an interest in Elmac vintage gear: http://www.qsl.net/n9bor/Multi-Elmac.htm.

During the past several days as of this writing,  my friend Kenny, K4KR, has been working a lot of contacts via the AO-51 FM “repeater” satellite, and has experimented with a couple of different antennas statically mounted and pointing up into the sky, working stations within the visible footprint coverage of the satellite as it orbits at an altitude of about 800 or so miles.  And my friend Rich, W9BNO has reported working many stations across the US via the ISS repeater on board the space station while mobile in south Denver, just happening to catch the station orbiting overhead as he was driving into work.  For orbit data and information you can go to the www.amsat.org website for the latest information and how to’s and frequencies.  Next month I am going to review the SATSCAPE program I use for amateur satellite and ISS tracking and talk about a couple of satellites you may want to work.  Satscape is a really great free program to have in the shack if you are interested in tracking both visible and radio satellites, and getting ready to communicate via the LEO’s, (low earth orbit) or other birds!

73’ for this month, come on warm weather and better sunspot rates!  We really need them on HF.
De KEØVH

 

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Walk-In DTV Help Centers


Jim Schoedler SMPTE Rocky Mountain Section Chairman
Scott Barella SBE Chapter 48 Chairman

Denver SBE/SMPTE Members:

In February, a number of us participated in the fourth and final monthly DTV soft test phone bank. From November through February the volunteers working at KRMA handled 3800 calls from Colorado viewers who had questions from the very basic (How do I get a converter box coupon?) to the complex (hooking up VCRs to converter boxes, reception issues in fringe areas, etc). A big thank you once again to everyone who participated. 

A few members also helped with the FCC-sponsored DTV Walk In Help Center at Park Hill United Methodist Church. Thanks to George Emmett, Dirk Freeman and Andre' Smith for spending most of their day assisting viewers in person. The attached photo appeared in the Denver Post and the following link is to an article describing the event:

http://www.examiner.com/x-1966-Media-Industry-Examiner~y2009m2d17-Denver-DTV-walkin-help-center-proves-nation-is-not-ready-for-analog-shutoff

There is another upcoming date for DTV Walk In Help Centers in the Denver area and we would appreciate your help in getting the word out to the public as well as by volunteering. If you have a laptop computer, please bring it to help people order coupons as well as access addition information online. The dates are:
Saturday, March 7th from 10AM - 3PM
Ultimate Electronics 321 West 84th Avenue Thornton, CO 80260

Volunteers can contact Nikki Shears with the FCC at Nikki.Shears@fcc.gov to confirm which date(s) you can help, timeframe, and contact information including e-mail and phone number. She has requested that if you haven’t helped in the past that you allow 10-15 minutes to be briefed.

 

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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

If you look out in my yard the bulbs are sprouting through the snow…What’s with this?  Oh well, spring will happen…in it’s own time.

Last month, I lamented about the ending of NTSC and shipped my column to Jeannie Gilbert the publisher.   I should have known that the politicians would get involved and muddy the water.  Now we have a new date in June.  Wonder what the Las Vegas odds makers are giving this one for coming true?     Except for the U’s that have already dropped their analog, all the major video emitters in the Seattle market are keeping their analog plants running.  Meanwhile over in Spokane a number of stations made the switch with apparently not much fuss.   According to Bob Wyatt of KSPS….KXLY, KAYU, KSPS, and KHQ shut off analog.  KREM, KSKN and KGPX are still on with analog till June 12.   It was reported that the FCC received 28,000 calls nationwide.   For some reason I am left to believe that regardless of how many announcements are aired about this, there will always be a percentage that will complain that nobody told them.

 

Most of the major news items this month continue to be the economy…Here are some snippets I gathered since we last met –

I read where a station decided to buck the trend and doubled the sales commission of their sales staff.   Sure like to hear how that turns out.   It is interesting that some stations are enlarging their sales staffs while others are cutting their numbers.  I guess time will tell what strategy is the right one.

An AM station in a Chicago suburb, citing economic issues, has asked the FCC for permission to go-dark for at least 6 months as has AM in Charlotte, NC. I would guess that there are going to be quite a few stations go this route as only the fit will survive.   .   I suspect that there will be some small TV’s follow.

Salem Communications, who operates a number of radio stations in the Seattle area, is put in place a 5% pay cut for all.  Executives pay will be cut 10%...This is addition to laying off 10% of their employees.

An idea that keeps coming up is an – ad tax.  States are looking for money, any where they can get it and taxing advertising is one place they are looking.

Another victim is Muzak who recently filed its bankruptcy paperwork.  What is not well known is that Muzak was born in Seattle.

Catching a lot of people by surprise, Google announced that they were getting out of the radio automation business and the business of selling un-sold radio station inventory.

News papers are clearly hurting.  Not only has Hurst announced the Seattle PI is for sale, and will cease publication if a buyer can’t be found…. but they have also stated that some of their other papers, in other markets, may go out of business.  A friend of mine, a PI subscriber, commented the other day that he has received his renewal notice and was wondering what would happen if he paid for another 3 months.  I’ve not heard
what he did.

And if you think things are rough at your store – consider GM …they lost 9.6 Billion in 4Q – 08.   But then again – we – are coming to their rescue.

 

Interesting in these days when commercial and NCE broadcasters are facing thin bottom lines that operation of, so called, pirate radio stations continue.   Recently the FCC cracked down on several of the in the NYC area.  Meanwhile – Florida has, what I feel, is a better idea.  There the state has laws against pirate broadcasters and they have taken action where the FCC has not.   I supposed the Washington State Legislature is too busy with other matters to consider doing that here?

Congratulations to Andy Skotdal on another victory in his long fought battle to erect AM towers near Everett.    For those of you that attended the recent Chapter 16 meeting at the new KRKO facility, you saw the extra room allocated to the proposed 1520 operation.   Out in the tower-farm, 2 more towers will be added to the array.   This is a story that is being followed, not just locally, but nationwide by those on both sides of the argument.   Over the years I have seen many roadblocks thrown up in efforts to prevent the erection of towers, the activity in Everett has really been – One for the books.

 

Have you made your reservations for NAB yet?   (Seems to me I have been writing that line for the last quarter century).   This years NAB is likely to be pretty skinny due to the eliminating of such travel for most companies.   In my case, NAB is on my dime due to my involvement with SBE, EAS etc.    I anticipate a good deal of heavy thoughts for this old boy this year as this may well be my last trip to sin-city.   My term on the SBE BOD
ends this fall and this means no more Sunday morning board meetings.  Gone also will likely be my role as Chairman of the SBE EAS Committee.   One of the features of trip is the vendor dinners.  I don’t recall the last time I actually paid for dinner while there. This year may well be different as a number of these have been called off.   The best part will be the one I will miss he most…and that is shaking the hands of all the many friends I have made over the years with vendors and other engineers.   To be sure, one last time, The Amateur Radio Reception on Wednesday night.   If you have been thinking about going to NAB, this year might be a good time as the crowds will be smaller and the hotel prices lower.    Perhaps I will see you there.

For some time there has been an ongoing effort to get the makers of cell-phones to include FM radios.   Apparently someone agreed as Nokia recently said they would.  The argument by the cell phone makers has been that for an embedded radio to work very well it needs and antenna and the form-factor of most of today’s wireless devices are so small that the capture area for an FM antenna is going to be very small, yielding poor performance….that is unless you have a headset plugged in.   Wired headsets have been largely replaced with wireless models (Blue-tooth etc).    The folks pressing for
FM radio inclusion are largely those that don’t have much technical expertise.

Something perhaps a bit new – Manufacturers talking about warranties for their equipment.  Nautel, the radio transmitter maker, is advertising 5 years on their new line of transmitters.  Local equipment maker Symetrix is extending warranties on some of it’s products to 2 years.

 

Broadcasters in Chicago are talking about a proposal to build a 1500 foot tower near the windy city and how it would be taller than the Sears Tower.   I love reading about how flat-landers view these things.   Lets put this into perspective by looking at a couple of our popular area transmission sites..   To get 1500 feet above sea-level in our town you would only need a 75 foot tower on Cougar Mt and to get 1500 feet of elevation at West Tiger you would have to dig down 1500 feet.   Reminds me of those in other areas that have asked me what the elevation of Seattle was and looked puzzled when I responded with  - Where?.   If you really want to make a flat-lander blink….Tell him about Portland where there is an extinct volcano within the city limits.

Have you participated in any Webinars lately?   I’ve participated in a quite a few in the past year.  This is a really great way for a manufacturer to introduce products and technology…Personally, I hope this trend continues as it’s a great way to keep up with the changes.

Hats off to BE, Broadcast Electronics as they will soon start offering courses on RF principles and applications. - AND – those that attend get re-certification credit with SBE.   This type of offering will enable new people in the industry to gain knowledge…who knows, maybe you can convince some IT folks to learn something about RF.   They keep telling us that cross-training is a good thing.   Pretty hard to get anyone these days to become interested in anything RF…This is going to bite this industry as us old codgers retire and/or die off.   Perhaps I should point out that these courses are not free.   Could it be that manufacturers are turning their engineers into teachers due to the state of the economy?

 

The announcement that the FCC has a new honcho was met with a lot of positive response.   Michael Copps the new ‘acting’ chairman was quoted as urging commissioners and staffers to conduct business in a more inclusive manner and went on to say that he will “make the FCC more transparent, open and useful to the stakeholders that we serve. And when I say stakeholders, I include not just the industries that we regulate but, more importantly, all citizens.   By the way….Did you ready Chris Imlay’s comments in the last issue of the SBE Signal?....Whew ! …. I just like his hair-style.

 

Hey where are those pictures??   Common guys, grab that digital camera and snap a few pictures around the station and share with the rest of us.   Send then to k7cr@blarg.net.    Speaking of pictures – A number of stations that turned off their analog transmitter have recorded the moment and posted it on You-Tube.   Anyone around here going to record the moment?   Let me know and I will be sure and post the link here so we can all see.

Here’s a link to the big moment at KFMB. www.cbs8.com:80/global/story.asp?s=9868675

And this from KGTV tinyurl.com/KGTVEndsAnalog

If you are wondering how off-air DTV reception will be at your house – Here is a VERY COOL tool – Give it a try ! http://www.fcc.gov/mb/engineering/maps/

I see where the NTSB is going to recommend new rules for TV choppers.   From what I understand they will require someone, other than the pilot to report news, unless it can be shown that the pilots workload is manageable.   This could have an impact here locally as it appears that some stations are using the pilot for reporting duty.    If you recall I commented about the crash back in 2007 in Arizona asking why a given news event requires that there be multiple helicopters flying circles around a news story and suggested that the stations would be money ahead if they shared the video from just one
Aircraft.   Apparently someone listened as I learned just this week that indeed one market was going to do just that.   Seems to me that in these tight economic times that the ‘big-3’ in Seattle should consider this, especially for those stories that have 3 choppers flying around the same event.

Apparently talk-radio is still getting under the skin of certain politicians with some calling for the return of the, so called, fairness doctrine.    Well the matter came up in congress the last week of February and was defeated.

I was very surprised the other day at my local Costco to find a pallet of HD Radio receivers.   I was also happy to see that they had one turned on and playing a local
HD station.   I played with it a bit and found that it would receive all the local stations. .It included a docking feature for an I-Pod and was selling for $99.99.   This was a first.  
Unlike the TV sets on display, you could actually see what the unit would do with an
off the air signal.  Did you ever ask someone to show you what one of those new DTV’s looks like with an antenna connected and not their RGB loop player?

When we last met, it appeared that Sirius-XM, the satellite radio broadcasters was between a rock and a hard place facing a huge payment.    Then came Liberty Media with a 530 Megabuck loan finding itself owning 40% of the company.   Liberty owns the satellite TV broadcaster, DirecTV, the Discovery Channels etc.  With reportedly more debt payments coming due in the future, it’s not clear where this will lead.   Certainly those that predicted that Satellite Radio demise were close.

Congratulations to BSW on their move to new digs in Tacoma.   I remember when Irv Law started rewinding audio cartridges and selling some broadcast equipment out of a strip mall behind the Pine Cone Café. Now some 30 years later, after a couple of moves, they are celebrating their new digs with a part on March 5th.  The new location has some broadcasting significance as its just about across the street from the former home of KSTW-TV, now KBTC on 19th street.

 

On the subject of vendors, I am sorry to report on the passing of Sam Lane.   We understand that he had been battling cancer for the past two years.  Bill Newbrough, his partner of many years, will continue to manage the business.  You likely knew them as RF Specialties of Washington.

From our friend Bob Gonset and his CGC Newsletter comes this item – The FCC has lined up 6 DTV stations in a row in LA….all on first adjacent channels from 31 to 36.   Apparently the only place in the country to have this arrangement.   Intermod is the question.

From the, it had to happen department, comes this item.   For year I have been using the call letters KRUD in my various EAS presentations around the country.   Apparently someone decided to take these call letters a step further with - www.krud.com/

While I am at it - - You have probably heard of a Sat. receiver failing due to bees building a nest in the feed horn.  But how about a microwave failure due to acorns?   Take a look at this –   And keep this in mind the next time you loose your microwave signal..

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mdm12KONMBA

I will leave you with this one – You have all experienced the sales pitch about the advantage of using super expensive speaker wire for your stereo (Something about a monster).  Just the other day I stopped by a local retail outlet looking for an HDMI cable and was hit with a very similar pitch from a young fellow that likely does not know the difference between an ohm and a mho explaining that for the best in HD – I just had to buy this – very – expensive cable. (I walked out).   Now comes this one.   Did you ever consider that the reason you have listener fatigue is not because you are listening to something that only a teenager could appreciate…No no no …It could be because you have a poor – POWER CORD !.    Believe me – I could not make this stuff up.   Take a look for yourself by going to – www.essentialsound.com

That’s it for this month – Thanks for the read –
Clay, K7CR, CPBE

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Amateur Radio News

Compiled By Tom Weeden, WJ9H
Thanks to Madison Chapter 24

As much as 2 inches of crippling ice accumulated over parts of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky and West Virginia and as much as 6 inches of sleet in Missouri and Indiana last week. Many area residents are still without power. The storm that began on Tuesday, January 27 not only brought up to 16 inches of snow in some regions, it also brought hams to local Emergency Operations Centers, shelters and area nets as they were activated to service by their served agencies. According to American Radio Relay League Kentucky Section Manager Jim Brooks, KY4Z, his state was hard hit by the ice storm, with the western portion taking the brunt of the storm. “Communications by landline and cell phone has been non-existent or spotty at best. I’m hearing reports that Amateurs are using local VHF repeaters to assist in their communities.”

The Amateur Radio station at McMurdo Station on Ross Island in Antarctica, KC4USV, is now on the air. According to Bill Erhardt, K7MT, who is stationed at McMurdo, the station boasts a new transceiver, amplifier and antenna. “We set up the equipment on January 19, tested it and went on the air,” Erhardt said. “The station will be in operation on Sundays on 14.243 MHz, starting at 0001 UTC. We had a nice pile up last Sunday with US hams on the East Coast and in the Midwest.” Erhardt leaves McMurdo on February 18 and is unsure if the station will be on the air over the Antarctic winter.

Laura L. Smith of Pennsylvania has been named by the FCC to fill the vacancy created when Riley Hollingsworth, K4ZDH, retired in 2008 as Special Counsel for the Spectrum Enforcement Division of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau. Hollingsworth served in that position for more than 10 years as the FCC’s enforcement watchdog over the Amateur Radio Service.ÿ A 1990 graduate of the Pepperdine University School of Law, Smith began her legal career with the FCC, working in the Mass Media Bureau and Wireless Telecommunications Bureau. She also served as Deputy Division Chief of the Public Safety and Private Wireless Division. Smith is currently licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia. In an October 2008 letter to then-FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, ARRL President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, urged Martin to name a successor to Hollingsworth: “The appointment of a replacement Special Counsel in this position is of critical importance to the Amateur Radio Service, as the delay in finalizing the appointment stands to undermine in very short order an exceptionally successful and low-cost program of enforcement in the Amateur Service.”

Calling the FCC’s Amateur Radio enforcement program “spectacularly successful,” Harrison reminded Martin of the “long period in the late 1980s and 1990s during which the Commission was essentially uninvolved in enforcement in the Amateur Service. The Amateur Service, consisting of some 680,000 licensees of the Commission, is in essence a self-regulating service; however, due to the shared frequency allocations in the Service and the long distance propagation of amateur communications, a very few rule violators can cause severe disruption in the Service. On the other hand, even a minimal Commission presence has a very strong deterrent value."

(Excerpts from the American Radio Relay League’s <arrl.org> web site


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Static Line

News from All Over
Chapter 3 - Kansas

It astounds me when I look at electronics stores idea of HD. Look at the TV sets they offer in the Sunday newspapers. Many of them have some form of cartoon showing on the screens of sets they show in their ads! Of those I reviewed in a recent Sunday paper, Best Buy and Circuit City used cartoons on their screens. Ultimate Electronics did use sports scenes on screens of their print ads. My wife suggested the cartoons might provide more vivid color than more lifelike scenes could reproduce in print. She may have a point.

It seems with every good application of a major technological improvement, someone will find a way to use that technology for nefarious purposes. Gary Krohe sent me a link to an interesting subject that could be of importance to you. Are you one of those guys who throws their keys on the dash when you exit the vehicle? You'd better keep those keys out of sight if you are not in the habit of pocketing them. A new technology has been developed that enables a quick snapshot by a camera cell phone or other device, to unlock your doors!

Scientists have developed a software algorithm that automatically creates a physical key based solely on a picture of one, regardless of angle or distance. The project, called "Sneakey", was meant to warn people about the dangers of haphazardly placing keys in the open or posting pictures containing images of the keys online. A search of the Internet by a college professor and his students yielded thousands of online photos of keys with enough definition to replicate. For a more dramatic demonstration, the researchers set up a camera with a zoom lens 200 feet away. Using those photos, they created a working key 80 percent on their first try. Within three attempts they opened every lock, and those three attempts could take less than five minutes to complete. The replication process is quite easy if you are knowledgeable of the process. Once the researchers have the image it takes the software roughly 30 seconds to decode the ridges and grooves on the key - perhaps a little longer if the angle is off or the lighting is tricky. The longest part of the process, about sixty seconds, is cutting the key. A majority of keys marketed to consumers use only four to six different combinations of pins and/or grooves. Each number developed by the software corresponds to a ridge or valley in the key. When inserted into a lock, the ridges and valleys lines up a series of small pins that unlocks the protected device. The real problem, as it relates to this issue, is the increasing resolution of security and other cameras in common use today. High quality security cameras - especially those who use IP or wireless transmission, are subject to being intercepted by thieves whose intent is to steal from the pubic. With the "Sneakey" or similar software and a frame capture of video from an high definition parking lot camera, someone could extract a copy of your keys, then track your home address down with a photo of your license plate from the same clip. Quality ignition locks are using better security with the insertion of magnets or IC chips within the key that makes it much harder to copy, but the aforementioned photo process might also make your business, house, or tool chest keys available to those who would make your loss their gain. It certainly makes one think, doesn't it?


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The YXZ Report

by Kent Randles K7YXZ CBRE
Chapter Secretary/Newsletter Editor secretary
SBE Chapter 123

LIFE WITH HDTV
My wife and I have been watching a borrowed HD projector fed by an HDTV DVR for a few months now. We have never had satellite, and haven't had cable since 1995, so we use an antenna in our attic. The planets aligned last week and we bought a 1080p LCD TV. Soon we'll have an audio receiver to decode HDMI into 5.1 and we'll be ready for the transition - which is now not required until June 12th.
KPXG 22 already made the switch to digital, turning off their HD on channel 4, their analog on 22, and turning on their HD on 22.

However, most of the full-power Portland TV stations made the switch on the 17th anyway, primarily because three of them want to go back to their VHF channels: KGW 8, KOPB-TV 10, and KPTV 12. There are several hoops the FCC wants the folks who switch on the original date to jump through, including running 120 public service announcements before February 17th.

What the strung-out transition dates do is confuse the hell out of the normal off-air viewer, who has to have their HDTV or converter box re-scan on February 18th and then every time they are missing a channel, assuming they know they’re missing something. To add to the confusion, Comcast is forcing some of its subscribers to install its digital set-top boxes to get 9 of the 36 Limited Basic
The "Nightlight" program was going to give some stations an additional 30 days to keep their analog going after February 17th. Now it's going to be a mix of analog and digital channels staying on until June.

There is a good article about this at www.broadcastingcable.com "FCC Releases Rules For Stations Sticking to Feb 17 Date." Thanks to the CGC Communicator for the link.

Finally, there are going to be a lot of folks without cable or converter boxes who are going to be unable to time-shift programs with their VCRs. There's a rumor that the scarce DVRs with HDTV tuners will quickly re-appear in stores. TiVo, Comcast, Dish Network, and DirecTV have had the market cornered.

LIFE WITH HD RADIO
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

The NABEF to Host SBE Career Day at the NAB Show 2009

Looking for a job in the broadcast industry?
We have them here!
On Air, Sales, Promotions, Technology, Engineering, and many more fields!

The NAB Education Foundation, in partnership with the Broadcasters Education Association and the Radio and Television News Directors Association, will host its annual Career Day on April 22, 2009 at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel, during the NAB Show. This very special career planning opportunity will provide both entry level and experienced job seekers the tools they need to achieve their career goals, especially in these hard economic times.

We have more than 50 recruiters with job opportunities at Career Day! Come meet with broadcast and technology companies who are eager to interview job seekers. The day-long event will also include informative sessions including “How to get your first Job in Broadcast,” “Standing out in a Competitive Market,” “Hot jobs in Technology” and “Getting Back in the Job Search Game”

Attending this year’s Career Day at the NAB Show will be more important than ever before. There will be plenty of resources to help you succeed in this economy. Register now!

To Register: go to this link at registration.experient-inc.com/ShowNAB091
(Enter Source Code: MC09)

For more information on Career Day 2009: go to this link at www.nab.org

 

SBE Short Circuits: SBE University Offers 8-VSB Course

by John Poray

The SBE has introduced the fourth course in its SBE University series of on-line, on-demand courses for broadcast engineers . The SBE 8-VSB Course is written by Douglas W. Garlinger, CPBE, 8VSB, CBNT, a Fellow in the Society of Broadcast Engineers and Senior Broadcast Engineer for Qualcomm Media FLO.

The purpose of the SBE 8-VSB course is to give the student an overview of the 8-VSB system from end to end, providing all of the basic information he or she will need to understand the nature of 8-VSB modulation and to recognize deficiencies in the transmitted signal. This information will be invaluable in installing, maintaining and operating a digital television transmitter facility.  Much of the material contained in this course will aid the student in his or her efforts to obtain the SBE 8-VSB Specialist Certification.

 

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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Etc.

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.