CONTENTS

Return to Archives

Random Radio Thoughts

Upcoming Seminar Builds On The First

CertPreview

Certificaton Exams

Member Dues Will Rise July 1, 2006

Another Look At The NAB Convention

Are Your CDRs Losing Data?

Outstanding Female Engineer Named

Clay's Corner

Hearing Held On Unlicensed Devices

Amateur Radio News

PDX Radio Waves

The YXZ Report

Did You Know...

A Few Ways To Maintain A Healthy Level Of Insanity

Etc.

 

May, 2006

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Random Radio Thoughts


Cris Alexander, CPBE
Crawford Broadcasting Company

NAB 2006 Observations
I have attended a lot of NAB conventions over the years. Attendance seems to go in cycles, with up years and down years. This year definitely appeared to be an up year. Monday was an especially crowded day on the exhibit floor (as it usually is), but several vendors told me that traffic was excellent throughout the show.

The SBE spring membership meeting, held Tuesday at 5:00 PM, was a highlight. It was standing room only in the meeting room (the same one used for most of the radio sessions), and those that didn't get there early found themselves holding up a wall somewhere around the perimeter. The highlight of this highlight was the awarding to John Battison of the Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition, the national staff, some local chapter certification chairs, National Certification Committee members and others were recognized. And each attendee got a cool keychain and a very useful tape measure marked off in rack units!

The SBE booth was located in the south hall, at the opposite end of the world from the radio exhibits and its usual north hall location. But it was close to the radio and television engineering sessions and traffic seemed to be very good. There wasn't a time when I stopped by that there wasn't a crowd gathered around.

Without a doubt, HD Radio was the topic of the show. It was everywhere - in the sessions, on the exhibit floor, and it was the topic of conversation in the hallways. Transmitter manufacturers such as Harris, Nautel, Continental and BE all featured HD Radio offerings, many of them new.

Continental offered a new high-power HD version of its 816R-series FM rigs (the "816HD") that will make up to 18 kW of FM + HD. That may well provide a solution for stations that need TPO values in the 10 to 18 kW range that do not want to deal with the losses of high-level combining.

Harris won a Cool Stuff award with the introduction of the FlexStar tri-mode HDX FM/FM-HD exciter. The "bling" that caught everyone's eye was the built-in spectrum analyzer display. Nautel continues to expand its line of HD-ready transmitters with the V5d 5 kW FM and the XR-5 5 kW AM. Armstrong was showing a line of HD-ready translators, to my knowledge the first HD translators to hit the market. And BE continues to refine its line of HD Radio transmitting and support products.

Over in the radio sessions, the vast majority of the presentations had to do with HD Radio implementation. I learned a great deal from the experts in these sessions and found explanations for some of the phenomena that we have been seeing in the field with our AM HD Radio conversions. For example, I learned from Ron Rackley and Ky Luu the reason we often see spectrum tilt in the far field when the spectrum looks perfect on a transmission line sample. This and other information will be invaluable as we continue with our AM HD conversions.

I also came away with some new ideas for revenue production from HD Radio ancillary services. The Radio Experience (TRE) and other products open a whole world of possibilities for sponsorships of PAD and RDS scrolls.

We had a good group in the Tuesday morning certification test session, with candidates testing for AMD, 8-VSB, CBNT and other certifications.

Overall, NAB2006 was in my view one of the better shows in recent years. If the show is to be judged by sore feet and a weary brain, it is the decade winner!

Spring Storms
We can always tell when the seasons have finally changed around here. For Front Range broadcast engineers, it's not marked by a calendar date but rather by the beginning of the high-base dry thunderstorms we get around here, the ones that produce a lot of wind and lightning but not much rain. Twice in April, KLTT experienced transmission line burnouts due to lightning strikes somewhere on the array (located north of DIA). Ed Dulaney and his crew were able to make repairs both times - the damage was located in accessible places - but it could be that the next one will be in the conduit below ground. When that happens, we will very likely have to replace the line, and we'll do it with a larger line.

Have we had some wind this spring, or what? Twice in April, high winds displaced a 5.8 GHz microwave antenna at KLDC, forcing the station to the backup ISDN STL. One occurrence can be loose hardware; two constitutes a design flaw. I've always said, "If you can't fix it, modify it," and that's what we did in this case. The crew at GRB construction modified the dish with a stiffener to stop the rotation.

HD Radios
In case you haven't heard, the Boston Acoustics Recepter Radio HD is now available to broadcasters at a price of $209.00. That's getting downright reasonable! There is a special fax-in form for this price, and I have posted it for your downloading pleasure on the CBC server at http://www.crawfordbroadcasting.com. Go to the Engineering page, scroll to the bottom and click the link to engineering papers. The name of the document is "Revised Broadcaster Order Form.pdf."

Radio Programs
I spoke with Frank Foti of Omnia Audio at the NAB convention about the possibility of coming to Denver to present a radio engineering program on audio processing, surround, HD Radio or another topic within Frank's considerable realm of expertise. I'd love to hear from some of you Front Range radio guys on this. Would you like to see programs like this? I would be willing to line up other programs for our meetings, either in conjunction with a regular SBE/SMPTE chapter meeting or perhaps a separate radio get-together. But one of the worst things that could happen would be to bring in a presenter from out of town and then have only a few attendees show up for the presentation.

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

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Upcoming Seminar Builds On The First

A one-day seminar will be presented on the ATSC's digital television (DTV) vestigial sideband (VSB) transmission system measurement methodologies. This seminar, a followup to the original VSB Fundamentals seminar, is aimed at broadcasters, broadcast consultants, equipment manufacturers (broadcast, consumer, & test), translator/LPTV operators, and cable operators. The seminar will help you develop a basic understanding of 8VSB transmission system measurements in the laboratory, at a transmitter site, and at remote field test sites. Practical test equipment information such as features, options, specs, & other performance requirements will be covered. Attendance at this seminar earns one SBE credit towards re-certification and it can facilitate preparation for the SBE VSB Specialist Certification exam.

Friday, May 19, 2006
8:00 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.
University of Denver
Sturm Hall Room 251
2000 E. Asbury Avenue
Denver 80228

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CertPreview

The new 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.

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Certificaton Exams

Certification exam session dates for 2006 are listed below. Check the list for the exam period that is best for you. For more information about SBE Certification, contact Linda Baun, Certification Director at the SBE National Office at (317) 846-9000 or LBaun@sbe.org.

Deadline

Location

Test Date

March 3, 2006

NAB Las Vegas

March 3, 2006

April 21, 2006

Local Chapters

June 2-12, 2006

June 9, 2006

Local Chapters

August 11-21, 2006

September 22, 2006

Local Chapters

November 10-20, 2006

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

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Member Dues Will Rise July 1, 2006

The SBE Board of Directors, at its meeting on October 19 in Grapevine, Texas, approved the budget for the national organization for 2006. The budget includes a $3.00 increase in membership dues for Regular, Senior and Associate members. The new rate will go into affect on July 1, 2006 and bring the dues level for those membership categories to $63 per year. Dues for Student Members will also be increased on July 1, 2006. They will rise by $2.00 to $20.00 per year.

The increases come AFTER the 2006 membership renewal period so most members will not experience the increase until 2007. There will be no changes to the dues rates for Youth and Sustaining Members.

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Another Look at the NAB Convention

Richard Rudman
California SECC Vice Chair

  • 1. It's over
  • 2. It will happen next year
  • 3. EAS has even more unanswered questions as a result of meetings this past week.
  • 4. SBE will likely work with ATSC and NRSC on EAS bits in the IBOC and HD digital streams.
  • 5. The SBE booth should move back to North Hall since NAB will consolidate more of the show over there next year.
  • 6. John Battison's SBE Lifetime Achievement award announcement was a high point.
  • 7. NAB recognized three excellent people this year, Ben Dawson and Ron Rackley in Radio, and Merrill Weiss for TV.
  • 8. The commemorative rack tape measure honoring the 30th anniversary for the founding of the SBE Cert. program is nifty.
  • 9. The most impressive things I experienced there were the Ultra High Def demo with 22.2 sound and one of the 3D demos.
  • 10. Saw lots of expensive digital test equipment I drooled over that made my Fluke DVM and TEK scope seem even more obsolete.
  • 11. IP remotes are definitely here.
  • 12. The Riviera buffet was again the scene for Barry Mishkind's luncheon -- an outstanding event.
  • 13. The HAM reception was VERY well attended. A lot of Heil mikes went as raffle prizes.

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Are Your CDRs Losing Data?

Thanks to Chapter 80 - Wisconsin

Recordable optical disc media contains an organic dye layer whose transparency can be altered either to absorb a laser beam or to allow the beam to pass. Due to the organic nature of the dye, degradation and breakdown of the transparent portion of dye layer will occur over a long period of time as a natural process. This process, which has its roots in chemical kinetics, can take several years in normal environment conditions. Higher temperatures and humidity will accelerate this process by increasing the thermal and kinetic energies of the dye molecules.

CDRs

Click for a larger version: www.itl.nist.gov/div895/gipwog/StabilityStudy.pdf

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Outstanding Female Engineer Named

INSERT AUTHOR HERE

The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) and the American Woman in Radio and Television (AWRT) announced in March the recipient of the first AWRT/SBE Female Engineer of the Year Award. Cristy Trembly, studio manager/engineer-in-charge for CBS Television City in Los Angeles, received the award during the AWRT Annual Leadership Summit & Business Conference, March 11 in Washington, D.C. Trembly's career in television, which spans 30 years, began in Morgantown, W. Va. at WWVU-TV. She moved to Los Angeles and KMEX-TV in 1979 and eventually moved on to CBS Television City in 1992.

The Female Engineer of the Year Award was conceived by national AWRT leadership, including AWRT board member, Andrea Cummis, CBT CTO. Cummis is also a member of the national Board of the SBE and was instrumental in obtaining SBE's involvement. SBE assisted AWRT with setting criteria for the award and making the selection from the nominees submitted. Members of either organization were eligible to be nominated. Both organizations sought to bring attention to the contributions that broadcast engineers make to the industry and specifically, that of women..

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Clay's Corner

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

By Clay Freinwald

At this writing I've just returned from a trip to Scranton-Wilkes Barre, Pa. This was my first time in that market where my company has a number of radio stations. A nice area with some topographic variation. The twin cities are in a valley with 2000+ foot 'mountains' on either side. To the East are the Pocono's with ski areas clearly visible. There are patches of evergreens to break up the two colors of winter, brown and white...a much nicer place to be when the forests turn green. Like most of the 'right-coast' however, when the temperature goes up, so does the humidity. Watching local TV was interesting, especially in the morning. The 3 main local channels all have a morning show...but two of them, the CBS and NBC affiliate, collaborate and run the same program, with different spots. The local ABC station, Channel 16, is apparently more well off with their own show.

On the day I left they had a cold front come through dropping temperatures dramatically and lots of gusty winds. Like a lot of smaller markets, they are served by only little airplanes...or, as they are called, RJ's. I watched one land with what have been full-rudder. Thankfully getting out is easier than landing with a strong crosswind.

Here's a question for you - What has 9.3 million customers and gaining more by the millions and yet is losing tons of money, its losses increasing, its stock prices falling, and board members are resigning, warning of a looming crisis?.....Welcome to the world of satellite radio. The print media business sections are full of stories about one of our newest forms of mass media and it's not a pretty picture. Meanwhile there are those that are trying their best to spin this into good news. For some reason it reminds me a lot of cellular telephones.

I wonder if the folks at Sirius considered that someone would put up a pirate radio station for the purpose of broadcasting Howard Stern to those that are not subscribers? Apparently there are also some that are streaming Howard to fans....I've heard the term - pirate streamers.....Who wudda thought.

Looks like more bad news for Radio Shack with an announcement that they are going to be closing a bunch of stores due to weak earnings.

A lot of heads turned with the announcement that Univision is exploring a sale of the company. Rumors are that one of the major media players will likely purchase the Spanish language broadcaster.

After months of rumors about the sale of ABC radio, many of them stating firmly that Entercom would be the new owner, the announcement was made that Citadel will shell out some 2.7 Billion for its 22 radio stations and network. This will move Citadel up to the #3 spot in terms of ownership with some 177 FM and 66 AM stations.

Have you noticed how television continues to show pictures of a reel-to-reel tape recorder when playing back an audio recording....and how we continue to hear references to something being on 'tape' or 'tape-recorded' when there is really no tape in the process? People still joke and use the term - 'film at 11'...even though there is no film used in the process. Could it be that people who make these decisions are afraid to use references that are closer to the truth? Perhaps a video clip of a hard-drive in action is pretty dull?

Word is that Apple's computers have reached a new milestone. The first worm is out there taking aim at the Mac OS. Wonder if there were some grins in Redmond ?

Here's a - lofty idea....A Bellevue company is proposing the use of balloons to provide cellular coverage in sparsely populated rural areas, like the Dakotas . Considering that it takes 250K to build a cell-site and they only cover a relatively small area, the idea perhaps has merit. Here's how it works...Balloons would be launched on a regular basis from the west side of the area, towing upward a small electronics package....When the balloon reached a certain altitude the package would be parachuted back to earth where a bounty would be paid for the return. They've raised almost 10 Million to put the system to work.

Congratulations to our own Ben Dawson who will be receiving an NAB Engineering honor at this years NAB in April. Ben and Ron Rackley will receive NAB's Engineering Achievement Award. The TV recipient is Merrill Weiss.

The Tacoma paper recently ran an interesting article about how residents who lived near the old 1560 AM tower in Sumner were receiving RFI. Unlike most RFI stories the residents were complaining to the city that the city was at fault for permitting their houses to be built so close to the radio tower and were asking the city for relief. In this case the city has agreed to help the broadcaster move to a new location. I can't help but think back to my time on the King County Tower Task Force where the argument that the towers were there before the residents moved in got nowhere. This is the classic airport syndrome where residents move in near the flight path and then gripe about the noise. Congrats to Chris Bennett and others on this one!

SBE has also established a remailer dedicated to dealing with EAS issues. If you are interested in EAS or have an issue etc...consider joining the EAS Exchange. Info on joining is also on the SBE Web Site.

By now you have received word that we have one change coming and that's the requirement that EAS messages be transmitted on - all streams. This will impact those that are multicasting in Radio or Television.

What's the most dangerous occupation? Likely most would guess truck drivers or public safety workers...the answer is tower workers. According to a new report some 115.2 deaths per 100,000 tower workers.

The next thing in the HD Radio to-do-list is the implementation of Multicasting. In most cases Radio will likely stop at two channels. HD1 will be the same as its counterpart FM programming while HD2 will be something new and different. Here in Seattle , Clear Channel, CBS and Entercom are all part of an alliance of broadcasters that are working together on a multi-market roll out of HD2 programming.

At last there is a website dedicated to HD Radio that you can send folks to for information about radio's new mode. Its - HDRadio.com -

The Boston Acoustics table HD Radio is out - I've been playing with one and can tell you that it really sounds great. Only problem...it significantly lacks sensitivity. Put an outside antenna on it and it's pretty cool.

From the 'End of an era' department - Western Union has discontinued Telegram services. Now all we will have is those old movies where Telegrams often were the only way messages could be sent. All those yellow pieces of paper with the strips of text glued on.....Great memories.

Not often a broadcast company purchases an equipment manufacturer. Some time ago Clear Channel purchased Prophet Systems, a radio automation firm. Recently they have purchased another, RCS Systems. This time some changes are in the wind with the word that CBS may drop their RCS systems. Here locally the CBS Radio cluster folks were waiting to see what this all means.

The FCC..finally....Has a 5th Commissioner - Robert M. McDowell.

The FCC nailed Ramsey Electronics 25Grand for marketing unauthorized FM transmitters and amplifiers.

Ooops - Out of space - Till next time - CUL - Clay, CPBE, K7CR

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Hearing Held On Unlicensed Devices

By Tom Smith
Chapter 24 - Madison

On March 14, 2006, Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) Chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee held a hearing on Wireless issues and Spectrum Reform. The hearing covered the use of unlicensed devices on the TV band and other spectrum issues such as spectrum auctions and spectrum management. There were two panels that provided testimony before the Committee.

On the first panel, there were representatives of government including Ms. Catherine W. Seidel, Acting Bureau Chief of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Federal Communications Commission; Mr. John M.R. Kneuer, Acting Assistant Secretary Communications and Information, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce; and Ms. Jayetta Hecker, Director of the Physical Infrastructure Team, U.S. Government Accountability Office

On the second panel, there were representatives of industry and consumer groups including Mr. Thomas F. Walsh, President of the Board, Rural Cellular Association; Dr. Kevin Kahn, Director of the Communications Technology Lab, Intel Corporation; Mr. Robert W. Hubbard, Secretary and Treasurer, Association for Maximum Service Television; Ms. Jeannine Kenney, Senior Policy Advisor, Consumer Union; and Mr. Lawrence J. White, Co-Chair of the Spectrum Policy Working Group, The Digital Age Communications Act Project, Progress & Freedom Foundation.

The three government representatives in their prepared statements basically gave a history on spectrum allocation and possible policies for future allocation and granting licenses for spectrum usage, including auctions and the use of unlicensed spectrum.

From the prepared statements of the second panel, Mr. Walsh requested auction policies that would benefit small rural cellular companies, including the use of smaller market areas to be auctioned. The current trend is for the government to auction large areas consisting of many markets or states, which favor large corporations. Mr. Kahn's prepared statement centered on the unlicensed use of the TV broadcast band with 6 1/2 pages of the 10 page statement dedicated to that subject. His statement also endorsed the passage of the bills that Mr. Stevens and Senators Allen and Kerry have proposed that would force the FCC to allow unlicensed devices to operate on the TV band.

Mr. Hubbard, representing the MSTV, gave a prepared statement that was basically a rebuttal to Intel and others concerning the use of unlicensed devices in the TV band. Mr. Hubbard's prepared statement was 21 pages and he also had three appendixes which included a 36 page report by the Canadian Communication Research Centre, and a 10 page report by Meintel, Sgrignoli and Wallace on tests showing interference issues with unlicensed devices to TV receivers and a 36 page report by Meintel, Sgrignoli and Wallace showing open channel or "white" areas in various markets.

Ms. Kenney had a 15 page prepared statement of which a little over two pages centered on her groups support of the use of unlicensed devices in the TV bands. The rest of the statement deals with wireless and wired phone issues including broadband by telcos. Mr. White's statement called for the end of both the current licensed and unlicensed models for managing the spectrum and called for the privatization of all spectrum.

Senator Steven's question and answer session was published and at the end, he asked for more information from the panelist. He asked that unlike Mr. Hubbard, they limit their further statements to 2 or 3 pages.

All the panels statements and video of the hearing are available on the Committees website which can be found as part Congressional website (thomas.loc.gov).

In other news about the proposed use of unlicensed devices in the TV band, Sportsvideo.org reported in their electronic newsletter that a bill identical to Senator Ted Stevens has been introduced in the House to allow for unlicensed devices in the TV band. The sponsors include Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA), Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). The bill and any press statements from the sponsors have not yet been posted on the Congressional website.

Sportsvideo.org also reported concerns from the National Football League, Shure, Sennheiser, CBS Sports and Media General Broadcast Group. Sportsvideo.org also reported that the MSTV had scheduled meetings with House and Senate staff on April 10, 11, 12, 13, and 17th.

From thomas.loc.gov and Sportsvideo.org

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Amateur Radio News

By Tom Weeden, WJ9H
Madison Chapter 24

o The FCC approved a proposal March 17 to create a new Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PS&HSB) that would assume some functions now under the umbrella of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB). But it appears that the Amateur Radio Service-now within the WTB's Public Safety and Critical Infrastructure Division, headed by Michael J. Wilhelm, WS6BR-will remain within the WTB, according to Anthony Dale, Acting Director of the FCC's Office of Managing Director (OMD).

"The Critical Infrastructure piece-that's things like taxi cabs, Amateur Radio, chemical plants, all that type of thing-those are not public safety-specific functions," Dale said in response to a reporter's question following the FCC open meeting. "The plan is to keep those in the Wireless Bureau." An official document spelling out just which functions and services will end up where has not yet been made public, and even Dale did not appear to be entirely clear on specifics. He and others stressed that some PS&HSB functions may overlap those of other bureaus.

o The FCC has invited comments on the American Radio Relay League's Petition for Rule Making, designated RM-11325, which seeks to modify a Part 97 rule governing spread spectrum (SS) operation on Amateur Radio frequencies. The League has asked the Commission to drop all but the first sentence of 97.311(d), which now requires the use of automatic power control (APC) for SS stations running more than 1 watt, but retain the 100 W overall power limitation for SS. "The effect of the rule change would be to eliminate an automatic power control provision that has proven over time to be impractical" in terms of compliance, the League said in its petition, filed March 13. It also conceded that the provision-one the League had proposed and supported more than 10 years ago-was unnecessary to protect the operations of other licensees and had "unfortunately served as an unintended but effective deterrent to spread spectrum experimentation" on ham radio. Comments are due Wednesday, May 3; reply comments are due Thursday, May 18.

o Members of the Titusville and the North Brevard Amateur Radio clubs in Florida will be on the air as special event station N4S Sunday, April 9, through Saturday, April 15, at the Florida Space Authority facility at the Kennedy Space Center/Cape Canaveral Air Force Station complex. The N4S special event will celebrate the silver anniversary of NASA's successful space shuttle program, which began with the launch of the shuttle Columbia on April 12, 1981. Through contacts with stations around the globe, the special event hopes to increase awareness of the many NASA men and women of space technology and note their accomplishments.

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

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PDX Radio Waves

by Michael D. Brown N7AXC CSRE
Brown Broadcast Services, Inc., Portland
mike@brownbroadcast.com

Portland Radio Authority, a radio pirate at 96.7, has finally been shut down by the FCC just one week after an Oregonian article on the station. It had been operating for more than three years from SE and downtown Portland. PRC boasted over 70 volunteer DJs playing local music, and was even doing remotes from such locales as the Portland Art Museum. See http://www.praradio.com/pagecontact.htm. Elsewhere, there's still a lot of activity in this realm in places such as NYC and SE Florida. Driving around the Miami and Florida Keys area just a couple of weeks ago, it was apparent that the FM band was a mess - with or without the pirates. The antiquated methods that we use for FM propagation predictions just fall apart in the flatlands such as Florida, while they can overprotect in the rugged terrain of the West.

The closer your house is to a cell tower, the MORE your house may be worth, and the LESS RF exposure you'll have. This according to P.E. Joe DiPietro of RF Engineers, Inc., who worked for many years engineering cell phone systems. "Property values increase because one of the top-ten items people look for in a new home is how many bars are on my cell phone. Exposure decreases because the closer you are to the cell tower the less power your cell phone puts out. The vast majority of RF exposure comes from the phone in your hand, not the cellular tower" Joe emphasized. Typical hand-held cellphones ramp up to 0.6 watts in marginal conditions. At 0.5 meter this results in an exposure of about 80 w/cm2 (@ 835 MHz). In the presence of a nearby cell tower, a typical cell phone might power down to 2 milliwatts, or 0.27 w/cm2. By comparison, 30 meters from the base of the cell tower, Joe computed that the typical exposure from a busy site would be about 2.4 w/cm2 - 0.4% of the Maximum Permissible Exposure for uncontrolled/general population areas. (At these frequencies, the MPE in w/cm2 is f/1.5.)

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The YXZ Report

by Kent Randles K7YXZ CBRE
watercooled at sbe124.org

LIFE WITH HD RADIO
Holding at 12 FM HD signals (now five with HD2) and one AM HD signal on the air in the Portland market.

At Entercom-Portland we fired up the HD2 signal on KNRK and put a couple new audio processors on line for both the KGON & KNRK HD2 signals. We immediately discovered that we had to pay more attention to synchronization of AES streams, as the processor wanted to put out 48 kHz-sampled AES and the Broadcast Electronics IDi-20's soundcard wanted to lock to whatever was coming in. Since all of HD Radio is based on a sampling rate of 44.1, by the time the Broadcast Electronics FSi at the transmitter was done with it it sounded v_e_r_y s_l_o_w on the air since the audio got pitch-shifted down 8.8%. Attempting to sync the processor to the locked-to-internal 44.1 AES output of the IDi-20's audio card resulted in either the dropping or the lack of samples. Dropping samples sounds like a skip, and running out of samples mutes the audio. Apparently this is a common problem when stations have their HD2 Importers at the studio, and the Exporters at the transmitter. Early on, these buffer overflow or underflow problems were blamed on the studio-transmitter links.

After picking a 44.1 source, finding a spare AES distribution amplifier, and connecting the sync ports of the audio processors to it, everything played well together. The ideal solution is to somehow lock the studio AES to GPS, since the HD transmitter is supposed to be locked to GPS, or get AES sync back to the studio from the transmitter site.

We now have a couple DaySequerra M4 HD Radio tuners and one M2. I took our original M4 home one weekend to play with it out of the radio station environment, and discovered it has a sensitive FM tuner and a very sensitive AM tuner. Using just the coax to our attic-mounted TV antenna as an AM antenna I got a flash of what Ibiquity-standard HD Radio receivers do when they detect an HD signal while I was listening to 1160 KSL in Salt Lake City. This was right before their local sunset. This was also before 1150 KXMG drops from 5 kW to 47 Watts at our local sunset. Nowhere near enough signal to hear the decoded HD. I experienced this event once before with my JVC HD Radio car receiver while listening in Bend to 740 KCBS San Francisco.

35TH ANNIVERSARY OF A WAY BIG EBS SCREW UP
Thanks to the CGC Communicator for this link. On Saturday morning February 20, 1971 the normal weekly newswire (teletype) EBS test provided major stress to every broadcast station operator on duty in the country as a NORAD civil defense teletype operator in Colorado loaded the wrong punched tape into his terminal and sent out an Emergency Action Notification instead of the weekly test. Stations had to decide if it was the real thing and report that news, go off the air if they weren't an EBS station as ordered, or ignore it. Ironically "EAN" remains as a valid EAS alert code. See http://ebstest.stlmedia.net/ which has scanned teletype copy from that day.

Yours truly was in the last weeks of a job at a McDonald's in Sacramento before beginning my commercial radio career, preparing french fries before the store opened, when McDonald's didn't open until 10:30 AM, and listening to what was 1470 KXOA. Strangely, there was about 45 minutes of nothing but music that morning.

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Did You Know...

A woodpeckers tongue is long enough to wrap it around his head 2 times.

Snakes can't blink.

A Snail takes 33 hours to crawl 1 mile.

Peanuts are used in the manufacture of dynamite.

In an average lifetime the average American receives 31 prank phone calls.

Most American car horns honk in the key of F.

At the first Thanksgiving dinner Lobster was one of the main entrees.

A duck's quack does not echo.

Oak trees do not have acorns until they are 50 years or older.

Shirley Temple always had 56 curls in her hair.

Howdy Doody has exactly 48 freckles on his face.

If you stretch a standard Slinky out flat it measures 87 feet long.

In Disney's Fantasia, the Sorcerer name is Yensid which is Disney backwards.

Maine is the toothpick capital of the world.

The geographical center of North America is Rugby North Dakota.

Dirty Harry's badge # is 2211.

The ball on top of a flagpole is called the truck.

The dragonfly has a lifespan of 24 hours.

Mr. Rogers was an ordained minister.

Professional ballerinas use about 12 pair of toe shoes per week.

Mel Blanc (the voice of Bugs Bunny) was allergic to carrots.

The glue on Israeli postage stamps is certified kosher.

In Casablanca, Humphrey Bogart never said "Play it again, Sam."

Every time you lick a stamp, you're consuming 1/10 of a calorie.

All dogs, no matter what size, scratch at the same speed.

There are no turkeys in Turkey.

There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar.

A giraffe's tongue is blue.

If a spider dismantles his web a bad storm is near.

Buzz Aldrin was the first man to pee in his pants on the moon.

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A Few Ways To Maintain A Healthy Level Of Insanity

At Lunch Time, Sit In Your Parked Car With Sunglasses on and point a hair dryer At Passing Cars. See If They Slow Down.

Page Yourself Over The Intercom. Don't Disguise Your Voice.

Put Your Garbage Can On Your Desk And Label It "In."

Finish All Your sentences with "In Accordance With The Prophecy."

Don't use any punctuation

Order a Diet Water whenever you go out to eat, with a serious face.

Specify That Your Drive-through Order Is "To Go."

Go To A Poetry Recital And Ask Why The Poems Don't Rhyme

Five Days In Advance, Tell Your Friends You Can't Attend Their party because You're Not In The Mood.

When The Money Comes Out The ATM, Scream "I Won!, I Won!"

When Leaving The Zoo, Start Running Towards The Parking lot, yelling "Run For Your Lives, They're Loose!!"

Tell Your Children Over Dinner. "Due To The Economy, We Are Going to have To Let One Of You Go."

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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.