CBNT Class Comes To Colorado
On Saturday May 10, the Society of Broadcast Engineers held its first Network Certification course at the Comcast Media Center in Denver Colorado. Linda Baun, SBE Certification Director and Terry Baun also from the National SBE office were on hand to administer the training to our Rocky Mountain SMPTE and SBE Chapter 48 members. In spite of 3 inches of snow from the previous night, about 25 members participated in the class.
The class, taught by Terry, covered computer based network technologies that are rapidly being incorporated in the daily lives of the Broadcast Engineer. This class offered useful information regarding everything from cabling to network servers and everything in between.
Below is Patrick Griffith of Westminster, Colorado, who completed the training and received his CBNT. Patrick is shown with Audra Winn, a local talent from the "Shagman" used car commercials.
Special thanks goes out to the Comcast Media Center for hosting the session and providing food and drink.
In the future, we hope to bring more sessions like this for our local chapter members. More information regarding SBE Certification can be found at the SBE National web site at: www.sbe.org.
Again, special thanks to Terry and Linda Baun for being able to be here and providing this session for us.
Random Radio Thoughts
Cris Alexander, CSRE
Back in April at the NAB convention, there was a lot of hubbub about the rollout of HD Radio, Radio's version of a digital transmission medium. A number of FM stations in the nation's top six markets are already on the air with the FM version; there are a couple of AM stations transmitting in digital as well.
One thing I noted while at NAB was that the AM HD over-the-air demos sounded rough. To my ear, they sounded like a fair quality Internet stream. There were artifacts present, particularly on high-frequency components. Much of the source material was high-density, however, which made it hard to discern the artifacts.
Crawford Broadcasting Company and several other broadcast groups recently made decisions to wait on AM HD implementation. I based my decision almost entirely on the quality issue, although the unresolved nighttime questions also played a part. My opinion was that AM HD Radio was not ready for prime time. The PAC algorithm for AM needs a lot of work.
On May 14, the NRSC DAB subcommittee announced a suspension of activity in the in-band-on-channel (IBOC) standards-setting process. The reason cited was "...growing concerns over the audio quality of iBiquity's low bit-rate codec..." It was the very demonstrations that I heard at NAB 2003 in Las Vegas plus similar demonstrations at a private NPR event in Washington that led the NRSC to pull the plug for the time being on IBOC standards setting. It was interesting to note that many NRSC members found that earlier demonstrations at 36 kbps sounded much better and were "...suitable for broadcast." Whatever changes iBiquity has recently made to the AM PAC algorithm, they were in the wrong direction.
It will be interesting to see what happens in coming months by way of PAC improvements. I think it is very unfortunate that AM, which stands to gain the most from a digital transmission medium, has been back-burnered once again. Maybe we should take Leonard Kahn's new AM proposal a little more seriously after all.
A topic that will affect us all, both radio and television, is the recent re-write of the Part 74 (Broadcast Auxiliary Service) rules. Last month I mentioned that the requirement for Part 101.103(d)-type frequency coordination on all BAS applications above 944 MHz was stayed, thanks to the efforts of the SBE, until October 16, 2003. The problem is, the FCC's BAS database is a mess. I have spent a lot of time looking at the data and found that most fixed-station records are missing receive site coordinates and receive antenna HAGL. Many records are missing antenna information (gain and beamwidth). Still others are missing such primary information as emission designation, transmit site coordinates and transmit antenna height. Clearly it will be impossible to do effective coordinations with such a poor database.
Last month, Howard Fine of the Southern California Frequency Coordination Committee met with a number of industry representatives and the FCC in Washington. He took with him a folder full of representative data from the FCC's own BAS database. The meeting, which was to have been short, went for over four hours. Howard said that the FCC was amazed first at the depth of the problem and also at the amount of knowledge the industry representatives had of the problem.
As a result of this meeting, we fully expect some significant action by the FCC. This will probably take the form of a Public Notice that will be mailed to all broadcast licensees, giving them a specific window in which to provide all missing BAS license information to the FCC. This is conjecture, but I presume the penalty for not providing the missing information within the allotted time will be to remove the deficient records from the database, thereby denying even long-standing existing STLs, ICRs and other fixed BAS stations protection from interference. Watch these pages for updates as they occur. We will broadcast an email in the event that a short-trigger FCC action is announced.
Frequency congestion in the Broadcast Auxiliary bands has long been a problem in metropolitan areas. Denver, with most of its FM sites located in the foothills to the west and with many of its AM sites located along the South Platte River to the northeast, has unique challenges in this regard.
A number of stations in the Denver metro area have implemented alternative technologies to get around the problem. Some stations use Qwest T1 lines; others have resorted to equalized telco lines. Of late, however, a few broadcasters have taken advantage of something new and different, namely unlicensed digital spread spectrum in the 2.4 and 5.8 GHz bands.
A couple of years ago, Colorado Public Radio linked its studios/offices on Josephine Street with its Ruby Hill engineering office and transmitter site with a Harris Aurora digital spread spectrum unit. Al Stewart has reported success with this system. Not only is CPR sending program audio in both directions on this link, it is also using part of the link's bandwidth for telephone service, effectively incorporating the Ruby Hill operation into the Josephine Street PBX system. The Aurora is a little pricey at $14,000, but it is a solid piece of equipment that provides in essence a T1 link between sites.
Last year, Paul Montoya did something similar with KCUV and KNRC using the Motorola Canopy system. The Canopy was developed for wireless Internet applications. The "backhaul" unit is intended to provide a wireless link between "access points" and provides the equivalent of a 10 mb TCP/IP pipe. Over clear paths up to 15 miles or so, it can provide a very reliable high-capacity link. The antennas with reflectors installed provide an EIRP of +20 dBm with a 1.8-degree beamwidth at 5.8 GHz. That should be tight enough to keep out all but on-axis interference. A single Canopy backhaul link is priced at about $2,500.
Several other stations in the Denver market are currently experimenting with the Canopy system as a means of eliminating pricey T1 lines. So far, the tests have been ultra successful. The system has ridden out snowstorms, thunderstorms and Chinook winds without significant errors. During the last round of tests during which more than 3 trillion packets were sent, there were only four CRC errors. That sounds like an acceptable level of reliability. More on this as it develops.
Harris has come out with a CM-20 TCP/IP module for its Intraplex system that will allow it to work over any TCP/IP pipe of sufficient bandwidth. This gives the Intraplex the capability of working over a Canopy system or even a high-bandwidth DSL. In the case of a DSL-based link, latency would be an issue. Still, given that a $500 T1 can be replaced with a $100 DSL, this is a significant development. Good for Harris for developing this technology.
If you have local radio engineering related news you'd like to share in next month's newsletter, drop me a note at email@example.com.
Dave Porta Leaves The Rockies For A New Set Of Mountains
Dave Porta, long time Denver TV Professional has accepted a position as News Operations Manager for a 4 station network originating at WOWK-TV in Huntington, WV.
He has been working there for over a month now, and is already talking funny, listening to a certain John Denver song and walking like one leg is shorter than the other. (That happens in those hills, you know)
Many of Dave's friends joined him at the Denver Press Club recently on a Friday afternoon to wish him well as he prepares to move the furniture, wife and what's left of his hair to Huntington.
Please join us to wish him well in his new position.
1150 AM Transmitter Site Gets A Real Upgrade
For those of our readers who have been in the market awhile, you will no doubt recall that the 1150 khz frequency has been through some changes over the past 25 years. Starting out as a 1 kw non-directional daytimer, later upped to 5 kw, the tower was located just north of West Oxford between Santa Fe and Federal. In the late 70's, the owners decided to pursue going full time and the four tower night site was built on property north of then Arapahoe County, now Centennial, Airport east of Peoria, just a dirt road at that time. When the move of the daytime operation to the night site was attempted, it was discovered that the new site was short spaced to a daytime station in Burlington Colorado at 1140 khz, necessitating a daytime directional as well. The phasing system was 'retrofitted' to accommodate a second 2 tower phasor for the day operation. The day signal was very competitive, but the night signal left a great deal to be desired for mid-town Denver. In fact, I recall quite distinctly that the first week of night operation featured a young lady talk host named Sharon Katchen. Sharon told me some years later that those were very long shifts because so few people could hear her and the station did not have the budget to promote their new hours. She had very, very few calls.
Since then, 1150 has been several versions of talk, featuring such legendary talk talent as the late Alan Berg; rock and roll oldies as KRZN "Kruzin 1150" and two different Spanish language formats as "Que Suave, KCUV and Radio Unica. Now the folks at the News Radio Corporation have acquired the station and intend to move their news and talk programming from 1510 to 1150, coming full circle from those days over 20 years ago, but not until they've made a few improvements! Our roving reporter visited the site recently and was given the tour by consultant Paul Montoya. As you'll see from the photos, a few changes are being made...in just about everything except the towers themselves.
It became quickly apparent to Paul upon inspection of the site that the years had not been kind to the transmitter building, its contents or the ATUs in the tower shacks. Besides, the new 10 kw day power and pattern and night patterns would require different gear anyway, so the only logical approach was a clean start. Here you see the old Continental 315-F 5 kw transmitter and the night phasing cabinet on the left and the shiny new Harris DX-10 and Kintronics phasors on the right. By the way, tucked on the far end of the phasing cabinets is a Harris I kw single phase transmitter "just in case".
The ATUs in the old system were mounted on metal plates inside the traditional 'dog houses', which unfortunately leaked rather badly, and there were a number of off air incidents over the years due to water dripping onto the control systems. In the left hand picture, you can also see the carbon path left from a lightning strike on this tower just below the RF contactor. Paul shows us the nifty new ATU at the west-center tower cabinet at right from Kintronics that includes components for day, night and non-directional operation.
Here are the two east towers, with the old doghouses on the left and the new ATU cabinets at the right:
The new day power of 10 kw promises to improve on the original 5 kw power with increased signal levels in the core metro and expanded coverage in the outlying areas. However, the real story may lie in the nighttime coverage. 1150 has always suffered from anemic nighttime coverage of Denver due to a deep null that lay pretty much right through mid-town. Apparently nothing much could be done until consulting firm duTreil, Lundin and Rackley had a go at it. As you can see from these contour maps, the night coverage may be considerably improved by this new installation:
With most of the RF measurements now completed, the ownership has applied to the FCC to 'flip' the call letters so that KNRC now appears on 1150 khz and the former 1150 call letters of KCUV are now assigned to 1510 khz. Reception reports of the daytime signal have been received from as far north as central Wyoming. The night signal is also reported to be considerably stronger in mid-town Denver.
Gary Traver Promoted To Senior Vice President And COO Of Comcast Media Center
Denver, Colo., May (8), 2003 - The Comcast Media Center (CMC) announced today that Gary Traver has been promoted to Senior Vice President & COO for the Denver-based unit of Comcast Cable. Traver, a 20-year broadcasting and cable veteran, has served as Senior Vice President and General Manager of the CMC since its acquisition by Comcast last fall.
""Gary possesses the rare combination of engineering and business management competencies needed to manage a complex facility like the Comcast Media Center,"" stated Tom Hurley, President of the Comcast Media Center. ""Gary and his team have developed a digital platform for enabling cable operators and programming networks to create, manage and distribute advanced services.
Traver had served as Senior Vice President of Video Services for CMC, formerly AT&T Digital Media Centers, since joining the company in 1999. Prior to that, he served as Vice President of Broadcast and Network Operations for PRIMESTAR, where he and his engineering team received an Emmy award for their pioneering work in digital television, which included launching the world's first fully digital consumer service.
BAS Database Corrections
From W.C. Alexander
The following is a list of BAS 944-952 MHz fixed station records for the Denver area that are missing receive site data.
From Dane Ericksen's "Radio Currents Online" column...
Where to submit corrections. Corrections should be mailed to:
Featuring News, Rumors and Views
Since we last met between these pages another NAB has come and gone. As I sit here in front of my 'puter I am fresh with the memories of the event this year. I can't help but recall the ways that NAB has changed for me over the years. Way back when... I would go to see the new gear and talk with vendors about a project that I had coming up, or perhaps sit through every tech session that was available... that was until I got involved with SBE. When you are on the national Board you are given 'assignments' or 'chores' to do: things that really sap your time; there is not much time for toy shopping. My first job was to, as you know, represent SBE with EAS. Then came the FCC Liaison Committee... then the Frequency Coordination Committee. Result: This year I got a half day on the floor to deal with vendors about specific projects I am involved with and a couple of hours to just look. Would I change it? Probably not.
The short report is that SBE is doing well, growing and expanding. The highlights of that activity depend upon your point of view, of course. Last year, thanks to the good work of Dave Biondi, we broadcast the SBE-EAS meeting live over the net; this year we did the same but added the annual membership meeting. That's pretty cool. I do hope you listened in. In the event you did not, you still can... they are at www.broadcast.net. Nothing like a live radio remote that you can still hear! Frequency Coordination is a big topic with lotsa activity related to the project to create a new tool for coordinators. Then there is the FCC rule change on point-to-point stuff that will make major changes in that work.
One of the items that I spent a lot of time with at NAB was IBOC, or what we now call HD-Radio, or HDR. On the Radio side, this continued to be the hot topic as this new technology moved from the 'someday' mode to the 'real-deal'. It's certainly interesting to watch the expressions on the faces of folks from other markets when you tell them that Seattle will have at least seven HDR stations on the air this year. This total makes Seattle one of the major roll-out markets. From my point of view this means a major project as Entercom here will be doing five of them. KBKS and KING-FM round out the initial wave. This is turning out to be radio's version of HDTV... new stuff all the way. I was pleased to see that the Ibiquity booth at the show had a number of car radios on display by major makers. Word is that this summer you will be able to actually buy them... I can't wait. I am reminded of when I bought one of those little FM-converters for my car radio many years ago so I could actually receive FM in my car (back then you could not buy an AM-FM car radio). My friends would actually want to take a drive with me just to experience FM in a car!!! (OK. I am getting old.) I recall sitting in Kelly Alford's vehicle a while back to hear XM with the same kind of excitement.
In the name of observation: The LV Monorail system is taking shape. Looks like the North end will be near the Stratosphere Tower, from there it will head South, going past the LV Hilton and Convention Center and end up near the South End of the strip. Not all the hotels will be served, but it will certainly be handy for many next year. My thoughts were on the proposed Seattle system. Wonder if they have looked this one over. There are a lot more of those giant video signs, much like the one along I-5 in Federal Way. On the strip side of the shopping mall is being created a giant new metal gizmo that looks like the Enterprise sitting on pillars; not sure what that will end up being; and, of course, the sign that proclaimed - 'Bikini Bull Riding'. Nothing like Las Vegas!
Now onto the other stuff of interest-
Before I forget it... have you upgraded your EAS equipment with all the new event codes? Here in our area we set a goal of having this done by the first of the year, now I am hearing that those on the entry-side of EAS messages will start using the new codes in August. If you have been dragging your feet on this upgrade, it's time to get it done to avoid receiving a bunch of 'unknown messages'.
Have you been following the changes in Part 74? If not I highly encourage you to very carefully read the front page article by Dane Ericksen in the latest issue of the Signal. As is the case with a lot of FCC activity, we got what we wanted... and a whole lot more. We wanted the Commish to let us use Digital STLs to feed our STL transmitters... we got that... AND... brand new rules that will mean coordination of point-to-point systems from 950 and up will be done a whole new way. Making this all complicated is the fact that the 'Master Data-Base' is the FCC's ULS... and there are a very high number of point-to-point receive locations that are NOT in ULS. (Certainly no station in this area has this problem??) This has the potential to mean some very rude awakenings down stream as professional coordination organizations 'find' these sites. Another issue that is going to impact us all is the 're-farming' of many of our 160 and 450 frequencies. This all comes at a time when our local Chapter is re-working our coordination activities. Bottom line: it's going to be different!
Congratulations to Ellis Feinstein, long time associated with Northwest antenna manufacturer, Scala, on being elevated to the rank of Fellow in SBE.
I routinely report on the passing of something... this time it's the floppy disc. Apparently Dell, one of the majors these days, is going to stop putting FDDs in their new machines. If you are like me you have a collection of things on floppy and may occasionally 'record' (computer types call it saving) something that you might want to use later, or perhaps to take something from one machine to another, for instance, home to work (sneaker-net). I guess today if you want something saved, you simply put it on your hard-drive and if that's a problem you just go out and get a new hard-drive that has umpteen gigabytes of space. If you want to move something to another machine you just email it. Boy how times have changed.
If you have tower inspections on your agenda this summer... and your tower is guyed... it just might be a wise idea to insist that the inspectors take a good look at your guy anchors... BELOW ground! Recently a tower went down in South Dakota due to what was called 'anchor rot'. Digging to expose the anchor rods will certainly tell the tale. Out of sight, out of mind could be costly.
I had a chance to check out the area's latest AM station the other day. The 1500 operation in Auburn. Coverage is pretty much as expected: three or four blocks in each direction and a S/N ratio in the 20s. I find it interesting that this little station wannabe operation has been able to generate so much attention in the print media. Will be interesting to see if they do indeed get an LPFM license; they might end up being a REAL community station.
Those of you in TV are likely to think of Radio as TV with less digits in the bottom line. Consider WLTW in New York. According to industry sources it had revenue of over $65 Million this last year. Betcha that beats a bunch of TV stations! Oh, yes (love this one): WINS-AM was the number four billing radio station in the country last year... and yes... it's an AM. Tell that to your local 'rock-jock'.
In March, John Price and I found ourselves making a quick trip to Denver to help out Entercom's facilities there. That big snowstorm they had did a number on the roof of their studio building, forcing evacuation. Think what would happen if we had three to four feet of snow in Seattle with 30-40 mph winds!
In a recent case of a tower in Kansas where the FCC got involved, we are reminded that towers filled with Black coax lines that obscure the towers' orange and white bands is a no-no. The Feds want those towers' colors visible from all directions.
In a city that is famous for having more pirate stations than those licensed... a federal court recently slapped a fellow who operated one of those things in Miami with a 35 Kilobuck fine. Wonder if it will put a dent in the problem?
Then there is the effort by some folks to come up with a new way to get into space. (No, this is not an April item running late.) The company is pursuing a dream of having what they call a 'space-elevator'. This would be in the form of a, yet to be invented, carbon fiber ribbon 62,000 miles long. One end would be tethered at the equator and the other end would have a weight attached that would, via centrifugal force, fly out in space. The new route to space would simply require following the ribbon. Honest! I am NOT joking.
Speaking of new things... lots of excitement over the new antenna design to come out of Kintronics. Tom King had a small model of it at the show. From what I read this might well be the first, practical, low to the ground AM antenna. Unlike the often talked and written about CFA this really works and has been built and tested. Could be a real asset for those AMs that are finding that their transmitter site's property is worth more than the station... or are looking for a place to re-locate. In this area we have still not sunk to the level of some where AM arrays are now engulfed by shopping centers or warehouses. In some of the larger areas of the country you will find some very strange AM Broadcast antennas. Guess it will be a while before Vashon has to contend with this issue.
XM continues to come up with new ways to market their system. They now have what they term a family plan that enables others in the family to use the system without having to pay the full fare. According to the company, they expect to have 1 million subscribers by the end of the year. It's going to be interesting to see just how many will continue to subscribe after the newness wears off. I would guess that being unable to use a piece of hardware that you paid for might encourage renewals. The bottom line is that XM continues to report losses... but remember that cellular did that for a long time, too.
As usual I must leave you with something from one of my contributors. This time a couple of items somewhat related to what we do -
I. Understand that the Energizer Bunny was arrested- Yep, charged with battery.
II. A pessimist's blood type is always - 'B-Negative'
And while I am at it -
Without geometry, life is pointless.
When you dream in color, it's a pigment of your imagination.
Those that sleep on corduroy pillows are often making headlines.
I had better quit... I can hear the groaning from here.
Have a good one, see ya next month.
Clay, K7CR, CPBE
The above comments and opinions are those of Clay Freinwald. They are not the opinion of the Society of Broadcast Engineers, Inc., or Seattle Chapter 16, Inc.
The End User
May 2003 Issue
It's been a real quiet time in the technology arena. Maybe the Iraq war has had something to do with that, or maybe it's just that users have become desensitized to new product introductions. After all, it's a bit hard to get excited about the new 3.5GHz processor when one already has a 3GHz unit on their desk.
So, in the absence of buzz in the tech field (other than Dell regaining the #1 PC maker title from HP-Compaq-but only by the smallest of margins), let's take a look back at some technologies "The End User" has covered and see what progress has been made to date.
1. Recordable DVDs: Last year, it was predicted that the five different recordable-DVD formats would shake out into either the "plus" or "regular" format. We're almost at the middle of 2003 and there seems to be no indication which of the formats will be the survivor. In fact, Memorex has "color-coded" their various DVD-recordable disc packages so one can easily select the correct media for their drive. Hoping to bridge the format incompatibilities, Sony introduced its multi-format DVD recorder. Unfortunately, problems with early-production units resulted in lukewarm user acceptance. Its revised DRU-500AX is a much better unit and supports higher burning speeds. As to which DVD-recordable format will survive? It's anyone's guess at this writing.
2. Wireless Networking: We've heard all about Bluetooth, 802.11a and 802.11g as the next stage in wireless networking platforms. Despite these predictions, the venerable 802.11b standard still reigns supreme as the wireless platform for the masses. The majority of public wireless access points (in locations such as airports and coffee shops) run 802.11b, and the hardware cost has dropped so much that just about anyone can "go wireless" for less than $100. And Intel's recently introduced "Centrino" mobile technology only supports 802.11b. At 11Mb/sec, 802.11b is plenty fast enough for anyone except extreme bandwidth users. And, as with the multiple recordable-DVD formats, the newer technologies are incompatible with each other (although 802.11g gear will work with 802.11b platforms). The future? Give this about another 18 months to work out. And don't discount the "UWB" (UltraWideBand) and "3G" wireless systems being deployed by the cellular companies; this technology may end up being the new mass-appear platform.
3. The "Moxi": Remember hearing about this all-in-one entertainment box, which combined broadband Internet access, a PVR, DVD recorder and more? "The End User" first discovered the Moxi in March of '02. Just over a year later-and it really hasn't made much of a splash in the marketplace.
So what do you think? Are you desensitized to new tech toy introductions? Or are the products being released just not piquing your interest? Drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your thoughts. We'll print responses in an upcoming "End User."
Till next month, all the best!
The above comments and opinions are those of Rich Petschke.They are not the opinion of the Society of Broadcast Engineers, Inc., or Seattle Chapter 16, Inc.
Compiled By Tom Smith
ET Docket No. 03-104
The FCC has started an inquiry into allowing the use of carrier current systems for the use of delivering broadband services to the home as well as managing the electric power system. The inquiry address two types of carrier current systems. The first is access systems which use the 1000 to 40 ,000 volt transmission lines to deliver services such as the Internet to homes and offices. Electric utilities could also do load management with these systems. The second system they address is the use on the electric wiring within the home or office to network computers and other devices such as printers.
The FCC currently has rules that allow for the transmission of RF signals over power lines within a building. They operate below 2 MHz and are used for providing AM Radio signals within a building such as in a collage dorm or for device control such as the X-10 control systems, which allow for the remote control of lights and appliances. The Commission is proposing the use of devices that operate from 2-80 MHz.
The inquiry asks about the current state of Broadband over Power Line technology (BPL), potential interference to current spectrum users, test results from experimental BPL, measurement procedures for testing emission from all types of carrier current systems and changes in Part 15 rules to allow for development of BPL and to prevent interference to other services from broadband and other carrier current services.
This action was taken by the commission and released on April 23, 2003.
CS Docket No. 97-80
In this notice of proposed rulemaking the FCC delayed the deadline on which it would have prohibited multichannel video programming distributors (MVPD's) from deploying new navigation devices that provide both conditional access and other functions in a single integrated unit. The deadline was moved from January 1, 2005 to July 1, 2006. Last December, the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers and the cable industry signed an agreement that would allow for digital cable boxes that the consumer could purchase, as well as TV sets with digital cable tuners that would have slots for a conditional access device that the cable or other video provider would supply. The conditional access device would allow for the descrambling of pay-TV services. The receiver and the descrambler being separate devices is what the Telecommunications Act of 1996 requires, and this proposal should meet that requirement.
Because there are a number of issues the electronic manufacturers and the cable industry still must settle, the FCC granted a delay, but they are requiring the two industries to give them a progress report every 90 days following the released of this order. The FCC adopted the order on April 14, 2003 and released it on April 25th. Final comments are due on February 19, 2004 with replies due on March 10, 2004.
MM Docket No. 95-31
Non-commercial applicants will have a harder time getting a license in a non-reserved broadcast channel. Currently the lowest 20 channels in the FM band (88.1-91.9 MHz) and a number of full power TV channels are allocated by the FCC for non-commercial use only. All AM, TV and Low-Power TV and FM translators outside of the 88.1-91.9 MHz band are allocated for use by commercial stations primarily. In the past non-commercial applicants could apply for any channel and have it reserved, in the TV, AM, or FM Band. Commercial and non-commercial stations were on a more equal footing with translators.
With the advent of auctions, the FCC has run into a problem in the commercial bands-they could not require a non-commercial station to bid in auction for a license, but were required to hold an auction if there were one or more commercial applicants. In the new rules, non-commercial applicants will be required to bid at auction unless they meet one of two standards. That they are non-profit educational organization that will use the license to advance an educational program and can be licensed as a noncommercial educational broadcast station, or they are a municipality that will use the station to transmit only non-commercial programs for educational purposes. The standards track the definition of a NCE station as described on Section 309(j)(2)(C) of the Communications Act.
Stations applying for secondary services-such as translators and LPTV stations- and applicants for AM stations will have an opportunity to settle with a commercial applicant. If there is no settlement, the non-commercial application is dismissed and the license awarded to a commercial applicant.
The FCC will allow for the allocation of a reserved channel in the non-reserved FM band or in the TV band upon the showing of a study that any allocation of a reserved band channel is precluded in the area proposed to be served.
This action was adopted on March 4, 2003 and released on April 10, 2003.
Amateur Radio News
By Tom Weeden, WJ9H
Some amateur radio groups are expressing concern over the proposed concept of using existing electrical power lines to deliver Internet and broadband service to homes and offices. In mid-April the FCC initiated a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) in ET Docket 03-104. A form of carrier-current technology typically known as power line communication (PLC), it's also been called "PowerWiFi" and now-by the FCC-"Broadband over Power Line" (BPL). The technology is raising serious interference concerns within the amateur radio community, since BPL would apply high-frequency RF to parts of the power grid. One aspect of the NOI is to gather information on potential interference effects on authorized spectrum users.
"Entire communities will be affected, so every amateur in that community could have part of the radiating system 'next door' on the power wiring on his or her street," cautioned Ed Hare, W1RFI, chair of the PLC Work Group of the IEEE C63 Accredited Standards Committee on Electromagnetic Compatibility, which develops standards for emissions and immunity for a wide range of commercial and consumer products. http://c63.ieee.org;
The FCC appears enthusiastic about BPL, however, saying it has the potential to "provide consumers with the freedom to access broadband services from any room in the house without adding or paying for additional connections." FCC Chairman Michael Powell said, "Broadband over Power Line has the potential to provide consumers with a ubiquitous third broadband pipe to the home."
BPL/PLC technology already has been deployed in some European countries, and amateurs there have complained about interference from the systems. Japan, responding in part to concerns expressed by its amateur community, decided last year not to adopt the technology because of its interference potential.
The FCC has sent advisory notices to four enthusiasts of what's become known as "enhanced SSB"-the practice of engineering transmitted single-sideband audio to approach broadcast quality. "The Commission has received numerous complaints regarding the operation of your station," FCC Special Counsel Riley Hollingsworth wrote to four amateurs on April 3. Hollingsworth said complaints to the FCC alleged that the bandwidths of the stations' enhanced SSB emissions were "wider than necessary and contrary to good engineering practice." Occupying more bandwidth than necessary in a heavily used amateur band, Hollingsworth wrote, not only could generate ill will among operators but lead to petitions asking the FCC to establish bandwidth limits for amateur emissions. At present, the FCC imposes no specific bandwidth limits on various amateur modes. Some amateurs have complained that enhanced SSB signals can take up 8 kHz or more of spectrum, cause splatter and unnecessarily interfere with other stations. "The Amateur Service is not a substitute for the Broadcast Service," Hollingsworth said, "and the frequencies allocated to the Amateur Service were not allocated for a 'broadcast quality' audio emission or sound." Hollingsworth suggested the enhanced SSBers operate when the bands are less busy or on bands that are not heavily used.
(Excerpts from the American Radio Relay League's "The ARRL Letter" and the www.arrl.org web site)
New rf Design Software Information From SoftWright LLC
TAP Version 4.5 Released
SoftWright is pleased to announce the release of a new version of the Terrain Analysis Package (TAP) rf system design software. Some of the features in our new version 4.5:
Basic Mapping Module
Check http://www.softwright.com/faq/support/maintenance_subscription_features.html for details.
June TAP/OverSite Engineering Seminars
June 9-11, 2003 are the dates for our upcoming TAP/OverSite Engineering Seminars. These seminars are the quickest way to learn how to operate the SoftWright software. The seminars will be at our new conference center in our offices. For details see http://www.softwright.com/seminar.html
Curt Alway email@example.com
Physics Consumer Product Warnings
WARNING: This Product Warps Space and Time in Its Vicinity.
HANDLE WITH EXTREME CARE: This Product Contains Minute Electrically Charged Particles Moving at Velocities in Excess of Five Hundred Million Miles Per Hour.
CONSUMER NOTICE: Because of the "Uncertainty Principle", It Is Impossible for the Consumer to Find Out at the Same Time Both Precisely Where This Product Is and How Fast It Is Moving.
THIS IS A 100% MATTER PRODUCT: In the Unlikely Event That This Merchandise Should Contact Antimatter in Any Form, a Catastrophic Explosion Will Result.
NOTE: The Most Fundamental Particles in This Product Are Held Together by a "Gluing" Force About Which Little is Currently Known and Whose Adhesive Power Can Therefore Not Be Permanently Guaranteed.
PLEASE NOTE: Some Quantum Physics Theories Suggest That When the Consumer Is Not Directly Observing This Product, It May Cease to Exist or Will Exist Only in a Vague and Undetermined State.
MANUFACTURERS WARRANTY: The Manufacturer of this Product Hereby Guarantees that the Materials Used in This Product Are, As Far As Practicable, Made of Normal Isotopes. If Any Manufacturer of Any Other Product States or Implies that Their Products are Different in This Respect, It Can Reasonably Be Inferred That Their Products Are Radioactive.
Will Rogers, who died in a plane crash with Wylie Post in 1935, was probably the greatest political sage this country has ever known.
Enjoy the following quotes----
A pipe burst in a doctor's house. He called a plumber. The plumber arrived, unpacked his tools, did mysterious plumber-type things for a while, and handed the doctor a bill for $600.
The doctor exclaimed, "This is ridiculous! I don't even make that much as a doctor!" The plumber waited for him to finish and quietly said, "Neither did I when I was a doctor."
A little boy wanted $100.00 very badly and prayed for weeks, but nothing happened. Then he decided to write God a letter requesting the $100.00.
When the postal authorities received the letter to God, USA, they decided to send it to the President. The president was so amused that he instructed his secretary to send the little boy a $5.00 bill. The president thought this would appear to be a lot of money to a little boy.
The little boy was delighted with the $5.00 bill and sat down to write a thank-you note to God, which read:
Dear God: Thank you very much for sending the money. However, I noticed that for some reason you sent it through Washington, D.C., and those jerks deducted $95.00 in taxes.
Garneth M. Harris
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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.