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November 7, 2007


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November 2007 Newsletter

SBE Chapter 48 / SMPTE Rocky Mountain Section

October 2007 Meeting Report

Tour of State-of-the-Art Tape Archive Manufacturing Facility

Date:          Thursday, October 18, 2007
Location:    Spectra Logic Corporation, 700 North 55th Street, Boulder, CO 80301
Topic:         Tour of State-of-the-Art Tape Archive Manufacturing Facility
Presenter and Host:  Hossein ZiaShakeri, Spectra Logic

Mr. Shakeri provided an overview of Spectra Logic's innovative design approaches to high density archive storage, including some new product releases, and a tour of the company's impressive design and manufacturing facilities. This was a rare opportunity for a behind the scenes look at Spectra Logic's operations. It was well worth the trip to Boulder for those who attended.


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Random Radio Thoughts

Cris Alexander, CPBE, AMD
Crawford Broadcasting Company

Copper theft has become a hot topic among broadcast engineers these days. Just about every one of us has either experienced it firsthand or knows someone who has.

Typically when we think about copper theft, we tend to think about AM ground systems, copper strap, tower ground down leads and transmission lines. These are the items that are generally targeted. Air conditioner condenser units are also growing in popularity with copper thieves. Colorado Public Radio’s A/C units have been hit several times in recent months at Ruby Hill. Many of you have probably also seen some of the rather gruesome photos of copper thieves who were electrocuted while trying to steal copper wire from transformer vaults, electrical substations and the like.

At one of our St. Louis transmitter sites, we have been hit in another area: telco trunk cables. On several occasions since August, copper thieves have stolen large segments of the 100-pair cable. The first time it happened, they evidently tossed a rope over the pole-suspended cable, tied it to a bumper or trailer hitch and drove until it broke. They then pulled several hundred feet of the stuff off the poles, cut it and ran. That took our station with its T1-based STL off the air.

AT&T quickly responded and replaced the span of stolen cable, but it wasn’t long before the thieves returned and helped themselves to the new cable. We made it through a couple of weeks the next time, but they came back once again. When it happened in early October, the thieves returned just hours after a replacement span was spliced back in. They hit us again on October 20, this time stealing 100 feet of 8-pair cable that had been temporarily spliced in (why did they bother?).

Because there is no STL path to our transmitter site, we have few options. For the moment, we have installed a Sprint broadband card in a PC at the site to give us wireless Internet. When the cable is stolen, we access the 32 kHz Internet stream and use that as an STL. It is a good quality stream, much better than being off the air.

So how do we combat copper theft at broadcast facilities? In the case of our St. Louis operation, I’m out of altitude, airspeed and ideas. The cable is being stolen some distance from our site along a seldom-traveled county road. At our other sites, however, we probably do have some options. Lighting is, in most cases, a real theft deterrent. Some sites, however, may do better without additional lighting. We have such a mountaintop site in Portland, Oregon. Additional lighting at that site would only benefit the thieves.

Perimeter security is always good, but even a good fence is not much of a deterrent to a well-equipped thief. Chances are that anyone equipped to cut and remove copper wire and cable will be equipped to open a section in a chain-link fence as well. But combined with a perimeter alarm system, a fence is a good place to start. Outdoor perimeter alarms are much better than they used to be. There is equipment available that can tell the difference between a human intruder and wildlife and that is relatively impervious to the elements. It’s expensive, but considering what’s at stake, it may be a worthwhile investment. Copper thieves can turn a $50,000 AM ground system into $50 in beer or dope money in a very short amount of time.

Two of our sites in Birmingham, Alabama were hit last spring. Copper down leads that provided the lightning ground connections for the towers were stolen. In that lightning-prone region, it was a very good thing indeed that our chief engineer discovered the theft before we took a big hit on one of the towers. The ground path for such a lightning current would have been down the transmission line and through the equipment to the power line service entrance ground (which would have likely been vaporized with any significant strike current). We replaced those down leads with aluminum wire. Of course the resistance of the aluminum wire is greater than the copper, but up-sizing it should overcome that limitation. Hopefully, would-be thieves will see that those big cables are aluminum and not copper. So far, so good.

Some have suggested painting exposed strap gray or some other color. That’s probably not a bad idea and it may mask the composition to the uninitiated, but any copper thief worth his salt will scratch through the paint to see what lies beneath. At one of our sites, thieves went to a lot of trouble to strip back the black jacket on a piece of Andrew 5-inch air-dielectric line to see what was beneath. For whatever reason, they never came back and took any of the line (thank goodness!).

As long as copper prices remain high, this will continue to be a problem. For the most part, law enforcement can’t help us; we will have to help ourselves.

I had the privilege of going to Pittsburgh for the SBE board of directors meeting last month. In addition to serving on the board of directors, I was also appointed to a seat on the certification committee. That seemed like a natural transition, since I have served as certification chairman of this chapter for the past couple of years.

Over the summer, I had the privilege of serving on the ad hoc committee that developed the new Digital Radio Broadcast Specialist (DRB) certification. The idea for this certification was hatched at last spring’s committee meeting; the certification became a reality at the October meeting. The first tests will be given in this month’s window.

For those of you working in the digital radio arena, this specialist certification is for you. I just read a report that Denver is among the markets with the highest percentage of HD Radio stations. That, together with the HD scan button on my car radio, tells me there are a lot of you out there. Get your applications in for the February exam window. You have until the end of the year.

Exam Dates
One of the complaints that we have heard of late is that you have a hard time making the exam window work for you. One of the best-kept secrets of the SBE certification process is that you can arrange for a test date outside that window if you need one. You must simply contact the chapter certification chairman and make the arrangements. The caveat here is that we still need a significant amount of lead time for application processing. Each application must go through the local chapter, then to each of the certification committee members before approval by the national office. Because it is a paper application and must make the rounds by snail mail, this processing takes some time. So get your application in and if you need a special exam date, drop me an email. I’ll do my best to accommodate you.

Radio Technical Programs
We have a radio-oriented technical program on the chapter meeting calendar for January. Kevin Campbell of Belfast-based APT will present “IP Audio Networking.” I have seen some of this presentation and can tell you it is interesting and directly relates to much of what we do in both studio and transmitter environments these days. The meeting is currently slated for January 24 and will be at the CBS radio cluster in the Denver Post building. Details will be emailed out as we get closer. We need a good turnout.
Several other radio-oriented technical programs are in the queue for 2008. Stay tuned for details on those.

The last few sessions of the SBE IRLP amateur radio net have had a good turnout, both locally on the WA2YZT 2m/70cm repeaters and nationally via the IRLP. Entercom’s Jack Roland, KE0VH, acts as net control.

If you have a ham ticket, I would encourage you to join us the first and third Saturdays of each month on 146.805/447.175 MHz, PL 186.2 Hz. You will likely make some new acquaintances, and you can take a half credit for recertification if you check in.

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


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Compiled By Tom Weeden, WJ9H
From Chapter 24 - Madison

Sputnik, 50 years later
Fifty years ago this month, the world’s first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, was launched by the Soviet Union. In an article titled "Sputnik and Amateur Radio," authors Ralph H. Didlake, KK5PM and Oleg P. Odinets, RA3DNC recount how amateurs in both the Soviet Union and the United States tracked the low Earth-orbiting satellite. Hams provided signal observations that were passed on to scientists and government agencies for analysis of the orbit and clues to the physics of the outer atmosphere. The full article is at

Amateur radio goes to Washington
At press time, A Military Affiliate Radio System (MARS) demonstration for Members of Congress was scheduled outside the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. on October 3. Hams around the country were asked to aid in the demonstration by making HF contacts during the day.

American Radio Relay League’s Media and Public Relations Manager Allen Pitts, W1AGP, said, "The October 3 demonstration of Amateur Radio and MARS emergency communications will be front and center in the open space between the Capitol building and the Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C." Pitts went on to say that the regional MARS organization is planning to conduct an exercise demonstrating emergency communications at the Capitol, as well.
The exercise assumed a mock Category 3 hurricane, Hurricane Quincy, would make landfall on October 2 over the coastal areas of Delaware, Maryland, D.C. and Virginia. Quincy would progress northward to New Jersey and Pennsylvania and then travel inland to the south, returning to the Atlantic Ocean on October 5 via the Carolinas and Georgia. During this time, MARS resources would be challenged by ongoing events in every part of the country, including ice storms, tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, and earthquakes.

While MARS was conducting their drill on their frequencies, Amateur Radio operations were to try HF voice contacts around 14.250 and 7.250 MHz, and on PSK at 14.070 MHz.

" By showing Members of Congress our nationwide capabilities and potentials, we advance the Service in many ways," Pitts said.

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


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FCC Issues New Must-Carry Rules

By Tom Smith
Madison Chapter 24

On September 11, the FCC issued new rules for cable operators requiring certain levels of must-carry of broadcast TV signals. The new rules are meant to ensure that cable viewers with analog TVs to have access to broadcast TV signals after the analog broadcast TV shutdown on February 17, 2009. The rules require all cable companies to either carry the broadcast stations as an analog signal or ensure that all subscribers have access to the necessary equipment to receive a digital signal. They also required all cable systems to transmit all broadcast HDTV signals and to do it with the same quality as broadcast. The FCC did not require cable systems to carry and multicast or other services that may be broadcast in a stations DTV data stream.


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The KE0VH Hamshack.doc

Jack Roland
Entercom Denver

The Muffled Microphone
The other night, I get a call about 2am saying "The Alice (105.9) Main mic sounds horrible, thin and tinny". Keep in mind now this is before our AM show, that is talk intensive, was due to start, and the mics are always critical here. Well, the young guy on the air, brand new and very young, was on the air, and when he woke me up I was in a DEEP sleep, woke up, got dressed, got in the car and headed down to the studio (21 miles one way, not all uphill), walked into the Alice control room, walked up to the mic, put the headphones on, turned on the channel. Sure enough, it sounded really bad.

Until I turned it around the right way. Sure wish I had thought of that from the house.

The jock was afraid I would be mad.
I walked out of the room laughing..........
The picture of the mic shows you why this could happen..........

Alice's Main Mic

Reports and 10 meters
Our friend Cliff, N0ZUQ of Fort Collins, and Chief Engineer for the Salem stations in Denver, was one of the operators of the TI5N station from Costa Rica during the CQ WW SSB contest the weekend of 10/27 thru 28. I will have a report next month for you.

Congrats and great job to Kenny, K4KR, who regularly checks into the SBE IRLP Hamnet from Chickamauga Georgia, for his resounding success demonstrating amateur radio and the IRLP to the group of Scouts Monday night, 10/22 on the SBE/engineering IRLP Reflector 9615. They were able to contact Australia, and other cities including KC0RPS, Jim and myself here in Denver. It was a lot of fun and great exposure to Amateur Radio for the scouts there. The DX club that Kenny is a member of did a full presentation to the scouts as well with the ARRL ham radio video and a lot more.

And, as I was driving our KEZW 1430 am monitor points on Thursday, 10/25, 10 meters was ALIVE and KICKIN' to the east coast and South America. I worked a station in Tennessee and Charleston SC with my 25 watt Realistic HTX-10 and mobile antenna, then worked 4 South American stations including a PY2, PJ2, and two americans down there getting ready for the CQWW SSB contest the weekend of 10/27 & 28. DX comes out of the wordwork this weekend, some rare, some not, but plenty of DX to be worked. I traditionally will work 15 to 30 DX stations when they are out like this, so check it out for a lot of fun next year if you can.

The events and dates for Amateur radio contesting are listed at And don't forget the SBE IRLP Hamnet meets at 11am Mountain time, 1pm Eastern locally here in Denver on the WA2YZT repeater system,, and on the SBE IRLP Engineering Reflector 9615. All the details are at

New Speaker Technology
Has anyone seen this new speaker technology? I have a picture to email if you are interested.

Flat-Tech 1: High power, full range, portable flat panel technology
There are many advantages of Flat Panel Loudspeakers over conventional designs. Their flat configuration allows sound to be dispersed from the entire surface of the panel as opposed to just the center. This translates into omni-directional performance characteristics which spread out evenly across the entire listening environment and not just directly underneath the loudspeaker source. The Flat-Tech 1, weighing less than 8 pounds, can deliver an astonishing 114dB peak output, while handling 80 watts. A generous operating range of 60 Hz right up to 21 KHz makes this unit suitable for almost any type of program, with no need for a subwoofer. The installation market sector can make good use of these excellent sounding speakers, both indoors and outdoors, hanging from the ceiling or positioned close to, but not against, a wall. You can even attach graphics to the face of the loudspeaker to advertise products, supply key information, or your favorite cool photo. Originally designed for the mobile small band/group, Karaoke or DJ market, the Flat-Tech 1 is equally at home placed on a stand to supply PA to a wedding, conference and seminar venues in hotels or civic buildings, filling the entire room with ‘even’ sound so that every word is heard in every corner of the room. This lightweight flat panel speaker is easy to transport (padded bags for travel protection are available), easy to set up, and easy to carry into those awkward venues at the top of a flight of stairs!

Light weight * tired of dragging hundreds of pounds of speakers into every venue? Tired of carrying 500 pounds of speakers in your van? Try the Flat-Tech 1, at 8.0 pounds each.
Size * Do you have an issue with storing your speakers? Or don’t want to waste precious floor space in your store? The Flat-tech 1 comes in at 3 inches thick, including the drivers and connector. The height is 26 inches and the width 21_. How many speakers can you store in your closet? Mounted on a wall, this speaker will be unobtrusive.
Mounting * This speaker will boldly go where no other speaker can go. Due to its light weight and size, the Flat-Tech 1 comes with a mounting tube that will mount on a standard microphone stand (a 3-legged stand is recommended over a round-base stand). With the additional wall mount, the Flat-Tech 1 will mount easily on a wall, out of the way, without requiring wall or ceiling reinforcement needed for heavy traditional speakers. Best mounted several inches from the wall, to take advantage of rear sound waves.
Frequency Response * The Flat-Tech 1 is rated from 60hz to 21khz. This speaker does not need a subwoofer. This speaker WOOFS. The sound clarity and crispness across the frequency range will startle you.
Wide Sound Dispersion * The Flat-Tech 1 has nearly a 180 degrees sound dispersion. Therefore, it fills a room with sound in a way not possible with conventional speakers. You have never heard it like this before. “Hot spots” created in a room by conventional speakers are eliminated. It disperses sound so well it becomes difficult to tell where the source is located.
Rated up to 80 watts. Because the entire surface of the Flat-Tech 1 radiates sound, its efficiency is greater compared with conventional speakers. Do the math*the area of a flat panel equates to the cone area of about 5_ twelve-inch woofers.
Environment friendly * With a wood frame and patented panel material and construction, it uses a fraction of the material of comparable conventional speakers.
· Padded carrying bag
· Wall/ceiling mount
Perfect for: medium size venues that need clear sound across a room, churches, bar rooms. Give your home theater a new listening dimension. Unbeatable for the portable market, conferences, seminars, hotel, Karaoke, DJs, acoustic bands.

Marketed in the U.S. solely by: Solid Technologies, Lakewood CO. Dana Jensen J 720-232-0829

73’ Jack, until next month de KE0VH!


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Clay’s Corner for November 2007

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

By Clay Freinwald
SBE Seattle Chapter 16

I was just pondering the fact that I moved to this area, as a wee lad, some 50 years ago, from Portland. Wow does time fly!

Received a nice email from John Van Oppen. John is the president of the non-profit that runs KMIH on Mercer Island. He was responding to my comments about the 94.5 translator on Capital Hill. Thanks John, nice to see that my-stuff is getting read.

We have all known for some time that RF is supposed to cause nasty things to happen to humans. Over the years we have seen ever increasing standards and regulations in this area and periodically we read about some new threat from cell phones etc. I’ve wondered how long it would take for someone to turn RF into a weapon…and now it has apparently happened. I understand that they have determined that if you focus very high powered 95 GHz RF at a person that it causes them to heat up to the point that they run away. (Seriously) The US Army has told developers that they want this weapon in Iraq ASAP. Wonder if this will create an additional market for those RF-proof suits? I can just see it now….opposing army’s aiming their RF weapons at each other on the battlefield.

Sad to report on the passing of Irv Law. Irv was the founder of BSW in Tacoma that has become one of the leading suppliers of Radio and Pro-Audio equipment in the country. I first met Irv back in the 60’s when he was selling automation for a Bellingham based firm called IGM. Later he opened a small store, in a strip mall in Tacoma’s University Place, behind the Pine Cone Café. On November 2nd there was a celebration of Irv’s life with many of his friends and customers in attendance.

Looks like we may have another 50 Kw AM Broadcast station in our area, in this case the transmitter is to be co-located at the new KRKO facility in Everett. This is going to make our area home of a considerable number of 50 Kw facilities. Let me see if I can recall them all –
1- 710
2- 770
3- 820
4 -880
5- 950
6- 1000
7- 1090
8 – 1300 (Licensed but perhaps not at full power)
9 – 1380
10 – 1520 (The new one)

I suspect that not many markets have 10 – 50’s. It also interesting to note that serious money is still being spent on the old-band.

The FCC has is now permitting IBOC operation of AM’s at night. Thus far, to the best of my knowledge, in this area only 850 and 1250 are on the air with IBOC and only during the day. Rumor has it that others are planning on turning on the new mode on this band. There has been some bumps in the road of operating HD at night, one company, Citidel, elected to turn off their night IBOC operations due to concerns over sky-wave interference. I still believe that a relatively small number of AM’s will actually make this move for reasons ranging from economics to technical. (That ought to cover it)

HD-R seems to be gaining support with a rather large number of receivers now on the market. I recently noted an ad for Best Buy with a segment devoted to HD Radio receivers.

By the time you read this, KNHC will have taken delivery of their new Nautel transmitter at Cougar Mt. This rig will replace an old Gates 5Kw Rig that has been their standby. The new unit will be operating FM and HD as that station joins the parade to digital. I also note that they are raising funds for a new studio facility.

I see the FCC is still enforcing EAS rules. In a recently case they fined a cable system $6400 for having an EAS unit…but not having installed it.

I suppose you have heard that the FAA has a new process for reporting tower light outages. Understand that they have handed this responsibility to Lockeed/Martin. To avoid being quoted, I highly recommend that you investigate the new reporting procedure and post a –how-to – for all. Check out the article in the September issue of Radio Guide.

While in WDC in mid-October, all the news was about the drought in the Atlanta area. I checked an article about it in USA Today and discovered that they have only had 28.88 inches of rain thus far, this year (compared to their normal 40.29). When I got back home I check the weather section in the paper and saw that we have had just over 24 inches. Wait a minute!!! What’s going on here. Seattle, where the world knows – It rains all the time – has had less precipitation than Georgia and THEY are having a drought? Am I missing something here? I still maintain if you ask a resident of Atlanta if they would consider moving to Seattle the first thing they will say is…. Are you crazy… It rains all the time there.

On the subject of that meeting in WDC, the gathering was of the FCC, FEMA, NAB, NASBA and SBE. The topic was – What’s up with the changes to EAS we have been hearing about. I have to admit, I enjoyed running the meeting. At a future chapter meeting I will give you all a run-down as to what took place.

Harris is selling its facility in Cincy…. Technically Mason, Ohio. If you have an extra 16 megabucks you can buy the 160,000 sq ft building. Lots of changes for the Company that used to build everything in Quincy, Ill. Guess they still do.

Hard drive capacity is going up and up. Now Hitachi has announced a 4 terabyte model. The heads on these new drives are reported to be in the 30 to 50 nanometer range, or about 2,000 times smaller than a human hair. Considering that these drives use similar principles to tape recorders of old, we have come a long way.

Received a nice email from Bill Nelson announcing his retirement from KCPQ after 30 years in broadcasting (Gee Bill, only 30 years?) Bill noted that his first pay check came from KPEC, Ch 56, then owned by the Clover Park School District back in 1976. Gee It seems to me that I was there too. Congrats Bill on your retirement. You lucky devil.

The Radio ratings are out for this past summer in our market – KMPS is back on top followed by KOMO-AM, KUBE and KWJZ. A couple of observations – KCMS remains at #5 proving to those that contemporary Christian is a real format. The Wolf has slid back a bit. Jack did too. The popularity of KDDS continues to climb with its Mexican format. And Bonneville has yet to find the key to getting KIRO moving. The Mountain, KMTT had one of its best showings ever ending up the top Entercom station.

The Commish is getting after retailers that are trying to peddle TV without adequate warning that the days of analog are coming to an end. There are many that are predicting that this is going to be a huge problem. But if you get your TV from cable, you are safe for a while longer.

Hard to believe that Tektronix grew to a huge company and then shrank to a small one and recently was sold to another firm. Tek was for years Portland’s Boeing or Microsoft. Is there anyone in our business that does not have fond memories of their first experience with a Tektronix scope. I remember my first day with the 524…Finally a scope designed for TV…The 545, my first really dual-trace. 527’s in camera control…ah those were the days.

On the subject of sales, how about the sale of PSE? Our areas biggest utility is being sold to consortium of Australian and Canadian firms. They tell us it will be business as usual. Gee I hope not. That aux. power generator at West Tiger has already logged 23 hours of run time this fall.

And when you thought that tubes were dead. Harris, Continental and BE are all making, tube-type, digital radio transmitters. In fact Continental has introduced a new water cooled model. Thales has added a new water cooled bottle to their line up. The TH 594 can produce 35Kw of CW and 60 Kw of peak power at 100 MHz. With a gain of 15.5 db it’s proving that fire-FETS are still alive and kicking.

Understand that the former Bellevue call letters of KLSY are now on the air on the Coast on 107.9

That’s about it for this month – time to think about Christmas shopping….naw…not yet.

CUL 73, Clay, K7CR, CPBE.


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The YXZ Report

by Kent Randles K7YXZ CBRE
Senior Engineer, Entercom-Portland
Chapter 124

Holding at 12 FM HD signals (nine with HD2, and one with HD3) and three AM HD signals on the air in the Portland market. For a complete list, see =StnMarket&theCity=PortlandOR#stationlist .

Randy Pugsley, Director of Engineering for Churchill Media, reports they are closer to turning on the HD of 1040 KXPD Tigard. They have to replace several parts in the ATU/filter to get rid of a "knot" in the Smith Chart plot, and get some more bandwidth.

Not much of an IBOC-alypse when AM stations were allowed to have their HD on at night on September 14th. Some had it on at midnight, most waited until that night, and a few weren't on until Monday morning or evening.

Citadel, now owners of the ABC radio stations, decided to stop doing HD at night on ten of their AM stations, partly because of interference concerns. Most of the ten run 50 kW at night.

810 KGO San Francisco is probably one of them. They have a great signal up the coast, and some Portland-area listeners heard at least some noise at the fringes of 800 KPDQ's coverage The station is only 500 Watts at night. I could hear the noise on 820 where there aren't many signals to hear.

Other big non-Citadel signals that at least flash the HD light in Portland include 1070 KNX Los Angeles, 1160 KSL Salt Lake City, and 1530 KFBK Sacramento. All have adjacent-channel stations in the Portland Market. I'm very curious to see how they all do outside of Portland on my HD Radio in the car.

On the FM HD front, there has been a couple big announcements. Several big radio groups besides Clear Channel, including Entercom, have announced that they will enable their stations to participate in iTunes Tagging.

An even bigger announcement came from Ford, which said that HD Radios are now available as a dealer-installed option on their 2008 Fords, Lincolns and Mercuries. The option can also be installed on many of their 2005, 2006, and 2007 models. This is a huge breakthrough for Ibiquity.


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Next Generation Public Alerting

Broadcasters, Federal Agencies Discuss Next Generation Public Alerting

The following is report of a meeting held October 17 with federal officials and broadcast representatives about the status of next generation EAS/public alerting. The report was prepared by Clay Freinwald, Richard Rudman and John Poray, SBE Executive Director.

On October 17, the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) chaired a meeting in Washington, D.C. to discuss the next generation of public alerting. Attending the meeting with SBE were representatives of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the National Alliance of State Broadcast Associations (NASBA).

The purpose of the meeting was to bring together federal agencies responsible for developing and implementing an improved emergency notification system with representatives of the broadcast industry. Representing SBE at the meeting were Clay Freinwald, national SBE Emergency Alert System (EAS) Committee chair, who led the meeting, Richard Rudman, a member of SBE’s EAS Committee and John Poray, Executive Director.

Based on comments from the representatives of the federal agencies in attendance, there is much work to be done before any firm plan for the next generation alerting plan will be known. The agencies all said that input from the broadcast industry is needed and will be solicited to help design the system. FEMA, which has primary responsibility for system architecture, anticipates a system that will provide redundancy and resiliency. FEMA said their “IPAWS” plan will essentially be a “system of systems” and that a next generation of EAS would constitute one of those systems. NASBA representatives made it clear that funding for any required equipment should come from the federal government.

FEMA is preparing a “first assessment” of architecture for the White House, due by December 31 of this year. SBE representatives came away from the meeting feeling that there will likely be no action required of local broadcasters for at least a year and possibly longer. The group anticipates another meeting in January, 2008 to hear updates from the federal agencies and continue the dialogue.


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SBE News

SBE Offers Digital 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 first set of exams will be offered during the November exam period.

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.
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 on the SBE website or contact the SBE National Office.

GDC Feature

Cris Alexander
Broadcasting Company

For those of you who didn't see it, there is a feature article in the November issue of QST Magazine on Game Day Coordination. The slant is, of course, about amateur radio operators and their participation in GDC, but I thought they did a fair job with the history of GDC. The SBE was mentioned several times, including a statement that GDC is a joint NFL/SBE operation.

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 or, or contact the SBE National Office for a copy. When you’ve completed the form, e-mail, fax or mail it to Megan Clappe, Certification Director at the SBE National Office, who will prepare your transcript and send it to Excelsior College.

Megan Clappe

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

SBE CertPreview Software

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

Certification Exam Session Dates:

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

Exam Dates Location Application Deadline
Nov 9-19, 2007 Local Chapters September 21, 2007
Feb 8-18, 2008 Local Chapters Dec 31, 2007
Apr 15, 2008 NAB Feb 29, 2008
Jun 6-16, 2008 Local Chapters Apr 18, 2008
Aug 8-18, 2008 Local Chapters Jun 6, 2008
Nov 7-17, 2008 Local Chapters Sep 19, 2008

Fees for 2007 are as Follows:

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

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


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Bill Harris - Editor In Chief
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  Garneth M. Harris

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