A monthly newsletter by Society of Broadcast Engineers Chapter 48

March 1999


Return to Chapter 48 Newsletter Page

Contents

The February 1999 Meeting
Upcoming Meetings and Happenings
EAS Equipment Year 2000 Readiness
Special Presentation By Belden Wire And Cable
The Millenium Certification Project
Longtime Friend Of Broadcasters Passes Away
Monthly HAMnet Brings SBE To Remote Areas
Chapter 37, Washington DC Chairman's Message
Paid Your EAS License Fee?
Amateur Radio News
Fun with Words
Etc.

The February 1999 Meeting

Fred Baumgartner

Originally, we had Dennis Rountree scheduled RE: back up power... He got hung up on the East Coast... and asked to be rescheduled... and he'll buy lunch... now there is a deal... So the topic turned to the proposed SBE/SMPTE Front Porch Radio Project.

We also completed SMPTE nominations and elections... the 1999 officer list is:

Rome Chelsi... Chairman
Rick Craddock... Secretary Treasurer
John Switzer... Membership
Fred Baumgartner... Board
Jack McKain... Board

We declined to nominate a candidate for regional governor, a national position. Officers take or retake their positions 1 July 1999.

RE: KFPR (is that available?) Tim Cutforth has identified 88.3 as the target frequency and Keith Erickson has graciously offered the start-up use of his tower 6 miles East of Parker. We have a shot at 100 directional watts (aimed at down-town Denver) at approximately 43 feet above ground. This should do a pretty good job of covering autos in the metro area, and some reasonable percentage of in home receivers.

KFPR is designed to provide an outlet for schools and organizations that do not now have access to the airwaves, on a time share basis. The SBE/SMPTE chapter would hold the license, and oversee a board of educators and community leaders who would split up the available air time to best serve the community and maximize access. Access to the automatic transmitter controlled station would be via ISDN lines. KFPR itself would not have a studio as such. A trust would be established to underwrite the operating and capital costs of the stations.

The SMPTE/SBE chapter would provide an outreach to media students, and provide an outlet for education and entertainment that is not available in a meaningful way in the community now. Who better than broadcast engineers to volunteer to engineer a station for the communities benefit? A vote was taken at the meeting to authorize the next step, which is filing the SBE/SMPTE chapter as a non-profit organization. This would be necessary prior to filing for a license. This is also something that we have discussed for other reasons over the last few years. If you can help here, we need you now.

Fred also volunteered to draft a "constitution" of sorts for KFPR. These would be a draft set of operating rules for the discussion of the chapter.

Tim Cutforth has been kind enough to offer to do the technical part of the filing, and believes that it's not big enough to attract attention, so we have a better than even chance of getting it through. Fred noted that the coverage and cost were just about right, and there was some potential of upgrading the facility with time.

This is starting to be fun.

MARCH: Special seminar from Belden Wire and Cable on THURSDAY, March 18. Complete information in this issue.

Return To Table of Contents


Upcoming meetings and Happenings

Thursday, March 18 Belden Wire and Cable Program - See full details in this letter!

AprilA chapter get-together at NAB on the 21st?

April 16-19 Broadcast Education Association 99, Las Vegas, Nevada

April 17 - 22 The NAB99 Conferences

May Student Program at Auraria - Details to be announced.

May 25-28 SCTE/Cable-Tec Expo, Orlando, FL,

June 16 Lunch at NDTC

June 7-11 SBE Leadership Skills Seminar, Indianopolis, IN

July 14 World Famous Picnic on Lookout Mountain

Return To Table of Contents


EAS Equipment Year 2000 Readiness

Larry Wilkins
SBE EAS Committee Chairman

In August of 1998, the SBE EAS Committee sent inquiry letters to all EAS equipment manufacturers asking them to forward information on the readiness of their equipment for the Year 2000. What follows are the responses from those manufacturers.


HOLLYANNE CORPORATION
June 30, 1998

Per your inquiry, the HollyAnne Corporation EAS equipment is year 2000 compliant. This includes equipment built or distributed by HollyAnne Corporation. The method of testing followed the guidelines of Y2K compliance analysis including leap and non-leap year functionality. The day tracking analysis was also completed successfully.

Additionally the 9999 September 9, 1999 data failure analysis was completed successfully. The EAS products compliance list includes, but is not limited to, Altronix "Envoy" messaging equipment and software; MIP 921 encoder/decoder and software; HC 971 hub controller; and CEMS 1000 character generator.

Sincerely, Marty Callahan President


MTS COMMUNICATIONS
September 15, 1998

This letter is in response to your questions about MTS EAS products' year 2000 readiness. The MTS System 3000D is ready for year 2000 with no hardware or software modifications. Because the System 3000D is based on a PC platform, however, it will be necessary to reset the clock and calendar shortly after midnight on Saturday, January 1, 2000. This reset is accomplished via the front panel keypad and display. Once set, all date, time and julian calculations are performed correctly. The system 3000D requires nothing more than this simple clock-setting to be completely Y2K compliant. MTS will issue a service bulletin to all System 3000D owners to remind them to reset the calendar, and we will cheerfully assist any owners via phone, email, fax or postal mail should they have any questions. The MTS ENCODER II product, an FCC certified, software-based, stand-alone encode-only product, is also compliant with year 2000 requirements. ENCODER II runs on a PC under Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows NT. Full compliance is assured provided the host platform is also ready for year 2000, a determination which only the end user of the product can make. Please feel free to contact me if you require further information.

Sincerely, Skip White
VP, Software Engineering


Gorman-Redlich
October 21 ,1998

A Gorman-Redlich EAS1 unit containing software version v6.4 or higher is totally year 2000 ready. The current version of EAS1 software is v8.1 which, in addition to Year 2000 readiness, overcomes the problem of weather service excessive delay between end of FSK header and beginning of 1050 cycle tone. It also successfully deals with the wide variation in the time interval between the end of FSK header and beginning of dual tone attention signal on EAS units of other manufacturers. A Gorman-Redlich EAS1 unit containing software version 6.3 or earlier is not completely Year 2000 ready. The extent of the problem in those earlier versions will only affect messages that originate on December 31, 1999 and expire on January 1, 2000. Messages that originate and expire on December 31, 1999 or originate and expire on January 1, 2000 or later will not be affected. EAS1 version 8.1 software is available now but will only run on Revision E boards or modified Revision C boards. Any customer can request a free replacement-board compatible EPROM from the company and if the request is accompanied by a current printout of the setup sheet from the customers EAS1 unit, a floppy disk will be sent with the new EPROM containing an upload ready setup file. Once the EPROM is installed and the file uploaded from a computer into the EAS1, all station pre-programmed setups will be restored. The customer is asked to return the old EPROM. Any unit that has not been modified will have installed a V6.4 or earlier version of the firmware. All Revision E and modified Revision C boards will have firmware versions higher than revision V6.4. There is a charge of $150 to return Revision C boards to be modified to accommodate the latest version of firmware.


SAGE

October 1998
Y2K Statement of Compliance

The Sage EAS Endec Max 1822 will continue to receive and transmit properly encoded EAS alerts through the year 2000 with the current firmware version 5.88 as pursuant to current FCC part 11 rules. EAS alerts as specified in the current FCC Part 11.31(3)(c) do not include the year. The protocol requires that all EAS alerts be encoded with only the Julian day, hour and minute.

The Sage Endec displays the year information for user convenience. When viewing the "menu.alerts.view" alert log function, an anomaly will occur for the display of years 2000 [will be 100], 2001 [will be 101], 2002 [will be 102], etc. for firmware versions lower than 5.103, including 5.88. Firmware version 5.103 is available for $50.00 from our Sales Office at 1-800-622-0022. Order SAGY2KEPROM.

Robert E. Halpern,
Broadcast Systems Year 2000 Compliance Team


Burk Technology
BURK Technology Year 2000 Compliance

Burk Technology Year 2000 Compliance Statement

A Year 2000 Compliant product from Burk Technology will not produce errors processing date data in connection with the year change from December 31, 1999 to January 1, 2000, when used with accurate date data in accordance with its documentation; provided all other products (e.g., other software, firmware and hardware) used with it properly exchange date data with the Burk Technology product. A Year 2000 Compliant product from Burk Technology will recognize the Year 2000 as a leap year.

The Statement of Compliance refers to the Burk Technology product as delivered by Burk Technology. The Compliance Statement does not apply to user- customizable features or third party add-on features or products, including items such as user defined modes, function and custom programming and formatting features. The Burk Technology Statement of Compliance does not constitute a warranty or extend the terms of any existing warranty. The information available from Burk Technology concerning the Year 2000 is provided for the sole purpose of assisting our customers in their planning for the transition to the Year 2000.


Santa Clara, California - TFT, Inc., today announced that all of its products, that are currently shipping and those shipped previously, will not be affected by any year 2000 issues. Specifically, the EAS 911 series of EAS Encoders and Decoders and the EMAS series distributed by Federal Signal Corporation will accommodate the rollover to the year 2000 and that for any dates from January 1, 1995 to December 31, 2094. For further information, contact: Jacob Lau MIS Department TFT, Inc. Telephone: (408) 727-7272 Fax: (408) 727-5942 9500-0508a


N Electronics LLC
Response not yet received.

Return To Table of Contents


Special Presentation By Belden Wire And Cable

Date: Thursday, March 18,1999

Time: 8:00am - 1:00pm

Place: The Executive Conference Center at Inverness Business Park. The executive Conference Center is conveniently located in the Inverness Business Park near I-25 and County Line Road at the IHS Group headquarters, Building C, 327 Inverness Drive South. Phone 303-790-0600 Ext.2312.

Directions: From I-25, Exit on County Line Road and proceed east into Inverness Business Park. Go straight through the first traffic light intersection. Road curves to the right. Turn left at the first cross street, Inverness Way South. Proceed Past the softball complex on the right. Make a right turn at the first drive past the softball complex, (Inverness Drive South) to IHS Group, Building B parking lot. proceed east to the back lot and park in the south end of the lot.

TITLE: A Time for Transition: The Move from Analog to Digital

We don't have to tell you that everyone is going digital. Recording studios, radio broadcasters, and especially television facilities are under pressure to "go digital". In the chaos, one item often overlooked is Wire and Cable. And yet Wire and Cable has made equally dramatic technological changes in the past few years.

The subject will be the recent technological changes in Wire and Cable as compared to previous designs. Some of the questions to be answered include: Can you use analog audio cable for digital audio? Can you use analog video cable for digital video? What about FireWire? USB? Category 7? Come equipped with your own wire and cable questions.

BIO:

Our speaker is Steve Lampen, Senior Audio-Video Specialist for Belden Wire & Cable Co. Westlake Electronics plans to have a booth containing new product information, samples etc. This will be available before the presentation, during breaks, lunch and after the presentation. We will probably have a connector company present details on true 75 ohm connectors. This time slot will be after Belden's presentation and should last one hour. A continental Breakfast will be served in the morning along with a boxed lunch. Lunch will be from 12:00pm till 1:00pm.

Return To Table of Contents


The Millenium Certification Project
A Second Chance

Gary Stigall, SBE Chapter 36

February 2, 1999

Dear Gary:

Your National Certification Committee met on January 23rd in a marathon meeting. While the challenges ahead are many, we are excited about the opportunities to provide you with the tools necessary to bring growth in your chapter membership, both certified and non-certified alike. We think we've developed a number of interesting and innovative programs to reach that goal.

Our first initiative is to reach Broadcast Engineers whom once held SBE Certification and have allowed it to lapse. That lapse in certification may have been an unfortunate oversight or it may have been intentional, but in either scenario those engineers may now regret that decision. We want to do something about that.

In response to this challenge, the SBE Certification Committee has developed the Millennium Certification Project. This one-time only program will allow Radio and Television engineers formerly certified as Broadcast Technologist, Broadcast Engineer and Senior Broadcast Engineer to regain their Certification without taking another examination.

Each applicant must submit a designated application, which will include a narrative section which details their knowledge and experience in broadcast technology through the past several years. A member of the National Certification Committee will review the application and narrative, applying essentially the same re-certification criteria as would be expected of a non- lapsed certification holder. At the conclusion of a satisfactory review of the submitted materials, the applicant will have the previous level of certification restored.

If an engineer once held certification as a Professional Broadcast Engineer and it has lapsed, they will not be able to re-certify as a CPBE. However, under certain circumstances,they can re- certify at the Senior Broadcast Engineering level and then obtain CPBE certification at a later date.

The cost for making application under this special program is $99, which does not include SBE membership. Membership in SBE is not a requirement for Certification, although we certainly expect that many who take advantage of this program will also wish to reinstate their membership as well.

The opportunity to take advantage of the Millennium Certification Project will be very limited-all applications must be received by December 31, 1999. It is up to us to get the word out to our Chapter colleagues and acquaintances. Enclosed are materials to get you started. This Project is the first for the Program of Certification. The National Certification will have more exciting news to share with you as this year progresses. As promised '99 is to be the year of certification.

Sincerely,
Terrence Baun,
CPBE Chairman, National Certification Committee
Society of Broadcast Engineers

Return To Table of Contents


Longtime Friend Of Broadcasters Passes Away

Chester "Chet" Granard, founder of Westlake Electronic Supply in Seattle, passed away on December 20, 1998. In 1952, Chet decided to start his own business, Westlake Electronic Supply. With the help of Pauline and their sons they built a company that is still in business today. Chet retired from Westlake in 1985 for health reasons and passed it on to his sons Ron and Denny. Westlake Supply has been an advertiser in the Chapter 48/SMPTE newsletter for a number of years.

Return To Table of Contents


Monthly HAMnet Brings SBE To Remote Areas

At 20:00 EST, 0000 GMT, on the second Sunday of each month, SBE Chapter 73 takes to the air. Hal Hostetler, WA7BGX, of Tucson, Arizona, is the control station for the "meeting". Updates on SBE activities are given each month and participants can discuss technical issues and visit. HAMnet was originally begun to help serve members who lived too far to attend meetings of any regular chapter, but any amateur operator is welcome and encouraged to participate. Look for HAMnet on 14.205 mHz.

Return To Table of Contents


Chapter 37, Washington DC Chairman's Message

From Chairman Ed Bukont

Perception may be reality...but reality may not be as perceived. We all think of studio systems as "mission-critical". We tend to scoff at off-the-shelf or common variety systems as not meeting the 24/7 needs of radio. At least one broadcast equipment manufacturer has found, however, that those who hold the purse strings do not necessarily consider studio systems to be mission- critical. According to their research (I won't say who the vendor is) executive management at many stations has indicated they would have systems that can be integrated with everything else in the facility (referred to as an enterprise-wide solution), and some form of backup, rather than multiple application-specific systems. Those who were polled did not indicate that on- air systems are "mission-critical", which would justify using a specific yet uncommon platform and the inherent differences of cost or design. The critical interest expressed instead by executive management was in making everything work on a common platform for all to use, no matter how much more robust a particular platform may be over the platform which runs your sales software. Think about that the next time you propose a purchase that "meets the needs of radio." Are you sure that you, and management, both feel the same way about what is "mission-critical"? Maybe this explains the unconcerned attitude on the part of many with regard to the potential impact of Y2K problems.

Return To Table of Contents


Paid Your EAS License Fee?

by Gary Stigall, CSTE
SBE Chapter 36, San Diego

Received your letter from Al yet? Al Eckilson of Quad Dimension in Kansas City, Missouri has a letter for every broadcaster in the United States. In that letter, he claims you owe him $240 for a license to use EAS. Yes, the Emergency Alert System. He told me, "We live in tornado alley here, and I wanted a way to use existing radio transmitters broadcasters you see are full time, highpower to relay information about the tornado tracks here." You just enter zip codes or other geographical information about the storm track and the system would notify anyone with a monitor in the affected area. Sounds good. Sounds like EAS.

Mr. Eckilson and his technical buddies Mike Fessler, Daric Laughlin, and Larry Ganzer invented the "Storm Alert for Emergencies" (SAFE) system to do just that. They received U.S. Patent 5,121,430 on June 12, 1992. They showed it to a manufacturer of weather alert equipment shortly thereafter and the manufacturer was interested. When the FCC issued a request for comment on inprovements to the EBS system in 1994, Quad Dimension commented about their new SAFE system.

They want you to consider that "the hardware being sold by the EAS equipment manufacturers is a subset of the patented system." They maintain that the technology involves the whole transmission chain and codes, not just the boxes. Quad Dimension was granted a clarifying Reexamination Certificate as recently as September 1998. It was only after this that the partners began pursuing payments.

Chris Imlay, General Counsel of the SBE commented in an open letter, "The validity of the patent is currently unknown to SBE, and thus far, neither FCC nor the Commerce Department has asserted any position on the subject. The patent was amended by a Reexamination Certificate (B1 5,121,430) issued on or about September 1, 1998. According to FCC staff, the Commission, in adopting the formula for the EAS regulations, believed that the National Weather Service, part of the Commerce Department, held a patent which preceded the Quad Dimension patent, and which was the only valid patent on the EAS design. It is not clear, however, what the effect is of the reexamination certificate on the validity of the Quad Dimension patent; what the status is of the NWS patent; or the extent of the entitlement of Quad Dimension to require patent licenses for use of a system required by the Commission."

Return To Table of Contents


Amateur Radio News

By Tom Weeden, WJ9H
SBE Chapter 24

The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) has petitioned the FCC to create two low-frequency amateur radio allocations below the AM broadcast band. The proposal calls for a narrow 2.1 kHz band from 135.7 to 137.8 kHz and a 30 kHz segment from 160-190 kHz. Transmit power of 200 watts would be allowed, but EIRP (effective isotropic radiated power) would be limited to only 2 watts. ARRL pointed out that poor antenna efficiencies and ground losses would likely keep EIRPs at less than 1 watt. Unlicensed experimenters operating under Part 15 of the FCC Rules can currently operate on low frequencies running transmitter power of 1 watt or less.

Phonex Corporation, a maker of "wireless modems" and TCI, which has been installing the units across the US, are recalling them after reports of interference to amateur HF bands. The ARRL contacted the two companies after receiving reports about 80-meter interference from the devices. The modems operate under Part 15 and may not cause interference to licensed services. "Although the Phonex has complied with required FCC regulations, the ARRL has identified a potential interference problem on the low end of the 80-meter band," said Phonex Senior Engineer Scott Bullock, KK7LC. "We have several hams in our organization, and we do not want to cause any interference to any amateur band." The carrier-current devices impose 3.53 and 8.27 MHz RF on the power line. TCI has been installing these units in some subscribers' homes to make a convenient connection from the cable box to the telephone line to transmit billing information. Phonex says it's made the necessary production changes to move the operating frequency of its units to 3.3 MHz.

(Excerpts from January 1999 "QST" Magazine and "The ARRL Letter")

Return To Table of Contents


Fun with Words

From Fred Baumgartner

The Washington Post's "Style Invitational" asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are some recent winners:

Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high. . . .

Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the recipient who doesn't get it.

Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease.

Glibido: All talk and no action.

Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a refund from the IRS, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

Return To Table of Contents


Newsletter Committee

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

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