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A monthly newsletter by Society of Broadcast Engineers Chapter 48

November 1997

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The October 1997 Meeting
Schedule of Upcoming Meetings and Events
Forfeitures Are Back!
Free Training for the Broadcast Industry
Acrodyne Introduces Single Amp Solution to Dual Adjacent Channel Broadcasters
Tech Tip: It Can't Be this Board, But It Is...
EAS Committee Files Rules Change Petition
FCC Rulemakings
Amateur Radio News
National BBS Goes Dark
SBE/SMPTE Job Postings
Peck Relocated to Denver
Jolly Roger Flies Above Milwaukee!

The October 1997 Meeting

Our early fall gathering was on Wednesday, October 15 at TCI's National Digital Television Center. Lunch was served in the cafeteria, folks did a bit of "catch up", and then we headed for The Green Room for our meeting and program.

Once settled in, SBE chair Andre' Smith called the meeting to order. Bill Harris reported that the SBE treasury is in good shape and expressed our gratitude to our chapter sustaining members. Bill asked the committee if we should make a special mailing to regional engineers about the November technology seminars. After some discussion, it was agreed that we would.

Andre' then introduced Jeff Hirota, who is executive director of the non- profit Five Points Media Center. Jeff joined us to talk about the training programs available through the Center in both radio and television/video operations for women, people of color or the economically disadvantaged. His objectives were two-fold, to solicit support from our group in providing internships for the people in training, and to inform us of the availability of graduates from these programs. If you have a few hours that you can contribute in your workplace and/or "after work" to spend with these highly motivated people, please contact Jeff at (303) 295-1357 for more information.

Andre' then called for nominations for SBE officers for the coming year. Andre' was nominated to continue as chairman and Bill Harris as secretary/treasurer. Eric Schultz will be unable to serve again as vice-chair as he'll be a bit busy serving as a new daddy in a few months. It was suggested that a small committee may work well as "program chairman", and that will be considered in lieu of a vice-chair position. Anyone interested in helping out? Elections will be held next month at the November meeting.

Dave Geon from Belden came well prepared to talk digital over wire and cable. His presentation started out with a look at how to make digital work in our facilities. He started with a discussion of what makes good (and not so good) digital transmission cable. Believe it or not, you can squeeze fairly high speed digital signals through standard cables, if you don't want to go very far with it!

After we looked at the challenges of digital transmission in general, Dave showed us some new approaches to moving high bandwidth signals over, of all things, twisted pair cable! Granted, this is a pretty novel approach they're taking, but it really can handle video and high speed digital over surprising distances for being a non-coaxial cable. Dave can tell you all about it if you give him a call at (303) 744-2242.

Don't forget our 2nd annual technology seminar on Wednesday, November 12 at the National Digital Television Center. It's a great deal, even for non- members it's only ten bucks, and lunch is free!

Complete details in this letter

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Upcoming SBE Chapter 48 and SMPTE Meetings

WEDNESDAY - December 17th Robert Chichester, Contract Surveyors, LTD. GPS Surveying 12:00 noon, TCI NDTC

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After years of issuing fines on a case-by-case basis, the FCC in 1991 adopted a forfeiture policy to be used as a basis for determining fines. But in 1994 the US Appeals Court vacated that policy, and the Commission returned to the case- by-case basis.

In 1995 the Commission issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking to reinstate the former policy. As a result of the comments and reply comments generated by that NPRM, the FCC adopted its new forfeiture policy as of June 19, 1997.

Here are some of the amounts applicable to broadcast operators:

Construction/Operation without authorization: $10,000;
Tower Marking (Painting, Lighting) Violations: $10,000;
Public File Violations: $10,000;
EAS Equipment not installed or operational: $8,000;
Failure to permit inspection: $7,000;
Exceeding power limits: $4,000;
Using unauthorized frequency: $4,000;
Transmitter control/metering violations $3,000;
Failure to make required measurements/conduct required monitoring $2,000;
Failure to file required forms $3,000;
Failure to provide station ID $1,000;
Failure to maintain required records $1,000;
Failure to maintain directional pattern within parameters $7,000;
AM tower fencing violations $7,000.

In addition to the prescribed fines, they can be adjusted upward or downward depending upon other criteria, such as intentional violation, substantial harm, good faith or voluntary disclosure, or inability to pay.

(From Wireless Spectrum Resources, Inc. Info Update, 8/97 and SBE Chapter 28 September "Broadcast Newsletter")

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FREE TRAINING For the Broadcast Industry

Applicants must have an interest in electronics and technical skills and a motivation and desire for a career in media. Women, people of color or the economically disadvantaged are strongly encouraged to apply.

This internship in Radio Baord Operations requires 180 hours of commitment - roughly 85% hands-on and 15% text-based. Students admitted will be assigned to a radio station where they will receive training under the supervision of professional radio engineers.

Call the Five Points Media Center in Denver at (303) 295-1357 for an application.

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Acrodyne Introduces Single Amp Solution to Dual Adjacent Channel Broadcasters

Acrodyne Industries has introduced ACT (Adjacent Channel Technology), a transmitter capable of passing adjacent digital and analog channels through a single high power amplifier. This means that one tranmitter will take care of today's NTSC/DTV needs and television broadcaster's higher power digital plans tomorrow.

Acrodyne transmitters take advantage of theDiacrode and advanced tetrode's ability to be tuned to greater than 12MHz, the bandwidth needed for two channels. ACT is especially good news for adjacent channel broadcasters facing zoning and signla interferrence issues. Approximately 320 broadcasters can benefit from ACT as their DTV assignments are adjacent to the present allocation, i.e. channels 40 and 41 or 17 and 18.

You can find out more about ACT or any of Acrodyne's products from Russ Erickson at (970) 535-0208 or by e-mail at Russ.Erickson@Acrodyne.Com. Russ has rejoined the ranks of Chapter 48 Sustaining Members, and we welcome him back! Watch for his ad each month in the newsletter.

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Tech Tip: It Can't Be This Board, But It Is...

Dan Maney - Chapter 24

The following problem with differential outputs (such as RS-422) has repeated itself, so I thought I would share the experience with other techs.

In the first case, an open connection on one of two complimentary outputs of a differential line driver worked fine into PVW series Betacam VTR's but never controlled the BVW series. In the second case, an A-42 still store's computer board worked fine in a known good system, but never worked in the perfectly good system it came from. Again it was a half dead (half alive?) differential line driver chip. Here's what's happening. The RECEIVERS simply compare both complimentary levels and report which is more positive. Receivers like at least 200mv differential voltage in order to report the signal reliably.

If the dead half rests at nearly the same voltage as the plus or minus excursion of the good half, it just might work perfectly. Another perfectly good receiver might never work with this bad output. To complicate troubleshooting, the termination resistor across the receiver inputs causes the good signal to appear back at the dead output. If you aren't watching polarity (dual trace scope?) this can trick you (me).

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EAS Committee Files Rules Change Petition

Leonard Charles, EAS Committee Chairman

The SBE EAS Committee has filed a formal Petition with the FCC for EAS Rules changes and additions. This filing follows an information gathering process from the SBE membership at large which began back in January of this year when the system officially went on line. The Committee used problem case scenarios submitted by Chapters and members across the country to write rules revision suggestions designed to make the EAS system work more reliably and consistently for all.

The submitted petition is published on the SBE Home Page at under the EAS Committee banner. The Committee asks members to review the suggested changes. Then, when the FCC releases the petition for comment, SBE members and Chapters are urged to file comments in support or in addition to those submitted by the Committee. The Committee feels that the greater the number of comments filed, the better the chance at improving system performance and use.

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FCC Rulemakings

Compiled by Tom Smith - Chapter 24


FCC 97-218 Forfeiture Proceedings

The FCC has Amended the rules concerning forfeitures for violations of FCC rules. The FCC made many of the fine amounts equal for violations that are similar between services such as tower lights. The maximum fine levels were also increased by 10%. The FCC will still adjust fine levels from the base rates according to the ability to pay and circumstances of the violation. Some of the base fines are listed in the notice.

These rules were to become effective on October 15, 1997.

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Amateur Radio News

Tom Weeden, WJ9H - Chapter 24

Scanner enthusiasts and receiver equipment manufacturers are concerned about a bill introduced in Congress, the Wireless Privacy Enhancement Act of 1997. HR 2369, if passed, would amend the Communications Act of 1934 to ban the sale of scanning receivers capable of receiving transmissions on frequencies allocated to the Commercial Mobile Radio Service (CMRS). CMRS is an umbrella designation of subscriber-based radio services that act like telephone services. The bill appears to also affect amateur radio transceivers that can receive signals outside of the ham bands. An incident in which House Speaker Newt Gingrich's cellular telephone conversation was illegally intercepted, taped and published prompted calls in Congress for stronger anti-eavesdropping legislation.

(Excerpts from September 1997 "Badger State Smoke Signals" and "The ARRL Letter")

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National BBS Goes "Dark"

The SBE National BBS ended service this past July, after the computer which houses the system went down. Because the BBS has received little use in the last year, it was determined that replacing the computer in order to continue BBS service would not be cost-effective. The SBE Web Site,, contains a wealth of information about SBE, including the full SBE Job Line text. Members are encouraged to use the Web Page as their 24 hour-a-day source for information about the Society.

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SBE/SMPTE Job Postings

As a service to Rocky Mountain regional SBE/SMPTE members, technical and production oriented job postings are published at no charge.

Please send postings to:

Rome Chelsi
IHS Communications Products
15 Inverness Way East
Englewood, CO 80112-5776
Fax: 303.486.1700

KSL TV & Radio, Salt Lake City, have numerous positions available, call the job line at 801.575.5780

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Peck Relocated To Denver

Steve Peck, with Philips BTS, has relocated to Denver, Colorado. Steve was offered the chance to be District Manager for Philips, a sales position covering the mountain states of Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. Steve's wife, Sue, and daughter, Jamie, are with him in Colorado. His oldest son Brian is a Junior at UW Madison and other son Rob a Freshman at Concordia University in Milwaukee.

Steve moved to Madison in 1979 and worked as an engineer at WHA-TV until 1986. He worked for two different dealers until joining Philips five years ago. During the last year, Steve was in a camera marketing position, which required extensive travel including two trips to Brazil last year.

Steve was a Chapter 24 member and a sustaining member. He will surely be missed. You can reach him via E-mail at: or by phone, 303-471-2155.

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Jolly Roger Flies Above Milwaukee!

Broadcasters say the growing number of pirate stations--unlicensed, unregulated and unrepentant--has been clogging the airwaves, possibly aided by the Internet. Earlier this summer the Milwaukee Area Radio Stations (MARS) Association submitted to the FCC a complaint and request for investigation of seven pirate radio stations in the Milwaukee area.

"Broadcasters are outraged that they have to file under all these rules and regulations and pay fees while pirate radio stations pay nothing," says Jeff Baumann, NAB's executive vice president and general counsel. "It's more of an argument about parity." Members of the NAB executive committee have discussed the impact of pirate radio at their monthly meetings.

Radio pirates thumb their nose at any fairness arguments made by commercial broadcasters. Their argument is that the FCC is in cahoots with the NAB and that both are conspiring to keep commercial broadcasters fat and happy.

"Basically the airwaves belong to the rich," says Luke Hiken, attorney for the National Lawyers Guild's committee for democratic communications, in San Francisco. Hiken says getting a broadcast license costs $50,000-$100,000, not to mention the cost of going on the air.

FCC officials say that the actual number of pirate stations, operating at as low as 10 watts and as high as 1,000 watts, is nearly impossible to determine. Officials also say they are hard at work shutting down these stations, but an Internet search found many radio pirates advertising their existence and describing how to build more stations, even though broadcasting without a license is a violation of the law.

(Paige Albiniak, from Broadcasting & Cable Magazine)

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Society of Broadcast Engineers
Chapter 48

2950 South Birch Street
Denver, Colorado 80222

SBE Officers

Andre' Smith (303) 871-4204

Fred Baumgartner (303) 486-3946

Bill Harris (303) 756-4843

Certification Chairman
Fred Baumgartner (303) 486-3946

SMPTE Officers

Fred Baumgartner (303) 486-3946

Rick Craddock (719) 634-2844

Myron Olinger
Dick Phannenstiel
George Sollenberger

SMPTE Govenor (National Liason)
Rome Chelsi

Newsletter Committee

Bill Harris.......(303)756-4843 email:
Garneth M. Harris..(303)756-4843
Andre' Smith.......(303)871-4204 email:

Views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the official positions of the Society, its officers, or its members. We regret, but are not liable for, any omissions or errors. The Denver SBE & 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 chapters are permitted to use excerpts if attributed to the original authors, sources, and/or the Denver SBE Newsletter.