A monthly newsletter by Society of Broadcast Engineers Chapter 48

March 1997


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Contents

The February Meeting
Chapter 48's Next Meeting
Schedule of Upcoming Meetings and Events
Oklahoma City Bomb Trial
EarthWatch Proposes Use of 2 GHz ENG Frequencies in Denver Area
SBE Makes it Three at NAB
Clay's Corner
New EAS Handbook
SBE Announces Creation of Two New Certification Levels
HDTV is Coming to Portland - And Soon!
SBE 104 'Transmitter' - December 1996
Big Fines
Amateur Radio News
Etc.

The February Meeting

The group assembled at the National Digital Television Center at 4100 East Dry Creek road on Wednesday, February 19, 1997. After lunch in the first floor conference room, we relocated to the second floor for our program.

John Hellyer from HSE Communications spoke about the area frequency coordination effort in Front Range Colorado. John indicated that the coordination effort has fallen into disrepair. John estimates that up to 40% of the information in the current database is inaccurate and incomplete. He expressed serious concern about the upcoming Oklahoma City bombing trial coverage in Denver and the demands that will be made on the spectra. (See the press release about the trial elsewhere in this issue.)

John has had conversations with Jack McKain at KWGN about how to go about implementing a better system. John is offering the services of his company to coordinate 1990 mhz and above. He spoke with Howard Fine in Los Angeles about how they do this in their market. Howard recommends that a rule framework should be set up to deal with requests for frequency use. There was quite a bit of discussion about this subject before it was suggested that this meeting was really not the forum to resolve this very complicated issue. Therefore, Chapter 48 chair Andre' Smith will contact the local SMPTE section chair, and discussions will continue with David Otey from HSE toward resolution.

Rebecca Willman from the Denver FCC office agreed with John that if the broadcasters do not act, the FCC will, and the choice made of a coordinating company may not be well received.

March 18 at 10:00 am will be the date and time for a meeting at the FEMA building, Building 710A, Denver Federal Center to discuss the EAS plan for the counties of Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Clear Creek, Denver, Douglas, Elbert, Gilpin, Jefferson and Park. Bring a drivers's license as photo ID and enter the main gate on South Kipling. All broadcasters must be in compliance by April 1, when the FCC will begin inspecting stations.

Each broadcast station or group should plan to have someone attend to not only get the "straight scoop", but to offer input on the plan. It would be a really good idea to RSVP to Rebecca Willman or Jon R. Sprague at (303) 969- 6498 or FAX (303) 969-6556. Email: JSPRAGUE@FCC.GOV.

Our program came to us from the good folks at Burst Communications and JVC, all about Digital S compression systems. Discrete Cosine Transform (DCT) for compression is used in this scheme, in which the DCT process converts spatial information into frequency information. This allows a high level of digital compression with extremely low loss. On hand to make the presentation were: Patrick Connolly, Burst Communications, Jerry Cohen of JVC, New Jersey and JVC Senior District sales manager, David Misencik. Patrick Connolly was our guest from Burst Communications. Our thanks to these folks for taking time to show us the details of this advanced system.

Be sure to join us on Wednesday March 19th for lunch, meeting and a look at Acoustic Treatment Methods with Steve Johnson, VP Marketing and Dr. Peter DeAntonio, Accoustitools, at 12:00 noon for lunch in the cafeteria of the National Digital Television Center at 4100 Dry Creek Road. Be sure to use the WEST entrance!

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Chapter 48's Next Meeting...

...will be held on Wednesday, March 19th, 1997 at the National Digital Television Center, located at 4100 E. Dry Creek Road. (Be sure to enter the building on the west side.) Mr. Steve Johnson and Dr. Peter DeAntonio from Accoustitools will be on hand to discuss acousitc treatment methods. Meeting time is 12:00 noon and the TCI cafeteria will be made available for purchasing lunch.

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Schedule of Upcoming Meetings and Events

Unless noted, all meetings will begin at 12:00 noon for lunch in the cafeteria of the National Digital Television Center at 4100 Dry Creek Road. Programs follow a bried business meeting.

Wednesday - March 19th Acoustic Treatment Methods Steve Johnson, VP Marketing Dr. Peter DeAntonio, Accoustitools

Wednesday - April 16th Luncheon at Coco's

Wednesday - May 21st New digital audio technology (Consoles & Routers) Rick Strage, RCS Inc. - Digital Console Division

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Oklahoma City Bomb Trial

Denver, CO, February 18, 1997

Frequency coordination will be required by all news groups coming to Denver to cover the bomb trial. The current projection for the number of on site media personnel will number approximately 3,000. All walkie talkies and portable microwave units will have to be coordinated and stickered. The pool group is working in concert with the Denver FCC office to check in if you will all communication devices. This task will include registration with the pool and be spot checks for RF signatures by the FCC as part of this effort.

All radio, TV, print and wireservice groups will be required to register their units. The Federal Marshals have been instructed to remove any RF devices not stickered in the press bullpen area in front of the Federal Court.

Wireless microphones will be exempt and not included in the registration processs.

Contact Wayne Wicks at the media pool office with all frequency requests at 303-871-1892 or fax your request to 303-698-4700.

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EarthWatch Proposes Use of 2 GHz ENG Frequencies in Denver Area

Dane E. Ericksen, P.E.
Chairman, SBE FCC Liaison Committee

SBE has learned that EarthWatch Incorporated has filed an application with the FCC that would use frequencies in the 2 GHz ENG band for control uplinking purposes to two low-earth-orbit ("LEO") remote-sensing satellites. The uplink station would be located at Longmont, Colorado and would employ an FSK- modulated 2-khz wide channel somewhere in the 2,2025-2,110 mhz ENG band (ENG Channels A3 through A7). The uplink transmitting antenna would be a tracking 9-meter dish, and the EIRP would be up to +78 dBm.

The EarthWatch application has been reviewed by members of the SBE FCC Liaison Committee and, in their opinion, this shared use of 2 GHz ENG band frequencies is unlikely to cause interference to terrestrial uses of that band by broadcasters. However, this article is being written to alert TV stations in the Denver area to be aware of the EarthWatch uplink and, if interference is observed, to immediately contact Mr. Howard Gannes, Vice President of EarthWatch Incorporated, (510) 417-2040 or 2045.

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SBE Makes it Three at NAB

The Society of Broadcast Engineers will once again be the co-presenter of the NAB Engineering Conference at the NAB Spring Convention. This will be the third year that SBE and NAB have worked together to plan the conference educational sessions. Held in Las Vegas, the conference will be April 6-10, with exhibits opening on Monday, April 7. Special pre-conference educational programs, including for the first time, Ennes Workshops, will be held on Saturday, April 5. Registration for the Conference will include admission to the Saturday Workshops. Members of SBE will be able to register for the NAB Engineering Conference at NAB member rates, a savings of $300.

SBE will hold several events for members during NAB 97. The schedule is tentative as of this writing, but will include: The spring meeting of the Board of Directors, open to all members to be held on Sunday morning, April 6; A Membership Meeting is planned for Tuesday, April 8 after sessions conclude-- all members are invited; Certification Exams will be offered, also on Tuesday, April 8, in the morning. Conference registration is not required to be able to attend the Board Meeting, Membership Meeting or to take an exam. However, only Full Conference Registrants will have access to educational sessions and workshops. SBE will have a fully stocked booth at the show. You can check out the technical books in the SBE Book Store, Certification Study Guides, SBE shirts, hats and other signature items, as well as meet up with friends from around the country. Just tell them to meet you at the SBE Booth! Be sure to plan early to attend this event. Hotel rooms fill up early and flights can too, so don't wait until the last minute to make your travel arrangements.

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Clay's Corner

Clay Freinwald - Chapter 16, Seattle

It's interesting that in last month's column I wrote about some of the lessons learned in the previous snow storm. Please toss away that list and use the following. A few more storms like this and I might really get smart. Funny how you learn better through disasters.

1.) Keep your Auxiliary Generator tanks full at all times.

2.) Know EXACTLY what your fuel consumption is and exactly how long you can operate without commercial power.

3.) Make a list of loads that you can shed to extend your run time, know EXACTLY what your run time is running only needed loads, reduced power etc.

4.) Assume that you will not be able to get that fuel tank filled unless you do it yourself, delivery companies don't like to go anywhere in snowy/icy conditions due to the environmental laws and the chance of a spill.

5.) Have in house the required containers, pumps, vehicles and personnel, etc. to transport fuel for your Gen-Set.

6.) Have an established plan that you can call up when you need it. Locate multiple sources of fuel. Don't assume that your favorite fuel vendor is going to be open when you need it (remember Murphy rules).

7.) Make sure your plan includes 24 hour numbers of the vendor.

8.) Forget Propane powered Gen-Sets. Use diesel. (Many recently learned this very painful lesson.) You can't transport propane in a five-gallon can to refill your tank. If you have a propane system, either change it out, or get management to sign a disclaimer.

9.) Use the old FEMA/EBS station guideline, have two weeks of fuel on hand. If you don't have this much fuel in storage at the site, install a bigger tank.

10.) Make sure that your Auxiliary Generator is maintained on a regular basis by a trusted and knowledgeable firm. Make sure they check the coolant, oil, etc., as well as check for contamination in all liquids, including your fuel.

11.) Exercising the generator once a week only proves that it started that time. Exercise clocks are not an alternative for preventative maintenance.

12.) Fuel storage in the city is a real problem. Consider the installation of a fuel storage tank at another company location that can be used as a source of fuel for when you need it at two a.m.

13.) When calling the power company be prepared to give them two pieces of information, the affected service address and the billing or account number. This will enable them to rapidly look up your location.

One kinda funny item. My Puget Power bill this month included a sheet proclaiming Puget Power's new outage reporting system: "Easier for you to give and get outage information." A very timely piece I thought, only problem was with a quarter million outages, the system crashed!

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New EAS Handbook

You can throw away the old orange/yellow (depending upon age and sunlight) EBS Handbook--but be sure you keep the red envelope and insert it into the new EAS Handbook! What? You haven't received the new EAS Handbook? I'm not surprised. The FCC says they are NOT mailing copies of this REQUIRED publication to stations unless they are specifically requested to do so. You can download a copy from the FCC internet site, but you will also require Adobe Acrobat Reader to print it. The Adobe file is also available from the FCC site. The FCC has indicated that they will accept downloaded or photocopied versions of the handbook as fulfilling the legal requirements. Check: www.fcc.gov/cib/eas/eas_handbooks.html.

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SBE Announces Creation of Two New Certification Levels

The National Certification Committee proudly announces the addition of two new certification categories. They are Certified Engineer/Video (CEV) and Certified Engineer/Audio (CEA). The two categories have been created to allow engineers who work in our industry, but do not operate transmitters, to become certified. The new categories will be at a five-year level, comparable to the Broadcast Engineer - TV and Broadcast Engineer - AM/FM. We have long since recognized the need for certification in this area. Fellow workers who have spent years in video and audio engineering have not been able to become certified up to now because their field does not include RF. Questions relating to the transmission of the signal such as EAS, FCC and RF will be excluded from the CEV and CEA tests. Instead, we will include more specialized questions in these particular fields. The Certification Program is well-known and highly respected by broadcasters everywhere. Certification is preferred, and many times required, from an ever increasing number of employers. Surveys have shown that employees with SBE Certification are better paid than those without certification. By introducing these new categories, we hope to allow more engineers the opportunity to reap the benefits of certification.

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HDTV is Coming to Portland - And Soon!

Chapter 124 and Kent Randles

OPB is putting an experimentally-licensed Channel 35 HDTV station on from the KPDX 49 tower using the Grand Alliance's choice of Zenith's 8VSB (that's eight carriers) spread-spectrum-like modulation scheme at 19+ megabits-per-second. The signal should be on the air in early March. You could transmit as many as four NTSC-quality pictures with it. There are no "logical" generators for it, so they'll be sending random numbers for now. It's a hand-made Harris transmitter with an exciter that puts out about a Watt into a VERY LINEAR amplifier. There are no receivers, but you can watch it on a spectrum analyzer. The super flat-response, 180 degree directional, custom-made, loaner Dielectric panel antenna replaced Portland Community College's ITFS antenna, and reuses their 1 5/8" feedline. With 250 Watts average power (1000 peak), and a gain of 12.5, there will be a smokin' 1200 Watts ERP, average. On your TV, it will look like just more noise. They hope to prove that adjacent-channel interference won't be a problem.

Four other PBS stations are also doing this in Seattle, Boston, Milwaukee, and Washington D.C. Sharp Labs in Camus is working on receivers, and Tektronics is interested in demods, etc.

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SBE 104 'Transmitter' - December 1996

Northwest Ohio Chapter 104

ADRIAN PIRATE RADIO UPDATE

According to the Tuesday, November 19, edition of the Toledo Blade, a 95-watt pirate radio station has been operating at 97.7 MHz in Adrian, MI. The Blade published an interview with the Rev. Rick Strawcutter, who alledgedly operated the station from inside the "Church of the Lord Jesus Christ" in Adrian Township. He appeared to have quite an operation, transmitting local, recorded, and even satellite-delivered religious programming. While unconfirmed, the Transmitter has heard reports the pirate station was shut down by the FCC earlier this month. According to the stories, apparently, while the pirate was not "directly" interfering with any broadcast station, it was causing a problem with a translator station in Toledo. The translator picks up WGGN, Castalia, at...you guessed it 97.7. Everything was fine until WGGN signed off at night. The translator's receiver was then locking on to the pirate's signals. As such, the FCC could act on the complaint of "interference to a broadcast station," and shut the pirate down (again, this information is unconfirmed).

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Big Fines

If the size of some the recent "mega-deals" are a bit difficult to comprehend, you may be able to understand this item more clearly. A man in Phoenix, AZ, has been fined $6,000 for the following offenses: operation of a radio transmitter on amateur radio frequencies without a license, failure to allow inspection of his equipment by authorized FCC personnel, willful and malicious interference to radio communications of licensed stations, and operation on CB channel 36 to transmit one-way communications and material to amuse or entertain. When he requested a reduction or elimination of the fine, the CIB "concluded that he had failed to adequately document his claim of inability to pay."

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Amateur Radio News

Chapter 24

The FCC has proposed to create a new Wireless Communications Service in the 2305-2320 and 2345-2360 MHz bands and to award licenses through competitive bidding. The bands include a 5 MHz segment that Amateur Radio shares with government services between 2305-2310 MHz. In October, Congress approved a provision as part of the much larger appropriations bill that directed the FCC to put the 30 MHz of spectrum in the 2.3 GHz region up for bidding to help balance the budget. It's believed to be the first time that Congress has ordered the reallocation of specific frequencies. The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) reports that its general counsel, Chris Imlay (W3KD), has filed papers with the FCC to petition for the adjacent amateur allocation at 2300- 2305 MHz to be elevated from secondary to primary status.

(Excerpts from January 1997 "QST" Magazine)

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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)871-4204 email: ansmith@du.edu

Views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the official positions of the Society, its officers, or its members. We regret, but are not liable for, any omissions or errors. The Denver SBE 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 chapters are permitted to use excerpts if attributed to the original authors, sources, and/or the Denver SBE Newsletter.