CONTENTS

Rocky Mountain Section Meeting Report

Random Radio Thoughts

Certification Exam Dates

Unlicensed Devices

Clay's Corner

Freq. Coord and other stuff

The Local Oscillator

The YXZ Report

Travels With Fred November

Wikimapia

Amateur Radio News

PDX Radio Waves

Humor

Etc.

 

November, 2006

SBE Chapter 48/SMPTE Rocky Mountain Section Meeting Report

Audio Boot Camp Follow-up

Jim Schoedler, SBE Chapter 48 Chairman

Last week's Audio Boot Camp was another successful event for SBE Chapter 48 and the Rocky Mountain Section of SMPTE. We had approximately 50 in attendance and our speaker's presentations were thoughtfully prepared and well received. I've heard only good comments about the day.

I'll be attending the SMPTE fall conference in Los Angeles and I’ll be receiving the 2006 Citation for Outstanding Service to the Society. I'm grateful for the recognition (and thank Rome Chelsi for nominating me) but feel that I'm really accepting the award on behalf of the entire management team of our SBE/SMPTE chapter and the engineering staff at Rocky Mountain PBS, my former employer. I've been speaker chair for the past three boot camps, but these seminars are a real team effort. And my hat is off to the entire Denver technical community for supporting such educational opportunities through their attendance.

The official citation reads:

James B. Schoedler has been a SMPTE member for 27 years and has served on the Rocky Mountain Board of Managers since arriving at his current (now former) position at Rocky Mtn. PBS several years ago. Since that time Jim has been instrumental in our section activities including organizing and hosting chapter meetings and our extremely successful series of All-Day Technical Seminars. He has provided facilities, equipment, and personnel to facilitate our activities. Jim is ever present to assist and take care of the details to keep the chapter running. He is a genuine asset to SMPTE national and our local Chapter..

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Random Radio Thoughts


Cris Alexander, CPBE, AMD
Crawford Broadcasting Company

Boot Camp
It was great to see many of you at the Audio Boot Camp last month. We had a great lineup of speakers and I learned a great deal. Among other things, I came away with a better understanding of levels/units, the consumer electronics side of the equation and audio processing. Our thanks to all those who participated.

HD Criticism
One thing I addressed during my brief talk on HD Radio was some of the criticism of HD-R that we’ve seen in the trade press of late. That little talk evidently generated some interest, so perhaps it would be good to touch on the issue in these virtual pages.
Those HD-R naysayers whose op-eds we have read in the pages of the trade press in recent months are particularly critical of AM HD-R. But these folks also have problems with FM. Almost all the criticism has to do with occupied bandwidth/interference issues. In response to this criticism, I offer the following:

  • The iBiquity HD-R system is a compromise, as is every practical deployment of technology. The FM system stuffs ten gallons of bandwidth into a one-gallon bucket. The AM system stuffs five gallons of bandwidth into a one-pint jar. This is amazing, and it is what the best minds in our industry came up with after more than a decade of work. I would offer that there is not a better way given the constraints placed upon us.
  • HD-R does cause interference, but for both AM and FM, this interference is primarily outside the protected contour. Many stations, particularly “rim shots,” rely on outside-the-contour coverage for their business. These stations are not entitled to that coverage and any such coverage lost as a result of HD-R is no different than if a contour-protection move-in took place in the same area. There is more FM interference out in “B” country than here in the west, where stations are more spread out. There are cases of third-adjacent AM HD-R interference within the same market, primarily within the blanketing contour of the interfering station.
  • AM HD-R interference has been exaggerated. Those that report a loud buzz on empty channels adjacent to HD-R AMs are correct, but the loudness is due to the lack of carrier, not the strength of the interfering signals. I recently read one account of a west coast engineer that made a trip east through the Denver area, listening to the AM band on a non-HD radio during his trip. His rather alarming report had it that when he tuned to a channel adjacent to any HD-R AM station, he heard a very loud buzz. His incorrect conclusion was that HD-R AM stations are producing high levels of interference on adjacent channels. Try listening to any SSB or DSB station on an AM detector and you’ll hear a similar phenomenon. Without a carrier present, even with a weak signal the demodulated audio is very loud indeed.
  • Nothing better is going to come along, and we can’t start over and do something else for many reasons, the greatest of which is the receiver manufacturers, still wary after the AM Stereo mess of the early 1990s.
  • We need a digital mode on terrestrial digital radio. Long term, we will not survive without it. AM may be in trouble in the short term.


Too Good?
In my travels, I am amazed at how well some stations have matched the audio diversity delay and audio level between their analog and HD-R signals. On these FM stations, the transition is seamless. If it weren’t for the indication on the radio display, it would be nearly impossible to tell that there was an HD-R signal. Those folks who have achieved this degree of match, including many here along the Front Range, are to be congratulated. Well done!

But I have an issue with this. In some of the non-trade press, primarily online blogs and the occasional newspaper/magazine review of HD-Radio or an HD-R receiver, the very thing we have worked so hard to achieve has become a point of criticism. Listeners are saying that they can’t tell the difference, that they don’t even know when their radio has locked in digital. Have we, in our efforts to make the transition seamless, shot ourselves in the foot? I think maybe we have.

With AM HD-R, there is a definite “wow factor.” Tune in an AM HD-R station and you first hear the 5 kHz bandwidth analog audio followed a few seconds later by a big jump in audio bandwidth and stereo separation. The difference is evident and immediate. But where is the “wow factor” for FM stations (outside of multicast, that is)? We have eliminated it.

I spent some time talking with Omnia Audio’s Frank Foti about this at the Audio Boot Camp last month. I think that initially, we were all thinking that we could process our HD-R signals very lightly, restoring dynamic range and eliminating the clipping and limiting effects of aggressive processing that we have on our analog signals. But instead we have gone out of the way to make our HD-R signals sound the same as our analog.

Here’s what I propose by way of a remedy: Lighten up the processing on the HD-R audio. Use peak limiting only as necessary but otherwise let the source audio through unaltered. Then use the “Audio Level Control” in the HD-R exciter – that software control that sets the level of the demodulated HD-R audio relative to the demodulated analog audio in the receiver – to boost the level of the demodulated HD-R audio by a dB or two. Then the listener will hear a clear difference when the HD-R lock kicks in. The HD-R will be a touch louder and yet the audio will be cleaner and more CD-like. I think that will restore some of the “wow factor” on FM. Something to consider. What do you think?

Reminder
Last November, the FCC set a date for extending EAS requirements to all digital radio stations. These new rules go into effect December 31 of this year. For those of you who do not already have EAS piped into your multicasts, this would be an excellent time to get that done. After December 31, you will be on the hook for it.

At most of my stations, for the time being we are simply going to interrupt the program AES with an insert from the main channel’s EAS encoder. RMTs, RWTs and activations won’t be very elegant, popping into the multicast program stream without regard to what’s being aired, but with a very limited audience on the HD-2 streams there won’t be much of a penalty. When the HD-2 audiences build to significant numbers, we’ll consider investing in separate EAS encoders. And who knows what EAS will look like by then?

DA Proofs
Several years ago, the FCC revised the AM technical rules, making some long-needed changes such as eliminating base current monitoring/maintenance and reducing the partial proof requirements to eight points on just the null radials in most cases. These were welcome changes that have made many of our jobs a lot easier.

One of the items addressed in the rulemaking was directional antenna performance verification using method of moments. The FCC deemed that this was beyond the scope of the instant rulemaking and opted to deal with it separately. The report & order on the new AM technical rules included a notice of further rulemaking dealing solely with the method of moments issue. The trouble is, nothing ever came of it. Until now.

The FCC is now dusting the issue off and an ad-hoc industry panel has been assembled to deal with the issue. I will be traveling to Washington the 14th of this month to sit on that panel and offer my input on this important topic. Stay tuned…

If you have news to share with the Rocky Mountain radio engineering community, drop me an email at crisa@crawfordbroadcasting.com. See you at the Audio Boot Camp on October 12!

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CERTIFICATION EXAM SESSION DATES:

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

Exam Dates Location Application Deadline
Feb 9-19, 2007 Local Chapters December 29, 2006
April 17, 2007 NAB - Las Vegas March 2, 2007
June 1-11, 2007 Local Chapters April 20, 2007
Aug 10-20, 2007 Local Chapters June 8, 2007
Nov 9-19, 2007 Local Chapters September 21, 2007

Fees are as Follows:

Certification Level Member Non-Member
Broadcast Technologist $40 $100
Broadcast Networking Technologist $55 $115
Broadcast Engineer $55 $115
Audio/Video Engineer $55 $115
Senior Broadcast Engineer $80 $140
Professional Broadcast Engineer $105 $165
Specialist Certification    
AM Directional Specialist $50 $110
8VSB Specialist $50 $110

Click here for more information about SBE Certification.

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UNLICENSED DEVICES IN TV BAND

By Tom Smith
Chapter 24 - Madison

On September 11th, the FCC issued a Notice setting a schedule for the proceeding on Unlicensed Operation On the TV Band. On May 14, 2004, the FCC adopted a Notice of Rulemaking on Unlicensed Operation in the TV broadcast Band. The FCC states that the record from the comments was insufficient to adopt final rules. Because of this, the FCC is starting a number of steps to implement rules allowing unlicensed operation in the TV band. They have laid out the following timetable:

  • In October of 2006, the FCC would issue a First Report and Order and Further notice of Rulemaking. The FCC has this on the October 12th meeting agenda.
  • In March of 2007, the FCC Laboratory reports on the results of interference rejection capabilities of DTV receivers.
  • In July of 2007, the FCC Laboratory reports the results of potential interference from unlicensed devices to TV and other radio services.
  • In October 2007, the FCC will adopt the Second Report and Order setting the final technical requirements for unlicensed devices that operate in the TV bands.
  • In December 2007, the FCC Laboratory will begin the certification process for unlicensed devices that operate on the TV band.
  • And finally, in February 2009, the products will be available for sale. This will coincide with the analog shutdown on February 17, 2009.

The Association for Maximum Service Telecasters (MSTV), The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Sports Video Group (SVG) are voicing their concerns about the proposal. SVG held a seminar recently on the subject. Many of their members are concerned as they use numerous wireless devices to cover various sporting events. At the fall conference of the IEEE, there were a number of speakers and panels on the subject. The discussion lined up as one would expect, with broadcaster against and member of the computer industry for, as the unlicensed devices are aimed at providing broadband connections.

From FCC Release (www.fcc.gov), www.tvtechnology.com, www.sportsvideo.org

 

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Clay's Corner

Featuring News, Rumors and Views
From Usually Reliable and Irrefutable Sources

By Clay Freinwald
SBE Seattle Chapter 16

For the past 20 plus years that I have been writing this column I have usually had a headline about someone or something in mind when I start the writing process. I do this time as well, but the headline this time is me. Let me explain –

On October 3rd I was called into Marty Hadfield’s office to discuss something important that had come up. Marty was straight to the point…..My position as Corporate Engineer was being eliminated as of Dec 31 in a budget cut at the corporate level.. My goals of working for a few more years with Entercom in this position received an abrupt short-circuit - Bummer! I want you to know that this work has been the best job of my career (largely thanks to Marty) …I was into it 7 days a week and was constantly challenged and looking forward to new projects and adventures…but the writing was on the wall, the end had come….Thus ending a career that had begun with then KNBQ in 1982…. For the first time in my career I was facing the prospect of being un-employed. One thing was in my mind…I was not ready to be put out to pasture….not yet!

Not having any job-seeking skills (jobs have always come to me) I was pretty lost. A lot of folks told me to simply tell-everyone. So I went home and sent a quick note to just about everyone in my address book (wow is email nice for times like these). From this came an outpouring of emails of support and encouragement in quantities I would have never predicted. Just about everyone told me that with my experience and reputation would come tons of offers.

As I write this, some 2 weeks after receiving the news, I have indeed received some offers…creating more questions than answers. Should I go out on my own and do contracting and/or consulting, work in a related field like equipment sales where my background would be an asset or perhaps do something completely different? Should I consider re-location or should I stay here. I have been used to making decisions….just not ones like this!. A pretty scary time in some respect, but again I am reminded of something that I used to tell others…Change represents opportunity. Many have suggested the Lord closes some doors so others can be opened. I guess time will tell as I am being told to turn a page in my life and career to discover what’s new.

I can look back to a couple of things – Perhaps the top one was the construction of the first Broadcast facility on West Tiger Mt some 20 years ago. I was able to take a concept and turn it into something that I can be proud of. Since that time a dozen or so FM’s and several TV’s are transmitting from that hunk of rock to the East of Issaquah… Being a trail blazer is not too bad when you look back and see that others have followed. Other projects with my name on them include the multi-user facility on Cougar Mt in addition to AM and FM facilities scattered about the country. Looking back on many accomplishments I just hope that I contributed, in some small way, to the state of our industry.

For those of you that I have worked with over the years I want you to all know that I have enjoyed it all and I want you to know that I could not have done it without you. I don’t have a clue what the future holds, this is in Gods hands…I pray that I can continue with SBE and my volunteer work with EAS as they too have been very fulfilling. Time will tell.

Just when you think you’ve run into a rash of bad-luck department - - Larry Wilkins received SBE’s Engineer of the year award in Verona NY, SBE highest honor. The day after I was talking with Larry as I was having breakfast with Gary Kline, the VP of Engineer for Cumulous the outfit Larry works for….He and his wife said goodbye to us etc. On the drive back home to Alabama Larry was hit by a stroke. Thankfully, he’s on the mend now.

Our industry is going through a lot of changes these days. Lets face it, some 40+ years ago when I started a local advertiser had only a couple of media choices to spread the word of his product or service – Radio, TV or Newspaper. Look at what we have now? 40 years ago radio meant AM…now there is FM, HD Channels, Satellite radio, I-Pods and podcasting, the internet….the list goes on. For TV it meant 4, 5,7, 9,11 and 13. Now its umpteen local channels, zillions of cable channels, satellite TV….and of course, the internet and WiFi. Our business survives only because we are able to re-invent ourselves…Cluster operations, central-casting, Mullti-casting etc. The bottom line is that the pie is constantly being cut into smaller and smaller pieces. How well I know the impact of that !

Over at Channels 13 and 22 they have to wonder about their future as their owners, the Chicago Tribune has been plenty of high-level shakeups leaving them to wonder who their owners will be in the future.
The oldest town in our state, Steilacoom, is about to become the most WiFi’d town in this area with news that they are about to install a bunch of low powered sites on power poles in the town that will enable everyone to do their email without having to drive to Starbucks. Come to think of it, Starbucks might never have a store there. The driver behind this project is CenturyTel. Look for this to spread pretty fast. Have to wonder if the time will come that we will come to expect WiFi in our cities and towns like we expect electricity and phone service.

HD Radio continues to move forward with now over 1000 radio stations across the country operating the system and many of those multi-casting multiple program streams. Ibiquity has recently announced a number of new consumer receiving devices as the pace of this development appear to be increasing. With the majority of HD systems on the air being those that were partially funded by Fed-Funds or by some of the major radio station groups, that are incidentally part owners of Ibiquity…the question running through my mind is what happens next? In our area you don’t see the stations outside of the core-market operating HD. When will those stations feel its time to jump into the puddle? I can see that this ‘next tier’ of radio stations are going to have a harder time for a number of reasons. The primary one is they are less likely to be able to afford the cost for something that has yet returned a profit. Then there is the lack of a corporate engineering department to guide them. IMHO – we are approaching decision time when it comes to HD radio….It may succeed or fail depending on what the next tier does.

We may have that long talked about Covington radio station around the corner. Looks like the shuffle negotiated in the NCE band to accommodate Mercer Island advance the process another ‘baby-step- for the move-in from The Dalles, Oregon. This continues to be a very long process.

The big giant in the pond, Clear Channel, is starting to sell stations. At one point that company was thought to be buying every media property that was not nailed down…now they are evaluating their collection and pedaling some. Some of the first to go is a cluster of radio stations in Fargo ND.

We still don’t have a clue as to the new FCC rules for EAS…but we do know that the Commish has shuffled the deck a bit. Its Office of Homeland Security is now and official Bureau. This is gov-speak for something more important. Of course the new entity needs a longer name (More government ink on that letterhead) The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau is supposed to deal with things like emergency management etc. How will this impact Broadcasters and EAS….who knows. Stay tuned.

One of the major problems these days is the shortage of open TV channels for use by wireless mics etc. Gone are the days when there was plenty of 6 mHz chunks with nothing better to do. This has caused many folks to go after the FCC to permit them to use TV channels anyway and putting the burden on TV stations to identify the source or the problem before anything can be done about it. Rightfully so, MSTV and others are not pleased with this idea. Can you imagine trying to track down all those misc. users?
Here’s a new one…A spectrum analyzer that instead of having a display is connected to you and your computer via its IP connection. Now here’s a handy tool. You could put this critter anywhere and set back in your office, or easy-chair and control it. Fantasy?...Nope, Nextel has reportedly order 10,000 of them…Oh yes, the price $3500.

Was happy to show Scott Fybush around the area recently…Thankfully I was able to show him our plants at Tiger and Cougar. Scott travels all around the country taking pictures of broadcast towers and produces a wonderful calendar with great pictures of some legendary sites. Scott also writes for a number of media publications.
Have you checked the SBE Job Site lately…several TV jobs open in the Puget Sound area.

Well, till next month, I hope….

Clay, K7CR, CPBE

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FREQUENCY COORDINATION & OTHER STUFF

by Everett E. Helm W7EEH CPBE
Chapter Chair
chairman at sbe124.org

FCC TAKES CLOSER LOOK AT WHITE SPACES ISSUE
TV broadcasters protested hard against impending Federal legislation that would allow for unlicensed consumer devices to be operated in "White Spaces" spectrum. It may be called a victory as the Federal Communications Commission released a Public Notice stating that it needs additional technical information concerning unlicensed devices in the TV band. The move by the FCC effectively tables any plans to pass laws that would allow unlicensed devices into White Spaces spectrum. The FCC says that after reviewing comments from broadcasters, other TV spectrum users, and manufacturers and users of unlicensed devices, it did not have enough information to adopt final technical rules. It did, however, publish a rather optimistic timetable for the implementation of the new service.

The FCC's timetable is as follows:
October 2006: Commission adopts a First Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making.
March 2007: FCC Laboratory reports the results of measurements of the interference rejection capabilities of DTV receivers.
July 2007: FCC Laboratory reports the results of tests evaluating potential interference from unlicensed devices to TV and other radio services.
October 2007: Commission adopts a Second Report and Order specifying final technical requirements for unlicensed devices that operate in the TV bands.
December 2007: FCC Laboratory begins accepting applications for certification of unlicensed devices operating in the TV bands; certification will be granted at such time as the application has been reviewed and found to comply with the rules; certification will permit manufacture and shipment of products to distribution points.
February 2009: Products will be available for sale at retail (also the date for shutoff of the NTSC analog transmission system).

So, under this time line, just as the public is trying to finalize their ability to receive new digital TV signals, a whole new round of interference sources may appear in between the TV channels in use in any given area. What else can we do to make the transition harder on the public?

WHEN IS HDTV NOT HIGH DEFINITION?
Peter Cohen, a subscriber to DirecTV's HD satellite service, has filed a class action lawsuit against DirecTV for reducing the quality of its HDTV signal by lowering the bit rate. When Cohen initially signed up for DirecTV's HD package in 2003, the operator promised "astonishing picture quality." Within a year, Cohen charged, DirecTV broke it promise by reducing the quality of its HD satellite channels.

Cohen's lawsuit, drawing a wave of supporters from various Web sites, got its first public hearing last week when a judge ruled against DirecTV on its motion to compel arbitration in the case. The complaint, apparently shared by other vocal DirecTV critics, has resulted in DirecTV's service being tagged "HD Lite" because of the low bit rate the service uses to transmit HD channels.

"We believe the plaintiff's underlying claims are completely without merit because DirecTV's high-definition service is high quality, true HD service under accepted definitions for satellite TV," DirecTV spokesman Robert Mercer told the Web site TVPredictions.com.

Subscribers have claimed that DirecTV highly compresses HD images to create more channel space. This compression, to save bandwidth, reduces image quality.

Since information about the lawsuit surfaced, TVPredictions.com has reported that it received approximately 100 negative e-mails from DirecTV subscribers, complaining that the service's nine-channel national HD lineup fares poorly compared to rival EchoStar, which airs 30 national HD channels.
Earlier, DirecTV announced plans to change to MPEG-4 compression technology for HDTV. That change is expected to occur next year.

This is just the sort of DTV "bit grooming" that we broadcasters are dreading from the satellite and cable providers.

All for now.
Thanks, CUL, & 73, Ev.

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The November issue of The Local Oscillator

Cris Alexander, CPBE, AMD
Crawford Broadcasting Company
Denver, Colorado
(303) 433-0104
(303) 433-0905 Fax

The engineers at Crawford Broadcasting contribute to a company newsletter that is always interesting reading. The latest issue of The Local Oscillator is hot off the virtual presses and available for online viewing at:
http://www.crawfordbroadcasting.com/~cbc/Local_Oscillator/November%202006%20Local%20Oscillator.pdf

 

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THE YXZ REPORT

by Kent Randles K7YXZ CBRE
Co-Chair, Portland/Vancouver ECC
Chapter 124 Secretary
watercooled at sbe124.org

LIFE WITH HD RADIO
Holding at 12 FM HD signals (nine with HD2) and one AM HD signal on the air in the Portland market.

91.5 KOPB-FM got their HD2 going. It's just random rock music at the moment, but I hear they'll be creating their own local format. And they plan to put their radio reading service, Golden Hours, on as HD3 eventually.

John White K7RUN, Chief Engineer of the Crawford and Disney stations in Portland is working hard to get the diplexed 1330 KKPZ and 1640 KDZR HD Radio signals on the air. He reports that the phasor didn't need much modification (1330 is a 5 kW three-tower DA-1), but the right network to make the transmitter completely happy with the common point will take more work.

1640 has a CP to go 10 kW into 3 towers at night, which I think will make them the ONLY expanded band station like that. That will come after they get HD going during the day. They might be only the fourth expanded band station to add HD.

SCOTT FYBUSH COMES TO PORTLAND
When you enter "tower site" into an internet search engine, the second URL after the Official Site of the Eiffel Tower, is http://www.fybush.com. On Scott Fybush's website, his Tower Site of the Week index was lacking Idaho, Oregon and Washington, but not for much longer! Scott and his friends Garret & Mike, traveled through the previously missing states last month taking pictures of every site they could get to.

On Sunday and Monday September 24th & 25th I got to serve as their tour guide through Stonehenge, Skyline, and the 910 KKSN, and 1080 KFXX sites.

Be sure to check out the 2007 Tower Site Calendar at http://www.fybush.com/calendar.html, featuring Minneapolis' legendary WCCO (on the front cover), Boston's WBZ, San Francisco's KGO, Philadelphia's legendary Roxborough tower farm, the remote Mount Potosi FM site above Las Vegas, and many more!

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Travels with Fred - NY
September 2006

Fred Baumgartner
Director of Broadcast Engineering – MediaFLO USA
Featuring News, Rumors and Views From Usually Reliable and Irrefutable Sources




Last month, I mentioned that in the world of “abuse of technology” that I had heard of a broadcast engineer that put his game Boy up on a really big screen… well here is photographic proof. Nice day for a game.

Below is another perversion. For those of you who know Mark Durenberger, he has a thing for really long Beverage antennas. This was just over the Utah state line from Grand Junction, and was there for several years… rent free… so I suppose we can talk about it now that it’s gone… During the day, this Beverage antenna could pick up WCCO Minneapolis just fine, and when reversed, would pick up the co channel in Las Vegas. Pretty impressive stuff. Blow it up, and I was on the far end making repairs on a bike.

The stack of radios he used to monitor several frequencies at once and record the IDs. The DX audio service received many of Mark’s “band scans” over the years. Of course HD radio will make this a non-starter hobby in a while. This is kind of too bad as I have set up my place in Elizabeth for two steerable wave antennas, to be built one of these days. 4000 feet of trenches are filled with the needed coax, I just need to string the wire and build the phasor… but that is another story.


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WIKIMAPIA

By Neal McLain

Have you discovered Wikimapia yet?

Wikimapia combines satellite images from Google with a database of Wikipedia-like "places" created by volunteers. It looks like a cross between Google Maps and Wikipedia, but it’s actually run by a couple of guys based in Russia. Although Wikimapia has only existed for a few weeks, it already contains an enormous number of places scattered all over the planet. As I write this (October 2, 2006) there are over 1.6 million places.

To see how Wikimapia works, go to http://www.wikimapia.org/ and look for a little white box in southeast Wisconsin. Click on it, and it’ll take you a satellite image of Milwaukee, where you’ll see more white boxes. Each of these boxes highlights a "place" that some volunteer has created and described. You can zoom in for a closer view using the slider on the left side of the screen. Click on any white box to read the description.

From Milwaukee, you can navigate west to Dane County by dragging the image with your mouse. Once you get to Dane County, you’ll find more places, all created by volunteers. Click on the School of Veterinary Medicine (http://tinyurl.com/s2jrf) and you can read the comments my daughter Laura (Class of 1997) posted. You can add your own comments to any description by selecting "Menu," then "Edit this page."

You can also create a new place: find the place you want, center it on your computer screen, click "Wikimapia," then "Add new place." A white box will appear in the center of your screen; grab the corners to place it properly, then save it. The new place will appear as an "upcoming" place, which means Wikimapia won’t accept it as final until at least two other volunteers ("Wikimapians") have voted to approve it. (See Figure 1)

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AMATEUR RADIO NEWS

By Tom Weeden, WJ9H
From Chapter 24

• The American Radio Relay League’s Executive Committee was expected to ratify plans to appeal in federal court certain aspects of the FCC’s Part 15 rules governing broadband over power line (BPL) systems. Assuming the committee signs off on the strategy, the League will file a Notice of Appeal with the US District Court of Appeals, DC Circuit. ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, said the League went forward with its appeal plans only after considering the effect on licensed spectrum users of letting the BPL rules stand.

Several reconsideration petitions of the initial R&O –including one from ARRL – called on the FCC to strengthen rules aimed at protecting licensed radio systems from BPL interference. Instead, in a new rule only revealed after the FCC made the MO&O public, the FCC limited the extent to which an unlicensed, unintentional radiator has to protect a licensed mobile station.

The new rule, §15.611(c)(1)(iii), provides that BPL operators only have to reduce emission levels below established FCC permissible limits by 20 dB below 30 MHz and by 10 dB above 30 MHz – even if that’s not enough to resolve harmful interference complaints.

"The FCC has, in effect, tried to redefine harmful interference," Sumner said. "It can’t do that. The Commission doesn’t have the authority to do that, and we’re going to demonstrate that to the Court of Appeals."

He said the principles that the FCC appears to be following for the first time – if applied generally – represent an abuse of licensees’ rights. "It’s unacceptable that the FCC would reduce the rights of its licensees in favor of unlicensed, unintentional emitters," he said. "Remember that ‘unintentional emission’ is just another term for ‘spectrum pollution.’"

• A section of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) 2007 Appropriations Act, HR 5441, formally includes Amateur Radio operators as a part of the emergency communications community. Congress approved the measure before adjourning for its pre-election break. President George W. Bush signed the bill into law October 4.

In addition to Amateur Radio operators, RECC Working Groups also will coordinate with communications equipment manufacturers and vendors – including broadband data service providers, local exchange carriers, local broadcast media, wireless carriers, satellite communications services, cable operators, hospitals, public utility services, emergency evacuation transit services, ambulance services, and representatives from other private sector entities and nongovernmental organizations.

The RECC Working Groups will assess the survivability, sustainability and interoperability of local emergency communication systems to meet the goals of the National Emergency Communications Report. That report would recommend how the US could "accelerate the deployment of interoperable emergency communications nationwide." They also will coordinate the establishment of "effective multi-jurisdictional, multi-agency emergency communications networks" that could be brought into play in an emergency or disaster.

(Excerpts from the American Radio Relay League’s <arrl.org> web site)

SBE CHAPTER OF THE AIR:
HamNet meets the second Sunday of each month at 0000 GMT on 14.205 MHz. Hal Hostetler, WA7BGX is the Control Station.

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PDX RADIO WAVES

by Michael D. Brown N7AXC CSRE
Brown Broadcast Services, Inc., Portland
mike@brownbroadcast.com
Thanks to Chpater 124

It's been a long absence from these pages. Much of this Summer and Fall has found us out of town on "assignment" or out of the country on "holiday"- in Scotland, England, Ireland, and France. A few random observations from these wanderings:

1. For analog FM radio, 50 ?s pre-emphasis really does make a difference in high frequency clarity. Our 75 ?s pre-emphasis standard on this side of the Atlantic, combined with today's brighter recordings, really wreaks havoc on the highs. It's also the first thing that's apparent when A/B'ing between analog and HD. Like with NTSC vs. PAL, Americans paid the cost for being early - we've been saddled with the inferior standards vs. our European brethren all these years.

2. Europeans are almost on a different planet when it comes to the so-called "obscenity" debate. With a small disclaimer, for example, prime-time broadcast TV programs can contain repeated and gratuitous F-words. Topless scenes have been on British broadcast TV for many years. The SuperBowl "wardrobe malfunction" brouhaha raised nary a ripple for our friends to the east.

3. FM translator or satellite stations are generally grouped around the same range of frequencies. You can usually drive around Britain, for example, and just hit the scan button a notch up or down, and hear the same program. Gee - how logical!

4. Both the even and odd FM frequencies are used.
Stateside, we've been putting most of our attention on non-comm radio, and the long-awaited FCC filing window that is expected next Spring. We're also working heavily with the Indian Tribes. With so many of the reservation lands far away from population centers, and with the religious satcasters having limited interest in the reservations, we're finding plenty of NCE (non-commercial educational) FM channels in many of these areas. Overall, with 7+ years of the pent-up demand, this filing window could be a repeat of the 2003 "Great Translator Invasion". Meanwhile, the Commission is expected to FINALLY issue their first batch of "old" FM NCE MX (mutually exclusive) decisions, shortly. Many of these applicants have been waiting over 10 years!
Speaking of translators, the persistent (yet unconfirmed) rumor is that the Commission will dismiss all of the MX applications and start over, but that nothing will happen soon. Hopefully, some strong anti-trafficking restrictions will precede the next such filing window.

With non-comm radio remaining very strong, particularly in markets such as Portland, Seattle, and Boston, Arbitron has announced that non-comm stations will be eligible for reporting in the Book, as of this fall's rating period which just got underway.

The upcoming Commercial FM Auction has no Washington stations, and only one in Oregon. Want a new shiny-new Class-A licensed to the bustling metropolis of Diamond Lake, OR? Bidding starts at just $1500.

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Humor

Short and Funny

I dialed a number and got the following recording:
" I am not available right now, but thank you for caring enough to call. I am making some changes in my life. Please leave a message after the beep. If I do not return your call, you are one of the changes"

At pilot's training back in the Air Corps they taught us,
" Always try to keep the number of landings you make equal to the number of take offs you make."

Aspire to inspire before you expire.

My wife and I had words, but I didn't get to use mine.

As my five year old son and I were headed to McDonald's one day, we passed a car accident. Usually when we see something terrible like that, we say a prayer for those who might be hurt, so I pointed and said to my son, " We should pray."
From the back seat I heard his earnest request:
" Please, God, don't let those cars block the entrance to McDonald's."

The irony of life is that, by the time you're old enough to know your way around, you're not going anywhere.
I was always taught to respect my elders, but it keeps getting harder to find one.

Bear repeating…

I live in a semi-rural area. We recently had a new neighbor call the local township administrative office to request the removal of the Deer Crossing sign on our road. The reason: “ Too many deer are being hit by cars out here! I don't think this is a good place for them to be crossing anymore."

My daughter went to a local Taco Bell and ordered a taco. Sheasked the person behind the counter for "minimal lettuce." He said he was sorry, but they had only iceberg.

I was at the airport, checking in at the gate when an airport employee asked, “Has anyone put anything in your baggage without your knowledge?” To which I replied, "If it was without my knowledge, how would I know?" She smiled knowingly and nodded, "That's why we ask."

The stoplight on the corner buzzes when its safe to cross the street. I was crossing with an intellectually challenged coworker of mine. She asked if I knew what the buzzer was for. I explained that it signals blind people when the light is red. She responded, "What on earth are blind people doing driving?!"

I work with an individual who plugged her power strip back into itself and for the sake of her own life, couldn't understand why her system would not turn on.

 

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Etc.

Newsletter Committee

Bill Harris
  (505) 767-6735
   billharris@ix.netcom.com

Garneth M. Harris

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