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Random Radio Thoughts

Recent 'Certs

Nominations For SBE Fellow Sought

FCC News

PDX Radio Waves

Clay's Corner

Corrosion Science An Electrochemical Process

Music At 78 RPM - Part II

Old Brands Come Back

Amateur Radio News

The End User

Wisdom from Will Rogers



January, 2004

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Random Radio Thoughts

Cris Alexander, CSRE
Crawford Broadcasting Company

In many respects, it doesn't seem possible, but 2004 is already upon us! For those of us who began dealing with FY2004 budgets and projections many months ago, it seems that the year is half over already. With emerging technologies, changing rules and a dynamic economy, my guess is that this will be a landmark year for radio in many ways.

AM Major Change Reminder
Last month, we told you that the FCC announced an AM new station and major change filing window. As a reminder, the window will open January 26 and close January 30. A minor application freeze will go into effect from January 12 to January 30, so if you have any minor changes to file, time is short.

HD Receiver Rollout
We've been waiting... and waiting... for HD-capable receivers to hit the shelves at Best Buy and Circuit City. This has been especially true in the larger markets, where many broadcasters have had HD signals on the air for many months. We hear that the first production receivers are hitting the shelves this month, in Cedar Rapids of all places, the result of a promotion between a locally-owned FM station, Kenwood and a local retailer. The receiver is the Kenwood KTC-HR100. Kenwood had earlier made production receivers available to broadcasters at a "special price". At the price offered, I am skeptical that anyone would buy one. There's no word about the price of the Kenwood boxes in Cedar Rapids. Coming soon, we're told, are HD-capable receivers from Alpine, Delphi, Fujitsu/Eclipse, harmon kardon, JVC, Onkyo, Panasonic, Sanyo and Visteon. Bring 'em on.

Local Content
The NAB and XM Satellite Radio have been involved in a running battle at the FCC with regard to local origination on terrestrial repeaters. XM, which is supposed to provide a national satellite-delivered broadcast service, evidently had it in mind to use its terrestrial fill-in repeaters (which are mostly located in metropolitan areas) to insert local material. NAB vehemently objected, and those objections have evidently paid off. The NAB says it has reached an agreement with XM to limit what XM can do with its terrestrial repeaters. The exact language, submitted in a joint letter to the FCC, says: "SDARS repeaters are restricted to the simultaneous transmission of the complete programming, and only that programming, transmitted by the satellite directly to SDARD subscribers' receivers, and may not be used to distribute any information not also transmitted to all subscribers' receivers." That's great news for terrestrial radio.

Tower Trouble
It's been awhile since we've had any tower incidents in or around the Denver area, but news of incidents elsewhere should give us pause to consider the condition of each of our towers. In Portland, Maine, corroded guy wire anchors brought down the 500-foot tower supporting the antennas of Saga's WMGX and WYNZ. I wonder when was the last time anyone took a shovel and dug around your guy anchors to see if there was any subsurface corrosion.

The FCC seems to be paying more attention to towers these days. They are looking at marking/lighting as well as compliance with antenna structure registration (ASR) rules. One thing that they have made an issue of recently is the painting of transmission lines. Towers that have a substantial number of transmission lines should have the lines painted, says the FCC. This is especially true in cases where all the lines run up one face of the tower and for all practical purposes, obscure the paint on that tower face.

560 Interference
Mexican station XEKTT recently moved from 550 kHz to 560 kHz, reportedly operating with 20 kW at night, and is causing loads of nighttime interference to a number of stations, including our own KLZ. Other stations reporting interference are KLAC in San Diego, KSFO in San Francisco and KMON in Great Falls. Crawford has filed a formal complaint with the FCC seeking immediate relief by any means permissible, including power increase. It remains to be seen what will happen as a result.

If you have news you would like to share with the Denver radio engineering community, email me at

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Recent 'Certs

We wanted to take a minute to recognize the following folks For their recent 'cert success".

I'm pleased to inform you that Paul Herndon passed the CBT exam, Jeff Kerata passed the CBT exam and Deno Thomatos passed the CBT exam. Thank you for your assistance in making this happen.

Linda Baun
Certification Director
SBE Fellow
Society of Broadcast Engineers
9247 N. Meridian Street-Suite 305
Indianapolis, IN 46260

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Nominations For SBE Fellow Sought

The SBE Fellowship Committee is now accepting nominations of qualified members to be considered for recognition as SBE Fellows.

The Fellow designation is the most distinguished recognition presented to members by the Society. Members of SBE may earn the Fellowship rank through several paths of achievement including conspicuous service, valuable contributions to the advancement of broadcast engineering or its allied professions, or by disseminating their knowledge and promoting its application in practice. The names of nominees are brought to the Board of Directors for consideration and election. Only 62 members have been recognized with the Fellow honor in the Society's nearly 40 year history.

Perhaps there is a member in your chapter who has distinguished him or herself in the field of broadcast engineering. Consider sending a nomination to the Fellowship Committee.

Candidates for election to Fellow must be proposed in writing by a voting member. The nomination must include an appropriate and complete history of the nominee and the endorsement of at least five other voting members. Nominations are confidential. Candidates should not be aware that they have been nominated. Nominations for the year 2004 must be received no later than March 31 for consideration. Recipients will be notified by the SBE Secretary and will receive their award at the SBE National Awards Dinner next October in Boston, during the SBE 2004 National Meeting.

To submit a nomination, send to: Martin Sandberg, CPBE, Chairman, SBE Fellowship Committee, 9807 Edgecove Drive, Dallas, Texas, 75238-1535 or to

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FCC News

Telcom services will move to Internet-Based Platforms in the Future

Washington D.C.--The FCC has formed a committee to look into policy issues that will arise as telecom services move to Internet-based platforms. The Internet Policy Working Group is made up of commission employees from several bureaus. They will contact state regulators, consumer groups, and public safety organizations about potential issues. "Internet-based services are already revolutionizing the way consumers do things. By forming this working group, we hope to gain a greater understanding of how policy-makers can create rational policies to encourage growth in Internet services," stated Chairman Michael Powell. Co-directors of the group are Robert Pepper, chief of policy development, and Jeff Carlisle, senior deputy chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau.

FCC Upholds $8,000 Fine

Washington D.C.--The FCC reaffirmed an $8,000 fine against Radio One's WBOT(FM), Brockton, Mass. for several violations, including having no EAS equipment, having no procedures for monitoring operating power not maintaining a station log. Radio One argued the penalty should be cancelled because it was treated differently for not having EAS equipment than another broadcaster that was fined only $4,000 for the same infraction. The commission said Radio One's argument "lacked merit" and the other broadcaster it was referring to had less serious violations because while the other station had inoperative EAS equipment, WBOT had no EAS equipment. The radio group has 30 days to pay.

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PDX Radio Waves

by Michael D. Brown N7AXC CSRE
From Chapter 124 - Portland

It's hard to believe - check that - impossible to believe, that another year has passed. And what a year it's been. Seven years after passage of the Communications Act, the public awareness over continued media consolidation has reached the "hundredth monkey," and the subsequent uproar finally resulted in some action in the halls of Congress. It was a year that saw a flurry of filing windows, an opportunity to reserve open commercial FM channels for NCE use, and accelerated and liberalized LPFM processing - some would say as a "bone" thrown at media consolidation opponents. It was a year when the FCC's online resources and databases clearly improved, but the systems still ground to a halt and crashed (usually during filing windows,) a bit too often. It was a year that saw fires raging throughout Southern California, killing at least 20 people and destroying or disabling a number of broadcast facilities. But mostly if will remembered as the year of the Iraq war, with the consequences affecting all aspects of our lives, including broadcasting, for years to come.

For us it's been an incredibly busy year of FCC applications and AM partial proofs related to cell tower construction. On the latter issue, two issues seem clear:

1. All too often, wireless companies continue to ignore Part 73.1692. Owners of new towers within 0.8 km of a non-directional station and 3.2 km (2 miles) from a DA (directional antenna) must perform partial proofs before and after on the AM station, and detune their towers when necessary.

2. Partially as a result of the above, it's increasingly difficult to maintain tight DA arrays. Station after station that we've visited has had their patterns, or at least their monitor points, destroyed by reradiation from new construction of all types. When most of these arrays were built, largely in the 50's and 60's, the tower arrays were out in the boonies. Those days are gone. The boonies are now the 'burbs. And errors due to reradiation from hidden underground lines in newer developments can be worse than those from visible overhead lines and structures.

3. The percentage of DA arrays that are "out" is high (some say as much as 40% to 50%), and seems to be getting worse. With staff cuts and the low value of smaller AM's, checking monitor points regularly just isn't a priority. One station we proofed didn't even have a working antenna monitor - and hadn't for years. In our view, stations should be required to take monitor point readings and show compliance at least once a year, like they do with the annual NRSC Occupied Bandwidth tests. With budgets cut to the bone, if it isn't required by the FCC, it may not get done at all.

2003 also seemed to be the year when the bottom really fell out on values of aging broadcast equipment. While E-Bay is not the first place one would look for such items, it's still eye-opening to see that an ITC Delta cart machine in good shape went for $19.99, and a Harris MW-50 sold for just $11k.

Last month we touched a bit on the California fires as it affected the San Bernardino area. But the San Diego fires were of "biblical" proportions. By our calculations, over 14% of ALL land in San Diego County was burned - some 392,000 acres in all, with 2600 structures destroyed and 1/2 billion dollars in structural damage. A typical example of broadcast damage is the case of KECR, El Cajon. Five of the doghouses in this complex seven-tower array were reduced to cinders, and one tower (which appeared to have non-metallic guy cable near ground level) was toppled. (Thanks to CGC communicator.)

Farther north in the Golden State, the FCC has closed down perhaps the most well known of the remaining full-time FM pirate stations - San Francisco Liberation Radio, which had been on the air for a full ten years. SFLR was sandwiched 2nd-adjacent to two local stations at 93.7 MHz. When I questioned Bay Area FCC officials about the station at the NAB Spring Show in SFO 21/2 years ago, I was given a terse "no comment". The station survived for ten years, thanks in part to strong support from local elected officials. Indeed, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution in August of this year explicitly supporting the station and directing the city police to leave the station alone. However, the local police were among those involved in the October raid, according to the station's press release.

Closer to home, 800 KPDQ Portland has been granted final FCC approval for their revised nighttime DA application. They'll now be building a full 1000 watt nighttime facility, with a 2nd shorter (just under 200 feet tall) tower. The array will have an east-west figure-8 pattern, with a null protecting a co-channel station in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Call it a convenient utility or another unwanted Big Brother intrusion, but has implemented a simple, nationwide reverse telephone directory right in their standard search window. Just enter the 10 digit phone number - with dashes - in the window and click "Google Search", and the name and address will appear. Links for instant maps with Mapquest or Yahoo Maps are also presented. In our tests, even some numbers known to be unlisted appeared, but cellphone numbers generally did not. An opt-out is available: clicking on the blue telephone icon to the left of the phone number will bring up a page in which you can request that your information be removed from the Google search records. However, it's eye-opening just how effective the web crawlers have become. Any personal information that has ever been included in any document that made its way to the web (often without our knowledge) is already retrievable via web searches.

If there was ever any doubt, none should remain. Stations that are co-located but not co-owned CANNOT share EAS encoders, and the FCC has begun handing out fines for same. The Rules specifically allow co-located and co-owned stations to share, but seem to be silent on non-co-owned stations. But it appears that the matter has been settled with these fines. An LMA does not constitute ownership in this case.

On the other hand, LMAs and Mexican border stations may start counting when it comes to market cluster sizes. It's increasingly clear that, when the dust has settled in the current round of consolidation rule changes, groups such as Clear Channel will no longer be able to effectively control 15 stations- nearly half the market - as it does now in San Diego.

One of the hottest new cars for 2004 may be the Cadillac XLR (like the connector) Roadster. Yeah, it's fast, but how's the audio?

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Clay's Corner

Featuring News, Rumors and Views
From Usually Reliable and Irrefutable Sources
November 2003 Issue

By Clay Freinwald

Before I get into the news of the day... some very serious business. Will this be the end of the little yellow covered newsletter called the Waveguide? It may well be. Here's the problem. For many years the Seattle SBE chapter has been producing this little publication. Over the years our publication methods have improved, but basically what you have before you (in printed form) has been the same. The problem is that the cost of putting this in your hand exceeds the revenue from advertising. For years the chapter has been using the proceeds from the October Show to make up the difference. With the down-turn in the economy the show has not been the money maker of the past. This is forcing some decisions. I know that the Board would love to continue this tradition however reality must prevail. The choices are simple: 1) Increase the revenue from advertising to make the Waveguide pay its own way; 2) reduce our costs of publication; 3) reduce our cost of distribution; 4) Find another source of funding; or 5) Cease publication (we used to use post-card reminders of meetings).

Let's look at the options. 1) The prospects of increasing revenue to cover the cost do not appear to be viable.The problem is that we don't have a fired-up sales manager, nor a list of firms that would just love to run an ad. 2) A reduction in cost looks possible. For example, the folks in Portland are able to put out a snazzy looking newsletter for much less cost; then again I could reduce this column to just a few words. 3) A reduction in cost of distribution is very possible as just about everyone is now connected via their computer. We could eliminate the mailed copy, and the postage that goes with it-those that wanted a hard copy could print it themselves. 4) It would be great if someone would step forward and offer to make up for the shortfall, but that option appears to be slim. Option #5 does not appear to be under consideration.

So what's next? The next Board and Membership meeting will be critical as the future of this effort will need to be decided. If you would like to be a part of this process, this is the time to get involved. To say that your help, input, suggestions, etc., are urgently needed is a major understatement. If you only have time for a phone call, call Terry Spring and participate that way.

So what will happen to this column? Frankly I do not know. I 'assume' (a word that means I could be very wrong) that I will continue. It's what you get and how you get it that is very likely to change.

Now... for the news.

October is time for our Electronic Expo. This year again we were in the State Convention Center. I don't know about you, but this was a very nice venue. Preliminary reports indicate that hopefully we did not lose our shirt. Gary and crew had a great selection of vendors and I was very happy to see the FCC there as well. The following week I was in the bird for the trip to the fall meeting of the SBE National Board. This year we went back to Madison, WI, in conjunction with their annual Broadcasters Clinic. This event is sort of like ours, except there is more emphasis placed on learning. There are several days of tech sessions dealing with all manner of Radio and TV technology. Attendees in this case pay to attend; and from the looks of things, many do. They also have an equipment show.

In addition to the BOD Meeting, I had a couple of committee meetings to attend, the highlight of which was the Frequency Coordination Committee. There are some great strides being made here (tell you more at the meeting). The Board dealt with a number of issues over four-plus hours. As usual I will have a report on this event at an upcoming meeting of Chapter 16. The bottom line is the Society is doing well with some 5,873 members. The next day was our Membership Meeting where new officers were sworn in. Interesting that we now have a number of BOD members from New York...and 2 from Washington State, Ralph Hogan and myself. After that was the banquet where Gary Cline, DOE of Cumulous, spoke and where we presented the rank of Fellow to two West Coast folks, Peter Onigan, (Jampro) and Ellis Feinstein (Scala). Both of these fellows are retired. Fellow is the highest membership category. The SBE BOD votes to determine where its next fall meeting will be held at this meeting. We had offers to go to Boston, Dallas and Seattle. In the end we voted to go to Boston for next year's meeting. Unofficially it looks like Dallas in '05 and Seattle in '06.

As is said, "in other news" -

The Seattle Radio ratings are in for this past summer and it looks like KOMO did what they sought out to do, get the Ms, go all news and beat KIRO. It worked. For the first time in the memory of many KOMO ended up at #1. #2 is Country KMPS, next is a two-way tie for #3, KIRO and KUBE.

Entercom and Fisher appear to be doing a good job at stirring the pot with their talk stations, KTTH and KVI. Proving that timing is everything, Rush Limbaugh was only on KTTH for one day after leaving KVI, before he checked himself in to re-hab.

Here's something that I never thought I'd write about. Rohn, the tower maker, has filed Chapter 11. For years towers have been measured in 'Rohn units'. Many hams feel that Rohn is the only tower maker. Many broadcast stations, of all flavors, are using Rohn towers. Who would have thought?

Did you get in under the wire on Oct 16th with your application for a point-to-point system before the rules change? If not, well, your cost of doing business just went up a bunch. The days of calling the local SBE Coordinator for that STL, ICR, etc., frequency are gone. SBE attempted, without success, to gain additional time for Broadcasters to get their systems updated so that ULS will be a more accurate record of what's going on. So what now? Well, when you want to install a new P to P system you will be dealing with a commercial coordinator. This is not to say that Arne Skoog and Greg Thies will now have nothing to do; to the contrary there is going to continue to be lots for them to do. Look for PCNs coming in the mail. When you get these, you might want to pass them on to our local coordinators to help them keep track of things. I will have more to say on that in my report to the members at a meeting.

The FCC is again at it with a proposal to move some DOD up-links out of 1.7 to make room for more new cellphone things. The bad news is that they want to put this stuff in our 2 gig region. They have the notion that these fire-breathing high powered rigs will not interfere with broadcast operations. In one case, Denver, they would clobber 100% of the ENG Receive sites. Good news is that in this area it looks like we might escape. One of the big problems is that many of our ENG receive only sites are NOT licensed and therefore neither the FCC nor professional coordinators know they are there. This situation is not just a TV thing. Radio is faced with a similar problem with many Part 74 receive only RPU systems out there that are not licensed with only the station and the local SBE Coordinator knowing where they are. This, too, is going to get interesting. I suggested to several in Madison that perhaps the time has some to push for a rule-making that would result in the licensing of these receivers. Time will tell.

The FCC and the State of Michigan have entered into an agreement to gather information on the impact (no pun) of towers on birds (perhaps the other way around). If you recall, KRKO in Everett received a lot of flack over this issue. Perhaps this will put to rest (or roost) the matter.

KAYO...The old Seattle call moved to Aberdeen some years ago has been on the move. First the station moved to Capital Peak where it enjoyed some substantial coverage, now they are proposing to move north to a site NW of Shelton in the southern Olympics. At this location the 99.3 operation will be just about straight west of Federal Way. Looking at their proposed directional antenna (big null to the north) they will likely increase their coverage of the South Sound, if not a good portion of the Seattle-Tacoma area.

LPFMs are interesting to watch... and every once in a while you see an application for a location that certainly could use one. In this case the FCC has grated KBJC-LP to Morton, the little town in the mountains between Centralia and White Pass. Other locations getting LPs include - KYAO/100.1 at Ocean Shores and KXPB/89.1 in Pacific Beach.

Several Seattle area FM stations have enjoyed what I call 'bonus coverage' to the North (beyond their 60dBu) due to the fact that no BC station is operating on the same or first adjacent frequency. In recent years, one by one these situations are going away... that is unless you are a lucky Seattle area broadcaster that just happens to be on a frequency that's 'protected' due to an existing BC station. Recently CBC Canada began testing on 104.1 and 106.3 from its Mt. Seymour site. These are first adjacent to US stations operating on Mt. Constitution. Methinks that this is all part of a grand plan to make FM more like AM.

On the other hand, KPLU was recently granted a CP for a translator to be sited on a mountain just West of Port Angeles, right across the water from Victoria.

The NAB announced their Marconi Award winners in early October. Missing from the list were any stations in the Pacific Northwest.

While in Madison I had several conversations with Engineers who were looking into adding RBDS to their FM stations. Allen Hartle's name came up quite a bit. Allen and Marty Hadfield are co-chairing a NRSC, a committee that will be looking at the existing standards for RBDS to determine if changes need to be made.

The big news in Radio continues to be IBOC or HD Radio. (Someone called it 'high-density' which I thought was funny.) Whereas we are in the process of doing the installation work here in Seattle, I was singled out for lots of questions. As of Oct 1, some 280 stations in more than 100 markets have licensed the system. Madison is like a lot of smaller markets; they are fascinated to hear about our experiences with HD Radio and TV.

Remember me grumbling in this column about not being able to watch off the air HD in a local department store? Well things are looking up. I was in the Sears store in Federal Way the other day and could not resist the temptation to ask the salesperson to see over the air HD. He showed me a couple of HD receivers (not connected to monitors) and then took me to a set that had a built-in tuner on top of which was setting a cute little black and silver log antenna. He pushed a couple of buttons on his remote and presto! I was watching SEATTLE HD TV!! He told me that Channel 4 was transmitting HD. I told him that Ch 4 was not... but KOMO was... he was then baffled. After about 10 minutes of explaining... I think he got it. Dropped by my local Costco recently and noted they are showing a pretty big selection of flat TVs. According to Samsung demand for flat TV is booming, problem is these nifty LCD-TVs were all 4x3.

Perhaps a bit early for some, but on October 1, was the annual Mt. Wilson Christmas Party. According to the highlights from the gathering of engineers connected to what may well be the most dense RF site in the world comes this little tidbit. Cal-Edison is upgrading power lines to the mountaintop serving the LA area. Back in 1998 the power load was about 120 amps at 16.3 kV. Today the load is more like 210-215 amps. If you do the math this is about 6 Megawatts of input power. The big increase coming from the new DTV systems. For those of you not familiar with the site, it's a forest of towers sitting at about 5,000 feet AMSL. Tiger Mountain would look the same IF all the transmitters from Queen Anne and Capitol Hill and Cougar moved there!

Harris has a new Radio rep. for this area - Chris Pannel. Chris was at the recent Expo here in Seattle. Saw the previous Harris radio rep, Walt Lowrey, there also. Walt has joined the RF Specialties team where he is now selling the Nautel line of radio transmitters, the very line that he used to sell against. Walt continues to put out a great little news-letter called 'Radio in the Hinterlands'. Matt Meaney will continue to staff the RFS office in Seattle and Walt will work out of his home in Mukilteo.

Some sad news to report. This time the death of a radio engineer in a remote van. Amarjit Dhanjal, engineer for CHIN in Toronto, was killed when he drove away from an event with his van's mast up. The raised mast struck an overpass causing the lower part of the mast inside the vehicle to come loose from the floor, pinning him to the windshield. He leaves behind a wife and 3 children. The number of 'preventable' mast injuries is unfortunately very high. Most of then can be traced to stations that are just not interested in spending the time (or money) to install devices to prevent this kind of accident or conduct safety training. Often a broadcaster, especially radio, will employ beginning level people for this work thereby creating a potentially dangerous situation.

Had breakfast the other day with John Morton. John works with BE doing factory RF products service. He has kids in this area and we manage to meet once a year. Great guy!

Looks like NBC is looking a bit more like Viacom and Disney with the announcement that their parent company, GE, has a deal to merge NBC with Vivendi. NBC will now have the Universal movie and TV studios along with some Cable Channels, theme parks, etc.

Mackie, the local audio and console maker's corporate owners now has a new name - Loud Technologies. Perhaps a name designed to catch the attention of those in sound reinforcement. Loud has six other brands.

Also changing names is Magnolia Hi-Fi - to become Magnolia Audio-Video. The once locally owned firm was purchased by Best Buy a while back. I suspect that the average young person listening to his MP3 player has never heard of the term Hi-Fi.

The FCC has been busy with their 'Fine-business'. Action has come down on the Opie and Anthony indecency situation from a while back. In the matter the FCC has fined Infinity $357,500. Time will tell if this will send shock waves through the industry that seems to have a large supply of 'shock-jocks' whose fame is somehow linked to being on the 'edge'. The FCC also has been digging into Public Files as part of its license renewal project in the Mid-Atlantic area. The result: 28 NALs. Checked your station's public files for compliance lately?

The BPL situation is getting more attention. The proposal to permit broadband data over power lines has drawn large sparks from the ARRL on behalf of the ARRL; now they have been joined by other broadcasting organizations. I have suggested that SBE might want to weigh in on this one. Time will tell.

From Bob Gonsett's newsletter, the CGC Communicator, comes this item titled 'Neat Trick'. While sitting at your desk, make a clockwise circle with your right foot. While you are doing that, make the number 6 in the air with your right hand. Your circling foot will change direction.

Art Blum informs us that the relatively new owners of KONA (Tri-Cities) are selling Commonwealth Communications to Cherry Creek Radio Broadcasters. Commonwealth operates 24 stations in 9 markets.

The FCC's proposal to change ownership rules appears to have turned into a real mess with Congress and the courts getting involved. This one is likely to take a long time to un-tangle.

From the world of science... MIT has developed a battery using iron breathing bacteria that eat sugars in carbohydrates and turn them into electricity. Sounds like the potato battery might have been re-discovered. Watch for more bio-batteries in the future.

From advertising in a recent science magazine... Vector has a new battery charger, one of the points states, "High-frequency pure DC Current provides a high output with more amps delivered....." High frequency DC huh?...Where is my basic electronics instructor when I need him? Then there is the Xium-Air spilateral technology antenna. This little critter looks like a typical V-Sat antenna used by Sat-TV companies. Found it interesting that it uses "83 channel technology" and can be used for AM and FM and CB as well.

Well, time to leave you with some more items from my 'I wonder' list -

  • Why can't women put on mascara with their mouths closed?
  • Why don't you ever see the headline - 'psychic wins lottery' ?
  • Why doesn't Microsolf use a 'STOP' button with Windows?
  • Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavor, while dishwashing soap uses real lemon juice?
  • Why is the guy that invests your money called a 'broker'?
  • Why didn't Noah just swat at least one of those two mosquitoes?
  • Why don't sheep shrink when it rains?
  • If con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of progress?
  • If they are worried about making the public think flying is safe, why do they still call the airport the 'terminal'

By the time that you read this, Halloween will have come and gone, with Thanksgiving coming up fast and then, before you know it it's you-know-what and the end-of-the-year. Whew! It's that time of year when you suddenly realize that time is going by much too fast and that you have gained too much weight.

With all that firmly in mind, have a good one and we will see you down the line, somehow, somewhere.

Clay, K7CR, CPBE

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Corrosion Science An Electrochemical Process

By Tom Davis
Thanks to Phoenix Chapter 9

Recently, a viewer wrote in telling how he solved his poor TV reception trouble. He found that the problem was moisture had formed inside the weather protected connector to his roof-mounted antenna. That began a slow process that reduced the signal strength over time as the lead-in cables copper center conductor completely dissolved. We all know about rust and corrosion around the house like the hot water heater, your tools, your car, and all the metal objects you own. A good understanding of Corrosion Science will help reduce the need for replacement parts, the costs involved, and downtime. In the field of radio and television broadcasting, support equipment will be exposed to the elements. A good preventative maintenance program can save thousands of dollars each year. Here is a brief overview of corrosion theory and two case studies followed by the references. The most important periods of recorded history are named for the metals that were used for tools and weapons (Iron Age, Bronze Age). With a few exceptions, metals are unstable when exposed in ordinary environments. Metals are usually extracted from ores through the application of a considerable amount of energy. Certain environments offer opportunities for these metals to combine chemically with elements to form compounds and return to their lower energy levels. Corrosion is the primary means by which metals deteriorate. Most metals corrode on contact with water (and moisture in the air), acids, bases, salts, oils, aggressive metal polishes, and other solid and liquid chemicals. Metals will also corrode when exposed to gaseous materials like acid vapors, formaldehyde gas, ammonia gas, and sulfur containing gases. See figure 1 below. Corrosion specifically refers to any process involving the deterioration or degradation of metal components. The most commonly used metal to build bridges is steel and it decays over time. Corrosion processes are usually electrochemical in nature, having the essential features of an electric battery. When metal atoms are exposed to an environment containing water molecules they can give up electrons, becoming themselves positively charged ions, provided an electrical circuit can be completed. This effect can be concentrated locally to form a pit or, sometimes, a crack, or it can extend across a wide area to produce general wastage. Localized corrosion that leads to pitting may provide sites for fatigue initiation and, additionally, corrosive agents like seawater may lead to greatly enhanced growth of the fatigue crack. Pitting corrosion also occurs much faster in areas where microstructural changes have occurred due to welding operations. Corrosion is the disintegration of metal through an unintentional chemical or electrochemical action, starting at its surface. All metals exhibit a tendency to be oxidized, some more easily than others. A tabulation of the relative strength of this tendency is called the galvanic series. Knowledge of a metal's location in the series is an important piece of information to have in making decisions about its potential usefulness for structural and other applications. The corrosion process (anodic reaction) of the metal dissolving as ions generates some electrons, 1, that are consumed by a secondary process (cathodic reaction). These two processes have to balance their charges. The sites hosting these two processes can be located close to each other on the metal's surface, or far apart depending on the circumstances. This simple observation has a many aspects of corrosion prevention and control, for designing new corrosion monitoring techniques to avoiding the most insidious or localized forms of corrosion.

The electrons (e- in this figure) produced by the corrosion reaction will need to be consumed by a cathodic reaction in close proximity to the corrosion reaction itself. The electrons and the hydrogen ions react to first form atomic hydrogen, and then molecular hydrogen gas. If the acidity level is high (low pH), this molecular hydrogen will readily become a gas as it is demonstrated by exposing a strip of zinc to a sulfuric acid solution. As hydrogen forms, it could inhibit further corrosion by forming a very thin gaseous film at the surface of the metal. This "polarizing" film can be effective in reducing water to metal contact and thus in reducing corrosion. Yet, it is clear that anything, which breaks down this barrier film, tends to increase the rate of corrosion. Dissolved oxygen in the water will react with the hydrogen, converting it to water, and destroying the film. High water velocities tend to sweep the film away, exposing fresh metal to the water. Similarly, solid particles in the water can brush the hydrogen film from the metal. Other corrosion accelerating forces include high concentrations of free hydrogen ions (low pH) which speed the release of the electrons, and high water temperatures, which increase virtually all chemical reaction, rates. Thus a variety of natural and environmental factors can have significant effects on the corrosion rate of metals, even when no other special conditions are involved. Occurrence of corrosion and its practical control is an area of study covering a wide range of scientific knowledge. There are several organizations worldwide that provide a medium for the communication of ideas, developments and research in all aspects of this field and includes both metallic and non-metallic corrosion. The scope of this international group very extensive. Published papers range from the highly theoretical to the essentially practical and cover such areas as high temperature oxidation, passivity, anodic oxidation, biochemical corrosion, stress corrosion cracking, and mechanisms and methods of corrosion control. Published original papers and critical reviews in the fields of pure and applied corrosion, the degradation of materials, and both surface science and engineering. This forms an important link between metallurgists, materials scientists and all investigators of corrosion and degradation phenomena.

Corrosion is a concern in all-engineering disciplines. Broadcasting radio or television signals can be effected by corrosion processes. Center conductors will deteriorate over time. This causes a gradual loss of signal or power level until it is disconnected. Communication towers also suffer the effects of corrosion. The following is a brief report on two corrosion case studies. Inspection of Telecommunications Towers Case Study 1. The components and elements of a telecommunications network require regular maintenance. One of the most important parts is to ensure the structural integrity and safety of the telecommunications towers. CGTI Pylones 2 specifies details for a maintenance and inspection program for telecommunications towers. The amount of maintenance is greater for towers with guidewires than for self-supporting towers. The principal action is to regularly perform a visual inspection of the tower's external condition. The inspection must be done regularly during the life of the structure, for each installation of an additional loading, and after each important climatic event (tempest, hurricane, etc.) As a minimum, the first checking visit of each tower should be done, at the latest, 6 months after its installation and erection, while subsequent maintenance visits should be done each year. Based on the results of the inspection, maintenance and other such interventions can then be carried out. f the items are counted and the relative time spent on each of the tasks in a normal inspection is estimated the inspection time spent on corrosion issues is calculated at approximately 25 percent.

Case Study 2. Example of a New $3,000,000 Digital Television Facility In February 1999, the Leblanc group announced the new construction of a digital television facility, which will be constructed on top of Farnsworth Peak in Lafayette, Colorado. (7) The total value of this new construction was $3,000,000, which was to be spent on the different components by the respective subcontractors. The contract included the tower, foundations, antennas, transmission lines, combiners, switching systems, and emergency power systems. The contracting group was a consortium of eight stations, consisting of five commercial and three public broadcasters. The new 73-m (240-ft) tower, topped by a 22-m (72-ft) antenna system, provides a center of radiation approximately 1,500 m (5,000 ft) above Salt Lake City, Utah. In addition to the 8 digital television station antennas, 16 microwave dishes would be installed on the tower. The tower selected in this case was a rugged, heavy self-supporting type. It was designed to withstand forces created by 250 km per hour (155 mi per hour) winds simultaneously with 7.6 cm (3 in) of radial ice. The base foundation was designed to withstand strong uplift forces. The legs at the tower base are fabricated from 25-cm- (10-in-) diameter solid round high-strength steel, and the face width at the top is 3.0 m (10 ft). The main antenna was mounted inside a 1.5-m- (5-ft-) diameter glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) cylinder 22 m (72 ft) tall. The GRP cylinder has the advantage of significantly reducing the wind, while at the same time providing for easy access and maintenance regardless of the severe weather conditions incurred at the site. In the design phase of this tower and antenna, no specific corrosion cost analysis was reported. However, it is obvious that the presence of the glass-reinforced cylinder is a choice of materials to protect the antenna from moisture and therefore corrosion. In this case, the cost of this corrosion protection could be estimated from the cost of the fiberglass construction, which is possibly 10 percent ($300,000) of the total construction costs.


Chemistry 336, Arizona State University Book Store, ASU, Tempe, Arizona

Linda Shackle, Noble Science & Engineering Library, 480/965-7601,

1997 NAICS Definitions, 513 - Broadcasting and Telecommunications, U.S. Census Bureau,, December 2000.

"Communication Equipment," 1999 Current Industrial Report, U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, U.S. Census Bureau, September 2000.

Office of Telecommunications Technologies, U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration,, December 2002

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Music At 78 RPM - II

By Kevin Ruppert - Chapter 24 Madison

Music Becomes Electronic!
Last time, we covered acoustically recorded 78-RPM records. Now, we are going to explore the era when 78s finally were being recorded and reproduced using electronic devices.

In last month's article, I told how I went about transferring several 78s to digital media. As we noted in the article, these were originally acoustic recordings, made without microphones, mixers, or electronics of any kind. The transfer to track tape did, of course, require using modern microphones. For those of you interested in these types of things, the mics I used were a Sony C-48 large diaphragm condenser and Shure 300 ribbon mic. Thanks again to Kevin Peckham for the use of the mics.

Way Beyond Polkas!
While collecting marches, I also started to collect two other disparate types of music. Big band and combo jazz have always been some of my favorites. (I was definitely done with polkas!) I made an interesting find at one of the used bookstores in Madison - an album of 78s of the Benny Goodman Sextet, which was in excellent condition. This group included two of my favorite jazz performers from this era, Charlie Christian and Lionel Hampton. The recordings were made in 1939 and 1940, although I have reason to believe that the album I owned was re-released in 1950 which may account for the relatively good condition of the discs. Now, I know that you can get this stuff on CD, digitally remastered and sounding "better then the original recordings," but I wanted to "remaster" them myself. Besides, the 6 record album was only $4.50 and I'd have the fun of actually playing the discs, with surface noise and all!

A Record Changing Experience
These being "electronic" 78's, recorded some time in the late 30's, I was not going to use the Victrola to play them because they just would not sound right that way. My plan was to reproduce them electronically, then clean up and digitize the 78's so I could enjoy them over and over without any wear on the original records.

Luckily, I had two choices for playing these vintage discs electronically. One of the players is a fairly modern Garrard turntable, the other a 1940's vintage Philco changer that I bought at a flee market.

The first thing a 78 collector has to know is that he is going to have a different stylus for playing these records. Simply put, the groves on a 78 are larger then the microgroove records that most of us are familiar with. You can use modern pickup cartridges, but the stylus needs to be 3 mil diameter instead of the 1 mil type used on LP's. If you try to play the 78's with a 1 mil stylus, you will hear too much of the surface noise and not enough of the music. If you think about it, it makes sense. The grooves are wider, so the smaller point can't couple to all of the undulations of the walls of the groove. Instead, it just sort of "sloshes around" and picks up the worn out bottom of the groove where there is mainly noise.

A Chance to Get Needled
There has recently been renewed interest in record players. You see them in trendy catalog and department stores. The stores know that they can sell these machines to people in their middle age who own a lot of vinyl but for one reason or another have gotten rid of their turntable and now regret that they cannot play the records.

If you do buy one of these reproduction machines and are interested in listening to 78's, make sure you get the right kind. Many of these machines feature the speed 78-RPM, but do not have the 3-mil stylus needed to play the 78's. If you do purchase one of these record players, make sure that you find one that has the "flip needle" type of cartridge that has a stylus to properly play the 78's.

There are many good mail order houses on the Internet that sell 3 mil styli for the cartridge of your choice. Mine was a Pickering stereo mag cartridge that was in the tone arm of the Garrard turntable. I ordered the replacement 3 mil stylus and tried it out. The vintage Philco record changer that was in my "audio junk yard" has dual point styli that pivot - one way for 3 mil, and the other way for 1 mil. This probably seemed like a great idea to the guys who designed it at the time. Too bad that it never really worked very well, because the microgroove LP's were always being played with backwards pressure on the stylus, just like back-cueing a record. (DJ's will know what I'm talking about.)

This old but still capable record changer has a ceramic mono cartridge. I recently replaced the stylus in it with a new (actually, unused) one from a company in Canada that specializes in replacements for old, hard to find needles. If you like the thrill of the hunt, you'll love looking through Internet page after Internet page of pictures of needles, trying to find the one that matches yours!

The Digital Filter
The next thing that I needed was digital noise reduction software for my computer. I took a recommendation from fellow engineer Leonard Charles on which software would do the job and not cost too much. I purchased and downloaded a program called "Wave Corrector" from a British software company called Ganymede Test and Measurement. I started with an earlier version, but version 2.5 is available for instant download at

The Wave Corrector software uses an algorithm that digitally finds pops and clicks to filter them. Some programs then cut the click or pop out, leaving a gap in the audio. This program tries to fill in the gap with an approximation of the waveform that was at one time under the click to make the finished sound as authentic as possible. It seems to work pretty well. As with most digital filtering, however, if you use too many passes through the system, or turn up the processing too high, the finished audio sometimes has that "swishy" digital artifact sound, the same effect you might notice with a bad mp3 file.

Similar digital filters are available from other software publishers, including Sonic Foundry who have it in their Sound Forge program. I opted for Wave Corrector for its low cost and ease of use.

Now, I needed to decide which turntable would be used for the transfer to digital media. Well, once again, I decided to try both.

The Equalizer
There has been a lot written on the importance of proper equalization for vinyl record playback. You can buy preamps and other boxes with buttons and knobs on them to precisely set the equalization of the record that you are playing. One seller's site includes data on each record company's equalization including where the bass and treble turnover points are. There is little doubt that you will enjoy your 78s (or any other records) a great deal more with the proper EQ. Getting there might be a little more of a challenge.

Many Standards to Choose From
Early records were made without equalization. For one thing, despite attempts in the acoustic recording era, it is nearly impossible to change EQ mechanically. When electronic recording came into being, EQ was not only possible, but also highly desired to improve the fidelity as well as the signal to noise ratio of the recordings.

The main problem is that each record company chose a slightly different EQ curve for their records. It was not until the early 1950s when the RIAA (Record Industry Association of America) EQ curve became the industry-wide standard for records made in the United States.

EQ on a Shoestring
The expensive solution EQ preamps and boxes have a switch position for each record brand, as well as knobs to "tweak in" the sound according to your ear. Once again, continuing my attempt to experiment without spending very much money, I found a less expensive way to provide some EQ to my transfers of the Goodman Sextet. A Radio Shack parametric equalizer provided the playback curve.

The Goodman album is on the Columbia label. Previous experience showed me that Columbia records of the time pretty much followed the RIAA curve even though it was not yet the industry standard. I was able to find a chart of the RIAA playback curve on the Internet. I set the sliders on the parametric to the RIAA curve as close as I could and decided that I would adjustments later as needed by ear.

Totally Tubular
I need to back up to the discussion of the ceramic cartridge chosen for the transfers. Most ceramic cartridges have much higher output levels then their more modern magnetic counterparts. The cartridge in my player has a nominal output of 3.0 Volts peak to peak. Most magnetic cartridges typically have outputs in the millivolt range. Why the large difference in signal level? The answer is historic and also monetary.

Back in the tube era, preamplifiers were an expensive luxury that would require an additional electronic stage in the record player. You have to consider that this was before integrated circuits or even transistors. Point to point wiring was the state of the art at the time. The folks on the production line had to solder wires to the base of the tube, which had to be punched into and mounted on the chassis. A vacuum tube (or at least a section of a tube) had to be set aside just to provide a part of the preamp, in addition to passive components in the circuit and load on the power supply. You'd have to look to professional gear or high end high fidelity components to find this level of sophistication in audio gear due to the cost. So, short cuts were taken to reduce costs in home gear.

The extreme examples of this are portable record players that used one tube. The type 117N7-GT was a popular combination rectifier and beam power amplifier that could be used in a one-tube phonograph. As those of you who understand the tube numbering scheme will know, this tube has a 117 Volt filament, which means that it does not require a filament transformer or series step-down circuit to light the filament. The amplifier section provides enough output (1.2 Watts) to power a small speaker in a portable phonograph. Keep in mind that this is not "hi-fi" with 6% total harmonic distortion and not very much power, but it was good enough for the average home electronics consumer.

Signal Overload
When I first started to try to make my transfers with the ceramic cartridge, I was using a preamp that I had used successfully for listening to vinyl LP's with mag cartridges. The high (3 Volt) output was severely clipping the preamp. I tried a series of different homemade pads to bring the level closer to what the preamp wanted to see, but never found a set up that sounded right to me. I have not checked into this yet, but suspect that the loading on the cartridge was never correct with the preamp and my homemade pad. Then, I finally realized that I needn't use a preamp at all! What I really had was a "line level" cartridge that could go directly into a recorder or PC sound card. What was missing was the EQ. Hence, the parametric providing the RIAA curve. This actually worked pretty well. The Goodman discs sounded really nice with the right curve. There was a noticeable reduction in noise, as well as a nice, solid bottom end to the recordings.

Subtle Cymbals
Okay, now I was ready to transfer the Sextet 78s to digital media. The process with Wave Corrector is simple. You use your computer's sound card and standard Windows sound recorder to create a Wave file. Then, you run the noise reduction program of Wave Corrector to clean it up. Wave Corrector has plenty of tools and hooks for you to use to manually adjust the correction process on each click or pop, but I went with the automatic process and did no further adjustments.

The results were truly amazing! While playing back one of the Goodman tracks - "Rose Room", I could hear something that I had not heard before. There was this subtle "shooo-dit-di-shoo-dit-di shoo" behind the instruments that I had not heard while listening to the track before processing. I had to listen to the corrected track again before I realized that this was the high-hat cymbals coming from the drum set that was previously buried in the surface noise so that you could not really hear it. I think that I was hearing something really close to what the Columbia engineers wanted me to hear.

Nice and Warm
After transferring the Benny Goodman Sextet album to CD and mini disc with the Philco vintage record player, I decided to repeat the same transfers with the modern magnetic cartridge. This time, I used the preamp that I had tried before with the ceramic cartridge. The graphic equalizer was not needed because the EQ was built into the preamp. (I trusted that the manufacturer had built the proper EQ into the preamp.) What I discovered was interesting. I actually preferred the sound of the vintage ceramic cartridge with the jury-rigged EQ over the modern stereo mag cartridge and modern preamp. Could it be due to the fact that the vintage records were made for the vintage pickup? That the modern system just could not do justice to the Goodman 78s? This might be similar to the discussion of different microphones. Some artists prefer the warm sound of vintage ribbon mics to their precision, "accurate" counterparts. My vintage pickup sounded better to me playing the vintage material that I started with. If I was listening to polkas, I might not have been able to hear the difference.

Moving on to the Classics
Next, I decided to attack the classics. My used record store yielded a copy of the Tchaikovsky "Romeo and Juliet" suite. An album of three 78s (six sides) for just $1.98! Once again, a little background into what home entertainment was like in the era of 78s. The records came in two sizes, 10 inch and 12 inch diameter. The 10 inch discs could hold about 3 minutes maximum per side. This was fine for popular music, as 3 minutes is enough for a pop song. Most jazz was okay on a 10 inch 78, as in the case of my Benny Goodman Sextet album, even if it meant each musician had to limit his "turn" (solo) to fit on the disc. For polkas, three minutes is certainly enough! After all, who could polka any longer than that without a break or a heart attack!

Where does this leave the serious classical music collector? The answer is with the 12 inch 78, which provided a little better medium for long form recordings (but not much better!). I have classical 12 inch 78s that have just over 4 minutes per side. That means that a 20 minute suite had to be recorded on 5 sides of 12 inch 78s. It must have been quite a trick for musicians and engineers to find convenient places for the orchestra to pause while the disc is changed. (Do you suppose that the conductor kept his arms up in the air holding the orchestra from playing until he got the signal to go ahead from the engineer?) I suspect that this is where the term "record album" comes in, as a set of records literally came in an album to hold them together as a group.

This is where you need a record changer if you want to hear a continuous (or nearly continuous) performance. That, however, is another whole article! While listening to the Romeo and Juliet (and changing each record by hand), I wondered what the piece would sound like edited together. If I used Wave Corrector, I could remove the surface noise and splice together the sound from the six sides of the album. How different would it sound from a modern recording made all at the same time?

This will take some experimentation! Stay tuned. There will be more to come!

The following web site was used for research in the article: The Benny Goodman Website,

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Old Brands Come Back

Portland Chapter 124

I don't know how amazed I should be, but lately I've noticed that several old "hi-fi," radio, and TV brand names have been brought back, or bought back, and are being marketed again. Dual now for car stereos, and not turntables; Crosley for retro record players with CD players in the side; Westinghouse for HD TV's.

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Amateur Radio News

By Tom Weeden, WJ9H
Chapter 24

o Hoping to avoid the scrutiny which may be coming to tall broadcast towers, the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) has asked the FCC to exempt amateur radio antennas and support structures less than 400 feet tall from routine environmental processing relative to their impact on migratory birds. In reply comments filed December 1, the League said there is no scientific evidence that antenna structures below that height contribute significantly to migratory bird mortality. An FCC Notice of Inquiry, WT Docket 03-187, released in August seeking information on the effects of communications towers on migratory birds, drew more than 250 comments. The League told the FCC that the migratory bird issue often arises at municipal land use hearings and in the drafting of ordinances regulating antenna structures.

"At public hearings before city, town and county authorities, those who are opposed to communications antennas for aesthetic reasons typically raise issues such as migratory bird mortality as one of several arguments against permitting antennas or limiting their placement," the ARRL comments said. "ARRL's research into the scientific literature reveals that communications towers below 400 feet are almost universally considered not to be contributors to bird mortality."

The ARRL pointed to US Fish and Wildlife Service guidelines released in 2000 that concede that "tower height alone may not necessarily be a critical issue that results in mortality" and that bird kills documented at tall TV towers might be due to the effects of tower lighting rather than height. Based on the record, the League concluded, "unlit amateur radio antennas cannot be considered candidates for regulation under any circumstances."

o The FCC has amended its Part 15 rules to make another 255 MHz of spectrum available in the 5.470-5.725 GHz band for unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) devices, including Radio Local Area Network (RLAN) devices. In a Report and Order (R&O) in ET Docket 03-122 released November 18, the FCC said it was taking the action to alleviate crowding in existing allocations and to align U-NII bands in the US with bands elsewhere in the world. Amateur radio has a secondary allocation from 5.650 to 5.925 GHz.

o The North Carolina Special Events Group will operate special event station W4B from December 12 to 17 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers' first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Operation will be on 14.260 MHz continuously as propagation permits, while a second station will operate alternate modes. The North Carolina Special Events group is a nonprofit amateur radio organization that promotes historical and other events to increase public awareness of ham radio.

(Excerpts from the American Radio Relay League's "The ARRL Letter")

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The End User

by Rich Petschke
Radio Technology Manager,
Fisher Radio Seattle

I recently received an e-mail from a friend of mine describing a problem he ran into when the newly-purchased hard drive for his computer died after only a month in service. He got a great price on the drive - about $30 less than the ones at the "big-box" electronics store. It didn't seem to matter to him that the drive was packaged only in a sealed static bag, with no packing material and no owner's manual.

When he took the drive back to the store, the owner told him it only had a 14-day warranty, and there was nothing he could do for him. The store owner suggested contacting the drive manufacturer. He did, and was told that this was an "OEM" drive, and any service would have to be done through the seller. So back to the seller he went, but got nowhere. He ended up heading to the big-box store and bought a drive there, with a three-year manufacturer's warranty.

My friend found out the hard way what can happen if you purchase "OEM" computer hardware. The reason his new hard drive came in just a static bag is because the computer store bought the hard drives from the manufacturer in bulk, and since the store-not the end user-is the one making the purchase, the store ultimately is responsible for honoring the warranty, if it chooses to. The manufacturer, in most cases, does not have to fulfill any warranty to an end user, but many OEM parts sellers do honor the full manufacturer's warranty. Policies can vary, however, so it really pays to check the store's policies before plunking down your cash, even if it seems like a really good deal.

I had another friend whose eighteen-month-old laptop's hard drive recently developed "read errors" and couldn't boot up. Try as we might, we couldn't get the drive to work, and she lost all her data. Another valuable lesson learned: back up your important files FREQUENTLY. How frequently? Depends on how much info you can afford to lose. If you send a lot of e-mail and regularly create new or revised documents, a weekly backup might be a good option. Remember that most "name-brand" computer manufacturers provide "restore disks" that reinstall the operating system and any preloaded applications, so it's not necessary to back those files up. Back up e-mail archive files, documents and spreadsheets, and other files that can't easily be recovered.

And what medium should you back up to? CD-Rs are probably the least expensive, in many cases free after rebate. CD burners are approaching giveaway pricing as well. If you have a lot of data to backup, consider the DVD burner, as DVD data discs are well under a dollar each for 4.7Gb of data.

That's it for November. Coming in December- our look back at new tech toys in 2003, and a look ahead at 2004. In January, we'll take a look at Office 2003- and our recommendations on whether or not to upgrade to the latest and greatest.

Send your comments or questions to Till next month, all the best!

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Wisdom from Will Rogers


First ~ Eventually you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it.

Second ~ The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.

Third ~ Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me, I want people to know "why" I look this way. I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved.

Fourth ~ When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to youth, think of Algebra

Fifth ~ You know you are getting old when everything either dries up or leaks.

Sixth ~ I don't know how I got over the hill without getting to the top.

Seventh ~ One of the many things no one tells you about aging is that it is such a nice change from being young.

Eighth ~ One must wait until evening to see how splendid the day has been.

Ninth ~ Being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable.

Tenth ~ Long ago when men cursed and beat the ground with sticks, it was called witchcraft. Today it's called golf.

And finally ~ If you don't learn to laugh at trouble, you won't have anything to laugh at when you are old.

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Newsletter Committee

Bill Harris

Garneth M. Harris

Newsletter archives are available online.

Visit 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/or the Denver SBE/SMPTE Newsletter.