This Month's Stories
June 12, 2007
June 2007 Newsletter
SBE Chapter 48 / SMPTE Rocky Mountain Section
May 2007 Meeting Report
Addressing the New World of DTV Multichannel Audio
Date: Thursday, May 17, 2007
Location: KRMA-TV, 1089 Bannock Street, Denver,
CO 80204 (Parking Available - see below)
Steve Strassberg of Strassberg Associates representing Linear
Acoustic, discussed solutions to problems
world of multichannel audio. Over ten years since the
ATSC officially published audio standards for
digital television, issues discussed included the state of audio today
and problems related to level and image
shifts, diversity in how digital audio is handled, and solutions to these
new audios issues in a DTV world. Discussion covered the standards, tools
and techniques that are being refined to solve some of these issues and
the remaining problems.
Our sincere thanks to 5280 Broadcast/BTSI
for their sponsorship and speaker coordination and to John Anderson
of KRMA for hosting this meeting.
Respects Paid to George Sollenberger,
We sadly note the passing of George Sollenberger,
Jr. George was a broadcast engineer for over 38 years, starting in radio
with KOA and then in television at KCNC. In an article published in 1995
he recalled working with one of the first Ampex videotape machines, splicing
2" tape with a razor blade and developing solution.
George Sollenberger receives Lifetime Achievement Award
in February 2002 from KUSA President, Roger Ogden and
Rocky Mtn. Section Chair, Rome Chelsi
The Section honored George and a career
which began as the first HAM radio operator on the air in WWII in Europe.
In addition to his long tenure with KOA and KCNC, George provided over
10 years of service as an active participant with the SMPTE Board of
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Random Radio Thoughts
Cris Alexander, CPBE, AMD
Crawford Broadcasting Company
How Slow Can They Go?
It has now been over sixty days since the FCC commissioners voted to approve
new rules for terrestrial digital radio. When we got the word of this in late
March, those of us who had invested heavily in HD Radio technology breathed
a sigh of relief. At long last the wait was over. We could soon begin AM nighttime
HD Radio operation, for better or for worse (no way to know until we try,
right?). But here we are, more than two months later and still the Report
and Order has not been released. We’re still waiting.
Some FCC staffers were reportedly less than thrilled about the rulemaking,
particularly the AM nighttime authorization. They undoubtedly expect a lot
of interference complaints, legitimate and otherwise. I can’t help but
wonder if the staff is now dragging its heels on the R&O to buy itself
more time to prepare for the complaints. Whatever the case, they can’t
put it off forever. My company has already begun lobbying the commissioners
to light a fire under their staff. Even if the R&O comes out this month,
we are still at least 30 days away from “throwing the switch” at
that point. Due process requires a wait time of 30 days after publication
in the Federal Register.
Many of you no doubt saw, heard or read news reports about the wildfire
that swept across Santa Catalina Island in mid-May. It is still unclear how
the fire started, but it swept through the KBRT transmitter site, which is
located in the interior of the island between Avalon and the airport. Our
chief engineer, Bill Agresta, had religiously maintained the fire breaks on
our property. There was a large cleared area around all our buildings, towers
and guy anchors. As a result, our site was relatively unaffected… that
is except for having no power and no phone lines. Sixty plus Edison poles
were burned in the fire and while the utility is hard at work in getting them
back up, it’s going to take awhile.
This disaster has required extraordinary efforts on the part of engineers
and others in our company. With T1, ISDN and POTS lines all out for several
weeks, we have no STL. In years past, we used a 950 MHz over-the-air STL system,
but the long, over-water path was unreliable at best. Multipath from the wave
tops, inversion layers and other propagation anomalies required a sophisticated
diversity system that only somewhat mitigated the path problems. In 2000,
we went to a T1-based STL system that has worked very well ever since – until
the trunk cables on the island melted, that is. KBRT is on the air now using
a Ku-band satellite link as an STL. Thank God we had an uplink transmitter
at the studio!
Many of the national programs we air on KBRT come in on satellite, and
the C-band downlink is located at the transmitter site on the island. With
no way to backfeed these programs to the studio, we have had to employ yet
another Ku-band channel, bringing the programs down on C-band in our Detroit
cluster and putting them back up on Ku-band from there. Again, a cooperative
effort within our company to keep KBRT running.
With no power at the site (and like the phone lines, this is going to take
awhile), we have been forced to rely on our standby generator, a 20-year-old
Onan. Running on it full-time has presented some challenges. Fuel consumption
is a problem, and it has been a real challenge keeping fuel in the 500-gallon
tank. So far, so good, thanks to our friends at the Santa Catalina Island
Company. Then in late May, the field winding opened up. That problem turned
out to be the result of corrosion, a tiny spot of exposed enameled wire that
corroded in two. Fortunately, other than a disassembly of the generator itself
that involved a lot of hammering, the fix was fairly easy and the station
lost only one day of airtime because of the generator failure. We have since
had a trailer-mounted diesel generator barged over to our site to serve as
For now, KBRT is on the air at full power and operating more or less
normally. CE Bill Agresta, who lives at the site, is now the full-time transmitter
operator (no remote control). Because he runs the generator only during
daytime hours to conserve fuel, living at the KBRT site with no power and
is a bit like camping out indoors. He has a 3 kW gasoline generator to
keep the lights and refrigerator running after hours, but it doesn’t
make hot water or run the stove.
While this is not a disaster on the scale of Katrina, it has been quite
an ordeal. Hopefully the power will be back on soon and things will begin
to level out. In the meantime, anyone up for a little Catalina vacation?
I mentioned last month about the construction cranes that have been giving
the KLDC daytime facility grief. We have since made a lot of field intensity
measurements (including a set through the Black Hills of South Dakota),
adjusted the pattern and filed a set of four augmentations. Hopefully we’ll
get a quick grant and get KLDC back to full power. As expected, the conductivity
through the granite-filled Black Hills measured very low, on the order
1.5 mS/m. That pushed the co-channel KBHB contours way, way back, providing
some breathing room for KLDC.
If you have news to share with the Rocky Mountain radio engineering community, drop me an email at
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SBE Opposes Live Code Testing of EAS
Indianapolis - May 25, 2007 - The Society of Broadcast Engineers
(SBE) announced its opposition to the use of real or live NWRSAME codes for
system tests of the public warning system by National Weather Service (NWS)/NOAA
Weather Radio (NWR) and some local authorities.
Alerts from the NWS, some local authorities and the Emergency Alert System
(EAS) using real emergency event codes, when no actual emergency exists, have
recently been used in some communities to test consumer receivers. The NWS
is recommending the practice be expanded nationwide. While stated NWS policy
establishes that approval for NWS live code testing is up to the state and
local EAS committees, some committees are not being consulted or do not understand
that they may decline the request. Local emergency officials also may not
fully understand the implications of the request and may participate without
realizing the serious negative results. The SBE asserts that these cry-wolf
alerts will potentially cause public alarm, weaken confidence in the EAS for
real alerts and discourage broadcaster’s involvement with volunteer
Broadcasters and cable systems decode the EAS data and send the information
directly to scrolling messages on TV screens and radios. One result of live-code
tests would be that TV’s viewed by the deaf and hard of hearing, and
TVs in public places would not show any indication that the message is not
a real alert. In addition, those receiving emergency messages through the
Internet, PDAs, cell phones, programmable road signs, highway advisory radio,
lottery terminals and shopping center marquee signs will not know the message
was simply a test. The SBE says the negative effect of live-code testing outweighs
the benefits of testing the public’s weather alert radios.
SBE President Chriss Scherer, CPBE CBNT, said, "There is a national effort
to update EAS and NWR data standards with a technology called Common Alerting
Protocol (CAP). CAP will allow a visual scroll of the same information as
in the audio message, and the SBE suggests that such a technology—when
in common use—will be better suited to live-code tests."
The Society of Broadcast Engineers is the professional organization for
radio and television engineers and those in related fields. SBE has more than
5,700 members in 112 chapters across the United States. SBE offers the largest
and most recognized certification program for broadcast engineers, operators
and technicians, with more than 5,000 certifications currently active.
NEWS RELEASE Contact: John L. Poray, CAE, Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
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SBE Presents RF Safety Course
The Society of Broadcast Engineers will present the SBE RF Safety Course
on Wednesday, June 27. The course will be presented via
webcast from 2:00 pm to 5:30 pm EDT. 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 noted
RF safety expert, Richard Strickland of RF Safety Solutions.
The SBE RF Safety Course provides an overview of RF radiation issues for
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 including Transmitter Sites, SNG and ENG trucks, Remote
operations (where news personnel can find problems such as on rooftops), and
the unique issues at AM stations
RF hazard protection equipment - you may not need it but your contractors
Signs - what they mean and what you need
Each participant will receive a course “hand-out” via e-mail prior
to 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.
Teaching Method & Technology
To accommodate the anticipated interest in this course, we encourage that
SBE chapters, broadcast stations or companies host the course at a suitable
training site where local members or employees can be accommodated. At each
site, 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 a telephone
line and should be amplified as needed for the size of the audience. Log in
sites are limited for the course. Since there are costs for Internet and telephone
connections to present the course, pricing is set to encourage group settings.
Each site will be given a participant code, a web address and a toll-free
telephone number to access the course. Each site that logs in provides a name
for the telephone connection and logs in with a name, e-mail address and SBE
chapter number, station call sign or company name for the video component.
The course makes use of MS Power Point and is interactive - questions can
be asked at any time during the course.
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SBE to Offer New Specialist Certification
Following recent changes in the FCC rules recognizing the viability of
digital radio and the official endorsement of multicasting, the National
Certification Committee of the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) is
proud to announce its next specialist certification, Digital Radio Broadcast
This specialist certification will qualify an individual's knowledge
of digital radio broadcasting including audio processing, studio-to-transmitter
links and transmission of multi-channel digital program streams. The
roll-out of this specialist certification will be during the SBE National
Meeting, held in conjunction with SBE Chapter 20’s, Pittsburgh Regional
Convention, October 10-11, 2007, in Monroeville, PA.
SBE President, Chriss Scherer, CPBE CBNT remarked that, “while broadcast
and media engineering continues to evolve to cover a broad range of technologies,
certain aspects of broadcast engineering have a specific and specialized knowledge
base. This is why the Specialist Certifications were developed.”
The specialist will include knowledge of importers, exporters, the various
methods of combining analog and digital transmitters to antenna systems, delivery
of digital audio signals and data to transmitter sites, transmitter emission
mask measurements, AM and FM FCC rules, monitoring of digital signals and
bandwidth requirements for AM antenna systems.
Digital audio broadcasting (DAB) enhances a broadcast licensee’s ability
to not only better serve the public, but to provide means of additional revenue
in this highly competitive industry. Station owners will rely on the knowledge
and expertise of station technicians and engineers to implement this service
for their companies. With this specialist certification, the engineer or technician
carries the credentials needed for successful installation of digital radio
transmission systems. The specialist certification will focus on the current
in-band, on-channel transmission system being deployed in the U.S., and will
be called the SBE Digital Radio Broadcasting Specialist.
By becoming a certified specialist, a radio broadcast engineer can assure
his or her manager that he or she is up to date on the latest technology.
Digital audio broadcasting is different than traditional analog services.
An individual's ability to certify his or her knowledge of the entire system
rather than just a single part will bring confidence to both the individual
and station management.
To apply for the SBE Digital Radio Broadcast specialist certification,
applicants must currently hold SBE certification at the Broadcast Engineer,
Senior Broadcast Engineer, or Professional Broadcast Engineer certification
level. The exam will consist of 50 multiple-choice questions and one essay
question. Following the roll-out of the specialist certification, the SBE
will release an update to its CertPreview software of practice tests. To obtain
an application for the Digital Radio Broadcast specialist certification, go
to www.sbe.org/Specialist_Cert.php on the SBE website or contact the SBE National
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SBE Certification 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 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
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 2007 are listed below. Check the list below for the exam period
that is best for you. For more information about SBE Certification, see your
Chapter Certification Chair or
contact Megan Clappe,
Certification Director at the SBE National Office at (317) 846-9000, or email@example.com
|Aug 10-20, 2007
||June 8, 2007
|Nov 9-19, 2007
||September 21, 2007
Fees are as Follows:
|Broadcast Networking Technologist
|Senior Broadcast Engineer
|Professional Broadcast Engineer
|AM Directional Specialist
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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Jack Roland's World
Ham Radio, and more exactly, HF has entered into the digital,
or as I like to say for fun, HF HD. Yes, it is now possible using a program
that hams have essentially adapted from the Digital Radio Mondiale technology
being tested and used by many international short-wave stations now.
In the “Radio
World” trade publication dated May 23rd there is a great article on
some of the testing going on in the short-wave broadcasting world. And now
as I stated above, amateurs have adapted a program to actually transmit digital
voice, pictures and text information on the ham bands. The software is free
and downloadable at http://n1su.com/windrm/ . It basically takes your audio
or file and encodes it into QAM modulated carrier that when transmitted by
your SSB rig sounds an ‘angry buzzing’ sound that when received
on the other end and decoded by the receivers software comes out sounding
like MP3 audio, albeit not perfectly “FM” quality, but very good
and a lot cleaner than regular SSB audio. Now, I will not get into a lengthy
discussion of all the technical aspects of the workings of the software here,
but you can read a technical discussion of the software and how it works at
The next question that everyone always has is how to interface the computer
to the HF rig. And then there is the
question of using just one soundcard for both transmit and receive. The
question arises is of course you want to use the line out for the feeding
of the audio
to your transmitter. If your radio has a line in function, then there is
no problem of course. You can send the audio from the computers speaker out
line out to the line in/phone patch in or whatever and transmit your audio
that way. Now the question also arises that when you are decoding the audio
received, how do you listen if you are using the speaker out to send the
audio to your radio. You will then have to incorporate some sort of switch
the decoded received audio out to your speakers, and switch it back to
the radio input when you want to transmit. You can also send your mic audio
the mic in on your computer for your transmitted audio. Thoroughly confused
And if you want to use 2 sound cards, one for your audio to be transmitted
and one for your audio to be received, what then? As in my case, I have
the two soundcard setup and a mixer board with an audition channel that I
one sound cards output to the radio (in this case my Kenwood TS-120s),
and the radio output to the other soundcard and out to my speakers so I don’t
have to do a lot of fancy switching. Even more confused?
have been great articles written on this online and in the ARRL magazine QST.
The above mentioned website with the technical information is a great place
to start for just about all the help you might need. Also, there was another
article at http://www.linuxinsider.com/story/56710.html that also appeared
in QST. If you would like schematics and diagrams for the interfaces, feel
free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com .
It is easy to
get started by downloading the free WinDRM software, and feeding audio out
to your computer input. You can also use the mic level input on your soundcard
although it is best to build a small resistor network and take the level out
of the radio, speaker or otherwise down to mic level, and also I would advise
using a 1:1 audio isolation transformer for this as you don’t want any
ground loops going on. Using this software and connections to my computer
from my TS-120s, I have received these signals at the KEØVH station
and when the signals are good, the received audio sounds just about like a
2 meter FM full quieting signal into a repeater. But, the signals do have
to be fairly strong, or the software has a tough time locking on and decoding.
Will “HF HD ;-) “ ever take over regular analog SSB? Time and
improvements to the robustness of the technology will tell.
But I don’t
think anytime soon ...until next month, 73’ de KEØVH
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Musings from the walls and halls of NAB 2007
By Steve Paugh/Chapter 24
The all-day Saturday Ennes
Workshop on "Everything Audio" was
an excellent mix of old and current technology demonstrations. The practical
examples of the use and miss-use of Dial Norm and Dynamic Range value settings
when applied to Dolby Digital metadata was a real "ear" opener.
A topic of considerable debate was the suggestion to build a fully 5.1 channel
infrastructure for your audio plant.
The Sunday sessions covered the looming 2009 analog shut-off date. The
presentations encouraged us to work with renewed effort, that the analog
shut-off date is real and that if you don’t assume it is real, you
are in denial. If you are not nearing the completion of your digital build-out
or have plans and confirmed contracted services scheduled, you are in trouble.
A number of scenarios were presented on just how tight the time, materials
and resource allocations are going to be as we get closer to the end date.
The one item of interest I saw in the exhibit floor was a real-time lip-sync
audio video analyzer. This box takes embedded SDI and compares the movement
of the speaker’s lips with the spoken audio and gives a reading showing
the number of frames of error and whether it is leading or lagging. It gives
readings with an accuracy of +/- one-half frame, and sells for less than
$2,000. All that is required is a head shot of the talent and a normal speaking
voice for about 10 seconds. No special scripted text is required. An HD-SDI
version is expected soon at the same price point.
The only drawback of the annual NAB show is the sheer size of the event.
The number of concurrent sessions, professional society meetings and special
events offered makes attending all of them impossible. The best way to describe
attending the NAB is to imagine the annual Madison Broadcast Clinic lasting
six days and covering an area the size of the UW Engineering campus and
Camp Randall Stadium
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FCC Dismisses Clarity's “Trucker TV” Applications
In a May 3, 2007, Order, the FCC dismissed 248 Cable Television Relay Service
(CARS) applications filed by Clarity Media Systems, LLC, to operate fixed
based stations in the shared 2,025–2,110 MHz Broadcast Auxiliary Service
(BAS)/CARS band. Clarity had submitted applications for an initial group of
10 “Trucker TV” base stations at its Flying J truck stops on Feb.
21, 2006, plus an additional 248 applications for its other truck stops, on
Jan. 24, 2007.
The use of the 2 GHz TV BAS/CARS spectrum for fixed base stations and for
direct service to subscribers is not permitted by the Part 73 CARS rules,
and so Clarity had requested waivers of several sections of the FCC rules.
The rule waivers were opposed by the SBE, several broadcasters, MSTV, the
NAB and NASA.
In its ruling, the Commission found that Clarity's proposal "does not
serve the purpose of the Part 78 CARS Rules," and that Clarity's demonstration
operations at Frazier Park, CA; North Salt Lake City, UT and Provo, UT, under
experimental license WD2XPK, "were not adequate" to demonstrate
no interference to co-channel electronic news gathering (ENG) operations.
The Commission found that the demonstrations failed to include measurements
of the Trucker TV signals at nearby ENG receive-only (ENG-RO) sites and failed
to include tests of digital ENG signals.
As pointed out by the SBE and others, the Commission agreed that Trucker
TV interference to BAS and CARS operations "would look like noise with
no identifying characteristics." The Commission noted that "other
similar service waivers could come from other chains of truck stop travel
plazas, RV parks, campgrounds, etc., adding hundreds and perhaps thousands
of potential new users which would further restrict viability of the 2 GHz
band for ENG use."
The Order also faulted Clarity for failing to demonstrate "good cause" for
its requested rule waivers by failing to demonstrate that "it has no
reasonable alternative" to using the 2 GHz TV BAS band. As was pointed
out by SBE, the Order noted that "Clarity could purchase spectrum at
auction, pursue using unlicensed spectrum, install cable at its truck stops,
or negotiate spectrum leases."
Upon the release of the FCC’s decision, SBE president, Chriss Scherer
said, "The SBE has long championed the needs of broadcasters to protect
the 2 GHz BAS band for TV use, so we at the SBE are understandably pleased
that our efforts to illustrate the technical shortcomings of Clarity's waiver
requests were so fully recognized by the FCC decision."
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AMATEUR RADIO NEWS
Compiled By Tom Weeden, WJ9H
From Chapter 24 - Madison
Amateur applications remain brisk
It’s been just a little more than two months since the FCC dropped the
requirement that Amateur Radio applicants pass a Morse code test to earn operating
privileges below 30 MHz. While the initial avalanche of applications immediately
following February 23, when the no-Morse testing regime went into effect,
has abated somewhat, business remains brisk for the American Radio Relay League
(ARRL) Volunteer Examiner Coordinator staff.
"It’s slowing down a little bit, but it’s still substantially
above what we usually see," observed ARRL VEC Manager Maria Somma, AB1FM.
She estimated that new Amateur Radio applications were up by 35 percent, while
upgrade applications were up by 150 percent over last year’s volume.
"Smart radio" spurs action
In a recent Memorandum Opinion and Order (MO&O) on cognitive or "smart
radio" systems, the FCC has affirmed its favorable policy toward the
regulation of amateur software-defined radios (SDRs). A cognitive radio system
is an SDR that can adapt its operating parameters by interacting with its
RF environment. The FCC’s April 20 MO&O was in response to petitions
seeking clarification of the Commission’s March 2005 Report and Order
(R&O) in ET Docket 03-108. In that proceeding, the agency declined to
adopt any new regulations for cognitive Amateur Radio transceivers or for
digital-to-analog (D/A) converters.
ARRL Chief Technology Officer Paul Rinaldo, W4RI, says the April MO&O
indicates that the FCC intends to treat Amateur Radio SDRs the same as any
other Amateur Radio equipment.
"This is welcome news from the FCC as it clarifies the matter of certification
of amateur equipment," Rinaldo remarked. "It applies not only to
terrestrial amateur equipment but also to amateur satellites, which increasingly
are using SDR in their designs."
The Amateur Satellite Corporation, North America (AMSAT-NA), has announced
it has revamped the design of its Project Eagle satellite to take maximum
advantage of software-defined transponder (SDX) technology.
The "cognitive radio" proceeding is emblematic of the FCC’s
ongoing struggle to address thorny regulatory issues to keep pace with cutting-edge
Cisco Systems had asked the FCC to revise its rules to better specify those
classes of devices that do not require SDR certification. It also wanted the
FCC to establish a policy that software that supports security measures not
be made public if doing so could compromise security or enable illegal operation.
In response, the FCC revised §2.1(c) rules to state that only radios
with software "designed or expected to be modified by a party other than
the manufacturer" -- such as downloading from the Internet -- and that
would affect frequency range, modulation type, maximum power output or the
circumstances under which the transmitter operates legally, would have to
be certified as SDRs.
(Excerpts from the American Radio Relay League’s Web site, arrl.org)
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The YXZ Report
by Kent Randles K7YXZ CBRE
Senior Engineer, Entercom-Portland
Co-Chair, Portland/Vancouver ECC
Chapter 124 Secretary
LIFE WITH HD RADIO
There are currently 12 FM HD signals (nine with HD2, and one with HD3)
and two AM HD signals on the air in the Portland market. 91.5 KOPB-FM turned
on Oregon's first HD3, a modified version of Oregon Public Broadcasting's
Golden Hours radio reading service. 15 kbps is the HD3 bandwidth, taken from
the HD2 which is down to 32. They hope to raise the HD3 audio level average
At NAB in Las Vegas, Ibiquity Corporation had a hospitality suite in the
Hilton Hotel that was full of HD Radios. I took pictures of them all, and
you can see them and links to information about every one, including some
special-price offers, at http://www.sbe124.org/HD_Radios .
Radiosophy has a new boom-box-like HD Radio that is only $59.95 with rebate
until July 3rd. See http://www.radiosophy.com/products/hd100.html and http://www.hdradio.com/2007_HDRadio_Rebate.pdf . Radio Shack has their Accurian HD Radio on sale for $129.99 until May 15th.
See http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2460834&cp .
Best Buy is now selling HD Radios by JVC, Kenwood, Alpine, and Visteon
at all of its 832 stores.
I went to several presentations on HD Radio at NAB, and we'll need another
generation of radios to take advantage of the proposed features. They include:
conditional access, which will require every radio to have its own serial
number so that they can be addressed; 5.1 surround sound, which may require
data to "steer" the audio; and HD2 for AM, using really low bitrates
and perhaps a different codec (I heard an amazing demo of stereo music at
Finally, the real eye opener: talk of a power increase for FM HD of 3 to
10 dB which would demote existing HD transmitters to backups, and strain the
new tube FM HD rigs. The big question: will this keep stations from going
HD until it's resolved one way or another?
EAS AT NAB
I attended the Western States EAS Summit during NAB. NOAA Weather Radio
is headed towards their HazCollect program, which gives local Emergency Operation
Centers text input into a national warning system. NOAA Weather Radio's concatenated
voices would read the alerts regionally. They are shying away from having
Weather Radio rebroadcast alerts from Local Primary and Local Relay Network
At the national EAS meeting, they went over the current structure of warnings.
You'll be glad to know that National Public Radio and the Primary Entry Point
system are now hard-wired to FEMA which will handle audio from the President.
This link had been missing for years.
NAB HAM RECEPTION
I always go to the Ham Radio Operators Reception at NAB. I was at the very
first one in the '80s. This year I got there 30 minutes early and the line
was already a hundred feet long. There were a lot more tables to sit at this
year, which was so nice after a day of being on your feet. Sponsored again
by Heil Sound, thanks to Bob Heil K9EID.
The next level for RDS, and by default HD Radio PAD/PSD, is Radio Text
Plus. The next generation of analog FM radios would have a bigger display
and similar fields to HD Radio. The prototype Kenwood car stereo in the Broadcast
Electronics booth had a touch screen to enable the user to pick the fields
SCARY REALITY OF WIFI
Put this in your "safe web surfing" file: beware of "evil twin" free
WiFi access points. These are folks who set up near a legitimate hot spot
and skim your information by posing as the hot spot! Easy to set up and hard
to trace. See http://www.networkworld.com/news/2007/042507-infosec-evil-twin-wi-fi-access.html .
ANSWERS TO YOUR DTV QUESTIONS
Got questions about the DTV transition? Visit http://www.dtvanswers.com/ , the official Web site of the National Association of Broadcasters' digital
television (DTV) transition campaign. Launched in January 2007, the DTV campaign's
mission is to ensure that no consumer is left unprepared, due to lack of information,
for the Feb. 17, 2009, federally mandated transition from analog to digital
broadcasting. The site features a countdown clock.
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Garneth M. Harris
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