Return to Archives


The October Meeting

SBE's Short Circuits

SBE National Meetings Dates Moved

Certificaton Exam Session Dates Announced For 2002

SLOC Needs Tech Volunteers

FCC E-Mail Service Available

FCC Meetings on the Web

Dial 711, Starting October 1, For "TRS"

Amateur Radio News

Clay's Corner

Things You May Not Know, But Should

Divine Right Of Kings



October, 2001

USA Flag

Return to table of contents

The October Meeting

Submitted by Rome Chelsi, Section Chairman

Section Meeting October 17, 2001

The Rocky Mountain Section's October 17th meeting featured a presentation by Mr. Peter Lude, Executive Vice President of Engineering, of iBlast Inc. iBlast is developing technology to take advantage of datacasting made available in the ATSC A/90 standard. A/90 provides terrestrial broadcasters with the ability to transmit data utilizing opportunistic space in the 19.39 Mb transport stream.

Peter provided the section with a detailed description iBlast's network and vision of how various business models might evolve. With over 200 stations on the air, iBlast has proven technology in operation.

Peter provided us with results from testing DTV propagation in "real life" environments and a discussion of various emerging antenna designs. Indoor antenna designs have not evolved greatly during the analog era and still resemble the rabbit ears used during the "I Love Lucy" era.

Twenty five chapter members attended the meeting at the Auraria College campus. Our thanks to Andre Smith, Chief Engineer, Auraria Media Center for arranging the facilities and Mr. Lude and iBlast Inc. for providing us with their presentation.

October 2001 Meeting

black line

Return to table of contents

SBE's Short Circuits

October 2001

A Monthly Update from the Society of Broadcast Engineers


Six members of the broadcasting community were lost as a result of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, September 11. All were station engineers or technicians working at television station technical sites at or near the 110th floor of the North Tower. The victims of this horrible act include:

Rod Coppola - WNET-TV
Donald Di Franco - WABC-TV
Steven Jacobson - WPIX-TV
Bob Pattison - WCBS-TV
Isaias Rivera - WCBS-TV
William Steckman - WNBC-TV

Our prayers are extended to the families, co-workers and friends these men so unexpectedly left behind. SBE and the Ennes Trust have established a fund to benefit the families of the victims. (see the story following). One of these men, Don Di Franco, was a member of SBE. The upcoming annual issue of the SBE Membership Directory and Buyer's Guide will be dedicated to him.


With the cooperation of the Ennes Educational Foundation Trust, the Society of Broadcast Engineers has established a relief fund to benefit the families of the six broadcast engineers and technicians lost at the World Trade Center. With the assistance of SBE Chapter 15 in New York City, SBE will deliver a check to the immediate families of each of the six men. Every penny raised will go to the families. SBE President Troy Pennington, in a letter to members posted on the SBE web site on September 12, wrote in part, "let us show these families... how much we care and honor their loved ones. Please continue to pray for the victims of this terrorist act as we proceed with a sense of conviction in knowing that we remain united during this period of mourning."

To contribute to the Broadcast Engineer Relief Fund, make your tax deductible check payable to "Ennes Educational Foundation Trust" and mail to: Society of Broadcast Engineers, Inc.; 9247 N. Meridian Street, Suite 305, Indianapolis, IN 46260. Contributions can also be made using VISA, MasterCard or American Express by calling SBE at (317) 846-9000.


The SBE National Meeting and the Central New York SBE Regional Convention have moved their jointly held events to November 27-28. They will be held at the Turning Stone Casino Resort in Verona, NY. The schedule of activities will largely be as they were originally planned. National Meeting events will begin Tuesday afternoon with an EFD Committee meeting set for 1:30 pm. The national Board of Directors meeting will be held at 6:00 pm. On Wednesday, the day starts out with a free breakfast for attendees hosted by Chapter 22. The annual Fellows Breakfast, sponsored by Scala, Division of Kathrein Inc., will be held at 7:30. Exhibits will open at 9:00 am and run through 5:00 pm. Technical papers will be presented from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm. The SBE Annual Membership Meeting will be held from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm. At 5:00 pm, a festive reception, sponsored by Chapter 22 and TRON-Tek, will take place, followed by the SBE National Awards Dinner at 7:00 pm, sponsored by Leitch, Inc. All events are free, except the Awards Dinner, which requires a $10 ticket. To order your ticket's, contact the SBE National Office at (317) 846-9000. To register for the Regional Convention, go to the Chapter 22 web site,


FCC employee, Steve Linn and his wife Lesley Nearman were killed in an automobile accident on Friday, September 21 in Maryland. The couple's two children were also in the vehicle but were not seriously injured. Steve and his family were traveling to Virginia Beach where Steve was scheduled to speak at a Hamfest scheduled there for that weekend. Services were held September 24 in Lower Paxton Township, PA.

Steve was deputy chief of the Licensing and Technical Analysis Branch for private wireless within the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, working out of the FCC's Gettysburg office. Steve had worked with many members of the broadcast engineering community over the years. Recently, he had worked closely with the Society of Broadcast Engineers on frequency coordination matters and offered invaluable guidance on many issues with a friendly and professional manner. At SBE's invitation, Steve attended the last two spring NAB Conventions so he could participate in SBE frequency coordination meetings. He was a true friend to the broadcasting community and will be sorely missed. SBE extends its prayers and sympathy to the Linn's children, their families, friends and co-workers. A fund to benefit the Linn's children is being established by the Linn family. Details will be posted at the SBE web site when they are released.


The Ennes Workshop, scheduled for October 12 in Nashville, Tennessee was postponed due to travel problems for some of the speakers. The Workshop has been rescheduled for Monday, January 7 and will be held in conjunction with the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters convention. The location will be the Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville. Sessions will be held on DTV Transmission Facilities, Video Transport Considerations Outside the Digital Studio, An Overview of ATSC Activities, Implementation Recommendations for Data Broadcast, Real-time Broadcast Control and A Super Efficient Five-Segment Multi-stage Depressed Collector IOT. A special radio session on IBOC has been added to the original program lineup. To register, call the SBE National Office at (317) 846-9000. Cost for SBE members to attend is $69 and non-members are $85. Fee includes speaker workbooks, breaks and lunch.


Four SBE Regional Conventions will be held during October, presenting an excellent opportunity to see equipment exhibits, attend technical paper presentations and meet with other broadcast engineers and members of SBE, all within a modest budget. Coming up:

October 24-25
Electronic Equipment Expo, Chapter 16, Seattle, WA.

October 31
Pittsburgh Chapter 20 SBE Regional Convention, Monroeville, PA. Contact Tom Bills at


November 27-28
Central New York SBE Regional Convention & SBE National Meeting, Verona, NY.


The ATSC DTV Standards Seminar scheduled for October in St. Louis, MO has been rescheduled for February 20-21, 2002. The location remains the same. To register, go to Co-sponsored by SBE.


Field Office and some home office based FCC officials are available to speak to your SBE chapter. Availability is subject to their schedules and if there is travel cost involved, the chapter will most likely be asked to pay for it. Contact your local FCC Field Office for more information on how to invite a FCC representative to a future meeting.


Members of SBE who offer their services on contract or as a consultant can advertise their availability with a low-cost listing in the special Contract Engineers section of the Annual SBE Membership Directory and Buyer's Guide. However, the deadline of August 31 is fast approaching. Call or e-mail Angel Bates at the SBE National Office to include your listing. Phone: (317) 846-9000. E-mail: Listings are also available on the SBE web site.

Questions and comments about SBE may be e-mailed directly to Executive Director, John Poray at

Society of Broadcast Engineers, Inc.
9247 North Meridian Street, Suite 305
Indianapolis, IN 46260
Office: (317) 846-9000
Fax: (317) 846-9120

black line

Return to table of contents

SBE National Meetings Dates Moved

Because of the events of September 11th, the SBE National Meeting and the Central New York SBE Regional Convention has been moved to Tuesday and Wednesday, November 27-28 at the Turning Stone Casino Resort in Verona, NY.

black line

Return to table of contents

Certificaton Exam Session Dates Announced For 2002

The SBE National Certification Committee has announced exam session dates for 2002. Check the list below for the exam period that is best for you. For more information about SBE Certification, see your Chapter Certification Chair or contact Linda Godby, Certification Director at the SBE National Office at (317) 846-9000 or

Exam Dates


Application Deadline

November 9-19, 2001

Local Chapters


February 8-18, 2002

Local Chapters

December 28, 2001

April 9, 2002

NAB Convention

March 12, 2002

June 7-17, 2002

Local Chapters

April 27, 2002

August 16-26, 2002

Local Chapters

June 16, 2002

November 8-18, 2002

Local Chapters

September 29, 2002

Questions and comments about SBE may be e-mailed directly to Executive Director, John Poray at

black line

Return to table of contents

SLOC Needs Tech Volunteers

The Olympic Spectrum Authority (OSA) is recruiting volunteers for positions during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games to be held in Salt Lake City beginning February 8, 2002. Skilled 2-way radio and broadcast professionals are required to work behind the scenes at the world's largest media event.

The position, Radio Frequency Attendant, is a vital part of Games operations. OSA will be working very closely with the FCC to keep radio frequency interference to a minimum. Most positions will be "backstage" at competition venues including ski jumping, bobsled, downhill and ice hockey.

To qualify for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, you must be available for 12 shifts and have access to housing or lodging in the Salt Lake City area. Assignments will begin mid-January, 2002 and end February 24th, 2002.

If you are interested, or would like more information, please contact Mario Hieb at 801-212-2428.

black line

Test Pattern

black line

Return to table of contents

FCC E-Mail Service Available

Washington, DC

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has available an e-mail service to apprise consumers about developments at the FCC, to disseminate consumer information materials prepared by the Commission to a wide audience and to invite comments from other interested parties on FCC regulatory proposals. FCC fact sheets, consumer brochures and alerts, news releases, public notices, notices of proposed rulemaking, reports and orders, and other consumer-related information are the types of items that are sent out via this new e-mail distribution list. This service is operated by the Consumer Education Office in the FCC's Consumer Information Bureau. This free e-mail service enables anyone to subscribe and receive FCC publications and notices of interest to consumers.

To subscribe, submit a subscription request by e-mail to the following address:

Put the following request in the subject line or in the body of the message (not both):

subscribe fcc-consumer-info firstname lastname

(replace with real first name and last name)

To unsubscribe send the following request using the same procedure as with subscribing:

unsubscribe fcc-consumer-info

Those who have difficulties subscribing to this list should send an e-mail message describing the problems to for assistance.

black line

Return to table of contents

FCC Meetings on the Web

The FCC conducts regular business and sponsors technical meetings that are available over audio transmissions on the Web. For a current list of upcoming events and instructions on how to get this feature, visit

black line

Return to table of contents

Dial 711, Starting October 1, For "TRS"

From the CGC Communicator

October 1 is the day that the familiar calling shortcuts of 911 and 411 will be joined by 711 - the new three digit number for access to all Telecommunications Relay Services ("TRS"). TRS is commonly used to communicate with people who are deaf, or have severe speech impediments. The assistance of a special operator is involved. The service is free of charge to the user.


black line

Return to table of contents

Amateur Radio News

By Tom Weeden, WJ9H
Thanks to Chapter 24

Amateur radio volunteers answered the call to assist in ongoing relief and recovery operations in New York City, Washington, DC, and western Pennsylvania in the wake of terrorist attacks on the US September 11. New York City-Long Island Section Emergency Coordinator Tom Carrubba, KA2D, reports that hams have been supporting emergency officials and the American Red Cross relief and recovery effort. Amateurs have been staffing several Red Cross shelters in addition to a staging/National Disaster Medical System center, various Red Cross units, and the Greater New York City American Red Cross Headquarters as well as the New York City Office of Emergency Management.

At least four Amateur Radio operators are among the many still missing in the aftermath of the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. The hams reported missing so far include:

Steve Jacobson, N2SJ, 53, of New York City, a transmitter engineer for WPIX-TV. Bill Steckman, WA2ACW, of W. Hempstead, New York, a transmitter engineer for WNBC-TV. He was well known in the NYC area and ran a number of repeaters from the World Trade Center, most notably the 434 MHz ATV repeater.

Bob Cirri Sr, KA2OTD, 39, from Nutley, New Jersey. A Port Authority police officer, Cirri was on the job helping to evacuate workers from the building when it collapsed.

Michael G. Jacobs, AA1GO, 54, from Danbury, Connecticut. Jacobs worked at Fiduciary Trust Company International, which had offices in the World Trade Center.

On September 18th, the American Radio Relay League took Amateur Radio's message directly to FCC Headquarters in Washington, DC. ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, said the idea behind the ARRL's "Amateur Radio Demo and Education Day" was to foster a positive view of the Amateur Service-especially with three new commissioners on board who may not be familiar with ham radio and the issues it faces.

The "demo" part of the event included a fully operational HF amateur radio station, which was used to make several contacts, a selection of low-profile antennas, a PSK31 setup, and a software-defined radio designed and built by Bob Larkin, W7PUA. The event gave Haynie the chance to chat at length about amateur radio issues with FCC Chairman Michael Powell, commissioners Kathleen Abernathy, Michael Copps, and Kevin Martin, and key FCC staffers.

Chairman Powell spent considerable time examining every display and asked for a personal demonstration of the PSK31 equipment. He was also interested in amateur radio involvement in rescue efforts at the World Trade Center and Pentagon disaster sites and how the Amateur Radio Emergency Service operates. ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay said he was pleased to see that people did not just "cruise through" but stayed to discuss various issues and topics. Imlay said the event set the stage for future productive discussions with the FCC on a number of important amateur radio issues.

Excerpts from "The ARRL Letter"

black line

Return to table of contents

Clay's Corner

Clay Freinwald
Seattle Chapter 16

Hi again. Hope summer has gone well for you. Technically, for us here in the Pacific Northwest, September is the end of most of it. It's time for the Puyallup Fair and that nasty reminder that the 'wet' is near. This month will mean traveling for me as I travel back East to work at some other Entercom stations and attend the SBE fall meeting. While there I will be doing an EAS workshop... Then it's back home for a few days before my annual trek to visit Mom and other relatives in Colorado.

Saw something the other day that brought back a lot of memories (this happens when you get older). Way back when, I remember, my grandfather had a windup cylinder phonograph. Years later I remember little windup phonographs (heck no batteries or AC required). When I was about 7 or 8 my Dad gave me a flashlight with a built in generator, you'd squeeze the handle, the generator would take off and you had a battery free flashlight. With the advent of solid state electronics, and much better batteries, etc., it looked like the days of windups were gone. Then a couple of years ago I received a windup radio (Freeplay).This is pretty cool and is especially handy when the power goes out and you want to keep the flashlight running. But I digress. What caught my eye was in a recent issue of Popular Science. Are you ready for the WINDUP Cellphone? It's from Motorola, 5 minutes of talk or several hours of standby from each windup. Can't resist the thought that these will be CRANK calls.

Sign of the times. Went into a name brand electronics store the other day to see what they had in the way of HDTV stuff... was I surprised to see a couple of dozen offerings in various sizes. They were all running the same demo, apparently from a DVD. The variation in picture quality was astounding. A sales lady came over and I asked to see what the pictures looked like OFF AIR. She went into this long story about how the cable systems don't send it and they don't have a satellite receiver. I keep trying to re-direct her to OFF AIR... like from a LOCAL TV STATION... she never understood. I was thankful that her phone rang so I could escape what would not have been a pretty sight. Looks to me that the local TV stations are going to have to start holding class for these retailers if DT is ever going to get off the ground. I kept having flashbacks of AM Stereo and hearing just about the entire sales department of a local retailer (named after a southern flower) try and convince me that there was no such thing. We certainly have a catch-22 here... but for the sake of our industry may I humbly suggest that the TV stations in this area get together (what a concept) and perhaps hire a couple of folks who can go to the places that consumers look for these things and start educating them... perhaps we, the broadcasters, are at fault here.

On the subject of TV reception, have you heard about the Winegard antenna flap? Guess some models have active devices in them... and active may be an understatement. Apparently these little elevated devices are turning themselves into dandy little transmitters that are spraying the 120-130 MHZ spectrum with little carriers that wander. I understand that some of them have been found in the aircraft band... and the FAA is NOT amused. What makes this all the more interesting is the fact that most of these critters are mounted on motor homes and other RVs making them a moving target. Here are the numbers affected by the problem, RV 7004, RV 3090, RV 7090, RV 2001 and GS 2000... Happy hunting.

Speaking of antennas (one of my favorite subjects), remember Metrocom? This outfit installed antennas all over the place based on the notion that you and I would just jump at the chance to have our laptop connected to a wireless device. Well, like a lot of great ideas without enough demand to make them viable they have fallen on hard times; could be some bargains in the left overs. Reportedly, almost $750 million was spent on trying to make this business work (including some serious money from Paul Allen).

Another antenna caught my eye the other day. This one at a house about a half block away. Some new folks moved in and my wife noticed an antenna laying in the front yard (apparently on its way to the roof). Dang! Just what I need: a HAM in my neighborhood... next thing you know I'll have TVI. But on second thought... this might be handy... you know, someone else to blame... hee, hee.

Propagation has always been of interest to me. Guess this is one of the reasons why I have been involved with Ham Radio for so long. Anyway with more and more distance records being broken for contacts made at VERY high frequencies... it's interesting to read that a record was recently set on 184.4 kHz... now this is not a misprint...we are talking a frequency that's well below the AM Broadcast Band. Apparently, a fellow in B.C. heard the transmissions from New Zealand over a path of 11,709 km. The transmitting antenna would make the avid antenna guru groan... it was a long wire and 100 watts.

Saw a bumper sticker on the back of a truck the other day. ELECTRICIANS DO IT UNTIL IT Hz. How about the sign on an electrical service company truck, LET US REMOVE YOUR SHORTS!

GM has apparently jumped into the fuel cell business, and for this there are broadcast applications. In early August GM unveiled a stationary power generator that converts natural gas into electricity. Their application is, of course, to put these things into automobiles and trucks replacing the internal combustion engine. Back to the stationary unit... we might shortly see the time when that diesel burning auxiliary power unit out back could be replaced by a silent device that puts out water vapor instead of stinky smoke. If they come up with a method for powering vehicles with fuel cells, that Gen-Set in remote and sat-trucks could be a nifty application for the technology. Keep an eye on this technology and expect many players. Speaking of technology... Dialight has finally put on the market their long awaited replacement for light-bulb OBs. Some time ago they introduced a LED replacement for our towers 'side-lights' but now the whole structure can go solid state. The new Beacon uses 90% less energy. After you order these new creatures for your towers... don't forget to attend to the alarm and reporting equipment you have installed; this will likely have to be modified to deal with the considerable reduction in currents involved.

Just renewed my ham license, good now through 2011. Some folks I know (again no names) have not done so and are in their grace period. It's not hard, the easy way is to have W5YI or, if you are a member, have the ARRL do it for you. For those of you that want to make an adventure of it... there is the FCC's ULS. Tip: Don't check renewal only. For some reason this does not work. Check Mod and Renewal and then enter all the same old information.

Once again another AM music station bites the dust, this time it's 1090 (ex KYCW, KRPM, KING, KINF, KEVR, etc.). Apparently feeling that they were getting nowhere with their classic country format, Infinity has opted for a shock-talk format. I really feel sorry for those that go hunting for music on AM these days... you can just about count the number of stations on one hand.

AT&T just announced a nifty product that can produce human sounding voice from text, unlike Perfect Paul that NOAA is about to ditch for their NOAA Weather Radio service. Apparently this new development, called Natural Voices, permits customers to supply their own accents, etc. (NOAA could make this fellow a Swede if they wanted.) I look for a lot of funny use for this... could put Rich Little out of business doing spots.

Are you ready for MSS? Boeing and others were the winners in a recent announcement of licenses for the new Mobile Satellite Systems. Rural areas will benefit from these systems as they will be able to deliver to out of the way places features that land based systems cannot economically do. The spectrum these new systems will be using should be very familiar to anyone that has worked with 2 Gig TV systems... 1990-2025 and 2165 -2200 MHZ. Our 2 Gig band, once 'main street' to a lot of TV systems, ENG and STL, has been forced to undergo some radical changes. I will let Greg Thies give you the gory details in his column.

The FCC has released its new NIER compliance manual, which is a supplement to their OST-65. You will find it at the Commission's Web Site,

Think there are a lot of radio stations? As of June 30 there were just under 13,000 of them... and a big bunch of filings for the new Low Power FM facilities awaiting action.

The FCC has more FINE news for us this month.... The Commish reduced to 10 Grand a fine against KNEC-FM in Colorado for failure to install and maintain EAS equipment, failure to have an adequate transmitter remote control system, failure to log, etc.

24,000 Bucks is the number for KDWZ for failure to have EAS equipment, violation of rules related to antenna structures and failure to maintain a public file. $10,000 is the magic number for Joshie Nakamura for operating an unlicensed AMATEUR Radio station. Meanwhile, Alan Brockway will pay $17,000 for operating an unlicensed radio station and failure to permit inspection of it. The latter was in Montana. You'd think that folks would know that operating an unlicensed station is a no-no and by not letting the FCC in the door would make matters worse... but then again no one has claimed that these folks are bright. The latest thing in pirate radio... illegal operation in AM's expanded band. Several of them have been observed in various locations. You might want to check the 1610 to 1700 band from time to time, could be some interesting 'critters' up there.

Remember the recent mondo-fine ($212,000) against American Tower Company for tower registration, lighting and related violations? Well, the FCC's Enforcement Bureau dug a little deeper... as a result ATC and the Commish have negotiated a bit and ATC will make a VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTION to the U.S. Treasury in the amount of 300 Grand. Looks like there was more wrong there than first reported. Over the years I have watched a number of tower owners receive a rude awakening as to rules and regs... especially those that DO NOT have an FCC licensed system on the tower.

While I'm at it... here's another 'sleeper'... one that has caught many an AM station off guard. Have you checked for Tansy Ragwort lately? This is a yellow flowering weed that looks like a lot of other wild flowers in the field... but this one is special because it's poisonous to large animals and many local governments have very strict rules about how it's to be handled... and disposed of. Most counties have a division that handles noxious weeds, etc.; call them for specific rules in your area.

Here's a sign of the times... a recent insert in the paper from one of the home improvement places... they are selling Harris tone generators, punch tools and test sets and Cat-5 cable. Remember the 'old' days when only certain people had access to those things?

I recently had a frustrating trusty old CD player in the collection of parts and pieces that make up my stereo system died... so I decided that I would go out and buy another one. Guess what? They are all gone! I can buy a CD changer (too big for my cabinet) or a DVD player. Why do I need a DVD player in my stereo that is in another room from the TV? GEESH! This was the same electronic store that I visited looking at HDTV stuff. And you know what takes the cake? They don't have a single component type CD player... but they DO have turn-tables... several styles. Am I out of touch, or what?

Been following the flap about using cell phones in cars and wondering if our state will clamp down on their vehicular use? I have to admit that you see a large number of cell phones pressed to heads these days as you drive around... but I have also noted many a driver reading the newspaper, reading maps and my favorite... women putting on makeup. Another 'BRILLIANT' study just released concluded that drivers are more distracted with dialing the phone than when answering it. I just love these. Apparently they concluded that it's more distracting pushing 9 buttons than 1... DUH?? The good news is that these areas that have clamped down on cell phone use have NOT prohibited 2-way and Amateur Radio use in vehicles... apparently understanding that these communications systems have been around a long time and have not created problems.

We've all been seeing the new hybrid gas/electric cars coming out... now here is nifty idea. It's called the 'e.Volution'. It's a small minivan that runs on compressed air, can travel about 120 miles for about 30 cents... pretty cool... and it can go 50 mph. Perhaps the government could issue these to their employees and they could be self-sufficient.

XM and Sirius continue to make a lot of press in the trades, with announcements that their birds are flying and so are their requests for oodles of 'fill-in' repeaters. The time is now to find out just how this unproven system actually works before the cash paying customers start calling about reception problems.

Scheesh... just checked the word count, 3729... where do I get all this stuff? Have a good'n... see ya next month

Clay Freinwald, K7CR, CPBE

black line

Return to table of contents

Things You May Not Know, But Should

Humor from Clay Freinwald, Chapter 16

The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.

Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite.

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

Money cannot buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to deal with.

The longest one-syllable word in the English language is 'screeched'.

Deja Moo - The feeling you heard this bull before.

In most ads, the time displayed on a watch is 10:10

Psychiatrists say that 1 in 4 people are mentally ill. Check 3 friends, if they are OK... so are you.

The microwave was invented by a fellow who walked into a radar field and his chocolate bar melted. No word on what else happened to him.

Nothing in the Universe travels faster than a bad check.

A Goldfish has a memory span of about 3 seconds. I could list others in the same category, but I work with some of them.

A truly wise man never plays leapfrog with a unicorn.

Keyboard facts: Stewardesses is the longest word you can type only with your left hand (assuming you type with both hands and all fingers)... and your left hand typically does 56% of the typing.

Always remember to pillage BEFORE you burn.

Some DAFFYnitions for your groaning pleasure

OXOMIO ENGINEERING - The highly refined science of subjecting a malfunctioning device with an exacting amount of G-forces in order to correct a malfunction. Known to non experienced types as a Percussive Maintenance.

VERBOSSITE - A substance that inhabits the brains of politicians and others that are able to speak at great length without meaning.

HIPATITIS - Terminal Coolness

DOPELLER EFFECT - The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

TECHNOSQUEAL - The sound emitted by a Non-Technical person when they finally discover that they could do it without help. This sound is usually not emitted in the presence of technical personnel.

TECNNOWHINE - The sound made by a technophobe when they don't wish to put out the effort to resolve a problem on their own.

DENIALNERD - A person that always denies that they had anything to do with something getting broken.

SALMON DAY - The experience of spending the entire day swimming upstream only to die in the end. (See MUSHROOM in a previous edition)

UNOBTAINIUM - The basic materials used to construct parts that are never available when needed.

MOUSE POTATO - The net effect of merging the on-line computer with the TV set.

TRANSMITTER SITE - A strategically located Tavern or Pub used by Engineers to regain their sanity while escaping those that are stuck at the studio.

BLAMESTORMING - The process of conducting a meeting to determine who should get blamed for any failure.

CONALTRETURN - One of the first computer trouble-shooting techniques learned by most people that use Windows.

DOSORDIE - A died in the wool DOS user that loves to make fun of those that suffer with Windows.

STRESS PUPPY - A person who whines when stressed.

GENERICA - Features of the American Landscape that are exactly the same wherever you go to the point that you cannot tell where you are, examples are: Strip Malls, Fast Food Row, Subdivisions, etc.

IRRITAINMENT - What a lot of TV programs are these days... they are identified as programs that have minimal value, annoying, crude, poorly done... but you find yourself watching anyway.

OHNOSECOND - The measurement of time in which you realize that you have just made a BIG mistake.

ADMINISPHERE - The rarefied organizational layers beginning just above the rank in file. Members of this strata are easily identified by statements and actions that confirm they are out of touch and don't have a clue what you are doing.

black line

Club Scene

black line

Return to table of contents

Divine Right Of Kings

by Emilio Fahrquahr
From SBE Chapter 124

I've devoted a great part of my life, as I'm sure have we all, toward understanding the world around me. That's why I'm puzzled, nay incensed, at the increasing trend toward changing common, everyday things that I used to completely understand. I was slow to forgive the change from Centigrade to Celsius or cycles per second to Hertz. And the lowly but elegant "mho" was changed to a siemen - I don't even want to touch that one. Why is it necessary to change terms and expressions - many of which are self explanatory - into something that must be relearned? In an age when technology is moving at light speed and we all struggle to keep up, why add to the burden? We are now dealing with quantities much larger or smaller than ever before so we're supposed to use prefixes such as Yotta, Peta, zepto and yocto (10E24, 10E15, 10E-21 & 10E-24). Nobody can remember this stuff. We don't need numbers larger than a Giga or smaller than a nano anyway.

Compounding the problem, reputable companies and organizations are doing similar dumb things: e.g. HP became Agilent, Thomcast is now Thales and the feds even changed NBS to NIST. Do you know who Axcera is? Let's go back to that Centigrade/Celsius event and find the clue: all of this confusing stuff is related to - the Metric System. America is resisting it but it's the law of the land and it continues to seep into every pore of our daily lives. The harangues of mindless drones demand that we embrace this affront to common sense.

Now, I know it's nice to be able to easily multiply and divide by 10 and I still enjoy counting on my fingers - but I sometimes need to use my toes for really complex calculations; so base 20 might make more sense. And, is it really important that the standard unit of measurement be an exact increment of the mean distance between the earth and sun? Baloney! But I digress. Maybe we should emphasize the stupidity of the metric system by taking it to its absurd and illogical conclusion - and use terms like "microcentury" (about 52.5 minutes) or picoparsecs (30.8 kilometers - about as far as Worf can throw a Denebian slime devil when he's ticked off). Now let's look at the origins of our beloved British standards. Some of you history buffs will remember the concept of Divine Right of Kings - monarchs were believed to have received their authority from God. So, some British king drew one line behind his heel and another in front of his big toe and we have a measurement still useful today. Accept it! And, did you ever notice that the British system - so vilified by most of the world - has never changed? No, it's perfect! OK, the Brit's have some unusual units of measurement (the furlong per fortnight comes to mind) and few of them are easily divisible by 10. So what! We all have calculators and computers and, here in the 21st century, this stuff shouldn't be a problem at all. We all need to band together to assail the evil metric menace. Principles are worth fighting for! I know, the Flat Earth Society has taken its lumps over the years but they will prevail. And, believe it or not, there are still people who believe we landed men on the moon! Together we can straighten this stuff out. Join me in this. Now, let's hone our skills, get the gray matter working and do something useful: Can someone tell me how many cubic inches are in a Firkin? Answers must have at least 7 significant figures please. . . For questions, comments, answers, or offers of support, please contact me at:

Emilio Fahrquahr is a pseudonym for a respected Broadcast Engineer in a major metro area. His opinions do not necessarily represent those of SBE Chapter 124, nor any of its officers.

black line

Return to table of contents


Newsletter Committee

Bill Harris

Garneth M. Harris

Newsletter archives are available online.
Visit for an index of newsletter back issues.
Note: Old newsletters may contain outdated information, web links or email addresses. News archives are not updated when relevant information changes.

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.