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A monthly newsletter by Society of Broadcast Engineers Chapter 48

July 1997

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The June 1997 Meeting
Chapter 48's Next Meeting
Schedule of Upcoming Meetings and Events
Radio Column
From NW Penn. SBE Chapter 2
The Origin of the BNC Connector
The End User
SBE Files Opposition to 2 GHz
News From E. Harold Munn Jr.
Chapter 22 Regional Convention
NAB Attendance
RF Good For You After All?
The Nerd Bird

The June Meeting

Our gathering this month was the first combined meeting of SBE and SMPTE under our new operating agreement, on Wednesday evening, June 25th, at TCI's National Digital Television Center at 4100 Easy Dry Creek Road.

In attendance were 46 members and guests, including the Board of Governors of SMPTE, who held their first meeting ever in Denver!

Following a delicious catered dinner on the patio, the group headed for the studio for brief business meetings and our program. Representing SBE were chapter chair Andre' Smith, vice-chairman Eric Schultz and secretary/treasurer Bill Harris. From SMPTE were governor Rome Chelsi, chairman Fred Baumgartner and secretary/treasurer Rick Craddock.

Our host for the evening was, of course, TCI, and in particular, Craig Roberts. The subject of the program was the launch of TCI's Tempo communications satellite in March, a joint venture which included Lockheed Martin and Space Systems LORAL. Craig had prepared an excellent Powerpoint presentation. Here are the highlights:

Tempo is a geostationary satellite, 22,300 miles abovethe earth, operating in a frequency band somewhere above standard Ku (12-14 GHz, with an expected lifespan of about 12 years. It is located at 119 degress west longitude with a solar array 89' long, capable of 10 kilowatts of power. The transponders can be configured into 32 medium power units of 120 watts each or 16 units at 240 watts each. Compared to older satellites, these are very high powered, yielding effective radiated powers in the one-half MEGAWATT range. This allows receive antennas to be only 13.5" in diameter. In addition to complete coverage of the 48 contiguous states, there are special spot antennas for Alaska and Hawaii.

Craig actually witnessed the night launch of Tempo (after three scrubs for various reasons). An Atlas IIA booster, along with a "sustainer" section and finally the Centaur, ultimately puts the Tempo payload about 97 miles up in space, a package that started out weiging 415,000 pounds!

Craig talked in detail about the level of security at the launch site, all the way from armed guards up to helicopter sweeps with infrared sensing equipment. He gave us a "capsule" summary of the pre and post countdown sequences that included such things as pressurization and fueling, arming of flight termination systems to destroy the rocket if something goes very wrong, the ignition, booster engine cutoff, jettison of the payload fairing (which happens only about four minutes after it leaves the ground) and spacecraft seperation (about 28 minutes from takeoff).

While he admits that the night launch was spectacular, Craig discovered that the takeoff burn was so incredibly brilliant against the night sky that it actually caused some minor damage to his eyes, even though he was several miles from the launch pad.

Many thanks for Craig's preparatin of his experience and the technical details of the rocket and the satellite.

Put it on your calendar now! It's the annual July "picnic on the porch" at the KWGN TV2 transmitter on Lookout Mountain, Wednesday, July 16. Complete details in this issue. See you there!

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Chapter 48's Next Meeting...

...will be held on Wednesday, July 16th, 1997. Meeting time is 12:00 noon.

This month we celebrate the arrivla of summer with our annual trek to Channel 2's transmitter for a BBQ and picnic, with catered lunch provided by TCI.

Take I-70 westbound and exit at the Lookout Mountain/Buffalo Bill's Grave exit. Follow Lookout Mountain Road approximately 1/4 mile past the grave site to reach Channel 2's transmitter building.

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Upcoming Chapter 48 / SMPTE Meetings

WEDNESDAY - July 16th - 12:00 NOON
World Famous Annual Chapter Picnic
KWGN TV2 transmitter site, Lookout Mountain - BBQ to be provided by TCI

WEDNESDAY - August 20th - 12:00 NOON
Rick Cabalka, ADC Telecommunications:
Fiber optics technology at TCI NDTC

WEDNESDAY - September 17 - (Evening Program)
KCNC Television Facility Tour
at KCNC, 1044 Lincoln Street, Denver

WEDNESDAY - October 15th - 12:00 NOON
Dave Geon, Belden Wire Cable:
The challenges of wiring for digital
SBE Chapter 48 Chapter officer nominations

WEDNESDAY - November 19th - 12:00 NOON
SBE/SMPTE joint meeting
SBE Chapter 48 officer elections

The TCI National Digital Television Center is at 4100 East Dry Creek Road.

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Radio Column

Dave Tepe - Chapter 20

Many NPR stations are having problems with satellite reception even though the new digital system is supposed to be less prone to interference.

The primary problem is interference from adjacent satellite video carriers. FCC 86-133 36552 states in part "...the actual level of any protection desired by an applicant from inter-satellite interference for small receiving earth station antennas will be achieved by the choice of receiving antenna performance selected by parties installing new receive-only earth stations. "

The above, along with the two degree spacing adopted at the same time makes the choice and maintenance of a receiving dish critical. Side lobe performance, the difference between on-axis gain, is an important factor when choosing an antenna.

According to NPR's Jim McEchern, the signal received from a high power video transponder off-axis can equal the on-axis signal of a low power SCPC (Single Channel Per Carrier) digital transponder. In this situation, the polarization and aiming must be right on.

As dishes age, they can become distorted and lose focus rendering the original specifications meaningless.

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From NE Penn. SBE Chapter #2

The ARRL Handbook for Radio amateurs, has been announced for 1997 by the American Radio League. This is the well known standard reference book used by hundreds of thousands of radio amateurs, engineer, technicians and students.

This time, the book's 122 pages includes a 3 1/2 inch IBM format compact disk packaged in with the book. The books covers basic and advanced theory of radio and communications technology from dc to the microwave region. Construction projects are included which cover both function and design theory of the equipment. Starting with ac/dc theory and components chapter also cover analog and digital signal theory. Later on other topics include power supplies, modulations, transmitting and receiving equipment, antennas, propagation and Amateur Radio station setup.

Also covered are communications topics such as repeaters, satellites, moonbounce, and direction findings are the latest digital communications techniques. This excelling reference books can answer any questions you might have on radio communications topics and other area of electronics. The price, including the compact disk, is $38.00 plus $6 for shipping from ARRL dealers or from Joel.Kleinman, N1BKE Book Team Supervisors, ARRL, 225 Main St., Newington, CT 06111 telephone 860-594-0200 or FAX 860-594- 0303.

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The Origin of the BNC Connector

Clay Freinwald - Chapter 16

Apparently, back during WWII, the original TYPE N connector was developed by a fellow named NEIL. He developed a connector which bore his name and was, for a time, called the Neil Connector, later to become the Type N. It was then determined that there was a need for a smaller connector (apparently to be used with the new small coaxial cable) so Neil again developed a smaller, or baby version of the "N" connector (they are very similar). The name tagged for the new device was the BABY NEIL CONNECTOR. From this came today's BNC. Now, if someone could explain to me why the PL259 and SO239 are called UHF connectors? Clearly they are limited to VHF operation. Remember when the UHF connector was the STANDARD connector for all TV terminal equipment?

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Richard Jones - Chapter 16

Last December an uproar occurred when America Online changed their rate structure to allow for unlimited access by its subscribers. Suddenly it was nearly impossible for onliners to access the network because of gridlock. Resulting from all this were complaints and lawsuits over AOL's policy of allowing so many people the keys to the network and too few modems to actually allow them to log on. This brought about many comments and analyses regarding the type of plan that AOL instituted. You must have heard by now the concept of all you can eat; for only $19.95 per month. AOL is not the only access provider that is charging $19.95 for unlimited access to the Internet. Many ISPs are switching their plans from a timed access to unlimited access. Many, if not most, are charging $19.95 for access but some are going even lower charging only $14.95 per month.

Controversy surrounds this concept because critics are complaining that some people are spending too much time online far exceeding their financial commitment and hogging the lines from others. However, if this were true a lot more people than there are would be complaining about lack of access.

Another comment is that the access providers themselves are incapable of withstanding the financial losses brought about by the one size fits all plan. Again, if this were true then many ISPs would be going out of business. I had the opportunity to speak with the operators of a local Seattle ISP who has the flat rate plan for its customers. Their comment was that their operation was in the black and that because of sound management of resources they are doing quite well.

Another concern of many is whether the smaller companies will be eaten up by larger Internet providers. Although that is true in some cases, many smaller ones become larger due to their own success. The competition among the small ones keep the rates low.

It is likely, for some time to come, that there will be a mix of small and large companies sufficient to allow anyone on the network who wants access and there will be creative schemes attempted to attract new customers as well as ways of keeping old customers from defecting to other services.

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SBE Files Opposition to 2 GHz

In the past year the SBE filed comments opposed to a request for Wireless Fixed Access Local Loop Services in the 2GHZ band. This access would be used for the final link to individual residences and businesses and would preclude spectrum now available to Broadcast Auxiliary Services (BAS) on a case by case spill over basis. The SBE filed reply comments on the Public Safety Wireless Advisory Committee report on spectrum requirements through the year 2010 which proposes huge raids on Broadcast and BAS frequencies. The SBE cited several gross errors in the request. The SBE sent a formal letter to the FCC in support of a Petition for Rule Making filed by NASA to codify the existing sharing of 2GHZ frequencies.

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News from the Offices of
E. Harold Munn, Jr. & Associates, Inc.

P.O. Box 220 - 100 Airport Drive
Coldwater, MI 49036

Congress has directed the Commission to collect $152,523,000 in regulatory fees in fiscal year 1997. This represents an increase of almost 21% over fiscal year 1996. To accomplish this task, the FCC has released a notice of proposed rulemaking, MD Docket No. 96-186. This starts the process of revising the Schedule of Regulatory Fees. The official announcement states, "The Commission's Regulatory Fees will recover the costs of enforcement, policy and rulemaking, international and user information activities for FY 1997. Additionally, the Commission proposes to amend the Schedule in order to assess regulatory fees upon licensees and/or regulatees of services not previously subject to payment of a fee, to simplify and streamline the Fee Schedule and to clarify and/or revise certain payment procedures." The Commission says the proposed changes will create a system that relies on cost-based fees for its services.

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Chapter 22 Regional Convention

Society of Broadcast Engineers
Chapter 22 Central New York
25th Annual Regional Convention
Friday, September 26th, 1997
9AM - 5PM

Presenting the latest in broadcast, communications and production technologies. Equipment displays, technical papers, manufacturer's representatives and more!


FOR MORE INFORMATION GENERAL INFORMATION: John Soergel, Convention Chairman 25 Cotty Drive East Syracuse, NY 13057 Phone: (315) 437-5805

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NAB Attendance

The NAB has announced that 100,245 participants were in Las Vegas for NAB '97, making the convention the most successful NAB event on record.

There were 1,244 exhibitors and 263 advertisers and sponsors. The SBE once again was co- presenter for the 51st Annual NAB Broadcast Engineering Conference.

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RF good for you after all?

Clay Freinwald - Chapter 16

Just when you thought that RF was bad for you, and the FCC just lowered the acceptable levels of NIER at your transmitter site, comes this item from the April edition of Popular Science. Charles R. Buffler of the Microwave Research Center in New Hampshire suggests using microwaves to heat you instead of the air around you. He discovered that a person will start feeling warmth at about 20 mW (/cm.sq) and a satisfactory feeling of warmed occurs between 35 and 50 mW. This is compared to the food in your microwave that gets about 1000 mW. The big news is their claim that this new form is heating is safe due to the limited distance the microwaves penetrate the body. I'll bet this fellow gets some nasty phone calls, whadayawannabet?

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What is QWERTYPHOBIA you ask?

It's simply the fear of using a standard keyboard.

People struck with Qwertyphobia are to be found everywhere these days, especially when you find a keyboard everywhere you look. These people, probably not knowing it, many years ago thought that to learn to use a keyboard (with all their fingers) meant that they would one day need to use a typewriter. If you planned a career in anything other than office work, why take a course in typing, right? Now look at them: they would rather hunt and peck or use two fingers than learn how to operate the device with ALL their fingers. From a Wall Street Journal article comes this item, Compaq is considering changing the command 'Press Any Key' to 'Press Return Key' because of the flood of calls asking where the 'Any' key is. Take a look around your work place and note how many Qwertyphobics there are and do your company a favor. Get them in a class whereby they might overcome Qwertyphobia.

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Chapter 28

Twice a day Monday through Thursday, and three times a day on Friday, American Airlines operates the only nonstop flight between Austin, Texas and San Jose, California--the world's two leading centers for semiconductor manufacturing and software de-velopment. As you might expect, the flight, always overbooked, is usually filled with engineers and has come to be known as the "Nerd Bird." Here are some facts gathered from passenger lists:

60% know the flight is called the "nerd Bird" and 35% admit being nerds. 37% are in denial about being nerds.

75% carry a laptop, 56% a pager, 52% a cell phone, 12% a personal digital assistant. One carried a sliderule, and only one admitted to having a pocket protector.

When asked if he was a nerd, one passenger replied, "I carry a differential equations problem solver and a periodic table in my wallet. What do you think?"

(Gina Imperato, Fast Company Magazine, 1/97)

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Newsletter Committee

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

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