CONTENTS

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Random Radio Thoughts

How Not To Install A TV Antenna

8 VSB To Be Specialist Certification

Recertification By: Professional Credit

CertPreview

DTV Shut-Off Bill Proposed

Inside The Signal: Test And Measurement

Power Quality Outlook- "Lightning Facts"

Amateur Radio News

TV Station Fined $8000 For Failure To Provide Emergency Information Visually

Humor

Etc.

 

July, 2005

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Random Radio Thoughts


Cris Alexander, CSRE
Crawford Broadcasting Company

Offsite Aux
Those of you who aren't familiar with the Cedar Hill antenna farm south of Dallas/Ft. Worth, it's something to see. There are a number of tall towers at the site, all over 1,500 feet, most with elevators (some have multiple cars) and some with "candelabra" tops. Back in the 1980s and early 1990s, the FM stations operating from the master antennas on these towers - and primarily three of the towers - were quite comfortable. Each had an auxiliary antenna of some sort on the tower, either a stand-alone aux antenna or a port on a different master antenna. Should the main master antenna or line fail, the stations on that antenna would simply switch to their auxiliary and stay on the air. It was a very secure situation indeed - that is until a Navy F-4 plowed into one arm of the candelabra of one of the towers, wrecking the FM master antenna that served several of the market's class C stations (the pilot safely ejected and the tower remained standing).

While most of the stations did manage to switch to auxiliary facilities and stay on the air, suddenly every engineer involved with a tower at Cedar Hill became acutely aware of how vulnerable their stations were. Had that F-4 clipped a guy wire just a few feet away instead of the antenna mast, all 1,549 feet of the tower would be scrap metal on the ground with everyone's antennas - auxiliary and otherwise - and transmitters part of the pile. Stations started scrambling to make deals with competitors and tower owners to put auxiliary facilities on towers other than the ones that housed their main antennas. In some cases, this worked out as a simple swap - you put your aux on my tower and I'll put my aux on yours. In other cases, it took a bit more doing, but in the end, most stations ended up with off-site auxiliary facilities. And when the Channel 39 tower fell due to a rigging accident in the autumn of 1997, stations were better prepared. Four years ago, when the World Trade Center towers fell, the need for off-site auxiliary facilities was once again driven home with engineers and station owners around the nation.

Evidently, some folks around Denver have also begun to think about this of late. There are rumors circulating of a possible new tower and master antenna project in a southwest Denver location that could provide off-site auxiliary facilities for any number of stations currently operating from Lookout and other antenna farms. While such a site would certainly have multipath problems, those could well be mitigated somewhat by directionalizing with a null to the west, and in any event, something is better than nothing. Stay tuned.

New DA
Foundations have been poured for the new four-tower KLDC nighttime directional antenna at the KLZ site at 81st and York. GRB construction has been contracted by Utility Tower Company of Oklahoma City for the foundation installation. The towers will be stacked in early July by GRB or Rocky Mountain Erection Company (hold the guffaws, please!). The phasing and coupling system, supplied by Kintronic Laboratories, is scheduled to ship the end of this month. The goal is to have the array built and tuned up by the end of August. At this point, it all depends on equipment delivery.

The offer is still open for anyone who wants the 1963-vintage RCA BC-500K that will be removed from the Brighton transmitter site this fall. Just think how great the rig would be in your hamshack, how cool those glowing tubes would look! You would be the envy of everyone on 160 meters! Call Ed Dulaney at (303) 433-5500 if you are interested.

Some Front Range HD Observations
I recently installed a Kenwood KTC HR-100MC HD Radio tuner in my truck and have been having a blast tuning around the AM and FM bands. On the day of this writing (June 27), the list of stations transmitting HD Radio signals includes: KVOD (90.1), KTCL (93.3), KIMN (100.3), KHOW (630), KKZN (760), KOA (850), KPOF (910) and KCFR (1340). When I first installed the tuner, KBCO (97.3) was also transmitting an HD Radio signal, and they are still using the liner, "High Definition Digital Rock Radio," but my tuner is no longer decoding a digital signal from the station.

While I have listened to a lot of HD Radio demos at NAB shows and elsewhere, this is the "real world," so I didn't really know what to expect. What I found was that on FM, there was no "night-and-day" difference. When the analog blends to digital a few seconds after tuning a station, there is a perceptible difference, notably a complete absence of noise (now FM really is "no static at all!") and a much more "open" sound, presumably the result of lighter processing and the absence of clipping. All the HD Radio FM stations have fairly well matched the audio levels of their digital and analog signals, and all but one are in perfect time alignment. I noticed that KIMN is slightly out of time alignment, maybe 50 mS or so - enough to cause an "echo" effect during the blend-to-digital transition.

AM, on the other hand, really is night-and-day. As the blend-to-digital takes place, the high and low ends open up, the noise disappears, stereo separation becomes apparent (in some cases) and the audio sounds like noise-free FM. No doubt about it, AM stands to gain the most in quality when converting to HD Radio, although some might argue that FM will be the real winner with multiple audio streams.

One negative thing I have noticed on some of the AM stations, however, is digital artifacts. It's apparent on some of the stations all the time, and most of the stations some of the time. One station sounds truly great - KPOF (910). There is no artifacting, and especially during music segments, the station sounds outstanding.

I hear digital artifacting just about all the time on KOA, and I hear it during at least some segments on all the other AMs except KPOF. This has me wondering what the cause is. A few things come to mind: source material (MP2 files on a digital automation system?), profanity delay, digital STL and processing. I suspect that KPOF sounds good all the time because it plays CDs, uses no STL (studio and transmitter are collocated) and processes lightly.

Source material certainly has the most potential to cause trouble, sometimes having been through the MPEG grinder one too many times, or worse yet, through a non-MPEG compression cycle and then through the MPEG grinder. I have no idea what degradation is caused by a profanity delay when combined with multiple compression passes, but I suspect it's something we'll have to figure out.

Digital STLs would seem to be an area of potential trouble, particularly the Moseley DSP6000 digital transmission system. That system uses ADPCM coding at a 32 kHz sample rate. You can avoid the ADPCM coding if you go in AES, but you're still limited to 32 kHz, which presents a significant bottleneck. In my experience, sample rate down-conversions are okay as long as you stay at the reduced rate. The trouble is, most HD Radio transmission equipment operates at 44.1 kHz, so an up-conversion is necessary, an up-conversion that necessarily involves interpolation of data. Presumably with the Starlink, one would down-convert to 44.1 kHz at the studio and stay at that rate all the way into the HD Radio generator.

Digital processing also presents an opportunity for degradation and artifact production, particularly if a sample rate up-conversion takes place in the processor. It is my hope that these stations' engineers will listen to their stations on a digital tuner and work to clean up the artifacts. Although my stations do compete with these stations, we all lose if the general listener impression is that AM HD Radio sounds like a fair Internet stream. We all win if we all sound good.

You can be sure that Ed Dulaney will be paying close attention to sound quality on KLZ, KLTT and KLDC when those stations begin HD Radio transmissions later this year. I suspect that significant changes in the audio chains are forthcoming.

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

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How Not To Install A TV Antenna

(from the Portland Chapter 124 newsletter)

This from Ken Lewetag, now running KWVT channel 52 in Salem: "This is a GREAT example of why you can't see DTV...what do you think?

How not to install a TV antenna

This is not an optical illusion - a local satellite dealer was asked to install a UHF antenna to pick up channel 52, the Capitol Operation Area LP1. It was reported that the signal that was unusable - we wondered why since we got good signal in the parking lot with a whip antenna inside the car. We went out to check and were left shaking our heads. The last time we checked, shooting into wall is not a way to amplify a signal. Not only that, but why do you need a V/U antenna when you need UHF only?

Now, the bad part is they had the nerve to charge $400 dollars for this installation."

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8 VSB To Be Specialist Certification

The Society of Broadcast Engineers has announced that the second topic inn a series of specialist certifications will be 8-VSB. 8-VSB was chosen because of the ongoing progress in digital television and the importance of identifying qualified broadcast engineers who are critical to its implementation.

David Carr, CPBE,, is leading a subcommittee to create this Specialist Certification. Carr is a former chairman of the SBE National Certification Committee. He is also the director of engineering for Telemundo Arizona and has been involved with the group's transition to digital transmission. He previously oversaw the transition to digital at KHOUTV in Houston, which was the first all-digital station in the country.

The SBE National Certification Committee expects to have this level of Certification ready by mid-October,, when SBE will hold its annual National Meeting in Dallas, Texas. The first SBE Specialist Certification exams were administered during NAB2005 on the topic of maintaining AM directional.

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Recertification by: Professional Credit

Michael Scott
Seattle Chapter 16

Below you will find the 'nuts & bolts' of the process. The operative phrase here is "keeping a record of your activities" over the past 5 years.

RECERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS
Applications for recertification will be accepted six (6) months prior to the expiration date on your certificate.

RECERTIFICATION FOR CERTIFIED RADIO OPERATOR AND CERTIFIED TELEVISION OPERATOR: At the end of the five (5) year period, the Radio and Television Operator certifications can be renewed by meeting the service requirement as verified by your supervisor, or you may upgrade your certification to a higher level by passing an examination and meeting the appropriate service requirements.

RECERTIFICATION FOR CERTIFIED BROADCAST TECHNOLOGIST: At the end of the five (5) year period, the Broadcast Technologist certification can be renewed by meeting the service requirement of continuous employment in broadcast or broadcast-related industry for three (3)of the past five (5) years preceding the renewal application, or you may upgrade your certification to a higher level by passing an examination and meeting the appropriate service requirements.

RECERTIFICATION FOR CERTIFIED BROADCAST NETWORKING TECHNOLOGIST, CERTIFIED AUDIO ENGINEER, CERTIFIED VIDEO ENGINEER, CERTIFIED BROADCAST RADIO ENGINEER, CERTIFIED BROADCAST TELEVISION ENGINEER, CERTIFIED SENIOR BROADCAST RADIO ENGINEER, CERTIFIED SENIOR BROADCAST TELEVISION ENGINEER AND CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL BROADCAST ENGINEER: The continuing education of broadcast engineers is necessary to remain current with state-of-the-art technology. To insure that each Certified Broadcast Engineer maintains technical competence, he or she must participate in the "Maintenance of Certification" program. He or she may do this by accumulating the required professional credits every five (5) years or by examination.

APPLYING FOR RECERTIFICATION BY PROFESSIONAL CREDITS Fill out all four (4) pages of the application. On pages three and four of the application (Recertification by Professional Credits), list dates, activities and estimated credits for all professional credits claimed. You need not list each SBE Chapter Meeting you have attended, rather give a total for each year, i.e., 6 SBE Chapter Meetings attended in 2002.

Use Category J for activities, such as special achievements, that do not fall under Categories A through I. If necessary, you may use another sheet of paper to do this. Remember, the Certification Committee can only evaluate the information you give them on this application, so please make clear any and all reasons you feel you should be recertified. Attach any statements, documents or forms you have that verify your activities, participations or publications for which you are seeking credits. The Certification Committee reserves the right to ask any individual for verification of any or all professional credits claimed. After your application has been reviewed, you will be notified of the Certification Committee's decision. If recertification is granted, you will receive a new seal of renewal for your present certificate and a certification wallet card. Your present certification number will not change. A specific number of professional credits are required to maintain certification under each Certification level:

CERTIFICATION LEVEL REQUIRED / CREDITS
Broadcast Networking Technologist (CBNT) / 20
Audio or Video Engineer (CEA or CEV) / 20
Broadcast Radio or Television Engineer (CBRE or CBTE) / 20
Senior Broadcast Radio or Television Engineer (CSRE or CSTE) / 25
Professional Broadcast Engineer (CPBE) / 30 The credit values for each of the activities and the total professional credits required for recertification are based on guidelines of the Commission on Certification and recertification requirements of other professional societies. The credits claimed must be selected from at least four (4) of the categories listed below.

CATEGORY A
* Employment as a full-time manager or supervisor, or at a decision-making level in broadcast engineering, or related technology, or as a consultant or equivalent: 2 credits per year

* Full-time employment in broadcast engineering or allied field: 1 credit per year (Maximum 10 credits)

* Those claiming this credit must provide a statement of the work performed and the period claimed, also provide a statement that there has been no change in his/her responsibility or qualifications since certification. Each statement used must be attested to by his/her supervisor .

CATEGORY B
* Successful completion of an accredited course in broadcast engineering or allied field as a student: 1 credit for each CEU (Continuing Education Unit) earned
* If you are not a full-time teacher, teaching an accredited course in broadcast engineering or allied field: 2 credits per CEU
* Sponsors of continuing education programs may request the National Certification Committee to assign a professional credit value to a specific course or program. Any SBE Certified Broadcast Engineer may request a determination of credit value for a specific course or program if the sponsor has not requested professional credit.

CATEGORY C
* Presentation of a significant paper or talk on a broadcast engineering subject before a national or regional engineering meeting or conference: 2-10 credits per paper or talk
* Presentation for a local chapter technical meeting: 1-5 credits per paper or talk The National Certification Committee will determine the credit value based on the significance of the paper or talk.

CATEGORY D
* Publication of a technical article in a national broadcast periodical: 2-10 credits per article
* Publication of an article in a local chapter publication: 1-5 credits per article
* The National Certification Committee will determine the credit value based on the significance of the article.

CATEGORY E
* Active membership and participation in the SBE or other national technical society related to broadcasting: 1 credit per group per year (Maximum 10 credits)

CATEGORY F
* Active participation as an elected or appointed officer or committee member in the SBE or other technical society, either at a local or national level: 2 credits per group per year (Maximum 10 credits)

CATEGORY G
* Attendance at local SBE meetings and other local technical conferences and seminars: 1/2 credit per local meeting
* Attendance at regional or national conferences, seminars and workshops of one or more full day's duration: 1 credit per day
* Conference on Chapter of the Air (HAMnet): 1/2 credit per session (Maximum 6 credits per year)
* Game Day Coordination (GDC): 1/2 credit per game (Maximum 10 credits)
* Active participation in the SBE electronic newsgroup: Determination of credits granted will be based upon hardcopy evidence of such participation.

CATEGORY H
* Attendance at factory schools or in-station schools: 1 credit per each 10 contact hours

CATEGORY I
* Home study courses may qualify for professional credits as evaluated by the National Certification Committee. Any SBE Certified Broadcast Engineer may request a determination of credit value for a specific course or program if the sponsor has not requested professional credit. Please write to the National Certification Committee for a ruling.

CATEGORY J
* Other activities involved in the broadcast engineering or allied field may qualify for professional credits at the discretion of the National Certification Committee. Please write to the National Certification Committee for a ruling.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about recertification by Professional Credit. (PS. Keep good records and it's a "snap"....)

Dates to Remember:

2005 Exam Dates

Location

Application Deadline

November 11-21

Local Chapters

September 23

 

 

 

2006 Exam Dates

Location

Application Deadline

February 10-20

Local Chapters

December 30, 2005

April 25

NAB - Las Vegas

March 3, 2006

June 2-12

Local Chapters

April 21, 2006

August 11-21

Local Chapters

June 9, 2006

November 10-20

Local Chapters

September 22, 2006

CERTIFICATION OBJECTIVES
To raise the professional status of broadcast engineers by providing standards of professional competence in the practice of broadcasting engineering. To recognize those individuals who, by fulfilling the requirements of knowledge, experience, responsibility, and conduct, meet those standards of professional competence. To encourage broadcast engineers to continue their professional development.

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CertPreview
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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DTV Shut-Off Bill Proposed

By Tom Smith
From Chapter 24, Madison

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Rep. Fred Upton, R-Michigan, Chair of the Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee have released a draft of a bill titled Digital Television Act of 2005.

In comments written in the press release, Barton stated that the 85% penetration rule is confusing and uncertain. He noted the need of spectrum for public safety needs and the revenue from auction of the spectrum. Upton was confident that a bill would be passed "that will deliver something of real value to American consumers as we approach the digital age."

The bill would require all television broadcasters to cease analog transmissions by December 31, 2008. The FCC would be required to make final DTV channel assignments by December 31, 2006 and complete any reconsideration of channel assignments by July 31, 2007. Starting on February 1, 2006, the FCC would be required to submit to Congress status reports every 6 months on international coordination of DTV channel assignments with Canada and Mexico. The FCC would also be required to educate consumers on the hard deadline for the end of analog TV transmissions, and the options that consumers would have in order to continue to use their analog TVs after the DTV transition. The FCC would have to maintain the deadline for the DTV tuner mandate for 25-inch TV sets and move the deadline for 13-24 inch sets up to July 1, 2006.

Manufacturers would be required to place labels on all analog TVs and retailers would have to place signs by all displays of analog sets informing consumers that the TVs would need a DTV receiver, digital to analog converter, or a multichannel service to operate after December 31, 2008.

Cable systems would be required to carry the primary DTV video must-carry signal in the format broadcast, and in addition may convert the digital signal to analog anywhere from the headend to the subscribers premises. Any analog conversion must be done to all must-carry signals.

On May 26th, the House Telecommunications Subcommittee held a hearing on the proposed bill. The release from the Committee noted support from the cable, retail, and consumer electronics industry as well as a representative of a 911 center. A Reuters story on the hearing posted on the Washington Post website stated that the focus of the hearing concerned subsidies for low-income households to purchase converters. Republicans were split on the issue, with Democrats supporting some kind of subsidies. It will be several weeks before the committee releases the text of the hearing.

A number of public interest groups, consumer groups, labor unions, and broadcast network affiliate groups have formed a group in opposition to the December 31, 2008 analog TV shutdown. The group is called Coalition for a Smart Digital TV Transition and can be found at www.smartdigitaltvtransition.com.

Finally, the European Union is also considering an accelerated analog TV shutdown date. Half the nations in the European Union would shutdown by the beginning of 2010 and the rest would shutdown by the beginning of 2012. In their release, the EU stated that the USA planned on a December 31, 2008 shutdown based on a speech by former FCC Chairman Michael Powell. They also noted that Korea planned the analog shutdown for the end of 2010 and Japan by 2011.

From Thomas.gov, www.washingtonpost.com, TV Technology's Doug Lung RF Report (www.tvtechnology.com/dlrf) and European Union (Europe.eu.int).

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Inside The Signal: Test And Measurement

From Phoenix Chapter 9
William C. Miller

Testing, measuring, and adjusting the signal. Digital technologies have brought about a fundamental change in the "nuts and bolts" of broadcasting and teleproduction. NTSC is complicated, but we've all had lots of time to get used to its quirks and peculiarities. The same thing will happen with DTV. To be comfortable with the system, however, you'll have to learn a new language. Last month we were talking about how compression is utilized in the studio. There are ways of connecting these machines together that keep the signal in compressed form.

One of the more popular of these is SDTI (SMPTE 305M). EDH also works on SDTI, and it's extremely important here. With regular SDI signals, EDH will report errors long before they're so numerous that they affect signal quality. SDTI signals, because they're compressed, are more fragile; each bit represents more of the original video. If you see problems, EDH will help you determine whether the codecs are broken or whether the path is at fault.

Now let's go back to the studio output. We've compressed the video to fit into an ATSC signal and added closed captioning; now it has to go into a transport stream. This transport stream will also have to carry the compressed audio, timing signals and metadata, including things like PMTs, PIDs and other directory information, plus PSIP. You'll need a way of looking at the structure of the transport stream multiplex and verifying that it's correct or receivers won't function properly. Transport stream analyzers are available; they're extremely useful. To my mind they're mandatory. Just as you now need a way to decode your VITS, you'll need a way to verify the transport stream. Let's talk a bit about audio. Two issues have emerged that could become real showstoppers. The first develops from the migration to a multichannel world. Remember the grief we all had when TV went stereo? Multichannel is even more complicated. How do you know that the audio signal you're putting out is correct and complete? One common error is routing the Lf and Rf signals to the audio coder, assuming that they are Lt and Rt or Lo and Ro. The result? No dialogue! The music and effects are mixed to the Lf and Rf channels, so the opening credits sound fine. However, dialogue goes in the C channel, so as soon as the first actor starts speaking you're going to have a very obvious problem.

I know of only one way to resolve this issue. First, you need to have the ability to monitor multichannel sound in your master control room. Second, when you check slates and levels, roll past the opening credits and into the body of the show to where you can verify that you've got dialogue. Unfortunately, there's no way to automate this one.

The second killer issue is audio/video timing. It appears that no two types of receiver have equal audio/video delay, and the magnitude of the error can be far worse than the usual couple of frames of lip-sync error we have become used to handling. How we will deal with this is an open question, but we do need a simple, standard way of testing and measuring it. At the moment there is at least one piece of test gear that can analyze lip sync in an encoded stream. There are also test bitstreams that can be used to certify a decoder. One thing you cannot do is just assume that your ATSC encoder is correctly set; you have to verify it. Both encoder and receiver manufacturers are aware of the problem, and both the ATSC Implementation Subcommittee (IS) and the SMPTE Television Systems Technology Committee (S22) are working diligently to resolve it. Now let's talk about getting this stuff on the air. The output of the transmission multiplexer will be carried on either the 270 Mbps asynchronous serial interface (ASI) as defined in the DVB standards, or on the SMPTE 310 synchronous serial interface (SSI). ASI is the same rate as the SMPTE 259M C level, but uses a different channel coding. SSI is a 40 Mbps interface using a simple channel code. It's designed for short connections between the transmission mux and the transmitter input. It has no forward error correction built in, so STLs will have to add their own. Whichever interface your transmitter uses, you'll have to be able to monitor it. . --William C. Miller.

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Power Quality Outlook- "Lightning Facts"

Thanks to SBE Chapter 42 - Central Florida

Lightning actually hits the earth about 100 times per second. This results in more than 8 million strikes per day. The United States alone experiences over 20 million lightning strikes per year. Scientists have estimated that at any given moment there are nearly 2,000 thunderstorms occurring over the earth's surface. That means about 100,000 thunderstorms annually for the U.S.

Cloud-to-ground lightning occurs when negative charges at a cloud's base are attracted to positive ones on the earth. A surge is created which carries current to the ground. This bolt typically contains about 1 billion volts and between 10 to 20 thousand amperes of current. Next, a "return stroke" reveals the bright flash you see.

The average lightning stroke is about 6 miles long. The flash appears wider than it actually is due to the glowing air surrounding it. Lightning's return stroke can reach 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit. To put this blast in perspective, the surface of the sun has been recorded at only about 11,000 degrees.

Lightning may occur even with a clear sky overhead. A thunderstorm need only be within 10 miles for cloud-toground lightning to originate from high altitude anvil clouds. The thunder that follows the lightning bolt can be heard up to 10 miles away, depending on the terrain, humidity, and additional noise.

Thunder is essentially the air around the lightning exploding due to high temperature. Lightning "cooks" the surrounding air to between 15,000 and 50,000 degrees. The sound is

relative: the closer the strike, the louder the thunder's "bang." Rumbling thunder is the "clap" arriving at a different time due to distance and the length of the lightning.

One can measure the distance between a lightning strike and one's position with the "flash to bang" method. When you see the "flash" of the lightning, count the number of seconds until the "bang" of the thunder. Divide the number of seconds counted by 5. The result is the number of miles the lightning is away from that position. A lightning strike five miles away will take 25 seconds to reach you. Often, by the time you hear the thunder clearly enough to use the "flash to bang method," the storm is already well within striking distance.

While the chances of being struck by lightning in the U.S. are only 1 in 600,000, the odds improve as you travel through Florida, the "lightning capital of the U.S.A." (hence the name of the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team). Tropical Africa is the most lightning-prone spot on the earth with over 180 days of thunderstorms per year. It is reported that over 100 Americans per year die as a direct result of lightning strikes. Annual property loss in the United States due to lightning has been estimated into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Much of this damage is to sensitive electronics that suffered surge damage as the result of a nearby lightning strike.

Compiled with information from The Weather Channel, Automated Weather Service, Inc., and Global Atmospherics, Inc.

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Amateur Radio News

By Tom Weeden, WJ9H
Madison Chapter 24

It may have been Friday the Thirteenth, but it was a lucky day for Morse code-and particularly for veteran contest operators Chip Margelli, K7JA, and Ken Miller, K6CTW. During a May 13 appearance on NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the pair was able to pass a message using good old fashioned Morse code more rapidly than a pair of teenaged text messengers equipped with modern cell phones. The text messaging team consisted of world text-messaging champ Ben Cook of Utah and his friend Jason. Miller said afterward in an internet posting that the ham radio team won fairly handily.

"Ben was just getting ready to start entering the last two words when I was done," he said in response to various questions he's received following the TV appearance. What the viewing public didn't know was that Margelli and Miller had, in Miller's words, "smoked 'em every time" during three pre-program rehearsals. Even so, during the real thing, when Miller raised his hand to signal he'd copied the Morse message successfully, Jason's jaw dropped. None of the players had any idea of the text they'd be sending, Miller noted. The message? "I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance."

To add a little atmosphere to the affair, NBC producers attired Margelli and Miller to look like 19th-century-era Western Union or railroad Morse telegraphers. The costumes came complete with green visors, white shirts, sleeve garters, vests and bow ties. The teenaged SMSers wore T-shirts and jeans.

Commented Margelli to the American Radio Relay League: "I completely agree with my fantastic teammate, Ken Miller. It was a lot of fun, just like ham radio, and the show also delivered an important, if subtle, message about the benefits of the 'basic' communication infrastructure that Amateur Radio provides."

HAMSAT (or VUsat) is the latest Amateur Radio satellite in orbit. It is India's first. "We congratulate all who have worked for the HAMSAT and its successful launch," said Sandip Shah, VU3SXE, AMSAT-India's treasurer, who was at the control center in Bangalore, India, for the May 5 launch. The satellite went aloft from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR in Sriharikota. Going into space with the 42.5 kg HAMSAT was the primary payload--the 1560 kg Indian remote sensing satellite, CARTOSAT-1. The spacecraft were placed into polar sun synchronous orbit at an altitude of 632 x 621 km with an equatorial inclination of 97.8 degrees. HAMSAT is a microsat aimed at meeting the needs of amateur satellite enthusiasts in South Asia. The satellite will provide two new linear mode U/V transponders for SSB and CW use only. Only one transponder will be active at any given time. AMSAT-India indicates the UHF uplink will be in the 435.35 MHz range, while the VHF downlink will be in the 145.90 MHz range. http://www.arrl.org/

(Excerpts from the American Radio Relay League web site)

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TV Station Fined $8000 For Failure To Provide Emergency Information Visually

By Gary Timm
Chapter 24, Madison

The FCC recently handed down an $8000 Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) to WJLA-TV, a Washington, D.C. TV station. The FCC fine was imposed for failing to present visual emergency information in a timely manner. The FCC has begun taking a very hard line on this infraction. Note the following circumstances.

- The fine was a result of 1 complaint from 1 viewer.

- The alert in question was for a weather Watch, not a Warning.

- The Emergency Alert System (EAS) was not a part of this alert.

- Although the FCC stated that the station did visually present most information during this ongoing weather coverage, the station failed to present emergency information visually in just one instance, which is what triggered the fine.

- The FCC said it arrived at the $8000 fine, because it equated this infraction to the severity of not properly installing or operating EAS equipment.

Probably every TV station in the country is on occasion guilty of not presenting every tidbit of "emergency information" (defined below) in a visual manner. It would seem prudent for all TV stations to:

1) Consult with their communications lawyers as to how to best adhere to this rule. The 7-page FCC NAL regarding this case is at: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-05-1511A1.pdf .

2) Pull out a tape of your most recent weather situation, turn down the sound, and see if you can follow what is going on.

The specifics of the information in the 7-page NAL:

This infraction occurred on May 25, 2004. The FCC studied the case for a year. The fine was handed down on May 25, 2005.

Specifically, during weather coverage, viewers in a specific area were advised to take cover in their homes, go to the basement or an interior room, and cover themselves with blankets or quilts. This aural message was broadcast at 6:50PM. A visual presentation was not given until 9:22PM, over 2 ½ hours later.

The station is accused of "willfully or repeatedly violating section 79.2(b)(l)(i) of the Commission's rules".

Specifically, the station "failed, in a timely manner, to make accessible to persons with hearing disabilities emergency information that it provided aurally during a thunderstorm/tornado watch". [Yes, there is no such event.]

The NAL states, "Section 79.2(b)(l)(i) requires that video programming distributors providing emergency information (defined below) in the audio portion of programming must provide persons with hearing disabilities with the same access to such information that distributors provide to listeners, either through a method of closed captioning or by using another method of visual presentation. The Commission's rules do not require closed captioning, but allow for other methods of visual presentation, including, but not limited to, open captioning, crawls, or scrolls."

Regarding a definition of "emergency information", and addressing the allowed delay of visual presentation, the NAL stated, "Further, it is clear from the Commission's definition of emergency information, i.e., information about a 'current' emergency that provides critical details concerning 'how to respond to the emergency,' that the Commission required video programming distributors to display emergency information in a timely manner so that viewers can respond to a current emergency before becoming endangered."

The NAL continues, "if visual notification is delayed, it should not be unreasonably delayed so that a hearing impaired person would not have time to take reasonable and constructive precautions with regard to the emergency."

Paragraph 5 of the NAL goes more into detail on defining "emergency information", as well as giving examples of emergencies covered (from tornadoes and floods, to weather watches and warnings, to school closings and changes in school bus schedules) and "critical details" that the rule applies to (such as areas that will be affected by the emergency and the way to take shelter in one's home). Basically, if you can't turn the sound down on your TV and still follow all the details of what is going on, you most likely have a problem.

All TV stations are advised to review their on-air procedures.

Again, this fine was based on one "slip up", on a night where the FCC admitted that "most" information was presented visually as well as aurally.

(Gary Timm is the Broadcast Chair for the Wisconsin EAS Committee.)

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Humor

Kids In Church

3-year-old, Reese:
"Our Father, Who does art in
heaven, Harold is His name.
Amen."

A little boy was overheard praying:
"Lord, if you can't make me a better boy, don't worry about it.
I'm having a real good time like I am."

After the christening of his baby brother in church,
Jason sobbed all the way home in the back seat of the car.
His father asked him three times what was wrong.
Finally, the boy replied,
"That preacher said he wanted us brought up in a
Christian home, and I wanted to stay with you guys."

I had been teaching my three-year old daughter, Caitlin, the Lord's Prayer
for several evenings at bedtime,
she would repeat after me the lines from the prayer.
Finally, she decided to go solo.
I listened with pride as she carefully enunciated
each word right up to the end of the prayer:
"Lead us not into temptation," she prayed,
"but deliver us some E-mail.

A Sunday school teacher asked her children, as they were on the way to church service,
"And why is it necessary to be quiet in church?"
One bright little girl replied,
"Because people are
sleeping."

A wife invited some people to dinner. At the table, she turned to their six-year-old daughter and
said, "Would you like to say the blessing?"
"I wouldn't know what to say," the girl replied.
"Just say what you hear Mommy say," the wife answered.
The daughter bowed her head and said, "Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to
dinner?"

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The Best Out-Of-Office Replies
From: Mike Snyder

1: I am currently out at a job interview and will reply to you if I fail to get the position.

2: I'm not really out of the office. I'm just ignoring you.

3: You are receiving this automatic notification because I am out of the office. If I was in, chances are you wouldn't have received anything at all.

4: Sorry to have missed you but I am at the doctors having my brain removed so that I may be promoted to management.

5: I will be unable to delete all the unread, worthless emails you send me until I return from vacation on 4/18. Please be patient and your mail will be deleted in the order it was received.

6: Thank you for your email. Your credit card has been charged $5.99 for the first ten words and $1.99 for each additional word in your message.

7: The e-mail server is unable to verify your server connection and is unable to deliver this message. Please restart your computer and try sending again.' (The beauty of this is that when you  return, you can see how many in-duh-viduals did this over and over).

8: Thank you for your message, which has been added to a queueing system. You are currently in 352nd place, and can expect to receive a reply in approximately 19 weeks.

9: Please reply to this e-mail so I will know that you got this message. I am on holiday. Your e-mail has been deleted.

10: Hi. I'm thinking about what you've just sent me. Please wait by your PC for my response.(WILL they wait?)

11: Hi! I'm busy negotiating the salary for my new job. Don't bother to leave me any messages.

12: I've run away to join a different circus.

AND, FINALLY, THIS ONE TAKES THE CAKE :

13: I will be out of the office for the next 2 weeks for medical reasons. When I return, please refer to me as 'Loretta' instead of 'Steve'. And yes, I planning on a great time in Trinidad...

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Thanks SBE Chapter 105:

This psychiatrist walks into his waiting room and sees two men. One is hanging upside down from the ceiling. The other is sawing an imaginary piece of wood. The doctor approaches the man who is sawing and asks him what he is doing. "I'm sawing wood," the man replies. "And what's your friend doing?" the doctor asks. "Oh, he thinks he's a light bulb." "Well, don't you think you should tell him to get down? The blood is rushing to his head." "What, and work in the dark?"

Why did the Siamese twins move to England? So the other one could drive.

Once upon a time, in a land far away, a beautiful, independent, self-assured princess, happened upon a frog as she sat contemplating ecological issues on the shores of an unpolluted pond in a verdant meadow near her castle. The frog happened into the Princess' lap and said: "Elegant Lady, I was once a handsome Prince, until an evil witch cast a spell upon me. One kiss from you, however, and I will turn back into the dapper, young Prince that I am and then, my sweet, we can marry and set up housekeeping in yon castle with my Mother, where you can prepare my meals, clean my clothes, bear my children, and forever feel grateful and happy to do so." That night, on a repast of lightly sautéed frogs legs seasoned in a white wine and onion cream sauce, she chuckled to herself and thought: "I don't think so!!"

I got the best answering machine message the other day:
"Hello, we're probably at home - just avoiding someone that we don't like. Leave your name and number at the tone. If we don't call you back, it's probably you. " beeeeeeeeep"

Three Little Words
Besides "I love you," what three words does a wife want to hear most? "I'll fix it."

Sea Change
A fishing pal said to his buddy, "It seems that when you start talking about the fish you caught, the size changes depending on who you are talking to. How come?" "Well," said the friend, "I never like to tell someone more than I think they'll ever believe."

JOKE OF THE DAY: 60 WORDS PER MINUTE
"So tell me, Ms. Harris," the interviewer asked, "have you any other skills you think might be worth mentioning?" "Actually yes," said the applicant modestly. "Last year I had two short stories published in national magazines, and finished a novel." "Very impressive," he commented, "But I was thinking of skills you could apply during office hours." The applicant explained brightly, "Oh. that was during office hours."

Did you hear that Anheuser-Busch has taken over the Red Cross' public relations?
Their new slogan is "This Blood's For You!!

SHOW ME THE MONEY
A man walking to work up Sixth Avenue stops to watch a mime perform. He's pretending to be trapped in a box. The man stands there a while, watching the mime's performance. When it's over, the mime motions to the crowd that has gathered that they should put some money in the little hat on the sidewalk. So the man goes over and pretends to put in a dollar bill ...

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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.