A monthly newsletter by Society of Broadcast Engineers Chapter 48

May 1999

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Upcoming Meetings and Happenings
New Radio Chief Operators Handbook Published By SBE
Job Postings
Clay's Corner
EAS Happenings
News From The CGC Communicator
Another FCC Rules Site - This One With Links
Eugene: Y2K And Utility Power
Out with the Old
Letter To GMs Promotes SBE Certification
Monthly HAMnet Brings SBE To Remote Areas
Harris Posts Sage EAS Y2K Fix
Nominate Your Chapter Or Deserving Member For A National Award
KFMB-DT May Ask for Sign-on Waiver
Amer's Last Request Honored In Bizarre Funeral

Upcoming meetings and Happenings

May 21, 1999 3pm - 6pm Film Equipment Services - NAB wrap up, FVESCO facility tour , refreshments provided

May 25 - 28, 1999 SCTE/Cable-Tec Expo, Orlando, FL

June 7 - 11, 1999 SBE Leadership Skills Seminar, Indianapolis, IN

June 16, 1999 Ceavco Program - Date, Time and Topic TBA

July 14, 1999 Nth Annual Picnic on Lookout Mountain

August 18, 1999 Backup Power - Dennis Roundtree, Plannergy, Inc

September 15, 1999 Burst Communications - Program TBA

October, 1999 Rocky Mountain Film and Video Expo

November, 1999 Chapter Elections

December 15, 1999 Lunch at NDTC, 12 Noon

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New Radio Chief Operators Handbook Published By SBE

SBE has released a brand new book written by Jack Layton, BE Radio Chief Operator Handbook. This 84 page book is written for the non-technical operations manager, program director, air personality, GM or station owner who are many times appointed the Chief Operator at radio stations today. The Chief Operator is legally charged by FCC Rules to be the "watchdog" of the facility, assuring that the station operates in compliance with the terms of the Station License and FCC Rules.

The book is written to enable a person with some exposure to the equipment in the broadcast facility to carry out the duties of the Chief Operator. It also is written to enable the Chief Operator to recognize problems that cause the operation of the radio station to be beyond the limits of the station License and/or the FCC Rules, indicating the assistance of competent technical personnel.

The author is a 40 year veteran of broadcast engineering. Jack Layton has served as Chief Engineer at radio stations WVON and WGCI, Chicago, WIND in Chicago and KDKA in Pittsburgh. He is owner of Layton Technical Services in Pittsburgh.

The SBE Radio Chief Operators Handbook is now available from the SBE National Office. Call (317) 253-1640 to order. You may also fax your order to (317) 253-0418. Use your VISA, MasterCard or American Express. The cost is $35 per copy for SBE members and $45 for non-members, plus $3 shipping within the U.S. You may also mail orders with a check or credit card information to: Radio Chief Operators Handbook, SBE, 8445 Keystone Crossing, Suite 240, Indianapolis, IN 46240.

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Job Postings

As a service to SBE/SMPTE membership, technology positions in the Rocky Mtn. region are posted at no charge. Please send your posting to:

Rome Chelsi

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Clay's Corner

Featuring News, Rumors and Views From Usually Reliable and Irrefutable Sources
Chapter 16, Seattle

US West has announced that they are going to launch what they call US West @TV. This new system will allow customers to send and receive email, place and answer telephone calls, or surf TV channels and the Internet AT THE SAME TIME! Ya gotta think that US West is really aware that the combined muscle of TCI and AT&T is going to be a factor and, according to recent press releases, they are correct as AT&T and Time Warner announced that they are going to bundle TV, Phone and Net Service.

I got a letter the other day from Terry Baun, SBE President (you probably got one also) reminding me to be careful in the use of my SBE certification designation. I've had this certification for quite some time and have never made a big deal of it. In fact I don't recall ever using it in print, anywhere, but perhaps I should. Perhaps we all should! One change I noted on my new membership card: consecutive member since_____. I think this is a nice touch. In my case the year kinda jarred me. Since 1968! does this mean that I've been a member of SBE for over 30 years? YIKES!

Westlake Electronics is taking steps that will enable customers to purchase from a catalog on-line. They have recently nailed down the domain Westlake- Electronics.com.

If you have been reading Broadcast.net you have no doubt seen the on-going debate about Linux. Well, this operating system has certainly been in the news of late with some major firms announcing that they are going to be using it. Having IBM jump into the Linux camp is certainly going to have some impact in Redmond. Those that are anti-Microsoft appear to be all eager to climb on the Linux band-wagon.

If you have been thinking that there are a lot of outfits offering long distance these days YOU ARE RIGHT. In our state there are now some 35 firms offering this service!

How about that change at HP? The company has announced that it will be split in two parts, one will make Printers and PCs and the other Test Equipment.

Here's some good news. Siemens, the big German Electronics giant, working with Motorola, have come up with a machine that can make chips costing 1/3 less.

I noticed that a couple of stations in LA were recently the target of a bomb threat; as a result, the stations were evacuated. I keep wondering what would happen if this happened at a station where I work. Where in the world would we broadcast? Does it make sense to have some sort of capability to operate from another location or perhaps the transmitter site? I guess the good news is that it does not happen often (hopefully) and if it did, the higher-ups would understand.

The Internet has really cut into TV watching as many have traded one tube for another. But a recent study conducted by Arbitron has determined that it may well be having a similar effect on Radio. According to the survey, Americans spend nearly 3 fewer hours per week listening to the radio than people who don't use the internet. A lot of stations have put their audio on- line but I doubt if this will have much impact.

Well now what has the FCC been up to these days?

Mark Fulling in Garden City, Kansas is likely to be paying $8,000 for operating a station on 102.1. One slight problem. The FCC had never issued a license for it.

WZNA in Puerto Rico, a Daytimer, was apparently operating at Night. This will cost them 4- Grand.

The owners of WRBR in Elkhart, Indiana apparently were trying to hide the fact that they also owned a newspaper there. A no-no and they will pay the FCC 30- Grand.

In Sacremento KKTO-FM may be paying 5-Grand for constructing their station a year before receiving their CP. The owners in this case are California State University.

I guess we could assume, from the above, that the FCC is back in the enforcement business. As the Commish embarks on their new campaign to enforce tower registration and EAS Compliance we are very likely to see this list becoming quite long.

David Christian has lowered himself to the point of submitting the following PONDERABLES:

Black Holes are where God divided by Zero.
All those who believe in psychokinesis raise MY hand.
OK, so what's the speed of Dark?
Hard work pays off in the future, laziness pays off now.
Who is General Failure and why is he reading my hard disk?
Monday is an awful way to spend 1/7 of your life.
A day without sunshine is like night.
When the chips are down, the buffalo is empty.

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EAS Happenings

Clay Freinwald, Chapter 16


If your responsibility includes the monitoring of your station's EAS compliance, you will want to be keeping track of what you have been receiving and transmitting. Again, Jim Tharp to the rescue. Jim dug out an old PC to do the job. Some simple DOS based software to capture the output of the EAS decoder and away you go. At the end of the month you can dump same to paper if you'd like, or to disc for later use should the FCC drop by and want to know how your EAS equipment has been performing. For more information contact Jim at Entercom-Seattle (206-726-7097).


A number of SAGE users are discovering that their units have begun to randomly re-boot or otherwise have become flaky. The problem has been traced to the wall-wart type power supply. The stock unit apparently loses regulation and goes to 18 or 19 volts. Rather than purchasing a new supply from Sage (and have the same problem take place two year hence) several have suggested a simple 12 volt power supply available from Radio Shack will work just fine. One group has modified the RadShack unit to produce 15 volts output.


Apparently some have forgotten that the text for the Required Monthly Test (RMT) was changed to make it clear that the EOM tones at the end of the test marked the end of same.

In the event those that initiate tests in your area did not get the word, or your on-air staff does not know what ends this test, here is the correct text:

This is (Name of your agency) with a test of the Emergency Alert System. In the event of an emergency, this system will bring you important information. The following tones will conclude this test.


At the last SECC meeting the Committee discussed what would happen if a message is pending in an EAS Decoder and another alert is sent. Will this replace the pending message or what?

Once again, technical expert, Jim Tharp has come up with the answers.

In all cases, except for an EAN, the new message will reset the buffer and wipe out the old message.

Version .79 or above has a software switch that you can set called MESSAGE ON HOLD. If this is selected then the unit will keep the first message until it is sent or has timed out. It will ignore the second message. If Message On Hold is not set, the unit will act the same as the Burk.

The Sage unit is programmable with a filter system where the filters have a priority number. A LOG ONLY event will not wipe out a TIMED RELAY. Messages with the same priority will reset the buffer and wipe out the one pending.

The question at the meeting was worded so if adjacent counties sent alerts close in time what would happen? Usually these would be handled with the same filter and therefore the new one would replace the old.

In those areas where there is a LOCAL RELAY NETWORK, all the EAS source entities are able to monitor the traffic on the network and will be able to see if this is taking place within same. When it is noted that two messages are entered into the system in succession, they will become aware of the condition and be in a position to re-send should that be necessary.

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News From The CGC Communicator

by Robert F. Gonsett W6VR
Copyright 1999, Communications General Corporation (CGC)


"All You Wanted to Know About T1 But Were Afraid to Ask" is an article which defines T1, DS0, DS1, DS2 and other important digital standards in simple mathematical terms, with illustrations. It's written by Bob Wachtel and is available on the web at: http://www.dcbnet.com/notes/9611t1.html.

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Another FCC Rules Site - This One With Links

Harold Hallikainen offers an FCC rules site with links to the Federal Register to reveal any recent rule changes (past 10/1/98). Linking will also "often turn up some historical data on the rule....if it was published after 1994" according to Harold. See: http://www.hallikainen.com/FccRules/


Harold Hallikainen also writes: "You might point out also that I have the FCC broadcast station checklists at: http://www.hallikainen.com/FccRules/ (Look under Part 73)

"These differ from those at the FCC in that there are links to the cited rules. Note, however: Don't use the "Table of Contents" links at the top of the documents..... Just scroll down through the document to find what you want."

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Eugene: Y2K And Utility Power

Chris Reid "Ichabod"
Murray Lane County (Eugene) EAS Chair

On March 24, 1999 the local engineers of the Eugene broadcast community met with Bob Mieger of the Emerald Peoples Utility District. EPUD serves nearly 70,000 persons of our 250,000 local population. In addition to the broadcast and cellular engineers, the meeting was attended by Ike Jensen of Lane County Emergency Management, Jim Lafontaine from the FCC field office, and station managers and technicians from the University of Oregon communications school.

The meeting produced some significant proposals to keep the public informed at a higher level before during and after the roll over to year 2000. Mr. Meager was able to speak for the power distribution grid in the Pacific Northwest and for his counterpart at the Eugene Water and Electric Board, John Mitchell, who could not attend due to family commitments. Mr. Mitchell will attend the next meeting on April 21st.

To deliver continuous power to our customers, Mr. Meager stated, requires these elements: Generation, Distribution, and local infrastructure. He feels that confidence is high and growing higher that the power will not be interrupted due to any Y2K problems. There may be other problems however.

The Pacific Northwest is saturated with hydro-electric power generation facilities that were built during the first half of this century. They do not need computers to keep them running. They also do not run at full capacity. During the winter of 1999, there will be ample reserve of water to keep them running. During the time excess demands are placed on the system, additional generators such as the 120 megawatt facility in downtown Eugene can be brought on line.

The Bonneville Power administration, that distributes power, also has high confidence that these problems will not surface on New Years day. The fact that the grid is structured in a way that demands in California, or the rest of the states on the grid, will not lower the system voltage in the Northwest. The Northwest will take care of its own back-yard first.

It is only when there is an excess of electrons that we send them out of the area. In the winter, California, Idaho, and Montana would be on their own.

Problems with local infrastructure may occur. Weather-caused local outages may compound the situation when the large amount of back-up generators are started at the same time during a local outage. The potential for these generators back-feeding the local system due to the lack of proper transfer switching is of concern as these generators try to provide power to a much larger load than they were designed for.

With all elements considered, Mr. Meager predicted that the maximum time any area would be without power would be 4 to 6 hours. Other utilities in the area were more conservative and estimated the maximum time at 8 hours. The idea of power outages lasting days and weeks is not even a consideration in the Pacific Northwest.

The most significant concern is the panic that could occur when local outages are created by a non-existent Y2K problem. Due to the doom-sayer mentality and massive hype built up around Y2K, it is important for broadcasters to become more involved in educating the public well before New Years day. Mr. Meager and his counterpart at E.W.E.B., Mr. Mitchell, will be asked by broadcasters to go on the air with information broadcasts, public affairs programs, and talk shows to counter the public concern and help address the safety issues of using emergency generators.

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Out with the Old

Bob Vaillancourt, CSTE
SBE Chapter 36 Vice-Chairman

"The equipment is simply too old. They're just going to have to work around it." I would bet that if I visited some of your garages or those hidden storage areas, I would find at least one or more pieces of electronic equipment just lying around collecting dust. It's sometimes amazing that we're glad to salvage a piece of equipment from the dead but are unwilling to tackle certain items we have at the studio or transmitter facilities because we feel the equipment is simply too old. In some cases, artificial service dates have been placed on equipment for automatic replacement. . . . "This switcher is ten years old now. We should be looking to replacing it this year!" With some equipment, this may be true. If an item begins to show serviceability problems maybe it is time to consider replacing the item.

I recently had the opportunity to visit one of our sister stations and was amazed at how much equipment was still in service over 15 or more years. In many cases they would point to a dinosaur they've been keeping on the air, with a sense of pride. Do not get me wrong--there is the line that can be drawn in the sand when it is time to consider replacing a fixture at your facility. This can be due to technological changes that make newer equipment easier and more efficient to perform the same task. Your station may be updating to a new format that requires you to replace some of your existing equipment. Remember, when there is new equipment, there is a new learning curve. Not only is this learning curve required for the operators but you may need some additional training as well. Take this all under consideration when you finally decide it's time to retire a piece of equipment.

Remember the old 50/50 rule: "100 percent of all repairs made successfully can be attributed to 50 percent of the repair being made to the equipment and the other 50 percent to assist the client."

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Letter To GMs Promotes SBE Certification

On March 29, a letter was sent by First Class mail to all radio and television station general managers in the U.S., from Terry Baun, SBE Certification Chairman. Mr. Baun's letter described the benefits of having a competent, professional engineering staff and that SBE Certification is one of the best ways to ensure that they do. The letter encourages each GM to support in tangible ways, the efforts of their engineering staff to become certified. GMs were reminded of the tie between having a qualified engineering staff and an improved station bottom line.

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Monthly HAMnet Brings SBE To Remote Areas

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

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Harris Posts Sage EAS Y2K Fix

Following is a letter of April 15, 1999 from Dave Burns, Harris Corporation, to Frank Lucia (FCC) and Robert Gonsett (Communications General Corporation). The intention, in Mr. Burn's words, is to help "clear the air re our Sage [EAS equipment] and its ability to process and comply into the new millennium": The anomaly in previous version 5.88 of Sage software only prints the year 2000 as 100, when the operator prints out old alerts. Current alerts, into the year 2000 and beyond, print correct year--00, 01, 02, etc. Those customers wishing to correct the anomaly in version 5.88 may upgrade to software version 5.111 by downloading software and documentation "Upgrading the Firmware in the Sage Endec" from the http://www.broadcast.harris.com/customer-service/sage/Harris website. Complete instructions are on the website. If you are able to burn your own eprom, you will be able to accomplish the upgrade at no Harris charge. You will need to obtain a blank EPROM: SGS Thompson number 27C2001 or AMD/MMI number 27C020. Your final burner checksum will be B0CE when burning your EPROM. There is a nominal $50 charge which applies only to those users who require Harris to burn and ship the eprom. This $50 charge includes instructions, documentation and the eprom. Freight and handling are additional.

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Nominate Your Chapter Or Deserving Member For A National Award

Members or chapters may nominate individual members or their chapter for awards in ten different categories in the SBE national Awards program. The awards recognize achievement during 1998 and are presented to winners during the 1999 SBE National Meeting Awards Dinner in Madison, Wisconsin, October 20. For a nomination form, see the February/March issue of the SBE SIGNAL or call the SBE National Office and request that one be faxed or mailed to you. The forms may be duplicated locally. Deadline for nominations is June 1, 1999 and must be sent to: Awards Committee, Society of broadcast Engineers, 8445 Keystone Crossing, Suite 140, Indianapolis, IN 46240.

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KFMB-DT May Ask for Sign-on Waiver

Gary Stigall
KFMB-TV Engineer
SBE Chapter 36 Chairman

KFMB-TV in San Diego appears to be facing the same kind of bureaucratic bind many TV stations are facing as they race to go digital. On one hand, the FCC is requiring the major network affiliates here to have DTV facilities ready to air by November 1 of this year. On the other hand, obtaining building permits from local agencies, especially where coastal zones and new tower structures are involved, is proving to be a process so slow as to squeeze construction time to none. In fact, Chief Engineer Rich Lochmann now says that the station will likely have to ask the FCC for a waiver of the November sign-on date for its new channel 55 facility on Mt. Soledad.

KFMB wants to construct a new building for its UHF transmitter that lies in the path of a Jeep trail reserved by the U.S. Navy in 1944 for access to their nearby radio site on Soledad. Despite paved access on Via Casa Alta, the easement stands on title documents today, and must be erased or moved before the city issues a building permit for the desired site. Additionally, the station must clear a telephone utility easement with Pacific Bell. If the easement changes fail, it must move the proposed site a few feet, and by doing so it must further obtain plan approval from the California Coastal Commission.

Lochmann has contacted the involved agencies without any real progress yet. Business managers for the station and parent Midwest Television are apparently not concerned much. With no audience and no income stream in sight, the prospect of keeping a megawatt ERP station on the air hasn't exactly had them wringing their hands in anticipation of sign-on anyway.

For now, the antenna and feed line are in place on the tower. Studio infrastructure so far is on schedule. Buying and installing new hardware after the NAB Convention will keep everyone busy until the Navy calls back.

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Amer's Last Request Honored In Bizarre Funeral

Story by N7JDT and WA9MZU

REPUBLIC OF BANASSIS -- The Banassis Amateur Radio Association today announced what may be one of the most bizarre obituaries in the history of amateur radio. Mr. Colin Krystalli, AP1FUL may indeed be the first AMer (or ham for that matter) to take it with him. In a very unusual will, the 160 meter AM DXer stipulated that upon his becoming an SK [silent key] he be laid to rest in his beloved vintage transmitter, a Collins KW-1.

The local ham club, of which Krystalli was a member for 52 years, accommodated the deceased hams request to be buried in his cherished transmitter in order to enshrine its owner. The modified transmitter was then delivered to the local mortuary which fitted a custom white satin lining into the big rig.

At the otherwise traditional funeral, mourners bid their last 73's to Krystalli, who appeared quite peaceful, through the glass window in the RF deck where 4-250's once glowed. According to attending members of the Banassis Amateur Radio Association, the transmitter was placed in a wooden crate before being lowered into the AMer's final QTH. The removed chassis were also crated for burial alongside the transmitter. Krystalli's family asked that the location of the grave not be disclosed for fear of graverobbers.

The eccentric ham also asked that the serial number of the KW-1 not be disclosed. Members indicated that the entire Banassis Amateur Radio Association has been sworn to secrecy.

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Newsletter Committee

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

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