Return to Archives

Tom Mikkelsen Elevated to SMPTE Fellow

SBE Frequency Coordinators List Updated More Often

Certificaton Exam Session Dates Announced For 2003

Membership Dues To Rise January 1 For Most Members

SBE Certification Program Receives Veterans Affairs Reimbursement Approval

Ethernet Services: The Changing of the Data Services Landscape

Clay's Corner

The End User

Amateur Radio News

Move Over IBOC

Radio Shack Ends Catalog

So Long Betamax

The YXZ Report




November, 2002

Return to table of contents

Tom Mikkelsen Elevated to SMPTE Fellow

"A fellow of the Society (SMPTE) is one who has, by proficiency and contributions, attained an outstanding rank among engineers or executives in the motion picture, television or related industries." And with those words, our Tom Mikkelsen was recognized for his years of service to SMPTE and the Television Industry at the 144th Technical Conference and Exhibition, Friday, 25 October, 2002, in the traditional Fountain Ballroom, DoubleTree Hotel in Pasadena, California.

Tom was joined at the ceremony by Rebecca (the not so secret new women in his life) and a room filled with SMPTE members, scholarship winners, award winners and supporters; the technical elite of our industry. Actually kind of scary that just about any advancement in film or TV was effected by someone in that room.

The Rocky Mountain Section of SMPTE and Chapter 48 of the SBE are proud to have a member so elevated.

black line

Return to table of contents

SBE Frequency Coordinators List Updated More Often

As a service to members and the broadcasting industry, the Society of Broadcast Engineers has maintained a list of volunteer frequency coordinators for many years. Since 1995, the list has been available on the SBE website, and has been updated on a monthly basis. Because of the ever growing need for the most accurate listing of coordinators, beginning October 3, SBE will update the list on a weekly basis.

Please send any updates to Scott Jones,, at the National Office. Our thanks to Jim Bernier, CPBE, volunteer webmaster for the SBE website for his cooperation in making this possible and also to Scott, for his good work in maintaining the list.

black line

Return to table of contents

Certificaton Exam Session Dates Announced For 2003

The SBE National Certification Committee has announced exam session dates for 2003. Check the list below for the exam period that is best for you. For more information about SBE Certification, see your Chapter Certification Chair (Fred Baumgartner) or contact Linda Baun, Certification Director at the SBE National Office at (317) 846-9000 or

November 8-18, 2002

Local Chapters

September 29, 2002




2003 Exam Dates


Application Deadline

February 7-17, 2003

Local Chapters

December 31, 2002

April 8, 2003

NAB - Las Vegas

March 1, 2003

June 6-16, 2003

Local Chapters

April 25, 2003

August 15-25, 2003

Local Chapters

June 13, 2003

November 7-17, 2003

Local Chapters

September 26, 2003

black line

Return to table of contents

Membership Dues To Rise January 1 For Most Members

Citing increasing costs, the Board of Directors of SBE unanimously approved an increase in membership dues for Regular, Senior, Associate and Student Members, effective January 1, 2003.

"After eleven years of maintaining dues at the same level for the vast majority of members, the Board, agreeing with a recommendation from the Finance and Executive Committees, determined an increase was necessary at this time to keep SBE on a firm financial footing," said SBE President, Troy Pennington. Pennington went on to say, "SBE has operated with a deficit budget in both 2001 and 2002, using cash from reserves to make up the difference. Expenses have been kept as low as possible while still providing the resources to carryout the programs and services of the Society." The dues increase proposal was a part of the 2003 budget approved by the Board during their meeting October 16 in Phoenix, Arizona.

The rate for Regular, Senior and Associate members will rise $5 to $60 per year. This is the first dues increase for these membership categories since April 1992. Dues for Student Members will rise $3 to $18 per year, which will be the first increase for this member category since 1996.

The new rates will apply to new members that join on or after January 1, 2003 and for current members who are due to renew April 1, 2003.

Membership dues for Youth Members will remain at $10 while dues for Sustaining Members will stay at $550 per year.

Life Membership remains free. There is a one-time $35 application fee for those applying for Life Membership. Members who are retired and have held membership in SBE for at least ten consecutive years at the time of application for Life Membership, can qualify. Life Member applications can be submitted at any time and are available from the National Office.

Chapters will also share in the increased revenues from the dues increase. Rebates, which are paid to chapters who meet at least five times each year, will go up since they are determined by the amount of dues paid by Regular, Senior and Associate members. The overall increase should be approximately $3,513 beginning with the 2003 program year, bringing the total amount in rebates paid to qualifying chapters to more than $36,000 per year.

black line

Return to table of contents

SBE Certification Program Receives Veterans Affairs Reimbursement Approval

This article originally appeared in:

Indianapolis - Oct 7, 2002 - In an effort to assist qualified individuals in obtaining Certification from the Society of Broadcast Engineers, the SBE Certification Committee has applied for and received approval from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recognizing most of the current levels of SBE Certification as educational opportunities suitable for VA financial reimbursement.

"The Certification Committee continues to look for ways of making SBE Certification more accessible to the Society's members and the broadcast industry," said Chriss Scherer, CSRE, chairman of the SBE's National Certification Committee. "I encourage any veteran who is eligible to receive the educational benefit to take advantage of it. Linda Baun, SBE certification director, saw the application and approval process through completion and deserves the credit for making this happen."

For tests taken after March 1, 2001, the Department of Veterans Affairs added a license or certification reimbursement benefit to the G.I. Bill. This benefit is designed to help veterans obtain the necessary certification to show competency in an area of skill. Many military electronics technicians look at careers in communications and broadcasting after discharge. This program provides a financial means for veterans to obtain the recognition they deserve to secure a technical career in broadcasting and electronic media.

Only tests specifically approved for the G.I. Bill are eligible for the reimbursement credit. The Society of Broadcast Engineer's Certification Committee has received approval on the following Certification levels:
· Certified Broadcast Technologist - CBT
· Certified Broadcast Radio Engineer - CBRE
· Certified Broadcast Television Engineer - CBTE
· Certified Senior Radio Engineer - CSRE
· Certified Senior Television Engineer - CSTE
· Certified Professional Broadcast Engineer - CPBE
· Certified Broadcast Networking Technologist - CBNT
· Certified Television Operator - CTO

"I commend the Certification Committee and especially Linda Baun for their efforts. This is great news for broadcast engineers who are also veterans," said Troy Pennington, CSRE CBNT, president of the Society of Broadcast Engineers. "The SBE appreciates the work of our veterans and are pleased that we are able to extend this benefit to those veterans applying for SBE Certification."

To be eligible for the reimbursement, a veteran must be eligible for the Montgomery G.I.Bill and active duty (also called the MGIB or Chapter 30), VEAP (also called Chapter 32) or Dependents' Educational Assistance (also called DEA or Chapter 35). Additional details on the reimbursement program are available through the SBE National Office and will be provided to certification exam applicants on request.

The SBE Certification Program was established to create an industry benchmark for evaluating a broadcast engineer's skill and proficiency.

black line

Return to table of contents

Ethernet Services: The Changing of the Data Services Landscape

10/4/2002 6:25:00 PM
By Karen Barton
This article originally appeared in the October 7 - 13, 2002 issue of the Colorado Tech Biz newspaper. Subscriptions are available at

Service providers recently have announced new services based on Ethernet, a technology most closely associated with Local Area Networks (LANs). Ethernet is winning the attention of enterprise network managers because of its simplicity, ability to scale in performance and number of users, and low cost compared with other networking technologies.

It's important to first gain perspective on what business customers have been seeking from carrier-provided data services. They want bandwidth that cost- effectively scales to meet changing business application needs; they expect bandwidth to be available more quickly, even on demand; and they need the complexity and cost of these services to decrease even as performance increases.

Despite carrier investments in fiber capacity and optical networking technologies, there is still work to be done. The metropolitan-area network, which connects a customer to the required network services, remains a bottleneck limiting the carrier's ability to meet demand for new data services. This is largely due to an existing infrastructure based on legacy SONET/SDH TDM (time division multiplexing) technology, which originally was designed to give voice traffic priority. This existing network now forces providers into rigid service definitions, high lifecycle costs and frustrating delays for data services.

Ethernet could play a leading role in overcoming these issues. By presenting Ethernet as a service interface to customers, carriers can offer new data services that are more profitable and more responsive to customers' needs. By further extending the customer's Ethernet LAN across the wide-area network, carriers can also reduce the cost and complexity of earlier generation "multipoint" frame relay and asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) services.

Key to the success of these services is the carrier's ability to exploit its existing SONET/SDH infrastructure. Providers cannot replace their existing infrastructure any time soon, particularly in this economic climate. A recent study by Probe Research said providers will continue to invest in SONET/SDH products, a total of $21.5 billion by 2006. Also, business customers have come to expect a carrier-class grade of service that relies on the extensive service level monitoring and management systems available with SONET/SDH technologies. Against this backdrop, the provider must introduce efficiencies that can translate into lower costs. At the same time it must match the flexibility, simplicity and scale customers have achieved in their LAN, extending these attributes across the wide area.

Early Ethernet services provided basic LAN extension. With the advanced Ethernet-over-SONET/SDH technology available today, providers can offer customers Ethernet services that range in price, security, bandwidth and service level guarantees. Examples include: o Ethernet private line. An EPL can be offered as a premium service addressing the many applications that require traditional private line security and performance guarantees. Storage area networking, H.323 voice-over-IP, broadcast quality video and legacy systems network architecture are a few possibilities. Providers see EPL services as providing a simple, scalable bandwidth migration for traditional T1/T3 private line circuits.

With an EPL, customers are presented with either a 10/100Mbps or 1Gbps Ethernet interface that can be software provisioned to explicit service rates scaling from 1 Mbps to 1 Gbps. Customers benefit from the simplicity, lower cost of ownership and ease of upgrade.

o Ethernet virtual private lines. An EVPL is a cost-effective LAN-to-LAN service featuring granular bandwidth with service-level agreement guarantees that are comparable to frame relay and ATM services. When offered as an Ethernet-over-SONET/SDH service, it can provide LAN-speed interconnection between business sites that span a metropolitan-area and a wide-area network. A VPL service might, for example, interconnect enterprise sites, content data centers, ASP or content providers to customers. It might also be used as a wholesale service sold by a carrier to an ASP-data center provider.

Ethernet private LAN or virtual private LAN services represent the next step. These services extend the features of a customer's Ethernet LAN over a reliable, carrier-grade SONET/SDH path that enables LAN-like, any-to-any connectivity for regional, metro- and wide-area corporate and collaborative applications.

Ethernet is changing the economics of high-speed service delivery. New Ether- net-over-SONET/SDH services are coming to market now, meeting the customer need for much greater bandwidth flexibility and scale with lower cost.

- Karen Barton is the vice president of marketing for Appian Communications, an Acton, Mass.-based optical Ethernet switch maker. She can be reached at This article first appeared in Mass High Tech, our sister publication.

black line

Return to table of contents

Clay's Corner

Featuring News, Rumors and Views
From Usually Reliable and Irrefutable Sources
September 2002 Issue

By Clay Freinwald

Well, NAB Radio has come and gone. I hope all of you that are in Radio have some great memories of this event. I found myself giving tours of West Tiger and Cougar mountains to vendors, engineers and others in the tower business. For those of us that have found ourselves working at these locations, we get pretty excited when someone 'wants to see'. For most in our industry transmitter sites are just 'things' out there someplace. Employees of broadcast stations can spend their entire careers at a station and never visit the transmitter. And this includes many engineers. In many cases owners or managers of stations and companies place these facilities at the bottom of their priority list. Let's face it: the closer you are to the GM's office the nicer things are. The farther away you are… (you guessed it!). When was the last time your GM visited the transmitter site for your station(s)? All too often the facilities are under-maintained and under-funded and fall into a state of disrepair. Transmitter facilities often become a dumping ground for unused equipment or a place to store old files. Rarely does a broadcast company strive to keep their transmission facility up to the same standard as they do their studios. Out of sight, out of mind is the motto. Perhaps this is a factor in the apparent shortage of folks that are interested in RF these days? Now don't get me wrong. There are exceptions!! It made me very proud when many of the folks that toured our FM facilities were happy with what they saw. They are not extravagant; but they are organized, functional and most of all CLEAN! Thanks to Michael Brown, Barry Mishkind and Dave Hultsman for letting me show you around-and most of all-thank you, Entercom, for your support!

One very interesting aspect of having NAB Radio in town was the sudden influx of pirate radio stations. These folks were really up-front in their efforts to state their case. I listened to a couple: 102.1 spent most of their air time bashing Clear Channel and KJR-FM while 101.1 sounding like something out of Berkeley, with more effort made toward bashing the establishment and corporate ownerships. I found it interesting that this group has a new hero: Al Gore. According to one of their broadcasts, Mr Gore has come out against relaxation of ownership limits that's being studied by the FCC at this time. I have no idea what the local FCC office did with these folks; perhaps they will have some stories to tell at the next SBE meeting.

I had great delight telling the out-of-town folks I was with during the convention that what they were seeing outside was RAIN. I added that they all know that it rains ALL THE TIME in Seattle and instructed them to return home with the rain story. We certainly don't want the truth of our weather getting out. Think what I-405 would be like if they learned that the weather was really great for the entire convention?

IBOC or HD Radio, as it's now called, was certainly the highlight of this event for many as this effort gathers speed. Infinity's 106.1 and Entercom's 99.9 were both running the FM version while KIXI was showing off the AM version. In the case of 106.1/KBKS. Ibiquity and Harris worked with Arne Skoog to install a good looking system at their ATC/Tiger Mountain facility. In this case the installation is semi-permanent. Meanwhile over at Entercom's Cougar Mountain facility BE and Ibiquity installed temporary equipment using the technique described in a recent article in Radio World. During the show Entercom's KISW/99.9 operated with their Cougar Mt. standby facilities running analog and digital from that location. On the AM Side, Harris, Ibiquity and Sandusky worked to create a demonstration of the AM version.

For those of you that did not listen to all of this here are my impressions (not necessarily my conclusions):

The FM system certainly holds the most promise. The net effect of this is that the adjacent channels are filled with something that sounds a lot like inter-station white noise. If a listener in the market used to listen to a first adjacent channel from afar they would no longer be able to do so. Other than that it appears to work quite well. On the AM side things are not quite as benign. I found that there was 'grunge' being transmitted from the 880 site over a very large piece of spectrum covering a very large area. In Auburn, some 25 miles from the site, I found a heap of 'trash' on 900 and 910. Perhaps this situation is unique to this installation, I don't know. Some folks have told me that it was my radio that was causing it. At 25 miles out I find it hard to believe that my radio was the culprit…. Makes me wonder just how many other radios are also defective in this manner. Perhaps AM IBOC will be buying new radios for folks like me? I can say that if this is an example of how AM HD Radio works then a market full of this on the AM band would turn the band to a few good signals and trash the rest. You might as well see in print what I was telling others after listening to this on my car radio…"If they (880) are within the emission mask, I will eat the transmitter." It will be interesting to see how Ibiquity explains this situation. Again I want to believe that this is an isolated situation. Hang on to your AM Stereo generators, folks. AM stereo might not be dead yet! At least with AM stereo you don't trash the band 40 kHz either side.

Speaking of SBE meetings... we had a nice gathering at Andy's diner for this last meeting. The presentation by a group of fellows that are working on a wireless network in our city was interesting. It's great to see some young folks testing new technology and the limits that come with it; it reminds me of how a lot of great things got started. We also had a good discussion about IBOC. One notable attendee was Bob Surette of Shively.

Up at West Tiger we are ready for winter...we hope. Entercom's tower is sporting a new coat of paint and a number of structural repairs thanks to Ron Smith and wife. Over at the ATC site, Infinity has a new Ice Shield over their STL dishes and Channel 56 has an ice shield over their heat exchanger. Will be interesting to see how the latter works as it's made of wood. My guess is that there will be some kindling there next spring, but then again it depends on the sort of winter we have. According to the long range official guesstimate we are supposed to have a rather mild and dry one.

On Cougar Dave Ratener has been busy installing what's likely to be the last transmitter to be installed in the Entercom building for a while. KNHC brought their BE rig up from their Wedgewood location. Remaining there is their QEI functioning as a standby site. Not many NCE stations have standby sites!

Speaking of standby sites... one of the folks I was talking with during NAB Radio was telling me that many TV stations around the country are building alternate location standbys. He told me the driving force behind this is the concern of insurance companies who cover losses from being off the air. I can attest to the fact that having a standby site is a wonderful asset. During the 35 days of tower work at West Tiger the FMs there were able to use their Cougar facilities. With today's new NIER and OSHA rules the days of being able to get by with a standby antenna at a lower level are pretty much gone. As Paul Crittenden taught me: Redundancy is good and Tridundancy is even better.

As you know from time to time a study is released that states that cell phones are bad for us, etc. Well Levi (the clothing maker) is coming out with a new line of pants that will specifically target this issue. Apparently it will have some RF stopping fabric that will protect our body from the cell phone. Now I have it: those that wear this garb will become DIRECTIONAL receiving stations. Perhaps to overcome this factor we will see signs posted telling us which way to stand so as to be able to receive that important call?

Well Sony finally did it. They laid to rest the Betamax. The book is closed. Sony produced 2800 units in 2001. Back in 1984 some 2.3 million were made. JVC won this battle with the VHS. Now both of them watch as DVD approaches in the passing lane.

Many of today's radio shows are trying to out-do each other with wild and zany material, some of it is what our folks told us would give them cause to wash our mouths out with soap. The problem is that for years there did not appear to be any line out there that these shows were told not to cross. If there was, the line kept moving further and further away. Well now it appears that the FCC has determined a fixed location for that line, and the first group to cross it and feel their wrath were Opie and Anthony. The pair whose originating station is Viacom/CBS/Infinity's operation in New York, WNEW and who were heard all around the country, including KQBZ here in Seattle, are no more and WNEW is wondering what will happen next. I will let you read about what they did (if you care to) elsewhere. Certainly other 'shock jocks' were watching this and are wondering where they are in relation to the newly established, if not a bit fuzzy, line.

We have something else to be thankful for here in the Pacific Northwest. Broadcasters don't have any leases with the Forest Service. Down in California it appears that Broadcasters are in the cross-hairs of the Service. A battle appears to be brewing.

I was recently reminded that I forgot to honor the father of television. September 7, 1927, 75 years ago, Philo T Farnsworth transmitted an image of a horizontal line to the room next door. Seems that Philo and Mr Armstrong both had something in common: RCA was against them both.

From the you get letters department: I want to acknowledge a note from Jeff Hanson, KB7NND, who reads this stuff on the web. AND... Dr Sandra Woodruff of the Second Adjacency Micro Broadcasting Association who recently wrote me in response to my comments about pirate radio.

Spoke with Andy Skotdal a while back. They are still trying to gain approval for their proposed new site and power increase for KRKO in Everett. Looks like this matter will take a long time to resolve.

Have you been reading about the NIER/RFR situation at Mt Wilson in California? Seems a station decided it did not wish to cooperate by reducing power of their station so tower work could be done at the site (simple version). The situation evolved to the point that the FCC got involved. No worf on what actions they might take. Bottom line is that in today's congested and multiple- station sites reduction or cessation of transmitting for tower work is NOT an option. The days when tower crews climbed 'hot towers' have GONE. It's probably a good idea that you discuss this matter with your management to make sure that they understand and, if necessary, get copies of the applicable rules as back-up.

Here's one for those of you that have radar detectors in your vehicle. Check out the action by the FCC on July 12th. The headline says it all: COMMISSION REQUIRES RADAR DETECTORS TO COMPLY WITH EMISSION LIMITS TO PREVENT INTERFERENCE TO SATELLITE SERVICES. Now tell me how in the world is the FCC going to enforce this one?

The San Francisco Chronicle is in the news for their new offering. Perhaps Radio should be concerned. Here is how it works: The Chronicle will be offering, online, a spoken version of their newspaper. While you are getting ready for work the latest news is downloaded by your computer onto an audio CD; on the way out the door you take the CD with you and while you drive in you can 'listen to the paper'. Gotta wonder if this will catch on? At this time there is no advertising or fee for the service.

That's it for this end. Just think, we are in the midst of football (and the Hawks are losing), the leaves are turning, the stores are full of Halloween which means that Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner. The merry-go-round keeps going faster, does it not?

See ya next month. Clay, K7CR, CPBE

The above comments and opinions are those of Clay Freinwald. They are not the opinion of the Society of Broadcast Engineers, Inc., or Seattle Chapter 16, Inc.

black line

Return to table of contents

The End User

by Rich Petschke
Vice Chairman, SBE Chap. 16

As you may already know, last month Microsoft released the much-anticipated Service Pack 1 for Windows XP. The over-130Mb download has more than 300 bug fixes and security updates, adds support for new hardware (such as USB 2.0 devices), and includes the Justice department-mandated add-ons to disable Microsoft programs from being the default choices for Internet browsing, e-mail and instant messaging. After installing Service Pack 1, you'll see a new selection at the top of your Start menu, called Set Program Access and Defaults. It's here that preferred program choices are made and it's very easy to configure. By the way, if you are a Windows 2000 user, you'll find these mandated add-ons are installed with Windows 2000 Service Pack 3.

To install Windows XP Service Pack 1, users had to accept a supplemental End- User License agreement, which included language indicating that in addition to the software updates, additional anti-piracy technologies would also be installed - and Microsoft may use these technologies to ensure your copy of Windows XP is properly licensed. The EULA didn't detail exactly what these technologies are, but Internet message boards certainly were abuzz about this clause in the license agreement. One obvious application of this technology became visible when some tried to install the Service Pack on pirated copies of Windows XP the Service Pack simply would not install. For others, installing the Service Pack either disabled Windows XP or forced them to reactivate the software. Undoubtedly, Microsoft is dead serious about wiping out software piracy, and now is inhibiting fixes for current products from being pirated.

If you're thinking about purchasing a new hard drive better check its warranty coverage before buying! Beginning this month, Western Digital and Maxtor cut their warranty on desktop hard drives from three years to one year. Expect other drive manufacturers to follow suit. With drive costs at an all time low, shorter warranties are one easy way for manufacturers to cut costs. You may also want to check if your credit card issuer offers a double-manufacturers warranty amenity and use that card to buy your new hard drive.

We've covered the incompatibilities of the different recordable-DVD formats in past columns, and noted that Sony was the only manufacturer who is a member of both format groups. And last month, they announced the first drive that supports the DVD-R/RW and DVD-+R/+RW formats. Priced at $350, the DRU500A additionally records to CD-R/RW discs and includes authoring software. At press time, a shipping date for the DRU500 was not known.

As the holiday shopping season grows nearer, manufacturers are gearing up with new products which they hope you'll be putting under your Christmas tree. Apple has released its latest incarnation of the wildly-popular iPod with a whopping 20Gb storage capacity. And the iPod is now accessible to Windows users as long as they have a Firewire port on the computer. Also in time for the holidays, HP is rolling out a line of Media Center PCs, running Windows XP Media Edition. HP hopes that you plant one of these new computers next to your home theater, and has equipped them with many multimedia components, including a TiVo-like personal video recorder and a DVD burner. But don't expect the DVDs recorded on your Media Center PC to play in a standard DVD player Microsoft has added copy protection to allow DVDs burned on a Media Center PC to play ONLY on that PC. Experts say that this protection, while intended to appease Hollywood's concerns about illegal copying, will probably chill sales of these new PCs.

If you've ever wanted to try out Linux, but (like me) didn't want to go through the hassle of finding all the compatible drivers and other add-ons for your PC, then I suggest checking out a Linux version called Knoppix. It's a bootable CD that not only includes a version of Linux, but also has automatic hardware detection which includes support for many video cards, audio board, and even SCSI and USB devices. It's a great way to get to learn Linux without having to go through hours of trial and error getting it to run on your computer and you don't even have to permanently install it! Get more details at NOTE: This page is in German, but an English version is available through the link.

Questions, suggestions or comments? Send them to

The above comments and opinions are those of Rich Petschke.They are not the opinion of the Society of Broadcast Engineers, Inc., or Seattle Chapter 16, Inc.

black line

Return to table of contents

Amateur Radio News

By Tom Weeden, WJ9H
Chapter 24 - Madison

o Four new cosponsors have signed aboard HR 4720, the bill in Congress aimed at providing relief to amateurs faced with private deed covenants, conditions and restrictions ("CC&Rs") in erecting antennas. The list of 27 cosponsors includes two amateurs-Oregon Republican Greg Walden, WB7OCE, and Arkansas Democrat Mike Ross, WD5DVR. Wisconsin's 2nd district representative Tammy Baldwin (D) is one of the new cosponsors.

New York Democrat Steve Israel introduced HR 4720-the "Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Consistency Act"-on May 14. The measure would require private land-use regulators such as homeowners' associationas to "reasonably accommodate" amateur radio communication consistent with the PRB-1 limited federal preemption. PRB-1 now applies only to states and municipalities.

Representative Walden has also been appointed to fill a vacancy on the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet. Walden's appointment to the key House panel is considered good news for the amateur community. Walden's appointment was announced by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin, a Republican from Louisiana.

"With his extensive background in broadcasting, Greg has a world of experience and expertise in telecommunications issues," Tauzin said. "His knowledge of the issues will help the Subcommittee address digital television, spectrum management, broadband deployment and other telecommunications matters."

o Solar flares vs. satellites? Russian sources report that the RS-12/13 amateur radio satellite appears to be dead. RS-12/13 went dark apparently as a result of severe solar flare activity in July and August.

RS-12/13 were integrated into the COSMOS 2123 Russian navigation satellite, launched on February 5, 1991. Beacons have not been heard from it since August 20. RS-12/13 sported transponders on 21, 29, and 145 MHz.

(Excerpts from the American Radio Relay League's "ARRL Letter" <> and the AC5DK RS-12/13 Satellite Operator's web site <>)

HamNet meets the second Sunday of each month at 0000 GMT on 14.205 MHz. Hal Hostetler WA7BGX is the Control Station. Any amateur operator is welcome and encouraged to participate

black line

Return to table of contents

Move Over IBOC

By Tom Smith
Madison Chapter 24

Motorola has introduced a new chipset that they are claiming will improve the sound of radio without requiring consumers to pay for a satellite service or wait for IBOC broadcast digital radio. The new chipset, which Motorola has called Symphony Digital Radio, is built around a 24-bit DSP digital audio processing architecture.

Motorola claims that it will improve both AM and FM signals and operates from 200 kHz to 165 MHz. Included in the tuning range is the weather band. The chipset includes one or two RF front-end chips, an all-digital DSP baseband/audio processor with a number of DSPs on one piece of silicon, an IF sigma-delta analog to digital converter and digital to analog converters to convert data between the RF front-end and the DSP output. Digital input and an Enhanced Serial Audio Interface to connect to other digital devices will also be available. The interface will sample convert and have a SPDIF receiver.

The listener will benefit from extended FM reception from a Range Extension FM Demodulator, which uses an algorithm that will extract a signal from a weaker carrier with greater quieting. Adjacent interference will be reduced with a variable bandwidth IF filter. Multipath will be addressed with a diversity antenna system. Stereo separation will be greater then 40 db.

Other features include RDS/RBDS data detection, dual source playback including two radio or one radio and CD playback for separate listening in the front and rear seats, baseband audio processing for tone and volume control, noise reduction and image enhancement. The system will also decode Dolby 5.1 encoding as well as Dolby Pro-logic.

Manufactures that use the Symphony Digital Radio System will be able to create their own software to customize features for different models. The Chipset is now available in sample quantities for $29.95 and mass production of the chipset will start in 2003. Details can be found on the Motorola website (,1958,1573_1221_23,00.html)

From Motorola press release (

black line

Return to table of contents

Radio Shack Ends Catalog

By Tom Smith
Chapter 24 - Madison WI

As I do every September, I wandered into my local Radio Shack store to pick up the new issue of their catalog for 2003 and a part for a project. I found the store in disarray and was not able to find the part I was looking for.

What I found was that most of the electronic parts such as resistors, capacitors, LEDs, and ICs were now in a couple of large bins, and not on the wall pegs were I normally found them. I asked the salesman about the part, which he was unable to locate, and for a catalog. He said that the catalog was no longer published and that Radio Shack was going to use the web only. I did go to the website a couple of days later and found it to be somewhat improved, but surely not as handy as the catalog. I found the part in another store.

One of my co-workers was able to get a CD-ROM from his local Radio Shack, but it is pretty much useless with only a fraction of the items and no pricing.

I would suggest holding on to your 2002 catalog, as it may be a collectors item and a handy reference for the near future. See the latest issue of DIGITAL TV for further comments on the demise of the Radio Shack catalog.

black line

Return to table of contents

So Long Betamax

By Tom Smith
Madison Wisconsin Ch. 24

Sony announced on August 27th that they were going to build 2000 more Betamax machines before ceasing production. In a report from Reuters News, they stated that with the advent of digital formats such as DVD and the difficulty of getting parts, they were discontinuing production. Sony produced 2700 machines in the last year and 18 million over the last 27 years with 2.3 million produced in 1984. Parts and tapes will still be available.

The Betamax has been the subject of many articles on the marketing or mis- marketing of a product that was first on the market. It was considered to be superior to the competition, which was VHS. The VHS machine eventually overtook the Betamax and dominated the home videotape machine market.

Even as a failed product, it lived on in the introduction of many different videotape machines for broadcast and professional video production. The basic mechanical tape transport was used in the Betacam and Betacam SP analog machines and in the Digital Betacam, Betacam SX, Betacam IMX and HDcam machines. The transport design was also used in the 8 MM and HI-8 videotape formats and in Panasonic's D-3 and D-5 machines as well.

black line

Return to table of contents

The YXZ Report

by Kent Randles K7YXZ CBRE
Chief Engineer
KXL/KXJM, Portland
Co-Chair, Portland/Vancouver LAECC


I organized a van pool to drive to Seattle on September 10th to attend the all-day Harris Corporation Extreme Digital Road Show at the Elliot Grand Hyatt Hotel. Gary Hilliard of Entercom, Roger Dominguez of OPB, Marty Soehrman of AV Supply Company, and I left the Starbuck's on Macadam at about 5:30 AM and walked into the hotel at 8:40 AM.

We all got a hat, t-shirt, and a big black binder full of presenter bios, a bunch of glossy equipment brochures, and all the Power Point pages for the day. The Hyatt is a first class hotel, so the refreshments, and "modern Art Deco" interior design, were VERY nice. Lunch was included.

I have to admit I'm having mixed feelings about IBOC, especially after they officially changed the name to "HD Radio." I realize it's all marketing, designed to elicit some of the spillover gee-whiz factor from HDTV. Unfortunately, besides eliminating multipath for FM, and making AM have 20 kHz audio bandwidth plus stereo, HD Radio is a misnomer. As you know, it's way easier to fool the eye than it is the ear. High definition digital audio needs a HIGHER sampling rate and NO data reduction. Just listen to Super Audio CD's, or DVD Audio. More on data reduction later.

My techno-geek side is eager to play with IBOC exciters, IBOC transmitters, and digital receivers with an amazing amount of data storage and web-page-like displays. My jaded skeptic side cannot believe the blatant everybody-but-the-broadcasters-who-don't-have-a-piece-of-Ibiquity- will-profit-from-this package we may be forced to adopt. Please excuse my sarcasm.

The day was divided into the morning "Management and Engineering" session, intended for us engineers to sit with our GM's, and the afternoon "Engineering" session. There were very few GM-looking folks in the morning, but many empty seats in the afternoon.

During the morning session there was a pathetic demonstration of the audio difference between analog radio and IBOC. Played from a laptop through a small-speakered P.A. system complete with hum from the unbalanced sound card output, multi-pathy analog FM versus digital, then not-quite 3 kHz-bandwidth analog mono AM versus 20 kHz stereo digital. Later, Scott Stull, Director of Broadcast Business Development for iBiquity Digital Corp., remarked during his presentation called "Not Another AM Stereo" about how happy and excited he was to have iBiquity stock options. He went on to quote iBiquity's licensing fees: 15 times your FCC licensee fee (an average of $20,000) or 10 annual payments of 2.8 times your FCC license fee (an average of $3700 a year). A one-time $3750 for non-commercial stations.

During a part of the morning session called "ROI = Reason for Our Investment," several folks from Impulse Radio spoke about and demonstrated the data and graphic potential of IBOC radio. Mark Walsh, Chairman of Impulse Radio, is a very good and very fast talking pitchman. Imagine glitzy graphics and random-accessed web content broadcast from radio stations. Impulse wants $10,000 per year per transmitter for their software to implement "XDS," their data solution for IBOC . Unmentioned was the fact that broadcasters have not made any money from their web sites, much less SCA's, including RDS. More on data later.

At lunch, we attendees found that we all had those mixed feelings, with the same kind of feeling you get when "corporate" decides what equipment you will get without asking your opinion. One consulting engineer reminded us that since tight nulls of AM directionals don't even cancel sidebands well out to 10 kHz from the carrier frequency, they certainly aren't going to do well with a signal that has components out to 15 kHz.

In the afternoon session, Gary Liebisch, Applications Engineer-Radio RF Line for Harris, who is very good at explaining concepts that are just barely over your head, was one of the presenters of "The Nuts and Bolts of HD Radio." Gary actually let us peek behind IBOC's curtain.

The biggest eye-opener for me is that the "Initial FM Hybrid Service Mode" is 96 kbps digital audio and no data. For 32 kbps of data, the audio data rate drops to 64, and for 40 kbps of data the audio rate drops to 56. Imagine doing 20 kHz stereo audio through half an ISDN line. If you want to give up your 92 kHz analog SCA, the "FM extended hybrid mode" gives you 51 kbps of data without lowering the audio rate from 96 kbps. For AM, the data rate story is even worse. 36 kbps digital audio with no data, then the audio data rate slides down to 20 kbps for 16 kbps of data. The typical web stream is at 20 kbps, in mono! However, you can do whatever you want with the data stream, including other audio.

Transmitter-wise, if your FM station's TPO is low enough to make with a solid-state transmitter you could go the "FM Common Amplification" route and be done. IBOC FM transmitters can't have Class C amplifiers, and must have peak power capability 5-6 dB above average power (that's up to four times more). If you can put up another antenna system, similar and physically close to the one you have now, you could just buy another transmitter for the digital portion and do "space combining." Those of us with Class C FM's, low gain antennas, and tube transmitters (some without even 10% power headroom) are screwed. As you may have heard, with "FM Separate Amplification" and high-level combining, you loose 90% of the digital power and 10% of the analog power in the combiners' reject loads.

For AM transmitters, even if you have a solid state one, you'll be making major modifications or getting a new one, since you can't combine. You need 45-60 kHz of modulator bandwidth. Your PDM transmitter will have to have a switching frequency greater than 150 kHz. Plate modulated transmitters, and progressive series modulated transmitters like the Harris MW-1 won't work.

Your antenna system must have "Hermitian Symmetry" to 5 kHz. iBiquity VP of Broadcast Engineering Glynn Walden defines Hermitian as: "antenna reactances [that] are equal and of opposite sign on either side of the carrier." Plus, you'll need sideband VSWR that is less than 1.2:1 @ 10khz and less than 1.4:1 @ 15 kHz. For you AM audio bandwidth fanatics, they recommend only 5 kHz. You can run up to 8 kHz, but it negatively affects how robust the digital signal is. Because there is an on-frequency digital carrier 50 db down, forget running analog AM stereo.

On the way home from Seattle, with a typical narrow-band AM receiver, like my digitally-tuned Sony SRF-M70 Sports Walkman, we could easily hear the adjacent channel "noise" carriers tuning 10 kHz above and below IBOC demo station 880 KIXI's carrier. Hence only daytime approval of IBOC by the NRSC. Stay tuned for what will be an interesting trip as I try to keep an open mind.

black line

Return to table of contents


This is the actual radio conversation of a US naval ship with Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland in October 1995. Radio conversation released by the chief of naval operations, 10-10-95.

CANADIANS: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the south to avoid a collision.

AMERICANS: Recommend you divert your course 15 degrees to the north to avoid a collision.

CANADIANS: Negative. You will have to divert your course 15 degrees to the south to avoid a collision.

AMERICANS: This is the captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.

CANADIANS: No, I say again, you divert YOUR course.

AMERICANS: This is the Aircraft Carrier US LINCOLN, the second largest ship in the United States Atlantic Fleet. We are accompanied with three Destroyers, three Cruisers and numerous support vessels. I DEMAND that you change your course 15 degrees north. I say again, that's one-five degrees north, or counter- measures will be undertaken to ensure the safety of this ship.

CANADIANS: This is a lighthouse. Your call.

black line


From Clay Freinwald, SBE Chapter 16, Seattle

I. I love deadlines, especially the whooshing sound they make as they go flying by.

II. Tell me what you need, and I'll tell you how to get along without it.

III. Accept that some days you are the pigeon and some days you are the statue.

IV. I don't have an attitude problem; you have a perception problem.

V. On the keyboard of life, always keep one finger on the escape key.

VI. I don't suffer from stress… I am a carrier.

VII. Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.

VIII. Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience.

IX. A pat on the back is only a short distance from a kick in the butt.

X. After any increase in salary, you will have less money at the end of the month.

XI. You can go anywhere you want if you look serious and carry a clipboard.

XII. If it was not for the last minute, nothing would get done.

XIII. When you don't know what to do, walk fast and look worried.

black line

Bumper Stickers You Might Have Missed:

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?

Honk If Anything Falls Off.

Cover Me, I'm Changing Lanes.

He Who Hesitates Is Not Only Lost But Miles From The Next Exit.

I Do Whatever My Rice Krispies Tell Me To.

Boldly Going Nowhere.

Money Isn't Everything, But It Sure Keeps The Kids In Touch.

black line

Just Some Thoughts off the Top
Thanks to Wendy Wham

Give a person a fish and you feed them for day; teach that person to use the Internet and they won't bother you for weeks.

The other night I ate at a real family restaurant. Every table had an argument going.

All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.

Have you noticed that a slight tax increase costs you two hundred dollars and a substantial tax cut saves you thirty cents?

Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.

How is it one careless match can start forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?

You read about all these terrorists--most of them came here legally, but they hung around on these expired visas, some for as long as 10-15 years. Now, compare that to Blockbuster: you're two days late with a video and those people are all over you. Let's put Blockbuster in charge of immigration.

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.