Bud Rath Appointed SBE Chapter 48 Vice Chairman
Bud Rath has been appointed as the new vice Chairman for SBE Chapter 48. Bud stepped up as vice chairman after former vice chairman, Ruben Garcia relocated to Florida. Bud is the Director of Broadcast Engineering at Comcast's Digital Media Center in Littleton. You can email Bud at Bud_Rath@cable.comcast.com.
Certificaton Exam Session Dates Announced For 2003
The SBE National Certification Committee has announced exam session dates for 2003. 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 Linda Baun, Certification Director at the SBE National Office at (317) 846-9000 or email@example.com.
SBE Reviewing Part 74 Ruling, Possible Changes To SBE Coordination
The SBE Frequency Coordination and FCC Liaison committees have been discussing a course of action, regarding the recent FCC decision impacting Part 74 frequency coordination. The Executive Committee will take up the issue at their meeting on January 11. They will also discuss how the FCC ruling affects the responsibilities of SBE regional frequency coordinators. After establishing what changes are necessary, SBE will provide guidance to frequency coordinators on how to proceed.
SBE Assists In Winning New Hampshire Supreme Court Case
SBE contributed an Amicus Curiae brief in a recent case heard by the New Hampshire Supreme Court that will be instructive to courts in other states with similar circumstances. In Koor Communications, Inc. v. City of Lebanon, NH, the Court ruled the decision establishes that, where compliance with the terms of an FCC construction permit or license and compliance with land use regulations are mutually exclusive, the FCC's authority is preemptive. In other words, under some circumstances, the FCC's assignment of a construction permit to serve a particular community preempts that community's preclusion of broadcast service through unreasonable land use regulation.
While not controlling in other states, the case is instructive to courts in other states with similar circumstances. The Lookout Mountain case in Colorado, for example, might be resolved consistent with the Koor decision, since all DTV is effectively precluded by land use decisions there. More details will be available in the March issue of the SBE SIGNAL. Our thanks to SBE's general counsel, Chris Imlay for his work in drafting and submitting the brief.
SBE BAS Tutorial Reaches More Than 100 FCC Staff
SBE presented the "Broadcast News and Sports Tutorial" to more than 100 staff of the Federal Communications Commission on December 17. The purpose of the five-hour program was to inform attendees about broadcasters' use of auxiliary spectrum regulated under 47 CFR Part 74. Many other FCC staff watched the presentation on closed circuit TV from their offices.
The program included presentations by SBE, CBS Sports, the National Football League, Broadcast Sports, Media Alert and the Southern California Frequency Coordination Committee. The importance of spectrum availability and coordination of its use was described using real-life examples of breaking news and sports programming. Video clips of breaking news coverage of wildfires, marine disasters and severe weather depicted how broadcasters rely on auxiliary spectrum and wireless communications to report news to the public. The wide use of wireless devises in sporting events was depicted using PGA Golf tournaments, auto races and NFL football games as examples. The important role of the SBE regional and event frequency coordinators was explained.
Serving as moderator and chief organizer for the program was David Otey, SBE Frequency Coordination Director. Others on the organization team were SBE General Counsel, Chris Imlay, SBE Vice President, Ray Benedict, Board Member, Ralph Beaver and Executive Director, John Poray.
Presenters included Ken Aagaard and Larry Barbatsoulis of CBS Sports, Ralph Beaver of Media Alert, Howard Fine of the Southern California Frequency Coordination Committee, Jay Gerber and Karl Voss of the National Football League, Peter Larsson of Broadcast Sports and Louis Libin of Broad-Comm. Imlay and Otey also were presenters. Bruce Franca, Deputy Chief of the FCC Office of Engineering and Technology, Benedict and Poray provided opening comments. A follow-up visit to the FCC is planned for late January.
Ennes Workshop Set For NAB Convention
The Ennes Educational Foundation Trust and SBE will once again collaborate to present an Ennes Workshop during the NAB spring 2003 convention in Las Vegas. It will be held on Saturday, April 5 at the Las Vegas Convention Center from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.
Topics will include Digital Audio Technology, Facility Infrastructure and Improving Station Efficiency Through Centralization. Participants can apply for SBE recertification credit following the Workshop. The Ennes Workshop is open to all who hold full NAB registration credentials for the convention. Members of SBE are eligible for the NAB Partner convention registration rate, a savings of $230 from the non-member rate. Go to the NAB web site, www.nab.org, to register.
New Handbook For Radio Operators
SBE will be releasing the new, SBE Handbook for Radio Operators early this year. A new certification level and exam are being prepared and will be available when the book is released. The book will include sample questions to help users prepare for the optional test. Watch for future announcements about the release and discounts for pre-publication sales.
New SBE Dues Rates In Effect
As announced in October of last year, SBE has raised membership dues as of January 1, 2003. The increase will affect most members. The rate for Regular, Senior and Associate members is now $60 per year, up from $55. This is the first dues increase for these membership categories since April 1992. Dues for Student Members are now $18 per year, up from $15. This is the first increase in this category since 1996.
The new rates will apply to new members that join on or after January 1, 2003 and for current members who are due to renew April 1, 2003. Membership dues for Youth Members will remain at $10 while dues for Sustaining Members will stay at $550 per year.
Life Membership remains free. There is a one-time $35 application fee for those applying for Life Membership. Members who are retired and have held membership in SBE for at least ten consecutive years at the time of application for Life Membership, can qualify. Life Member applications can be submitted at any time and are available from the National Office.
Chapters will also share in the increased revenues from the dues increase. Rebates to qualifying chapters will go up since they are determined by the amount of dues paid by Regular, Senior and Associate members. The overall increase will bring the total rebates earned by qualifying chapters to more than $36,000 beginning in 2003.
Jonathan S. Adelstein Sworn In As New FCC Commissioner
Before joining the FCC, Adelstein served for fifteen years as a staff member in the United States Senate. For the past seven years, he has been a senior legislative aide to United States Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), where he advised Senator Daschle on telecommunications, financial services, transportation and other key issues. Previously, he served as Professional Staff Member to Senate Special Committee on Aging Chairman David Pryor (D-AR), including an assignment as a special liaison to Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), and as a Legislative Assistant to Senator Donald W. Riegle, Jr. (D-MI).
In a speech in January titled "The last DJ?: Finding a voice on media ownership" he discussed concerns about radio consolidation . " In 1996, the two largest radio group owners consisted of fewer than 65 radio stations. Six years later, the largest radio group owns about 1,200 radio stations. The second largest group owns about 250 stations. Their influence is even larger than their numbers suggest, because they are concentrated in the largest markets in the country. Another outcome is a downward trend in the number of radio station owners in each local market. " " One risk of radio consolidation to the public interest is the loss of localism, a core value at the foundation of the American system of broadcasting. Unlike some other countries, we have never awarded nationwide radio licenses. Radio stations are licensed to communities and serve as outlets for local expression, as sources of local news and information and as outlets for local artists like yourselves. "
FCC Modifies Part 74 Rules
From Chapter 80 - NE/Central Wisconsin
The FCC is at it again. Fixed TV microwave will coordinated under Part 101 using commercial frequency coordination services instead of the SBE frequency coordinators. Read it all at http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-02-298A1.doc
A couple quotes:
"Based on the comments, we are adopting frequency coordination procedures for all TV and aural BAS and CARS frequency bands. The rules being adopted herein will require all fixed stations, except for those in the 1990-2110 MHz band, to use the frequency coordination procedures of Section 101.103(d). For mobile BAS and CARS, we will maintain the use of Section 101.103(d) procedures in those bands where it is currently required (i.e., 6425-6525 MHz and 17.7-19.7 GHz) and flexibly permit use of Section 101.103(d) or local coordination procedures for the 2450-2483.5 MHz, 6875-7125 MHz, and 12,700-13,250 MHz bands. For all other mobile BAS and CARS stations, we will continue to allow mobile stations to coordinate locally. In the 1990-2110 MHz band, we will maintain the current system which allows for local coordination of all stations. The rules will be applied uniformly across the United States for both urban and rural environments."
Fortunately the 2Ghz band is unaffected:
"For the 1990-2110 MHz band, we will continue to maintain procedures which allow for local frequency coordination for all stations - fixed and mobile. In this band, we deviate from the policy articulated above for fixed stations based on unique circumstances of this band. Specifically, it is used predominantly by mobile TV pickup stations, but also supports some fixed links and it is currently transitioning to accommodate MSS in the 1990-2025 MHz portion of the band. Because each area of the United States may transition to MSS at different times, local frequency coordinators may be in the best position to accommodate requests to local operating conditions. We note that the use of a local coordinator is not mandated and licensees are free to coordinate stations themselves or by going to the coordinator of choice. SBE asks that under such a scheme, we require evidence of frequency coordination, similar to that required by the procedures of Section 101.103(d). We agree with SBE that a method of verification is necessary. The rules of Section 101.103(d) have worked well in the past and we adopt a similar requirement here. Thus, we are adopting changes to Sections 74.638 and 78.36 which supplement local frequency coordination procedures for fixed systems to require the submission of a certification attesting that all co-channel and adjacent-channel licensees and applicants potentially affected by the proposed fixed use of the frequencies have been notified and are in agreement that the proposed facilities can be installed without causing harmful interference to other users."
Radio is affected too. There are changes to the 950MHz band.
More Microwave users: (see Report and Order above)
Broadcast Network entities, cable network entities, and LPTV stations will now be to operate a broadcast auxiliary station on a short-term secondary basis, for up to 720 hours per year, without prior authorization from the Commission, subject to providing notification to the local frequency coordinator.
News From The CGC Communicator
by Robert F. Gonsett W6VR and
Stephen H. Blodgett W7RNA
THE TRANSISTOR TURNS 56
QUICK REFERENCE CARDS HELP HAMS REPROGRAM THEIR RADIOS
Cards come in two sizes, map size for mobile rigs and credit card size for HTs. The cards are laminated for durability and water resistance. Full information is available at: http://niftyaccessories.com/ .
PDX Radio Waves
Michael D. Brown N7AXC CSRE
To us, they can be a thing of beauty. But to others, they are a NIMBY of the first order. I'm speaking of course, of radio towers. Perhaps the most significant court case of 2002 on this matter has just concluded in Lebanon, NH, where that state's Supreme Court ruled in favor of the permittee for 50 kW WQTH, in Hanover. The city's zoning prohibited towers taller than 42 feet, while WQTH's CP specified 266 foot towers. This ruling is a good omen for broadcasters, but the overall siting problem is with us to stay. New towers are tough to build almost everywhere, and local jurisdictions will continue to be under pressure to stem the growth. The public, alarmed by reports of possible deleterious physiological effects from cell phones held up to a person's head (possibly true), seem equally alarmed about possible RF hazards from cell towers (almost certainly not true). And more towers, in their simplistic view, equals more hazard. In my opinion, the explosion in the number of personal wireless services towers in the past several years has made the situation more difficult for broadcasters. While broadcasters have done their part, spending billions of dollars on diplexed and community antenna systems to consolidate operations, the personal wireless industry has seemingly done little to cooperate with each other. How often have you seen three cell towers within a few dozen feet of each other, when one shared tower would have sufficed?
With the long-awaited arrival of the XM Radio "boombox" and a new major cash infusion, it looks like XM radio will be around for at least a few years longer. I'm seeing good enthusiasm for the product from truckers and other habitual long-distance drivers, but little elsewhere. Will that base be enough to support two satellite radio providers?
We're still trying to sort out the details in the November FCC Report and Order on BAS (Broadcast Auxiliary Services) facilities. One of the significant items in the R&O is the extension of "Temporary Conditional Authority" to apply to all BAS applicants. As long as there are no special issues, (i.e.: waiver requests, international coordination issues, etc.), once an application for a BAS is filed, the BAS facility can operate while the application is being processed, no matter how long that takes. Does this mean that the FCC will take even longer to process BAS applications, now that the "pressure" is off? Other changes include a 40 dBw - 10 kW ERP power limit in the 950 STL band. That's the ERP obtained with 10 watts into a 15-foot grid dish. There are also some channel stacking issue changes in the 160 and 450 bands. In general, it looks like the FCC took the advice of the SBE on most BAS issues. Our national organization did a great job on this one. See http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-02-298A1.doc.
Finally, this story from Reuters News Service and CNN, via Larry Bloomfield's Tech-Notes: In London, a 50-year-old scientist toasted his private parts from the heat generated by his laptop computer. He noticed a redness and irritation the following day but it was not until he was examined by a doctor that he realized how much damage had been done. Two days later, the blisters broke and the wounds became infected and then crusted (ouch!), but after about a week the unidentified scientist was "healing quite rapidly." The scientist said: "This...story should be taken as a serious warning against use of a laptop in a literal sense!"
The Billboard Is Listening
by Robert Salladay, Chronicle Staff Writer
In an advertising ploy right out of Steven Spielberg's "Minority Report," electronic billboards in the Bay Area and Sacramento [California] are being equipped to profile commuters as they whiz by -- and then instantly personalize freeway ads based on the wealth and habits of those drivers.
For example, if the freeway were packed with country music listeners, the billboards might make a pitch for casinos. If National Public Radio were on, the billboards could change to ads for a high-quality car or a gourmet grocery.
The billboards -- in Palo Alto, Daly City and Fremont -- will pick up which radio stations are being played and then instantly access a vast databank of information about the people who typically listen to those stations. The electronic ads will then change to fit listener profiles.
In Spielberg's "Minority Report," Tom Cruise's character makes his way through city streets as billboard advertisements scan his retina and then personalize ads for products.
Envisioned is a system of Mobiltrak-equipped billboards along, say, a six- mile stretch of freeway. The first billboard's receiver would collect data on a block of cars and send it to the billboards farther on, which would then switch to the appropriate ads.
The technology doesn't have the ability to listen to people's conversations or CD players, nor would advertisers even care about such things.
The technology is designed to be anonymous and passive, and relies on information about large numbers of drivers.
Static Line - Noise From All Over
Chapter 3 - Kansas
I happened on a Ken Burns series on PBS the other night, discovering it about an hour into the program. The subject was on pioneers of electronic amplifiers, the development and history of radio, and on into television using a study of the lives of DeForest, Armstrong, and Sarnoff. It was fascinating! I think the thing that surprised me the most was the intense competition between the three, which spilled over into the courts and continued for many years. These men were champions of the art back during the time I was studying for my FCC 1st Phone License, as well as today, but I was unaware then of their struggles for recognition and the right to lead the development of the industry in which we are all immersed. I hope to keep track of the schedule to see if it is replayed, so I can see the first half as well. It was done so well it could provide a couple of programs for our Chapter, if we got the rights to do so.
A note on the wind farm turbines mentioned in last month's news letter: the size of electrical transmission lines across Kansas may provide some physical limit on the number of turbines that can be located in one particular area. This may quiet the argument about large, closely spaced wind farms ruining the scenery, etc.
I would encourage those of you who deal with or have an interest in towers to keep your ears tuned closely to the controversy developing over the placement of "Wind Generating Farms". Many favor a statewide policy regulating placement of these energy sources so that a helter-skelter development of this technology does not permanently ruin the prairie, the unhindered vistas of the Flint Hills, Smoky Hills, or other areas in which such development might take place. How would that affect you? Remember that many of these wind driven devices are 270 - 300 feet tall, as tall as many microwave towers you may use. If we are not on our toes when legislation or policy is developed governing the spacing of Wind Generating Farms, our communications towers could easily be lumped together with cellular towers and included in regulations passed by well meaning persons "who only want to preserve our good way of life, the view of the countryside, and to make certain that thing is not in their backyard". Rest assured, prior to large scale deployment of this updated technology in Kansas, you will hear the rant and rave of those who are certain the windmills will cause cancer, cause livestock not to produce or gain in the usual way, destroy wildlife, and other unfounded rumors. If we are wise, our industry will be ready with answers and well thought out logic to counter such rubbish.
Chapter Chairman Marty Heffner has been having a running battle with his Thales DTV transmitter. Just after our July meeting at the WB transmitter site, Marty discovered the V2 control board had malfunctioned and it managed to blow a 200A fuse on its way out! The board and fuse were replaced, but at rather odd intervals, the problem has returned, until the fifth and most recent replacement. Marty is holding his breath, but a Thales transmitter engineer is scheduled in on December 4th to analyze the situation. As you remember, Marty was cooking the DTV in at full power to shake out such problems while the full warranty was in force, but most of his problems really began when he backed off to ½ power. Hopefully the Thales transmitter guy will find a good fix. The PBS guys are watching intently too, since they have committed to the Thales line. Marty says each time you go into setup, you must call the factory for a "password of the day". Thales accomplishes this without a modem hookup to the transmitter, so it must be based on something universal to all their transmitter line, such as a number generated from the clock. Were it a random number, it would vary from transmitter to transmitter, therefore not be predictable. Apparently Thales does this to track who and when people are into parts of the transmitters for which they might be held liable - probably not a bad idea in this day and age.
Featuring News, Rumors and Views
Here we go, 2003... Looking back on this past year we can reflect on a number of issues: the sale of Ackerley to Clear Channel; more DTV stations on the air; the FCC approving IBOC for Radio; Part 74 FCC changes; Iraq; lotsa rumors about Fisher, etc. As we look ahead... hmmmm... the crystal ball is a bit fuzzy... but... perhaps we can see... more DTV, and with luck local retailers actually showing off-air signals from local stations... changes in coordination requirements and procedures... radio getting serious about IBOC... more DTV on cable... the 'rest of the story' on what's happening with Fisher.
Before I delve into the news of the day... Something important.
A few years ago, in an effort to get greater participation in our frequency coordination efforts I proposed that we create a 'committee' to handle the chore. You agreed and the WWFCC was born. Since that time it's become clear that this was not a good idea, as the committee simply does not function as intended. Please accept my apology for talking you into this one! The Board has been made aware of a number of problems with the WWFCC and has acted. In the last meeting I made a motion that the WWFCC be disbanded and that the Board simply appoint members to handle our coordination, much the way it used to be done. Be sure and cast your vote so that your voice might be heard. If you want additional information, give me a call.
One of the biggest stories in our industry locally is the situation at Fisher. Are they going to sell all or part or what? The speculation is running deep and fast with even the local print media giving the matter lots of coverage. At this writing no one knows for sure... and if they do... they aren't telling. At the least it appears that the Fisher company we have known might well look different later this year. I have to wonder if the tremendous amount of money they spent building Fisher Plaza and buying the radio rights for the Mariners had something to do with this. Normally when the economy is ailing companies are not spending large sums of money. But, hey, what do I know?
Here's a question for you technowizards.... What exactly is the speed of DARK?
Then there is something called 'Alertcast'. This idea is making the rounds of late. What we have here is a multi-frequency transmitter to be installed in emergency vehicles. This will reportedly augment their red lights and sirens on emergency calls by capturing your car radio as well with a 'pull over and get out of the way' type message. I understand that some fire and police folks are interested. Will be interesting to see just how far this one goes. Seems to me that broadcasters are going to find this interesting.
It happens once in a while (but not often enough) a broadcaster wins a battle like this one. The location is Hanover, New Hampshire. A broadcaster wants to build a 50 kW AM radio station on 720 kHz. Electrically this means tall towers. The local zoning authorities say no. The proponent takes the matter to the state supreme court... AND WINS!! Talk about the little guy vs. the lion. This is certain to raise a lot of eyebrows. This is a classic battle where local governments want to stop the erection of towers for broadcasters. Not only does this take place with AM stations but FM and TV as well. Perhaps now some will be encouraged to take their battles to the courts. Back on the AM issue... one of the problems with siting AM stations is the fact that the FCC's rules require that the AM antenna systems perform at a level that requires big towers. Some have been calling for the FCC to change the rules to make them more like FM or TV. If the FCC were to permit lower efficiency antennas to be used that required larger transmitters perhaps this would help.
Understand that there is an un-licensed FM station in the Ocean Shores area. (See? I did not use the "P" word.)
In a previous column I asked, in my closing piece, why the hands of watches and clocks in the movies are always showing 10:10. Bob Walther answered it. It's 'cause with the hands in that position the calendar windows and sub-dials are showing and the brand name is displayed.
Jim Dalke, the fellow that put KKOL on the ship, recently told Chapter 43 in Sacramento all about it. Jim tells us that he may also do a presentation at the next NAB in Las Vegas.... Way to go, Jim.
Here's one I love. Alan, N5KGY has discovered how to rid himself of telemarketers. He determined the three tones that you hear when you dial a wrong number (the doo-dah-dee) when played to the telemarketers' equipment make them think they have dialed a number that has been disconnected... so it disconnects and logs your number as being disconnected and they don't call back. Not sure how you handle those that really want to talk to you.
The other major story surrounds the FCC's recent action re: Part 74. We all knew that the Commish was working over the BAS issue. The SBE and others have been putting pressure on them to permit Digital STLs, etc.... But what finally came out was a bit more than what most of us planned on. The 161 and 450/455 bands will become part of the Commission's 're-farming' plans, meaning some frequency changing and narrow-banding, for the point-to-point stuff. This is where the big bomb was dropped. Part 101 type coordination procedures will have to be used. These procedures are far more exhaustive than what we have become used to, and those that provide this service will command a price. This all boils down to the simple fact that broadcast coordination for much of BAS will never be the same. At this writing it's not clear whether or not SBE will continue to do coordination of fixed links or whether this will become a chore for others. One thing is for sure, the bar has been raised and so has the cost.
Satellite radio appears to be having a rough time, with stories about re-capitalization (Bizspeak for send more money), etc. Certainly the future is clouded here. The questions are: Will one of the two buy out the other... sell out... or close up shop? All this is happening as car makers are announcing that they will offer XM or Sirius radios in their new models. Reportedly XM has over 200,000 subscribers while Sirius has under 20K. Perhaps I am missing something here?
Other broadcast related companies having trouble include those that are involved in 'vertical real estate'. A few years ago this was the rage-a new and untapped business opportunity, read some articles. It was reasoned that broadcasters would want to sell their towers to raise capital to purchase DTV equipment. Suddenly firms like American Tower, Pinnacle and Spectrasite were out raising cash, selling stock and building and buying towers. Not unlike many other businesses, the plan has flashed. Spectrasite recently filed for Chapter 11. Mind you this is no small outift. They own or manage some 8,000 towers around the country including several in the Seattle area. I recently asked a person in the know why it is that broadcasters have become big users of these sites, paying rent to others, rather than getting together to save them all money as opposed to paying others. The response was interesting. They said it was simply because broadcasters don't want to work together.
Meanwhile IBOC for FM seems to be moving forward on many fronts. From my read on the matter we could have a half dozen or more HD Radio stations on the air in Seattle in 2003. As for IBOC's AM future... well this is not quite as rosy. The rumor machine is rumbling that the night tests are not yielding good results. Could it be that the Ibiquity system may be OK for FM but not for AM? There must be a number of eyes watching the progress with DRM wondering if this is the future for our old AM band... then there is the AMS proposal from Mike Dorrough and the Symphony Digital Radio idea from Motorola. We are certainly not short on new ideas.
Up in Canada their DAB system is moving along with fifteen new stations approved for operation in Ottawa. This brings the total to 57 across the country, including the operation in Vancouver.
How is NYC getting along with the loss of the WTC 110-story building as a broadcast antenna support?. There are a number of plans being considered. Among them is the construction of a really big tall tower. This has been met with a large quantity of NIMBY. It's pretty clear that there is not an area in the NYC region that's jumping up and down asking that their neighborhood be picked. The folks at the 51-story Conde Mast building are talking about expanding their existing rooftop broadcast antenna farm with the installation of a 350-foot tower, making it over 1100 feet above sea level. Sure glad we don't have this problem here.
Albert Einstein said it: "It's not that I'm smarter, I just stay with something longer."
Have you visited the museum of communications in Seattle? If you are like me there is a lot in our city that I have not seen. You might want to visit their site at www.museumofcommunications.org. You'd be surprized. Take a look at the old Western Electric broadcast transmitter. Perhaps we should have an SBE tour?
Remember the 'flap' about Mt. Wilson in L.A. and NIER? I have not heard what the FCC is going to do about that one, but it's clear that the Commission is active in this area. Recently an FM station in New Mexico (KTMN) was inspected and nailed with a hefty $28K fine, $10K of which was for exceeding RFR exposure limits in publicly accessible areas. Eight Grand was for failure to install EAS equipment (how is it they did not know?). The FCC also visited KWNZ in Carson City, Nevada... looks like another RFR violation in the works. Then there is WMGA that might lose it all or get a 300 Grand fine... transferring control without FCC approval and then not responding to the Commission about it.
If you are not sure about the NIER levels around your transmitter site, you might want to have it measured, as the FCC's 'services' are very expensive.
Sorry to report that Jay Morrison recently fell from the 30-foot level of a tower. Looks like he will pull through. Many know Jay for his public service and EAS work in Sno-County.
In Fontana, California, a California Speedway was fined 10 grand for operating a 1 watt unlicensed transmitter. Wonder if this is scalable?
Nick Winter, WA7IVO, and a group of friends recently approached me about operating the 1210 Day Site, at night during the 160 Meter Contest. Nick, being a true broadcast engineer, showed up a couple of nights prior to the contest with his bridge to see what the load looked like on the nearby Ham Band. Come the first night for the contest, he rolled in with a complete contest station in a rental truck and all the adaptors he needed to quickly disconnect 1210 and fire up 1830. For those of you that are not hams or HF operators, all the operation was CW or Morse Code. How did they do? Well, they talked with other amateurs all over the US and Canada including Hawaii, Alaska and Japan! Come daybreak and the 1830 operation was disconnected and the 1210 day site went back to work for KBSG. Some years ago I did this using the old KMO tower in Fife... had a great time.
Before I leave the subject of 1210.... The long-time area AM Stereo outlet is gone. I recently removed the required equipment to make way for something new that will be in good old mono! Perhaps this leaves 1090 and those operating in the AM Stereo required expansion band operating with the mode. I gotta wonder... could it be that AM stereo might be re-discovered if the Ibiquity AM deal does not pan out?
They call it WYLER'S LAW: "Nothing is impossible for the person that does not have to do it himself."
Have you updated your EAS equipment for the new event codes, etc.? The success of the Amber program depends on your equipment being upgraded. For more information, see Jim Tharp's EAS info site: http://www.eas-wa.info/. Sorry to report the death of Bill Gallant. Bill worked at KIRO in the 80s and more recently for the Catholic Archdiocese here in Seattle.
Looking backward a ways.... It was 50 years ago, in early December of 1952 that the Federal Communications Commission authorized two new stations for our area. The Tacoma News Tribune received Channel 11 (Now KSTW) and KMO Radio received Channel 13 (Now KCPQ).
Down in SoCal there is some progress being made. Cox Cable there is now carrying some local stations in HD. Wonder how long we will have to wait for this in our area?
Pat O'Day, long time rock-jock-legend in our area, is out with a new book about rock in the Northwest. He was making the talk show circuit recently talking about it. If you remember the glory days of KJR, Channel 95 and Colorful KOL you might like this one.
You might want to check out the Museum of Questionable Devices in Minneapolis, Minn. Here are some interesting items -
* Grow back your amputated body parts using radio waves.
I could not resist the following submission from one of my secret stringers.... (with some modifications):
You know you might be an aging Broadcast Engineer if you remember-
Well that's it....
Clay, CPBE, K7CR et al.
The above comments and opinions are those of Clay Freinwald. They are not the opinion of the Society of Broadcast Engineers, Inc., or Seattle Chapter 16, Inc.
The End User
January 2003 Issue
Happy 2003! Here's hoping the New Year will be your best ever and (hopefully) filled with a lot of new tech toys as well!
While the year 2002 draws to a close, a new controversy concerning the Digital Millennium Copyright Act surfaced-and is still being debated.
Here's the story: Around the middle of last November, anonymous visitors to the FatWallet shopping-deal website (www.fatwallet.com) posted information about the items and pricing that certain major retailers planned to offer during their'Black Friday' (day-after-Thanksgiving) sales. To make it clear-the posts were NOT actual reproductions of the ads - just the items and prices that were printed in the ads.
Once the retailers discovered their ad information was now available to the public, they demanded that FatWallet remove these posts under the threat of lawsuit due to DMCA violations. The retailers claimed their pricing information was a 'trade secret' and as such was subject to DMCA protections. FatWallet removed the posts-but also hired an attorney to investigate the DMCA violation assertions. Initial findings resulted in one retailer dropping its DMCA claim-and the others have not resolved their cases yet.
The interesting aspect of this case (and one that certainly affects end users) is the use of the DMCA to remove 'information', rather than removing a specific copyrighted work. It's worthwhile to see how this case proceeds, as its outcome may set precedents for future DMCA decisions. Broadband usage increases: In spite of the terrible economy, more users are upgrading to broadband Internet access. According to reports filed with the FCC, there's been a 27 percent increase in DSL high-speed connectivity in the first half of 2002. Cable broadband Internet connectivity also showed sizable increases during the same period.
Speaking of cable internet - AT&T Broadband (soon to be called Comcast) internet users now have slightly speedier connections - late last month, a 300 kb/sec increase to 1800 kb/sec was rolled out. AT&T/Comcast hasn't officially announced the increase or why it was implemented - but speculation on broadband message boards was the increases help users attain speeds closer to their 'caps' (of 1500 kb/sec). Users need to reboot their cable modems for the speed increase to take effect.
R.I.P. OS/2: Late last year, IBM announced it is officially pulling the plug on OS/2 as of the middle of March. Big Blue's announcement marks the end of a fifteen-year struggle for mass acceptance of the IBM alternative to Windows- which, as most know, was originally developed in partnership with Microsoft. Although IBM is officially withdrawing from OS/2, this operating system is sure to live on in the hearts (and hard drives) of many dedicated users (like Chapter 16's Walt Jamison).
That's it for this month. Questions, suggestions or comments? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Till next month... all the best!
The above comments and opinions are those of Rich Petschke.They are not the opinion of the Society of Broadcast Engineers, Inc., or Seattle Chapter 16, Inc.
Digital Cable Deal Signed
By Tom Smith - Chapter 24
The National Cable and Telecommunications Association, the Consumer Electronics Association, and 14 electronic manufacturers have signed an agreement that sets the standards for the addition of tuners in television receivers, digital recorders and other devices to receive digital transmission from cable providers.
The agreement will give the consumer the opportunity to receive digital cable transmissions without the problems of a separate set-top box for new sets, and the opportunity to purchase their own set-top boxes for older equipment.
The tuners should receive all analog and digital unscrambled transmissions and scrambled pay services. The standards set in this document are for one-way boxes that do not communicate back to the cable provider, so on-demand pay-per-view and interactive services are not supported. Future standards will address the two-way issues.
This document sets standards for digital and analog interfaces for scrambling systems, including copy guarding on the analog outputs when required. Digital interfaces including IEEE 1394 are addressed. The reception of PSIP and EAS is also addressed. The standards will be phased in starting with larger screen sized sets.
The CEA and the NCTA both feel the standards should meet copyright requirements and still allow for home recording. The various copyright holders still need to agree to the standards. The document has been submitted to the FCC for approval. Information on these standards can be found on the NTCA's website at www.ntca.com under press releases. There is a link to the agreement and the list of manufacturers. The CEA also has a release from their website.
Amateur Radio News
By Tom Weeden, WJ9H
o With no fanfare, the American Radio Relay League allowed its WA2XSY 5-MHz experimental license to lapse January 1 rather than request renewal for another year. Last May, the FCC proposed going along with the ARRL's 2001 request for a new domestic (US-only), secondary HF allocation at 5.25 to 5.4 MHz. Discussions with various governmental agencies-including the Interdepartment Radio Advisory Committee (IRAC) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)-continue on how to accommodate amateur operation in the band, which is primary for several governmental agencies, including the military. The NTIA regulates radio spectrum allocated to the federal government.
Until surprise opposition surfaced last fall from the NTIA, the FCC had the League's request for a new 60-meter band on the proverbial fast track. In a letter filed with the FCC last August-after the comment deadline had passed-the NTIA recommended that the Commission not go forward with the 5-MHz proposal. The NTIA said critical federal agencies, including the Department of Justice, the US Coast Guard, and the Department of Defense, were making extensive use of 5 MHz frequencies. The FCC's May 2002 Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) fails to adequately protect these "critical government operations" from harmful interference, the NTIA asserted.
The ARRL has called the 5 MHz allocation "an urgent priority of the Amateur Service." In its July 2001 petition, the League told the FCC that a new band at 5 MHz would aid emergency communication activities by filling a "propagation gap" between 80 and 40 meters.
o Special event station KM1CC will be on the air January 11-19 to mark the 100th anniversary of Guglielmo Marconi's inaugural wireless transmission between the US and Great Britain January 18, 1903 (January 19 UTC). On that date, from the sandy Cape Cod cliffs overlooking the Atlantic, Marconi-using a 35 kW rotary spark transmitter coupled to a massive antenna system-transmitted a 54-word greeting from President Theodore Roosevelt to England's King Edward VII. The monarch promptly acknowledged receipt of the message via land line and cable.
The Marconi Radio Club, W1AA, and the Marconi Cape Cod Memorial Radio Club, KM1CC, are working in partnership with the National Park Service at Cape Cod National Seashore to organize the celebration. The special event will take place at the former Coast Guard station at Coast Guard Beach in Eastham, Massachusetts, which is near the original Marconi site. Operation will include several amateur modes, including SSB, CW, FM, digital, and satellite. Marconi's daughter, Princess Elettra Marconi, is scheduled to attend the reenactment of the groundbreaking wireless transmission on January 18, when KM1CC will transmit the text of Roosevelt's original message to King Edward VII.
o Hams responded to fill a communication gap December 23 after the town of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, experienced a city-wide telephone outage that left telephone customers unable to call outside their local exchange. Broken Arrow implemented its Telecommunications Failure Plan as a result.
A request went out for amateurs to assist at the local emergency operations center (EOC) and at three area hospitals. Several hams in and around the town of 75,000 residents responded to the call, staffing positions at the Broken Arrow EOC and at three hospital emergency rooms. The operation lasted about five hours.
In addition to passing traffic between the EOC and the hospitals, lines of communication also were opened with the Oklahoma State Department of Civil Emergency Management in Oklahoma City via the EOC's HF amateur station. The telephone system troubles were traced to the loss of a digital protocol needed for call routing.
(Excerpts from "The ARRL Letter" and the www.arrl.org web site)
Driving Under The Influence
One night, a police officer was staking out a particularly rowdy bar for possible violations of the driving-under-the-influence laws.
At closing time, he saw a fellow stumble out of the bar, trip on the curb, and try his keys on five different cars before he found his. Then, sat in the front seat fumbling around with his keys for several minutes. Everyone left the bar and drove off. Finally, he started his engine and began to pull away.
The police officer was waiting for him. He stopped the driver, read him his rights and administered the Breathalyzer test. The results showed a reading of 0.0. The puzzled officer demanded to know how that could be.
The driver replied;
"Tonight, I'm the designated decoy."
Garneth M. Harris
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