Scherer Elected SBE President; Officers, Six Directors Also Elected
Christopher H. Scherer, CSRE CBNT, editor of Radio magazine, has been elected the 24th president of the Society of Broadcast Engineers. Scherer, of Overland Park, Kansas, will lead the Society's 5,300 members beginning October 20, following his induction during the SBE Annual Membership Meeting in Grapevine, Texas. Scherer, who joined SBE in 1989, is a Senior member. He is completing a term as national vice president, is past chairman of Chapter 59 in Kansas City and Chapter 70 in Cleveland. He also currently serves as chairman of the SBE Certification Committee, a position he has held since 2001.
Elected vice president is Clay Freinwald, CPBE. Freinwald resides in Auburn, Wash. where he is a corporate engineer with Entercom. He is a member of Chapter 16 in Seattle and has been a member of the national SBE board of directors since 1999 and a member of the Society since 1968. He was elected an SBE Fellow earlier this year.
Elected to his first tem as secretary is Vincent A. Lopez, CEV CBNT, director of engineering at WSYT/WNYS TV in Syracuse, NY. Lopez has been a member of the national board since 2000 and has chaired the Membership Committee since 2001. He is immediate past chairman of Chapter 22 in Central New York and was elected an SBE Fellow in 2004.
Elected to a term as Treasurer is Barry Thomas, CPBE CBNT, vice president of engineering at Westwood One in New York City. He is a Senior member of SBE and a member of Chapter 15 in New York. Thomas previously served as national secretary and also two terms as a director. He has also served as a member and as chairman of the SBE Finance Committee.
Six members were elected to seats on the Board of Directors. They include:
Jon A. Bennett, CPBE CBNT, Director of Engineering, Cox Radio-Richmond, Richmond, VA
Andrea B. Cummis, CBT CTO, Senior Vice President, Engineering and Technology, American Desi TV, Roseland, N.J.
Dane E. Ericksen, P.E., CSRTE CBNT, Senior Engineer, Hammett & Edison, Inc., San Francisco, Calif.
Ted Hand, CPBE, Director of Engineering & Operations, WTKR TV, Norfolk, VA..
Hal H. Hostetler, CPBE, Senior Engineer/I.T. Director, KVOA TV, Tucson, Ariz.
Conrad H. Trautmann, CPBE, Senior Vice President Engineering, Westwood One Inc., New York, N.Y.
Random Radio Thoughts
Importers and HD Radio exciters, by the way, may be manufactured and sold under brand names such as Harris, Nautel and Broadcast Electronics, but the guts are iBiquity all the way. The "manufacturers" have little or no control over what goes on inside. In the HD Radio exciter architecture, somehow buffering of incoming data was overlooked and as a result, if the Ethernet path between the importer and exciter is not perfect, packet collisions will lead to the skips. It seems to me that this could be easily fixed with a little buffering and forward error correction.
In installations where the importer is located at the transmitter site, the problem does not exist. But to put the importer at the transmitter site, another AES path must be provided along with another data path for PAD. It would be so much simpler to take care of all that at the studio and feed it to the transmitter site over a single TCP/IP connection. Hopefully iBiquity Digital Corp. will get the buffering problem straightened out soon.
The KBCO multicast is now sounding great. According to my friends at Clear Channel, another computer was inserted as a buffer between the importer and the exciter, a stopgap measure until iBiquity gets the underlying problem fixed. It worked, because the audio is clean and skip free. I have both KBCO HD-1 and HD-2 programmed into presets on my radio. The Kenwood receiver works great with multicast transmissions, and the multicast appears to the listener as just another station - no weird stuff to do on the radio to tune it in. Lock to the primary and hit scan up. You can then set the multicast into a preset just like any other station. If you tune directly to the multicast by hitting the preset, you have a couple of seconds of silence, and the display says, "Linking..."
AM HD Radio Quirks
During the KLTT conversion, I exactly followed the instructions in Nautel's field modification bulletin, but when it came time to make power, the ND-50 transmitter (1995 model) gave a "Detuned RF Drive" alarm and would not come up. It worked fine on the internal "B" exciter, but it always gave the error on the external IBOC exciter. The waveforms looked close enough to identical to really make the problem tough to track down, but it was the frequency display on my scope that offered the key. The integer portion was steady at 670 kHz, but the decimal was moving around. I connected a frequency counter to see if this was just a characteristic of the scope when displaying a non-sinusoidal waveform, but the counter showed the same thing. I killed the modulation and the frequency display steadied right up. No doubt about it, the external RF drive was FMing. As it turned out, I found that if the audio input got even close to 0 dBm, the FM effect would occur. While this was occurring in the Nautel NE-IBOC exciter, it is really an iBiquity problem, taking place in the iBiquity-supplied PCI card that generates the IBOC drive signal. Clearly, some software control needs to be implemented to take care of this.
I thought we had this problem cured by dropping the audio input level to a point where the FM effect no longer occurred, but I found out that it was still happening from time to time. Once every day or two, the transmitter would drop off the air and would have to be hard-reset to get it back on. We spent a lot of time trying to track down this very intermittent problem, but Ed Dulaney finally caught the transmitter doing its thing red-handed (so to speak). He was standing in front of the ND-50 when it tripped off with a "Detuned RF Drive" alarm, which produces a complete shut-down requiring a hard reset to clear. It seems that our input audio was still a tad on the high side and certain program material would produce the effect. Ed dropped the audio input by another 0.5 dB and the problem has not since recurred, but that is a temporary fix; Nautel still has to provide a permanent fix.
Another issue we've noticed in the ND-50 IBOC installation is that with the factory setting of the "High RF Current" alarm threshold, analog modulation cannot exceed about 80% without getting frequent trips. When all the digital carriers are on (which isn't often but can occasionally occur), the peak RF output level of the transmitter can be 5.8% above what it would be without the digital carriers. When that occurs during a 125% positive peak, well... you get the picture. That alarm threshold had to be changed in our transmitter, but the long-term fix may well be a change in the time constant of that alarm.
We're also trying to figure out why lock times on KLTT and KLZ are so long with respect to other stations. Sometimes, it takes eight seconds for a digital lock on these two stations while the lock time is more like two seconds on KOA, KHOW and KPOF. We suspect some parameter is improperly set in the exciter but don't have a clue what that may be.
If you have news you would like to share with the Rocky Mountain radio engineering community, email me at email@example.com.
New SBE Web Site Coming In October
SBE will unveil a newly designed and improved web site during the month of October. The new site, which will retain the www.sbe.org address, will feature improved navigation, more functionality and modern graphic design. Among the new functions available will be an on-line new member application and on-line ordering of books and logo items from the SBE Store. The site will continue to feature the popular JobsOn-line, ResumeBank and Contract Engineer Directory as well as information about all of SBE's services and programs. Watch for the big roll-out date in the next several weeks.
First Frequency Coordinators Receive SBE Accreditation
SBE has begun a new Frequency Coordinator Accreditation program and more than 35 coordinators have applied for accreditation during the first few weeks of the program's availability.
Accreditation provides volunteer SBE coordinators the opportunity to demonstrate they are part of a standards-based, nationally recognized program of local voluntary broadcast-auxiliary frequency coordination. It also allows SBE to demonstrate to the broadcasting industry the widespread acceptance of a voluntary set of standards guiding local coordination.
Though voluntary, the hope is that every frequency coordinator will want to become accredited. Information and an accreditation application form can be found at www.sbe.org/accreditation.pdf.
Is Radio dead?
Martin "Sandy" Sandberg - CPBE
It's a question that has been asked ever since the first television picture was made in 1926 (John Logie Baird) ,and it's a valid question, especially in these days of nanosecond change and such rapid societal shifts.
The facts are, however, that shifts in societal norms and needs keep reinforcing radio's position in our world, rather than lessening it.
For instance, probably among radio's chief benefits is its mobility. In our ever-increasing mobile society, radio plays right into the hand of today's consumers' needs. And with the advent of specialized and customized radio signals (e.g. Sirrus, etc.), radio becomes an even more applicable medium for today's culture.
Let's look at why radio continues its uniqueness over television in our society. First, radio is exceedingly mobile. It's the perfect medium for automobile travel, walking travel, exercises, young people...and anyone who demands portability from communications. With the strong advent of iMac's and other MP3 players, the demand for portable music has increased dramatically in our society. So, where do people learn of those songs that they want to add to their MP3s? Radio, pure and simple.
And, as we seem to spend more and more time in our automobiles traversing the highways and byways of our communities, radio continues to be an entertainer, an ally in case of trouble, and a valuable source of lifestyle news and information.
At the same time, our society has become accustomed to Radio being its primary medium for discussion, and particularly political discussion. In the last national presidential election and various regional elections, radio talk shows played a huge role in determining the victors of various political campaigns from Iowa to New Hampshire.
Our political tendencies and responses are being shaped more and more by radio talk show hosts as we tune to this most-convenient method of obtaining news and commentary on the drive to and from work. Be it the ultra-conservatives or the heralded liberals, Americans turn more frequently to radio for their political analysis and expression.
Additionally, as Americans spend more and more time in their automobiles commuting between home and work and school and shopping, etc., radio continues to be a strong entertainment medium reaching out to virtually every corner of the country. And now, with the introduction of targeted signals such as XM and Sirius and others, consumers can easily customize their reception to their own specific desires.
Whether it's jazz or rap, cultural talk or political expression, religious discussion or gardening, the advent of targeted signals has made radio the most customizable source of information and entertainment in the world. Never before has mankind been able to dial up such a wide variety of information and entertainment with so much ease and choice, thus starting a communication revolution all over again.
No longer does a radio listener have to vainly channel surf hoping to luckily find a broadcast that "might" satisfy their needs. Now they are able to directly tune in whatever topic, choice or variety of information and entertainment they may desire at that given moment. Liberal or conservative. Progressive or classic. Talk or music. Whatever the listener wants, the listener can have at any given moment.......from Seattle to Miami, Portland Maine to Portland, Oregon. Instant gratification on your Sony Walkman, your car radio, the radio at your desk or the radio in your ear while jogging...anything you want, whenever you want, wherever you want. Something no other medium can offer. No other. So, is radio dead or even dying? I don't see how.
Radio has extreme mobility in an ever-increasing mobile society. Radio has customization and selectivity like no other medium in an age when those traits are highly desired. Radio has been, and presumably will always be, the introductory medium for new music and musicians. Radio continues to increase its role in shaping politics and societal issues visa vie talk radio hosts. And radio, likewise, continues to be the most immediate medium available to a vast majority of consumers when it comes to issues such as news alerts, sports scores, traffic snarls and the like.
While there certainly continue to be growing opportunities for television, print media and the internet, radio's position in the spectrum of media choices continues strong because of its mobility, its ability for customization and its immediacy - all traits important to Americans.
The new SBE CertPreview sample certification test software is now available. It's Microsoft Windows-based and replaces the previous DOS-based software. New sample tests are available for Broadcast Technologist, Audio Engineer, Video Engineer, Broadcast Networking Technologist, Broadcast Engineer and Senior Broadcast Engineer in both radio and television. Sample tests include 50 to 100 questions and indicate when an incorrect answer has been given. It provides a list of resources from which to learn more about a subject. Cost for each SBE CERTpreview practice test is $27 plus $3 shipping. Contact the National Office to order a copy.
Government And Not-For-Profit Organization Training Sources
By Vicki W. Kipp
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration offers 10-hour ("OSHA l0"), 30-hour ("OSHA 30") and OSHA 500 construction training courses at OSHA Training Institute Education Centers. Private companies also offer OSHA 10-hour, 30-hour, and OSHA 500 courses. To find an OSHA 10 or OSHA 30 course, contact the OSHA Outreach Training Program for a list of upcoming courses. Although these courses were created for the construction industry, they are relevant for tower technicians.
The OSHA 10 course for entry-level field workers focuses on construction safety and health. Students learn hazard identification, avoidance, control and prevention. The course introduces OSHA standards, electrical standards and fall protection. Optional course topics include trenching and excavation, scaffolding, tools and personal protective equipment. Attendees receive a course completion card. The OSHA 30 course for tower work site supervisors covers the OSHA 10 topics in greater depth.
The five-day OSHA 500 course prepares private-sector tower company leaders to train employees or other groups in the OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 safety and health courses and authorizes them to issue course completion cards. There are some training and work experience prerequisites for OSHA 500.
OSHA compliance officers teach tower company leaders how to create the safest possible work environment. Students must bring a current copy of OSHA construction regulations 29 CFR 1926 to class. Besides covering the fundamentals of OSHA 10, OSHA 30 and hazardous situations, attendees learn instructional approaches and how to use visual aids and handouts.
To become an authorized trainer for the OSHA Outreach Program, students must pass a written exam at the end of the course. Maintaining current Outreach Trainer authorization requires attending OSHA course No. 502 at least once every four years. www.osha.gov/fso/ote/training/training_resources.html
First Aid Training
This article is reprinted with permission from Above Ground Level magazine www.agl-mag.com
Amateur Radio News
By Tom Weeden, WJ9H
[The catastrophe along the Gulf coast caused by Hurricane Katrina is still unfolding as of this newsletter's deadline late Friday, September 2. Here's one example from early in the disaster of how ham radio operators stepped in to provide communications in the area.]
o Amateur radio was instrumental in saving several stranded flood victims last week in Louisiana and Mississippi. At least one of the incidents received national media attention. On August 29, a call for help involving a combination of cell telephone calls and amateur radio led to the rescue of 15 people stranded by floodwaters on the roof of a house in New Orleans. Unable to get through an overloaded 911 system, one of those stranded called a relative in Baton Rouge. That person called another relative, Sybil Hayes in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, whose 81-year-old aunt Helen Elzy was among those clinging to the roof along with other family members.
Hayes called the American Red Cross chapter, which contacted the Tulsa Repeater Organization. Using the Red Cross chapter's well-equipped amateur station, TRO member Ben Joplin, WB5VST, was able to relay a request for help on Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) net on 14.265 MHz via Russ Fillinger, W7LXR, in Oregon, and Rick Cain, W7KB, in Utah back to Louisiana, where the ARES net contacted emergency personnel who rescued the 15 people and got them to a Red Cross shelter.
"When all else fails, 'Amateur Radio Works' is more than a catchy tag line," says TRO's Mark Conklin, N7XYO. "It's a lifeline." National Public Radio interviewed Joplin about the experience for its "All Things Considered" program on August 30.
The Corporation for National and Community Service will provide a $100,000 grant supplement to the American Radio Relay League to support amateur radio's emergency communication operators in states affected by Hurricane Katrina. The grant will help to fund "Ham Aid," a new League program to support Amateur Radio volunteers deployed in the field in disaster-stricken areas. ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH, said, "For the first time in ARRL history, we will be able to reimburse some of the expenses that hams incur in response to a disaster," she said. "We only wish that we could justify an expense reimbursement program like this every time Amateur Radio Emergency Service volunteers are called upon to help in a disaster or emergency, sometimes placing themselves in harm's way."
o Locally, amateur radio sprang into action August 18 when two dozen tornados struck several Wisconsin counties. The National Weather Service (NWS) says the rash of tornados-which tied the single-day record for the Badger State set in 1988-first struck West Central Wisconsin, then moved to the east and southeast. Vernon, Richland and Dane counties were hardest hit. ARRL Wisconsin Section Emergency Coordinator Bill Niemuth, KB9ENO, says hams there were on the job even before any funnel clouds touched down.
The towns of Dunn and Pleasant Springs near Stoughton were severely stricken. One person died as a result of the brutal weather, and 18 others were injured there. Dane County Emergency Coordinator Joe Senulis, N9TWA, reports several tornadoes struck the county around 6:15 PM on August 18.
"There was already a SKYWARN operation in place, with a liaison at the Dane County Emergency Operations Center, when a strong tornado, believed to be an F3, struck the Stoughton area," he said. "Dane County ARES was activated and set up a damage net to relay reports to the EOC. In turn, the EOC informed us of areas where no reports had yet been received and required further investigation." Senius says a resource net was set up as a staging area for hams not involved in direct support.
Senulis says reports of large-diameter trees across roads, houses destroyed, power lines down, propane tanks leaking and more helped county officials gauge the extent of the damage. They also alerted them to areas where emergency services had not yet responded to critical safety needs.
In Dane County, 21 radio amateurs took part in the response as net control stations, liaisons between nets and the EOC, providing damage reports or standing by for assignment. "A number of the participants have only had their licenses for a few years," he added. "Everyone did a great job."
Niemuth says severe weather incidents like the August 18 tornadoes are why the more than 1300 Wisconsin ARES/RACES members train and stay ready to serve client agencies. "We do it to protect our families, neighbors and communities," he says. "After all, it is the Amateur Radio Service. I am always proud to lead our Wisconsin ARES/RACES team, but even more so after last week."
(Excerpts from the www.arrl.org web site)
Featuring News, Rumors and Views
The big question is - Can we believe it this time? From the way it looks....2009 could be the end of Analog TV. This is going to come as a shock to a great number of set owners who, regardless of how many times you tell them, will ignore the info. There are those that are calling for the Government to pick up the tab for D to A converters for those that don't upgrade their trusty old Sylvania. Already the Public Safety folks are chomping at the bit to get the 700mhz spectrum for their uses and Congress, who is involved in all of this, sees nothing but dollar signs in the hope that an auction for the analog spectrum will bring big-bucks. TV stations are in the process of choosing which channels they want to keep and give up; this process alone will further confuse the TV set owner!. Then there is radio that is eyeing spectrum that would permit a new all-digital band to replace the present AM. The next few years are going to be rather exciting to witness.
I got my Kenwood HD car radio back after having its brains updated for the newest radio 'thing' - Multicasting. This is pretty cool!. We are fortunate to have a couple of stations in this market operating this new mode, KUOW and KPLU. It works this way...Tune the radio to either 88.5 or 94.9 and the display says HD1. Push the channel up button and suddenly you are listening to another audio stream and the display says HD2. You can toggle back and forth. In the battle between those that are embracing HD Radio and those that think it's a waste of time....There is a fork in the road. Now HD is doing something that analog cannot do!. This is being called a 'killer app' and I have to agree. It's going to be interesting to see what radio does with this new tool that has the potential to double the number of stations. KPLU apparently is looking to have jazz 24/7 on one channel and perhaps a mix of jazz and NPR on the other...while KUOW appears to have plenty of talk to air. KUOW calls the second channel " KUOW 2". It would seem that station would be adding complementary programming on their second channel, what I mean is....KING is not likely to add country music to their second channel. One aspect of this that will be interesting is how Arbitron will deal with it as both channels carry the same call letters and dial position. Perhaps another example of technology waiting for the rest of the world to catch up. We now have 13 HD Stations on the air in the Seattle area with 2 of them Multicasting, giving us 15 channels of digital radio. Portland is not that far behind with some 11 HD stations on the air.
Some changes on the FM band -
Port Alberni will be adding a 93.3, thereby eliminating some of the bonus coverage in that area for KUBE. Over the years many Seattle area FM's have seen their bonus coverage reduced by new stations coming online. Bonus coverage is usually defined as a listenable signal beyond the
Take a guess how many Bird Model 43 Wattmeters have been made - Would you believe 300,000!. This should not be confused with the Watt Birdmeter which was in very limited production.
Jack Kilby passed away recently. Jack is credited with inventing the Integrated Circuit. Jack was 81.
Today you are seeing Blackberrys all over the place. These little creatures are for those that cannot wait to get their email. In mid-June, for 3 hours, they all went down. I wonder how many were, as a result, suffering from email withdrawal?
Are you ready for the new tower standards? Starting 1-1-06 the new TIA/EIA 222G will take effect. The standard says that anytime you add or move something on a tower you are required to do a structural analysis and will have to meet the new standard....however, as long as you don't change any of your loading...you don't have to re-analyze your tower. Bottom line - 1) Make those changes now or 2) be prepared to pay more in the future. Structural Engineers and tower companies have to love this one.
The rumor mill is still working overtime in radio with a number of groups reportedly in play. On the selling side is - ABC Radio, Disney and others. The only locally recognizable names mentioned on the buying side are Entercom and Cox. Meanwhile the FCC is about to start its review of media ownership rules; this will include local radio ownership limits, TV cross ownership, etc. Never a dull moment, that's for sure.
XM and Sirius, according to published reports, should have 8.8 million subscribers by year end. 5.8 million are with XM.
Local software 'outfit' Microsoft has teamed up with Toshiba as the big names jockey for position for the best HD-DVD system. With the demise of analog TV the trusty old VCR will likely be following shortly. Then what? What is Ms Housewife going to do to record her soaps?
Probably the most famous pirate radio station in the nation has been in Berkeley. According to reports the famous station is now history. The feds finally won the 10 year battle and 104.1 is no more.
Going to come as a big disappointment but the FCC, on June 27th, issued a public notice advising everyone that the use of transmitters designed to prevent, jam or interfere with cellphone communications are prohibited in the U.S. What do you wanna-bet that there are many in use? The fine, if they get caught...11 Grand per day.
The saga of KOL, now KKOL, continues. When the big tall tower on Harbor Island was torn down the station's transmitter location became a ship parked near Salty's at Alki. The owners, Salem Communications, then filed to move to a location south of Southcenter in the Kent Valley. Like a lot of great ideas and locations, this became a target for those opposed to such things. Now, not exactly following the KJR trail, they have come to terms with the Port of Tacoma for a site just north of where I-5 crosses the Puyallup River. Looks like a 4-tower array with 50Kw day and 47Kw at night. Don't look for any rock-crushing signal in Seattle from this location as the giant sand-pile known as Indian Hill will take a big chunk out of their Northward coverage. It's interesting that this location is quite close to one of the old transmitter sites for KMO, now KKMO, also now owned by Salem.
As if we thought it would go another way. On June 16th the FCC 'proclaimed' that Digital TV stations have to follow the same rules as their analog cousins when it comes to station identification. As for multicasting...the FCC said that stations can include 'additional information' ....If they choose, when they ID those streams.
And finally - This past month I finally broke down and purchased a new computer. The old Win98 400 meg P2 with its desk consuming monitor is gone. As I sit here and gaze at this 19-inch flat panel I can only dream of how things have changed since I prepared this column on an Apple 2e.
Clay, CPBE, K7CR
Don't Judge A Computer By Its OS
By Matt Kinnan, CEV, CBNT
For years now I have used many computers, slow ones, fast ones, black ones, white ones, and some clear ones you can see through. Mostly, I've used and fixed personal computers that are designed for basic tasks such as word processing or e-mail, while others have had more specific tasks like editing audio and video or monitoring network traffic.
The one thing that I have noticed about all computers is that sooner or later they will have problems. No operating system or computer is perfect, and no one system is better than the other. Don't ever fall into the trap of thinking that one OS is better than another, because they all have their weaknesses. Some operating systems work more efficiently than others when asked to perform certain tasks. The trick is to know which operating system is best for the task at hand.
If you're not comfortable with an operating system, don't just bad-mouth it because you don't understand it, learn what makes it different. Try to get a hold of an old PC or Mac from the back room at the office, or you might get lucky and find one at a garage sale. Load the operating system you want to learn, and if you get stuck, look for help on the Web.
The more you understand about an operating system the more valuable you'll be to your employer. Learn how to make different operating systems network to one another. I've noticed that all of these systems are similar, you just have to learn the differences. So before you judge an operating system, make sure you really understand what makes one different from the other.
I've become very comfortable working on just about any computer, no matter what OS. So keep an open mind and try not to show bias towards any one OS or computer. This has helped me to become more valuable to my company. Like being a member of the SBE or becoming certified in your field, it's all about learning and making yourself move forward. Good luck and enjoy what you do.
(Matt Kinnman is chair of SBE Chapter 59, Kansas City)
Frequency Coordination & Other Stuff
by Everett E. Helm W7EEH CPBE
2 GHZ ENG BAND UPDATE & NEW DATA RETURN LINKS
In the process, two 500 kHz "guard" bands were created on both the lower, and upper ends of the BAS band. Since the FCC does not inherently like guard bands due to spectrum inefficiency, SBE suggested that the 500 kHz sub-band be divided into 20- 25 kHz wide Data Return Link (DRL) channels on each end of the band. An ATSC study group (TSG-S3) has been formed. There are several clever uses planned, and I'm sure more will evolve. These are links from central receive site to ENG vehicle in the opposite direction than that of the main, now digital video program feed. Scripting, editing, cueing data, as well as automatic antenna steering, automatic power control, and station ID, are just a few possibilities. (Thanks to Dane Ericksen, P.E., CSRTE, CBNT Hammett & Edison, for providing the information for the above summary).
As mentioned in a previous column, some of the MSS companies may default on their allocations in the former lower end of the 2 GHz BAS band. It has been suggested that some portion of that spectrum be returned to Broadcast Auxiliary use for low power services, such as wireless mics, to replace spectrum reallocated from TV channels 52-69. We'll see if that's possible.
PUBLIC SAFETY MOVING TO OCCUPY FORMER TV CHANNELS
Thanks, CUL, & 73, Ev
PDX Radio Waves
by Michael D. Brown N7AXC CSRE
Who says AM is dead? The spring ARBs show AMs KEX, KPOJ, and KXL taking 3 of the top 7 spots (12+) in Portland. In Chicago, 3 of the top 4 are AM's, while "Standard Band" stations still hold 3 of the top 8 spots in San Francisco. It helps, of course, to have power - most of these stations have 25 kW or more during the daytime.
Our hearts go out to those affected by hurricane Katrina, and those broadcast engineers who will undoubtedly have a very busy fall rebuilding their facilities in the aftermath. 140 mph sustained winds are hard to fathom. As we all know now, much of New Orleans is below sea level, and was drained by pumps. When these pumps go down, or a levee breaks, major portions of the city flood - even without storm conditions. It's totally bizarre to stand on a Mississippi River dike, see the high river on one side, and the much lower city below on the other side. Indeed, southern Louisiana is the very definition of "flat". Some 40 miles north of the Gulf, the elevation is still just 20 feet above sea level in many places. The only "hills" to be seen are the bridge overpasses. You can predict FM antenna heights by the class of station: Most Class A's are right at the class HAAT of 100 m/328 ft above average terrain, which, due to the totally flat terrain is the same as the height above ground. The FM coverage contours are perfect circles.
The comments and replies on HD Radio-IBOC in general, and the NRSC-5 standard in particular, continued to roll in right up to the August 17 deadline. Nearly 1000 comment postings are listed in Docket 99-325. A number of Consulting Engineers and smaller broadcasting companies expressed concerns about interference with the AM system. P.E. Timothy Cutforth of Vir James Engineers spoke of severe 2nd adjacent interference posed by the 6 Denver AM's that were operating with HD Radio. Some of this was within the 2 mV contour of the "desired" station. Tim also charged that the present STA operations do not properly comply with the NRSC-2 mask, which uses a 10 minute peak detection. Tim stated: "The very manufacturers setting up IBOC equipment are specifying that the spectrum analyzer should be set for average not peak detection as specified in NRSC-2. The new proposed NRSC-5 standard calls for several allowable spikes 20 dB above the (averaging detector) mask level. The present FCC rule upon which the IBOC STA operation is based specify peak detection and NO SPIKES above the mask level over a ten minute observation period. Again the broadcaster and the FCC has been mislead into believing that the IBOC STA operation complies fully with the present NRSC-2 emission mask when in fact it may miss the mark by 20 dB or more as actually installed and measured."
Broadcast Company of the Americas (BCA), which programs 50 kW 1090 XEPRS, was particularly concerned. Thanks to favorable propagation over the ocean, this Mexican AM has a 5 mV/m signal over much of Los Angeles, but received severe interference over large areas within that contour when Infinity's 50 kW KNX 1070 Los Angeles and Disney's 50 kW KDIS 1110 Pasadena turned on their HD exciters. BCA mirrored Cutforth's concerns: "Whereas NRSC-2 used peak weighting and 10-minute spectrum storage for spectrograms, the proposed NRSC-5 uses average weighting and 30-second storage. The relatively lax NRSC-5 standard thus tends to gloss over what the ear actually hears as "hiss/noise" and what the spectrum analyzer displays. The NRSC-2 spectrum was never "maxed out" within a few seconds of storage time. It took many minutes to build up the NRSC-2 spectrum mask, unlike NRSC-5's instant build up with constant digital signals. Additionally, NRSC-5 allows for two discrete "spikes" within 75 kHz of the carrier frequency to be 10 dB above the emission mask, with the result that a hybrid transmission that is barely meeting the proposed mask can claim compliance with the NRSC-5 standard. The ear hears these vast differences in digital and analog sidebands." (XEPRS was formerly "The Mighty 1090" XERB, with the inimitable Wolfman Jack.)
Having done hundreds of AM NRSC measurements over the years, I can verify that a station that meets the mask in a 10 minute peak test will normally have average sidebands many dB lower. The mask was never intended to be a limit for "good" operation, but a maximum for a "worst case" station operation. Some really lousy sounding AM stations with very audible sideband splatter can still pass the NRSC mask. While I'm still optimistic about the FM system, after reading many of these comments I'm concerned for the future of AM IBOC with the Ibiquity system. If adopted as-is, multiple lawsuits from aggrieved and irate parties seems likely.
Apparently it really happened. Mentalist "The Amazing Kreskin" caused WOR radio (NY) to go off the air - or so it seemed. According to the Radio World account, "Kreskin was a guest on WOR's "The Joey Reynolds Show" and was attempting an experiment where he was going to make listeners feel like they were freezing cold, using his power of suggestion. Kreskin instructed listeners to turn off their air conditioning, and to reflect on the coldest experience of their life. (Then) he told them that after he spelled his name twice, K-R-E-S-K-I-N, and says the phrase, "chill out," they were all going to experience an uncanny arctic chill throughout their body. After spelling his name twice and shouting, "chill out," instant pandemonium broke out in the control room of the radio station. WOR Radio went off the air for at least 30 seconds, the first time in the station's history." The real story was less bizarre. The board op apparently accidentally turned off a UPS and dumped the studio. (So why was a UPS on/off switch within reach of a board op, eh?)
The YXZ Report
by Kent Randles K7YXZ CBRE
As I write this newsletter at the last possible moment: Monday night, September 5th, it's now the Hurricane Katrina Disaster. Marty Soehrman created an "SBE Forum" to exchange information and ideas at http://www.sbe124.org/sbeforum/ . There's now also a page of Katrina Disaster Info, which started with a list of the ways to listen live to radio broadcasts and communications.
As I wrote, I listened to "United Radio Broadcasters of New Orleans simulcast on shortwave station WHRI in Cypress Creek, North Carolina. Their 5835 kHz signal was 20 dB over S9 at my house. An amazing signal: 250 kW and a "dipole curtain" does wonders.
The Entercom and Clear Channel clusters in New Orleans became unusable during and/or after the storm, so they set up shop in the Clear Channel Baton Rouge cluster. Uplinking to the Louisiana State satellite channel, used mainly for college football, they began broadcasting 24/7 on most of the Clear Channel and Entercom stations in New Orleans, streaming on the internet, and finally broadcast on shortwave 16 hours a day. Entercom's 50 kW 870 WWL New Orleans is the PEP station for Louisiana, and was running at 27 kW to conserve diesel fuel.
LIFE WITH HD RADIO There are eleven FM HD signals and one AM HD signal on the air in the Portland market. 89.1 KMHD is now using the new antenna they share with KBVM and KBPS-FM, and has HD on full-time.
The HD Radio receiver situation will get a little better soon, when Radiosophy ships their tabletop radio that will receive AM, FM, and FM subchannels. BMW will have an HD Radio available in one 2006 model, however HD Radio in new cars might not be common until the 2008 model year, a couple years away.
It all hinges on the FCC adopting NRSC-5 in time for the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show in January in Las Vegas. Plus, the receiver manufacturers are waiting for the NRSC DAB subcommittee to complete the presently active ID configuration for Secondary Program Service channel ID's (such as: 97.3 HD- 1/97.3 HD-2 or 97.31/97.32 or 247.1/247.2 or the other two or three display options) presently under consideration for general adoption by receiver manufacturers.
Infinity blew up WJMK Chicago, their heritage FM oldies station a while back, and flipped it to Jack-FM. On August 12th 104.3 WJMK HD-2 became the first all-digital radio station with a live airstaff. You can also hear it at http://www.wjmk.com .
The Year Is 1904
One hundred years ago.
Here are some of the U.S. statistics for 1904:
The average life expectancy in the U.S. was 47 years old.
Only 14 percent of the homes in the U.S. had a bathtub.
Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
There were only 8,000 cars in the U.S., and only 144 miles of paved roads.
Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California. With a mere 1.4 million residents, California was only the 21st most populous state in the Union.
The average wage in the U.S. was 22 cents an hour and the average U.S. worker made between $200 and $400 per year.
More than 95 percent of all births in the U.S. took place at home.
Ninety percent of all U.S. physicians had no college education. Instead, they attended medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press and by the government as "substandard."
Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo.
The population of Las Vegas, Nevada, was 30!!!
Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn't been invented.
Two of 10 U.S. adults couldn't read or write.
Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated high school.
There were only about 230 reported murders in the entire U.S.
If You Can Read This, I've Lost My Trailer.
Cleverly Disguised As A Responsible Adult.
If We Quit Voting, Will They All Go Away?
Illiterate? Write For Help.
Honk If Anything Falls Off.
(Seen Upside Down On A Jeep) If You Can Read This, Please Flip Me Back Over...
Actual Newspaper Ads
FREE YORKSHIRE TERRIER. 8 years old. Hateful little dog. Bites
FREE PUPPIES: 1/2 Cocker Spaniel, 1/2 sneaky neighbor's dog.
FREE GERMAN SHEPHERD 85 lbs. Neutered. Speaks German.
NORDIC TRACK $300 Hardly used, call Chubby
GEORGIA PEACHES, California grown - 89 cents lb.
JOINING NUDIST COLONY! Must sell washer and dryer $300
WEDDING DRESS FOR SALE. WORN ONCE BY MISTAKE. Call Stephanie.
Food For Thought
If money doesn't grow on trees then why do banks have branches?
Since bread is square, then why is sandwich meat round?
Why do you have to "put your two cents in".. . but it's only a "penny for your thoughts"? Where's that extra penny going to?
Why does a round pizza come in a square box?
What disease did cured ham actually have?
How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?
Why is it that people say they "slept like a baby" when babies wake up every two hours?
Why are you IN a movie, but you're ON TV?
Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in binoculars to look at things on the ground?
How come we choose from just two people for President and fifty for Miss America?
Why do doctors leave the room while you change? They're going to see you naked anyway.
Why is "bra" singular and "panties" plural?
Do illiterate people get the full effect of Alphabet soup?
Why do toasters always have a setting that burns the toast to a horrible crisp, which no human being would eat?
Why is there a light in the fridge and not in the freezer?
If the professor on Gilligan's Island can make a radio out of a coconut, why can't he fix a hole in a boat?
Why does Goofy stand erect while Pluto remains on all fours? They're both dogs!
Is Disney World the only people trap operated by a mouse?
Do the Alphabet song and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star have the same tune?
Why did you just try singing the two songs above?
Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you, but when you take him for a car ride; he sticks his head out the window ?
Garneth M. Harris
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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.