15th Annual Lookout Mountain Denver SBE & SMPTE Luncheon
The Networking Event of the Year
Friday, July 21st, 2006
11:30 – 1:00
$5.00 Contribution Suggested (day of event)
RSVP to Jim Schoedler firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-620-5624 and let Jim know how many will be attending.
Sponsorship: Thanks to The Burst Group for their Financial Assistance
SMPTE SBE Lifetime Achievement Award
We wish to announce that the annual Chapter Lifetime achievement award will be presented at this event. Each year the Rocky Mountain Chapter of SMPTE and Chapter 48 of the SBE honors one of our industry veterans. Our selection process is based simply on those who have dedicated their careers to the local industry; have served SMPTE or SBE in some capacity; and have shown a dedication and willingness to assist industry colleagues over the course of their careers.
We are pleased to let you know that this year's recipent is Bob Hensler - Engineering Vice President, Colorado Public Radio. Bob became chief engineer of Colorado Public Radio when it was just one station, KCFR FM, in 1979. Since then he has built CPR into an 11 station, 16-translator, statewide 2-channel network. Bob was a key part of the initial National Public Radio satellite distribution initiative, which was the first radio network to distribute radio programming via satellite. Bob was a founding member of the Denver SBE Chapter and is the proud owner of an original, very yellow and stained SBE membership certificate dated November 10, 1979.
Please join us in congratulating Bob.
Random Radio Thoughts
An Interesting Problem
We began receiving complaints of weak signal from KBRT in recent months in the San Fernando Valley, an area where KBRT had until then enjoyed a clear signal. This area, bordered by Encino to the west, Burbank to the east, West Hollywood to the south and Mission Hills to the west, is a major commuter route with the 5, the 405 and the Ventura Freeway all crossing through it. KBRT should have close to 5 mV/m in the area, a "city grade" signal.
I made a trip out and after confirming that everything was as it should be at the KBRT transmitter site, drove the area. Sure enough, KBRT was noisy in a 16-mile-across area. To my ear, it sounded like weak signal, but the noise didn’t change when I drove under power lines or underpasses as you would expect. That gave me a clue.
KSPN, ABC’s ESPN Radio 50 kW powerhouse on 710 kHz, converted to HD Radio recently. KSPN is a third-adjacent to KBRT and should be no problem, right? After all, aren’t the digital carriers in the first-adjacent channel region? The KSPN transmitter site is located on the east side of Van Nuys, right in the middle of the affected area, so we took a spectrum shot of the station in a clear area north of their site.
The KBRT carrier field strength was first measured at 3 mV/m and KSPN was measured at 2,000 mV/m. KBRT was turned off and the KSPN spectrum was measured. The problem was immediately evident – spectral regrowth from KSPN’s digital operation was present from 735 to 740 kHz or so at about -64 dBc. This is almost within the Ibiquity specification of -65 dBc, and it is well within the FCC mask contained in §73.44. But simple mathematics shows the problem: at -64 dBc, the interfering signal produces a field strength of 1.3 mV/m to KBRT’s 3.0 mV/m, hardly the 20:1 desired-to-undesired ratio needed for interference-free reception. And while this measurement was made inside the KSPN blanketing contour, with the -64 dBc figure in hand we can easily calculate that there would be interference to KBRT outside the KSPN blanketing contour, out to eight miles or so from the KSPN site.
We are presently working with the good people at ABC to resolve the interference, and we have every confidence that we will find a cure. But I can’t help but wonder if it occurred to anyone in the Ibiquity camp or at the FCC that interference could be caused within the protected contour of third-adjacent channel stations. We now know that it can, and it’s certainly something I am going to be watching for in the future, both from an interference-received and an interference-caused perspective.
Since we built 50 kW KLTT (670) back in 1995, the tower #2 transmission line has been damaged six times by lightning. It’s actually not the lightning itself that zaps the line but the 50 kW transmitter. When lightning hits one of the high-power towers, that tower is momentarily shorted by the ionized path across the ball gap at the tower base, and that 50 kW has to go somewhere. In the RF cycle or two that it takes for the transmitter’s VSWR protection to kill the PDM, a good bit of the power makes its way into the 7/8-inch air-dielectric line feeding tower #2.
This line, which normally carries about 5 kW and which is rated for something like 8 kW with modulation, doesn’t hold up well with upwards of 20 kW applied. Invariably, it arcs over close to one end or the other, producing a carbon path inside the line on the spiral Teflon spacer. That carbon path is the focus of a sustained arc when the transmitter comes back on, and even with a dead short on the line caused by the internal arc, the transmitter barely knows it is there. At worst, it represents about 10% reflected power. The transmitter keeps on pumping power in and the arc is sustained until it burns completely through the outer conductor and jacket, a real mess.
The obvious long-term fix is to replace the line with a larger type, probably 1-5/8-inch, but the line crosses under a large canal that is running with 100 c.f.s. of Barr Lake irrigation water bound for farmers on the eastern plains. Remember that water rights in Colorado are like gold, and the canal company guards its right-of-way like a Doberman would guard a T-bone. Sooner or later, likely outside the irrigation season, we’ll have to plant a new line, but for the moment, we’re scratching our heads looking for a way to get through the irrigation and lightning seasons (which pretty well coincide).
I was thinking of a gray sky detector of some sort, maybe a Ryan Stormscope interface that detects lightning within, say, 100 miles. Turn the power down to 10 kW or so until the threat has passed. It’s a nice idea but not likely to work very well. So KLTT CE Ed Dulaney came up with a circuit that turns the transmitter power down the first time a VSWR event occurs. Because it’s likely that static discharges across the ball gaps will precede The Big Strike that results in the line damage, chances are that we can detect those discharges and reduce power. That’s the theory, anyway. And so far, so good. The circuit seems to work and we’ve had no further line damage.
This really comes as no surprise, but it has apparently gotten the attention of broadcast licensees from coast to coast. Programs that used to narrowly toe the indecency line, walking right up to but not crossing the line, are now keeping a safe distance. That, in my view, is a good thing. But what about the rest of us with our day-to-day programming that never intentionally gets close to the indecency line? We’ve got nothing to worry about, right? Not so fast.
One of our stations recently got dinged by the FCC because a caller to an afternoon talk show used the S-word as part of an excited utterance during the conversation. The caller was immediately dumped but the word made it to air. And we got a letter from the FCC. Thankfully the incident occurred months before the new law was enacted. But I wonder, if that same incident occurred today, would we be on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars?
This kind of thing can happen so easily. During a recent post-game interview, an NBA coach let fly the F-bomb on national television. That occurred subsequent to the enactment of the new law. I wonder how many NBC TV affiliates will be dinged and for how much?
The lesson for us as radio engineers is that we have to be prepared at all times. Is eight seconds enough delay? I don’t think so, and throughout the Crawford Broadcasting Company, we’re upgrading our eight-second delays to 40-seconds. Eventide makes this field mod available for a reasonable price, about $300. Perhaps it’s something you should consider. And we should think about a couple of other things, too, such as does the delay dump work and is the operations staff and talent properly trained in its use? We’re making sure of that and testing the dump at least weekly to make sure.
One thing you can count on... if your station gets dinged by the FCC for an errant word or phrase and it turns out that the dump either didn’t work or the staff/talent didn’t know how to use it, the blame will fall upon you. I suggest that you take steps now to make sure this doesn’t happen, and document everything.
I always look forward to seeing many of you at the annual Lookout Mountain picnic. Be sure to find me and say hello if you can. And if you have news to share with the Rocky Mountain radio engineering community, drop me an email at email@example.com. See you at the picnic!
Travels with Fred – NY
I know, it’s been a while since I’ve taken keyboard to bits and passed along an article.
Fact is, that working in San Diego on MediaFLO is pretty much taking 120% of my time and energy... just as predicted.
However, last week, I got to take the red-eye to New York for an Ennes Session (saves the SBE a hotel room). Finally got to go up Four-Times-Square, the Conde-Nast Publications building, the second highest building in N.Y., and it’s gorgeous and new and clean, and very well maintained and engineered. Ran into a Spiderman film crew up top and all sorts of things, including one of "our" transmitters for MediaFLO (we use CH-55 UHF to send TV to cell phones).
Got to see the diplexer room at Empire also... lots of tin-cans, plumbing and power meters.
But, the part I’d share is a rare visit to Alpine, New Jersey, and an even rarer view of Howard Armstrong’s FM transmitter site operating on 42.3 MHz, the original FM band, with 250 Watts, under STA. The picture includes Linda Baun (retiring from SBE to be VP of the Wisconsin Broadcaster’s Association), Hubby (and past president of the SBE) Terry Baun (who thought this was a great Father’s Day present... and by the way, he is a cheesehead, as am I... but you knew that), me, Craig Beardsley from Harris/Leitch... and our hosts and a few engineers from NY that had not seen the site.
The recreated Armstrong transmitter (modulator shown) is of course perfect in every way. Lots of high voltage to touch if you wish too.
The tower looks like a high tension transmission line tower... except that it’s 550 feet high...
Yup... those little things sticking up are antennas. After the twin towers came down, all but WCBS who still had a transmitter on Empire (because someone forgot to cancel the lease) operated off of the Alpine tower. But that’s the stuff of radio history. There was a gold globe at the top, now in a museum somewhere, that Howard would climb atop of and do dangerous things.... You might have seen pictures. Even now though, you can feel in tune with the guy who invented regenerative receiving, FM, and all sorts of improvements in communication.
Featuring News, Rumors and Views
Well NAB has come and gone and a good time was had by all. As usual it’s a great time to meet old friends, by this time I have a lot of those, see new technological advances, set through tech sessions...and, of course, enjoy some good food.
Here are the highlights of this years event –
Some guy with a Ham call of W7PB made a big haul at the Ham Radio reception Attendance was reported to be just over 105,000 which is about 45,000 less than CES An engineer from Sennheiser was critically injured when he was struck by a hit and run driver. EAS was a big part of my time there, look for some serious changes and improvements Probably the biggest local story was Ben Dawson getting his award at the Engineering Luncheon....and gee, Ben is older than I am (just barely) Congrats Ben...you earned it. John Battison was honored at the SBE Membership meeting with SBE’s Lifetime Achievement Award.. Take a look at your membership card, notice your membership number...John is #1...He started it all back in 1964...I waited until 68 to join If you listen to the peddlers, ISDN and T1 are old technology with IP being the wave of the future of getting audio to and from wherever. Barry Mishkinds annual affair at the Riviera was well attended. Are you ready for 22.2 sound and 3D TV?...there was a demo Lots of buzz about HD radio moving into other countries. Rumor is that Canada is close...Testing has been taking place in Paris (wonder what the French would call it, certainly HD would never fly) For the first time I did not see Eddie Fritz in the halls. David Rehr is now at the helm of NAB.
The Indecency issue continues to rumble in WDC. With the mid-term elections coming and the political pendulum swinging the other way...this will be interesting to watch...from a distance. If we are very lucky the term might just get defined so that all parties are reading from the same ‘song-sheet’ Lawmakers appear to be agreeing on one tactic – big fines. The one that I keep watching is the effort by some to include anything with an FCC license, some of which have been immune to FCC fines...many broadcasters just want a level playing field.
Lots of news about Satellite Radio these days as the new mode gradually catches on...and at a price. For example, XM reportedly lost some 151 Megabucks in the quarter and that was larger than last year and yet the number of subscribers continues to increase to about 6.5 million. Still sounds to me like early day cellular. Big losses and a steady increase in subscribers. An interesting story is the moving of shock-jock Howard Stern to Sat-Radio. There were those that felt that his big following would follow him....this apparently did not (occur) with recent estimates that only about 10% did.
Big changes over at the Sandusky radio factory ...Up at West Tiger 2, George Bisso, Gary Engard and other are busy installing 2 new Continental FM/HD transmitters...one of them for KQMV. In the event you have not heard, KLSY is no more, having become KQMV (Movin’) The station, following the rules of format change, changed their call letters. KLSY had quite a ride in our town. For us – old timers- we remember KFKF and KBES. Betcha that KLSY has already been picked up by someone, great call letters.
HD Radio continues to make strides here locally. Neural Audio (Bellevue) is working with KUOW toward a system that will end up giving the station 4 channels of audio...2 channels of new and information, music and the BBC. Wonder what Major Armstrong would have to say about this?
If you wondered if HD radios would every be on the shelves for mere mortals...It looks like its about to happen with Radio Shack announcing they will begin stocking them as will a number of other major retailers. On the production side more than 20 firms are either now making them or gearing up to do so.
Reports are that some 80 stations are about to jump on something called FM Extra...This digital subcarrier system holds some promise. Demonstrations have shown the system can transport a couple of stereo audio channels, in addition to the main channel and HD. Wonder if this will lengthen the life of FM?
Have noticed that ads reaching my house for DTV products are now – finally – telling buyers whether that new flat panel 16x9 set has a built in tuner or not...and whether its 720 or 1080. Betcha a lot of folks who have purchased 16x9 sets already don’t have a clue...wait till they see some 1080 pictures.....oh boy!
Katrina changed a lot of minds all over the country. One thing that that everyone remembers about this disaster is the role played by Amateur Radio in providing emergency communications. To that end some folks are giving Amateur or Ham Radio a second look. One of them is Moorpark High School in Ventura County, Ca. which is now offering an Emergency Preparedness class. Elements of the year-long class include CPR, First Aid...and...They will also earn an Amateur Radio license. Very cool !
For years we were hearing of how the twisted-pair companies would be challenged by the Cable TV vendors....well its happening, big time. Comcast has rolled out a package that will provide you with TV, Internet and telephone at very competitive prices.
Medford Oregon is forming an SBE Chapter...This will make it 3 in Western Oregon.
A subsidiary of Amazon has signed a deal to sell DVD’s of fresh TV shows. Seems to me that this fills a void in the system. If you really liked a TV show and missed an episode you had till wait until an independent station or cable channel picked it up to view it.
The SBE Certification program has turned 30. This program was started, if you recall, after the FCC pulled the plug on licensing folks in our trade. Certification has been a resounding success. One of Entercom’s engineers has added the AM Directional and 8VSB to his list of SBE accomplishments.
Clay, CPBE, K7CR
Strategic Planning Meeting July 8 In Kansas City
A national Society of Broadcast Engineers Strategic Planning Meeting will be held Saturday, July 8, in Kansas City, Mo. SBE has retained the services of a professional facilitator who will be instrumental in offering unbiased guidance for the discussions and help the attendees recognize and articulate the Society’s needs and build consensus on the best ways to chart SBE’s course.
We welcome input and participation from the entire membership and invite representatives of each chapter to attend. Chapters are asked to dedicate either a regular meeting or a special session to develop questions, suggestions and recommendations that apply to their chapter, as well as the national organization. Some suggested questions to start with would be:
SBE Leader Skills Seminar
From SBE President Chriss Scherer
From August 8 to 10 2006, the SBE will hold its SBE Leader-Skills Course II in Indianapolis. This is part one of the two-part leader skills seminar. Subtitled "Expanding Your People Skills," the course will be held at the Radisson Hotel Indianapolis Airport in Indianapolis.
The event is sponsored by the Society of Broadcast Engineers and taught by Richard Cupka. Information on the seminar is available online at http://www.sbe.org/documents/Leader-Skills_Reg06_001.pdf
SBE Names New Certification Director
by John Poray
I am pleased to announce that Megan Clappe has been promoted to the position of Certification Director, effective July 1. Megan has served on the SBE National Office staff as Certification Assistant since September of 2003. During that time, she has been involved in many facets of the certification program. That experience has prepared Meagan well for this new role.
Megan fills the vacancy created following the resignation of Linda Baun, announced in May. Linda, who will be with SBE through the month of June, has accepted the position of vice president with the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association.
Central New York Will Host 2006 National Meeting
The SBE Board of Directors accepted the invitation of Chapter 22 of Central New York to hold the SBE 2006 National Meeting in conjunction with that chapter’s 34th Annual Broadcast Engineering & Technology Expo. The events will be held on September 26-27 in Verona, N.Y. at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino. Turning Stone is located 30 miles east of Syracuse.
Chapters, Members May Use The SBE Logo
SBE chapters and members may use the SBE logo on business cards, letterhead and chapter newsletters. When referring to a chapter, it must be used with that chapter's name or number adjacent to the logo. Members must put "Member of" or "Certified by" adjacent to the logo.
The proper logo must be used in any case. The correct logo can be obtained only through the SBE National Office. Send an e-mail with your request to Membership Services Director Pollyanna Bayman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The YXZ Report
by Kent Randles K7YXZ CBRE
LIFE WITH HD RADIO
Erik Kuhlmann, Clear Channel Director of Engineering for Oregon, says the 620 KPOJ Portland array, "continues to be a difficult beast." The HD signal was on 620 for only a short while, and more work is needed. During the day, KEX (which has had HD for some time) is non-directional, using the center tower of the 3-tower array, and KPOJ is directional, using the outer two towers.
Since I now need to monitor the five Entercom-Portland FM stations' HD2 signals, I acquired a second generation HD Radio for my vehicle. Out came the $600 first generation JVC SHX900 and in went the $300 JVC KD-HDR1. You may have heard the promotional announcements for HD Radio that mention Crutchfield, and although they tend to sell things for list price, for car stereo systems you get everything you need to do the install. In my case, a plastic mounting system that holds the unit on a shelf spaces it out enough to clear all the cables and attaches to my dashboard with just four screws, a wiring harness adapter that completely plugs the system into the vehicle, and an adapter for the antenna lead. Fry's sells this unit for the same price, but you only get the unit itself.
This JVC car stereo appears to be ideal: WMA/MP3 CD/CD-R/CD-RW player, AM/FM tuner with built-in HD Radio ability, pre-amp and subwoofer outputs, and CD changer control that will also run an Apple iPod with an adapter. The display shows eight big characters, and is readable even in bright light through sun glasses, yet not blinding at night in the auto-dim mode.
It only takes one button-push to go from HD1 to HD2 or back, only two button-pushes to go to FM mono, and three to lock it in analog. Two things make me wonder, though. First, if you are listening to an HD2 signal and you turn off your vehicle, when you come back and start it back up you have to wait for the HD1 to "load" and then you have to push a button switch to HD2. Second, you can't set a button for an HD2 signal, just for the frequency of the station.
Coax Static Line Pressure
From: email@example.com on behalf of Phil Alexander
Nice over view on the dry air scenario needed to pressurize today's air filled heliax, and rigid lines.
I just remembered there is a company that makes an RO style of moisture removal apparatus similar to the RO style of oxygen generators now made and marketed in the medical arenas.
The water molecules and nitrogen molecules are simply too large to pass through the membranes, and are rejected. I have a friend in the sand blasting business, and he owns one of these much larger RO items that will take 200 SCFM and specifically target the difference in water molecule size vs N2 and O2 and they dry the air stream out totally, down to laboratory quality dry air. (. 001% residual absolute)
This is the semi-permeable membrane technology that is used in industry for some relatively low quality gas separation. For medical use they get more sophisticated WRT purity, but O2 usually has more N2 contamination than would be the case with fractional distillation from a liquid air plant.
They make ones that will operate and get down to 5 scfm, and they are fairly reasonable in price. I suppose that if you have a leaky system, and simply wish to stay ahead without calling for a major redo of the feedline system, the cost of the RO water filter and a 5 hp compressor seems incidental.
I own a 350' self supporter, with 8 runs of 4" coax up it, and I have always had leaks.
I solved the problem by purchasing a commercial duty 10 psi capable commercial aquarium air pump. Colorado's ambient air is generally less than 20% relative humidity, and a simple automotive air conditioner refrigeration condenser and weep hole, seem to clear the balance of the moisture out. I use a Fleetguard FS 1212 fuel water separator spin on filter that has a new cost of 8.99 and it acts as the final air filter before being routed to the Andrew metering manifold(s) and applied to the coax cables.
In, or on the east downslope of the Rockies is the only place I'd want to try that because it is much too humid in most of the country. You're lucky to be out there where the air is dry.
Andrew is now charging between $500 and $1500 to factory rebuild any of their regenerative dehydrators and Gast does have an exchange program for their carbon vane compressors, but it generally runs 50% of new price. (which probably is the wholesale price of the item, and they simply send you a new one for being a member of their Gast user club) One of the big problems associated with the Andrew style regenerative systems, is that the idiot that designed it, used PVC tubing on the output of the Gast compressor over to the changeover solenoid. And this tubing would melt if the demand from the dehydrator caused the pump to run continuously it was mandatory to replace all the tubing with copper if you wanted reliability.
This is why I tend to favor "roll your own" using industrial equipment. This is standard stuff in the industrial plant equipment market, and most "fluid power" (hydraulic and pneumatic) distributors carry it. In very humid areas, the performance can be much better than the so-called "line dehydrators."
The now abandoned AT&T terrestrial 6 GHz sites used a lot of waveguide, and they had great dehydrators... stood about 6' tall, and were up to the task. I should try to acquire one or two of those (they are selling these sites, complete with steel towers, 20ksq ft concrete building, 18' high ceilings, 400 kW Gen. sets, and 2 acre lots for between $20k and $60k here in Colo, all the nice ones near towns have been purchased, but the ones 20 miles from nothing are still available) but the things are quite heavy, and it takes three men to move them.
The old AT&T (pre-breakup) built things to last - - forever. :)
Frequency Coordination & Other Stuff
by Everett E. Helm W7EEH CPBE
ANNUAL SBE FREQUENCY COORDINATOR'S MEETING @ NAB2006
This year's annual meeting of the SBE BAS volunteer Frequency Coordinators was held during the recent NAB spring show in Las Vegas. The first hour was a presentation from Sprint/Nextel outlining the proposed plan for "cut over" weekend in each market. That being described as the time for all stations and users of 2 GHz BAS facilities to change to the new bandplan.
The remaining time was spent on a variety of subjects, the most interesting being the Prior Coordination Notices (PCN's) that many stations and coordinators have received from Clarity TV, otherwise known as "Trucker TV." Clarity, which is a subsidiary of Flying J Truck stops, is proposing to have a fixed multi channel video service "broadcasting" in the vicinity of their truck service centers in many states. This would utilize the entire 2 GHz BAS band with up to 14 channels. The whole premise of this service is bogus, as it's hard to find their eligibility under FCC rules. In addition, a fixed service to distribute content directly to the end user is not allowed. Dane Erickson made an excellent presentation which opened up a timely discussion. Since the meeting, MSTV has petitioned the FCC to issue a cease and desist order against Clarity's continued PCN filings. They are already operating in several Flying J centers under an Experimental authority. They would be a secondary service to coordinated and licensed BAS users, but if one of these relatively high power operations was anywhere near your 2 GHz Central Receive site, it would kill your use.
IF you receive a PCN sent to you as a station licensee, please let me know. Seems like our BAS frequencies are under constant attack.
Also discussed were some issues with the refarming of the 450 MHz band and the effects of that change on the "P" channels used for telemetry. 10 KHz channels are no longer valid.
Amateur Radio News
By Tom Weeden, WJ9H
• In the contentious Broadband Over Power Line (BPL) debate, the American Radio Relay League won a concession from the United Telecom Council (UTC), which has removed all restrictions on access to the BPL Interference Resolution Web site. In cooperation with the United Power Line Council (UPLC), UTC administers the database, which FCC Part 15 rules mandate be "publicly available." Ever since the database debuted last October, the ARRL has taken strong exception to access constraints UTC had imposed. These included limiting searches solely on the basis of ZIP code and rationing the number of allowable searches. In February, the League filed a formal complaint with the FCC, demanding the Commission order UTC to "cease its arbitrary limits" on access to the database. ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, said the League was happy to hear that UTC now has eliminated search limits and posted all BPL system information.
"We are pleased that UTC finally has seen the merit of our arguments in favor of making the database truly accessible," Sumner commented. "This can’t possibly hurt, and can only help everyone focus on the real issue: the avoidance and prompt correction of harmful interference to radio communications from BPL."
The UTC’s decision to modify its BPL database came two days after its representatives and a representative from Duke Power met May 17 with FCC Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) staff to address "changes to the database concerning the search limits." ARRL representatives recently further discussed the League’s perspective on the same subject with OET staff.
• FCC Special Counsel for Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth addressed a nearly full house at the FCC forum at the Dayton Hamvention on May 20th, and for the most part he praised the behavior of the majority of Amateur Radio operators, especially those who volunteered in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina last year. But, he noted, radio amateurs still could be more courteous and less inclined to fly off the handle at some perceived on-the-air offense. Hollingsworth said experience has shown him that at least 75 percent of the interference complained about is absolutely unintentional.
He praised the Volunteer Examiner program as "outstanding" and noted there had not been a single complaint in the past year stemming from an examination session.
"This country’s communications infrastructure needs Amateur Radio," Hollingsworth emphasized, praising Amateur Radio’s overall performance following Hurricane Katrina. "You have a tremendous amount to be proud of."
He also suggested that radio amateurs have an obligation to stay informed about what’s going on in Amateur Radio that might affect their activities. "You have to not only keep up, you have to lead the way, because it’s in your charter," he said, pointing to §97.1 of the Amateur Service rules.
Hollingsworth noted at the start of his talk that he could not address any questions dealing with the FCC’s long-awaited decision on the Morse code requirement (Element 1), because he works in the Commission’s Enforcement Bureau. "We don’t meddle in rule making," he explained, but added that he didn’t expect CW to decline if the FCC does drop the 5 WPM Morse requirement for all Amateur Radio license classes as it’s proposed to do.
(Excerpts from the American Radio Relay League’s <www.arrl.org> web site)
Hot Off The Internet
From the CGC Communicator,
FCC LOCATES ANOTHER WINEGARD AMPLIFIED ANTENNA IN SELF-OSC
New Telcom Act Proposed
By Tom Smith
On May 2nd, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) introduced the Communications Act of 2006, which is titled The Communications, Consumers Choice, and Broadband Deployment Act of 2006. The Act is 135 pages long and covers a number of current communication issues.
There are 9 pages dedicated to the War on Terrorism, which include rules on improving interoperability on public safety communications and rules to reduce phone rates for the members of the military serving overseas. There are 25 pages covering changes of the existing laws concerning universal service for phone service and the extension of universal service fees for broadband services.
While it indirectly affects broadcasters, there are 42 pages covering cable franchising. With the entry of the phone companies, cable service is now called video service providers. This part of the act would allow phone companies blanket franchises, but will allow local communities to collect local franchise fees, will require phone companies to carry local access channels and retains local control of right-of-way management.
There is a 15-page section on Sports Freedom, which is a proposed law that would prohibit a multi-channel provider from getting exclusive rights to sports channels or events. This rule would prevent a cable or satellite provider from getting an exclusive contract to carry sporting events. That would prevent something like the Brewers on cable only and not on a satellite carrier.
There are a couple of provisions that cover broadcasters. There are 8 pages of proposed rules that would require rules to allow broadcasts flags to limit the redistribution of digital Audio and Video programming. The Audio flag would be a new requirement and the proposed rules would require that a board be established of consumer and industry representatives to recommend the final rules.
Under the title of Wireless Innovation Networks, Sen. Stevens once again raised the issue of WI-MAX and WI-FI on the so-called white areas of the TV broadcast spectrum. It would require the FCC to create rules that would allow equipment to be sold 270 days after passage of the ACT.
There are proposed rules concerning the DTV transition. The proposed rules would require the FCC to develop additional consumer information to be made available to stores and online regarding the transition and its effects. It also establishes a DTV working group to develop a national plan that could be implemented on a local level to aid in the transition. TV manufactures would be required to label TVs without digital reception, stating that they would no longer receive broadcast TV signals after February 17, 2009. The labels would have to be in English and Spanish.
Of direct concern to broadcasters, a TV station would have to run two 30-second announcements a day from July 17, 2009 to February 17, 2009. The July 17, 2009 date is no doubt a typo and it should be July 17, 2008. If a station does not make the announcements, they could receive hefty fines.
The bill would also allow cable operators to transmit an analog signal of any TV station requesting carriage under section 614 or 615 of the Communications Act to ensure continued viewing of the over-the-air signals by cable subscribers. The bill would also reinstate rules requiring video description for the blind.
Finally, there are 6 pages of proposed rules concerning municipal broadband systems, a directive for the FCC to create rules regulating video service providers to prevent the distribution of child pornography, and to study and make recommendations for the free flow on information on the internet (network neutrality).
The Proposed Act, an outline and Senator Stevens’ comments are on his website which can be accessed from http://thomas.loc.gov.
PDX Radio Waves
By Michael D. Brown N7AXC CSRE
Over in Vegas, the NAB Spring Convention had it's strongest showing since 9/11, with over 105,000 registrants - about 25% of them international. Noticeably and curiously absent was Ibiquity, but their HD technology was all over the floor. The growing consensus is that the main missing piece of the puzzle is an affordable HD receiver, with the $100 price-point widely discussed.
Meanwhile, Continental Electronics was again showing their 816HD tube-type FM transmitter, which is now said to do up to 20 kW using a 4CX20,000E tetrode, with about 55% AC to RF efficiency. Also, just at the convention got underway, a strategic alliance between Continental and Nautel was announced. Nautel low-level equipment was widely seen in conjunction with the Continental high-power gear.
Elsewhere, DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) was showing off an interesting new proposal: Using the 25.67 to 26.1 MHz international shortwave broadcast band for LOCAL FM-like digital-only transmissions. Skywave-suppressing vertical dipole antennas are envisioned. A 1 kW demo was operating from a hilltop overlooking Las Vegas, and seemed to be performing well. There apparently are a handful of manufacturers already building receivers that can decode these broadcasts, costing as little as $200. Outside the booth, a lot of questions were heard regarding how well this band will perform when sunspot activity flares up. The 26 MHz band is actually pretty mediocre for long-distance propagation during "normal" conditions, but can get active during sunspot peaks.
If the band could somehow be reserved for broadcasters using only the skywave- suppressing antennas, we might have something here. DRM also revealed that they have a "working agreement" with Ibiquity that could be "activated at any time", but wouldn't elaborate any further. Could some sort of grand alliance be in the works here?
Meanwhile, Armstrong was hawking an FM translator that can pass the full HD radio signal, but only a mock-up was on display. Many of the early adopters of HD are NCE stations - most of whom have one or more translators. Having the expense of additional HD exciters and licenses, in cases where over-the-air reception at the translator site is possible, is seen as a major stumbling block. In this writer's opinion, Ibiquity should just bite the bullet and waive the licensing fees for all FM translators and boosters.
Anybody remember slide rules?
From the folks at Jampro and Radio Magazine... www.jampro.com/tech/sliderule.htm
Click on Support, and then select the link for the Technical Library. The link for the classic slide rule is near the bottom.
My young grandson called the other day to wish me Happy Birthday. He asked me how old I was, and I told him, "62." He was quiet for a moment, and then he asked, "Did you start at 1?"
A grandmother was telling her little granddaughter what her own Childhood was like: "We used to skate outside on a pond. I had a swing made from a tire; it hung from a tree in our front yard. We rode our pony. We picked wild raspberries in the woods." The little girl was wide-eyed, taking this in. At last she said, "I sure wish I'd gotten to know you sooner!"
I didn't know if my granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so I Decided to test her. I would point out something and ask what color it was. She would tell me, and always she was correct. But it was fun for me, so I continued. At last she headed for the door, saying sagely, "Grandma, I think you should try to figure out some of these yourself!"
Subject: Perspectives on Golf
Golf can best be defined as an endless series of tragedies obscured by the occasional miracle, followed by a good bottle of beer
Golf! You hit down to make the ball go up. You swing left and the ball goes right. The lowest score wins. And on top of that, the winner buys the drinks.
Golf is harder than baseball. In golf, you have to play your foul balls.
Golfers who try to make everything perfect before taking the shot rarely make a perfect shot.
The term "mulligan" is really a contraction of the phrase "maul it again."
Golf is the only sport where the most feared opponent is you.
To some golfers, the greatest handicap is the ability to add correctly.
In golf, some people tend to get confused with all the numbers... they shoot a six, yell fore and write five.
An interesting thing about golf is that no matter how badly you play; it is always possible to get worse.
Garneth M. Harris
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