This Month's Stories

Last updated:
April 2, 2008


Newsletter Archive

Contact Us

April 2008 Newsletter

SBE Chapter 48 / SMPTE Rocky Mountain Section

March 2007 Meeting Report

HDTV Measurement Update and Tour of KUSA

Date:           Tuesday March 18, 2008
Location:     KUSA, 500 E Speer Blvd, Denver, CO 80203
Time:           6:15 PM Refreshments, 6:45 PM Presentation
Topic:          HDTV Measurement Update and Tour of KUSA
Presenters: Donald Martens, Leader Instruments (HDTV Measurements)
                    and Don Hayford (KUSA tour)
Sponsor:     Burst Communications is sponsoring the meeting and providing refreshments.
Host:           We would like to thank Ken Highberger and Don Hayford of KUSA
                    for hosting the meeting and providing a tour of their facilities.

Synopsis:    In his presentation Donald reviewed the elements of SD and HD signals and how they are constructed. He discussed such topics as RGB levels, color gamut, legalizing, and on-picture measurement. He also covered serializing and eye pattern measurements and demonstrate some tools for making HDTV measurements.

Following the presentation Don Hayford led a tour of KUSA.

Presenter Biography: Donald Martens holds the BS degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California and an MBA from the Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine. Over the course of his career he has worked in semiconductors, consumer electronics, and test and measurement equipment. His past employers include S3 Inc, Creative Labs, and Micronas Semiconductors. He is currently a Marketing and Applications Engineer with Leader Instruments.


Return to table of contents

Random Radio Thoughts

Cris Alexander, CPBE, AMD
Crawford Broadcasting Company

Cu Theft Update
Last month, I related the saga of the ongoing copper theft issue at one of our AM directional sites. It took the better part of a month to get the damage fixed, but the station is back to full power now. We have installed a killer video surveillance system as well as a monitored alarm system that includes each tower base. “Prison fences” were installed at each tower base, including barbed wire and razor wire atop each fence and several electric fence conductors inside each fence. The idea is to force would-be thieves to use the gates, which are alarmed. If they cut through the fence fabric and try to squeeze through, they’re going to get zapped by one of the energized electric fence wires. If they try to go over the top, it’s a Cuisinart experience.

The icing on the cake is a 24-foot-square two-inch-thick layer of asphalt on top of the ground screen at each tower base.

transmitter fence

All this was a ton of work. In addition to all the security measures, we replaced the ground screens, ground rings and repaired a lot of radials. And of course we bonded the fence fabric to the ground system. We used a lot of acetylene and brazing rods.

We hired “rent-a-cops” (real ones, with guns and badges) to sit at the site during the overnight periods while there was exposed copper on the ground.

So far, so good. Stay tuned.

While we haven’t had a lot of radio station copper theft here along the Front Range, don’t think it can’t happen. I recently watched a story on the local news where Colorado farmers trying to fire up their irrigation rigs for the spring found the control wiring all ripped out. Last fall, we heard similar stories from some of the quarries along U.S. 85 and the South Platte. Copper thieves had stolen the 480-volt wiring that feeds their conveyors. Sooner or later, they’re going to discover that tower sites, particularly AM tower sites, are a virtual copper mine. We’d better be thinking about that and how we can protect our sites now.

Transmitter Trouble?
Did you notice something strange about KOA during the middle couple of weeks of March? I certainly did. The digital was in and out and the analog audio was noticeably distorted. At times the signal was weak, fading out under bridges and wires – something we’re not accustomed to with KOA. The story I got was that the DX-50 developed some sort of modulation problem that produced the distortion. KOA operated for a good bit of time on the old Continental 317. My guess is that their electric bill for March will be a little bit bigger than usual.

DA Tune Up
Tim Cutforth got the 10 kW daytime pattern of the new KCKK (1510 kHz) array tuned up just fine, but he’s having a time of it with the 25 kW nighttime array. The day pattern uses three of the four towers in a northeast-southwest “butterfly” pattern with 120 mV nulls. The night pattern is a tight northeast-southwest “propeller” with much tighter (52 mV) nulls. Tim reports that the issue appears to be reradiation. He can get all but one radial adjusted down; if he adjusts that last radial down, the others come up.

In late March, Crawford cooperated with Tim and the KCKK folks by floating all four towers of the nearby KLVZ (810) nighttime array and then the two towers of the KLZ array. This had virtually no effect on the KCKK pattern, so both KLZ and KLVZ-N were eliminated as possible sources of reradiation. Next, Tim plans to enlist Brad Hart’s assistance. He needs to eliminate the two towers of the KKFN array as possible reradiators. Hopefully Brad has switchable ND modes he can easily use (as KLZ does). Until they get the pattern nailed, the station is operating on an STA with 19 kW at night.

I stopped by the KCKK site on March 26 to see how things were coming along. Roger Tighe gave me the quick tour. The site is very well done, the epitome of “good engineering practice.” But what I found most interesting was what the Fish and Game people forced them to do to the guy wires to protect migratory birds (the site sits on the west bank of the South Platte). They had to affix “bird reflectors,” small plastic tabs that reflect a certain wavelength of light during the day and that glow in the dark, on all but the bottom level of guy wires. Supposedly, these will make the guy wires visible to birds as they wing their way along the sand banks beside the river. Personally, I thought the black Phillystran cables were highly visible anyway during the day (much more so than standard steel guy cables). If you’re in the neighborhood (Riverdale Rd. north of 88th), swing by and take a look.

KFI Tower Collapse
Many of you may have heard about the collapse of the KFI tower in Los Angeles. A couple of years ago, the original tower was hit by a small plane and came down. Clear Channel has been fighting with the local authorities and FAA for permission to replace it. At long last, a somewhat shorter tower was approved and going back up when a turnbuckle failed, bringing the whole thing crashing down again. The threads on the lower turnbuckle rod stripped off when the third level guy wires were being tensioned. No one knows why at this point (defective steel? incorrect thread size?). The new tower is a total loss. It looks like it’s going to be a while before they get the mess cleaned up and a new tower fabricated. Clearly the whole elevated guy anchor (where the turnbuckle rod failed) will have to be reengineered.

Photos are available online at: Many thanks to Dino, K6RIX, for providing these photos.

If you have news to share with the Rocky Mountain radio engineering community, drop me an email at


Return to table of contents

The KE0VH Hamshack

Jack Roland
Entercom Denver

It has been an incredibly busy month in March,  from working with our new RDS system of which I will explain more in detail next month, to setting up a new Satellite show for our Entercom station KALC, Alice 105.9.  Jeff (KEØMT) my boss and I have been very busy with the Childrens Hospital remote for KALC, then the Saint Patricks day remote which both required ISDN and POTS hookups from the sites, and co-ordinating all of that with Qwest.  One of the neat new things we did this year is to provide, thru an internet connection, the ability for our on air folks to see the AudioVault (the main on air computer music and commercial machine) system so they had complete control of the station audio from the remote site.  Our IT guy Kris, KDØBTC, set this system up, along with the phone call screener software at the remote for control of the phone callers into the station.  I also have set up a new ISDN voice position for the weather people at KUSA Channel 9 here in Denver as they will be providing our stations with weather forecasts and live audio during drive times and had to co-ordinate that on a weeks notice, getting a Qwest ISDN line installed at the TV station and the associated gear together to make that happen.

Amateur Radio wise I am working on a cable to interface my Yaesu VX-6 with a computer for programming the radio and storing the frequency channel information with the free COMMANDER software available thru the internet in this case specifically for the VX-6.  The cable uses 2 2N7000 FET transistors, which are highly static sensitive, and while I could get the software to recognize the cable present, the radio wouldn’t talk to the computer.  So, I have a spare set of transistors to try another cable,  and hopefully will be able to get that to work soon.  If you would like the information on this, feel free to email me at

Paul Deeth, WA2YZT, who runs our “engineering” repeater here, has put on the air the first ALL DIGITAL repeater in Colorado at this point.  In the Denver area, it is on 446.9375, access code is NEC295 (we will have to have Paul explain that), uses the P25 modulation scheme, and is narrow band modulated at 12.5 khz.  I just had an “eyeball QSO” with Paul at HRO here in Denver, and we didn’t get too much of a chance to go into details, so I hope to write about this in more detail in the coming months.  The regular analog 146.805/447.175 repeater has had an issue or two crop up, mainly the UHF side becoming somewhat “deaf” and having some problems.  Paul is working on that.  The 2 meter side is working well though and all of us who use it are glad for the opportunity and to have a dual band repeater working is a real blessing to the ham community locally who use the machine.  The IRLP link also is an amazing feature and a great way to keep in touch with friends all across the country.  With the new HD transmitter building going up and all the new gear being installed, the repeater will have to move to the new building here in the near future.  I will keep you up to date on when that happens here.

I am a big fan of all things Titanic.  The ship that went down in April of 1912 had a great impact of course as we all know, including maritime radio operating and even Amateur Radio.  There are a few special event stations operating commemorating the event and I encourage those of you interested to check out the links on the web for the stations operating.  The Titanic Historical society will be operating W1MGY (MGY was the Titanics call letters) and they have a webpage with all the information at with operating times and frequencies.  I have worked this station and a few others in the past, and they all offer great certificates or QSL cards for the contacts.  The Titanic of course featured a state of the art in 1912 CW station on board, and unfortunately they had the opportunity to use the new SOS emergency call at that time.  The previous emergency call CQD (“come quickly danger”) was also used.  Next month, I will share an article about the special event station in April 2002 that although I didn’t get to work them on air, I still got the certificate and QSL card.  It is really a great story.

I have put up a webpage to show some of the interesting things I do both at work and in the KE0VH Hamshack.  Both professional and amateur pictures of interest will be posted.  I will be changing this from time to time so check in often.
And, as always, don’t forget about the SBE IRLP Hamnet we run the 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month on the WA2YZT repeater in Denver, and on the IRLP Reflector node 9615.  Details as always at, and at

73’ for this month



Return to table of contents


Compiled By Tom Weeden, WJ9H
From Chapter 24 - Madison

FCC denies return to Morse code requirement
In a "Memorandum Opinion and Order" (MOO) released February 28, the FCC denied two petitions calling for General or Amateur Extra license applicants to demonstrate proficiency in Morse code. In December 2006, the FCC released a "Report and Order" (R&O) in the "Morse code proceeding," WT Docket 05-235, that eliminated Morse code testing as of February 23, 2007.

In reaching this decision, the FCC noted in the R&O that "one of the fundamental purposes underlying our Part 97 rules is to accommodate amateur radio operators’ ability to contribute to the advancement of the radio art, and that the Commission had previously concluded that an individual’s ability to demonstrate Morse code proficiency is not necessarily indicative of his or her ability to contribute to the advancement of the radio art."

The FCC also noted that another fundamental purpose underlying Part 97 rules is "to enhance the value of the amateur service to the public, particularly with respect to emergency communications, and that the Commission had previously concluded that most emergency communication today is performed using voice, data, or video modes, because information can be exchanged much faster using modes of communication other than telegraphy."

In the wake of the FCC’s actions, two amateurs submitted separate petitions to the FCC, asking them to bring back the testing. Anthony R. Gordon, KG6EQM, of West Covina, California, objected to the FCC eliminating the telegraphy examination element as an examination requirement for the Amateur Extra Class operator license. Russell D. Ward, W4NI, of Nashville, Tennessee, requested the FCC reconsider their decision for "strictly procedural" reasons.

The FCC reiterated their prior conclusion that "an individual’s ability to demonstrate Morse code proficiency does not further the underlying purposes of the Part 97 rules, i.e., to accommodate individual contributions to the advancement of the radio art and to enhance the value of the amateur service to the public. Accordingly, we deny the petition."

In summary, the FCC said neither petition asserted "any grounds for reconsidering" the decision in the Report and Order. "We believe that the actions taken therein will allow amateur service licensees to better fulfill the purpose of the amateur service, and will enhance the usefulness of the amateur service to the public and licensees."

Local ham aids in rescue of accident victim
On Wednesday, Feb. 27, Brian Sprecher, KC9LCC, of Prairie Du Sac, received a radio call on the 147.150 Madison repeater requesting emergency help. Robert Stout, WB9ECK, of Monticello, told Sprecher that a vehicle had gone off the road through a guard rail, stopping short of a creek. The driver was injured and trapped in his vehicle and an ambulance was needed at the scene. Sprecher called the Dane County sheriff’s office to relay the information. Stout, via the repeater, kept Sprecher apprised of the driver’s injuries; Sprecher, in turn, updated the sheriff’s dispatch with the information. Stout remained at the scene providing aid until local police arrived.

Sprecher relayed all information to the dispatcher until local authorities arrived and assumed control. "It sounds like the guy drove off the road through a guard rail and may have not been found had it not been for WB9ECK. It was also unknown how long the driver had been over the embankment before being found. This could have been a lot worse had WB9ECK not become involved," Sprecher said.

Excerpts from the American Radio Relay League’s Web site,


Return to table of contents

Clay’s Corner

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

By Clay Freinwald
SBE Seattle Chapter 16

Ah, April…..The time of year when we in the PNW are able to get a preview of what sunshine is all about as we make the annual trek to the NAB Convention in Las Vegas.   Seems like I have been doing this for at least a century now.   Actually I have to be there for all of the SBE doings, starting with the BOD meeting on Sunday morning.  This year there will be 3 events just involving EAS, don’t forget the annual SBE Membership Meeting on Tuesday early evening!...Stop by the SBE Booth for more info.

Around this neck of the woods, at this writing, we are still having winter in the mountains that has resulted in access to a number of our mountain top sites being very difficult.  It’s been years since we have had a winter like this.    I expect that everyone will be quite busy at these locations repairing the damage.   Now we are hearing that we are actually entering a period of global cooling…Who knows ?

Speaking of towers and damage….You may have heard that KFI, in LA, finally received permission to replace their tower that was downed by an aircraft a few years ago.  The new structure, however was not to be quite as tall.   Well this story, unfortunately, has a local connection.   It seems that the new tower was about 300 feet up when something broke and it came crashing down.  The erection crew was from Seacomm Erectors in Sultan, Wa.   The good news is that there was only one injury and reportedly it was not life threatening.

Over at South Mountain, as site that I recently showed pictures of at a Chapter meeting, winter has proved to be a bit too much there also.  Looks like beefier antennas on the tower and much stronger ice fall protection for the stuff on the ground are the order of the day….When…we can drive in.  At this writing, it’s still snow-cat only.

Bill Wolfenbarger, CE of KOL many moons ago, has been busy with his Jodesha Broadcasting company in SW  Washington recently adding KANY-FM on 93.7 in Ocean Shores to his stable of stations.

Finally…..The FCC approved the sale of KIRO,KTTH and KBSG from Entercom to Bonneville.  This only took over a year.    I recall setting here at this computer talking about radio consolidation and how Entercom had put together an 8 station cluster in our town making them the big frog in the Radio biz.  Back then everyone was wondering who would buy who etc.    Now Bonneville is back with 3 stations (what they had before, except they got back a different FM) and Entercom is half the size it once was.

I understand that Bonneville recently opened their checkbook for another station, this time something just north of 137 megabucks for one in L.A.

Meanwhile, Entercom’s facility over at Met Park West, is undergoing a considerable amount of remodeling….as they say, it will be nice when it’s done.

It appears that the print media is starting to ratchet up their amount of info regarding to coming demise to NTSC.   Meanwhile along the Mexican Border, things are a bit different.   There is an effort in Congress to try and delay the change due to the high number of OTA viewers.

Received a nice note from Steve Sibulsky in response to my comments about the old KBRD site on 3-Sisters Mountain near Enumclaw.  I passed this on to John Price who was the CE when that site was de-commissioned, resulting in communications between these two folks.   Nice to know that our little column is able to help with the communications.

After many years on the Olympia water front, KGY is going to be moving….well not by much…about 600 feet to make room for expansion of the port.   I recall visiting that facility many years ago, when it was new….and then again last year.   To be honest I thought I had traveled back in time as so little had changed over the years.

Finally had a chance to get over to Woodinville to visit the new digs of Westlake Electronics.   Very nice indeed and a far cry from the old store on Westlake.  I’m sure they are getting lots of remarks about their name, perhaps some suggestions that they should call it Eastlake Electronics due to the new location.  Understand they are making up for the relatively distant location by having routine visits from one of their staff to stations in the ‘old-country’.  This will take some getting used to.   We do wish them the best.   BTW…I timed my trip from Woodinville back to Met Park – 30 minutes.   This was, of course during the middle of the day via the 520 bridge.

If you have an HD Radio you may have noted the every increasing number of HD Stations in the low/NCE end of the FM band – Here is a list –

88.5 – KPLU – West Tiger
89.5 -  KNHC –Cougar
90.1 -  KMSW – Mt Vernon
90.3 – KEXP – Seattle
90.7 – KSER – Lynwood/Montlake Terrace
91.7 – KXOT – Tacoma/Federal Way

When I discovered KEXP the other day, I quickly checked the Ibiquity web-site and found they were not listed.

It’s getting harder and harder to find an FM, anywhere, that is not running HDR.   Perhaps you have noted that more and more automobile makers are getting on the band-wagon with Mercedes and Hyundai the latest to announce that they will offer the mode in their new vehicles.

With the DOJ approving the merger of Sirius and XM, the merger of the two Sat-Casters is moving closer to conclusion.   Now the pressure is on the FCC to approve it.   I still recall seeing the banner flying from the front of the NAB building in WDC proclaiming their opposition.

SBE is moving forward with their new Marketing Committee.  The goal of this group is to increase the visibility of SBE beyond the existing membership base.   Look for a new, on-line, publication called ‘SBE-News’ in a computer near you.

Could there be an expansion of the existing FM band?   That’s a question that many are asking as TV vacates the spectrum that has long been known as TV Channels 5 & 6.   There is a lot of chatter now about expanding the band down-ward to 76 Mhz.  Seems to me that this movement might be a bit late because I’m sure that there are plenty of wantabees that would love to see this spectrum put to other uses.   Time will tell on this one.

Not often a broadcast equipment manufacturer puts out a recall notice.   In this case, BE has done just that with the announcement that they are recalling a number of Interlock/Safety switches used on a variety of their transmitters.  If you have a BE transmitter, you might wish to check with the factory to see if your rig is effected.  Information is posted on their web-site.

A mid-March report noted that Fox was the most watched TV Network.  Likely due to their very popular Idol program.   After all these years of the big-3…..!

Remember the KKOL operation from the ship in Elliott bay?   The station was using a Valcom antenna, one of the first to do so.  Now the FCC has adopted new application procedures for using the AM antenna above 1200 kHz.   Jim Dalke, our Chapter President, can tell us a lot about this.

Something interesting taking place in Oregon.  The OAB (Oregon Association of Broadcasters) are offering scholarships to a Harris RF School.   IMHO, this is very cool.  I know that SBE has been trying to work to a greater extent with the State Associations, hats off to the OAB for this move.   FYI – I understand from Andy Skotdal (KRKO) that this is a discussion item for the spring WSAB agenda.

The recent sex-scandal involving the New York Governor certainly caught the attention of many broadcasters.   When the Gov. was Attorney General of NY, he was very hard on a number of broadcasters re. payola costing them great sums of money.

Jumping on the – Green – bandwagon is Direlectric with claims that it’s new FM/HD antenna improves efficiency compared to other methods.   Wonder if other equipment makers will adopt the –Green- claim.   Perhaps we will see some of that at NAB?

The continued 2 Gig BAS Relocation story gets another chapter with the word that the FCC might extend the deadline to March 5 of 2009.     In the mean time, I noted that Sprint-Nextel are suffering financially.

Looks like AT&T is not hurting for $$$$.  It was recently announced that they will making a down-payment of 1.3 Billion for spectrum they have won in an auction…The balance, a paltry $5.3 Billion will be paid on or before April 17th.   Yikes !

The FCC, long known for throwing the book at operators of unlicensed/pirate radio stations have apparently been softening their ways.   Recently the operator of an unlicensed station in Lancaster, Ca. was able to get his 10K fine reduced to $100.  I’m sure that this move will go a long way toward encouraging more of these folks to get on the air.   Heck, $100 is a cheap price to pay for doing your own thing in the face of the rules and not much of a deterrent.

Localism is going to be one of the hot topics in the coming months with the NAB urging Broadcasters to file comments with the FCC in trhe matter.

Some time back I sprinkled some humor in this column by using variations of words used to describe elements to depict human activity.   For example – Govermentium could be used to describe the output of some branch of government.    As the political season ramps up, it’s time for another lesson:

  • BILLCLINTIUM - An important element, especially when combined with Hilliaranium.
  • VERBOSITE – Generally found near government activity.  It becomes more active every 4 years, emits a strong odor.
  • BUSHSTUPIDIUM – A substance who’s half-life will end in early 2009.  Been known to adhere to boots.
  • POLITICIUM – Contains a great deal of gas with only trace amounts of substance.
  • BUDWEISIUM – A substance consumed in greater quantities during contesting events involving teams of participants.  Reportedly it can dilute the effects of Politicuim.
  • OBAMAMAINIUM – A relatively new substance, dark in color, attracts other elements.
  • LIMBAUGHHIUM – A heavy element, acidic, emits a great deal of heat but little light.  Can best be observed by devices able to detect polarizers.

I’d better quit while I am ahead –


See ya next month-

Clay, CPBE, K7CR


Return to table of contents


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

Chapter 124 now has 50 members, and 24 of them hold SBE Certifications!  Eight members live in Washington.  Even though I joined SBE in 1979, I only have the fourth lowest number.  Carl Bahner, who joined in 1965, has the lowest membership number:  288.

Holding at 12 FM HD signals (nine with HD2, and one with HD3) and three AM HD signals on the air in the Portland market. Go here for a complete list. 

So that the Entercom-Portland FM stations' web sites complied with the requirement to provide Sound Exchange with album and label information for each song streamed, I upgraded our versions of The Radio Experience software that drives RDS (Radio Data Service) for analog FM and PSD (Program Service Data) for HD Radio.  Now you can see the album information (if available to/from the database) while listening to HD-1 on some HD Radio car stereos - at least the Kenwood and JVC models.

Contract engineer James Boyd K7MKN has an interesting story about HD Radio:  "I noticed something really interesting Saturday [February 16th].  I drove to Junction City (just north of Eugene) on 99W from Rickreall, listening to KGON.  When I started getting close to Junction City (7 or 8 miles away), the HD started dropping out and soon KGON went away, replaced by religious music.  I was a bit shocked.  Turns out there is an LPFM in Harrisburg, just north of Junction City:

KHRB-LP   222 L1 FL  92.3 MHz LIC  HARRISBURG  OR US    BMLL-20050421ABN  -  

The really interesting thing though, was every once in awhile as I drove along my radio would begin decoding KGON's HD and lock on and there it was in place of them, clear as a bell."

When we first turned on KGON's HD transmitter, and before I had an HD radio in my vehicle, I heard the HD signal capture the analog signal for a moment while I was driving to the transmitter.  Because KGON uses its backup antenna for the HD, the coverage is very different between the analog and the HD, there are some spots close-in where the analog to HD ratio is way less than 20 dB.
NPR is selling HD Radios on its website at

(From Bill Johnstone, President/CEO, OAB)
The OAB Board of Directors has authorized up to five (5) $2,000 scholarships to help cover costs for Entry-level Technicians to attend the Harris Corporation RF-101 Classes in Quincy, Illinois.
The OAB hears weekly, as do the other state broadcast associations, that we collectively need more and better trained Broadcast Engineers.  The OAB Board of Directors take these comments seriously, and it's the hopes of the Board that we'll have many well-qualified candidates for these five scholarships.
While this year's engineering scholarships are for Radio, the Board is researching similar programs for Television in the future.
We look forward to receiving your nominations, and look forward to playing a significant role in helping alleviate the shortage of well-trained Broadcast Engineers in Oregon.
RF101 is an in-depth 5-Day Course covering the basics of RF technology specifically applied to AM and FM radio broadcasters.  Here’s how the scholarship works.

  • Anyone who works for an Oregon Association of Broadcasters member station, either as an employee or as an independent contractor under contract, is eligible.
  • To be eligible, applicants must have an understanding of basic AC and DC theory and circuits.
  • All applicants must submit a written essay, 1500 words or less, of why a career in broadcast engineering is important to them and to our society.   In addition applicants shall submit a resume of experience and education.
  • Candidates will be chosen by a committee appointed by the board of directors of the Association.
  • The OAB will provide up to $2,000 for each candidate’s registration at the Harris School and to help pay for transportation to Quincy, Illinois, and for lodging and meals while at the school.

Radio World has a very cool story about the now-quiet Voice of America site in Delano, CA.  I visited its almost-twin in Dixon, CA in the late sixties, and again after it was closed.  Both were built during WWII. If you have never been in a shortwave transmitting center, much less an operating one with 10 transmitters (three of them pre-microprocessor auto-tuning Collins 250 kW units), an antenna switching matrix, a curtain array, a bunch of rhombics, and a klaxon that sounds when one of the transmitters dumps, it is beyond description for anyone who likes transmitters.  Imagine watching "Valleri" by the Monkees modulate a 100 kW GE shortwave transmitter.  See

Mike Steiner KD6LVP, who works for KATU sent to me a picture from February of a site they use on Goat Mountain.  Note that one could walk, probably with snowshoes, right over the fence


Return to table of contents

Static Line – Noise from All Over

R. W. Abraham
SBE Chapter 3

Congratulations to Robert Nelson, CSTE, CBNT! Robert successfully tested for each of the previous certifications, and has demonstrated his proficiency at his trade. He is certified because he studied to insure his success in testing and because he made the time to do it. How about you? Are you SBE Certified? Do you know the advantages of being certified?
It's that little edge that says: "I know my stuff, and my peers in this field say I do as well"!

The ice storms in mid and late December caused KPTS-TV8 untold troubles.
Bob Locke writes:"The ice storm has dealt us a nasty blow up at Hutchinson where our transmitter is. I've been working day and night between up there and here in Wichita. We're on day three being off the air with no power at Hutch. It came back yesterday afternoon, I got analog back up almost to full power, after some struggles, and a huge power surge hit and blew all the MOV's out of the Harris transmitter. Power went out at that point and has not come back. Spent several hours replacing MOV's with a headlight type flashlight last night hoping things will work when the power comes back, but I'm expecting big problems after the power surge. The DTV transmitter was running low power before the power hit and I didn't even have time to look into that issue.

Channel 8's problems were magnified this past Sunday when ice fell from the Hutch tower and smashed into the ice bridge about 6 feet from the building, smashing through the ice shield and hitting our analog 3" line feeding the antenna. (The) outer was smashed into the inner resulting in a massive worst case VSWR. 30kw of peak visual power suddenly saw a direct short. The transmitter did shut down but took several 1000 watt amps with it. ( I ) got a replacement 20' 3-1/8" Marmon clamp line from Precision Communications in Grove, Ok. Got it installed on Tuesday afternoon and got back on the air. As you can imagine, I'm still repairing Harris amps. Our DTV line was also hit and dented but ( I ) haven't replaced it yet. Our roof was destroyed also. (The) roof (was) only about three years old but huge holes penetrated clear through the roof. Roofers will be here today to put a temporary cover over it until it can be totally replaced, probably next spring."

A Report on DTV Transition ...................... Tuesday February 14, your editor and Philip Brown, SKT Companies Cable TV Services Manager, whose domain includes Leon, KS, gave about 25 Leon Senior Center luncheon attendees a program on the Analog - DTV coupon program. There were quite a few good questions fielded during and after the program. People are interested, especially those on satellite who have been receiving local broadcast channels from their own rooftop antenna.

An article in the Wichita Eagle recently indicated the NTIA will soon begin mailing the $40 coupons to those who have previously applied for them in the Wichita area; they are intended to assist in the purchase of the Analog TV to Digital TV converter boxes, and must be used within 90 days of being received.

Toshiba has thrown in the towel on their HD-DVD program. This effectively means a win for Sony's Blu-Ray DVD system, endorsed just a few days ago by WalMart in the USA, and previously endorsed by other retailers. This struggle for market dominance is somewhat reminiscent of the VHS-BetaMax tape format wars several years ago. Evidently, Sony Corporation learned well from that lesson.

Reference black as defined by the US Standards Bureau may soon be redefined. Using nano-tube construction, scientists have developed a new paper thin material that absorbs light at an efficiency rate of 99.955%. This is about 30 times darker than the present government standard for black, and is said to give those gazing at the material a dizzying sense of nothingness. Scientists are quite busy investigating this and another form of this phenomenon, and the implications to military stealth work could be enormous. Further work is being done on a material that "bends light rays backward", a feat thought to be impossible until the last few years. If it can be done, it would effectively create a "cloak of invisibility".

Hello, Harry Potter! 


Return to table of contents

DTV Change-Over News

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

Applying for converter box coupons:
Phone: 800-DTV-2009

Stations needing DTV education graphics for their Web site:

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


Return to table of contents

SBE News

College Credit for Your SBE Certification:

College Credit for Your SBE Certification The Society of Broadcast Engineers and Excelsior College have teamed up! Your current SBE Certification may qualify for credit towards a degree from Excelsior College or could help you finish that degree youíve been working on at another institution. If youíre 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 or, or contact the SBE National Office for a copy. When youíve 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

SBE CertPreview Software

SBE CertPreview sample certification test software is now available. It’s Microsoft Windows-based and replaces the previous DOS-based software. New sample tests are available for Broadcast Technologist, Audio Engineer, Video Engineer, Broadcast Networking Technologist, Broadcast Engineer and Senior Broadcast Engineer in both radio and television. Sample tests include 50 to 100 questions and indicate when an incorrect answer has been given. It provides a list of resources from which to learn more about a subject. Cost for each SBE CERTpreview practice test is $27 plus $3 shipping. Contact the National Office to order a copy.

Certification Exam Session Dates:

The SBE National Certification Committee certification exam session dates for 2008 are listed below. Check the list below for the exam period that is best for you. For more information about SBE Certification, see your Chapter Certification Chair or contact Megan Clappe, Certification Director at the SBE National Office at (317) 846-9000, or

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

Fees for 2007 are as Follows:

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

Please note: SBE Certification exams are administered only by SBE and are proctored in-person by qualified and approved representatives of SBE. No other organization is authorized to administer SBE exams.
Click here for more information about SBE Certification.


Return to table of contents


Newsletter Committee

Bill Harris - Editor In Chief
  (505) 767-6735

  Garneth M. Harris

  Tom Goldberg - On-Line Editor

We encourage your feedback and submissions, please contact us through our web form and select "Newsletter Feedback" from the reason pop-up menu.

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.