SMPTE Gathers To Recognize Rome Chelsi For His Years Of Service To The Organization
Join us on Thursday, February 12, 2004 as we present Rome Chelsi with the Lifetime Achievement award at a recognition dinner. We'll gather at 6:30 PM at the Celtic Crossing, 363 Village Square Lane Castle Pines, 80108 303-663-6644. Take I-25 to Castle Pines Parkway, Exit 188 West Charter Oaks/Village Square (Shell Station) turn Left/South and Celtic Crossing is immediately on the right. Brad Torr will be the Master of Ceremonies, so some in-depth discussions of Rome's many escapades are guaranteed.
Random Radio Thoughts
As the time for the window approached (and just before it, the effective data of the minor change application freeze), a number of rather interesting applications were filed. Some were filed no doubt as a result of engineers taking a hard look at existing facilities to see what upgrades may be possible by way of major changes and finding that "minor changes" could achieve the same or a better end.
That was the case with Crawford's KLDC (800 kHz, 1 kW-D/7W-N, DA-1). As we began looking for ways to improve the coverage of this daytimer, we found that we could slide it up one notch to 810 kHz, increase the daytime power to 2.2 kW with a new directional pattern, and add real nighttime service with 227 watts. The proposed new daytime operation will be from the existing site near U.S. 85 at Weld County Road 6, north of Brighton, and will utilize the existing three towers with new parameters. The new nighttime operation will be from the KLZ site near 84th and York. We plan to use KLZ's east tower (#2) as the center tower in a new three-tower dogleg for KLDC, adding two 200-foot towers at the site. Diplex filters will be needed all the way around, but this looks to be a very doable project. With an RMS of 149 mV/m, the proposed nighttime operation meets the 141 mV/m minimum for full class B designation and will thus be protected from interference. The RSS night limit, by the way, is about 6 mV/m on 810 kHz, so that 227 watts will provide most all of Denver metro with a nighttime interference-free signal.
KCUV has filed an application to move from its current site near C470 and Santa Fe to a new site on "DA Row" northeast of Thornton. The proposed new operation will be 10 kW day and 1.5 kW night using a total of five towers (three day and four night with two common towers). The proposed new site will be close enough to the KHOW directional antenna that KCUV will probably have to run before/after measurements on the KHOW array. The 80- and 90-degree towers proposed will be short enough at KHOW's frequency that it is unlikely they will reradiate enough to cause them any problems.
The saga of the Mexican interference on 560, 780 and 920 kHz continues. Last month I reported that Mexican station XEPE (formerly XEKTT) moved to 560 kHz from 550 kHz and was reportedly operating with 20 kW at night. This move, which was apparently authorized by the Mexican government but is in violation of the 1986 U.S. - Mexican Agreement, has resulted in a boatload of interference to a bunch of co- and adjacent-channel stations - including KLZ. The biggest interference is occurring in the southwest and on the west coast. A joint complaint was filed in late December by KGO-AM Radio, Inc., Clear Channel, Owens and Capstar in protest. Crawford subsequently filed its own complaint, documenting the increase in KLZ's RSS night limit from 2.5 to almost 7 mV/m with a significant loss in population served as a result of the interference.
More recently, others have observed significant levels of short-term interference during the day on other frequencies (most notably 740 kHz), evidently due to testing by other Mexican stations. We will all have to keep our eyes and ears open for other occurrences. There is most definitely some sort of border skirmish going on over the AM band.
Have you heard about the latest attempt to overcome booming car sound systems with technology when emergency vehicles are approaching? First, it was low-power FM transmitters aboard fire trucks and ambulances that transmitted a warning message on several popular local FM frequencies. That didn't go over too well with broadcasters. Now, a Los Angeles city councilman is asking the L.A.F.D. to work with the city's Department of Transportation to start a pilot program using technology such as "SirenSensor". This is an acoustically-activated device that can somehow differentiate emergency sirens from ambient noise, shut off a nearby car's audio system or radio and activate both audible and visual signals. Okay... I'm sure that will be a hot-seller at Best Buy.
Paint the Cables?
The FCC assessed an $8,000 forfeiture against a tower owner in Florida for having unpainted coaxial cables attached to the tower structure. We all probably have unpainted coax on our towers, but in this case the criteria seems to be that the cables precluded good visibility of the orange and white paint on the tower. So... a word to the wise: look at your towers and make sure that the paint is clearly visible and unobstructed throughout the height of the structure. If coaxial and lighting cables and conduit significantly obstruct the paint, you'd better paint them, too.
At the end of December, the FCC fined A-O Broadcasting, Inc., former licensee of KTMN in Cloudcroft, NM, $25,000 for violations of RFR exposure limits. The transmitting antenna was located on a Forest Service fire-watch tower and it was mounted substantially lower on the tower than authorized. The FCC took measurements that showed operation of this antenna at only 40% of the authorized ERP produced fields that exceed the public RFR exposure limit by more than 300% on the tower and in areas outside the fence around the tower that were publicly accessible. The inspection, by the way, was triggered by a complaint.
If you have news you would like to share with the Denver radio engineering community, email me at email@example.com.
Management Training For Broadcast Engineers
The dates have been established for the 2004 SBE Leader Skills Seminar. SBE will present this outstanding opportunity for broadcast engineers to receive management training - people skills training if you will - for the eighth consecutive year. Course I will be held June 2-4 in Indianapolis at the Marten House hotel and Conference Center. Course II will be held August 11-13 also in Indy at the Marten House. Participants in Course II must have already attended Course 1 this year or in the past. Our seminar leader will be Dick Cupka, who has taught leader skills for more than 35 years across the USA and in several other countries. More than 1,000 broadcast engineers have taken part in this program since its inception. For more information, contact Angel Bates at SBE.
FCC Makes Broadcast Plant Security Recommendations
By Tom Smith
The FCC's Media Security and Reliability Council (MSRC) adopted a list of 49 best practices for broadcasters to take to ensure security and continued operation in times of a national emergency.
The key recommendations include having appropriate physical security at their key facilities, have back-up power, stations with news operations should have robust and redundant methods of communicating with external news services and remote news teams, have the ability to access alternate telecommunication capabilities (access to cable headends, etc.), and have written disaster recovery plans with regular updates and yearly drills.
The FCC would like all media in a market to collaborate to increase their collective geographic diversity and create redundant interconnection systems to support emergency operations. The full text can be found at http://www.fcc.gov/MSRC. This release was issued on December 9, 2003.
From FCC Release (www.fcc.gov)
PDA Is A Gadget Worth Owning
By Vicki W. Kipp
If you've attended any meetings lately, you may have noticed other attendees whipping out recipe card size appliances. Not just the status symbol toy of business executives anymore, Personal Data Assistants (better known as PDAs) are becoming a popular tool for all kinds of workers, students, and parents. PDAs range from personal organizers to industrial tools. When I switched from my baseball card size paper planner to a PDA, I felt like I had a calendar/phone book with super powers. (Figure 1) Not only can a PDA hold fantastic amounts of text data, but it can also hold photos, and in some cases audio and video files.
The best and worst thing about a PDA is that it requires electrical power to operate. While older PDAs ran on AAA batteries, newer PDAs have internal rechargeable batteries. Battery life isn't a problem if you're able to place your PDA in its sync/recharge cradle each night, but can be limiting if you run your PDA for more than a day without having a chance to recharge. The power limitation can be addressed by buying a disposable external PDA battery, a portable recharge cable, or a car charger cable. Preserving battery life is the easiest way to manage power needs. You can set the time parameter for how long the PDA remains lit up when not in use before going into standby mode. You can stretch battery life by decreasing the brightness and contrast of your PDA's display.
Application hard buttons are the buttons at the bottom of the PDA that you can push, and are labeled with an icon of the application that they represent. Typical application hard buttons include calendar, address book, "To Do" list, and Notepad applications. You can customize the application hard buttons to provide a different shortcut than the default application stamped on the button. For example, if you play Solitaire more often than you write memos, you could reassign the Memo hard button to Solitaire.
All PDAs have a scroll up and scroll down button. Newer PDAs come equipped with a 5-way navigation scroll bar layout that allows you to conveniently move up, down, left, or right, or select "Enter" by pushing the center. Older PDAs require you to tap the left or right button on the screen with the stylus for horizontal mobility. Silk-screened soft buttons are located around the perimeter of a rectangular area at the bottom of the PDA screen. They only function when a PDA is turned on. Silk-screened buttons need to be clicked on with the stylus to function. There are also silk-screened buttons for the alphabet keyboard and a numeric keyboard. When you tap the ABC button, an alphabet keyboard pops up on the screen. A tap on the 123 button brings up the number and symbol keypads. You can reassign other programs to the silk-screened buttons, as with the application hard buttons.
The rectangular area bordered by the silkscreen buttons is called the Graffiti area. To use graffiti, you must position your stylus on the ABC half or the 123 half of the graffiti area to indicate whether you are writing a letter or number. When you make strokes on the graffiti area with your stylus, the PDA recognizes this mark as a short cut for a particular character and prints the corresponding character on the PDA screen. Learning the language of graffiti strokes takes some time but those who become efficient at writing graffiti claim to achieve very fast data entry speeds. If you don't enter a graffiti stroke accurately, you may not see any character appear, or you may get a typo. Some people love Graffiti and its enhanced version, Graffiti 2.0, but I find it quicker to tap the desired character on the on-screen keyboard or my PDA-compatible external keyboard.
Although PDAs are very stable compared to a typical computer, PDAs can become locked up. This is most likely to happen if you've loaded new software that conflicts with the PDA operating system (OS) or configuration. In my opinion, freeware PDA applications are more likely to lock up your PDA than well-established purchased applications, due to limited investment in debugging the free products. If your PDA becomes locked up, you may notice that it displays the OS Splash Screen and it locks up. Rebooting the PDA may not fix the problem since the PDA will face the same conflict when it completes the restart process. In the event of a serious lockup or "Fatal error", a hard reset may be required. The PDA will return to the factory default settings. If you then sync the PDA with the desktop syncing software on your computer, you can restore the PDA to the its condition the last time you synced. You will lose data that changed since the previous sync. Set the PDA in its cradle and connect the cradle to your computer via a USB port to sync.
PalmPilot is the best known brand of PDA, but more companies are entering the PDA market all the time. PDAs that run the Palm OS include PalmPilot, the Sony Clie, and the recently discontinued Handspring Visor. PocketPCs, sold by Toshiba, HP, and Compaq, run a Windows OS.
The number of competing brands in the PDA market just decreased by one. The Handspring Visor was conceived in 1999 by the parents of the original PalmPilot: Jeff Hawkins, Ed Colligan, and Donna Dubinsky. The Visor is similar to the PalmPilot and uses the same software. Handspring also sold the Trio PDA. In 2003, Palm, Inc. acquired Handspring. With this business deal, Colligan and Dubinsky returned to their original company, Palm, Inc. The reunion of Palm, Inc. and Handspring resulted in a new company name of PalmOne, Inc. PalmOne, Inc is selling three subbrands: Zire for consumer and multimedia use, Tungsten for mobile business, and the Treo brand PDA smartphone.
Just like a computer, PDAs come loaded with an operating system (OS). There are two main operating systems in the PDA world. Resembling the familiar Macintosh vs. Windows competition, a PDA has either a Palm or Windows OS.
The Palm OS is fairly intuitive and easy to master. Settings are accessed and changed by tapping the drop down menu silk-screened button. When I sync my PalmPilot with my Windows computer, I've found the Palm Desktop software to be compatible. I've not had any problems loading MS-Word or MS-Excel files on my PalmPilot.
Microsoft WinCE OS is loaded on most Pocket PCs sold in the past few years. This pint-sized version of Windows for desktop has a start button, some familiar menus, and the hourglass to indicate when the system is running slow. New PocketPCs come loaded with the Windows MS Pocket PC 2003 OS.
PDA software must be purchased in the version that corresponds to your PDA operating system. In my observation, more Palm-compatible software is available than PocketPC Windows-compatible software. I've also noticed that some applications are developed for the Palm OS first, and then converted to a Pocket PC version.
Much like the hot holiday toy of 1999 -the Furby- a PDA is able to communicate with other PDAs with an infrared (IR) beam. I can beam my electronic business card, files, and programs to other PDAs, if the PDA's owner has their IR port turned on to receive. With the purchase of remote control software, a PDA can be trained to use its IR port to remotely control A/V devices.
Besides being useful for organizational tasks, a PDA can be a source of fun and entertainment.
If you enjoy playing computer games, you will have plenty of choices. There are free games available for download such as Blackjack, Gammon, Hardball, MineHunt, Puzzle, Solitaire, and SubHunt. You can purchase popular games such as EverQuest for PocketPC, and PDAPacMan for your PDA. PDA games tend to be mentally challenging, as opposed to the reflex challenging sound and graphic-intensive video games played on computers.
Easter eggs, whimsical effects intentionally hidden in software by the developers, are included in some PDA OSs. In fact, I can make a drawing of an Easter egg, inchworm, taxi, photo Palm OS developers Bob Haitiani and Chris Raff, and the DOS error message "Not ready reading drive C Abort, Retry, Fail?" appear on my PalmPilot. It is worth notice that the PalmPilot does not have a C drive. Easter Eggs are also present in HandSpring and Pocket PC PDAs.
Purchasing a handheld is just the beginning of your PDA expenditures. Once you become comfortable with your PDA, you may be tempted by the rich assortment of software and hardware add-ons available for our handheld. The tricked-out PDA should include a case, screen protector, external keyboard, deluxe stylus, cables, memory card, printer, modem, wireless area network card, and PDA-compatible clothing for the PDA owner.
While I've found the plastic stylus that came with my PDA perfectly adequate, there are plenty of styli to choose from if you desire something fancier. There are metal styli, combination writing pen/stylus utensils, and even a Belkin stylus that contains a laser pointer and a bright LED lamp.
Should you desire to buy a PDA case for protection, function, or fashion, you will have many choices. Cases for various PDA models are available in leather soft cases, or metal or plastic hard cases. For extreme PDA users, Otterbox makes airtight, waterproof, crushproof cases that float in water, can be fastened to a lanyard, and can be attached to a vehicle exterior with a magnet rated for 85 pounds. Generic model cases are cheaper, but can be a hassle to use because the case blocks your PDA's sync/charge, external memory, and IR ports so you have to remove the case frequently.
It is smart to purchase screen protectors for your PDA to protect the screen from scratches and the risk of using a pen tip instead of a stylus to select an icon. Resembling a combination of Scotch ™tape and Saran ™wrap, screen protectors are self-healing and can be used for months at a time.
With the exception of the Palm Tungsten C, most PDAs do not include a touchable keyboard. All PDAs come equipped with the capability to read Graffiti, on-screen keyboards that can be summoned with a stylus tap, or the option of typing data on a computer and syncing the data to the PDA. However, if you wish to enter any significant amount of text to your PDA while away from a computer, a PDA keyboard is a nice thing to have. Keyboard choices range from near full-size keyboards to thumb boards. If you buy a keyboard, you need to ensure that it is compatible with your particular model of PDA. Keyboards connect into your PDA's sync port or by sending an IR signal to your IR port.
For those who spend an extensive amount of time in their vehicle or those who use their GPS-enabled PDAs to navigate, powered PDA dashboard mounts are available to charge your PDA battery while giving you convenient access.
Although most new PDAs come with 8 - 64 MB of RAM, memory gets used up quickly, especially if you add software, and audio or graphic files. Memory can be supplemented by adding a memory to the PDA expansion slot. PalmPilots accept a Secure Digital (SD) memory card while Pocket PCs use either a Compact Flash (CF) card or a Memory Stick. I recommend buying a PDA based on how much internal memory it has. Internal memory is preferable to external expansion slot memory because some programs and file types cannot be stored on external memory. The driver for the external memory that I'm using on my PDA leaves much to be desired. I must switch between using the internal memory and external memory whenever I want to access something stored on my memory card. This very slow switch is finite- you can use internal or external memory, but not at the same time. Applications on the internal RAM load much faster than applications on the external add-on memory. Launcher software can help a PDA's external memory interact more seamlessly with internal RAM, but can make the PDA less stable.
Although most PDAs are sold with a bulky cradle that both recharges the PDA and lets it connect to a computer for syncing, it might be worth investing in a car charger and/or a streamlined USB charge/sync cable for when you travel.
If you need to print from your PDA, you can use a PDA printer to print receipt size documents or you can attach a PDA print server with an IR receiver to an input port of a traditional printer. The print server receives an IR print command from the PDA's IR port, and submits the print request to the printer.
Newer PDAs may come equipped with 802.11B Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth wireless communications capability. Some new PDAs can be made Wi-Fi or Bluetooth capable if you purchase the respective wireless adapter for the expansion slot. There are Wi-Fi hot spots in Madison at the UW, MATC, and some public venues. Some older PDAs can connect using dial up networking with POTS or a cellular phone if you buy an external PDA modem. An external phone dialer device allows PDA users to have their PDAs dial the telephone for them.
Most PDAs can be equipped as a navigation tool once outfitted with direction-finding software and connected to a GPS. Now more than ever, there are many electronic devices to carry with us. It is not uncommon for people to carry a PDA, cell phone, digital camera, mp3 player, GPS, ham radio, USB flash drive, and other accessories on our person. So many devices, so few pockets... Two competing products, SCOTTeVEST (scottevest.com) and Band-O-Gear (Band-O-Gear.com) can help us to distribute our devices more comfortably. SCOTTeVEST's (Figure 2) new Version Three.0 clothing contains a Personal Area Network (PAN) by Technology Enabled Clothing, LLC within the garment to connect all electrical devices that you're storing in the 16-22 pockets of your SCOTTeVEST. Modeled after the artillery bandolier for bullets, the Band-O-Gear has five device-sized pockets and a two-liter insulated hydration reservoir with a drink tube. (Figure 3)
There are more than a hundred software titles sold for PDAs. Typically, PDA users purchase and download an application from a web site, unzip the application, and then set the new application to be loaded on the PDA the next time the PDA is synced. Adding a new application to a PDA can cause the PDA to lock up, develop a fatal error, or lose its ability to sync with the computer.
I was intrigued by the concept of eBooks, an application that allows you to purchase and load entire books on your PDA, so I bought a recent release fiction book for my PDA. Although good in theory, reading a book on my PDA has not been an enjoyable practice. The great part of eBooks is that I can carry a lengthy novel around with me without having to carry a heavy hardcover book. Also, the free eReader software on my PDA sets a bookmark whenever I finish a reading session. It's also helpful to be able to write notes about the text and mark various points in the text, which the eReader saves for me. The drawbacks of an eBook are that it's not real comfortable on the eyes, I can't loan the book to a friend when I'm done, and the time of day that I read is the same time that I normally place my PDA on its cradle for battery charging.
To date, no PDA viruses have been reported. However, that hasn't stopped Symantec from developing AntiVirus software for the PDA. Whether or not it is necessary to purchase AntiVirus software is debatable. Since there hasn't been a PDA virus yet, some people feel that AntiVirus software is unnecessary. Other believe that buying AntiVirus software encourages hackers to develop a PDA virus to defeat the PDA AntiVirus software.
Acknowledging that many broadcast engineers carry PDAs, the NAB staff created a NAB 2003 "FASTtrack" Exhibit Map that attendees could download to their Palm OS PDA.
The Rohde & Schwarz EFA-NET Television Receiver is a Sharp PDA that allows you to monitor your transmitter parameters. You can view an echo plot, 3-D I histogram, VSB constellation, RF amplitude and group delay response, CCDF envelope, pilot phase noise, and RF spectrum. In a similar vein, several transmitters have the ability to send readings to a PDA. This feature is not widely used because of security concerns.
Developers Marty Martin and Josef Hallermeier have developed a digital audio recorder for the Pocket PC PDA that lets you use your Pocket PC as a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). This useful application, called Pocketrec, allows you to record at various sample rates. In fact, you can record broadcast quality audio if you record at the 16 bit, 44.1 kHz linear rate. The microphone input level is -44 dB, with 0.25% THD and 47 kHz frequency response.
I'm disappointed that the Pocketrec has been developed only for Pocket PC PDAs, not for PalmOne PDAs, but the developers have their reasons. They feel that the Palm processor is too slow, the Palm PDA doesn't have an equivalent desktop OS such as Pocket PC does with Windows, and the Palm PDA doesn't have audio input and output jacks.
Pocketrec is Windows-based, but unique enough that it requires 600,000 lines of code. Pocketrec works on the MS Pocket PC 2002 and Win CE 2003 OS. Pocketrec has certified that their product will work on Compaq and HP iPAQ 5400 and 5500 series PDAs. Harris Corporation, the exclusive North American reseller of Pocketrec, is now shipping the HP iPAQ 5550 PDA. You can purchase the Pocketrec software on an iPAQ 5500 series PDA, nicely equipped with accessories, for about $1,500. If you already own one of the Pocket PCs just listed, you can purchase the purchase the software and accessories from Harris Corporation to add to your existing PDA. Pocketrec software takes up 600 kB of memory on your PDA. The Pocketrec PDA contains all standard PDA features. You can even load additional unrelated software and data on the Pocketrec PDA, but must realize that any third party software could negatively impact other applications on your PDA.
Purchasing your own external microphone is recommended over using the microphone built in to the PDA. The PDA uses a microphone-to-XLR adapter cable for audio in, and has a headphone level audio output for monitoring. The PDA will display warnings if its internal battery is getting low. With the internal PDA battery, you get three hours of Pocketrec use with the PDA screen on or seven hours of use with the screen off.
Pocketrec records audio at the selected sample rate, which ranges from 8 - 48 kHz. Users can storyboard on the Pocketrec. Pocketrec allows users to set in-points and out-points for editing on the Pocket PC. Audio fade ins and fade outs can be edited. Pocketrec uses non-destructive editing, meaning that the original file is kept until it is manually deleted. Users can label Pocketrec content with industry standard metadata. Pocketrec records audio files to an external memory module, such as a CF or SD card. Recording 16-bit audio at 44.1 kHz, you can store 2 hours and 57 minutes of audio on a 1 GB CF card.
Pocketrec uses on-screen PDA buttons that are large enough to be selected with a finger instead of requiring a stylus. All critical functions have a button. The thoughtful design of Pocketrec spares users the hassle of using a stylus to access a command within a drop down menu.
When a user finishes editing a story, all elements of the story are packaged by Pocketrec into a single container for deliver. This Windows-compatible file can be sent to the station in one of three ways: via the Internet, remote access, or by placing the PDA in the station docking cradle and syncing. You can do wired file transfer to the station via a dial up modem or wireless access over the Internet. At the same time, you have the capability to send email from the PDA.
PDAs are becoming a ubiquitous life tool not only because they are helpful for everyday life tasks, but also useful in our work as broadcast engineers. If I had to choose one electronic device to carry in my pocket, it would be a PDA.
References: Tom Harle and John Stevens of Harris Corporation: Broadcast Communications Division; Handheld Computing magazine, and Pocket PC magazine.
The End User
January 2004 Issue
Happy 2004! Hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday season.
This month, we're focusing on the eleventh version of Microsoft Office, branded as Office 2003. It's available in no fewer than five editions -from Basic (available only with new computers) to Professional Enterprise (available only to businesses and other "volume licensing" customers). However, end users can still choose from Standard (Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint), Small Business (adding Publisher and Outlook Business Contact Manager), and Professional (with everything plus Access).
Installing Office 2003 was a snap. If upgrading, the installer maintains all previously-saved program settings and other personalization parameters. However, please note that Office 2003 will run on Windows 2000 or XP only, so if you're on a version of Windows 9x (95, 98 or Me) or Windows NT, you can't install Office 2003.
Microsoft made some tweaks to Word, Excel and PowerPoint, adding "clear type" technology, redesigned toolbars and XML support -useful if you do document collaboration and are on a network
The real standout in Office 2003 is Outlook. If you have a cluttered Inbox (I do!), Outlook 2003 can help you get it tamed -fast. Sorting messages now puts them into a common cluster by sort criteria. If you sort by sender, all messages from that sender are grouped into a collapsible cluster. Sorting by date clusters messages by several timelines, which are all user-configurable.
I managed to clean up my 2000+ Inbox messages in about an hour, and there's no way I could have done it that fast with previous versions of Outlook.
Junk mail filtering is also vastly improved. Filtering can be set to None, Low, High or Blocked Senders Only, where you specify the senders to block. I found the High setting to effectively block all junk while allowing desired e-mail to get through just fine.
So let's get to the bottom line: Should you upgrade to Office 2003? As one would expect, there are a few answers to that question. If you aren't using Windows 2000 or XP, you can't upgrade. Sorry! If you run Win2000 or XP and are running a version older than Office 2000, upgrade to Office 2003 -especially at the reasonable list price of $239.
If you have Office 2000 or XP, save a few bucks and just upgrade Outlook for $109. The new Word and Excel features are nice - as is the enhanced collaboration features; but unless you really want these bells and whistles, you can save $130 by just upgrading Outlook. And that upgrade is the most worthwhile in all of Office 2003.
That's it for January. Next month, we'll take a look at the 2004 tech trends and deals (or lack of them!). Be sure to send your comments or questions to enduser at sbe16.org.
Till next month - all the best!
Amateur Radio News
By Tom Weeden, WJ9H
o Amateur radio operators from Turkey are assisting in relief operations in the city of Bam, Iran, devastated by an earthquake December 26 that killed more than 20,000 people. Turkey Amateur Radio Club President Aziz Sasa, TA1E, reports that the Turkish Relief Team departed for Bam, 600 miles south of Tehran, from Istanbul December 27 aboard a military aircraft. Local communications will be carried out on 2-meter simplex with HF operation on 14.270 MHz during the day and on 7092 kHz or 3777 kHz during hours of darkness.
o The oldest working amateur radio satellite, AO-7, will mark its 30th year in space during 2004. The satellite was launched November 15, 1974, and it remained operational until 1981, when it went dark due to battery failure. It remained dormant-and largely forgotten-until it suddenly and unexpectedly sprang back to life in 2002. AO-7 is in a 1460 km orbit, and the Amateur Satellite Corporation-North America (AMSAT-NA) considers the satellite "semi-operational." AO-7 is running solely off its solar panels, so it will only work when in sunlight.
o Two organizations have filed comments with the FCC about potential interference from and to Broadband over Power Line (BPL) systems. The nonprofit Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Response Association (DERA) is calling on the FCC to require impartial BPL field testing as well as additional public comment and full and open public hearings. DERA said proposed BPL systems already been shown to "actually cause harmful interference to licensed radio services."
The Amateur Radio Research and Development Corporation (AMRAD) filed additional test data with the FCC to support its preliminary comments suggesting that BPL systems are susceptible to interference from even modest amateur radio HF signals. AMRAD found that at a distance of just over one-half mile, data transfer ceased in the face of a 100-watt signal on 3980 kHz from a mobile transmitter. Adjacent to the test property in Potomac, Maryland, AMRAD said data transfer ceased in all but one instance at a transmitter power of just 4 W in the BPL operating band of from 4 to 21 MHz.
The Washington, DC, suburb of Manassas, Virginia, indicates it will go ahead with plans to inaugurate BPL service in four subdivisions of 2100 homes this month. However, the city council in Lompoc, California-a community of 42,000-opted December 16 to go with a wireless and fiber optic cable-based broadband network, rejecting BPL and other possible options.
(Excerpts from the www.arrl.org web site)
Featuring News, Rumors and Views
January 2004 Issue
Welcome to 2004-Y2K+2. I sincerely hope that Santa treated you well and that you can look forward to a great 2004.
The big news of late (in fact likely to be the biggest story of the year) is the capture of the former leader of Iraq. I just happened to be watching as this story broke (think that CNN got it first... slowly the other cable and broadcast networks jumped in). Sunday AM is not a good time to find fully-dressed big name anchors ready to roll. There is something about this that makes me smile. It was interesting going out to get the Sunday newspaper knowing that, in this case, the best they could hope for was to be 24 hours or more behind the story. Once again... Broadcasting Rules!
Two of our largest Radio Groups have new Managers. At Infinity, Mark Walden replaces Lisa Decker who moved up in the company. At Entercom Steve Oshin, suffering a case of terminal rust, has returned to So. Cal, where he will continue with the company in another capacity... replacing him is Keven McCarthy, formerly of C.C. San Diego.
Looks like EAS continues to have its problems, this time in the Central Puget EAS Area, the appointed source of an RMT failed to push the button. Things that keep yours truly busy in that world.
In my new position on the National SBE Executive Committee, it will mean two additional meetings a year. Jan 23rd I head for Tucson to brave the warmth and sunshine. Don't forget I am your local contact person for SBE National. If you have a thought or suggestion, let me hear from you.
Early December roared through the area with some very high easterly winds taking down a zillion power lines in the eastern parts of the metro. Power was out at West Tiger for 48 hours. A chain-saw party was mounted to cut our way into the place. Arne Skoog reported some 56 trees were over the road. The only tower that went down (that I know of) was one for Olympic Communications on West Tiger 2. According to those that have seen it, it just folded over.
Over in the Moses Lake area something else has been taking towers down... and it appears it's human. At this writing someone has cut down four broadcast towers. One of the stations there now has a local connection. Remember the self-supporting towers that KJR put up and never used south of their old site in Seattle? Well, when the station moved its operations to Tacoma, they took the towers with them and stacked them up for perhaps future applications. Their next use turned out to be Moses Lake. The thought there is that vandals are not going to find taking down a SS Tower very easy. I have always been apprehensive about tall towers, especially when they are not located in populated areas... I just hope they catch whoever is behind this.
While I am on the subject... a 528-footer came down in Portland, Maine, recently; no word about vandals in this case.
Believe it or not... Time to make reservations for NAB. The early worm gets the close room. Already I have been working with the SBE National Office in setting up our Annual SBE-EAS session. It will be like last year, 2- 4 or so PM on Monday during the show. BTW, they should have that new Monorail up and running. It will tie in several of the major hotels with the LVCC. I have not heard if NAB is going to alter their shuttle bus system because of it. For those of us from this area, we have a special interest in monorails.
I was visiting with Ben Dawson the other day and he excitedly told me that the ITU has created a new Morse Code character. I guess he was waiting for someone with a Ham License to stop by. The new one is di-dah-dah-di-dah-dit. For those of you that understand one of our earliest "Digital" codes... it's an A and a C run together. What it means is the @ symbol that's used in email addresses. Tom Gorton, who obviously feels that Morse is right in there with scratching on a cave wall, suggested that this was like adding a letter to the Latin alphabet.
I note that Intel is jumping into the HDTV world. By George, I think that this HD thing might just make it after all.
Can't talk about HDTV without talking about HD Radio a bit. This month, BE is supposed to be here to install the latest Ibiquity Software in the seven IBOC transmitters at West Tiger.... Then it will be up to ERI to come through and finish the modifications to the West Tiger Combiner. Meanwhile, over at KUOW, Terry Denbrook reports the station is making some major moves in the HD direction. As reported they have ordered a new Shively Panel Antenna for the Channel 9 tower on Capitol Hill. Sitting under it will be a new Nautel FM and Harris HD transmitter. Meanwhile the FCC is looking for comments on the use of separate antennas for IBOC. Many stations have determined that this is the most logical means of getting from here to there.
Did you know that the geosynchronous satellite is now 40 years old? Boy, what a change that this technology has brought to our industry! Remember the days when the national Radio AND TV networks got across the country... over land? Now look what we are doing. Live from Baghdad is no biggie.
I see where KNHC may have a translator in the works. This to be in Everett. On Channel 284. (I'll let you figure out the frequency.)
Not sure if I told you, but KZIZ, Sumner, has applied for a full-time facility. Twill be a multi-tower array, just south of Auburn, and east of the East Valley Hwy. For years the station has been a daytimer on 1560. It began life many years ago as KDFL.
Jerry Hill reports that things are moving along with the new radiating devices at KBCS, 91.3. New Shively Antenna, Microflect tower, etc. By the time you read this it should be up and running.
Well my friends, my word counter tells me it's time to ship this to Brother Forbes for another month. Keep yourself warm and dry in the cozy knowledge that summer is a long time in the future.
Clay, K7CR, CPBE
Video At 78 RPM!
By Kevin Ruppert
You'd probably think that the first television recordings were made on videotape, maybe by Ampex, RCA, or Sony. Well, guess again! The first television recordings were actually made on 78 RPM records! That's right, on good old 78s!
In 1926 the British television pioneer John Logie Baird devised a system to record and playback television pictures on disc which he called "Phonovision." The idea was initially not much more then a lab experiment, however. Although he released several press reports and aroused considerable public interest in the system, we know that he never publicly demonstrated pictures replayed from the Phonovision discs. As Baird was well aware of the publicity value of these demonstrations, and normally never failed to show the results of his work to the widest possible audience, we must assume that he was unable to reproduce pictures of sufficient quality from the system.
Remember that Baird's 1920s TV system was mechanical. It used spinning discs with holes drilled in them to scan the image and display it at the receiver. The standard of the Baird system was 30 lines scanned vertically (top to bottom) at a frame rate of 12.5 pictures per second. While he was experimenting with the system, Baird realized that the bandwidth of the system was small enough that he could record it on the state of the art audio medium of the time, the 78 RPM record! With some help from the British Columbia Graphaphone Company (later to become part of EMI) Baird cut some discs using this system.
The two main problems Baird faced were poor recording quality and lack of synchronization. As we have mentioned in previous articles, 78s are known for their hiss and crackle. When used to record video, the result is a very noisy picture covered with a pattern of moving spots. In addition, the Phonovision system had no synchronizing information and relied on mechanical synchronization to replay the picture. To achieve this, the scanning disc of the receiver and phonograph turntable had to be linked together and driven from the same motor. Once the record was cut and removed from the turntable, it was impossible to replace it in exactly the same position. This meant that it was only possible to replay the record on the same equipment that the recording was made on. Given these obstacles, experts say, chances are that Baird was never able to reproduce the discs with enough clarity for public demonstration.
Expert help needed
Over the last 30 years there have been several attempts to recover pictures from the Phonovision records by several parties, including the BBC and British recording expert Don McLean. The National Museum of Photography, Film and Television of Britain undertook a project in 1996 to make archive copies of the six known surviving records, all of which were in a fragile state. Over a period of several days, the records were carefully transcribed and recorded on CD for archive purposes.
These digital recordings were then processed by McLean to produce stable images. Don is the world's leading expert on Phonovision. During the last 15 years he has developed sophisticated computer programs to recover the Phonovision images that Baird never saw. The program calculated the start and end of each line and frame to produce stable images in much the same way a frame synchronizer does. The line lengths were then made equal to overcome the wow and flutter of the recording system. Distortions in the signal such as poor low frequency response, phase errors, power supply hum, cutter head resonance, surface noise and scratches were all reduced by the digital filtering.
Most of these cleaning up techniques were not possible by any analog means and had to wait until the later part of the twentieth century for McLean's efforts to unlock them from the discs!
You can see examples of the images recovered by McLean on his web site www.tvdawn.com/homepage.htm.
Thanks to the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television (of Britain) for permission to reprint part of their web site for the information on Phonovision. (www.nmpft.org.uk)
Happy Birthday B-sides
This is the 100th anniversary of the "double-faced sound record". Patented in January of 1904 by Ademor Petit, who proudly claimed that the two sides with opposing groves "yield better sound quality than earlier one sided disks and offer twice as much music."
Another source used for information in this article was Smithsonian Magazine, January 2004.
What Is In A Billion?
The next time you hear a politician use the word "billion" casually, think about whether you want that person spending your tax money.
A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into perspective in one of its releases:
A billion seconds ago, it was 1959.
A billion minutes ago, Jesus was alive.
A billion hours ago, our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.
A billion dollars ago was only eight hours and 20 minutes, at the rate Washington is currently spending your money.
Garneth M. Harris
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