A monthly newsletter by Society of Broadcast Engineers Chapter 48

September 1999

Return to Chapter 48 Newsletter Page


The August 1999 Meeting
Chapter 48's Next Meeting...
Upcoming Meetings and Events
Rocky Mountain Film & Video Expo '99 Coming To Denver In October!
EAS Radios Won't Decode Present Warning Signals
DTV Antennas and Your Legal Rights
A Message From Washington D.C. Chapter Chairman Ed Bukont
Job Postings
Subscribe To sbe@broadcast.net And Plug Into Information
SBE Certificaton Exam Opportunities Announced For Y2K
FCC Adopts New TV Ownership Rules
Harris Corp. Acquires Pacific Research & Engineering Corp.
Amateur Radio News
Knowing Where to Put It
Comprehending Engineers, Take Five
The End User
A Texan's Guide To Life

The August, 1999 Meeting

Eric Schultz, Chapter 48 Chair

Members of SBE Chapter 48 gathered once again at the National Digital Television Center on August 18, 1999. The meeting's presentation was given by Dennis Roundtree of Plannergy Services. Dennis has been supplying local broadcasters (and many other clients) in the Denver area with backup power solutions for several years.

Generators are gaining importance for several reasons. A few of these include: our increased reliance on technology; increasingly sensitive equipment that requires clean, continuous power; the protection of life, property and revenue; and, of course, concern over Y2K.

When choosing a generator, there are several factors to consider. Do you need a portable or a stationary, engine-driven system? What type of fuel will you be using? Propane and natural gas are good for systems under 100KW. Diesel is preferable to gasoline because it isn't as dangerous, and it has a much better shelf life.

There are also many options when specifying controls and features. Control can be provided though relay, solid state or microprocessor systems. Microprocessor systems are becoming more popular because they provide more flexible control and monitoring. Remote annunciators are available. These can be used, for instance, to monitor an outdoor generator from an interior control room. The enclosure for the unit depends on the amount of sound attenuation you require. The type of fuel tanks required often depends on requirements set by the local government. A double wall, UL listed tank is usually the best bet. Silencers fall into four categories: industrial, residential, critical and super-critical. The silencer attenuates the exhaust sound level to a certain level above ambient level.

Of course, it's important to get the right size generator for your needs. In planning the installation it's important to determine which loads are critical loads (need to be on the backup system). The critical loads must come to a common panel. In some cases where these loads do not come to a common panel, it may actually be more cost effective to run your entire facility on a larger generator rather than rewire the electrical system. It's also important to consider the types of loads on your system. Motors and non-linear loads increase the system requirements.

Other factors to consider for your installation include: Do you want an indoor or outdoor generator? Do you have appropriate airflow and exhaust capabilities? How much noise can the system produce? What aesthetic requirements do you have as far the appearance of the system?

Dennis next talked about the options when considering a transfer switch for your system. The transfer switch is the part of the system that actually switches the load between public utility power and your generator. Types of mechanical switches include double throw switches; double interlocked breaker switches; and contactors - the preferred solution in most cases.

Both automatic and manual transfer switches are available. When choosing an automatic transfer switch, it's important to consider what the switch monitors. It's best to get a system that monitors all three phases - if you only monitor one phase, serious problems can occur when either of the other two phases fails.

Running the system periodically is critical. First, it tells you if your system is working correctly. Secondly, bad things happen to engines when they just sit. You can wind up with dead batteries, stuck injectors or sludge in your crankcase. An automatic transfer switch can periodically exercise your system automatically.

Lastly, Dennis talked about using your onsite generator to assist the utility company with peak load management. If you have a large power requirement (above 500KW), you can save your company money in one of two ways. First, there's the interruptible power rate. With this plan, the power company tells you when you need to take your plant off-line and run on generator power. In exchange, you pay a discounted rate for your demand and power. Second, there's a voluntary interruptible rate. In this system, your company voluntarily sheds itself from the public utility and in exchange, the power company will actually pay you for each kilowatt-hour you're no longer using. With either plan it's important to consider whether or not you have suitable equipment, if you need to modify your backup power system, and how running on generator power affects your facilities' operation.

Thanks to Dennis Roundtree and Plannergy Services for this much awaited presentation! Join us next month at Burst Communications, at 11:30 AM for Videotek's seminar on gamut legalization for analog to digital video conversion.

Return To Table of Contents

Chapter 48's Next Meeting...

...will be held at 12 noon on September 15, 1999 at Burst Communications.

Mark Everett, VP of Product Development and Engineering for Videotek, will be giving a presentation on the importance of color legalization when converting between NTSC and digital formats. Mark will be discussing the three main concerns in gamut legalization and methods to ensure proper gamut correction. Proper color correction will be essential for television stations preparing to use mixed formats for ATV.

Burst Communications is located at 8200 S. Akron, near Park Meadows Mall in Englewood. Take I-25 south to County Line Road. Go west on County Line about 1/2 mile. Turn right on Akron and make an immediate right into the parking lot. Follow the parking lot north a bit until you see the Burst sign.

For more details, call Burst at (303) 649-9600.

**Lunch will be provided by Burst Communications**

For more information on upcoming Denver SBE/SMPTE events, visit http://www.broadcast.net/~sbe48/calendar.html

Return To Table of Contents

Upcoming Meetings and Events

Aug. 31-Sept. 3, 1999 NAB Radio Show, Orlando, FL
September 15, 1999 Burst Communications - Gamut Legalization, Videotek - 11:30 AM
September 24-27, 1999 Audio Engineering Society 107th Convention - Jacob K. Javits Center, NY, NY
Sept. 29-Oct. 2, 1999 RTNDA - International Conference & Exhibition, Charlotte, NC
October 6-7, 1999 Rocky Mountain Film and Video Expo
November 10, 1999 Certification Night / Open House , Chapter Elections - 6:30PM, KCNC
November 19-22, 1999 141st SMPTE Technical Conference & Exhibit, NY, NY
December 15, 1999 Hands-On DTV, Howard McClure, Itelco - 6:00PM at Itelco
January 19, 2000 TBA
February 16, 2000 Kelly Hannig, Gentner Remote Control - 6:30PM, KCNC

Return To Table of Contents

Rocky Mountain Film & Video Expo '99 Coming To Denver In October!

DENVER, Colo. - "Cool Gear and Hot Ideas" is the theme for the Rocky Mountain Film and Video Expo '99, produced by ExpoMasters Inc. This dynamic event is scheduled for October 6-7, 1999 in The John Q. Hammons Convention Center at the Holiday Inn - DIA near Chambers and I70.

The Rocky Mountain Film and Video Expo is designed to showcase cutting-edge technologies, demonstrate new equipment and techniques and provide solutions for the increasingly sophisticated and challenging needs of both creative and business professionals. The Expo provides easy access to over 150 manufacturers exhibiting their latest products, 30 Short Takes presentations on "hot" industry topics and numerous opportunities to network with colleagues and production partners. Last year's event boasted record attendance, and Expo '99 is expected to be even more successful.

Don't miss this exciting event!

For more information, contact Mark Cramer at ExpoMasters, Inc. at (303) 771- 2000, or e-mail him at mcramer@expomasters.com.

Return To Table of Contents

EAS Radios Won't Decode Present Warning Signals

It seems that Midland Corp has shipped at least 100,000 EAS radios to Wal Mart and they *WILL NOT* decode TOR and SVR weather warnings! The Midland Corporation, based in KC, is a relatively large supplier of NWR receivers to retail outlets. They just shipped a "sizable" quantity of receivers to one of the country's largest retail outlets. The number of receivers will be into the 6 figures when all units are delivered in just this first order. The units will likely go to other types of outlets as well. Seems the receiver will not respond to the current Tornado or Severe Thunderstorm warning codes: TOR or SVR . The engineer on the project confirmed this is true. The units will only respond to the new codes, TOW and SVW, which have not yet been approved by the FCC for EAS applications. Until those codes are approved, these radios WILL NOT work for these two types of warnings. Once those new rules are issued and the EAS equipment software updated, and the NWS switches the NWR SAME code for those two messages, these new radios will respond properly. That FCC action is apparently still some time away.

That is not ALL the BAD news, however. The receiver software is designed to cause any STATEMENT to alert the receiver in much the same manner as a WARNING. In spite of explicit definition of watches, warnings, emergencies, and statements, they somehow were of the opinion that statements were as critical as warnings and should be alerted. No one else has made that type of interpretation. There is nothing the NWS or the FCC with regard to new rules or new code can change. Their decision to implement these new tornado and severe thunderstorm warning codes was based on a 1997 set of SAME specifications estimating the new codes would be implemented in 1998. There have been several revisions since. Looks like the consequences are three. First, the field offices and HQ will likely get two types of complaints, A.) my radio did not respond to the warnings you issued, B.) Why is my radio going off for things that are not warnings (ie statements), secondly, the users will turn off their receivers and get nothing, and third, they will take them back to the retailer.

Return To Table of Contents

DTV Antennas and Your Legal Rights

By Roy Trumbull
Chapter 40, San Francisco

Of all the ink that has been spilt over HDTV, hardly a drop has been spent on the fact that it's dependent on outdoor receiving antennas. Rabbit ears won't work and cable won't be carrying HDTV signals any time soon. The need for outdoor antennas is troublesome because many communities and Homeowner's Associations have tried to outlaw them. Following the enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (section 207), the FCC adopted 47 C.F.R 1.4000 which pre-empts local ordinances and "Homeowners Agreements" with regard to prohibitions on the mounting of antennas on dwellings.

The person putting up the antenna must have "exclusive use and control" of the site. The Homeowner's Association or community may require no fees or permits with regard to the mounting of an antenna. The only local prohibitions permitted are those involving health and safety and historic preservation. For example, mounting an antenna on a fire escape or placing it too close to a power line can be prohibited by ordinance. Rules based on esthetics aren't permitted. But if a signal can be received equally well from two different locations, a Homeowner's Association might specify one over the other. The case law that has developed with regard to this rule has come from the mounting of DSS dishes. There is still scant case experience with regard to conventional TV antennas. The Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association (SBCA) was one of the groups which lobbied for this rule. Many of the retailers selling DSS equipment belong to SBCA. Because the various satellite services lack local TV channels, retailers have a vested interest in installing combinations of DSS dishes and TV antennas. Thus the case law on TV antennas should develop.

When one is confronted with a Homeowners Association rule or a local ordinance, a petition must be filed with the FCC along with copies of the rule or ordinance. Once that petition is on public notice, it's unlikely that a fine or other action can be levied against you. However, if a court has already ruled against you, the FCC won't take the case away from the court. A consultation with an attorney who specializes in communications law is advised. Of particular interest is the "Meade Kansas preemption order" which is available on the FCC web site at: http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Cable.

Return To Table of Contents

A Message From Washington D.C. Chapter Chairman Ed Bukont

Some GM's have become aware of the common practice of engineers from competing stations helping each other. If your GM has commented negatively on this, have him check what OSHA says about working alone under adverse conditions. He or she should be thankful for the brother (and sister) hood of engineers. Otherwise, rather than buying dinner, that GM would be paying for more engineering staff.

Return To Table of Contents


As a service to SBE/SMPTE membership, technology positions in the Rocky Mtn. region are posted at no charge. Please send your posting to:

Rome Chelsi

Return To Table of Contents

Subscribe To sbe@broadcast.net And Plug Into Information

SBE members who want to get help and advice on technical matters may want to subscribe to sbe@broadcast.net. Hosted at no charge by SBE member, Dave Biondi and his company, Broadcast.Net, this list has more than 300 SBE members subscribing to it who can serve as a tremendous resource of information to you. To subscribe, send a message to majordomo@broadcast.net in the To: field of the message header. In the body of the message, type: SUBSCRIBE SBE and then send the message. You will receive an acknowledgment message that you are a part of the list in a short period of time.

Return To Table of Contents

SBE Certificaton Exam Opportunities Announced For Y2K

The Certification Committee has released dates for Certification Exam opportunities in 2000. Four exam periods will be held in chapters along with an exam period during the NAB Convention, April 11 in Las Vegas. Check out the upcoming Certification exam dates below. One may be right for you. For more information about SBE Certification, see your Chapter Certification Chair or contact Linda Godby-Emerick, Certification Director at the SBE National Office at (317) 253-1640 or lgodby@sbe.org.

1999 Exam Dates Location Application Deadline
November 12-22 Local Chapters September 30, 1999

2000 Exam Dates Location Application Deadline
February 11-21 Local Chapters December 31, 1999
April 11 NAB Convention March 5, 2000
June 9-19 Local Chapters April 21, 2000
August 18-28 Local Chapters July 7, 2000
November 10-20 Local Chapters September 22, 2000

The Society of Broadcast Engineers, Inc. 8445 Keystone Crossing, Ste. 140 Indianapolis, Indiana 46240 Phone: Fax: (317) 253-1640 (317) 253-0418

Return To Table of Contents

FCC Adopts New TV Ownership Rules

By Tom Smith
Chapter 24

At its August 5th meeting, the FCC adopted new ownership rules, including allowing the ownership of two TV stations in a market if certain conditions are met. The FCC will allow the ownership of two stations in one market under the following rules: Allow Grade "B" overlap if each station is located in a different DMA (designated market area). Continue to allow the ownership of two stations in the same DMA if their grade "B" signals do not over lap. Allow the ownership of two stations in same DMA if eight other independent TV voices would remain. Only one station may be one of the top four ranked stations. Allow a waiver for purchase of same market station that is failing or may not be built, and the existing station is the only reasonably available buyer.

In addition, the FCC will allow radio-TV cross-ownership by allowing the following: Six radio stations in a market with at least 20 independent voices after the merger. Four radio stations in a market with 10 independent voices after the mergers. One radio station in any market. The combination of AM and FM stations must meet existing radio ownership rules. In markets where the TV owner can meet the new duolopy rules for TV, they may also own a second TV station. The FCC has ruled that it will not accept new local marketing agreements if they do not meet the new ownership rules. Many current LMAs will meet the new duolopy rules, and those that do not will have to terminate in the future. Those LMAs entered into before November 5, 1996 will have 5 years to operate, and those entered into after that date would have two years. Those grandfathered under the five-year rule will be reviewed at the end of the five years. In another TV ownership action, the FCC adopted rules that will only count station ownership once in a market even if an owner had a second station in the market. This would prevent a satellite transmitter or duolopy station from causing the homes in a market from being counted twice when figuring audience caps for national ownership limits.

From FCC Press Release, (www.fcc.gov)

Return To Table of Contents

Harris Corp. Acquires Pacific Research & Engineering Corp.

CARLSBAD, Calif.-- Harris Corp. (NYSE:HRS - news) and Pacific Research & Engineering Corp. ``PR&E'' (ASE:PXE - news) have jointly announced the signing of a definitive agreement for Harris to acquire PR&E through a cash tender offer that values PR&E at approximately $9.5 million, including the assumption of debt. The board of directors of each company has unanimously approved the transaction.

``This agreement unites two successful radio businesses and reinforces Harris' commitment to supply a complete range of solutions including advanced studio solutions to radio stations worldwide,'' said Jim Woods, vice president, radio systems business unit of Harris Broadcast Communications Division. ``PR&E is a recognized industry leader in the design, development and integration of analog and digital radio studio solutions. Their complete range of analog and digital audio consoles have defined performance and reliability in the studio. Coupled with Harris' extensive sales and distribution channels as well as our systems design and integration capabilities, this acquisition brings together two companies with proven custom engineering, integration and customer service that will ultimately provide radio broadcasters a comprehensive range of analog and digital broadcast equipment and systems."

Return To Table of Contents

Amateur Radio News

By Tom Weeden, WJ9H Chapter 24

The FCC has announced that effective August 16th, their new Universal Licensing System (ULS) will be implemented for the Amateur Radio Service. The venerable Form 610 will be phased out in February 2000. License applicants not going through volunteer examiners will have to register with the FCC's ULS either on Form 606 or electronically at http://www.fcc.gov/wtb/uls/. Once registered, licensees will be able to update their records on line by filing the new FCC Form 605 electronically at any time of day, seven days a week. Form 605 will be used for license renewals, modifications, vanity call sign applications, and changes of address.

The equipment that will become the first amateur radio station on the International Space Station has completed exhaustive qualification testing at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. The radios, terminal node controller (TNC), power supplies, and connecting harnesses for the initial transportable ARISS ham station have been shipped to the Kennedy Space Center for launch this December during shuttle mission STS-101. The initial ham gear will support amateur operation from the ISS on voice and packet on 2 meters and 70 cm. The equipment package includes one 6 W VHF and one 4 W UHF transceiver, plus an interconnecting box to distribute audio and power, and a 1200-baud packet TNC.

Wisconsin's Near Space Sciences high-altitude balloon flight, mentioned here last month, was postponed until August 28th. The downlink frequency will be 439.25 MHz in the 70 cm band, which corresponds to cable channel 60. The downlink will be NTSC video with the visual carrier also frequency modulated to carry audio.

(Excerpts from August 1999 "QST" magazine and "The ARRL Letter")

Return To Table of Contents

Knowing Where to Put It

Chapter 20 - Pittsburgh

There was an engineer who had an exceptional gift for fixing all mechanical things. After serving his company loyally for over 30 years, he was laid off. A few months later his company contacted him regarding a problem they were having with one of their multimillion dollar machines. They had tried everything and everyone elxe to get get the machine fixed, but to no avail. In desperation, they called the engineer they had laid off. The engineer reluctantly responded. He spent a day studying the huge machine. At the end of the day he marked a small X in chalk on a particular component of the machine and stated, "This is where your problem is!" The part was replaced and the machine worked perfectly again. The company received a bill for $50,000 from the engineer for his services. They demanded an itemized accounting of his charges.

The engineer responded briefly: One chalk mark...........$1
Knowing where to put it.............$49.999

Return To Table of Contents

Comprehending Engineers, Take Five

Clay Freinwald, from Broadcast.Net

To the optimist, the glass is half full.
To the pessimist, the glass is half empty.
To the Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be!

Return To Table of Contents


By Joe Risse From Chapter 2

QST View, from American Radio League, 225 Main St., Newington, CT 06111 telephone 00-594-0303 or Web: www.arrl.org price $39.35. Back issues of QST magazine are available in convenient CD-ROM form, scanned to provide a black- and- white image readable on your computer screen or printed out. Search for articles by title or author, or select specific years or issues Needs 386 or better P C, windows 3x or higher, 8 MB of RAM and 9 MB of free disk space.

The 1999 World Tube Directory, from Audio Amateur Inc, PO Box 876, 305 Union professionals and audio enthusiasts using vacuum tubes. This edition of the directory has an international scope featuring listings of manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors from 29 countries plus several categories of tube-related equipment, supplies, and services. An address list of sources is included.

Digital Signal Processing Demystified, By James D. Broesch, LLH Technology Publishing, 3578 Old Rail Road, Eagle Rock, VA 240856553 telephone 800-247- 6553. This is one of the fastest-growing areas of electronics, making its way into broadcasting, satellites, and talking toys. This is a practical tutorial concentrating on design-oriented information needed by working engineers. A 232-page book accompanied by a CD ROM calculating suite of educational software routines 5to interactively illustrate the routines of DSP. The tools included enable the reader to create waveforms, design filters, filter the waveforms and display and analyze the results. The combination provides a "virtual lab" for experimenting with basic digital principles with practical and actual foundation.

1999 Answers Catalog, by Radio Shack, 1500 One Tandy Lane, Fort Worth, TX Telephone 8OO, TWl?.-SHACK or WEB: www.radioshack.com FREE This latest catalog from Radio Shack contains a large assortment of products such as cordless and corded phones, answering machines, caller-ID phone; in addition division in the over 300Ěpage color coded catalog contain a wide- variety of products for home and office electronic needs communications, audio, video, calculators, and computer equipment. Also included are tools security devices, power controllers, adapters, weather meters, clock, and automotive instruments, as well as electronic games toys, and products.

Return To Table of Contents


We found this Web site through a link from Chapter 17, Minneapolis. This is just a very small sample of the information available on this site. Sited in Australia, Finland, Japan, U.K., and USA. Frames menu: vertical, horizontal, none.

What are MiniDiscs?

MiniDiscs were introduced by Sony in 1992 as a disc based digital medium for recording and distributing consumer audio that is ``near CD'' in quality. In 1993 Sony announced MD Data, a version of the MiniDisc for storing computer data.

There are two physically distinct types of discs: Premastered MDs, similar to CDs in operation and manufacture, and Recordable MDs, which can be recorded on repeatedly and employ magneto-optical technology. The disc itself is enclosed in a small (7cm x 7cm), convenient, cartridge.

What's New?

7/24: Bob Berardino spots a new price point for MD recorders, Shopping.com's Sharp MD-MS702 is US$130(!) after rebate. // Alex Stenberg has a stylish MD page at bounce.to/md.

7/22: Adam Turner spots Aiwa's AM-HX50 MD player, with 50 hours battery life it is the smallest, lightest and longest running unit yet made. // Louis has made an enthusiastic MD page with several equipment reviews.

7/19: Mark Bausch notes an interesting MacWeek article by Stephan Somogyi on what MD could have been. // Dave Chambers shares his experiences with his Sony MDS-JB930 MD deck.

7/15: Robert contributes a careful review of the Panasonic SJ-MR100 portable MD recorder.

7/13: Jackpot! A reader points out gorgeous PDF service manuals for the Sony MZ-E44/45, MZ-E33, and MZ-R55 (with service mode and self diagnostics, accessed via a magic front panel sequence), the MDX-7970, MDX-5970 and MDX-65, and a new machine, the MDS-SD1 (an MDS-JE520 class machine that mates to an HCD-SD1 CD/Receiver to form the CMT-SD1 bookshelf system).

7/12: Thomas Meier describes how to build a PC interface for a Sharp MD-MS70x machine, allowing you to title (mostly) from your PC.

Return To Table of Contents

The End User

by Richard Jones Chapter 16, Seattle

A virus originating in Taiwan can cause some actual damage to your system. Called the "Chernobyl Virus", this nasty critter was triggered to execute on the anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown about thirteen years ago. When activated, this virus was capable of erasing an entire hard drive. Worse, it would also rewrite the BIOS chip (basic input/output system) which, in effect, gives the computer its basic control functions. When this occurs about all that can be done is to replace the BIOS chip or the entire motherboard-- essentially forcing the user to get a new computer.

Real Networks, the Seattle-based company that has defined Internet audiostreaming, has released another piece of software called "RealJukebox". This software takes advantage of the trend toward use of MP3. Audio files that can be downloaded over the Internet that are CD digital quality and played back on MP3 players. Many of these players are available for a free download. Music producers and record companies are seriously worried about the future of the music business as this MP3 technology becomes more popular.

Email: richard@serv.net

Return To Table of Contents


By Michael Hill

Crisis management principle: Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier 'n puttin' it back.

If you're ridin' ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it's still there.

If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.

Never kick a cow chip on a hot day.

If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.

Always drink upstream from the herd.

The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back in your pocket.

Never miss a good chance to shut up.

There are three kinds of men: The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.

Return To Table of Contents

Newsletter Committee

Bill Harris........(303)756-4843 email: bharris4@ix.netcom.com
Garneth M. Harris..(303)756-4843
Andre' Smith.......(303)556-3549 email: asmith@carbon.cudenver.edu

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.