This Month's Stories

Last updated:
November 7, 2007

 

Newsletter Archive

Contact Us

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

David Baley of Isilon gave a lively presentation on their family of IQ clustered storage systems. David outlined the evolution of various shared storage solutions 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, enterprise-class storage systems designed to address the massive storage needs of media and entertainment companies. He also discussed NBC's implementation for the Olympics and how Isilon served all the shared content needs for the venues.


SMPTE Chairman 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 meeting.

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 audio.

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 application.

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 at all.

More Power
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.

Radio Programs!
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 crisa@crawfordbroadcasting.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 and California.

" 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 legendary station.

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 out.

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 Internet.

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
Chapter 124

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 =StnMarket&theCity=PortlandOR#stationlist .

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 City.

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 92007-1.htm .

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 out.

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 client 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 of the signal levels of all the nearby stations. It also shows the azimuth to each station, the actual channel being used for broadcast, the 'virtual' channel, and network each station is affiliated with. The site uses information from the FCC's station database for its calculations. It appears to be in somewhat 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

SBE News

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 recognition for 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. If you’re 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 pays!

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, Pa.

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. He currently 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. They include:

  • 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, S.Car.

They will be joined by six returning members of the Board and Christopher Scherer, CPBE CBNT, who, as immediate past president, will also serve on the Board. The six returning directors include:

  • Ralph Beaver, CBT, President and CEO, Media Alert, Inc., Tampa, Fla.
  • James T. Bernier, Jr., CPBE CBNT, Director, Maintenance, Design and Engineering, Turner Entertainment Networks, TBS, Inc., Atlanta, Ga.
  • 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.
  • Larry 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 call in.

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 credit.

Course Description & Content
The SBE RF Safety Course provides an overview of RF radiation issues for broadcasters.
• Biological effects of RF radiation and the distinct differences between RF radiation
and ionizing radiation
• FCC and OSHA regulations - what they are and what you need to do to comply
• Workplace hazards
  - Transmitter Sites
  - SNG and ENG trucks
  - Remote operations (where news personnel can find problems such as on rooftops)
  - The unique issues at AM stations
• RF hazard protection equipment - you may not need it but your contractors probably will
• Signs - what they mean and what you need

Each participant will receive a course “hand-out” via e-mail prior to the course. 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.

Course Locations
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 besides 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 Locations
New York City
San Luis Obispo, CA
Springfield, MA
San Mateo, CA
Grand Junction, CO
Ft. Smith, Arkansas
Needham, MA
Indianapolis, IN

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 Rules.

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 on CAP.

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 this standard.
  • EAS Participants must adopt Next Generation EAS delivery systems no later than 180 days after FEMA publicly releases standards for these systems.
  • EAS Participants must transmit state-level and geo-targeted local EAS alerts received in CAP format and issued by state governors or their designees no 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.
  • FCC 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 law.

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 comment on:
- 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.

Invitation
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 a question 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) to subscribe.

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 (DRB). 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 official 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 Office.

College Credit for Your SBE Certification:

College Credit for Your SBE Certification The Society of Broadcast Engineers and Excelsior College have teamed up! Your current SBE Certification may qualify for credit towards a degree from Excelsior College or could help you finish that degree youíve been working on at another institution. If youíre interested, contact Excelsior College by calling toll-free at (888) 647-2388 to learn about the details.

When you are ready to submit your SBE Certification for credit to Excelsior College, download the SBE transcript request form at www.sbe.org or www.excelsior.edu, or contact the SBE National Office for a copy. When youíve completed the form, e-mail, fax or mail it to Megan Clappe, Certification Director at the SBE National Office, who will prepare your transcript and send it to Excelsior College.

Megan Clappe

Certification Director Society of Broadcast Engineers
9102 N. Meridian Street, Suite 150
Indianapolis, IN 46260
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 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 mclappe@sbe.org

Exam Dates Location Application Deadline
Nov 9-19, 2007 Local Chapters September 21, 2007

Fees are as Follows:

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

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

 

Return to table of contents

Etc.

Newsletter Committee

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

  Garneth M. Harris

  Tom Goldberg - On Line Editor

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

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

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