This Month's Stories
November 7, 2007
October 2007 Newsletter
SBE Chapter 48 / SMPTE Rocky Mountain Section
September 2007 Meeting Report
Clustered Storage Solutions
for Media and Entertainment Applications
Date: Tuesday September
18, 2007 at 6:00 PM
Location: Rocky Mountain PBS (KRMA),
1089 Bannock Street, Denver
Topic: Clustered Storage Solutions
for Media and Entertainment Applications
Presenter: Isilon Systems
IQ clustered storage systems. David outlined the evolution of various shared
including SAN, NAS, and Clustered Storage. He reviewed how their solutions leverage
the advances in industry standard hardware to deliver modular, pay-as-you-grow,
storage systems designed to address the massive storage needs of media and entertainment
companies. He also discussed NBC's implementation for the Olympics and
all the shared content needs for the venues.
Brad Torr introducing David Baley of Isilon
A good turnout of attendees showed up for
the beginning of the presentation as shown in the photo, but the room
was almost full by the end. We would like to thank Burst
Communications for their sponsorship
and providing refreshments, and John Anderson and KRMA for hosting the
Report by Tom Goldberg
Return to table of contents
Random Radio Thoughts
Cris Alexander, CPBE, AMD
Crawford Broadcasting Company
Much Ado About Nothing
Like many of you, I have been scanning the AM band late at night and early
in the morning to see what the impact of the “IBOCalypse” of
AM nighttime HD Radio might be. The first thing I noticed was that as expected,
there aren’t all that many stations transmitting in digital at night.
Certainly quite a number of the class A “clears” are transmitting
digital signals, and there is a smattering of regionals with digital signals
as well. And while you can hear the digital carrier hiss on the adjacent
channels if you listen really hard, you can for the most part forget about
decoding the digital information on a skywave signal. Evidently it takes
more than 20 uV of digital signal to get a lock!
But what about all the interference that some have been promising? I just
don’t hear it. KNX in Los Angeles (1070) booms into Denver like a local
on some nights, and I can hear their digital sideband “hiss” way
down there under the noise on the adjacent channels. But I have also had no
problem at all hearing KRCN’s 111-watt non-directional nighttime signal
on the first-adjacent channel (1060), even from 35+ miles away. I have also
been able to clearly hear WLS in Chicago on the second-adjacent channel to
KPOF’s local 1 kW nighttime digital signal. Keep in mind that the KPOF
digital carriers are coincident with the top half of the WLS upper spectrum.
Those of you who subscribe to radiolists.net may have followed some of
the rhetoric going back and forth on the topic. Some of it has been quite
inflammatory, and a good bit has been just plain wrong. One very vocal anti-HD
activist posited that each of the digital carriers must be considered individually
in calculating the interference impact to adjacent-channel stations at night.
I spent some time thinking about that carefully and concluded that by his
reasoning, we should also divide up the 0.05 to 9.5 kHz sideband spectrum
of all analog stations into a discrete number of samples and RSS each of them
into the adjacent-channel station’s night limit. We don’t do that
of course, and for good reason – because it’s not necessary. My
observation has been that a steady noise source is less objectionable for
adjacent-channel interference than audio; you can listen through the steady
noise, but it’s hard to listen through the garble of adjacent-channel
Another observation from many years of doing AM allocations work… until
1990 or so, there was no adjacent-channel nighttime protection for anyone.
As a result, there is a lot of grandfathered nighttime adjacent-channel interference
that we ignored in the allocation process for all those years. The current
rules call for 6 dB of adjacent-channel protection, and RSS calculations take
that into account. When we apply that 6 dB figure and calculate the night
interference-free contour value of a station nowadays, we often find that
that NIF contour value is quite high because of the adjacent-channel interference.
Class A skywave service is a related issue. Under the current rules, we
continue to ignore adjacent-channel interference with regard to class A’s.
We think of them as having a night limit of 0.5 mV/m, and indeed co-channel
stations protect them to that contour value. But reality is something quite
different. WOR, for example, has a night limit of 3.8 mV/m if we calculate
the night limit in the same way as class B and C stations and include all
co- and adjacent-channel contributors, and that’s at the site; it may
be much higher at various points around the skywave contour. KOA’s night
limit figures to something like 2.7 mV/m. So for the naysayers to claim that
the current 0.5 mV/m night limit of class A stations will increase dramatically
as the result of HD nighttime interference is a distortion of the facts and,
intentionally or not, intellectually dishonest. It’s already much higher
than that in reality.
Without a doubt, there is additional interference on the AM band at night
as a result of nighttime HD Radio signals. But does it really significantly
impact anyone? If it does, so far I don’t see it. Certainly there will
be a cumulative effect as more and more stations turn on digital signals at
night, but I strongly suspect that the hiss of the digital carriers will be
lost in the garble of co- and adjacent-channel analog interference that already
exists. On the densely-populated east and west coasts, there may well be cases
where a station’s night limit really is raised by the adjacent-channel
digital signals. In those cases, individual adjustments will have to be made.
Otherwise, my observation so far is that all the hoopla over the “IBOCalypse” is
much ado about nothing.
Fixed, at Long Last
Many of you may recall my travails with the KLDC 810 daytime array in Brighton
because of a construction crane business right off the end of the array in
the main lobe. We tried adjusting the KLDC array several times to no avail;
there was just too much reradiation coming off those cranes, and it was constantly
changing as their booms rotated around in the wind. So we augmented. Last
May, we made conductivity measurements on co-channel KBHB in Sturgis, SD and
found we had a good bit of room on the back side of the pattern. The augmentation
app was filed along with a full/partial proof. I also filed an STA request
that would allow the station to return to full power pending processing of
The STA application was denied because it “presumes grant of the underlying
augmentation application,” so from March through most of August, the
station operated at reduced power to maintain monitor point field strengths
below the licensed values, protecting… what? Prairie dogs? But the augmentation
app was granted in August, albeit with some strange special conditions on
the CP that were in conflict with the FCC rules on augmentations. I notified
the FCC of these and asked that my STA application be reinstated. The FCC
agreed and granted the STA; the station returned to full power in late August.
And then the license was granted in early September. I’m still waiting
for a replacement CP that has the weird special conditions removed, which
the FCC has promised is forthcoming. I suppose it’s really moot at this
point, but I like to have all my i’s dotted and t’s crossed – otherwise
someone could at some point in the future point out that we did not comply
with special condition #1.
Start to finish, it took only a little over four months to get the augmentation
application filed and granted. That’s got to be some kind of record.
It seemed much longer as the station languished at reduced power for no good
scientific reason, but in the grand scheme of things, it was really no time
Tim Cutforth once told me that the late Vir James said to him that when
making ground conductivity measurements, look out the window of the car. If
there are mountains around you, divide the M3 value by ten to get the real
conductivity. Vir was right. While we see 8 mS/m, 15 mS/m and even higher
conductivities out here on the plains (I have measured 50 mS/m out to the
northeast along I-76), in the mountains we see 4’s, 2’s and even
lower values in some places. It was with that in mind that I decided to take
a look at the conductivities on a few radials to the south-southwest toward
Santa Fe. I found what I expected: very low conductivities.
With the measured data in hand, I ran a new daytime allocation study for
KLDC (now KLVZ – Crawford swapped formats and calls between its 810
and 1220 stations last month). The lower conductivities made for plenty of
room in the allocation. We filed an upgrade application for 10 kW for that
station. If the FCC grants it, Ed Dulaney and Amanda Alexander will have quite
a project next summer/fall. The proposed upgrade uses the existing towers
but adds 15 degrees of top loading to each tower. A new transmitter, new phasor,
ATUs and transmission lines will be part of the project.
I’m hoping that by the time that facility is built, the new AM performance
verification rules will be in place, allowing us to “proof” the
array using NEC modeling.
We have several radio-oriented technical programs scheduled for 2008. The
first will be at the regular January meeting, and it will feature Kevin Campbell
of APT (makers of the apt-X algorithm) and his presentation on audio transport
via IP in the radio station environment. I have read the paper on this and
found it fascinating. As the time approaches, Jim will notify you of the date,
time and location of the meeting and program.
Also on tap for 2008 are programs by Jay Tyler of Wheatstone and Jeff Welton
of Nautel. I would anticipate a BE presentation later in the year.
I very much look forward to seeing you radio people at these meetings.
Our chapter has long needed some radio involvement, and this is our opportunity.
If you have news to share with the Rocky Mountain radio engineering
community, drop me an email at email@example.com.
Return to table of contents
AMATEUR RADIO NEWS
Compiled By Tom Weeden, WJ9H
From Chapter 24 - Madison
Vanity fees reduced
The FCC will reduce the regulatory fee to obtain or renew an Amateur Radio
vanity call sign by more than 40 percent starting September 17. In a Report & Order
(R&O) released August 6, "Assessment and Collection of Regulatory
Fees for Fiscal Year 2007," in MD Docket 07-81, the Commission will
cut the fee from its current $20.80 to $11.70. This marks the lowest fee
in the history of the current vanity call sign program. The FCC is authorized
by the Communications Act of 1934 (as amended) to collect vanity call sign
fees to recover the costs associated with that program. The vanity call
sign fee has fluctuated over the 11 years of the current program – from
a low of $12 to a high of $50.
The FCC says it anticipates some 14,700 Amateur Radio vanity call sign "payment
units" or applications during the next fiscal year, collecting $171,990
in fees from the program.
Repeater reductions begin
On August 13, the American Radio Relay League began sending "specific
mitigation reduction numbers" to 122 repeater owners, recommending that
they reduce their signal anywhere from 7 dB to 56 dB, according to ARRL Regulatory
Information Branch Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND. These reductions, requested
by the U.S. Air Force and the Department of Defense, only concern those repeaters
identified by the DoD as affecting the PAVE PAWS radar system in Massachusetts
Some reductions are going to be attainable," Henderson said. "You
can do 7 dB, but 54?" He said such a reduction would "not be realistic
to achieve. While many of the affected repeater owners may not be able to
achieve the required reductions, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t
try to meet the goal. Everyone involved needs to continue trying to meet the
DoD’s requirements. This gives us the best chance to keep as many of
these machines as possible on the air."
Henderson stressed that any order to shut down a repeater will come from
the Federal Communications Commission, at the request of the DoD. "This
situation only affects those repeaters on the DoD’s list in Massachusetts
and California. It does not affect the everyday, casual user of 70 cm. This
is not a wide-spread threat to the 70 cm band."
Citing an increasing number of interference complaints, the U.S. Air Force
has asked the FCC to order dozens of repeater systems to either mitigate interference
to the PAVE PAWS radars or shut down. The ARRL has been working with the DoD
to develop a plan to mitigate alleged interference from 70 cm ham radio repeaters
to this military radar system on both coasts. According to the DoD, the in-band
interference from Amateur Radio fixed FM voice repeaters has increased to
an unacceptable level. PAVE PAWS radars are used for national security functions,
including early detection of water-launched missiles. They are critical to
our national defense and are in use 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
The Amateur Radio Service is a secondary user in the 420-450 MHz (70 cm)
band, both by the Table of Frequency Allocations and the FCC Part 97 regulations.
As such, Amateur Radio licensees, jointly and individually, bear the responsibility
of mitigating or eliminating any harmful interference to the primary user,
which in this case is the Government Radiolocation Service that includes the
DoD PAVE PAWS systems.
Excerpts from the American Radio Relay League’s Web site at arrl.org
Return to table of contents
Clay’s Corner for October 2007
Featuring News, Rumors and Views
From Usually Reliable and Irrefutable Sources
By Clay Freinwald
SBE Seattle Chapter 16
Well here we are, just entering October and already
the stores are full of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas items. As you
get older, time goes by faster, but there is something wrong with this picture.
Looking ahead a bit – The National Weather Service is out with their
forecast for the winter. From what they say, we have a La Nina situation
that is may mean a cooler and wetter winter for us in the PNW and a dryer
one (as if that were possible) for folks in the Southwest. As with these
things, we will see.
Terry Spring is sporting a new vehicle. His old Jeep has been replaced
with a new Ford F-150. It’s a two-tone White and Brown. The brown
is TMM (Tiger Mountain Mud)
Looks like MSFT has delayed the elimination of XP from their line up.
At the same time they say that Vista is doing well. I know some folks that
are happy with that decision.
Congratulations to Entercom’s WWL in New Orleans on winning a load
of Marconi’s recently including legendary station of the year. That
station turned in an epic performance during Katrina. KIRO here in Seattle
was nominated in a couple of categories but came away empty handed.
Buzz Anderson is getting ready to roll up his sleeves at Cougar Mountain
as KNHC has reportedly ordered a new Nautel transmitter. This new rig will
be operating in hybrid mode meaning it will be transmitting both their FM
and HD modes. This is not the first
Non-Commercial station in this area to jump on the HD Radio bandwagon.
KPLU, KUOW, KXOT are all transmitting the new mode with the latter two running
3 channels each.
I should mention that KONP in Port Angeles also has a new Nautel on the air.
The FCC’s new rules are now in effect for HD-R and with it the green-light
for AM radio to operate the mode at night. This action has generated a significant
amount of debate for the simple reason that the AM allocation scheme does not
really address the issue of adjacent channel sky-wave protection. Time will tell
whether or not the sky will indeed fall as has been predicted by some.
With some 1500 stations now in the HD camp, cheers recently went up with the
announcement that Ford will begin to supply HD Radios in their new vehicles…perhaps,
just perhaps, it will catch on.
That trusty old analog TV set was given an extension of life to 2012 in a decision
by the FCC. The Commish estimates that there are some 40,000,000 analog sets
connect to cable and these folks will not be forced to go out and buy a new digital
set…..just those that rely on outside antennas. I have to wonder how this
will play out. Could this drive
some to cable so they don’t have to buy a new set ? And….what will
this do to the garage sale price on analog sets? Guess we are going to have to
wait and see.
In the category of - local guy does good – comes the news that Allen Hartle
has scored again with a relationship with Apple that will enable folks to buy
tunes they hear on the radio. Allen is being joined by Marty Hadfield in his
new Jump2Go company. The concept behind all this is called tagging (no paint
used) that combines HD radio and an iPod.
Saw this as a message at the end of an email – Never send a human to do
a machines job.
Old friend, Nick Winter, sent me a note today. He just order a book with all
the Carl and Jerry adventures. As I told Nick, I recall vividly my picking up
a copy of Volume 1, #1 of then a new magazine called Popular Electronics. This
was back in 1954. The adventures of Carl and Jerry was a regular feature and
I was hooked. I subscribed and remained so until the magazine made major changes
with the CB rage.
I see where KGA in Spokane has applied for a downgrade. The stations new owners
also own a rim-shot AM in the Bay-Area that has been precluded from increasing
power due to the KGA. Reportedly the station will install a DA south of town
and operate at something like 15 Kw. KGA, at one time, had a huge signal, the
degradation of which began when they moved to a diplexed site. So goes another
You have to wonder what’s up in Canada with so many AM’s going dark
and moving their operation to the FM band. Perhaps they are doing this because
they can. Here in the States the FM band is bulging and those that have AM’s
that would like to move to the 100MHz region can only hope that the FCC will
permit them to operate FM translators. It could be that the migration to FM,
up north, will permit some US AM’s to improved their facilities if they
have existing protections that that direction.
A translator change in Seattle – 94.5, with its transmitter on Capital
Hill, will have a new operator, Mercer Island’s KMIH that has been forced
to move due to the Hood River Oregon move in on 104.5. Speaking of which, rumors
continue to fly about 104.5 and it’s potential move to a popular FM site
in the area under new owners.
What’s the future for Wi-Max as a vehicle for broadcasting? There are a
number of folks predicting that the future may see broadcasting become something
like cellular with little transmitters on a phone pole near you. Certainly the
folks at Media-Flo have been planting their Channel 55 transmitters all over
the place to reach those that want to see TV on micro-screens. ATSC says it has
received proposals from 10 different groups for a new mobile digital TV standard
designed to work – within – existing DTV channels. Who would have
predicted, say 20-30 years ago, that all this money would be poured into 50 inch
flat screens, and, at the same time, 1.5 inch portables?
Then there are the low-power TV stations….what’s going to happen
to them? Are they going to have to turn off their analog transmitters and become
LPDTV stations? Guess we will have to wait until the Commission sorts this one
I noted that KSTW had a failure in their DTV transmitter recently. Got me to
wondering just how many DTV stations actually have Aux transmitters in that mode?
Granted there is a space problem in a lot of facilities, but after the trusty
old analog box goes away one would think that a lot of DT Aux equipment will
be going in. On the Radio side, most stations have only installed a single HD-R
transmitter. However that may well be changing as the popularity of that mode
increases and being off the air in HD becomes painful. Here in the Seattle area,
all but a couple of FM stations have Aux. transmitters and most of them are at
different locations. For instance those that have Main’s at West Tiger
have Aux’s at Cougar. When tower or combiner work is required at Tiger
they transmit their FM at Cougar, but their HD will go off the air. I’m
in the budgeting mode now planning for the day when the word comes down for HD-R
facilities at Cougar Mountain. Any way you look at it, the business of building
transmitters does not seem to be fading away.
Lehman Brothers have been looking at the transition to DTV and estimates that
some 60% of the population is completely unaware of the coming transition. The
way I look at it, a great number of people who get their TV from Satellite or
Cable are unaware of how, local channels get to their set. (Sort of like those
that are un-aware the milk comes from cows). To these people, TV of all kinds,
come from their provider.
Another RF is bad for you report. This time from the UK where a study has shown
that those who regularly use their cell phone longer that one hour per day are
loosing their hearing, starting with difficulty hear words that start with s,
f, h, t and z. I figure we are going to have a whole generation of folks that
will be wearing hearing aids considering how many teen-agers listen to their
music – very loud – and are most certainly using a cell-phone an
hour a day. If you are looking for an investment opportunity, there you go!
It’s always interesting to watch political candidates to see which of them
are making comments about our industry. Recently presidential candidate Barrack
Obama called for tighter regulation of Broadcasting. He was most critical of
consolidation and diversity in ownership.
I noted that KUOW will have a translator in Everett. This station has certainly
branched out with an AM in Tumwater and KXOT between Tacoma and Federal Way.
Speaking of which, I noted that a listener tried to block their license renewal
recently, they lost.
Arbitron the radio-rating outfit, has re-arranged the market ranks. Here are
the new rankings for cities in the Pacific Northwest; Seattle -14, Portland -23,
Spokane – 92, Boise – 102, Wenatchee – 175, Tri-Cities -196,
Yakima – 201 and Bend, Ore - #204.
Seattle is just ahead of Phoenix (15) and behind Puerto Rico (13). It’s
interesting that we used to be just behind Atlanta. But that area has surged
to over 4.2 million and is now ranked as market #8.
Here’s in interesting stat – Thanks to the growth of cell-phones
etc. There are now 4 billion phone lines. Breaking it down there are 1.27 billion
land-lines and 2.68 billion cell phones. 61% of the worlds mobile subscribers
are in under developed countries. And….over 1 billion are now using the
What does a fire department do when the respond to a call that a tower is on
fire in Stamford, Conn? Upon arrival they found the fire was some 350 feet up
the 380 foot tower. As it turned out the fire was one of the stations antenna
radomes and there was not much they could do but wait for it to burn out. Don’t
see this every day, thankfully.
Still lots of ‘side-taking’ in the battle over merging of satellite
radio providers. Have not checked the odds-makers on this one lately.
I see where over the past 5 years that LIN TV has instituted centralcasting at
16 of its 29 stations. The consolidation of master control operations is largely
made possible due to the installation of fiber across the country. Prior to that
centralcasting was limited to station that could be linked via microwave. Yakima
and Tri-Cities in our state comes to mind where this has been normal for many
years. Here in Seattle Tribune has the master control for their Portland operation
and Clear channel operated KVOS from Oklahoma
An experiment conducted by NBC is interesting. They tested people watching commercials
at normal speed and in fast-forward, as many people see them when viewing a pre-recorded
program. Results – the people are just as engaged with the contents of
the spot. Obviously the audio portion is lost.
Well folks, out of space – time to call it a column and ship it off. Lord
willing I will see you next month in this space – As they say – CUL
73, Clay, K7CR, CPBE.
Return to table of contents
The YXZ Report
by Kent Randles K7YXZ CBRE
Senior Engineer, Entercom-Portland
LIFE WITH HD RADIO
10 kW day/1 kW night non-directional 1640 KDZR Lake Oswego, a Radio Disney
station, turned off their AM Stereo and turned on their HD, so now there
are 12 FM HD signals (nine with HD2, and one with HD3) and three AM HD
signals on the air in the Portland market. For a complete list, see http://www.ibiquity.com/stationlist_hdradio.php?theState=OR&sortBy
Randy Pugsley, Director of Engineering for Churchill Media, reports that
2.2 kW non-directional day/flea-power night 1040 KXPD Tigard has a new Nautel
transmitter and will have its HD going by the middle of September, followed
shortly by 10 kW non-directional day/flea-power night 660 KXOR Junction
The FCC's HD Radio rules took effect Friday the 14th, so the AM's can
have their HD on continuously after that.
Ibiquity and Apple have announced "iTunes Tagging," a feature
to be available through new HD Radios. You hear a song playing on an HD
Radio station, you dock your iPod onto a radio with this feature, then push
a button and "tag" the song. When you go to iTunes you can preview
or purchase the song. Radios by Polk and JBL have been announced. See http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/prnewswire/CLTH161060
No extra hardware is involved at the station end, just compatible software
to generate the artist & title information for the HD Radio Importer & Exporter.
The station ownership must have an agreement with Apple, though.
LACK OF FREQUENCY COORDINATION BITES CP COMM Using licenses of NBC Telemundo,
CP Communications came to town to cover the Dew Action Sports event at the
Rose Garden and fired up on 450.1125 without properly coordinating. Unfortunately
for them, they interfered with KATU's base station.
FCC Portland Resident Agent Binh Nguyen was not amused and cited them. You can
see the notice of violation at http://www.fcc.gov/eb/FieldNotices/2003/DOC-276380A1.html
HOW NOT TO FIND FAULTY TRANSMISSION LINE
See if this sounds familiar. You start getting calls at 3 AM about your station's
FM transmitter popping off the air but resetting itself from VSWR (reflected
power) overloads. You arrive at the transmitter site after the third trip. The
station is still on the air at full power and you begin inspecting the unflanged
rigid transmission line inside the building for hot spots, starting at the transmitter
end. You find warm elbows, really warm elbows, and then at the not-so-well lit
end of the room right above the antenna switch: you put your palm on a piece
of line that is so hot, you later find out, that it vaporized the Teflon disk
around the "bullet," the inner conductor of the elbow came apart in
two pieces, and the solder holding the two outer halves of the elbow was dripping
Ow, and ow-fm.com! You have just learned that severely damaged bullets and elbows
CAN stay on the air. A couple hours of intense pain and three big blisters later,
you order an infrared thermometer.
I highly recommend Water-Jel Sterile Gel-Soaked Burn Dressings (http://www.water-jel.com),
and a prescription-only cream called Thermazene.
Finally, I'll briefly stand on my soap box and remind everyone that 3 1/8" rigid
transmission line may be rated for 56 kW "average power" in the FM
band, but that's at an ambient temperature of 68 degrees with no VSWR. Serious
derating happens with serious VSWR.
Return to table of contents
New Online Resource for TV Coverage Determination
By John Gray - SBE Chapter 3
A new website was recently brought to my attention that may be of interest
to some in the group. It is the TV Fool website, found online at www.tvfool.com.
This website has two main features:
1. It provides access to data files that can be used with Google Earth
to show Longley/Rice based coverage maps for TV stations. These files
must be downloaded by TV market as torrents (so you must have a Bit Torrent
to get them).
2. Its second and more interesting feature is the ability to take a
street address (or latitude / longitude coordinates) and produce a display
signal levels of all the nearby stations. It also shows the azimuth
to each station, the actual channel being used for broadcast, the 'virtual'
and network each station is affiliated with. The site uses information
from the FCC's station database for its calculations. It appears to be
of a work in progress state, however as it is now it gives some information
that is very useful when trying to determine what stations should be
received at a given location.
Return to table of contents
FROM THE CHAIR
By Dennis Baldridge
SBE Chapter 24 - Madison
Who Needs Certification? You do.
Why the emphasis from the SBE on certification? After all, if I can do
the work, isn’t that all that matters? Why do I need to upgrade?
These are common attitudes toward professional qualifications.
The SBE Program of Certification began in 1975. By 2003, it was recognized
by the National Skill Standards Board. NSSB Certification Recognition
promotes quality assurance in the marketplace and provides national
those who meet the quality benchmarks. Industry standards are constantly
changing, and the SBE-certified engineer must keep up with those changes.
There is a level of SBE Certification for almost every situation.
not sure which level is right for you, ask someone who is certified
or contact the SBE National Office. SBE Certification is valid for five
years and can
be renewed by retaking the exam, applying for a higher level, or
by earning recertification points and submitting an application.
You can learn more about the SBE Program of Certification at www.sbe.org or by talking to your local Certification Chair.
Certification is the broadcast industry standard of technical proficiency.
It documents your knowledge to your employer. It can be used to affirm
your expertise and indispensability in today’s ever-changing marketplace.
In addition, industry salary surveys show that SBE-certified people
typically earn more than people who are not SBE-certified. Certification
SBE Officer Election Results
SBE Elects Barry Thomas 25th National President, Other Officers,
Six Directors Also Elected
Barry Thomas, CPBE CBNT, of Atlanta, Georgia, has been elected the 25th
president of the Society of Broadcast Engineers. Thomas serves as Vice
President of Engineering – Radio for Lincoln Financial Media. Results of the election
were announced August 31st.
Thomas has been in the broadcast engineering field for more than 25 years
and is a Senior member of SBE. He has most recently served SBE as Treasurer
and chairs the Society’s strategic planning committee. He has served
at the chapter level in several markets and currently is active with Chapter
5 in Atlanta. Thomas has been a member of the Society since 1986. Thomas’ one-year
term will begin October 11, during the SBE’s National Meeting in Pittsburgh,
Upon his election, Thomas said, “I'm excited about serving the Society
and helping continue the excellent efforts the SBE has made in certifying,
educating and networking broadcast engineers. It's our goal to concentrate
our efforts on the core purposes of SBE, strengthen SBE chapters and facilitate
our members’ involvement in creating the next innovations in broadcasting.”
Elected as the Society’s vice president was Vincent Lopez, CEV CBNT,
of Syracuse, N.Y. Lopez is Director of Engineering for WSYT/WNYS TV/Sinclair
Broadcast Group in Syracuse. He is a member and past chairman of Chapter 22
of Central New York and has been a member of the national SBE board of directors
since 2000, most recently serving as national secretary. He has been a member
of SBE since 1991. Lopez was elected a SBE Fellow in 2004.
Ted Hand, CPBE 8-VSB, of Charlotte, N. Car. was elected SBE secretary.
Hand is Chief Engineer of WSOC-TV and WAXN-TV in Charlotte. He is a Senior
member of SBE, joining in 1982 and has served as a member of the Board
of Directors for four years and as a member of the Executive Committee.
serves as chairman of the Society’s education committee.
Elected treasurer is Ralph Hogan, CPBE CBNT of Pullman, Washington. Hogan
is Assistant General Manager, Engineering Services, Washington State
University in Pullman. He’s been a member of SBE since 1990 and is a Senior member.
He has served six years on the SBE Board, including two as national Secretary
and has been a member of SBE’s certification committee since 1996.
Six members were elected to two-year terms on the Board of Directors.
- Chris Alexander, CPBE AMD, Director of Engineering, Crawford
Broadcasting Company, Denver, Colo.
- Andrea B. Cummis, CBT CTO, Sr. Vice President, Engineering
and Technology, American Desi TV, Roseland, N.J.
- Dane E. Ericksen, P.E., CSRTE 8-VSB CBNT, Senior Engineer,
Hammett & Edison,
Inc., San Francisco, Calif.
- Hal H. Hostetler, CPBE, Senior Engineer/I.T. Director, KVOA
Television, Tucson, Ariz.
- Jerry Massey, CPBE CBNT 8-VSB AMD, Corporate Regional Engineer
and Director of Engineering, Entercom Communications, Greenville,
They will be joined by six returning members of the
Board and Christopher Scherer, CPBE CBNT, who, as immediate past
serve on the Board. The six returning directors include:
- Ralph Beaver, CBT, President and CEO, Media Alert, Inc., Tampa, Fla.
T. Bernier, Jr., CPBE CBNT, Director, Maintenance, Design and Engineering,
Turner Entertainment Networks, TBS, Inc., Atlanta,
- Keith M. Kintner, CPBE CBNT, Radio-TV-Film Engineer, University of Wisconsin
Oshkosh, Oshkosh, Wisc.
- Thomas R. Ray, III, CPBE,
Vice President, Corporate Director of Engineering, Buckley Broadcasting/WOR
Radio, New York, N.Y.
- Christopher D. Tarr, CBRE CBT CBNT, Director
of Engineering, Entercom Milwaukee/Madison, Delafield, Wisc.
J. Wilkins, CPBE AMD CBNT, Assistant Director of Engineering, Cumulus
Broadcasting, Prattville, Ala.
SBE National Webcast – Tuesday, October 9th
The Society of Broadcast Engineers will present a special webcast, “The
SBE and You,” on Tuesday, October 9 from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm, EDT. The
webcast will offer members and chapters an opportunity to hear directly from
the SBE's national leaders on current issues and projects. Hosted by President
Chriss Scherer and President–elect, Barry Thomas, the program will begin
with an update on activities and a review of the SBE leadership structure.
It will then cover a review of the current strategic planning process underway,
provide insight into the latest educational efforts of the Society and deliver
additional updates on ongoing projects and programs. The majority of the program
will be devoted to an open question-and-answer session, when members can e-mail,
call or instant message questions to the webcast to be answered live by the
SBE officers, board members or national staff.
Individual members and SBE chapters are encouraged to participate. A
link will be available to the webcast at the SBE website, www.sbe.org; activated
shortly before the program begins.
The program will emanate from the AZCAR training studios in Pittsburgh,
Pa.., where that company produces broadcast engineer training programs
for the Sprint/Nextel 2 GHz conversion. Our thanks to AZCAR and Sprint/Nextel
for making the facilities available to SBE for this program at no cost.
We hope you will reserve this one hour in your day to “tune in” and
SBE RF Safety Course Set for October 25
The Society of Broadcast Engineers will present its RF Safety Course at
nine locations on October 25th. The course will begin at 2:00 pm EDT
and conclude by 5:30 pm EDT. The SBE RF Safety Courses are delivered
via web cast and are 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 courses will be noted RF safety
expert, Richard Strickland of RF Safety Solutions.
The SBE RF Safety Course has been approved for one SBE recertification
Course Description & Content
The SBE RF Safety Course provides an overview of RF radiation issues
Biological effects of RF radiation and the distinct differences between
and ionizing radiation
FCC and OSHA regulations - what they are and what you need to do to comply
- Transmitter Sites
- SNG and ENG trucks
- Remote operations (where news personnel can find problems such as on
- The unique issues at AM stations
RF hazard protection equipment - you may not need it but your contractors probably
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.
Each RF Safety Couse webcast is limited to nine locations. To accommodate the
anticipated interest in this course, we encourage SBE chapters, broadcast stations
or companies to host the course at a suitable training site where multiple
local members or employees can be accommodated. Most sites are open to others
the hosting party. At sites with more than just a few individuals attending,
an LCD projector and screen will be used with an Internet-connected computer
for the video portion of the training. The audio is delivered via telephone
and can be amplified as needed for the size of the audience.
October 25 -Course
New York City
San Luis Obispo, CA
San Mateo, CA
Grand Junction, CO
Ft. Smith, Arkansas
If you are intersted in attending one of these
courses, contact the SBE National Office
at RFSafety@sbe.org. If none of these locations are near you and you would
like to host a future course, let the SBE National Office know usig the
s ame e-mail
address. With enough interest, more courses will be organized.
Teaching Method & Technology
The course makes use of MS Power Point and is interactive - questions may
be asked at any time during the course.
SBE Offers Interpretation of FCC Order
On July 12, 2007, the FCC released an EAS Second Report and Order and Further
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 07-109) which revises the FCC Part 11 EAS
SBE provides a summary and analysis of those rules below.
- These rules do not go into effect until 30 days after publication in
the Federal Register, which has not yet happened.
- “EAS Participants” below refers to all broadcast stations,
cable operators, etc. that are currently required to participate in EAS.
- A number of these rules do not take effect until 180 days after FEMA
acts on that item.
- The FCC has mandated Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) for EAS use. Please
click on the “CAP” link on the SBE EAS page for more information
Of particular interest to broadcasters
- EAS Participants must accept Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) v1.1 messages,
no later than 180 days after FEMA publicly publishes adoption of
- EAS Participants must adopt Next Generation EAS delivery
systems no later than 180 days after FEMA publicly releases standards
- EAS Participants must transmit state-level and geo-targeted local
EAS alerts received in CAP format and issued by state governors or
later than 180 days after FEMA publishes its adoption of the
CAP standard, provided that the state has an FCC-approved EAS State
Plan that provides
for delivery of such alerts.
- EAS Participants must configure their
systems to incorporate CAP security functions within 180 days after
FEMA publishes standards for authentication
and validation of CAP alerts.
- EAS Participants are required
to upgrade their station-relay networks to Next Generation EAS networks.
and FEMA will coordinate on the resources and requirements to conduct
EAS training programs to ensure states and other interested
parties can implement Next Generation EAS.
Non-broadcaster New Rules
Wireline Video Providers (AT&T U-Verse and Verizon FiOS) have now been
included as EAS participants, effective immediately when the rules become
SDARS (XM and Sirius) and DBS (Dish and DirecTV) are exempted at
this time from carrying the governors’ messages due to the technical limitations
of their national feeds.
FCC Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
As part of this ruling, the FCC has also issued a FNPRM asking for
- Improving EAS alert delivery to non-English speakers.
- Improving EAS alert delivery to those with disabilities.
- Asking if they should mandate transmission of EAS alerts from officials
other than state governors.
- Asking if they should require testing or certification to be sure
EAS works as designed.
The changes coming to EAS are considerable and SBE is here to help
facilitate communications in this vital area. SBE operates an email
list called the “EAS
Exchange,” dedicated to the discussion of EAS topics. If you have
an EAS question about the existing or future system or would like to direct
or share something with the Society’s EAS committee, your participation
is welcome. Consult the SBE website, www.sbe.org. Look under - Regulatory/Government
Relations – EAS – (www.sbe.org/gov_eas.php)
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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
|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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Bill Harris - Editor In Chief
Garneth M. Harris
Tom Goldberg - On Line Editor
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