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A monthly newsletter by Society of Broadcast Engineers Chapter 48

May 1997


The April 1997 Meeting
Chapter 48's Next Meeting
Schedule of Upcoming Meetings and Events
The 1997 SBE Membership Drive
National EAS Committee Report
Books You Should Read
Tower Guidelines
Amateur Radio News
Radio Column

The April Meeting

Once again, the members of Chapter 48 met at Coco's restaurant in Aurora for the chapter's monthly meeting. After varried conversation regarding the sights at NAB, chapter vice-chairman, Eric Schultz called the meeting to order. Fred Baumgartner, TCI, mentioned that there have been discussions between members of Chapter 48 and members of the local SMPTE section. It was proposed that the Denver SBE mailing list be combined with that of SMPTE. SMPTE would provide additional funding to pay for the cost of the mailing, and possibly expanding the text of the newsletter. In addition, the local SBE and SMPTE chapters would host joint meeting two to four times each year. These issues remain under discussion between officials representing both organizations in the hopes of benefitting both groups.

Jack McKain, the chairman of the Ennes Educational Foundation memntioned the passing of FCC engineer, Robert Greenberg. Greenberg began his 18-year career with the FCC in 1979. He died last month at age 42. Jack noted that it was proposed by the SBE, through the Ennes Educational Foundation that a post-humus fellowship be established, in addition to an Educational Scholarship in Bob's memory.

Finally, chapter members continued to discuss the issue of frequency coordination. Don Hayford, KUSA, mentioned that a frequency coordination fee, as has been discussed in previous meetings may be appropriate. Members of chapter 48 will be meeting with representatives from the local SMPTE and SCTE organizations to establish a plan for handling the large task of area frequency coordination.

Join us next month at TCI's National Digital Television Center for a presenstation on new digital audio technology by Rick Strage of RCS Inc.

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Chapter 48's Next Meeting...

...will be held on Wednesday, May 21st, 1997 at the National Digital Television Center (NDTC), located at 4100 E. Dry Creek Road in Littleton.

This month's meeting wil feature Rick Strage of RCS, Inc. Rick will be showing us what's new in digital audio technology, primarily audio consoles and routing switchers.

Lunch wil be available in the NDTC cafeteria. Plan on ariving around the noon hour. Use NDTC's west enterance.

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Upcoming meetings of Denver Society of Broadcast Engineers Chapter 48:

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

June 18th (Date is tentative) Craig Roberts, TCI Satellite communications, Tempo high power DBS launch

July 16th Annual Chapter Picnic - KWGN transmitter site, Lookout Mountain

All meetings are scheduled to begin at 12:00 noon and will be held at TCI's National Digital Television Center, 4100 E. Dry Creek Road in Littleton, unless otherwise noted.

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The 1997 SBE Membership Drive is underway. Anyone who recruits a member during the campaign will receive a $5 discount on his 1998 membership dues, up to $25. In addition, he or she will be eligible to win special Membership Drive prizes. For each new member you recruit, you will earn one entry into the drawing to win this year's grand prize: a trip to the 25th Annual Central New York SBE Regional Convention and SBE National Meeting, September 26, 1997. The grand prize includes air transportation to Syracuse, a two-night hotel stay, rental car accommodations, admittance to the Regional Convention, and a ticket to the National Awards Dinner--at which the grand prize winner of the membership drive will be recognized. The two chapters that recruit the largest percentage of new members, based on total chapter membership, will win a presentation at a chapter meeting led by a nationally recognized broadcast engineering industry speaker.

There will be one winning chapter in two categories: those with under 40 members and those with 40 or more members, as of February 28, 1997. Chapter chairs received more details about this portion of the drive in last month's mailed version of short Circuits. Both portions of the membership drive continue through May 31, 1997. The new member must complete the membership application and return it with the proper dues payment to the SBE National Office, along with the SBE entry slip, indicating the sponsor. The sponsor slip can also be submitted by the sponsor directly and will be matched up with the application. All entry slips and applications must be received at the National Office by May 31, 1997. Prize winners will be drawn on June 21, 1997. The Grand Prize winner will have the option of choosing a $500 cash prize instead of the trip.

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Leonard J. Charles - Committee Chair

Since the EAS went on line January 1st, the SBE EAS Committee has been soliciting and receiving input on areas of concern with its operation. This information will be used in working with the FCC and other Industry players to affect change that will benefit all. What follows is a list of items that have come to the top of the list of concerns expressed by SBE members.

1) 15 Minute RMT window: Concerns have mainly been expressed by classic music stations whose music sweeps often last longer than 15 minutes, and by long form live sports stations as well as Network TV stations whose breaks will often be separated by more than 15 minutes.

2) Obtrusive Tests: With less control than had been anticipated over scheduling of the Required Monthly Tests, stations are suggesting ways to make it less obtrusive to both the station and the audience. These suggestions include lowering the Modulation level, eliminating the two-tone attention signal, and reducing the amount of testing necessary.

3) PEP vs EAN Network: If the PEP station network's replacement over the EAN Network was a test, then many do not give it a passing grade. Complaints range from a PEP station signal not being receivable at all in some areas or not well enough for the digital headers to be reliably decoded in other areas. Also the quality of the rebroadcast audio is of concern due to weak and noisy reception.

4) Text Messages Capability: Many stations are seeking more details than are available in the EAS digital headers. These concerns are expressed from stations serving large populations of hearing impaired audiences and from stations wishing to carry emergency information in their next break or newscast. As it now stands, they must transcribe the received audio message to get detailed information. If text were incorporated, it could be printed or run automatically in the stations CC encoder or CG Crawl device.

5) Crawl Only EAS Messages: TV stations not being monitored in the EAS web would air more local alerts if they could run the automatic crawl without interrupting program audio. In narrow emergency events such as severe weather cells, the necessity to annoy an entire audience with the digital bursts many times as the storm moves from county to county may prohibit stations from using the EAS in such cases.

6) Co owned, Co located stations using a single EAS unit: More than one key station in the group causes problems when originating separate alerts for the same event. Automated stations will relay all originations unless those common key stations simulcast or one relays the other's origination. The best example of this is a common AM/FM both designated as LP stations.

7) Remote Controlled originations: This is a problem for stations whose EAS equipment is installed at an un-manned transmitter location, typically regional networks programmed from a common studio. Originating a RWT remotely is a challenge. Though this was a problem early on, most manufacturers will provide a method to do this in future software releases.

8) NOAA 1050 hertz tone: This tone is not always successfully filtered out of the relayed weather alert. According to Larry Krudwig of NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) this problem is caused in EAS equipment that has a too-short "listening window" when attempting to detect the tone for filtering. In cases where the tone does not tightly follow the third header, some EAS units stop trying to detect it before it starts and it is recorded and relayed as part of the audio message. Mr. Krudwig has indicated that NWR is trying to tighten up the space between the third header and the 1050 hertz tone and manufacturers will change this "listening window" in future updates of their software to solve this problem. He has indicated that moving the tone is not an option.

The SBE EAS Committee continues to accept input on EAS problems. Submit your problems and suggested solutions along with your membership number via email from the SBE's EAS Home page or mail them to the EAS Committee at the National Headquarters address in Indianapolis.

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Books You Should Read

Joel Nelson, Chapter 26

A Technical Introduction to Digital Video Charles A. Poynton Published by John Wiley & Sons Publication Date: January 1996 ISBN: 047112253X

Poynton, who has won awards for his work integrating video and computing, has written an interesting and enlightening reference on the basic concepts and processes essential for successful design and development of digital video projects. Featuring 200 line drawings and photographs as well as 12 pages of four-color artwork, this book will prove indispensable for technical people who are not video experts.

Synopsis: Not a programming or a recipe book, this is a complete reference that presents the fundamental concepts and processes development of digital video projects. This book is designed for technical people not already video experts who need to design, build and program--hardware and software--systems that include video.

If you would like to get more information regarding these books or make suggestions for books to add to the list, please send your comments to:

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Tower Guidelines

Gary Stewart, Chapter 20

A few months ago we looked at the newly reformulated responsibilities of tower owners, this month we finish up with the responsibilities of licensees. ANTENNA STRUCTURE REGISTRATION Fact Sheet 15, May 1996 Section VII. OWNER AND LICENSEE RESPONSIBILITIES FCC Licensees.

Each FCC licensee using a registered antenna structure should be familiar with the requirements set forth on FCC Form 854R. In the event that the structure owner is unable to maintain the prescribed painting or lighting, e.g., in cases including but not limited to abandonment, negligence, or bankruptcy, the FCC would require that each tenant licensee on the structure undertake efforts to maintain painting and/or lighting upon request by the FCC. Additionally, if a licensee has reason to believe that the structure is not in compliance or that the owner is not carrying out its responsibility to maintain the structure, the licensee must immediately notify the FCC, and make a diligent effort to ensure that the antenna structure is brought into compliance. Licensees can notify the FCC by calling the Consumer Assistance Branch at 1- 800-322-1117 during business hours (8:00am to 5:30pm) eastern time, or the FCC SWatch Officer at (202)632-6975 after business hours. In the case where the location or height shown on the Registration (FCC Form 854R) differs from that shown on a licensee's station authorization, the licensee must notify the appropriate FCC licensing bureau. Licensees are not required to submit a fee when correcting site data. However, if the correction in site data causes the licensee's station to violate FCC Rules for a particular radio service, the FCC may require the licensee to employ measures to avoid harmful interference such as decreasing antenna height, reducing power, or employing a directional antenna. In general, the FCC will not require a licensee to cease operations as a result of correcting errant site data. Note: There is NO requirement for an FCC licensee who does not own the structure to independently monitor antenna structure lighting.

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Tom Weeden, WJ9H, Chapter 24

The FCC has proposed revising its Part 5 Experimental Rules to permit longer license terms and to permit the use of the 2402-2450 MHz and 10.0-10.5 GHz bands for experimental services. These two bands would be shared with the amateur service. The experimental license is for students experimenting with radio technologies in colleges, universities, and elsewhere.

The Solar Cycle 23 Project, carried out by the NOAA Space Environment Center with the support of the NASA Office of Space Science, predicts big things for the upcoming solar cycle. The panel predicts a solar cycle comparable to the last two 11-year cycles, but not as big as Cycle 19, which it called "the largest cycle on record" (peaking around 1959). Other predictions: Cycle 23 should peak in early 2000, annual average geomagnetic levels will be among the highest in the 128-year record, and the probability of severe geomagnetic storms "will be the greatest during an extended period lasting from 1999 through 2005." The failure of Telstar 401, thought to be due to solar activity, occurred near the solar cycle minimum.

(Excerpts from March 1997 "QST" Magazine)

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Radio Column

Dave Tepe, Chapter 20

The clearest explanation of ISDN I've found is QUE's publication "Using ISDN" by James Y. Bryce. ISDN means "Integrated Services Digital Network." Even though the connection is via UTP (unshielded twisted pair, Category 3 cable), it has 192 kbps leaving 144 kbps usable bandwidth which is further divided into 3 virtual channels. A pair of "64 kbps "B" channels for data and a "D" channel at 16 kbps used for signaling. Your equipment is originating a digital signal which is compatible with the Central Office digital switch. POTS calls are converted at the CO. So how can UTP handle this bandwidth? It can only do it for distances of 3.4 miles without going through a repeater or fiber interface. The line must not have any "bridge taps" or splits and loading coils must be removed. No more than 33 feet of flat quad cable should be used between your equipment and the UTP wall jack.

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Newsletter Committee

Bill Harris.......(303)756-4843 email:
Garneth M. Harris..(303)756-4843
Andre' Smith.......(303)871-4204 email:

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