CONTENTS

Ennes Scholarship

Rocky Mountain Section Meeting Report

Random Radio Thoughts

SBE Certification NEWS

Amature Radio News

Clay's Corner

Everything Audio

Fellow Nominations Open

The YXZ Report

USDTV is Back

PDX Radio Waves

GCC Communicator

Other Stuff

Etc.

 

January, 2007

The Harold E. Ennes Scholarship

Kate Carney Landow received the Harold E. Ennes Scholarship. Kate’s career in broadcasting started in high school with video and film production classes 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. in film.

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 Meeting Report

SBE/SMPTE Award Presentation Update

By Jim Schoedler, SBE Chapter 48 Chair
Date: 12/8/06
Location: Park Hill Country Club
Hosts: Rocky Mtn. SMPTE & SBE Chapter 48
Attendees: 30

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.



John 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 terrestrial radio.

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 I digress.

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 crisa@crawfordbroadcasting.com.

 

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

SBE CertPreview Software

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

CERTIFICATION EXAM SESSION DATES:

The SBE National Certification Committee certification exam session dates for 2007 are listed below. Check the list below for the exam period that is best for you. For more information about SBE Certification, see your Chapter Certification Chair or contact Megan Clappe, Certification Director at the SBE National Office at (317) 846-9000, or mclappe@sbe.org

Exam Dates Location Application Deadline
April 17, 2007 NAB - Las Vegas March 2, 2007
June 1-11, 2007 Local Chapters April 20, 2007
Aug 10-20, 2007 Local Chapters June 8, 2007
Nov 9-19, 2007 Local Chapters September 21, 2007

Fees are as Follows:

Certification Level Member Non-Member
Broadcast Technologist $40 $100
Broadcast Networking Technologist $55 $115
Broadcast Engineer $55 $115
Audio/Video Engineer $55 $115
Senior Broadcast Engineer $80 $140
Professional Broadcast Engineer $105 $165
Specialist Certification    
AM Directional Specialist $50 $110
8VSB Specialist $50 $110

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

 

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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 bytes).


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 site)

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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Clay's Corner

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 RCA plugs.

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, free.

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)
> Cable TV
> Satellite TV
> Newspaper
> Satellite Radio
> Internet access
> Cellular Telephone
> 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 frustrating 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 and experience.

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 in practice.

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 sandytex@swbell.net.

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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
(From http://www.ewh.ieee.org/reg/7/millennium/radio/radio_unsung.html)
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 Morse code.

"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. Fessenden 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 at http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=45.45361,+-122.54583+(KKPZ-AM)&om=1. 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 away.

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 stores.

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. This 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 Florence).

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 were 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)
http://www.bext.com/_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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OTHER STUFF

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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Etc.

Newsletter Committee

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

Garneth M. Harris

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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.