A monthly newsletter by Society of Broadcast Engineers Chapter 48

February 2000


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Contents

The January Meeting
Chapter 48's Next Meeting
Upcoming Meetings And Happenings
Job Postings
Contact the SBE
FCC Approves Low-Power Radio
Game Day Coordinators Will Meet April 10
SBE Members Get Discount On NAB Spring Convention
Amateur Restructuring is Here: Three License Classes, One Code Speed
As 2000 Begins, Millennium Project Ends Successfully
News And Views
Y2K, The Drill
SBE Certificaton Exam Opportunities Announced For 2000
Regional SBE Conventions Coming Up
FCC Rulemakings
ZDNet News
Certification Pays!
Monthly HAMnet Brings SBE To Remote Areas
Can you believe these?
Etc.

Chapter 48's Next Meeting...

...will be held Wednesday, February 16, 2000 at 6:30PM.
Meeting location: KCNC 1044 Lincoln St, Denver
Program: Kelly Hannig, Gentner Remote Control

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The January 2000 Meeting of Denver SBE/SMPTE

Our first meeting of 2000 was held at the studios of KUSA, Channel 9 on Wednesday, the 19th. Following the very tasty sandwiches and beverages provided by our hosts, KUSA, TV9, and the recently retired Myron Oliner, Secretary/Treasurer Bill Harris called the meeting to order. Discussed newsletter, availability of information on meetings in the letter, RSVP line at (303) 836-7787 and the Web site.

David Otey from HSE Communications put out a request to the assembled group to assist him in locating the source of interference on Channel 8 microwave link used by Channel 50 in the Denver area. During introductions, Bill pointed out that attendee Wayne Wicks is still handling "under 1 ghz" frequency coordination in the Denver area. You can reach Wayne at (303) 486-3800.

Bill introduced Fred Baumgartner, who remains the SBE Certification Secretary, and there were several people in attendance who were interested in how and when they could take the certification exam. One gentlemen had taken the test some time ago, and he was not aware that it was allowable to use standard reference materials during the exam. More information on certification can be found at www.sbe.org.

Bill then introduced Chris Noland of Tektronix, who is Account Manager in the Measurement Business Division in Irving, Texas. Chris is a new sustaining member of Chapter 48, and the group gave him a welcoming applause. Chris then introduced Mike Waidson, who is a Video Applications Engineer with the Measurement Division, and Mike commenced with the program, MPEG-2 Testing.

Mike proceeded to give the group a crash course in MPEG-2 technology to preface his discussion on how to effectively test a MPEG-2 system. He went into considerable detail explaining how MPEG-2 actually manages to reduce a broadband and complex video image into a relatively small bitstream. Among the products available from Tektronix are the MTS 215 and the Tektronix PQM300 Real-Time Picture Monitor which monitors MPEG-2 defects on up to 8 channels.

Our thanks to Chris and Mike for taking time to make this most informative presentation to our group.

Be sure to join us on Wednesday, February 16, 2000 at KCNC, TV4 at 1044 Lincoln in Denver when Kelly Hannig joins us from Gentner Communications to discuss their advanced remote control systems.

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Upcoming Meetings And Happenings

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Job Postings

As a service to SBE/SMPTE membership, technology positions in the Rocky Mtn. region are posted at no charge. Please send your posting to:

Rome Chelsi
ROMEC@compuserve.com

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Contact The SBE

Questions and comments about SBE may be e-mailed directly to Executive Director, John Poray at jporay@sbe.org

Society of Broadcast Engineers, Inc.
8445 Keystone Crossing, Suite 140
Indianapolis, IN 46240

Office: (317) 253-1640
Fax: (317) 253-0418
Job Line: (317) 253-0474

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FCC Approves Low-Power Radio

The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday, January 20, to create a low-power FM radio service in the United States. The FCC approved two power levels for the new stations. One power level would be authorized at 50 to 100 watts, providing an approximate service radius of 3.5 miles, called LP100. The FCC also said yes to a power range of 1 to 10 watts, called LP10, with a radius of 1 to 2 miles. A third proposed range, of 1,000 watts, was not approved.

As part of the vote, the commission imposed separation requirements between the new LPFM and existing stations on co-channel, first-adjacent, second- adjacent and intermediate frequency channels, but will not impose third- adjacent requirements. Licenses will be awarded throughout the FM band, not in one dedicated portion of it. According to some estimates, up to 1,000 new licenses will be approved at the 100-watt level.

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Game Day Coordinators Will Meet April 10

A special meeting has been scheduled during the NAB Convention for those who participated in the 1999 NFL season Game Day Coordinator program. Also, those interested in participating in 2000 are asked to attend. The program is a cooperative effort between SBE and the NFL to improve event frequency coordination at all NFL games. The purpose of the meeting is to review and critique the past season, discuss ways to improve the program and make plans for the 2000 season. Several representatives from the NFL will be present. The meeting will be held from 2:45 pm to 5:00 pm in Conference Rooms 13 & 14 of the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to John Poray at the SBE National Office at jporay@sbe.org or call (317) 253-1640.

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SBE Members Get Discount On NAB Spring Convention

Once again, SBE members will be able to register for the NAB Spring Convention in Las Vegas at the NAB Member rate, a savings of $330. NAB has begun sending registration materials for the April 2000 event. They also have on-line registration available at their web site: www.nab.org. If your station is not a member of NAB, be sure to take advantage of this great SBE member benefit. The savings are equal to SIX times the cost of ONE year of SBE membership!

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Amateur Restructuring is Here: Three License Classes, One Code Speed

NEWINGTON, CT, Dec 30, 1999

Amateur Radio will get a new look in the new millennium. The FCC has issued its long-awaited Report and Order in the 1998 Biennial Regulatory Review of Part 97--more commonly known as "license restructuring." The bottom line is that starting April 15, 2000, there will be three license classes--Technician, General, and Amateur Extra--and a single Morse code requirement--5 WPM.

"We believe that an individual's ability to demonstrate increased Morse code proficiency is not necessarily indicative of that individual's ability to contribute to the advancement of the radio art," the FCC said. Besides drastically streamlining the Amateur Radio licensing process, the FCC said its actions would "eliminate unnecessary requirements that may discourage or limit individuals from becoming trained operators, technicians, and electronic experts." Although no new Novice and Advanced licenses will be issued after the effective date of the Report and Order, the FCC does not plan to automatically upgrade any existing license privileges. This means that current licensees will retain their current operating privileges, including access to various modes and subbands, and will be able to renew their licenses indefinitely.

Starting April 15, 2000, individuals who qualified for the Technician class license prior to March 21, 1987, will be able to upgrade to General class by providing documentary proof to a Volunteer Examiner Coordinator, paying an application fee, and completing FCC Form 605.

The FCC's decision not to automatically upgrade Novice and Tech Plus licensees means the current Novice/Tech Plus HF subbands will remain and not be "refarmed" to higher class licensees as the ARRL had proposed. The FCC said it did not refarm these subbands because there was "no consensus" within the amateur community as to what to do with them.

As it had proposed earlier, the FCC decided to lump Technician and Tech Plus licensees into a single licensee database, all designated as "Technician" licensees. Those who can document having passed the 5 WPM Morse code examination will continue to have the current Tech Plus HF privileges. "If documentation is needed to verify whether a licensee has passed a telegraphy examination, we may request the documentation from that licensee or the VECs," the FCC said.

(You can read the entire text of this release at the ARRL Web site.)

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As 2000 Begins, Millennium Project Ends Successfully

Since early in 1999, SBE has been offering an opportunity to engineers with lapsed certifications to have those certifications restored without taking a test. The Millennium Project ended on December 31. During that time more than 60 people took advantage of the offer.

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News And Views

Clay Freinwald, Chapter 16, Seattle

Well, we did manage to get through WTO. The image of Seattle has certainly been changed in the process with our city being flashed on the front pages of the Nation's newspapers and magazines, not to mention the endless stories and pictures in the electronic media. It was interesting to watch the local electronic media jump on this. Talk about using your ENG assets --wow! With the stations dropping their normal programming and going wall-to-wall with this event it certainly was a test and testament to stations' ability to go live.

There was an EAS aspect to all of this also. The day that the downtown curfew was announced I was called by a manager at a local music format radio station (who learned of the curfew from others) asking why EAS was not used to distribute the announcement of the declaration of civil emergency. EAS, as our State Plan is written, calls for its use to be limited to short fuse events. The situation in Seattle was anything but that. As it had been building for some time at this point, the event would not qualify. I followed this up by asking on the state EAS Remailer, "Should the EAS system be available to public officials who declare a Civil Emergency?" My thinking here was that the music station would have received the information that there was going to be a curfew in Seattle and would have (I greatly presume) been able to assist in getting the word out. The comments received were split. Some felt that the Battle in Seattle was a NEWS story, the government officials CHOSE to use a NEWS CONFERENCE to announce the curfew and it was clearly NOT an EAS matter. Others felt that this would have been a good use for the EAS system.

The 8-VSB vs. COFDM battle is not going to go away quickly. Now the Department of Defense has weighed in on the debate expressing concerns about the apparent difficulty 8-VSB has with indoor antennas when compared to COFDM. Guess they feel that disasters that put aerials out of commission will prohibit the government's ability to communicate with its citizens. Hmmmm. Guess they forgot about Radio.

Here's an item I found interesting. Inhouse Radio Networks has released a gizmo called the Radio Webcaster. It's a little transmitter that connects to your computer's sound-card and transmits what they claim is full-bandwidth stereo to your FM receiver. This eliminates the need for purchasing fancy speakers for your computer to listen to web-based music sources, as you can now hear it on your existing stereo. For more information see http://www.radiowebcaster.com. The maker claims there are 3,000 stations streaming audio onto the Net with some 8,000 on-demand audio sources available. Now then, if I added this little amplifier, and an antenna up there on the roof....

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Y2K, The Drill

By Kevin Ruppert, From Chapter 24

Say what you want about Y2K, but it was an excellent drill. Before you turn the page, think about it for just a minute. When was the last time you checked ALL of the systems in your plant, forged relationships with the tech support departments at their manufacturers, or established new ones with companies that took over the product after the originator went out of business? When was the last time you seriously exercised your generator during cold weather, or made up a plan to run the station on a portable Honda? Y2K gave us all the chance to hone skills that were rusty or altogether forgotten about. (Remember DOS?) It also gave us an incentive to investigate new and innovative ways to do things that had been done one way for a long time. Maybe that change had to be made because the old system would no longer work at all once the date changed over to 2000. It gave us a chance to break old paradigms.

Another totally unexpected benefit of Y2K was the opportunity to give something back to the community. Our local newspaper ran an article about a group that feared the worse. They stockpiled canned goods and other supplies. Now that the "event" is over, they are giving all of that food to local food pantries. Many say that it was a waste of time and money. I disagree. Even though "millions" of dollars were spent by companies the world over, I think it was worth it. It gave as all a chance to see how dependent we are on technology, and to prepare to do without at least some of it. It gave us an opportunity to remember how vulnerable we are to "circumstances beyond our control". (We don't get an opportunity to use that phrase on the air very often anymore, do we?).

The skills needed for surviving Y2K were very much like those needed to survive a severe winter storm, a skill that could prove useful in this part of the world! I think that this was such a good experience that we should plan on doing it more often. Maybe every five years or so? (Okay, would you settle for every 10 years?) Here's a thought for those of you who like to indulge in conspiracy theories. Maybe our government knew that Y2K would be a bust. Maybe they found this out with their super fast computers months ago, but let us all prepare for the worst anyway! After all, we no longer have air raid drills or "duck and cover" drills. Maybe this was one way that they could get us to be on our toes once again the way we were when the "red menace" was something to be concerned about.

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SBE Certificaton Exam Opportunities Announced For 2000

The Certification Committee has released dates for Certification Exam opportunities in 2000. Four exam periods will be held in chapters along with an exam period during the NAB Convention, April 11 in Las Vegas. Check out the upcoming Certification exam dates at www.sbe.org. One may be right for you. For more information about SBE Certification, see your Chapter Certification Chair or contact Linda Godby-Emerick, Certification Director at the SBE National Office at (317) 253-1640 or lgodby@sbe.org

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Regional SBE Conventions Coming Up

A number of SBE chapters offer opportunities to attend a regional SBE convention or conference near home. Most of these events are very inexpensive or free and take minimal time away from your work and free time.
Coming up February 29
Great Lakes Broadcasting Expo
Lansing Center, Lansing, Michigan
Contact: Michigan Assn. of Broadcasters
(517) 484-7444

Engineering sessions organized by Chapter 91, Lansing, Michigan.

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FCC Rulemakings

Compiled By Tom Smith

PROPOSED RULEMAKINGS
MM Docket No. 99-262; FCC 99-389
Establishment of a Class A Television Service; Comments Suspended

The FCC has suspended the filing of comments in the matter of the establishment of a Class A Television service, This action was in response to legislation passed by Congress and signed into law that was titled the Community Broadcasters Act of 1999. This law requires the FCC to establish regulations by rulemaking within 120 days of the signing of this Act to create a Class A Television Service. The service is for low power TV stations that meet certain criteria as dictated in the Act. The criteria set in the legislation more closely limits the provisions of the rules for Class A TV service than the notice of rulemaking did. Because of these limitations, the FCC suspended comments on the issue.

The suspension became effective on December 14, 1999 with the comment period originally set to end on December 21, 1999.

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ZDNet News

Hollywood seemingly has made a New Year's resolution: To aggressively sue any perceived threat to their content.

Following the path of two Digital Video Disc lawsuits, the Recording Industry Association of America has filed a copyright infringement case against digital music portal MP3.com Inc. The suit calls for a halt to MP3.com's newly launched Instant Listening and Beam-it services that allow the owner of a CD to play music from a library of selections that MP3.com has already digitized on its site.

That is illegal, said the RIAA in a statement. MP3.com constructed that database without making the slightest attempt to obtain permission from the copyright owners to do so. 'A textbook case' Bob Kohn, an expert on music copyright law and the chairman of MP3.com-rival Emusic.com Inc., agreed with the RIAA assessment. "This is a textbook case of copyright infringement," he said, adding that it is very similar to tape-copying services that have been determined to be illegal.

If the suit is successful, MP3.com could be in dire straits. Each infringement of a copyright suit can be fined up to $10,000. With two copyrights covering each track of music, MP3.com's approximately 40,000 tracks could lead to a hefty, but unlikely, bill of $8 billion.

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Certification Pays!

It's a FACT! The annual salary survey conducted by BE Radio http://www.beradio.com/ magazine proves that engineers who are certified by the SBE on average make more money than those who aren't. 21% more according to the survey. So contact our Certification Chairman Fred Baumgartner for more information on becoming certified.

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Monthly HAMnet Brings SBE To Remote Areas

At 8:00 pm EST, 0000 GMT, on the second Sunday of each month, SBE Chapter 73 takes the air. Hal Hostetler, WA7BGX, of Tucson, Arizona, is the control station for the "meeting." Updates on SBE activities are given each month and participants can discuss technical issues and visit. HAMnet was originally begun to help serve members who lived too far to attend meetings of any regular chapter, but any amateur operator is welcome and encouraged to participate. Look for HAMnet on 14.205 mHz.

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Can you believe these?

Police in Wichita, Kansas, arrested a 22-year-old man at an airport hotel after he tried to pass two (counterfeit) $16 bills.

A company trying to continue its five-year perfect safety record showed its workers a film aimed at encouraging the use of safety goggles on the job. According to Industrial Machinery News, the film's depiction of gory industrial accidents was so graphic that twenty-five workers suffered minor injuries in their rush to leave the screening room. Thirteen others fainted, and one man required seven stitches after he cut his head falling off a chair while watching the film.

The Chico, California, City Council enacted a ban on nuclear weapons, setting a $500 fine for anyone detonating one within city limits.

Police in Radnor, Pennsylvania, interrogated a suspect by placing a metal colander on his head and connecting it with wires to a photocopy machine. The message "He's lying" was placed in the copier, and police pressed the copy button each time they thought the suspect wasn't telling the truth. Believing the "lie detector" was working, the suspect confessed.

When two service station attendants in Ionia, Michigan, refused to hand over the cash to an intoxicated robber, the man threatened to call the police. They still refused, so the robber called the police and was arrested.

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Newsletter Committee

Bill Harris........(303)756-4843 email: bharris4@ix.netcom.com
Garneth M. Harris..(303)756-4843
Andre' Smith.......(303)556-3549 email: asmith@carbon.cudenver.edu

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.