CONTENTS

Ennes NAB Theme

Rocky Mountain Section Meeting Report

Random Radio Thoughts

SBE Certification NEWS

Amature Radio News

Clay's Corner

Frequency Coordination News

Wind and Power Don't Mix

The YXZ Report

Humor

Etc.

News Archives

 

February, 2007

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 on the SBE website. Registration and hotel information can also be found at the NAB website.

 

black line

Return to table of contents

SBE Chapter 48/SMPTE Rocky Mountain Section January 2007 Meeting Report

Date: Thursday, January 18, 2007
Location: KRMA TV, 1089 Bannock Street, Denver, CO 80204
Topic: Quantum's Archive Solution for Professional Video
Presenter: Patrick Thomas, Quantum Corporation

This presentation provided a review and demonstration of Quantum's has developed the A-Series ProVideo data tape drives, the first data tape drives enhanced for professional video applications

Synopsis: Based on the IT industry established and proven DLT® Technology, the Quantum system combines the well established benefits of data tape archiving with video tape convenience and accessibility.
a. With a built-in Gigabit Ethernet port, A-Series drives are network attached so they can be directly connected to any network and accessed by every edit workstation, networked server, graphics devices, or other computer based video equipment on the network.
b. Because they use Super DLTtape II, A-Series ProVideo archiving delivers a 30 year tape life to protect professional video, audio and data assets better than any video tape backup. Each cartridge holds 300GB of information and allows faster-than-real-time transfer rates of up to 288 Mb/sec. And, because each Super DLTtape II contains key MXF metadata in a tape-based file directory, your media is transportable and exchangeable for seamless application independence.
c. The A-Series ProVideo feature set makes the drive MXF-aware which permits video tape-like access to subclips by timecode and provides an unprecedented level of interoperability between applications and environments.
d.. A-Series drives are available in table-top, rack mount and autoloader configurations.



Attendees view the drive first hand and discuss follow-up questions with Pat Thomas

Our sincere thanks to John Anderson and his staff at KRMA for hosting the meeting, to Quantum for sponsoring the refreshments, and to Tom Goldberg for helping arrange the presentation.

Jim Schoedler SBE Chapter 48 Chairman
Rome Chelsi, SMPTE Rocky Mountain Section Chairman

 

black line

Return to table of contents

Random Radio Thoughts


Cris Alexander, CPBE, AMD
Crawford Broadcasting Company

AM HD Radio Performance
During the January 20 Chapter 48 on-air meeting on 146.805/447.175 MHz, a question came up as to the performance of HD Radio in the null areas of AM directional antennas. I wasn’t around to answer the question at the time but it was subsequently emailed to me. That email started a rather interesting dialogue, and I thought I would share some of my thoughts on the subject with you in these pages.

Digital performance generally will suffer in the deep null areas of some directional arrays. Any directional array exhibits different directionality (null depth/location and pattern shape) across the passband. The ability of an array to hold the proper pattern across the passband is loosely referred to as “pattern bandwidth.” I think this is something of a misnomer without a proper definition. The 9th Edition of the NAB Engineering Handbook defines pattern bandwidth as, “The frequencies for which the pattern remains useful.” I find that definition to be not useful! Regardless, the underlying principle is that the self-impedances of the towers, the mutual impedances, the network reactances and the transmission line phase shifts all vary with frequency. The aggregate change on a particular frequency within the passband determines what the currents and phases in the array elements will be on that frequency. As a rule, those currents and phases will be at variance from those at carrier. The closer the off-carrier currents and phases stay to those on-carrier, the better the “pattern bandwidth.”

We have all been on the backside of a directional array and heard the audio get loud and distorted. That effect is caused by poor pattern bandwidth. It is the result of a deep null at the carrier frequency with a not-so-deep null at the sideband frequencies, leaving you with, in essence, a double-sideband suppressed-carrier signal in the null. Because all the digital carriers are in the sidebands and considerably removed from the analog carrier frequency, you might think that poor pattern bandwidth would actually have a positive effect on digital performance, and in some cases you may be right. But it is likely that there will be a great deal of “tilt” in the spectrum in the nulls; one sideband will have considerably more attenuation than the other. It is even possible in patterns with considerable null fill that the true “null” will occur at a frequency other than at carrier. In other words, the null may occur right in the middle of the digital carriers. The bottom line is that deep pattern nulls are seldom kind to the digital carriers and digital performance is likely to suffer in the null areas.

So what can be done about it? Sometimes quite a bit, sometimes nothing – it is entirely situation dependent. In some arrays, considerable improvements in pattern bandwidth can be made in the phasing and coupling system. Slope correction is one technique that can sometimes be used, roughly matching the slope of the reactance of the driving point impedance with the opposite slope of the reactance change in a network leg. This technique can sometimes produce a much better impedance slope at the network input, eliminating unwanted reactances upstream where they play havoc with the phase shifts and power distribution. Slope correction can also be used to maintain a relatively constant phase shift across a frequency span. Occasionally it can be used to do both.

Some arrays, however, have poor pattern bandwidth as a result of array geometry. The physical layout of the array elements coupled with the operating parameters produces driving point impedance slopes that wreck the pattern off carrier. In those cases, your only option is to start over and design a new pattern. Sometimes changing the current distribution on the towers can help. Adding top loading, for example, may result in a more favorable reactance slope in the self-impedance. The best way to decide which way to go is to use method-of-moments modeling. The better modeling platforms allow you to “sweep” the passband in the model so you can observe the effects of your changes on the input impedances. You may even be able to model networks at the tower bases and observe changes in operating parameters across the passband. I have a couple of different programs I use for this purpose.

In my experience, the number one performance factor in AM HD Radio performance is load cusp orientation. Even in high sideband VSWR situations, if the load cusp is right so that the power amplifier sees the proper load orientation (symmetrical decreasing R with symmetrical increasing opposite-sign X on either side of carrier), HD Radio can work. KLZ is one such situation locally. It is one of those arrays where we have done all we can in the phasing and coupling system to improve the impedance and pattern bandwidths – the broadside, wide-spaced array geometry simply produces nasty impedance slopes at the driving points. KLZ performs well in the digital mode even with 2.1:1 ±15 kHz sideband VSWR values.

The other big performance factor in AM HD Radio is clean spectrum. This is directly related to load orientation. Excessive spectral regrowth in the ±25 kHz range kills AM HD Radio performance. Such spectral regrowth often occurs because of load problems wherein the primary digital carriers are “pushed” into symmetry into a load that is anything but symmetrical. This produces third-order IM products that contaminate the spectrum. Sometimes this is unavoidable. One thing to keep in mind is that third-order IM products are reduced by 3 dB for every 1 dB reduction in contributing signal. Drop the digital primary by a dB or two on the side with the problem and you will often get a dramatic drop in regrowth and a dramatic improvement in HD performance in the field. A couple of dB one way or the other in digital primary level otherwise makes very little difference in HD Radio coverage.

If you have news to share with the Rocky Mountain radio engineering community, drop me an email at crisa@crawfordbroadcasting.com.

 

black line

Return to table of contents

SBE CERTIFICATON NEWS

SBE Leader Skills Seminar - Management Skills for Engineers

The SBE Leader-Skills Seminars, in its 11th consecutive year with the Society, is specifically designed for broadcast engineers who have or aspire to have management responsibilities. SBE offers the two-part series in cooperation with instructor Richard D. Cupka, Sr., West Lafayette, Ind. Both courses are being offered in Indianapolis in 2007.

Course I, “Leadership – The Framework of People Skills” will be held June 5-7, 2007. It covers the function and nature of your leadership role; how to build stronger teams and effective internal cooperativeness; the complex differences of people; and discovery of your “natural” style of leading and how to nurture a “developed” style to help you adjust to different people in differing situations.

Course II, “Leadership – Expanding Your People Skills” will be held Aug. 7-9, 2007, and picks up where Course I leaves off. Those wishing to attend Course II must have attended Course I sponsored by SBE or prevciously NAB (dating back to 1965). Course II explores individual behavior in groups and dynamics of interaction between groups; the complex motivations of different people and how to deal with them; how best to handle disciplinary processes; and where emphasis should be in a leader's ultimate responsibility over people and activities.

Cupka, who has 40 plus years experience in adult training, has directed and taught the Leader-Skills seminars to broadcast engineering managers, supervisors and technicians for 40 years. Many of the most respected broadcast engineering managers in the country today, are graduates of the program and continue to send members of their staffs so that they, too, can learn from Cupka.
Designed to take technically–adept people and instill in them sound supervisory and management skills, the Leader-Skills Series can also be viewed as a tool for personal growth and development, even for those without prior management or supervisory responsibilities.

Registering early! Each course is limited to a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 18 participants. Deadlines to register are May 2 for Course I and July 5 for Course II. The cost of registrations is $545 for each course, which includes three days of instruction, all course materials, a certificate of completion and classroom refreshments.

All transportation, housing and meals are the responsibility of the participant. The location will be the Holiday Inn Select - Indianapolis Airport. The discounted guest room rate is $105 plus tax.

 

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.

 

black line

Return to table of contents

AMATEUR RADIO NEWS

HAMNEWS
Thanks to Chapter 43

It's Official! Morse Code Requirement Ends Friday, February 23
(Jan 24, 2007 [REVISED Jan 26, 2007 14:15 ET]) -- Circle Friday, February 23, on your calendar. That's when the current 5 WPM Morse code requirement will officially disappear from the Amateur Radio Service Part 97 rules in accordance with the FCC's Report and Order (R&O) in the "Morse code proceeding," WT Docket 05-235. Beginning on that date, applicants for a General or Amateur Extra class Amateur Radio license no longer will have to demonstrate proficiency in Morse code. They'll just have to pass the applicable written examination. Publication of the new rules in the January 24 Federal Register started a 30-day countdown for the new rules to become effective. Deletion of the Morse requirement -- still a matter of controversy within the amateur community -- is a landmark in Amateur Radio history.

President Expresses Appreciation to Amateur Radio Operators
(Jan 17, 2007) -- President George W. Bush has written the ARRL to recognize the just-ended Hello Amateur Radio public relations campaign and to extend "greetings to all those celebrating 100 years of voices over the airwaves." The president said the centennial of Reginald Fessenden's landmark Christmas Eve 1906 voice broadcast "opened the door for technological advances" that improved the lives of people around the world.

 

Amature Radio News
By Tom Weeden, WJ9H
Thanks to Chapter 24

Morse code nixed
Soon, the United States will join the growing list of countries that no longer require Amateur Radio applicants to pass a Morse code test as the entry ticket to HF. Announcement of the pending historic rule change arrived with no fanfare December 15, 2006, in an FCC public notice. A full-blown Report and Order (R&O) in the proceeding, WT Docket 05-235, followed December 19.

" We ... believe that the public interest is not served by requiring facility in Morse code when the trend in amateur communications is to use voice and digital technologies for exchanging messages," the FCC said in its R&O. "Rather, we believe that because the international requirement for telegraphy proficiency has been eliminated, we should treat Morse code telegraphy no differently from other Amateur Service communications techniques."

The FCC says it deems the current regime of written examinations "sufficient to determine whether a person is qualified to be issued an Amateur Radio operator license."

The FCC also ordered that all Technician licensees present and future — whether or not they’ve passed a Morse code test — will get privileges on 80, 40, 15 and 10 meters identical to those of Novice licensees.

" In eliminating this disparity between Technician and Technician Plus licenses, we are simplifying the Amateur Service licensing structure and promoting regulatory parity," the FCC said.

ARRL sues FCC
The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) is suing the FCC over a recent rule change in the long-running "Broadband over Powerline" (BPL) controversy and is asking its members to contribute to its "Spectrum Defense Fund" to mount the challenge to the federal agency.

"The FCC has an obligation to protect licensed radio services from unnecessary interference," the ARRL’s Web site said. "There was growing evidence that interference from some BPL systems is a serious problem that is either impossible, or very expensive, to fix."
Calling the new BPL rules adopted in 2006 "intolerable," the ARRL said,

"Never before has an unintentional emitter been given a free pass to interfere with licensed radio services."

On October 10, 2006, the law firm of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP (WilmerHale) joined ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay in filing a Petition for Review on behalf of the ARRL in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

ARRL says one of the challenges in the case will be that "complex technical issues must be made understandable to a panel of judges who are not telecommunications experts."

As a means of delivering broadband services to consumers, BPL is an inferior technology. According to the FCC’s own figures, the BPL industry has managed to reach fewer than 5,000 customers nationwide. BPL is failing in the marketplace, as well it should.

Here’s the problem: Even if BPL disappears from the scene tomorrow, the FCC’s preference for unlicensed, unintentional emitters over the interests of its licensees will remain on the books. Bad rules left unchallenged will lead to even worse rules later.

The FCC was heading in the wrong direction under Michael Powell. It’s continuing in the wrong direction under Kevin Martin. Reasoned technical arguments backed up by overwhelming evidence have not altered the FCC’s errant course. There was only one thing left that we could do: appeal in federal court. After carefully considering the costs and consequences, the ARRL Board of Directors concluded that was what we must do.

The Court of Appeals will not substitute its judgment for the reasoned decision-making of an expert agency. But this long-established principle does not give agencies such as the FCC carte blanche. Deciding the outcome you want and adjusting the facts to fit is not reasoned decision-making. We will show that the FCC did not come to a reasoned decision in developing its BPL rules.

In another case earlier this year, a panel of this court had this to say about another federal agency: "We therefore owe no deference to [the agency’s] purported expertise because we cannot discern it." When it reviews the FCC’s BPL decisions we expect the court to reach a similar conclusion.


— From ARRL’s "Defense of Frequencies" Web page on BPL

(Excerpts from the American Radio Relay League’s <arrl.org> web site)

 

black line

Return to table of contents

Clay's Corner

Featuring News, Rumors and Views
From Usually Reliable and Irrefutable Sources

By Clay Freinwald
SBE Seattle Chapter 16

If I could write a headline for this column it might be – Never a dull moment!. For me the past few months have been a roller coaster ride. First it was learning that I was losing my job…with epic rain and winds added. Then it was knowing that I would continue to work for Entercom (and some other local broadcasters) after the first of the year…and then – wham!...The announcement that Entercom was trading away KIRO, KTTH and KBSG to Bonneville. I left that meeting just to hear that I was staying with Entercom at their remaining stations in town (KISW, KMTT, KKWF and KNDD). Entercom will also continue to own and operate their transmitter sites on Cougar and West Tiger Mts. This will mean that I will likely be working with Dwight Small in the future. Meanwhile Tom Pierson is likely to be the chief at the new Bonneville operation. It was just about 10 years ago that Entercom purchased 710, 770 and 100.7 from Bonneville. In the deal they get the two AM’s back and 97.3 instead of 100.7. The three stations studios are all at 1820 Eastlake….Hmm – Don’t think they saved the Bonneville sign do you? This will mean that there are about 30 days to take apart what was created over the past 10 years. For me, it’s an end of a very long association. For the first time since May of 1982 I will not be responsible for some portion of 97.3…25 Years is a long time. Bonneville’s return is part of a larger 10 station deal that will have Entercom return to San Francisco and Bonneville enter Cincy. Here’s another interested related tidbit – Talmage Ball, the fellow that heads up the Engineering department for Bonneville, just last fall moved to Silverdale…

Another big story this month. KRKO has a green light for their power increase in Everett. This has been an epic struggle with mucho-bucks spent to get to this point. Congratulations to Andy Skotdol for hanging in there all this time. We look forward to one of the areas oldest broadcast stations operating at 50Kw.

Have you checked your electric bill for the period during all the storms and power outages? Reportedly some folks have found that their bills actually increased during a month when they were generating their own power. Hmmm

At this writing Intel is about to announce a new and more advanced processor…perhaps proving that Moore’s Law is still valid. The new device will use technology that will reduce the size of the guts of these devices down from the present 90 nanometers to 45.

There is going to be another EAS Summit this year in WDC. Don Miller and I will be attending the March 2nd event and will report back to those in attendance at the next State EAS (SECC) meeting scheduled for March 14th at Camp Murray.

In a radio contest turned very bad – One of Entercom’s stations in Sacramento saw a contestant die from an overdose of water which attracted a huge amount of media attention.

With the change of power in Washington attention is focused on media ownership rules. Recent revelations tend to make this writer think that those that are pushing for additional relaxation are going to have a hard time.

Meanwhile the FCC has been busy in the auction-barn netting some 13.9 Billion bucks for new wireless services. Of course the money will go to the US Treasury.

Dolby has come up with a new device that is supposed to limit the loudness of TV commercials. The device is called – Dolby Volume. Gee what happened to the CBS Loudness Controller?

In what must be described as a big step forward, the US DOE announced recently that Boeing – Spectrolab have been working with solar cells and managed to raise their efficiency to 40.7 percent. This is a significant gain over just a few years ago. We are not quite ready for solar to replace fossil fuels for power generation however as their efficiency, however improved, still puts them in the 8-10 cent per kilowatt hour range….then again if you don’t mind paying that rate…….

Have you made your reservations for the NAB convention in Las Vegas yet? Despite the fact that they keep building huge hotels, there is always a scramble for rooms. Seemed a bit funny to be in L.V. in the winter… I was there in early January for the SBE Executive Board meeting and local TV was really funny to northern ears. Their weather forecaster was having a ball with the threat of snow in the valley, yes, maybe even an inch of the white stuff from the ‘ winter-blast’. As it turned out, the temperature did drop into the 20’s at night, but no snow. Some of our group were wondering if they even had snow plows for the runways.

The theft of copper continues to be a problem. During the recent extended power outage, thieves made off with the majority of a roll of 7/8 inch Heliax from one of the Cougar Mt sites. Their tactic was to take the cover all the roll, then use what must have been a chop-saw and cut into the reel…yielding a bunch of pieces about 6 feet long. They apparently got scared away and I had the job of hauling the rest to the metal recycler. Down in Portland, one of the AM stations there has been hit 3-times by thieves who have stripped out the stations ground system around their towers. This despite having security patrols etc. I understand the latest ground system has all its parts either stamped with the company name, or its painted bright orange….This in the hope they can be caught as they try to turn it into cash. Some of these folks are pretty brazen. They are cutting through fences of sub-stations and steeling the ground wires from these facilities. The time will come when there will be stations in this area hit causing them to go off the air. If these folks are willing to go after copper in a sub-station, can a TV station be far behind?

Congratulations to Doug Irwin in landing a new gig in NYC. Doug is going to be working for CCR in the Big Apple and had a big project ahead of him – The consolidation of all 5 CCR stations into one facility at 32 Avenue of the Americas…After that another consolidation project in the Empire State Building. Doug was recently Chief of the Clear Channel cluster here in Seattle.

While I am at it – Welcome to Seattle Ken Broeffle who joins CCR Seattle. Ken was previously employed in Portland, so we don’t have to explain the weather to him.

If you have been in this biz in Seattle for as long as I, you remember Bill Wolfenbarger who was the Chief at KOL, many moons ago. Bill for the last several years has been playing radio in SW Washington under the name of Jodesha Broadcasting (I understand the name comes from his kids)….anyway, Bill recently got a CP for a new station at Ocean Shores. It will be on 93.5, one click up from KUBE.

Had a chance recently to visit with Alan Douglas at the KING-5/KONG-16 facility on Queen Ann Hill – It’s been many years since I was there. I was up there scoping out the KING-FM STL relay system.

Rumors have been flying that the two providers of Satellite Radio, XM and Sirius, are merging, this is mixed with rumors that the Feds would not approve it.

A local software vendor is going to be working with Clear Channel to provide new and innovative content for HD Radio systems. They even have a name for it “Microsoft Direct HD”. With radio becoming more like TV with a data pipe to play with look for these types of developments to come along.

Got a note from Tim Schall at Channel 9 - Apparently they lost a circulator that was custom made for NEC – Got some ideas, give Tim at call at 206-281-6928.

Remember those WOR radio towers in New York that were supposed to come down, but did not because of objections they might cause a distraction to those on the adjacent freeway? Well they are down, and apparently no traffic problems.

Cancer caused by Cellphones….Well two new findings are out. One says yes, one says no. Doubt that it will keep cellphones out of the hands of millions at this point. Ya have to wonder what is more addictive, cell phones or cigarettes.

Before I close this – I want to bring you up to speed on something that could impact every Radio and TV station in our area. The State Emergency Management Division, under the leadership of Don Miller, has been working on a replacement system for portions of our present EAS system….and we are getting closer to roll out time. This new system will replace the system that has yielded scratching sounding audio, mis-fires and screw-ups with a new Internet based system driven by a computer interface that will take text messages and distribute them to everyone, the EAS voice message will be generated by a text reader. In the Central Puget EAS area we would like to have a broadcast station that would be willing to relay all the messages so that everyone can get good clear audio… if that can’t be found, we may feed the Local Relay Network with this device that would mean that the EAS Voice messages would continue to be distributed by UHF analog radio. For TV Stations this will mean that you will have the ability to receive, and re-transmit, a text message that is exactly like the voice portion. This will be a significant improvement as I am sure you can imagine. If I have gotten your attention with this and you’d like to know more. Please join us at the table on March 14th at Camp Murray. This is going to be an interesting transition as it will not come with a federal mandate to purchase new equipment but rather it will be an extension of the voluntary portion of EAS. Unfortunately there is not a huge pot of money to drop this equipment into every station…hopefully the improvement will be reason enough for stations to want to join the effort, even if it costs.

Outta space, C U Next Month.

Clay, CPBE, K7CR

 

black line

Return to table of contents

FREQUENCY COORDINATION & OTHER STUFF

by Everett E. Helm W7EEH CPBE
Chairman at sbe124 dot org
From Portland Chapter 124


NEW "SHARED" PUBLIC SAFETY BROADBAND SPECTRUM
The FCC recently issued an NPRM to take the 12 MHz of wideband 700 MHz spectrum that was allocated to Public Safety and convert it to broadband use. The NPRM would reallocate that spectrum to a nationwide "public/private partnership" to create a broadband network that both commercial and public safety users can use - with public safety having priority. The spectrum could be used for video surveillance, E-mail, text messaging, and file transfers. The hope is that with a nationwide commercial licensee utilizing the spectrum on a secondary basis, the services would be available sooner and at less cost. Public Safety would always have priority. For more information, see: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-06-181A1.pdf

This is the same upper 700 MHz spectrum (TV channels 63,64,68 and 69) that the public safety community has been anxiously waiting for the broadcasters to clear.

ARE YOU READY FOR DIGITAL EAS?
As you should know by now, on January 1st the FCC is requiring all digital Broadcast services that participate in an EAS plan for their analog stations, must also provide EAS service to all digital program streams. This means the HD2 channels in radio, and all of the program services in the DTV transport stream. With radio, it's not too bad an ordeal, since most of the audio is either AES, or analog at some point in the program line. With TV, it's more involved unless you are already decoding the elementary program stream down to base band and re-encoding. Even at that, it still needs to be injected on all program services, which means it may have to be upconverted from SD NTSC to digital HDTV.

At OPB we have the additional complication that the new rule applies to all of our full service DTV stations. The transmitter sites do not decode the elementary transport stream at all, making it very difficult to add local information. It is possible, and at least one manufacturer is making a box to add the audio message and character generation at the ASI/ MPEG level. Basic problem is that the units are expensive, about $45K per site, and not deliverable yet. OPB has ordered one unit for the Network Center that will relay national and state EAS. It will not be operational by the 1st. We have asked the FCC for waivers of the new rules to cover the installation delay at KOPB and the implementation at the other 4 stations. Is there hope that someone will come up with a less expensive version for less money? The analog stations of course, which serve at least 95% of the viewers, will continue to provide the complete EAS package.

 

black line

Return to table of contents

PACIFIC NORTHWEST WIND AND POWER DON'T MIX: LESSONS LEARNED

by John White K7RUN
Chief Engineer, KKPZ/KDZR
Thanks to Chapter 124

On Thursday evening in the week prior to Christmas, a predicted winter wind storm hit the Oregon and Washington coast. Across Oregon, Portland General Electric reported 122,000 customers out of service. Pacific Power, Clark County, and other public utility districts reported similar levels of outages. One Oregon highway had more than 100 trees down in a 20 mile stretch. At the Mt. Scott, Sylvan, and Stonehenge broadcast facilities, commercial power failed early Thursday evening or was sporadic at best.

Fortunately this storm was primarily wind, without snow or freezing rain, which in theory would make travel to check out or for repair of transmitter facilities easier. Or, would it?

In fact, travel was a real problem after this storm. A large part of the traffic problem was the result of decisions made 30 years ago when local and state government decided that if they build roads then people will just use them. So, of course, they haven't built any. The absence of new roads coupled with the normal levels of holiday traffic made for more than the typical high levels of congestion even without a storm.

Friday, the morning after the storm turned congestion into a real traffic nightmare. Trees were down blocking roads, power was out at intersections, and power crews were everywhere blocking roads and repairing power lines. Traffic was seriously stalled. At the SE 111th and Foster Road intersection, access to Mt. Scott, the power and traffic lights were out. Traffic was backed up on Foster past 92nd. The alternate route of Flavel to Mt Scott blvd was closed by a traffic accident.

Lesson one: Look for and plan multiple alternate routes before an emergency.
For those familiar with the Mt. Scott area, the Idleman to Walnut access was open, but Tyler was blocked by a large tree down across the power lines to the west of Walnut. On Eastview drive a commercial tower was down across the power lines.

That commercial 2-way tower was located behind a residence on the west side of the 9800 block of SE Eastview DR. The tower came down across the house, through the tree, and smack dab on top of the power pole. In the process the tower crowbarred all three phases of the 2400 V distribution lines. From the look of things at the time, commercial power was going to be down for some time.

At the Crawford Mt. Scott transmitter site, the one with the self- supporting AM towers, there were a lot of limbs but no trees down and there was no immediate damage visible. The wind vibration did take out both upper side lights on one tower. That's not an immediate problem, although another relamping will be needed soon.

Once inside the transmitter building, the fuel supply was another story. At Scott the generator is mounted inside the building with the cooling air vented outside. This is a very common installation method used when there is sufficient space in the building. There is one disadvantage with this approach: for each cubic foot of air the generator exhausts from the building, a cubic foot of outside replacement air is required. Thursday evening and Friday that outside air was in the mid-30's. Yes, you guessed correctly. The 30 KW of electric heat was full on consuming generator fuel at a prodigious rate.

Lesson two: Evaluate the generator heat, cooling air, and fuel supply as a system.
Last summer I attempted to top-off the generator fuel supply. I basically got nowhere. The single biggest roadblock was the minimum delivery of 300 to 500 gallons. Fortunately our station manager has a business relationship with a local company for his home heating fuel. So I thought that relationship would help get an emergency refueling. Well it was a thought. They still insisted on a large minimum delivery, larger than a full tank. It took some calling but Friday afternoon we did manage to arrange an emergency delivery for Saturday.

Lesson three: If possible before the emergency try to get an agreement with a vender for emergency fuel delivery.
With fuel low and a delivery 18 hours away the next step was conservation. Building heat was the first to go. Fortunately with temps in the mid 30's heat was not critical. Had temps been below freezing protecting the fire sprinkler system would have been a major issue. So, off went the heat and all unnecessary power usage: the hot water tank, the refrigerator, everything not necessary. Additionally both stations were reduced to half power. The next step was to locate a couple of 5 gallon containers to allow some fuel to be ferried to the generator. As it happened, PGE had been able to restore power at Foster road late Friday. The Foster gas station which also sells diesel fuel was open again. I also arranged to borrow the use of the local vintage Railroad Club's fueling rig. Even though it only has a capacity of 50 gallons, that rig represented a potential life line.

Lesson four: Have a fuel/power conservation plan and possible back up fueling plans in place prior to an emergency.
Other than all that, how was the storm? I was impressed by the response of the general public. Many roads were opened by local residents' chain saw work parties. Everyone pitched in and responded. Well done everyone!

 

black line

Return to table of contents

THE YXZ REPORT

by Kent Randles K7YXZ CBRE
watercooled at sbe124.org

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.
Disney’s 1640 KDZR should turn on their HD signal this month, leaving the market with just one AM Stereo station, during the day at least: 1450 KBPS. Lots of new radios coming out, and a buyer’s guide at http://www.hdradio.com/hdradio_buyers_guide.php.

Ibiquity has revamped their HD station lists, AM, FM, and HD2+ together at http://www.ibiquity.com/hd_radio/hdradio_find_a_station.

MEDIAFLO HITS THE AIR IN PORTLAND
Steve Kaluza, Transmitter Supervisor for KGW-TV, says: “MediaFlo plans to begin radiating from their new antenna at the top of the Skyline Tower Site’s main tower Friday, January 5th. They are on channel 55, 716-722 MHz., at 50,000 Watts ERP.” Hopefully you don’t have any wireless mics near that frequency. See the overview at http://www.mediaflousa.com/back_stage/index.html .

SCIENTISTS PREDICT BIG SOLAR CYCLE

Dec. 21, 2006 - Evidence is mounting: the next solar cycle is going to be a big one. (From http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2006/21dec_cycle24.htm?list862527) Solar cycle 24, due to peak in 2010 or 2011 “looks like its going to be one of the most intense cycles since record-keeping began almost 400 years ago,” says solar physicist David Hathaway of the Marshall Space Flight Center. He and colleague Robert Wilson presented this conclusion last week at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco. According to their analysis, the next Solar Maximum should peak around 2010 with a sunspot number of 160 plus or minus 25. This would make it one of the strongest solar cycles of the past fifty years-which is to say, one of the strongest in recorded history.

 

black line

Return to table of contents

Humor

Things to Ponder

If a pig loses its voice, is it disgruntled?

Why do croutons come in airtight packages? Aren't they just stale bread to begin with?

Why isn't the number 11 pronounced onety one?

If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, doesn't it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed, tree surgeons debarked, and dry cleaners depressed?

If Fed Ex and UPS were to merge, would they call it Fed UP? Do Lipton Tea employees take coffee breaks?
What hair color do they put on the driver's licenses of bald men?

Why do they put pictures of criminals up in the Post Office? What are we supposed to do, write to them? Why don't they just put their pictures on the postage stamps so the mailmen can look for them while they deliver the mail?

If it's true that we are here to help others, then what exactly are the others here for?

You never really learn to swear until you learn to drive.

Ever wonder what the speed of lightning would be if it didn't zigzag?

Whatever happened to Preparations A through G?
§

 

black line

Return to table of contents

Etc.

Newsletter Committee

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

Garneth M. Harris

Newsletter archives are available online.

Visit www.smpte-sbe48.org/oldnews for an index of newsletter back issues.
Note: Old newsletters may contain outdated information, web links or email addresses. News archives are not updated when relevant information changes.

Views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the official positions of the Societies, its officers, or its members. We regret, but are not liable for, any omissions or errors. The Denver SBE and SMPTE Newsletter is published approximately twelve times per year. It is prepared with a combination of text and graphic data. Submission deadline is 10 days before the last day of each month. Other SBE or SMPTE chapters are permitted to use excerpts if attributed to the original authors, sources, and/or the Denver SBE/SMPTE Newsletter.