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A monthly newsletter by Society of Broadcast Engineers Chapter 48

August 1998

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The July 1998 Meeting
Upcoming Events
The Five Points Media Center
Cable TV Inside Wiring: A Political Hot Potato
Job Postings
Science Fair Humor
FCC Considers Update of FM Rules

The July 1998 Meeting

Our July gathering was the third annual picnic at the KWGN TV-2 transmitter patio on Lookout Mountain. First things first: many thanks to the folks at TCI for the catered lunch. Lots of burgers, brats and other goodies, including some delicious cookies and brownies!

About 25 folks were in attendance, from radio, TV, cable and associated industries. Though Mother Nature provided a somewhat unwelcome shower a few minutes into lunch, there turned out to be enough places to duck under for adequate protection. Several folks found out that the microwave mounts were NOT, however, good protection as they apparently filled up somewhere and then dumped a lot at once!

As Chapter 48 chair Andre' Smith could not attend, vice-chair and SMPTE Rocky Mountain section chair Fred Baumgartner "chaired" from his vantage point in the middle of the picnic tables. The business was brief, and Fred "adjourned" the meeting in favor of lunch!

Among the topics of conversation was the proposed new tower on Lookout Mountain. This is a joint effort largely spearheaded by a number of TV broadcasters on Lookout to consolidate not only TV systems including DTV facilities, but a large multi-station FM antenna. While the details are many, we'll be watching how this project develops as it will affect a number of operations on Lookout and possibly some other nearby mountaintop transmitters.

Be sure to check elsewhere in this issue for details of our August meeting. Hope to see you there.

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Wednesday - 19 August - William Zou of GI will present an encoder for ATSC DTV application, and explain how they handle HDTV, and SDTV, including modulating the DTV 8VSB signal. National Digital Television Center, 4100 East Dry Creek Road.

16 September - AES/EBU AC-3 5.1 Blow Out. Sony Primary Sponsor. NDTC, 4100 East Dry Creek.

21 October - Quantel - Brad Torr (remember him from DYMA days?) presents the Quantel solution for transporting and otherwise working on digital TV in the DTV broadcast station. 12:00 Noon at NDTC.

18 November - Elections SBE - VAC (Video Accessories Corporation) New facility in Louisville tour. Time TBA.

Elsewhere On The Calendar

August 9 (and the second Sunday of every month) SBE Chapter of the Air (#73). @ 0000 GMT, 1 4.205 MHz, Hal Hosteletler WA7BGX ˙control station.

September 25 (Friday) Deadline to apply to take an SBE Certification test during the November 13-23 local window.

October 14-17 (Wednesday-Saturday) NAB Radio Convention, Seattle.

October 26-28 (Monday-Wednesday) SBE Chap 16 Electronic Media Expo, and SBE National Convention, Meydenbauer Center, 11100 NE 6th ˙Stree t, Bellevue, WA.

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The Five Points Media Center

Elizabeth Colatrella/EMS Program Coordinator

The mission of the Five Points Media Center Corporation is to apply the power of telecommunications for the public good. The Center works primarily with women, people of color and the economically disadvantaged through education, civic discourse and equity of access. One of the Center's many programs is the Electronic Media Skills Internship program which provides vocational training in particular skill areas in the telecommunications industry. The FPMCC regularly assesses employment needs and develops curricula and training programs to meet those needs. This year we began a new EMS Radio Board Operator program with the assistance of Bill Harris, Secretary and Treasurer of the local SBE Chapter. Currently we have interns training at Jefferson Pilot, Jacor and Chancellor Broadcasting companies.

After 180 hours of hands-on training interns are prepared for SBE Operator Certification. The Center also runs a Video EMS program which prepares individuals for careers as Videotape or Master Control Operators. In addition, the FPMCC runs a Teen Media Workshop for youngsters 11-17 years of age. The program runs for eight weeks in the spring and winter and provides graduated levels of instruction in print journalism, video and radio production. Through the Teen Media Workshop the Center would be able to easily recruit youngsters interested in a career in either Communications, Electronics or Broadcasting.

I believe that the FPMCC could be an excellent match to administrate the SBE's youth membership program in the Denver area. The Center is comprised of separate entities public broadcasting station KBDI/Channel 12, public radio station KUVO 89.3FM, the Colorado Broadcaster's Association, and public access Denver Community Television/DCTV. In addition to these stations the Center has excellent working relationships with the major television and radio stations in the Denver market.

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Cable Tv Inside Wiring: A political Hot Potato

Neal McLain

Cable television operators have˙been embroiled in a long-running legal˙battle over the disposition of inside˙wiring in cases where a property owner wishes to switch to a competitive video provider. The issue is still unresolved, but here's an interim report.

BACKGROUND: Battles over inside wiring have been going on for a century. First, the electric power industry fought it, then the telephone industry fought it. In both cases, the industries lost. The first electric power companies called themselves lighting companies, and offered lighting service. The lighting company owned everything inside subscribers buildings, right up to the carbon-filament light bulbs themselves. These companies offered the service on a take-it-or-leave-it basis; building owners were prohibited fromowning any wiring, and could not make any changes to the wiring. Lighting companies defended this arrangement on safety grounds: electric wiring was just too dangerous for the average building owner to install or maintain. A string of court cases eventually overturned these requirements and established the precedent which exists today: individual building owners are responsible for installing and maintaining electric wiring. In exchange for giving up the right to own and maintain inside wiring, lighting companies were absolved of any liability for fire or injury which might result from improper maintenance or installation of inside wiring. All this was accompanied by the rise of a complicated set of legal and technical enforcement mechanisms. The National Fire Protection Association published a standard code governing the installation of electrical facilities; this code still exists today as the National Electrical Code.

Legal enforcement of the code was placed in the hands of state governments; these governments in turn delegated many of the enforcement responsibilities to county and municipal governments. The demarcation between outside plant and inside wiring was defined as the point of service, usually the electric meter. Eventually, the situation whichexists today evolved: the installation and maintenance of electric power wiring must be performed by licensed electricians, subject to legal oversight by government. Electric power companies protect their interests by a simple expedient: they will not connect electric service to a building until all wiring beyond the point of service has been approved by the local building inspector. More recently, the telephone industry has gone through a similar transition. As recently as the 60s, telephone companies owned all inside wiring; they even owned the telephone instruments themselves. They defended this arrangement on two grounds: safety (improperly-installed wiring could result in fire or personal injury), and integrity of the network (improperly-installed wiring could result in disruption or damage to the telephone network itself). The FCC overturned this arrangement. Beginning with the Carterphone decision of 1968, the Commission forced telephone companies to allow customer-owned equipment to be connected to the telephone network. Through a series of subsequent decisions stretching over decade, it extended this requirement to inside wiring. But in so doing, the Commission also addressed the legitimate concerns of the industry: Fire-prevention and safety issues were left to state governments, and the telephone companies were absolved of liability in case of fire or injury. To assist this effort, the National Fire Protection Association added telephone wiring safety standards to the National Electrical Code. Network integrity was addressed by administrative rules and procedures established by the Commission itself. These rules, formally incorporated into the FCC Rules at Part 68, specify the electrical and mechanical specifications of all network interfaces. Telephone companies were given the right to disconnect any subscriber line which fails to meet these requirements. The Commission also defined the demarcation point between outside plant and inside wiring. Its now formally called the point of demarcation, or simply the demarc, usually implemented with a short RJ-11 jumper. Eventually, the situation which exists today evolved: in most jurisdictions, anyone can legally install and maintain telephone wiring.

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Job Postings

Television Engineer $2,904 - $4,237 mo.

B.A. in Telecommunications, Electronic Engineering Technology, Computer Information Systems, Electrical Engineer or a realted field, plus three years experience designeing and installing video broadcast facilities and repairing microwave radio and other telecommunication devices to the component level.

Job Entails: The maintenance, installation, repair and configuration of broadcast television productin equipment for a cable televisin station. Duties also include the supervision of interns. A combination of appropriate educatin and experience may be substituted for the education and for up to 2 years of the minimum experience requirement. If you live outside the Denver Metro Area, please call (303) 640-8250 to request an application through the mail, or by FAX.

Completed Application Due Back: Career Service Authority, 110 16th Street, Devner, CO. 80202-5206 by Friday August 21, 1998.

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Science Fair Humor

A freshman at Eagle Rock Junior High won first prize at the Greater Idaho Falls Science Fair, April 26. In his project he urged people to sign a petition demanding strict control or total elimination of the chemical "dihydrogen monoxide". And for plenty of good reasons:

1. It can cause excessive sweating and vomiting
2. It is a major component in acid rain
3. It can cause severe burns in its gaseous state
4. Accidental inhalation can kill you
5. It contributes to erosion
6. It decreases effectiveness of automobile brakes
7. It has been found in tumors of terminal cancer patients

He asked 50 people if they supported a ban of the chemical. Forty-three said yes and six were undecided. Only one knew that the chemical, "dihydrogen monoxide", was water.

The title of his prize winning project was, "How Gullible Are We?" He feels the conclusion is obvious.

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FCC Considers Update of FM Rules

Chapter 124, Portland

Negotiated interference, use of point-to-point signal propagation methods for predicting interference, and yet another class of FCC license are among the changes in a new FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (MM Docket 98-93). These changes could have profound effects, perhaps allowing a goodly number of additional stations and upgrades. A new FM Class C0 would be created, in between Class C and C1, with HAATs of 3 to 450 meters. Class C's would have a minimum HAAT of 451 meters ( 1,480 feet).

A number of class C's could face a downgrade and significant loss in protected contour area if they don't relocate to a higher position. Nationwide, some 60% of Class C stations could potentially face a downgrade. The PRM would also allow stations to negotiate interference to areas within their protected contour in certain instances. Finally, the Commission would allow use of a point-to-point propagation prediction method to predict actual "real-world" interfering contours. Unlike the current FCC method, it takes into account all the terrain between the transmitter site and the contour, using a combination of freespace attenuation, diffraction loss (over obstructions), and clutter loss, along with a log-linear "fitted line" to figure an average distance-˙to-contour over irregular terrain. It's good to see the Commission finally updating it's woefully limited and outdated Part 73.313 FM contour- prediction method, even if only for limited purposes. Where rugged terrain exists, such as in much of the Rocky Mountain West, these three factors put together might result in a number of opportunities for new stations and upgrades to existing stations that were previously not possible. Get out the shoehorn.

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Society of Broadcast Engineers
Chapter 48

2950 South Birch Street
Denver, Colorado 80222

SBE Officers

Andre' Smith (303) 871-4204

Fred Baumgartner (303) 486-3946

Bill Harris (303) 756-4843

Certification Chairman
Fred Baumgartner (303) 486-3946

SMPTE Officers

Fred Baumgartner (303) 486-3946

Rick Craddock (719) 634-2844

Myron Olinger
Dick Phannenstiel
George Sollenberger

SMPTE Govenor (National Liason)
Rome Chelsi

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 & 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 chapters are permitted to use excerpts if attributed to the original authors, sources, and/or the Denver SBE Newsletter.