Annual Lookout Mountain Luncheon
It's time for the SBE/SMPTE social event of the season, our annual Lookout Mountain luncheon and networking opportunity. As in years past, we expect that most of the Denver area technical community will be there.
Please RSVP by email to Tom Goldberg: firstname.lastname@example.org and let him know how many will be attending.
Thanks to our sponsors for their generous support of the event:
Burst Communications - Kirk Basefsky
Thanks also to the folks who put time in to organize this soiree.
We could always use a few more sponsors - if you can help out, let me know by return email.
Date: Friday, July 16th, 2004
Directions to Lookout Mountain Park:
Random Radio Thoughts
Trouble on the Hill
I spent some time listening to the Ruby signal and found that it was fine in Denver metro west of Santa Fe. East of the site, however, was a horse of a different color. Even as close in as 6th and Federal, the multipath was objectionable and the stations would not stay locked in stereo. None of this should come as a great surprise, what with the foothills just a few miles west. Still, it beat the heck out of being off the air altogether, and the topography aside, there is a lot to be said for having an off-site auxiliary… just ask all those guys in Dallas who were scrambling to get something back on the air after the 1,549-foot TV-39 tower fell a few years ago.
Colorado Public Radio
Now that the studios are mostly done, CPR is about ready to begin IBOC transmissions on KCFR and KCFC. Al Stewart said that KCFC lacks only an hour or so of work before being ready to go on the air with its digital carriers; KCFR lacks a bit more work. Both stations should be transmitting IBOC signals by the end of the month.
An End to the Mexican Standoff?
Evidently, the FCC and the SCT have reached an agreement on how interference from the three stations will be handled. This involves a frequency change for all three: XEKTT to 1700 (10 kW fulltime), XESS to 620 (5 kW fulltime) and XESDD to 1030 (5 kW fulltime). We hear that XEKTT has already made the move to 1700 but is having some difficulty with the high frequency on the tall tower.
It will be interesting to see how the XESDD operation will work on 1030 kHz. The same entity owns KURS on 1040 in San Diego. There is going to be a lot of first-adjacent splatter between the two co-owned stations.
At any rate, we are glad to see this situation resolved, particularly the XEKTT move to 1700. While the 560 interference has not affected KLZ within Denver metro, it has given us some grief in outlying areas where KLZ normally provides interference-free service. Hasta la vista, XEKTT. Good riddance.
(1) for broadcasters and cable operators -- $32,500 per violation or per day of a continuing violation with the amount for a continuing violation not to exceed $325,000;
(2) for common carriers -- $130,000 per violation or per day of a continuing violation with the amount for a continuing violation not to exceed $1.325 million; and
(3) for others -- $11,000 per violation or per day of a continuing violation with the amount for a continuing violation not to exceed $97,500.
You can read all about it online at:
On the same front, in a 99-1 vote, the Senate recently passed a defense bill that included a rider that raises indecency fines from the aforementioned $32,500 per violation to $275,000 per violation with a maximum of $3 million per day. That stands in contrast to the previously-passed House bill that would jump indecency fines to $500,000 per incident. The whole mess will eventually go to conference, and it would seem that there must be some middle ground here, but that middle ground is bound to mean a big jump in indecency liability for broadcasters.
The Senate bill also included a provision to roll back the FCC’s relaxed June 2, 2003 ownership rules. There is some opposition in the House to that as well.
The Media Bureau has also announced that it won’t accept applications for CPs for minor changes in authorized commercial and noncommercial educational FM facilities during the Auction #37 Form 175 application filing window, which runs from July 22 to August 6. If you have any FM minor change apps to file, you’d better get busy.
If you have news you would like to share with the Denver radio engineering community, email me at email@example.com.
Certification exam session dates for 2004 & 2005 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.
Please note: SBE Certification exams are administered only by SBE and are proctored in-person by qualified and approved representatives of SBE. No other organization is authorized to administer SBE exams.
Society of Broadcast Engineers
Leader-Skills Course II In August
The SBE Leader Skills Seminars, Course II will be held August 11-13 at the Marten House Hotel & Lilly Conference Center in Indianapolis. Those interested in taking Course II must have first completed Course I. We are pleased to once again have Dick Cupka as our seminar leader, who has led Leader Skills Seminars for broadcast engineers for more than 35 years. More than 1,000 broadcast engineers have taken part in this program since its inception. A registration form is available in the April issue of the SBE Signal or from the National Office. Registrations will close on July 6 or when the maximum class size of 18 participants is reached.
RF Safety Program
Dear SBE Members:
I'm forwarding information about upcoming seminars to be offered by Radiofrequency Safety International, Inc. here in Denver. One free admission to the Site Safety Awareness (SSA) Seminar on July 20 will be awarded to a lucky recipient at our July 16 picnic on Lookout Mountain. This is a $275 value ($325 to non-SBE members). Note also that SBE offers continuing education credit for participation in RSI seminars. Registration forms and other information are attached.
Radiofrequency Safety International
RSI is a full service safety company, assisting organizations in complying with FCC/OSHA & NEPA regulations regarding RF Radiation and other telecommunication and manufacturing site hazards. RSI provides custom safety programs, maximum permissible exposure (MPE) evaluations, hazard assessments and reports, public training seminars, custom in-house training and RF hazard signs. We also have available a wide range of web-based safety trainings.
These classes will help you come into compliance with the FCC/OSHA mandated training. The upcoming training dates in your area are:
As you can see we are offering a full week of complete Safety Classes in Denver this year, we encourage anyone interested in finding out more about these classes to contact us or get onto our web site and look up the information.
Emphasis of the SSA seminar is possible health effects from overexposure to RF, hazard recognition, hazard avoidance and hazard abatement techniques. Each participant will receive a framed certificate and wallet card for completion of the training. To view all of our training dates, locations, products & services our website is www.rsicorp.com.
If travel is out of the question and you are needing to get yourself or any of your technicians certified. We do have available the only On-Line Telecom Specific web-based training. And we also have put together a blended learning program, where you attend some live classes and take some on-line training.
There are discounts available for registering 30 days in advance for our live seminars or if 5 or more from a company attend the same seminar.
FM Auction To Be Held
By Tom Smith
The FCC will start an Auction for contested FM applications on November 3, 2004. This Auction was originally scheduled on February 21, 2000, but was postponed due to a conflict in the rules. Noncommercial applicants can file for FM allocations in the non-reserved commercial part of the FM band, but these applications are not subject to auction. Because of this, the FCC did not have a way to decide whom to grant a construction permit to. They finally came to a solution and granted some of the non-commercial applications, and put the rest of the open channels up for auction. The FCC is in the process of making the final rules for the auction. There will be 290 construction permits up for this auction. There are two construction permits up for auction in Wisconsin; one is in Solders Grove and the other is in Two Rivers. From FCC release (www.fcc.gov)
Amateur Radio News
By Tom Weeden, WJ9H
. FCC Chairman Michael Powell has assured US representatives Greg Walden, W7EQI (R-OR), and Mike Ross, WD5DVR (D-AR), that the Commission will act "as expeditiously as possible" on amateur radio restructuring. Walden and Ross wrote Powell a month ago to urge adoption of the American Radio Relay League's restructuring Petition for Rule Making (RM-10867) "in its entirety" along with rules changes needed to put it into place. Powell said the League's petition was one of many.
"At this time, the Commission staff is reviewing and analyzing carefully all of the petitions, comments and proposed rule changes in this area," Powell responded May 21. "Because this matter is of great importance to you and the almost 700,000 amateur radio operators nationwide, the staff is working diligently to create a comprehensive solution to address the proposals the petitioners have submitted." The next step in the process, he said, will be to prepare a notice of proposed rule making for the Commission's consideration.
In addition to the League's filing, Powell pointed out, the Commission received 17 other petitions for rule making that address examination requirements and operating privileges for Amateur Service licensees. The various proposals attracted more than 5000 comments, he noted-more than 800 of them on the ARRL's petition alone. In their letter to Powell, Walden and Ross expressed their belief that the ARRL's plan "will encourage the development, refinement and use of new technologies; increase the number of young people involved in amateur radio; and provide incentives for amateur radio licensees to pursue technical self-training and opportunities for volunteerism in the best traditions of our country."
Other restructuring plans were filed by the Radio Amateur Foundation, RM-10868, and by the National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators, RM-10870. Fifteen other petitions for rule making came down on one side or the other of retaining the amateur radio Morse code examination requirement to operate on HF. Judging from Powell's letter to Walden and Ross, the FCC plans to address all 18 petitions within the framework of a single rule making proceeding.
. A Canadian ham, VE3HLS, has catalogued sounds of various types of interference that hams or shortwave listeners may encounter on HF frequencies. "The RF Noise Identification" web site includes a library of MP3 recordings of various types of RF noise from known sources and some that haven't been indentified. Also included are images of waveforms that provide an additional "fingerprint" of noise sources. http://www.ve3hls.com/noise/rfihome.html
. The FCC has extended to June 22 the deadline to file reply comments (comments on filed comments) in its broadband over power line (BPL) Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM), ET Docket 04-37.
(Excerpts from the arrl.org and eham.net web sites)
By Steve Epstein, CPBE CBNT
In the last two columns, we covered the basics of getting a computer up and running. this column looks at doing the same for a network. The basic components of a network include cabling, storage devices and the network operating system (OS). Although it has not always been the case, today, most modern OSs are capable of performing both client and server functions. This capability has led to the rise of peer-topeer (P2P) networks, where individual machines, or peers, act as both client and server. Category 3 (CAT-3) is acceptable for 10BaseT installations, however, for 100BaseT, CAT-5 cabling and connectors are required. Faster networks require higher grades of cable, or even fiber. UTP uses RJ-45 connectors. Although there are eight conductors, only four are used (two-pair). 10BaseT networks can support a maximum of 1,024 clients on a segment.
To operate on a network, each computer must have a network interface card (NIC). Each NIC has a unique address known as the Media Access Control address or MAC for short. Servers typically have more than one NIC.
Like any facility-wide endeavor, networks need to be documented. Documentation should include the LAN system (the various hubs, switches and cabling), the resources shared and used by the network's servers(s) and clients as well as the history of the LAN (what changes were made and why). Because networks allow sharing of resources, they can be a security nightmare-especially in today's virus-infested world. Making distant resources appear local is easy with today's network OSs. Accomplishing that securely, especially over the Internet, often requires the use of encryption and virtual private networks (VPNs).
Network topologies vary, but there are several common types. A bus topology daisy-chains all the clients on a single bus that is terminated at each end. Bus topologies are used in Thinnet/Thicknet environments. They use the least amount of cable, but also cover the shortest distance. Ring topology is much like the bus topology, but instead of terminating each end brings them together to form a ring. Ring topologies are commonly used in Token-Ring (802.5) networks. Star topologies utilize a central hub or switch. Star topologies are common for UTP networks. Mesh networks provide redundancy and also allow for short routes.
Historically, network cabling has consisted of three basic types: Thinnet (10Base2), Thicknet (10Base5) and unshielded twisted pair (UTP) (10BaseT). Thinnet uses coaxial cabling (RG-58) for 10Mb/s transmission. BNC connectors are used, as are Ts on each NIC. Thinnet uses a bus topology where all the NICs are on a common bus that is terminated at each end with 50-ohm terminations. Maximum length on a Thinnet cable is 185 meters and up to 30 nodes are supported. Thinnet networks can support five segments, but only three of the segments can support nodes.
Thicknet, or 10Base5 is similar to Thinnet, but uses thicker cables (RG-8). Thicknet uses DIX/AUI connectors and has a maximum length of 500 meters. Like Thinnet, terminations are needed at both ends. Some installation guidelines must be followed when installing network cabling. Like any copper conductor, network cabling is subject to interference. Careful routing is needed (avoid radiating devices such as florescent lights). Also be careful when wire-tying UTP, as the cable can easily be crushed. Cinching the ties down too tight can result in changes in the electrical properties of the cable and may affect transmission speeds. Next month we will cover the seven-layer OSI model and look at some network services.
The End User
A follow-up to last month's review of the Lindows operating system: Lindows.com founder Michael Robertson has decided to rename the OS to "Linspire". The stated reason for the name change was to stop Microsoft from pursuing overseas lawsuits against the company. However, Robertson's company is still gearing up for the US litigation, so we may soon know whether the name "Windows" is truly generic or not.
And soon, you may be able to own a piece of Linspire: As this column was going to press, the company filed with the SEC for its initial public offering of stock. According to the filing, over one-fifth of the $57.5 million IPO will go to Robertson to repay his investment in developing the operating system.
Could spyware be legislated out of existence? We'll soon find out. The House of Representatives convened a hearing targeting applications that are installed on a computer without a user's consent. A bill has been introduced in the House which would give the FTC the power to ban spyware installed without explicit consent.
Would you pay $35 to $75 a month for unlimited wireless broadband internet? Last month, Nextel began test-marketing its new broadband service in North Carolina. Download speeds can run up to 3 Mb/sec, and uploads would max out at 750kb/sec. This service does not use the Nextel "walkie-talkie" phone for connectivity; it employs a wireless modem interface card that can also connect to 802.11b systems. There's no word on when Nextel plans to roll out the service in other markets.
Finally, this month, here's a story that I found scary: A recent survey by the BBC revealed that 77% of users would surrender passwords to their online accounts if they were given a chocolate bar. That's right. A chocolate bar. And 34% willingly gave up their passwords without being offered *anything*. No wonder we have security problems.
Send those questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pressure On DTV Transition
By Tom Smith - Chapter 24
On Wednesday, June 2, the new Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, Energy and Commerce Committee, Fred Upton (R-Mich.) held hearings on Advancing The DTV Transition; An Examination of the FCC Media Bureau Proposal. Witnesses included Ken Ferree, Head of the FCC Media Bureau; Eddie Fritts, President of the National Association of Broadcasters; and Gary Schpiro, Head of the Consumer Electronics Association. This hearing was in response to some ideas from Ken Ferree to set a fixed date for the transition, including linking the access to downconverted broadcast DTV signals on cable as counting for the 85% total of homes with DTV capability. TV Technology reported that Upton made it clear he was in favor of the 2006 deadline at the hearing.
On May 27th, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International Inc. wrote a letter to Rep. Fred Upton asking for Congress to require TV stations operating on Channels 63,64, 68 and 69 to relinquish their channels, no later then December 31, 2006 which is the original date for the analog TV shutdown. These four channels are allocated for public safety use after the transition, and fire and police agencies would like to start using these frequencies as soon as possible.
From APCO Release, C-SPAN Telecast, and TV Technology News Byte
The Historic KGFJ 1230 Transmitter Site Has Been Shut Down
Thanks to Chapter 124
On May 24, 2004, an historic AM broadcast transmitting site was turned off after 80 years of service. In 1924, KGFJ started broadcasting from the Odd Fellows Lodge Building on Oak Street near downtown Los Angeles. In more recent years, the station call sign was changed to KYPA. Shortly after 4 PM on May 24th, I turned on the new 1230 kHz transmitter. Its signal is diplexed into tower #6 at the KBLA 1580 kHz site.
The old KGFJ "flat top" antenna had been in continuous use by KGFJ/KYPA since 1924. That antenna may well have been the last full-time use of a flat top antenna anywhere in the country. Does anyone know of another still in operation anywhere? If you do, e-mail Marvin Collins W6OQI, at kfiam640 at aol dot com.
Steve Blodgett W7RNA says: "To see some photos Marvin took of the old KGFJ site and the new diplexed setup at KBLA, visit Marvin's web page at http://earthsignals.com/Collins/ and scroll to 'KGFJ 1230.'"
The FCC also recently approved the use of the broadcast spectrum for Wireless Networking, aka WiFi. The service will use frequencies in between TV channels that are in use, and supposedly will automatically find the "empty" channels. Power levels proposed are in great excess of the presently allowed for Part 15 devices. This is purported to be a boon for broadband connectivity in rural areas. However, does no one back there understand that rural areas are where the signal levels are the lowest, and in many places around Oregon/ Washington, are actually more congested than near the major markets? How will TV reception suffer when a UHF antenna and preamp are looking at a Translator 75 miles away, and some enterprising Internet provider decides to put in a Wide Area Network a few blocks away. Of course, no one will have a clue as to what changed to ruin the TV reception. See http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-04-113A1.doc .
The current proposal for Broadband over Power Line, (BPL) is another example. As nice as it sounds to deliver connectivity directly to every home that has electricity, there is just no way that these services can occupy the same spectrum with other licensed radio users. (Amateur Radio, etc.) We all know what has happened to the 2.4 GHz band, basically overrun with Part 15 devices, all owned by consumers that spent good money on that neat little wireless do-hicky, which no longer works.
Wonderful World Of Part 15 Devices
From Chapter 124 - Portland
As our consumer-driven wireless society continues to expand, we are all aware of new collisions between masses of unlicensed Part 15 devices and licensed users. As an interesting example, seems the Air Force has installed a new radio system of some sort at Elgin AFB in Florida. Reports began to flood in from around the Florida Panhandle of electric garage door openers no longer working, or at least not the remote controls. The $5.5 Million system installed by Motorola is still in it's testing phase, and apparently some tweaking of the frequencies is planned. "If we discover that we have some options in that area we'll definitely pursue them," said Col. Russell F. Miller, commander of the 96th Communication Group. "I want my garage door opener to work, too." An FCC spokesperson has reiterated the relationship of Part 15 devices to licensed services. Bottom line is that everyone in the area may have to modify, or install a new garage opener control. Several other military bases are planning the new system, so the problems will only get more widespread.
Things You'd Love to Say Out Loud at Work
INSERT TITLE HERE
The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be. Here are some facts about the 1500s:
Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water."
Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and off the roof. Hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."
The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying "dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet , so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they adding more thresh until when you opened the door it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entranceway. Hence the saying a "thresh hold."
Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or "upper crust."
The existence Of Dark
From Chapter 3
So many theories have been re-written since the advent of the computer and transmission studies of light handling in fiber optics and lasers. Have you heard about the revised theory on dark transmission? For years it was believed that electric light bulbs emitted light. Recent studies have proven otherwise. It has been proven that these devices should be renamed "dark suckers". The dark sucker theory proves:
1.) the existence of dark,
2.) that dark has mass heaver than that of light
3.) and, that dark is faster than light.
The basis of the dark sucker theory is that electric light bulbs suck dark. Take for example, the dark suckers in the room where you are. There is much less dark right next to them than there is elsewhere.
The larger the dark sucker, the greater is its capacity to suck dark. Dark suckers in a parking lot have a much greater capacity than the ones in this room. As with all things, dark suckers don't last forever. Once they are full of dark, they can no longer suck. This is proven by the black spot on a full dark sucker. Spent fluorescent dark suckers turn black along the bottom of the tube as well. A candle is a primitive form of a dark sucker. A new candle has a white wick. You will notice after its first use, the wick will turn black. This is caused by the dark that enters the candle through the wick. A match is another primitive form. After being struck the entire head of the match turns black as it captures the dark. Notice that if you hold a pencil next to the wick of an operating candle, the tip will turn black because it got in the way of the dark entering the candle! However, these primitive dark suckers have a very limited range. There are also portable dark suckers. The bulbs in these units can't handle all of the dark by themselves, so they are aided by a dark storage unit. When these dark storage units are full, they must either be emptied of dark, or replaced before the portable dark suckers can operate again.
We said that dark had mass. When dark goes into a dark sucker, friction from this action generates heat. Therefore, it is wise not to touch an operating dark sucker. Candles pose a special danger, since the dark must enter the candle through a solid wick rather than through clear glass. This generates a great amount of heat, making it dangerous to touch an operating candle. Dark is also heavier than light. If you swim just below the surface of a lake, you see a lot of light. If you slowly go deeper and deeper, you notice it gets slowly darker and darker. When you reach a depth of approximately fifty feet, you are in total darkness. This is because the heavier dark sinks to the bottom of the lake and the lighter light floats to the top. In addition, this process has been going on for eons, as evidenced by coal mines, where compressed dark is dug up and brought to the surface of the earth.
The immense power of dark can be used to men's advantage. We can collect the dark that has settled to the bottom of lakes and push it through turbines, which generate electricity, then helps to push the dark into the ocean where it may be safely stored. Prior to turbines, it was much more difficult to get the dark trapped in rivers and lakes safely into the ocean. The native Americans recognized this problem, and tried to solve it. When on a river in a canoe traveling the same direction as the flow of dark, they would paddle slowly, so as not to disturb the flow of dark. When they traveled against the flow of dark, they paddled quickly, to help push the dark along its way. Later, compressed dark in the form of coal, helped spark the industrial revolution. Man discovered that by mixing oxygen in the right proportions with this compressed dark, great amounts of heat were released for use in boilers to create steam power for engines and turbines! Finally, we must prove that dark is faster than light. If you were to stand in a room from which much of the dark had been removed, in front of a closed dark closet, then slowly open the closet door, you would see the light slowly enter the closet; but since dark is so fast, you would not be able to see the dark leave the closet! Many refinements have assisted in the collection of dark by dark suckers in recent years. The fluorescent tube is able to store vastly greater amounts of dark than the original dark sucker bulb, obviously from its greater volume. The quarts dark sucker (name derived from the equivalent volume ratio to the standard 40W bulb) increased the capacity of lightness in many TV studios by decreasing the resistance of dark entering the envelope of that dark sucker to less than that of Silicon Dioxide (SIO 2). The solid state laser tremendously increased the amount of dark that could be removed by such a small device, by reducing the friction of the dark entering that dark sucker and its ability to store the dark in miles and miles of fiber optic tubing. Though powerful, unfortunately it only removes dark from a very small area at a time, however, great strides in digital transmission have been made by multiplexing dark and light together in useful encoding schemes in the laser, then pushing it into fiber optics - a tremendous improvement over microwave transmission since it is protected from environmental effects.
I must also speak of the great danger that can occur from the misuse of dark and dark suckers. When dark escapes from proper containment, and combines with oxygen in an interface known as "fire" which can result from the unrestrained combination of the two. Untended candles have resulted in many homes being reduced to a pile of dark rubble. Children playing with matches is another cause of this same phenomenon. Even misuse of electric spot and quarts dark suckers, such as when they fall against combustible materials can cause enormous ruin. Spontaneous dark sucking can occur in thunder storms, in which great bolts of dark suck crash out of clouds, and attract dark with such force that trees are split asunder. Sometimes the unplanned combination with oxygen causes an uncontrolled interface of dark and light known as "wild fire", causing great ruin of prairies, forests or anything else that gets in its way.
Please speak to your children against the misuse of this powerful force, and encourage your companies to provide certifiable training to your employees in the proper handling of dark and dark suckers! However, on the whole and in conclusion, proper use of controlled dark and dark suckers have made all of our lives so much easier, I dare say that the next time you look at an electric bulb, you will never think of it in quite the same way as before!
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.