A monthly newsletter by Society of Broadcast Engineers Chapter 48

October 1999

Return to Chapter 48 Newsletter Page


The September, 1999 Meeting
Chapter 48's Next Meeting
Upcoming Meetings And Happenings
The Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program
SBE Certificaton Exam Opportunities Announced For Y2K
GPS and Y2K
The 30 kV Club
Job Postings
Military Broadcasters!
RF - The Forgotten Feature Of Broadcasting
Restroom Signs
The True Broadcast Engineer
Later Gator
The End User
Useful Metric Conversions
PDX Radio Waves
Clay's Corner

The September, 1999 Meeting

by Chapter 48 Chairman Eric Schultz

The September 15th meeting was hosted by Burst Communications. The meeting was well attended by members and non-members alike. SBE Chapter 48 Chairman, Eric Schultz began the meeting by welcoming everyone and making the appropriate introductions. Rome Chelsi, the Chairman of the Rocky Mountain SMPTE Chapter provided information for anyone interested in becoming involved in SMPTE, and also mentioned the upcoming 141st SMPTE Technical Conference and Exhibit, to be held November 19 - 22 in New York.

Following a tasty lunch provided by Burst, Bruce Michael and Clayton Waddell of Burst Communications presented their program, Repurposing Video: From Broadcast to Web, From Web to Broadcast. Bruce discussed the range of video applications, including HDTV, broadcast, corporate video and multimedia. He discussed the various acquisition and delivery methods used for each application. Clayton presented a multimedia program demonstrating various webcasting formats. He also discussed how the quality of the source material affects the outcome of the media that is put onto the web, and how the quality required from the web media can depend on the content and application of the media.

We would like to thank Teri Hoyer and Burst for hosting this month's meeting and proving this informative program. Don't forget to mark your calendar for next month's event, the 1999 Rocky Mountain Film and Video Expo, October 6 and 7.

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Chapter 48's Next Meeting

The Society of Broadcast Engineers, Chapter 48


The Rocky Mountain Chapter of

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers

Invite you to attend an open house evening

Wednesday, November 10, 1999, 6:30PM

At the studios of KCNC, News 4 1044 Lincoln, Denver


This program is intended to familiarize area college and high school students with careers in fields related to broadcast engineering. A panel of active industry members will be present to discuss their careers and experience and to answer questions about their fields.

Scheduled speakers include:

Bill Harris – AM/FM Broadcasting

Scott Barella – KCNC Chief Engineer

Doug Houston – KCNC Operations Manager

Rome Chelsi – RIA Corporation

Fred Baumgartner – AT&T Broadband and Internet Services

In addition, Fred Baumgartner, SBE Chapter 48 Certification Chairman, will give a presentation on the Society of Broadcast Engineers’ Certification Program. Established in 1975, the certification program has become recognized in the industry as the primary method of verifying the attainment of educational standards. More than 3,300 individuals currently have a SBE Certification.

Local broadcast engineers are encouraged to attend to meet young adults interested in careers in the field of broadcasting.

If you would like more information, please contact Eric Schultz - (303) 486-3694 - schultz.eric@tci.com

This program is sponsored by AMFM Inc. of Denver and KCNC News 4.

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Upcoming Meetings And Happenings

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 DTV Test Equipment, Chris Noland, Tektronix- 6:30PM, Location TBA

>> February 16, 2000 Kelly Hannig, Gentner Remote Control - 6:30PM, KCNC

February 29, 2000 (Tuesday) We'll see how many computers are going to boot. --------------

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The Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program
Is your Public File up to date?

by Larry Wilson W7IXZ
Chief Engineer KXL/KXJM

After several months of conducting ABIP inspections for the Oregon Association of Broadcasters (OAB) and the Washington State Association of Broadcasters (WSAB), these are the areas most often not in compliance:

1. The new copy of the Public and Broadcasting is not in the file as required. Stations do not know that there has been a new up-dated version for 1999. It is available on the FCC Web Page. Be sure you have downloaded the new version and inserted it into the FCC Public File.

2. The rules require a copy of station FCC licenses to be included in the Public File, as well as posted (either on the wall or in a folder) at the operating position. Many stations miss the Public File part of this rule.

3. The Public File also must contain a coverage map. For FM it is the 70 dBu (3.16 mV/m) coverage, for AM it is the 5 mV/m coverage, and for TV it is the Class "B" coverage. Most of these maps are available in the application for the original license. Many old-line Non-D class IV stations do not have this information, or it has been lost over the years. One should contact the FCC and see if they can come up with a copy of the coverage map if it is not available in your files.

4. Issues-Program Lists for the preceding quarter must be filed in the Public Inspection File quarterly by the 10th day of the succeeding quarter. (Jan 10th, Apr 10th, Jul 10th, & Oct 10th)

5. Narrative MUST ACCOMPANY those Issues-Program Lists, detailing the program specifically broadcast to address EACH of the issues mentioned in the Issues- Program Lists. AT A MINIMUM, THESE NARRATIVES MUST INCLUDE TIME, DATE, DURATION, AND TITLE of EACH program in which the issue was treated.

6. Chief Operator violations are another area where a lot of stations are in non-compliance. Most stations do have a Chief Operator Designation posted, however the actual duties of the Chief Operator are not being performed. The Chief Operator MUST review the STATION LOGS at least ONCE EACH 7 DAYS. This involves a statement on the log indicating that it is a WEEKLY REVIEW. ("Chief Operator weekly review conducted ______(day)___ at ___(time)___. Signature________________________") This indicates that the signature states it is a "weekly" review. The Chief Operator must check to see if there are the proper amount of EAS tests received and sent for each week, and if there are indications of not receiving a test, why the test was not received.

In addition to the EAS duties, the next area of non-compliance involves the calibration of the power measuring meters, operating power, and tower lighting maintenance checks. The automatic or manual tower lighting equipment must be inspected QUARTERLY, and the results entered in the STATION LOG. This means all side lights, beacon/top lights, photoelectric or timer controls, and flashers. The number of flashes per minute need to be counted and the data entered as well. If data is not entered into an appropriate log there is no way a chief operator can show that the inspections were done. Like the old statement says, "The job is not done until the paperwork is finished".

7. A lot of stations do not have the "Efficiency Factor" available for each transmitter being used. FM MAY use the indirect method, but a watt meter is preferred, while an AM station must use the DIRECT method reading the antenna RF current at the base of the tower (or common point for directional stations). The indirect method is available only in emergencies when the base ammeter is out of service for calibration or repair.

8. The station must demonstrate some sort of procedure and schedule for complete inspections of the transmitting system, all required monitors, and automatic logging devices to insure proper station operation. The date and results of these calibrations and checks must be entered into the station log. It is up to the station to determine the proper schedule to insure proper station operation. (Once each year won't cut it.)

Download the self-inspection checklists from the FCC Web Page and you will see all of the rules as they pertain to each of the above mentioned items, as well as others. To sign up for an ABIP inspection, contact your state's broadcaster association.

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SBE Certificaton Exam Opportunities Announced For Y2K

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 .

2000 Exam Dates

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

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Newsletter Editor
R.W. Abraham CPBE
Wichita SBE Chapter 3

GPS may have its own Y2K-like event soon. GPS was initiated in 1980 using a weekly calendar and a 10 bit or 1024 week counter. The GPS guys refer to the first event as EOW or End of Week issues; some would say it was end of the world, but that is another story. How will these things affect me, you are asking? If GPS is the precision lock used for any of your oscillators, they may free run. Some of the newer HDTV transmitters use this method, but it has been commonly used by cellular and other wireless users, such as paging systems, PCS, 800 MHz Trunking systems used in private business and public service two way communications. This could cause cell phone drop outs, missed pages, and other weird effects. More of the sky is falling syndrome you say? Shawnee County 911 Emergency Center has already booked the Ham radio operators as a back up. Prudent precautions are a reasonable action in the face of unpredictable or unknown but possible faults. Anyway, you've got the word. If you get calls on those days, you might remember where you filed this newsletter. For more information, look at http//www.Y2K/Week_Rollover.com. You will find pages from several different agencies who depend on GPS there, along with links to many manufacturers of GPS receivers.

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The 30 kV Club

by B. Thomas Hughes WA6ZYK
From Chapter 124

On Wednesday, July 21, Charlie Carpenter, transmitter engineer for KQCA and KCRA-TV in Sacramento California, joined an exclusive club whose membership is comprised of those few lucky people who have come into contact with voltages near 30 kV and who have lived to talk about it.

Charlie spent at least a week in the Intensive Care Unit of UC Davis Medical Center undergoing extensive repairs to his arm. Luckily, there were two people on duty and Emergency Life-Flight was called immediately.

He's the second person who's been hit by that transmitter (UHF Townsend). In order to tune those klystrons it's necessary to have the front door open. The meter panel is set back several inches from the front door window, and this area was inaccessible as the transmitter was originally designed but, with the modification to use a different type tube, some panels no longer fit. With the new configuration, you open the front door to tune the tube and the meter panel carrying 26 kV is uncovered. Several years ago, an engineer made the mistake of pointing at the meter: NEVER point at those kind of voltages. He didn't actually touch it, but it went in his fingertip and out his elbow which was against the door. Luckily, the Chief Engineer was there too, in the middle of the night, and hauled him to town himself. Apparently it was a much less serious injury than this time since he was back at work in a few days.

Charlie stopped by for a brief visit with me at the KOVR backup transmitter site last Thursday [August 5th]. His arm is heavily bandaged and in a sling. Says he has to undergo a number of tests to determine if there is some hidden damage. He got a souvenir "Life-Flight" Tee shirt! :-)

The 30KV club has been a not-to-subtle safety reminder for all us transmitter people for years.

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Job Postings

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

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Military Broadcasters!

If you're already an SBE member and you serve on Active Duty in the United States Military, your membership renewal is FREE!; When you receive your annual membership renewal notification, just send a copy of your current Active Duty Military Identification card to SBE in lieu of a renewal payment. SBE recognizes its military members and rewards you with this free membership. One stipulation: Initial membership fee cannot be waived and is required for all new SBE members. For more information, contact Scott Jones at the National office at kjones@sbe.org . As an Armed Forces Radio and Television Service military broadcaster, you may be closer to an SBE certification than you might think.  As you well know, in addition to your primary job as journalist or videographer, you're also expected to be somewhat versed in the technical aspects of broadcasting. As a military broadcaster, you are responsible for sound, lighting and video quality as well as basic equipment maintenance and care. So why not make your experience pay off?

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 .

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RF - The Forgotten Feature Of Broadcasting

Chairman's Corner
by Ron Schacht
SBE Chapter #1

I have always found it amusing that most people involved in the business we call broadcasting have no idea what, where, or why there is a place called "THE TRANSMITTER" (say it with reverb, it sounds more mystic). Some people know there is a TOWER which has something to do with the station. Well, the GM of one radio station where I was employed, who was technical and did indeed have his 1st phone decided that the entire station staff, announcers, sales people, office staff, and what have you should see the TRANSMITTER. He set out one day with the staff in the station van, it took 3 trips to ferry everyone to the sacred site. Of course, I was there to explain all of the little gee-gaws and what each did. Finally, at the end of my presentation, the GM told the crew, "see that bolt on top of the transmitter (it was a 1kw AM with open wire line coming off of a 1/4-20 bowl insulator on top of the rig) that bolt is where all of your work goes". He went on to say "everyone's sole purpose here at W_ _ _ is to keep radio signals flowing through that bolt". I thought to myself...how true. This entire industry, all of the program suppliers, musicians, announcers, sales people and low and behold , the engineers, job is to keep intelligent RF coming out of the transmitter. As far as the F.C.C. is concerned, the station engineers ONLY responsibility is the transmitter. They could care less about the audio consoles, remotes, telephones, computers, and what have you. The transmitter is what makes us BROADCASTERS, as opposed to limited CABLECASTERS. The transmitter is what provides each one not only with a job, but with a paycheck (yes, sales makes the paychecks but without the transmitter, the sales people would be selling used cars). I think we, as engineers, should take some time to familiarize the non tech people as to what and where the transmitter is and what it does. This device, unseen at most stations (except WEJL AM) when explained may garner more respect for itself and we lowly engineers who give it TLC. Long after internet broadcasting fizzles out (my opinion) we will still be shaking the airwaves with our transmitters.

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Restroom Signs

Friends don't let friends take home ugly men
   -Women's restroom, Dewey Beach, DE

I've decided that to raise my grades I must lower my standards.
   -Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

If life is a waste of time, 
and time is a waste of life, 
then let's all get wasted together 
and have the time of our lives.
   - Armand's Pizza. Washington, DC

To do is to be. -Descartes
To be is to do. -Voltaire
Do be do be do. -Frank Sinatra
   - Men's restroom, Greasewood Flats, Scottsdale, Arizona.

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The True Broadcast Engineer

From Clay Freinwald
Chapter 16, Seattle

You are a TRUE Broadcast Engineer, IF:

You have ever received a wattmeter on your anniversary.
You think that menopause could be button on a tape deck.
The FAA asks you to register your home's antenna structure.
The guys at the local radio shack know your car.
You think that pot is an electronic part used for an adjustment.
You notice the instant that your neighbor puts up a TV antenna.
You are known by YOUR call just as much as your name.
You have ever worn your pager on your swimsuit.
You have ever fixed a $5 radio.
You use a repeater to talk to a friend in the car in front of you.
Your co-workers are convinced that the transmitter is a tavern.
You use your chimney to run coax to the roof.
You can listen to a paging channel or a scanner without discomfort.
You can understand what they are saying on 2-way systems.
You know the frequency used at the local McDonalds.
You have put a penny in the fuse box (because the dime melted)
You have been invited over for dinner, IF, you would bring your toolbox.
You can speak Tip, Ring and Sleeve.
You know all the local FCC inspectors by first name.
The FCC knows YOUR home phone number.
You watch TV and/or listen to the Radio for what's WRONG.
You have an ANTENNA on your roof and no cable drop.

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Later Gator

From a sign seen in the hills near Ooty in India:

"Swimming, bathing, washing of clothes in these crocodile-infested waters is forbidden. Survivors will be prosecuted."

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The End User

by Richard Jones
Chapter 16

Not too many years ago the mention of the word "computer" struck terror into the hearts of men. Science fiction stories about computers almost always hinged on their abilities to take over the world or, otherwise, terrorize humans. The head of IBM in the 1940s stated that there would be a worldwide market for maybe five computers. Well, times have changed. Now, computers are commonplace. Over fifty percent of Americans have computers in their homes. Prices that were once sky high have now dropped to their lowest levels ever. Purchasing a computer is almost an everyday occurrence. Consider this: Station manager: "Say, Clay, would you stop by on your way back from the transmitter and pick up a couple of computers?" Engineer: "Sure, boss. What would you like with it?" Station Manager: "Oh, how about a Pentium 500 with 128 MHz of RAM, a 10 GB hard drive. Hold the DVD ROM. Engineer: "Will do. Would you like fries with that?" The preceding dialog did not happen but, who knows, maybe it will if current trends continue. Pentium and Celeron computers have been seen to be on sale for as little as 500 dollars fully loaded. It is possible that we will see these things go the way of the pocket calculator--sold at the checkout stand at Seven-Eleven.

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Useful Metric Conversions

1 million microphones = 1 megaphone
2000 mockingbirds = two kilomockingbirds
10 cards = 1 decacards
1 millionth of a fish = 1 microfiche
453.6 graham crackers = 1 pound cake
1 trillion pins = 1 terrapin
10 rations = 1 decoration
100 rations = 1 C-ration
10 millipedes = 1 centipede
3 1/3 tridents = 1 decadent
2 monograms = 1 diagram
8 nickels = 2 paradigms
2 wharves = 1 paradox

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PDX Radio Waves

by Michael D. Brown N7AXC CSRE
Brown Broadcast Services, Portland

There are a pair of excellent shareware programs now available, to graphically view the FCC AM, FM, and TV databases. The programs include movable polar cursors to examine relative DA fields at one-degree intervals. Download AMSTNS and TVFMSTNS at http://users.erols.com/rcarpen/.

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Clay's Corner

Featuring News, Rumors and Views From Usually Reliable and Irrefutable Sources
By Clay Freinwald
Seattle Chapter 16

Over on the East End of West Tiger, at the ATC site, they have BOTH of their towers up and full of antennas. Paul Crittenden reports that channel 51 went on the air for testing with 3.8 MW (that's Megawatts). The rig is a Comark, antenna is by Andrew. Paul did have an interesting experience with an electrical inspector who apparently felt that it was his place to request that the transmitter have a U.L. label on it. Paul was ready and he won. A great story, if you have a chance, ask Paul about it. If you ever get challenged on this issue, look for section 19.23.010.

Is the bunny in trouble? Could be. A new generation of batteries is being worked on by the Israel Institute of Technology. These new super batteries use what's called a super iron component; the developers say they will last 50% longer.

The FCC has announced the ULS will now apply to Amateurs (Hams). Gone will be the old 610-form etc. Even your own personal ticket will be renewed, changed, etc., electronically. If you are a Ham, and your license is near renewal time, you'd better check this one out. The old days of calling the local FCC office and asking them to send you a 610 are gone.

The National Association for Business Economics recently conducted a survey in which 61.8% of the companies polled in June reported difficulty finding skilled workers. I see where WABC in N.Y. is still looking for an engineer that knows everything. At least their add is still running. Their opening demands an extensive background in electronics, analog and digital audio systems, high power RF systems and computers systems and networks They don't want much do they? I recall a conversation with some folks around the dinner table at NAB in April about this very thing. The days of finding an engineer that is knowledgeable in ALL phases of this industry are GONE. I can remember being a jack of all trades 30 years ago when I was able to repair everything in the place, and have time for lawn mowing and carpentry. Management in some quarters is going to have to wake up to the fact that things are just a bit more complicated these days. It's very hard for them to understand that it now takes more than one man to keep the plant running.

IBOC continues to make progress with a number of new players and partners. USA Digital seems to be the leader, even though there are other players. USADR's list of partners seems to make it the winner, thus far.

Dwight Small told me recently about a neat little gizmo and, I decided to pass it on. If you operate equipment powered from a mobile DC system (so-called 12 volts) you know what happens when the battery voltage sags. A firm called Jacobs Electronics of Midland, TX has a line of products that are designed for high powered vehicle audio systems that provide a very highly regulated 13.8 volts, even under low battery conditions. These units were designed to keep those modern mobile stereos operating at 7.2 on the Richter scale, but just might be handy for our stuff in the mobile rig.

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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.