Rocky Mountain Section Meeting Report
Random Radio Thoughts
SBE Certification NEWS
Amature Radio News
Fellow Nominations Open
The YXZ Report
USDTV is Back
PDX Radio Waves
The Harold E. Ennes Scholarship
Kate Carney Landow received the Harold E. Ennes
career in broadcasting started in high school with video and film production
at the Fred N. Thomas Career Education Center (CEC) in Denver, Colorado.
She continued on to the University of Colorado at Boulder and earned a B.F.A.
After graduating, she began her career at the National Digital Television Center
(now operated by Comcast) which introduced her to a team of engineers that
encouraged her to pursue engineering as a formal career path. Many of the engineers
mentoring Kate carried SBE certifications and they encouraged Kate to look
into SBE as a way to help her achieve her career goals.
Since passing her CBT and earning the CBNT certification, Kate has also continued
her education at the graduate level. The Ennes scholarship will help her complete
her final semester of graduate school, earning a Masters degree in Interdisciplinary
Telecommunications from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her objective
is to build the foundation for a video lab that will ultimately serve future
students interested in testing IPTV signals and video compression.
Kate Carney Landow
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SBE Chapter 48/SMPTE Rocky Mountain Section
SBE/SMPTE Award Presentation Update
By Jim Schoedler, SBE Chapter 48 Chair
Location: Park Hill Country Club
Hosts: Rocky Mtn. SMPTE & SBE Chapter 48
At the SBE Chapter 48/SMPTE Rocky Mountain
Section December 2006 meeting John Hellyer received an award for outstanding
service to the Denver and Front Range broadcast community for his long
term involvement in frequency coordination activities.
John needs no introduction to broadcasters in the Denver area where he
has been active in frequency coordination for the past 22 years. In recent
years, FCC rules have diminished the role of volunteer frequency coordinators
in the microwave bands used for television, and in Denver others have taken
on the job of coordinating the frequencies used by radio stations. Not
to be deterred, seven years ago John took on the new role of NFL Game Day
Frequency Coordinator for Denver Bronco’s games.
This will be John’s last year in that role, as he’s indicated
he wants to “semi-retire” which John defines as working only
40 hours per week. John is also owner of HSE Communications, was formerly
the Chief Engineer of KMGH, and prior to that was in engineering at KGTV
in San Diego for 12 years.
The job of NFL Game Day coordinator has become increasingly busy. John
reports that for the ESPN game at Invesco Field at Mile High, he coordinated
over 200 wireless microphone channels. His day starts up to four hours
before kickoff and his reward, up to now, has been the chance to sit in
the Press Box or stand on the sideline to watch the Broncos play, but only
when all goes smoothly.
John was recently responsible for another unheralded achievement, but one
that’s extremely important to the Denver television news organizations.
John was instrumental in coordinating a reorganization of the 2GHz ENG
channel plan. Denver is undergoing a period of increased news competition
and greatly expanded coverage, and the broadcasters needed to find a new
way to share the band until digital equipment makes more virtual channels
available. John put in many hours working on iterations of the plan until
a consensus was reached.
For all of his volunteer activities over a sustained period, the officers
and members of SBE Chapter 48 and the Rocky Mountain Section of SMPTE were
pleased to present John with the award.
Hellyer Recieves Citation for Outstanding Service
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Random Radio Thoughts
Cris Alexander, CPBE, AMD
Crawford Broadcasting Company
The Listener Experience
Last year was a huge cap-ex year for our company, the biggest in its history.
Most of those cap-ex dollars were spent in the technical area – equipment
and facilities. Because our company has long maintained a program of aggressive
equipment rotation, our facilities are never too far off the state of the
art, but sometimes technology changes drive upgrades and infrastructure changes
well in advance of regular equipment rotation. That was the case for my company
in 2006, and clearly a lot of other radio groups found themselves in the
same situation. HD Radio was, without a doubt, the driving force behind many
of the upgrade purchases.
With all that behind us and much of our company now operating with digital
signals from all-digital studios, where should our focus be going forward into
2007 and beyond? I touched on this briefly during last fall’s Audio Boot
Camp. Many of the major radio groups, with the first couple of HD-R conversion
waves behind them, are now focusing on other improvement factors. In many cases,
these stations did what they had to in order to get digital signals on the
air in the most expedient way. Now they are going back and looking at what
can be done to optimize the sound, coverage and overall performance of the
digital signal as well as the analog signal in this dawning digital age of
This year, I will be doing much the same thing with our stations but perhaps
from a little different perspective. We’re calling it “the listener
experience,” and our goal for the coming year is to determine everything
we can do to optimize what the listener hears and sees (yes, this includes
the PAD/RDS visuals) when he tunes in.
In my view, if terrestrial radio is to survive long-term, it must differentiate
itself in a positive way from the satcasters, podcasters and Internet broadcasters.
As an aside, I heard a network spot on a local Denver station advertising the
CCrane “Acoustic Energy Wi-Fi Radio.” For the price of a tabletop
HD Radio receiver, you can get one of these Internet “radios” that
allows you to “tune” any online audio stream just like a local
station, sans computer. And the radio maintains a database of available streams
(they claim over 5,000). With wireless networks installed in homes and businesses
all over the place, suddenly “Internet Radio” has the ability to
be much more mainstream. So why are terrestrial radio stations cutting their
own throats by airing spots for Sirius, XM and CCrane AE Wi-Fi Radios? But
The point is that unlike in times past, we have a lot more competition these
days than just the same-format station across town. If we intend to maintain
enough market share to remain viable, we have to be different and better, and
that means that the terrestrial radio listener experience has to in some ways
be better than the listener experience for competing media. Much of the listener
experience will be content, but a good bit of it is technical in nature – the
overall aural, sensory and visual experience.
There are a few things I think we should look at as individual stations but
also as an industry.
At the top of my list is the FM HD Radio experience. At the insistence of iBiquity
Digital Corporation, many station engineers have worked hard to make the analog/digital
transition “seamless.” During initial digital lock or out there
in the fringe, for stations who have carefully adjusted the time and level
alignment, the transition truly is seamless. Mission accomplished – except
if you can’t tell the difference between the analog and digital, why
bother with the digital at all? In a couple of recent newspaper reviews of
HD Radio, that was exactly the conclusion of the reviewers – they couldn’t
tell the difference and thus couldn’t see the benefit. It’s hard
to argue with that.
So what can we do? Maybe we should look to AM HD-R. Tune in a digital AM station
on your Kenwood, JVC or Polk Audio HD Radio and in a few seconds… wow!
When digital lock is attained, the audio bandwidth goes from (maybe) 5 kHz
to 15 kHz and the stereo separation opens up. There is a real “wow factor” with
AM HD Radio that is unmistakable and in your face. We need a little bit of
that with FM HD Radio as well.
I would suggest that we use different, lighter, peak-limit-only processing
on our digital audio. I would also suggest that we use the feature in the iBiquity
software to push the demodulated level of the digital audio by a dB or so.
We need something to make the digital audio “pop” and stand out
from the analog.
PAD and RDS are two other areas where we can generate “wow factor” for
the listener. We need something different and better here, something better
than what I see on most stations – song title/artist followed by “Unknown.” There
are messaging products out there, “TRE” for one, which can do a
lot to enhance the PAD/RDS visuals. Why not populate those fields with other
useful and interesting data? Put the album title in that third field, for instance.
During commercials, display the business name and phone number. Some broadcasters
have even used their RDS and PAD scrolls for contests: “Be the fifth
caller at the number displayed on your HD or smart radio to win!”
What else can we as engineers do to improve the listener experience? Its time
we took the lead here, put ourselves in the listener’s shoes and frankly
critique our signals, sounds and scrolls – the listener experience. What
can we do to make terrestrial radio different and better?
If you have news to share with the Rocky Mountain radio engineering
community, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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SBE CERTIFICATON NEWS
College Credit for Your SBE Certification:
College Credit for Your SBE Certification
The Society of Broadcast Engineers and Excelsior College have teamed up! Your current SBE Certification may qualify for credit towards a degree from Excelsior College or could help you finish that degree you’ve been working on at another institution. If you’re interested, contact Excelsior College by calling toll-free at (888) 647-2388 to learn about the details.
When you are ready to submit your SBE Certification for credit to Excelsior College,
download the SBE transcript request form at www.sbe.org or www.excelsior.edu,
or contact the SBE National Office for a copy. When you’ve completed the form,
e-mail, fax or mail it to Megan Clappe, Certification Director at the SBE National
Office, who will prepare your transcript and send it to Excelsior College.
Megan Clappe Certification
Society of Broadcast Engineers
9102 N. Meridian Street, Suite 150
Indianapolis, IN 46260
SBE CertPreview Software
SBE CertPreview sample certification test software is now available.
It’s Microsoft Windows-based and replaces the previous DOS-based software.
New sample tests are available for Broadcast Technologist, Audio Engineer,
Video Engineer, Broadcast Networking Technologist, Broadcast Engineer and Senior
Broadcast Engineer in both radio and television. Sample tests include 50 to
100 questions and indicate when an incorrect answer has been given. It provides
a list of resources from which to learn more about a subject. Cost for each
SBE CERTpreview practice test is $27 plus $3 shipping. Contact the National
Office to order a copy.
CERTIFICATION EXAM SESSION DATES:
The SBE National Certification Committee certification exam session
dates for 2007 are listed below. Check the list below for the exam period
that is best for you. For more information about SBE Certification, see your
Chapter Certification Chair or
contact Megan Clappe,
Certification Director at the SBE National Office at (317) 846-9000, or email@example.com
|April 17, 2007
||NAB - Las Vegas
||March 2, 2007
|June 1-11, 2007
||April 20, 2007
|Aug 10-20, 2007
||June 8, 2007
|Nov 9-19, 2007
||September 21, 2007
Fees are as Follows:
|Broadcast Networking Technologist
|Senior Broadcast Engineer
|Professional Broadcast Engineer
|AM Directional Specialist
note: SBE Certification exams are administered only by SBE and are proctored
in-person by qualified and approved representatives of SBE. No other organization
is authorized to administer SBE exams.
Click here for
more information about SBE Certification.
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AMATEUR RADIO NEWS
By Tom Weeden, WJ9H
Thanks to Chapter 24
• Just a little over a month after the
Federal Communications Commission released the Report and Order (R&O) in
the so-called "Omnibus" Amateur Radio proceeding to the public, a
revised version appeared November 15th in the Federal Register. The changes
in the R&O will take effect Friday, December 15, at 12:01 AM EST, 30 days
after its publication.
As expected, the Report & Order as published clarified two items that had
raised some concerns when it was first released: That the 80/75 meter band
split applies to all three IARU Regions, and that FCC licensees in Region 2,
which includes North America, can continue to use radioteletype/data emissions
in the 7.075-7.100 MHz band.
Some controversial aspects of the proceeding remain unchanged, including the
expansion of the 75 meter phone band all the way down to 3600 kHz (thus reducing
the privileges of General, Advanced, and Amateur Extra class licensees, who
had RTTY/data privileges in the 80 meter band, and CW privileges of General
and Advanced class licensees). This also eliminates access to the automatic
control RTTY/data subband at 3620-3635 kHz.The ARRL Board is discussing the
possibility of a petition to reconsider several items in the R&O. A PDF
band chart (see Figure 1) is available at <http://www.arrl.org/announce/regulatory/wt04-140/Hambands3_color.pdf> (917,715
Figure 1. Amateur Band Chart
NASA set Thursday, December 7, as the launch date for the next space shuttle
mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Shuttle Discovery will carry
three radio amateurs, one of whom – US astronaut Sunita Williams, KD5PLB – will
join ISS Expedition 14 in progress. She’ll replace European Space Agency
astronaut Thomas Reiter, DF4TR, whose duty tour has spanned Expeditions 13
and 14. Williams is said to be eager to do ARISS school group contacts from
NA1SS. Also aboard Discovery will be European Space Agency astronaut and mission
specialist Christer Fuglesang, KE5CGR/SA0AFS, Sweden’s first astronaut,
who will be making his first journey into space. Plans are in place for Fuglesang
to carry out an "Amateur Radio on the International Space Station" (ARISS)
school contact with students at Thunmanskolan in Knivsta, Sweden. This will
mark the 20th shuttle flight to the ISS.
(Excerpts from the American Radio Relay League’s <arrl.org> web
SBE CHAPTER OF THE AIR:
HamNet meets the second Sunday of each month at 0000 GMT on 14.205 MHz.
Hal Hostetler, WA7BGX is the Control Station.
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Featuring News, Rumors and Views
From Usually Reliable and Irrefutable Sources
By Clay Freinwald
SBE Seattle Chapter 16
November started out
with Rain of epic proportions breaking all kinds of records with considerable
flooding in the area. This was followed by snow and cold, then on Dec 14th
we got the big windstorm -
I don’t recall hearing of any major damage to broadcast facilities
from all of the rain. I did note however a picture in USA Today of a location
in Auburn showing the flooding about a half block from the studios of KDDS/KWMG
In late November apparently a portion of a guy gave way on the KSPS tower
in Spokane sending about a third of the top of that tower to the ground putting
that station out of commission, except for their cable feeds.
The big windstorm was interesting in that our chapter meeting was at the
NWS facility at Sand Point where Ted Beuhner told us, the morning prior to
the storm, the approaching storm would not be as bad as the famous Columbus
Day Storm, but perhaps on a par with the Inauguration day event of ’93.
He added that it would be memorable and that he was communicating with power
companies and that they were preparing for a ‘big-one’. Boy did
the forecasters nail this one! The storm did major damage to our area with
many giant firs acting like cheese-slicers as they fell. Over at the Rose
Hill facility in Kirkland, the power lines were ripped out of the newly rebuilt
building. The biggest impact was the loss of power. Power companies put out
the call resulting in convoys of trucks from out of state coming to the aid
of our major utilities as they were overwhelmed with major, large scale outages.
Many gallons of diesel were consumed keeping broadcast plants up and running.
An example was Cougar Mountain where the power was out for just a few hours
short of 8 days. A big personal thank you to Don Small and Rosso whose trucks
delivered fuel when we needed it and kept our systems up and running. Thankfully
there were no apparent major tower failures to report, beyond a need for
re-aiming a dish or two here and there. Some facilities (no names here) were
off the air for some time due to the lack of Aux Power.
I recall hearing a radio interview with a person at a local utility where
the reporter asked the representative about when certain areas would be getting
their power back etc…..that rep. then calmly stated that all this information
was on their web-site. Perhaps not thinking that the majority of those without
power did not have generators and were likely obtaining their information
from battery or wind-up radios. Gee, perhaps there is an opportunity for
those that would like to market a gas-powered home PC?
Many lost internet service. My DSL, as well as many others, was down for
days. This does not make one share the feelings of some that the on-line
world is all that robust. Up at Cougar Mountain, Qwest has a location that
houses a great deal of Mux. Equipment that is only backed up with batteries.
Due to the length of the power failure exceeding their capacity, many of
those circuits went down. This, for a time, took off the air KHNC that has
been using a ISDN as their primary STL. Seems to be many that have –assumed-that
a UPS would take care of them during power outages, great idea, except when
the outages are – really – long, as was the case this time.
In my house, were we are juice-less for about 30 hours, our wind-up radio,
oil-lamps, LED flashlights, wood stove and gas range kept us in business,
One issue got a lot of folks upset….the fact that many gas-stations
were out of power with no means of pumping gas. In my neighborhood, many
of the fast food places had no power and those that did were quickly closed
due to lack of food.
This storm was, hopefully, a great wake-up-call to those that should be making
changes in anticipation of something like a major earthquake that will make
this past windstorm seem like a minor problem. Hopefully we will see generators
installed in locations that are critical, and larger fuel tanks in locations
where refills may be fewer and farther apart. Certainly training of personnel
as to how to deal with natural disasters must be high on the list.
A word about EAS – Several voices have been raised as to why the EAS
was not activated in this case. Like Katrina, the media was all over this
event with all the major TV and Radio stations and even newspapers running
stories about the forecast storm. And yet many were apparently caught un-aware.
Perhaps we need to understand that
Many people are not connected to the outside world but whose connections
are to radio and TV stations/channels whose content is devoid of news. Perhaps
we need to consider the use of EAS to alert these people. Then again there
is the problem that
Many broadcasters would likely not air a High-Wind-Warning or Civil Emergency
Message for the simple reason that they do not believe in EAS and find it
intrusive. This will be an agenda item for the next State EAS Meeting, if
you have contributions, you should be there.
Now onto other stuff –
Big news from the world of Amateur Radio - the FCC announced that the Morse
Code era was over. For the first time all Amateur Radio license classes are
free of the code-requirement. For years I have heard many Broadcast Engineers
tell me that as soon as the FCC drops the code, they will obtain a Ham License.
OK folks, your time has come. With that being said, frankly, as a fellow
that had to sit at the table in the old Federal Office Building and demonstrate
to a steely-eyed FCC Engineer that I could indeed send and receive 20 wpm
over 30 years ago, this is a bit hard to take. It’s much in the same
category as when all the work I put into getting my First Phone back in high-school
went out the window with the elimination of that license requirement. Ah…..Progress.
A sign of the times, a melding of old and new…Numark is now marketing
a turntable (yes one that plays phonograph records) with a USB output. Something
is just plain wrong with this picture. Everyone knows that a turntable has
HD Radio continues to make progress with a number of new receiver offerings
and places to buy them. Rumor has it that another local broadcaster will
be going HD with their AM. Right now we are holding at 20 FM’s and
1 AM in this market. I suspect that we are now at a bit of a plateau with
Radio-HD as most of the federally funded and big group stations are now up
and running leaving the next group, the smaller group owners etc to decided
whether or not they should jump into the HD-water.
Big news for HD Radio comes from North of the Border. Apparently our neighbors
are about to make official what most have known for some time, the L-Band
Eureka DAB system is going no-where and the Ibiquity digital system is the
future for FM stations. Don’t look for the Canadians to adopt the problematic
AM-HD system anytime soon. This will be a big boost for the system on both
sides as 90% of the population of Canada is within 100 miles of the border.
Understand that Walt Lowery is no longer selling Continental, primary reason
is illness in his family. Wish you well, Walt ! Walt sold 3 of the new Continental
HD transmitters in this area.
Bustos Media has purchased a building in Federal Way, near the Commons, for
studios and offices for their AM and FM stations, KWMG and KDDS. This will
replace their temporary location next to the 1210 transmitter in Auburn.
Work continues, weather permitting, on their new transmitter site for KDDS
on South Mountain near Shelton.
A couple of passing’s this month to note –
George L Rambo, WA7ELI, or to the rest of us, Lew – I first met him
back in about 1973 at a Mike and Key Club meeting where I learned that he
was in Broadcasting. His warm smile and kind manners and dedication to helping
our chapter will be missed by all. Lew was born in 1938.
Frank Stanton who, for years, was the right hand man to William Paley at
CBS. Certainly a legend in our industry. Frank was 98.
There is still talk about merging Sirius and XM – will be interesting
to see how this turns out. Rumor has it that the Sat-Radio outfits are gearing
up for mobile video services.
Indecency is still in the news and will likely continue to be in the new
year as this battle
appears to be far from over. Media ownership rules are going to be a hot-topic
this year also.
NBC has figured out how to couple on-line features with their SNL. Want to
see the edited-out parts of SNL, go to their web-site. This is just one of
the strategies being used by broadcasters as they try to gain traction in
a world that is increasingly going on-line.
Seems to me that we are paying an increasing amount of our budgets for communications
services that we did not pay for just a few years ago. Back then about all
we paid for was the Newspaper and Telephone. Radio and TV were, of course,
Here’s a question – If you were forced to eliminate one of the
following, which of the following would you keep and which would you discard-
(All pay for service items)
Land Line Telephone
Let me know – I’ll reprint the results in the next column -
The Clear Channel ownership change continues to make news as others jockey
for a chance to pick up the leftovers.The concept of ‘shared-frequencies’ is
poorly misunderstood. Recently the Air Force has been using a frequency as
part of their homeland security ops…Same frequency as used by most
garage doors. Testing recently took place in the Colorado Springs area, timing
was great as many had to manually operate their doors during a snow-storm.
Remember the big stink over NIER levels on Mt Wilson in California a while
back?...Well the FCC has upheld that 10 Kilobuck fine.
I love to watch the spots for the wire-line and cable companies as they go
after our telephone, internet and TV business…especially when they
buy spots on over-the-air TV.
In the Seattle Radio ratings the seasonal bounce has again taken place, KIRO
up KOMO down. The ‘ups’ include – KQMV, KISW and KTTH the ‘downs’ are
KNDD and KMPS.
Looks like a number bidders for Tribune, Channels 13 and 22 here. Gotta be
for the folks that work there know that all this is going on.
Finally – For me it looks like I will continue to work for Entercom
in Seattle in much lesser capacity, in addition to doing what I used to do
a lot of, and that’s contract work for radio broadcasters in the area.
I have my final year on the SBE Board of Directors to look forward to, and
do plan on continuing my volunteer work with our State EAS system. I suspect
2007 will be full of the un-expected as I get used to my new routine. Thanks
to all of you that have offered your support during this difficult time.
Til next month –
Clay, K7CR, CPBE
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Everything Audio, Ennes NAB2007 Theme
The Society of Broadcast Engineers will again be the organizing partner with
NAB for the upcoming Broadcast Engineering Conference (BEC) at NAB2007, to
be held April 14-19 in Las Vegas. The traditional Ennes Workshop will kick
off the BEC with a special all-day program titled, “Everything Audio.”
Fred Baumgartner, CPBE CBNT is organizing the workshop with assistance from
Lew Zager of PBS. Many of the attendees of the PBS Engineering Conference will
be joining the Ennes Workshop again this year. Also join in for the first time
will be participants in the annual NPR Engineering Conference.
The Ennes Workshop will be held Saturday, April 14 at the Las Vegas Convention
Center. It will begin at 8:00 am with a special one-hour “back to the
basics” refresher tutorial followed by audio technology presentations
that will be of interest to those in both radio and television. Presenters
will include experts in the field with practical, real-world engineering backgrounds
Watch for a complete program description in the February issue of The SBE Signal
and in January on the SBE website. Registration and hotel information can also
be found at the NAB website.
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Fellow Nominations Now Open
By Martin “Sandy” Sandberg, CPBE Fellowship Chairman
The Fellow designation is the most distinguished recognition presented to members
by the Society of Broadcast Engineers. Members of SBE may earn the Fellow 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 broadcasting knowledge and promoting its application
Candidates for election to Fellow must be proposed in writing by a voting member to the Fellowship Committee. The nomination must include a comprehensive professional history of the nominee and the written 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 2007 must be received no later than April 1, 2007 for consideration. The Fellowship Committee will bring the names of nominees to the SBE Board of Directors for consideration and election. The SBE secretary will notify those elected. They will receive their award at the SBE National Awards Dinner next fall during the 2007 SBE National Meeting.
Sixty-nine members have been recognized with the Fellow honor in SBE’s 42-year history. If there is a member in your chapter who has distinguished themselfs in the field of broadcast engineering, this is an opportunity for members of your chapter to prepare a nomination for that person.
Nominations for Fellow are to be submitted to Martin Sandberg, CPBE, Chairman, SBE Fellowship Committee, 9807 Edgecove Drive, Dallas, TX, 75238-1535, or to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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THE YXZ REPORT
by Kent Randles K7YXZ CBRE
Co-Chair, Portland/Vancouver ECC
Chapter 124 Secretary
watercooled at sbe124.org
KEN BROEFFLE TO CLEAR CHANNEL SEATTLE
Former ARS-, Infinity-, and CBS Radio-Portland Director of Engineering Ken
Broeffle started December 11th at Clear Channel-Seattle as Assistant Director
of Engineering. About 20 of us attended a going-away party for him at Big
Red's on December 7th.
KPAM/KKAD SURPLUS EQUIPMENT FOR SALE
You may have noticed the article in the October issue of Radio magazine (http://beradio.com/studio/radio_kpam_moves_forward/index.html)
about the new KPAM/KKAD studios. They replaced several big items, and the old
items are for sale, including three PR&E boards (two BMX and one RadioMixer),
an SAS 64000 router system, a complete 1A2 key system, and some SCPC satellite
receivers. E-mail Chief Engineer Dave Bischoff K7UIR dbischoff at kpam dot
com for information and the complete list.
100TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FIRST TIME VOICE AND MUSIC WAS BROADCAST OVER RADIO
At 9 P.M. on Christmas Eve 1906, Reginald Fessenden allegedly became the first
to broadcast voice and music over radio, from his transmitter site at Brant
Rock, MA to several ships at sea owned by the United Fruit Company. Imagine
being a cold/lonely/bored ship radio operator used to listening to just spark-gap-generated
"The host of the broadcast was Fessenden. After giving a resume of the
program Fessenden played a recording of Handel's "Largo" on an Ediphone
thus establishing two records - the first recording of the first broadcast.
then dazzled his listeners with his talent as a violinist playing appropriately
for the Christmas season, "Oh Holy Night" and actually singing the
last verse as he played. Mrs. Helen Fessenden and Fessenden's secretary Miss
Bent, had promised to read seasonal passages from the Bible including, "Glory
to God in the highest -and on earth peace to men of good will," but when
the time came to perform they stood speechless, paralyzed with mike fright.
Fessenden took over for them and concluded the broadcast by extending Christmas
greetings to his listeners - as well as asking them to write and report to
him on the broadcast wherever they were."
He had been refining "amplitude modulation" for six years.
Just imagining this gives me the same chills I got the when I heard the first
ham radio transmission from the space shuttle! There is more detail at http://www.radiocom.net/Fessenden/BelroseXmas.htm
EVER WONDER ABOUT THE "BURK VOICE?"
That "other woman" who calls you at 3 AM to say "Hello" is
Nancy Quill, who has been at Greater Media's 106.7 WMJX in Boston since 1982
and currently does middays. You can read her bio at http://www.magic1067.com/dj_nancy.shtml . The station streams, but I have not yet listened during the week.
MY FAVORITE WAY TO WASTE TIME
If you have nothing better to do, go to www.radio-locator.com, pick a station,
then click on the geographic coordinates of their transmitter site. Since they
stitch together the maps to make them continuous, sometimes they are taken
from different angles...which works fine for streets and houses. I found a
comical combination right here in Portland: the 1330/1640 transmitter site
Definitely a "what's wrong with this picture." At least as I type
this on Sunday, December 3rd.
Another cool transmitter site to look at from space is 680 KNBR San Francisco
at http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=37.54722,+-122.23333+(KNBR-AM)&om=1. Top-loaded Franklin tower and big "HAZ" signs to keep the planes
LIFE WITH HD RADIO
Holding at 12 FM HD signals (nine with HD2) and two AM HD signals on the air
in the Portland market.
Crawford's 1330 KKPZ has turned on their HD signal. Mike Brown has more on this
in his column below.
NPR has published recommendations of four HD Radios: Boston Acoustics Receptor
Radio HD, Radio Shack Accurian HD, Kenwood KTC-HR100TR HD Radio adapter, and
the JVC KD-HDR1. See the PDF at http://www.nprlabs.org/public/research/NPRLabsRecommendedHDRadiosNov2006.pdf.
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USDTV IS BACK
By Tom Smith
Madison Chapter 24
The over-the-air Broadcast Pay-TV service USDTV
is back in business. On November 10th, NexGen Telecom, LLC announced that they
were acquiring the assets of
U.S. Digital Television, LLC (USDTV) from bankruptcy court and added The Mountain
West Sports Network to the USDTV service.
The website states that they will begin servicing new customers as they restock
new subscriber equipment.
USDTV was started in 2003 and offered service in Salt Lake City, Las Vegas,
Dallas / Fort Worth and Albuquerque. The service provided 12 channels of scrambled
programming on over-the-air broadcast digital TV signals. The service cost
$19.95 a month and requires a set-top box from USDTV and was sold in Wal-Mart
NexGen Telecom, LLC is an affiliate of NexGen Resources Corporation, which
invests in the telecom industry. The company is based in Denver.
From USDTV Press Release (www.usdtv.com)
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PDX RADIO WAVES
by Michael D. Brown N7AXC CSRE
Brown Broadcast Services, Inc., Portland
mike at brownbroadcast.com
Thanks to Portland Chapter 124
Think the days of new FM "move-ins" are
largely over? Think again. The FCC has just released the full text of their
Report and Order regarding
changes in the cities of license of AM and FM stations. In most cases, they
can now be done as a one-step Minor-Change, rather than the cumbersome and
time-consuming Rulemaking process. The primary caveats are that the "old" and "new" facilities
be mutually-exclusive with each other, and that there be (in most cases)
at least one station remaining that is still licensed to the old community.
could mean, for example, that a Class-C FM station remaining on the same
frequency could move up to 174 miles as a Minor-Change. We expect there to
be a flurry
of these filings - perhaps hundreds of them - in the coming weeks and months.
While CE John White has indicated that he's still tweaking on 1330 Kopf's
new HD signal, it appears to be a good "test jig" for gauging the HD
coverage of mid-powered Ames. KKPZ broadcasts with 5 kW, DA-1. Its Nautel NED
system has good audio with a well balanced and nicely synchronized blend to
HD. John indicated that 1640 KDBZ is expected to add HD next year. However,
we found Kopf's HD coverage very disappointing on the west side of Portland.
This is totally consistent with what we've observed with other AM HD stations
along the west coast. It works "wonderfully"...until you go under
the smallest overpasses, or drive in an urban area with overhead wires, or
get beyond the 5 me/m contours. From what we've observed in the last two years,
automotive AM HD in urban areas is annoying with 50 kW'ers, and may be useless
with lesser powers.
With prices for pure copper recently hitting over $3.50 a pound, theft of
this "precious" metal
has become a national epidemic. These pages have reported the copper thefts
from 1080 KFXX, KOIN-TV, and Larch Mountain. The same story is being repeated
throughout the country. There have been many reports of job sites being stripped
of all copper pipe and wiring, and even air conditioners disappearing. Last
we checked, an ordinance had been proposed in Portland that would require scrap
dealers to keep the materials for 12 days, while sellers would need to produce
positive ID, a thumbprint, and a city-issued "peddlers" permit in
order to sell to metal recyclers. Ironically, copper sales in the U.S. are
declining - it's the booming Chinese economy that's driving the demand.
National Public Radio has joined the NAB in asking the FCC to order a recall
of all "overpowered" SIRIUS, XM and iPod FM modulators. NPR lab studies
showed that 40% of these exceed the Part 15 limits. We found it an interesting
(and pretty shocking) exercise to drive down I-5 tuned to 88.1. On average,
we heard a new modulator every 30 seconds. Clearly, these could affect fringe
reception of NCE stations on this frequency (i.e.: outside Eugene, Bend, and
Speaking of satellite radio, the persistent buzz is that XM and Sirius will
merge within a year. With continuing huge losses and flattening subscribership,
we're not the least surprised.
The local Radio Shack stores we surveyed have noticed brisk sales of the
new Accurian HD radio, especially during the recent sale during which they
going for under $100. They're currently back up to $174.99 (after rebate),
but one store indicated that they may be on special again before the holidays.
The $100 price barrier has often been bandied about as the necessary tipping
point for wide consumer acceptance. Early listening reports are that it is
slightly inferior in sound to the Boston Acoustics Receptor HD, which is
now retailing for $249.99 after rebate.
This month's thinker: "In theory, there is no difference between theory
and practice. In practice, there is." (Yogi Berra)
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FROM THE CGC COMMUNICATOR
by Bob Gonsett W6VR
Copyright 2006 Communications General(r) Corporation (CGC)
Almost two years after the main KFI(AM) tower collapsed as a result of an aircraft
accident (CGC #664), the tower has yet to be rebuilt and the station is still
broadcasting from a short auxiliary tower. KFI is authorized to operate on
640 kHz with 50,000 watts of power and is non-directional day and night.
The proposed height of the replacement tower has been reduced from 760 to 684
feet and Clear Channel, the owner, has agreed to add flashing white lights
during the day to supplement flashing red lights at night according to the
Orange County Register. Ian Gregor, an FAA spokesman, is quoted as saying, "The
critical point is that they legally have the right to rebuild that tower and
we're doing all we can to ensure it's safe." That conclusion, however,
has angered Fullerton pilots and airport officials. See http://tinyurl.com/wxhup
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by Everett E. Helm W7EEH CPBE
Director of RF Engineering
Oregon Public Broadcasting, Portland
Thanks to Chapter 124
YUMA, AZ FIRST TO COMPLETE NEXTEL 2 GHz RELOCATION
Sprint/Nextel announced recently that Yuma, AZ is the first market to transition
its Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS) spectrum under the FCC-mandated 2 GHz
relocation. Broadcasters in the market are now operating on new digital equipment
and within their new channel assignments. Sprint Nextel will use a portion
of the band BAS licensees are vacating as part of the relocation project for
commercial mobile radio services after BAS relocation is completed. The move
has made live shots easy and extended options for transmitting locations. Of
course Yuma is a pretty small market, but hey, it's a start!
Sprint/Nextel also announced that 100% of the stations in the West region have
submitted their equipment inventories. Verification inventories are in progress,
although they too, should be substantially done by now.
WIRELESS MICS CROPPING UP EVERYWHERE
With shrinking spectrum and higher demand for wireless microphones putting
more pressure vendors and users to find suitable frequencies, we seem to be
hearing about new systems popping up in some really strange places. The FCC
recently fined a company for selling wireless microphones that operated in
the 109- 120 MHz Aviation band. Available on eBay, these were obviously not
Type Accepted.. The FAA does not take kindly to someone at the local Comedy
Club telling jokes in their spectrum. Doubt the pilots thought it was funny
either! Of course the vast majority of the wireless mics sold are in the Broadcast
Auxiliary band, and the users are neither licensed, nor eligible for licensing
in that band.
FEBRUARY 2009 - WILL THE DTV TRANSITION DEADLINE STAND?
Talk in the industry has it that the new Democratically controlled Congress
may "tinker" with the Digital Television transition. Although I've
heard nothing about the final analog shut off date changing, at the rate we
are going now, there may be a popular revolt. Most of the current discussion
is centered around the DTV converter boxes and how consumers will utilize the
$40 coupons that the Feds will dole out. How many, and who's eligible, are
contentious issues. Also, most in Congress agree that the billion dollars or
so allotted for set top boxes is no where near adequate. Sales of new TV's
with integrated DTV tuners are at an all time high since the tuners became
mandatory in sets 27" and above last July. Sets 13" and above will
be required to have DTV tuners after March of next year. Industry sources say
that late next year, or early 2008, will see the last of the CRT displays.
Prices for the larger LCD's and Plasma's are falling rapidly, with several "Big
Box" stores advertising deep discounts for this Christmas season.
As for me, I already have plans in motion for OPB to shut these big UHF DTV
rigs off in February of 2009. The sooner the better, and we just hope they
won't need any new tubes before then. Switching back to VHF for DTV in Portland,
Corvallis, and La Grande will save us a ton of money on electricity and maintenance
costs. Instead of the present UHF 753 kW average power at KOPB-DT, it's estimated
we'll need 21 kW to better than replicate the existing DTV, or current analog
coverage. That interpolates down to a 2.2 kW solid state VHF transmitter.
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Garneth M. Harris
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