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Last updated:
September 6, 2009

 

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September 2009 Newsletter

SBE Chapter 48 / SMPTE Rocky Mountain Section

August 2009: no meeting to report

 

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Random Radio Thoughts


Cris Alexander, CPBE, AMD
Crawford Broadcasting Company

MoM Grant!
At long last, NRC Broadcasting’s KCKK (1510 kHz, 10 kW-D/25 kW-N, DA-2) is operating at full power under a license from its new site on Riverdale Road north of 88th!

This has been a really long and arduous process. I don’t have (or remember) all the details, but the gist of it is that the station moved to the new site a little over three years ago but was never able to adjust the patterns to within their standard pattern values. Reradiating power lines, nearby AM sites, ground conductivity anomalies and other factors just wouldn’t cooperate with the effort. Tim Cutforth fought the battle, eventually filing an augmentation application while the station operated on an STA from the new site (the old site down off Santa Fe was dismantled). While all this was going on, the clock was ticking on the CP. Even grant of the modification of CP augmentation app would not reset that clock.

And then came the new moment method rules to the rescue, offering a way to get the new facility and patterns licensed. Chief Engineer Mark Smith made the impedance matrix measurements. I used these to calibrate the models for the day and night patterns. Then we used our network analyzer to calibrate the sample system. The patterns were adjusted to comply with the models, Mark made the reference field strength measurements, and the 302-AM was filed.

An STA was issued almost immediately, amounting to “program test authority” and allowing the station to continue to operate beyond the expiration date of its CP while the FCC processed the application.

One question did arise related to the reference field strength measurements. The FCC asked Mark for the calibration date of the FIM he used to make them. This was somewhat disturbing because the FCC has not made an issue of FIM calibration dates in the past on proof or conductivity measurements where the accuracy would be much more critical. In this case, the FCC accepted a cross-check of Mark’s meter with two others with similar (2002) calibration dates. But the FCC has indicated that the days of simply cross-checking meters in the field without respect to calibration date are over; at least one meter in the group must have a current (i.e. within the last two years) calibration date. More on this later.

Shortly after providing the FIM information to the FCC, the license application was granted and KCKK became the first station in the state to be licensed pursuant to the new rules. Congratulations to Mark Smith and to Tim Brown and all the good folks at NRC!

FIM Calibration
Now that we’re all on notice about our FIM calibrations, what can we do about it? Potomac Instruments tells us that the cost for a calibration is $520 with a six-week turnaround. The lead time alone is a real problem, and who has an extra $520 lying around for a biennial calibration?

There are a couple of things we can do. First, Potomac will provide an “incoming calibration” almost immediately. This amounts to a quick check (no adjustment) on all scales on one frequency. If it passes, PI will then provide a certification that the FIM was in calibration on that frequency when they received it. That will satisfy the FCC’s calibration requirements for the application. This is what I did recently, anticipating that I will soon get an email or letter from the Media Bureau challenging the calibration of my FIM on the reference measurements for the KLVZ MoM application. At some point some six weeks or so down the road, I will get my meter back with a current calibration.

That brings us to the second thing we can do. If you have a project where you need to make and file field intensity measurements, presumably you could make and document cross-check measurements with my meter when I get it back, then proceed with your measurements with your own meter. Then as long as someone in the market maintains a current calibration (and I will endeavor to), the whole market should be good.

Fire!
As I write this, a wildfire (the “Station Fire”) is threatening Mt. Wilson, the Los Angeles market’s “Lookout Mountain.” Even if the fire doesn’t reach the buildings and antenna supports at the top, the infrastructure – power lines, fiber optic cables, etc. – may well be damaged. Doug Garlinger provided the photo below.

As one who has lived through a transmitter site wildfire, I can tell you that this is no fun. The wildfire we lived through in California two years ago went around our site, which we had kept mowed and cleared (“defensible space!!”), but it consumed the infrastructure. Utility poles were burned, leaving the upper portions hanging by the wires that they were supposed to be supporting in many locations, and telco cables, both copper and fiber, were melted to nothing. To this day, repairs still have not been made in some locations, including at our site. Our phone lines are day to day, operating on a blistered span of 100-pair that has many more shorted pairs than good ones. Our T1 line works some days and doesn’t on others, and we can forget about DSL. Our station continues to use a Ku-band satellite link as an STL. We have been doing that since the day after the fire in May of 2007.

With so many Front Range sites located on Lookout, Mt. Morrison, Squaw and Buckhorn, the radio engineers responsible for those sites should take the Mt. Wilson fire as a wake-up call that we need to be prepared. Can you operate for the long term without power and telco? Could you continue to operate for perhaps a week during evacuations if your site was cut off and you couldn’t get there?

Take it from one who has been through it. Now is the time to make preparations and contingency plans.

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

Posing a question
What would happen if a nuclear blast occurred over the Continental US, two or 300 miles above the ground, and completely killed possibly all electronic devices. Vehicle systems wouldn’t work, ATM’s, computers, the power grid, cell phones, anything and everything that uses electronics. What would happen to commerce, industry, transportation, etc. What would happen? Back in July on our local 50 kilowatt “news” station, KOA, had a very interesting discussion with a man who wrote the book “1 second after”, a fictional story talking about the very scenario. Google up “EMP”. There is a lot of information on this possibility. Very interesting reading.

What would happen to ham radio? Would this affect radios using battery power? Could we provide emergency communications? Would it affect tube radios? Broadcasters, TV, etc. This would make for interesting discussion. If you have ideas, and will email them to me, I will include a discussion in a future article here. I would be really interested to hear engineers thoughts on this possible scenario.

Mobile Challanges
Mounting a radio without a separation kit in a smaller vehicle these days can be quite challenging. Curved surfaces and just not that much room to start with can make the situation nearly impossible. My Dodge Neon was no exception. While mounting the faceplate of my dual band Yaesu mobile on the dash top was pretty easy, I couldn’t figure out for a long time how to get my mobile 10 meter Realistic HTX-10 to mount anywhere. There just wasn’t room or flat enough surface anywhere other than maybe affixing it to the dash somewhere up above in direct sunlight all the time, and I didn’t want to drill holes or anything like that in the surface where it would really be visible. SO, a while back I had received one of those GPS flex arms with a window suction cup for a gift, and it sat in the bag unused for awhile, until finally one day I had the idea to screw its mounting base into the side of the center console, and attach a piece of scrap plexiglass to the mount bracket of the radio. Then attach the suction cup to the plexiglass, and it is held on very securely. Bend it around a little bit, and it looks like this:

Works great, is stable, and doesn’t bump too bad against my wifes knee! Faces right up to me, you can see the display very well , and easy to twirl the knobs while on the road. Adjustable, and it makes for quick security removal with the suction cup system for hiding in the trunk if you have to park anywhere you might wonder about theft. Might not work for a bigger radio, but for a mobile this size it works great!

T-1 All Wet
Finally, last month we finally solved the HD2 issue with the channel dropping audio or just dropping away. It turned out our friends at Qwest really needed to do some repair to their T-1. We really didn’t know the T-1 was having water and splice problems on Lookout Mountain that was causing the data to drop on the system. After the repairs were done, (they of course said that all was good beforehand until we pressed the issue with our rep) we have been running pretty flawlessly for about a week as of this writing. This was beginning to be a HUGE issue with corporate too, so I am really glad it seems to be over with and fixed.

And from my friend Rick Crandall at KEZW, Things Our Kids Will Never See…
What began as a simple conversation on the Breakfast Club about things we grew up with turned in to a wonderful list of things we remember that our kids won’t likely see. Here’s the list…ENJOY!!!

45’s and 78’s, Drive-In Movie Theatres, Manual Typewriters,Telegrams, Roller Skates with Keys, Rotary Telephones, Live Operators that asked “What Number Please?”, Party Lines, Ice Boxes and the Ice Man who came with blocks of ice on his wagon, Regular Gasoline, Drug Stores with Soda Fountains, Boyfriends Class Ring around your neck, Hot Rodding on 16th St., Doctors who make house calls, Coal Stoves, Writing a check, Butter Churn, Margarine in a plastic bag with yellow color tab, Dancing Cigarette boxes and “Call for Phillip Morris”, TV’s with no Remote, Beanie Caps, Berma Shave Billboards, Eight Tracks, Fender Skirts, Suicide Knobs, Carbon Paper, Theatre Newsreels, Combing your hair into a ducktail, Annie-Annie Over and other childhood OUTDOOR games, Rumble Seats, Washboards, American Bandstand, Church key bottle and can openers, Coon Skin Caps, Saddle Shoes and Poodle Skirts, Big Chief Pads, Drinking out of the Garden Hose, Sunday Drives, Playing Cowboys and Indians, Trading Comic Books, Full Service Gas Stations with Free Gifts, Chemistry Sets, Erector Sets, S&H Green Stamps, Howdy Doody with Buffalo Bob, Movie serials, Tiddly Winks, White Buck Shoes with Powder Puff bags for the scuffs, Slide Rule, V-Mail, Gifts in boxes of detergent, Cap Guns, Real Cash Registers with numbers you punched, Elevator attendant, TV Test Pattern, Wood burning set, Coffee Percolators, Car window mounted air conditioner, Metal ice cube trays, Star Spangled Banner at start of TV broadcast day, Wringer Washing Machines, Tang and Space Food Sticks, Drivers Side Vent Windows, Dimmer switch on the floorboard, Backyard Incinerators, and one for us engineers, ATTENDED transmitter sites…….

Can you think of more?

73’ for this month
De KEØVH

 

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Clay’s Corner

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

By Clay Freinwald
SBE Seattle Chapter 16

All I can say is – wow, what a summer!  You have been reading that this is our shortest season…Not this year…Summer is going on and on and ... Along the way we have set some records for our extended dry and warm one.   But we all know what’s around the corner.  The PNW is sure to not let us down with plenty of wet ahead.   Speaking of ahead…How does it feel to know that there are only 4 months left in the year?

Attention Hams - In the middle of September, I will again be with the crew from the South Hill Contest Club, N7PP, operating during Salmon Run.  This year we will be in the Blue Mountains, in Columbia County .  Look for us - 1600Z -- 0700Z Saturday and 1600Z -- 2400Z Sunday Sept 19th and 20th On all bands, Phone and CW.   

On October 5th and 7th I will be in Verona NY (Just East of Syracuse) for the SBE Board Meeting during the Chapter 22 event.    A bittersweet time as this will end my 10 years on the SBE Board.   I sincerely hope that one of you will elect to serve the Society by putting you name in the hat.    Thus far we have only had two of us from this area on the Board.   It’s a great experience.

HD Radio has it’s first portable on the market now.   Tom McGinley had one at the picnic and said that it works pretty good.   I did, however, read a review in the paper where the device got a terrible review, while he was at it, the writer slammed the whole HD Radio concept.  One thing that surprises me is that more stations in this area are not running foreign language programming on their HD-2 or HD-3’s.   HD-R is certainly superior to the old analog SCA’s in terms of coverage and audio quality and the ability to be heard in a vehicle.….Not to mention you can get a larger number of different receivers     My understanding is that this is the case in other markets.   In some cases, non-commercial stations are using their HD2’s to carry a wide variety of programming.   Have not heard about much of this around here.

 There is no shortage of activity in the area of getting a power increase for HD- Radio with Clear Channel recently weighing into the matter with results of their own testing that, no surprise, show that there will not be more interference.   Certainly some power increase appears to be on the horizon, the question is how much and will it be across the board… Or will it depend on adjacent channel considerations as suggested by NPR’s recent ‘calculator’…This is the $64,000 question.   Many feel the increase will be approved by the Commish late this year.  Assuming that they do grant a power increase, the next question will be just how many stations will be able to pop for that new higher powered digital transmitter?   Perhaps Fisher was right waiting this out?   For one, I sincerely hope that they join the HD Radio club.   I also note that Toshiba is going to start producing decoder chips for the system. 

Things are not so rosy for HD-R on the AM Band where the system continues to struggle with technical issues.  In Southern California two stations (KFMB and KBRT) are battling with one telling the other to turn off their IBOC due to interference.   Could it be that
HD-R might become an FM only system in this country?   Perhaps those that are calling for AM to convert to DRM are right?

Taking a look at the economic situation  -
Entercom’s CEO, David Field, was recently in Seattle and expressed cautious optimism about the economy.  It was reported that 2Q revenues were down 18%....Cumulus reported business was off by 21% as they announced more staff reductions and cut backs such as furloughs....Entravision was reportedly down 23% from a year earlier…..CBS Radio was also down 23%.  CBS operates 3 FM’s and an AM in the Seattle Market.   Overall CBS has issued statements indicating that things are looking up…..Sirius XM Radio reportedly lost 157+ in Q2…(Pretty soon you are talking serious money)….Clear Channel (operator of a cluster of radio stations in this town) reported Rev’s were off by 20%.  Interesting to note that their outdoor business was doing even worse with revenues down 24%.

An interesting comparison -  According to a media source, Radio in Canada has not been hit as hard as it has been here in the States.   Reportedly stations there have seen revenues grow by 12% compared to a 9% reduction here.   The recession has certainly been felt world-wide, but we have to remember that the epicenter of this event was in the U.S.

TV stations are dealing with the economic situation in some unique and different ways.  In some markets they are adding more local news, while in Honolulu 3 stations have gotten together to pool their news efforts and with it a considerable reduction in staff (read that loss of jobs)

On the bright side, some of the major economic indicators are now pointing up.   Job’s are, however, likely to lag the rebound for some time to come.   I imagine that many firms have discovered that lean is good and will look toward recovering some lost revenue before they will be eager to increase expenses.

I ‘spose you noted that Radio Shack has been running some new spots calling themselves simply ‘The Shack’.   One has to wonder if the term Radio implies ‘Old’ to the younger set?

Sprint-Nextel has reported finished their upgrade of ENG facilities in SoCal bringing the total number of markets making the change in equipment and band-plan to 131.  Work has already begun in this market .  New gizmo’s in the rack at West Tiger for some of the local stations with more to come as we get closer to cut-over day.

A big congratulations to local broadcaster Andy Skotdal on being  appointed to the NAB Radio Board.   Andy is also chairman  of the Washington State Association of Broadcasters board and owns KRKO in Everett.   Speaking of Andy – Looks like he has won yet another legal battle to erect more towers in the Skodal tower farm in Sno-County.   Yah still need to write that book Andy – I can see the front cover now…The letters NIMBY on the front with a big red international no symbol over the top.

Down in Portland, Larry Wilson recently purchased 4 radio stations from CBS for 40 million adding this to the 2 he recently purchased from Paul Allen for 11 mil.   This must be the largest radio ownership activity in this region in some time.   6 stations under common ownership in PDX is certainly being watched by the other players there.

Apparently the FCC has been busy in Texas with news that they have fined a person for operating a pirate station on 101.5 in Houston.   Nice to know that the FCC is still on the job in this area.

There has been some more movement regarding 104.5 KMCQ, the station that moved to Enumclaw’s Radio Hill (Licensed to Covington) from Hood River, Oregon.   The FCC has now granted the station a CP to move it’s transmitter from Enumclaw to Cougar Mt.  To make all this happen requires a number of changes, including KAFE in Bellingham moving from 104.3 to 104.1 and installing a directional antenna.  You have to think that there has been a lot of money spent on this project over the years.   Power level for 104.5 on Cougar will be 8.1 Kw.   It will be interesting to see what kind of coverage this relatively low power level provides.  Certainly will be less than the 50 and 100Kw signals from there.  To give you an idea, KNHC runs 8.5 Kw with a directional antenna having a null to the South.

The matter of HD-TV on VHF  channels continues make the news with a number of TV stations opting to move back to their former UHF channels after discovering that the power level afforded DT on VHF is not enough to provide for building penetration.  One broadcaster was quite vocal citing the basis for reception complaints was sub-standard receiving antennas, like rabbit-ears etc.    It’s pretty hard to convince Joe average that DT is an advancement when he is unable to receive the same number of channels that he used to .   Recently I heard a story on NPR where they mentioned a fellow on Whidbey Island that reported he spent a good deal of money on converter boxes and antennas and can now only get 3 channels.  He, reportedly, said his TV set was about to be placed in a garage sale.

If you have been wondering what happened to the upgrades to EAS ….Well it’s still going to happen (we hope) but not likely this year.   For those of you that budgeted for new EAS equipment for 2009…You can tell your boss that it appears it will be next year.   In the mean time, if you do have to purchase a new EAS box (cause the old one went up in a cloud of smoke) you can purchase a new unit now with much of the new system already installed.  Most manufacturers will upgrade these units at no cost to be compliant with the new rules when they are released.   I did note that Clear Channel has a new Sage Endec just like the unit that the State of Washington recently purchase a number of.    I will have more on EAS changes in the coming months.  If you are not subscribed to the Washington State EAS Remailer, you should do so, as this is the method used to distribute new info.

I supposed you heard that Les Paul passed away this past month.  Not only was he a gifted musician, but he was one that loved to tinker with electronics.   Other passing’s of note this past month include Robert Novak and the creator of 60 minutes, Don Hewitt.

I was looking at an ad for a large Renton electronics store and this item caught my eye –
A 1TB USB Hard Drive …”Made with Naturally Grown Bamboo and Recyclable Aluminum”…Huh?   Took me a minute to figure out that the part of the box for the device is made of bamboo…The part about the aluminum is interesting.  Apparently you can put some of this in the same container as the pop and beer cans when it dies?

The Tacoma paper, in their ‘Looking Back’ section had a picture of a vehicle belonging to Wire Electric that had a 50 foot pneumatic mast with a TV antenna on the top they used for determining the best height and direction before installing a roof top antenna.  The interesting part is their pneumatic mast was in operation in April of 1951.   Just a few years before anyone heard of Wilburt.   Considering all the grief that some are going though these days getting good DT reception, perhaps someone needs to borrow an idea from 1951?

According to a piece in the Wall Street Journal, progress is being made on 3-D TV with some talking about 2011 as the year when we might see it.  A lot of questions about this one come to mind…guess we will have to wait and see –

It’s been interesting looking at the rapid changes in the world of radio ratings from week to week.  I also found it interesting reading a recent piece that stated that radio talk formats were doing very well with the new system.   Not the case in the Seattle area with stations that play a lot of music showing the most gains.   Do I dare say that folks in the Puget Sound area are …..Different?

If you travel to the Eastern part of Washington State you can’t help but notice the rapid expansion of the number of windmills.  It’s long been known that these things can reflect TV signals causing reception issues.  Anyone heard what they do to DTV?  In some locales these giant machines are creating another kind of problem.  They create echos that look like serious storms on weather radar.

Got a nice note from Dave Youell of CHUM Radio in Vancouver.   He passed on information about their new transmitter site for CFUN / 1410.   On air testing of CKST / 1040 is expected shortly.   Along with the information was an invitation to stop in for a visit.  You can reach Dave via email at - David.youell@chumradio.com or by phone at - (604) 230-0844.   I advised Dave that I rarely get that far north.  I also Invited him and any other broadcast engineers in BC if they are in our area to please attend any of our SBE Chapter meetings.  After all, they are our neighbors !

Walmart and locally owned Costco were recently cited by the FCC for selling wireless security cameras that violate FCC Regs.   Nice to see our tax dollars at work.

We often take for granted a lot of things that we have….Lets take a look back 100 years to see how far we have really come –  in 1909 only 8%  of the homes in this country had a telephone.  There were only 8,000 cars and only 144 miles of paved roads.  Only 6% had graduated from high school, no-one had a Radio or TV…and….Think NAB….the population of Las Vegas was 30.

Here’s a job opening with a twist.   A radio cluster in Las Vegas is looking for someone to be the IT Manager and Assistant Chief Engineer.   The interesting part – IT persons without broadcast experience need not apply.   SBE certification and/or an Amateur Radio License are a plus.   Interested?   Contact Bill Croghan, Chief Engineer Lotus Las Vegas.  loteng@lvradio.com

Well, my friends, that’s it for this month –Lord willing, I will see you at the same place next month.

73,
Clay, K7CR, CPBE

-0-


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Amateur Radio News

Compiled By Tom Weeden, WJ9H
Thanks to Madison Chapter 24

Legendary CBS newsman Walter Cronkite, KB2GSD, who held the title of “Most Trusted Man in America,” passed away Friday, July 17 after a long illness. He was 92. The avuncular Cronkite anchored the CBS Evening News for 19 years until 1981 when he retired. Cronkite, an American Radio Relay League member, narrated the 6 minute video “Amateur Radio Today” www.arrl.org/ARToda. Produced by the ARRL in 2003, the video tells Amateur Radio’s public service story to non-hams, focusing on ham radio’s part in helping various agencies respond to wildfires in the Western US during 2002, ham radio in space and the role Amateur Radio plays in emergency communications. “Dozens of radio amateurs helped the police and fire departments and other emergency services maintain communications in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, DC,” narrator Cronkite intoned in reference to ham radio’s response on September 11, 2001. “Their country asked, and they responded without reservation.”

Steve Mendelsohn, W2ML, was Cronkite’s radio engineer at CBS for many years. “I had many chances to discuss my favorite hobby, ham radio, with ‘the world’s most trusted anchor man,’” he told the ARRL. Walter and I laughed for weeks at that one.” In 2007, ARRL Hudson Division Director Frank Fallon, N2FF, presented Cronkite with the ARRL President’s Award. This award, created in 2003 by the ARRL Board of Directors, recognizes an ARRL member or members who “have shown long-term dedication to the goals and objectives of ARRL and Amateur Radio” and who have gone the extra mile to support individual League programs and goals. Cronkite was selected to receive the award in April 2005 in recognition of his outstanding support of the ARRL and Amateur Radio by narrating the videos “Amateur Radio Today” and “The ARRL Goes to Washington”www.arrl.org/pio/VTS-video.wmv.  “It was quite a thrill to make this presentation to Cronkite,” Fallon said.  “He has long been recognized as the ‘most trusted man in America,’ so lining our causes to his face, name and voice has been a great help.”

The space shuttle Endeavour returned to Earth on Friday, July 31, but before it left orbit, it deployed four student-built satellites, all with telemetry downlinks in the 2 meter and 70 cm amateur bands.  Courtesy Naval Research Laboratory The twin spherical satellites— named Castor and Pollux – were designed by students in cooperation with the Naval Research Laboratory as part of the Atmospheric Neutral Density Experiment (ANDE). Both satellites will transmit 1200-baud packet radio telemetry on 145.825 MHz. Hams are encouraged to submit telemetry reports with special QSLs and mission patches planned (check the ANDE Web site www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/science/experiments/STP-H2-ANDE.html for updates).  Castor and Pollux will carry an FX.25 experiment that adds Forward Error Correction to standard AX.25 packets. The hope is that FX.25 will improve communication efficiency while still being compatible with existing packet equipment. The satellites will also occasionally run GMSK/FX.25 modulation experiments at 9600 baud.  Courtesy Texas A&M University

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


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The YXZ Report

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

THE EAS-OR E-MAIL LIST
Broadcast.net apparently ceased being in business about the end of June.  They hosted a huge number of free remailer lists for broadcasters, and we thank them for hosting three of ours for several years.  Unfortunately, they didn't notify us before ceasing operation, so to get the EAS-OR list going again, I subscribed folks to the new list hosted by radiolists.net, run by Barry Mishkind of Eclectic Engineer, Radio Guide, and OldRadio.com fame.  Radiolists hosts other lists too.  Check them out at www.radiolists.net.

If you were on EAS-OR, you have been moved to the new list and "unsubscribed" from the old list.

DO IT YOURSELF LINE-OF-SIGHT MAPS
Go to www.heywhatsthat.com/ to see what they've done using Google maps to check line of sight from any point on earth, plus, you can name your own point.  I added the Stonehenge and Skyline Towers.  Thanks to the CGC Communicator for the link.

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 1000 multicast stations and 100 HD Radios to choose from.  See http://www.hdradio.com/buyers_guide.php. Ev Helm bought one of the Insignia NS-HD01 portable FM-only HD Radios from Best Buy, the first portable on the market.  He says it works VERY well. There's more information here.

Costco is selling a Teac HD-1 table Radio with iPod dock and iTunes tagging for $99.  The coolest feature is a flush-mounted tuning jogwheel on top.  Details at the Teac site including a PDF of the user's manual.  (Please excuse the cell phone picture.)

 

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KFMB-TV Raises Power

Written by Gary Stigall
Chapter 36 – San Diego

It's about the rabbit ears, really. We've all been in one of those homes where they are watching your station on a pair of metal rods sticking up from the TV, and what you see on the screen is a little video and lots of random noise. And when you took away their analog signal, you suddenly took away the ability of the cheapskate to get free TV. That's because what was left was not enough signal to make a digital picture even on a generation six converter box.

When it calculated power limits for replacement DTV stations, the FCC wanted to duplicate the coverage areas of analog stations. On paper, it did so pretty well. And it works for viewers with modest outdoor antennas. Most over-the-air viewers with older antennas saw their good analog pictures replaced by crisp new digital pictures.

What the FCC overlooked is the TV audience out there with substandard antennas getting substandard analog signals. When the DTV transition happened, these viewers were left at the bottom of the digital cliff with no pictures at all.

Power to the People
KFMB and KGTV require approximately 15kW ERP to duplicate their analog audience using digital according to parameters originally set-up by the FCC and documented by Hammett and Edison under contract. KGTV signed on this year with 20.7kW ERP. KFMB originally applied for an increase in power on channel 8 digital after their February transition and received approval in mid-July to run with 19.8kW ERP. They adjusted their transmitter without any need for changes to hardware.

The approximate 20kW figure was reached based on calculated adjacent channel protection for Los Angeles stations. As it is, the increase will barely be noticed since it's just over 1dB. Whether future increases can be planned depends on national trends and more importantly, what happens in LA. Both stations want to increase power.

KFMB's Director of Engineering, Rich Lochmann, says their current equipment will allow them to get up to 87kW, but they would ultimately like to go to 160kW.

Rich says, "The key words are 'location, location, location' and 'antenna, antenna, antenna'. People just can’t get away with the cheapie passive antennas. With analog they would watch anything even if it was snowy or ghosty but with digital it’s there or not there. They don’t understand that nor like it."

 

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SBE News

SBE Educator of the Year

The 2008-09 SBE Educator of the Year is Fred Baumgartner, CPBE, CBNT. Baumgartner has served as the program organizer and moderator for more than 20 regional Ennes Workshops over the past seven years.  He is a senior engineer with Qualcomm's Flo-TV.  Baumgartner is a former member of the SBE national board of directors and is a Trustee of the Ennes Educational Foundation Trust.

 

 

 

 

 

SBE National Webcast will air October 7

The Society of Broadcast Engineers will broadcast its third annual SBE National Webcast to members, guests and others interested in the Society on Wednesday, October 7 from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm EDT. This will be the first time that the program will be aired during the SBE National Meeting and will it emanate from the Turning Stone Resort and Casino Events Center arena, location of the Chapter 22 Broadcast & Technology Expo floor. This will also be the first time that the program will be broadcast during U.S. daytime hours.

Chapter 22 is providing or arranging for much of the technical organization necessary to produce the program. The broadcast will utilize a remote truck and several remote cameras. Live remotes will be done from the trade show floor. 

SBE President, Barry Thomas, CPBE CBNT and SBE Vice President, Vinny Lopez will emcee the Webcast and will be joined by other members of the national Board and staff during the course of the program.

National SBE Board of Director Election Results

August 28, 2009

The results of the election were as follows:
President: Vincent Lopez, CEV, CBNT, Director of Engineering, WSYT-TV, WNYS-TV – Sinclair Broadcast Group, Syracuse, N.Y.
Vice President: Ralph Hogan, CPBE DRB, CBNT, Director of Engineering, KJZZ-FM/KBAQ-FM, Tempe, Ariz.
Secretary: Ted Hand, CPBE AMD 8-VSB, Chief Engineer, WSOC-TV, WAXN-TV, Charlotte, N.C.
Treasurer: Andrea Cummis, CBT, CTO, Consultant and Project Manager, Media Project Partners, Roseland, N.J.
Elected to two-year terms on the Board of Directors were:
Mark Heller, CBRE, CTO, President, General Manager, and Chief Engineer, WTRW Incorporated/WGBW Radio Station, Two Rivers, Wis.
James E. Leifer, CPBE, Director of Engineering and IT, Clear Channel Communications South Florida, West Palm Beach, Fla.
Jerry Massey, CPBE, DRB, AMD, 8-VSB, CBNT, Corporate Regional Engineer, Southeast, Entercom Communications, Inc., Greenville, S.C.
David Priester, CPBE, Director of Technical Operations, Roy H. Park School of Communications, Ithaca College, Ithaca, N.Y.
Christopher H. Scherer, CPBE, CBNT, Editor, Radio magazine, Overland Park, Kan.
Joe Snelson, CPBE, Director of Engineering, Meredith Broadcasting Group, Henderson, Nev.

The national Board of Directors of SBE is responsible for the development of policy and determines the programs and services the Society provides its members. Those elected will begin their terms on October 7 during the Annual SBE Membership Meeting. They will join the other six directors who have another year remaining in their terms as well as then Immediate Past President, Barry Thomas, CPBE, CBNT.

The National Meeting will be held in conjunction with the 37th annual Broadcast & Technology Expo, an event that features broadcast technical presentations for radio and television engineers and a the largest broadcast equipment expo of its kind in the northeast. Hosts for the SBE National Meeting will be SBE Chapter 22 of Central State New York. The event will take place at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino, located in Verona, N.Y.


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.


Career Helper and Job Search Tips

We’ve run articles in the past about portions of this valuable series on career assistance. Here is a comprehensive listing of articles by Deborah Walker, CCMC Resume Writer / Career Coach.

Check out this link:
www.sbe18.org/jobs.htm#Job_Search_Tips



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
August 7-17, 2009 Local Chapters June 5, 2009 Date Past
November 6-16, 2009 Local Chapters September 18, 2009
February 5-15, 2010 Local Chapters December 31, 2009
April 13, 2010 NAB March 26, 2010
June 4-14, 2010 Local Chapters April 16, 2010
August 6-16, 2010 Local Chapters June 4, 2010
November 5-15, 2010 Local Chapters September 17, 2010

Fees for 2009 are as Follows:

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

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

 

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Newsletter Committee

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

  Garneth M. Harris

  Tom Goldberg - On-Line Editor

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

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

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