This is the 100th edition of the SBE Chapter 48 Webletter. You can view all of the old editions, dating back to September of 1996 at http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/oldnews.
14th Annual Lookout Mountain Denver SBE & SMPTE Luncheon
Friday, July 15th, 2005
The Rocky Mountain Section of SMPTE and SBE Chapter 48 held our annual networking luncheon in the shadows of the broadcast towers on Lookout Mountain in Golden, Colorado. The weather Gods smiled on the 87 broadcasters that attended the event. The luncheon has become a tradition in the Rockies as this was the 14th year when industry colleagues have an opportunity to get together socially and discuss local industry issues.
This event is made possible by our sponsors and we wish to thank them:
Broadcast Technical Service BTSI - Peter Douglas
Travels With Fred - VOA
Ok... been a bit wrapped up these days... so I'm a bit sporadic with my newsletter donations, but this one I should make. I had the opportunity in mid-uly to Visit the Voice of America facilities in Washington. One of the FDR era buildings without much need for exterior maintenance, they are limestone after all. Inside, the evidence of dual bathrooms and water fountains from the less equal depression era.
I think the very first thing I heard on Shortwave was Bethany Ohio, VOA. Why not? Pre-teen I lived in Detroit, and while I then though of Bethany (or anything farther than Lansing) as a foreign country, it's just beyond ground wave. Long since retired, the facility had those 100, 300, and 500 KW Continental, GE and other odd rigs slamming rhombics with 10 db or more gain. Since then I have visited Delano CA, but still have Greenville N.C. to see... and of course the whole rest of the world.
So what's a TV apps engineer doing at VOA? Well, to my surprise, the VOA does nine TV channels also.
James O'Neal is a name you might have heard, and I'm sure will hear more of. A true RF junkie, he has 900 antique radios, avid ham, writer, and thinks anything less than 300 KW is a local. I have seen most of Washington's sights in my half century, and never really thought to try and find the VOA, and here it found me. You might want to check it out if you have a chance. James gave me a reading list too. I'll need to brush up on my border blaster history. You'll need someone to get you through the airport style security that is Washington these days, but there is history and magic in these walls.
Random Radio Thoughts
I noticed that Barry Walters has KIMN (Mix 100) transmitting program associated data (PAD) now. Song title and artist information are displayed during music segments, and the station name/slogan are displayed during promos, etc. The display (usually) goes blank during spot blocks. It will be good to see other stations activate this feature.
My company has been experimenting with multicasting in several markets. I was pleased to see how the multicast works with the Kenwood tuner. It simply appears as the next station up or down on the dial (depending on which way you're tuning), and it can be stored as a preset. That will make the multicast appear to listeners as another station, which is exactly what we want. I hope other receiver manufacturers will incorporate similar multicast tuning features into their products.
There were a lot of "mom and pop" comments filed against the standard and iBiquity's system in general. Many of these comments contained erroneous information and made assumptions not in fact. Clearly, a lot of small station owners/operators are worried that IBOC transmissions will wipe out their signals with interference.
One very interesting set of comments was filed by Microsoft, who objected to the NRSC-5 standard because it was not an "open" standard and would require iBiquity-licensed equipment to receive it. Keep in mind that this is the company that fought tooth-and-nail against Linux and other open-source operating systems.
Another interesting set of comments came from the Consumer Electronics Association. That organization supported the NRSC-5 standard.
Reply comments are due the 17th of this month if you're interested.
Projects, projects, projects
Ed's crew is also busy with IBOC conversions. We're working on conversions at KLZ, KLDC, KLTT and in Colorado Springs, KCMN. KLZ will be first. The major transmitter modifications have been completed and we anticipate having a digital signal on the air the first or second week of this month.
One thing Ed is not looking forward to is the modification of the KLTT 50 kW transmitter, a 1995-model Nautel ND-50. 120 power modules in that thing have to be swapped out. Swapping modules isn't hard, but multiply that by 120 and you're looking at several days' work!
The KLZ 1999-vintage ND-5 modification required replacement of all twelve modules, and that took the better part of a day. Things got especially exciting when one of the new modules flamed out at power-up. If you don't remember anything else from these pages, remember this: don't stand in front of an ND-5 when you turn it on!
If you have some time to spare and would like to make a few bucks on the side, contact Ed at (303) 433-5500. He can use all the help he can get. Because of the nature of the projects, it would be helpful if you could work in four-hour blocks. In September, Ed will be looking for DA tuning/proof help. If you have-FIM-will-travel, give Ed a call.
If you have news you would like to share with the Rocky Mountain radio engineering community, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jack Kilby, Inventor Of The Integrated Circuit, Dies At 81
Thanks to Chapter 124 - Portland
DALLAS (June 21, 2005) - Jack St. Clair Kilby, retired TI engineer and inventor of the integrated circuit, died yesterday in Dallas following a brief battle with cancer. He was 81.
Mr. Kilby invented the first monolithic integrated circuit, which laid the foundation for the field of modern microelectronics, moving the industry into a world of miniaturization and integration that continues today. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2000 for his role in the invention of the integrated circuit.
Mr. Kilby moved to Dallas in 1958 to work for TI. As a new employee that summer, he was not yet entitled to the mass August vacation that was customary among TI employees at the time. It was in this relatively quiet time that the idea of the integrated circuit first came to Mr. Kilby.
"I was sitting at a desk, probably stayed there a little longer than usual," he recalled in a 1980 interview. "Most of it formed pretty clearly during the course of that day. When I was finished, I had some drawings in a notebook, which I showed my supervisor when he returned. There was some slight skepticism, but basically they realized its importance."
Mr. Kilby and TI officials put the circuit to the test September 12, 1958. It worked, and his invention transformed the industry. In 1960, the company announced the first chips for customer evaluation. Two years later, TI won its first major integrated circuit contract to design and build a family of 22 special circuits for the Minuteman missile. The integrated circuit remains at the heart of all electronics today.
Mr. Kilby considered himself first and foremost an engineer, a profession he viewed as transforming ideas into practical realities. He held more than 60 patents for a variety of electronics inventions. Among these were the handheld electronic calculator and the thermal printer, both of which he co-invented.
FCC Seeks Comments On 2 GHz MSS Spectrum
From Ev - Chapter 124 - Portland
In a separate public notice released today, the Commission explained that three 2 GHz mobile satellite service (MSS) satellite operators had recently surrendered their authorizations. The Commission also stated that it intends to modify the spectrum reservations of the two remaining satellite operators authorized to provide MSS in the 2 GHz band, ICO Satellite Services (ICO), and TMI Communications and Company Limited Partnership (TMI), such that ICO and TMI each will have one third of the forty megahertz of spectrum in the 2 GHz MSS bands. The spectrum designated for 2 GHz MSS is the 2000-2020 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz bands.
So there you have it: take the spectrum away from Broadcasters, who've been serving the public for years to give to some "Pie in the Sky" ideas. Then when they can't make it work, or go bust, it's free spectrum. Why not return it to Broadcasters?
Thanks, CUL, & 73, Ev
Calculate AM & FM Signal Strengths By Zip Code
(From the CGC Communicator http://www.bext.com/_CGC/ And Portland Chapter 124)
V-Soft Communications has updated its free web-based program that calculates theoretical AM & FM signal strengths at user-specified Zip codes. The revised program has added AM nighttime signal strength data.
Conversely, by specifying a station's call letters, the program delivers a list of calculated signal strengths for all of the Zip codes within the station's coverage area. http://www.v-soft.com/ZipSignal/default.htm . (Tip courtesy of Radio Magazine)
[Note: it is not updated regularly. - .ed]
Featuring News, Rumors and Views
Well here we are half way through the year already... When you write columns like this you are always a month ahead and the year seems shorter.
Lets see what's new this month....
Remember the recent Amber Alert that turned out to be a custody issue? Trust me there is a mechanism for dealing with Amber issues...Hang in there folks.
Looks like the Radio business is just about to enter a new era of mergers and sales with a number of pretty large groups announcing they are selling and a number of groups making it clear that they intend to grow. Things are going to be interesting. Rumors are flying...here we go.
Did you happen to catch the Leno show on May 13th? It was very interesting to watch the contest between a couple of lads with text-enabled cellphones and a couple of code proficient Hams. The Hams, operating with modest CW speeds, easily won. It's great to see a technology that's well over 100 years old win a test like this. Then again those that use it must make use of the decoder they were born with...and many don't do that.
I suppose you have heard about all the fuss over BPL or Broadband over Power Lines. This is a system that enables our existing AC distribution systems to connect computers where there is no dial up, cable etc. Now comes word that there might be another entry into the world of broadband communications....This time via your gas line!. Yep...The idea is to run a fiber optic cable inside gas lines that are already plumbed into millions of homes. I have to admit that my mind is wondering around what to call this new service. Gas-Connect....Gas On-Line....Hmmm.
Perhaps you are a PSE Customer and may have noticed the newsletter they enclose with their bill, Energy Wise. The latest issue has a piece on how they use the 900 MHz band for their wireless meter reading. This is fine until someone lights off a system on the same band on West Tiger. It happened recently and the QRM sniffers from PSE were quick to locate the problem to one of the sites on the mountain. The level of interference in these unlicensed bands is going up and up and the number of systems that no longer work is going down. If you have a system on 900, 2.4 or 5.8....The time bomb is ticking.
Here's a question for ya....If you recall when the FCC opened up the new AM Expanded band they made it clear that everyone was to operate AM Stereo...well with that mode joining other technologies in the scrap heap of history...What does the FCC do now?
Right now the FCC is not doing much as new chairman Martin puts the breaks on a lot of activities while he plans his next moves. No shortage of rumors here. Word is that he is going to tackle, head-on, issues like cross-ownership, etc. I have to wonder if the Commish or the Congress will attempt to regulate cable and satellite broadcasters? With Howard Stern going there he is certain to draw those that wish to regulate.
No word yet on what will happen during a recent airing of Saturday Night Live where the 'F' word slipped out.... At least that's all that slipped out.
Reacting to the popularity of the Apple Ipod...Radio broadcasters all over the country are looking at ways to reduce 'clutter'. One way is to reduce the number and length of spots on the air...Another way is to throw away the program directors' playbook of the past 30 years....The one that told them to play the same few songs over and over with motor-mouthed DJ's. The reaction has been the spread of the so-called 'Jack' format. This is basically a contemporary/mix music format with a very large playlist and limited talk. It seems that in a matter of weeks every market has one.....Seattle is no exception as our 96.5 is now Jack. They have a cute new set of call letters to go with it...KJAQ. Perhaps to appeal to the Canadian listeners. I wish them well as this frequency has struggled to find success over the years.
It may well be that radio has some new heavy competition from these little personal audio storage gizmos. I recently heard a BMW spot advertising input jacks on their car radios for your IPOD. Sounds funny to hear a radio spot advertising something that takes listeners away from radio.
If you are a Ham and have a collection of 'good - old - stuff' in your garage or basement.... You've not seen anything yet. Check out this site - http://members.cox.net/wa6mhz - and let me know what you think.
Congrats to Doug Irwin and the Clear Channel gang for their recent additions to the local HD Radio selections. KUBE and KJR are now broadcasting in digital and sounding quite good I might add.
On the subject of HD one of the comments that I keep hearing over and over is where are the receivers. Lets stop and think about it...only about 5% of the radio stations have signed up or are actually on the air with HD....Give it some time folks!. My HD radio is about to go back to the maker for its first mods...This is to permit the reception of more than one audio channel. For some time many have thought that HD Radio was just a fancy noise reduction scheme...now that Multicasting is catching the industry's eye...watch out. Already station owners are dreaming of multiple channels of programming. The Sat-Casters are going to have competition.
On that subject....XM is running print ads telling the world that they now have over 4 million subscribers. Meanwhile a popular science magazine panned the XM portable.
Then there is the group that not only does not like what Fox has on cable...they have done something about it. For about 9 Bucks you can get a little gizmo that installs at your set input that blocks that channel. It's called the FOXBlocker.
Did you go to NAB this year? Word is that attendance was up over last year with just over 104,000.
Congrats to the WSAB as it moves past 70 years.....And Yogi turned 80.
The IEEE has joined the cry about outsourcing. According to a recent news release the period from 2000 to 2004 saw a loss of over 100,000 electrical and electronic engineers. Computer and software engineers were the biggest losers.
American Tower has merged with SpectraSite forming a huge vertical real estate company with over 22,600 towers across the country. Locally both firms operate sites on West Tiger Mt.
A big congrats to Art Blum over in Tri-Cities. Art has done what few have. He recently celebrated his - 40th - year at KONA. Art started there on April 19th of 1965. The station threw a party in his honor. I wonder what the record is in this market for someone at one station?
Busto's Media's new station in this market, KDDS, after only a couple of weeks on the air, made quite a showing in the radio ratings. The station recently promoted an event in Kent where some 12,000 showed up. Perhaps Entercom should have tossed the business format for Spanish programming?
Well as I write this it's off to Greensboro, NC next week...back in town for 2 weeks and then time to go to Denver for the SBE Executive Board Meeting. At the fall meeting (in Dallas this time) my term on the Board will be completed and I may or may not be looking forward to more challenges. As you will soon find out I am nominated for Vice President. If elected this could well extend my stay on the Board.
Bill Gates recently said that he envisions a tech-savvy car that won't let itself crash. If you are like me, you'd rather see a computer that would not crash and leave the driving to us.
Well that's about it from here for this month....Think summer and sunshine! See ya at the next SBE meeting !
Clay, CPBE, K7CR et al
This will make you work the "ole" brain...... Have fun!!!!!
This is a quiz for people who know everything! I found out in a hurry that I didn't. These are not trick questions. They are straight questions with straight answers.
1. Name the one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants knows the score or the leader until the contest ends.
2. What famous North American landmark is constantly moving backward?
3. Of all vegetables, only two can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons. All other vegetables must be replanted every year. What are the only two perennial vegetables?
4. Name the only sport in which the ball is always in possession of the team on defense, and the offensive team can score without touching the ball?
5. What fruit has its seeds on the outside?
6. In many liquor stores, you can buy pear brandy, with a real pear inside the bottle. The pear is whole and ripe, and the bottle is genuine; it hasn't been cut in any way. How did the pear get inside the bottle?
7. Only three words in standard English begin with the letters "dw" and they are all common words. Name two of them.
8. There are 14 punctuation marks in English grammar. Can you name at least half of them?
9. Where are the lakes that are referred to in the Los Angeles Lakers?
10. There are 7 ways a baseball player can legally reach first base without getting a hit. Taking a base on balls (a walk) is one way. Name the other 6.
11. Name the only vegetable or fruit that is never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form except fresh.
12. Name 6 or more things that you can wear on your feet beginning with the letter "S."
Tough huh? Now that we have found out what you don't know, look at the end of this issue for the answers!
SoftWright Awarded a GSA Contract
As of April 29, 2005, SoftWright LLC became a registered contractor, fully vetted by the General Services Administration, to do business direct with the US Federal Government, as well as state and local governments through April 28, 2010. "This 5-year contract will enable us to better serve our current governmental customer base, as well as make it even easier to start doing business with prospective government clients," says SoftWright's president, Larry Ellis, P.E. While the process took a lot of time, it will be well worth the effort to be able to provide a simple way to locate and procure our software at the very best price. Radio frequency design engineers and technicians only need access to the GSA information on our web site to quickly find out more about the Terrain Analysis Package (TAP) software and how it may be acquired though this contract.
This contract applies only to cooperating government agencies for purchase of IT products and services. The Department of Homeland Security is now the parent agency to such current TAP users as the US Border Patrol, FEMA, all branches of the US Military, US Forest Service and the Federal Aviation Administration to name but a few.
Bob Hope: May 29, 1903 - July 27, 2003
ON TURNING 70 "You still chase women, but only downhill".
ON TURNING 80 "That's the time of your life when even your birthday suit needs pressing."
ON TURNING 90 "You know you're getting old when the candles cost more than the cake."
ON TURNING 100 " I don't feel old. In fact I don't feel anything until noon. Then it's time for my nap."
ON GIVING UP HIS EARLY CAREER, BOXING "I ruined my hands in the ring ... the referee kept stepping on them."
ON SAILORS "They spend the first six days of each week sowing their wild oats, then they go to church on Sunday and pray for crop failure."
ON NEVER WINNING AN OSCAR "Welcome to the Academy Awards or, as it's called at my home, 'Passover'."
ON GOLF "Golf is my profession. Show business is just to pay the green fees."
ON PRESIDENTS " I have performed for 12 presidents and entertained only six."
ON WHY HE CHOSE SHOWBIZ FOR HIS CAREER " When I was born, the doctor said to my mother, 'Congratulations. You have an eight-pound ham'."
ON HIS FAMILY'S EARLY POVERTY "Four of us slept in the one bed. When it got cold, mother threw on another brother."
ON HIS SIX BROTHERS "That's how I learned to dance. Waiting for the bathroom."
ON HIS EARLY FAILURES " I would not have had anything to eat if it wasn't for the stuff the audience threw at me."
ON GOING TO HEAVEN "I've done benefits for ALL religions. I'd hate to blow the hereafter on a technicality."
Thought you might like to stroll down memory lane for those of who are over 50 and you younger ones.....these are memories we all cherish as we were growing up, we saw these signs along the highways (no interstate roads then)!
Remember these? For those who never saw the Burma Shave signs, here is a quick lesson in our history of the 1930's and '40's. Before the Interstates, when everyone drove the old 2 lane roads, Burma Shave signs would be posted all over the countryside in farmers' fields. They were small red signs with white letters. Five signs, about 100 feet apart, each containing 1 line of a 4 line couplet......and the obligatory 5th sign advertising Burma Shave, a popular shaving cream.
DON'T LOSE YOUR HEAD TO GAIN A MINUTE YOU NEED YOUR HEAD YOUR BRAINS ARE IN IT Burma Shave
DROVE TOO LONG DRIVER SNOOZING WHAT HAPPENED NEXT IS NOT AMUSING Burma Shave
CAUTIOUS RIDER TO HER RECKLESS DEAR LET'S HAVE LESS BULL AND LOTS MORE STEER Burma Shave
SPEED WAS HIGH WEATHER WAS NOT TIRES WERE THIN X MARKS THE SPOT Burma Shave
THE MIDNIGHT RIDE OF PAUL FOR BEER LED TO A WARMER HEMISPHERE Burma Shave
A magazine recently ran a "Dilbert Quotes" contest. They were looking for people to submit quotes from their real life Dilbert-type managers. Here are the Top Ten finalists:
1. "As of tomorrow, employees will only be able to access the building using individual security cards. Pictures will be taken next Wednesday and employees will receive their cards in two weeks." (This was the winning quote from a Microsoft Corp. employee.)
2. "What I need is an exact list of specific unknown problems we might encounter."
3. "E-mail is not to be used to pass on information or data. It should be used only for company business."
4. "This project is so important, we can't let things that are more important interfere with it."
5. "Doing it right is no excuse for not meeting the schedule."
6. No one will believe you solved this problem in one day! We've been working on it for months. Now, go act busy for a few weeks and I'll let you know when it's time to tell them."
7. Quote from the Boss: "Teamwork is a lot of people doing what I say."
8. My sister passed away and her funeral was scheduled for Monday. When I told my Boss, he said she died on purpose so that I would have to miss work on the busiest day of the year. He then asked if we could change her burial to Friday. He said, "That would be better for me."
9. We know that communication is a problem, but the company is not going to discuss it with the employees."
10. One day my Boss asked me to submit a status report to him concerning a project I was working on. I asked him if tomorrow would be soon enough. He said, "If I wanted it tomorrow, I would have waited until tomorrow to ask for it!"
Answers to the Brain Teasers:
1. The one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends . . boxing
2. North American landmark constantly moving backward . Niagara Falls. (The rim is worn down about two and a half feet each year because of the millions of gallons of water that rush over it every minute.)
3. Only two vegetables that can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons . . asparagus and rhubarb.
4. The only sport in which the ball is always in possession of the team on defense, and the offensive team can score without touching the ball .... baseball.
5. The fruit with its seeds on the outside.......the strawberry.
6. How did the pear get inside the brandy bottle? It grew inside the bottle. (The bottles are placed over pear buds when they are small, and are wired in place on the tree. The bottle is left in place for the entire growing season. When the pears are ripe, they are snipped off at the stems.)
7. Three English words beginning with dw . . .dwarf, dwell and dwindle.
8. Fourteen punctuation marks in English grammar period, comma, colon, semicolon, dash, hyphen, apostrophe, question mark, exclamation point, quotation marks, brackets, parenthesis, braces, and ellipses.
9. The original lakes referred to in Lakers . . . in Minnesota. (The team was originally known as the Minneapolis Lakers, and kept the name when they moved west.)
10. Seven ways a baseball player can legally reach first base without getting a hit . . . taking a base on balls (a walk); batter hit by a pitch; passed ball; catcher interference; catcher drops third strike; fielder's choice; and being designated as a pinch-runner.
11. The only vegetable or fruit never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form but fresh . . . lettuce.
12. Six or more things you can wear on your feet beginning with "s" . . . shoes, socks, sandals, sneakers, slippers, skis, skates, snowshoes, stockings, stilts.
Garneth M. Harris
Newsletter archives are available online.
Visit www.smpte-sbe48.org/oldnews for an index
newsletter back issues.
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.