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A monthly newsletter by Society of Broadcast Engineers Chapter 48

November 1998


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Contents

Welcome Our Newest Sustaining Member
The October Meeting
Chapter 48's Next Meeting
1998/1999 SBE / SMPTE / SCTE Meeting Schedule
Engineering: 'Whatmoredayawant?'
SBE Election Results
Expanded Certification Exam Periods Offer More Choices
New Feature on the Chapter 48 Web Site
First New Youth Members Come On Board
Student Nights Key Part Of Youth Program
Just a word to the wise...
City of License Rules Changed
Filter Snips out Obscenity
Chairman's Message
Thoughts About Frequency Use
End of Code
Didja know that....
Murphy's Corner
Etc.

Welcome Our Newest Sustaining Member

In this issue, we welcome our newest sustaining member, Burst Communications, representing "The Evolution of Video Technology". Give them a call at (303) 649-9600 or on the Web at: www.burstvideo.com.

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The October Meeting

Once again members of Chapter 48 met at TCI's National Digital Television Center in Littleton. While there was no formal presentation scheduled for this month, the informal discussions covered a wide range of broadcast-related topics.

Dennis Roundtree from Industrial Power Systems commented on the growing demand for backup power solutions. Some of this increased demand is due to television stations adding ATV transmitters. Also, as we saw during this past summer's "rolling blackouts", there is an advantage to being having a source of backup power.

Other topics of discussion included the future of A-Sky-B, the advantages of component video over composite NTSC and satellite distribution facility design.

Finally, attendees turned their attention to the future of SBE Chapter 48 and the Rocky Mountain SMPTE Chapter. In the past several months, meeting attendance has been waning, and the group is looking at solutions for what to do with the monthly meetings. It has been suggested that meetings be held quarterly, since the busy schedules of the local participants don't always include time to attend a meeting each month. Also, as the term "broadcast engineer" is becoming a broad term, it's difficult to find topics that interest everyone in the chapter. After a lengthy discussion, members of the group agreed to continue to hold monthly luncheons, with technical programs to be offered quarterly. The monthly luncheons will provide a good way for chapter members to stay in touch and to chat about anything that seems relevant to the day. Watch future editions of this newsletter for more details.

Join us on THURSDAY, November 19 when Al Jason, formerly of Jampro Antennas, now with CMBE, talks antennas.

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Chapter 48's Next Meeting...

... will be held THURSDAY November 19, 1998 at TCI's National Digital Television located at 4100 E. Dry Creek Road in Littleton. Lunch will begin at noon in the digital diner. This months program will feature Real Coverage Mapping presented by Al Jason, sales manager for Jampro Antennas. (www.cmbe.com). Ah, a good old terrestrial RF topic.
Also scheduled are the annual elections for Chapter 48 officers.

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Artname

Author

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1998/1999 SBE / SMPTE Meeting Schedule

(THURSDAY!!) 19 November - SBE Elections and Real Coverage Mapping presented by Al Jason, sales manager for Jampro Antennas (www.cmbe.com). Ah, a good old terrestrial RF topic.

16 December - No Meeting - Have a great Holiday season!

1999 Schedule

20 January - Dennis Roundtree of Industrial Power Systems will cover back-up power systems. Location TBA

(Tentative) February VAC (Video Accessories Corporation) new facility in Louisville tour. Time TBA.

14 July, World Famous Annual Picnic on Lookout Mountain.

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Engineering: 'Whatmoredayawant?'

by Jeff Johnson, X-Star Radio Network, Cincinnati

What is a broadcast engineer? Should we be licensed? Can we have had other professions during our lives?

I have a degree in Industrial Design from the University of Cincinnati School of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, which is still the second-best design school after Parsons. I am three years older than the transistor and 10 years older than rock 'n' roll. I have built a hundred Heathkits and a great many goodies from scratch.

So can I be a broadcast engineer? License no longer required. Jim Wagner told me a few years ago that the only thing that matters is if you can fix everything. And that is the crux. A love and talent for this work is the thing.

Why be licensed? By whom? The owner of the station license has the most to lose, so it should be up to that owner to determine whom to trust with his assets. We cannot affect public safety that much. Towers still need structural engineers. Shock hazards are only to us, beyond basic electrical code considerations. The responsibilities of compliance mostly are clerical in nature. I should know, being the designated chief operator of our eight stations.

Importance in the organization? At our station and network, our department has executive committee rank. Our chief engineer, Jay Crawford, sits on the four- person high pow-wow. Dr. Jim King, director of radio for Xavier University, has been able to build our network due to his first-rate leadership abilities and Jay's "world-class" talent a chief engineer. Jay literally built everything, with Doc, and holds the highest esteem in the organization. I was invited to join the team in part on the strength of my EAS work as former chair of the local area in which two of our stations are located. Jay does the bulk of the work at the network stations, and I do a good deal of the logs, record keeping, network technical communication, and studio equipment maintenance (DATS cause blindness). I am also the person insured to climb the towers, and am the oldest guy around the place.

Money? Sure computer network skills would pay better, but how boring.

Job security? Job pleasure? Who knows how to fix everything anymore? I've replaced the compressor in the pop machine, oiled squeaky air chair casters, hung on various towers for the view, prayed on my knees in front of the FieldFone for line quality to hold up long enough to get through another hockey broadcast, (FieldFone's line quality gauge is a great feature), left banners behind at a remote, am on call day and night, have at-will access to NPR/PRI brain food, and talk cats with our administrator, Vickie. After a long day and night fighting Zeus and Thor (the FM-40K system I stroked in the past), driving 125 miles home listening to your handiwork ain't bad. Whatmoredayawant?

I'd say we can call ourselves "engineers" because we are better at more things than any profession I can think of. And we love doing it.

The author is network engineer for the X-Star Radio Network, owned by Xavier University in Cincinnati; its flagship station is WVXU(FM).

This article first appeared as part of a discussion in the "Broadcast" mailing list on Broadcast.net. We reprint it with permission. Reach the author via e-mail at jjohnson@goodnews.net

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SBE Election Results

On September 17, eight members of Chapter 25 in Indianapolis volunteered, as they have for 20 years, to tabulate the ballots received for the election of National Officers and members of the Board. 1,056 ballots were received this year by the deadline. Those elected will be inducted during the Annual Membership meeting on Wednesday, October 28 in Bellevue, Washington. Their terms will begin at that time. The election results were as follows:

Officers - One Year Terms
President - Edward J. Miller, CPBE, Cleveland, OH
Vice President - Troy D. Pennington, CSRE, Birmingham, AL
Secretary - Thomas P. Weber, CPBE, Indianapolis, IN
Treasurer - James A. (Andy) Butler, CPBE, Alexandria, VA

Board Members (six out of a total of 12 seats contested) - Two Year Terms
Raymond C. Benedict, CPBE, Washington, D.C.
Sam E. Garfield, CPBE, Raleigh, NC
Albert Grossniklaus, CPBE, Indianapolis, IN
Robert P. Hess, CPBE, Boston, MA
Jeffrey Keith, CPBE, Cleveland, OH
Jerry C. Whitaker, CPBE, Morgan Hill, CA

Jeffrey Keith was appointed by the Executive Committee to fill the term of Mark Krieger. Krieger was elected but resigned for personal reasons.

Richard L. Edwards, CPBE, Coral Springs, FL
Dane E. Ericksen, P.E., CSRTE, San Francisco, CA
Ralph R. Hogan, CPBE, Pullman, WA
Keith M. Kintner, CPBE, Los Angeles, CA
Christopher H. Scherer, CSRE, Overland Park, KS
Larry J. Wilkins, CPBE, Montgomery, AL
Terrence M. Baun, CPBE, Milwaukee, WI continues on the Board as Immediate Past President

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Expanded Certification Exam Periods Offer More Choices

SBE Certification Chairman, Terry Baun, CPBE, has announced that opportunities to take SBE Certification Exams will double in 1999. There will be four 10- day periods, instead of the usual two periods, when exams can be offered in local chapters. This will provide more flexibility and convenience to members wishing to become certified. Exams can also be taken during the NAB Convention in Las Vegas. For more information about SBE Certification, see your Chapter Certification Chair (Fred Baumgartner) or contact Linda Godby- Emerick, Certification Director at the SBE National Office at (317) 253-1640 or to: lgodby@sbe.org.

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New Feature on the Chapter 48 Web Site

We frequently come across articles of interest to our readership that we simply can't fit into the newsletter. The only way we could share those items was to print them and distribute them at the meetings. Now, however, you can read them and print them from the Chapter 48 web site. Look for our first entry about airing telephone calls. You may be surprised at how much of the "old rules" still apply!

Check it out at www.broadcast.net/~sbe48

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First New Youth Members Come On Board

SBE's new program targeting high school age students has officially begun with four students joining thus far. Coincidentally, the first Youth Member is a young man from Carmel Indiana, just a few miles from the SBE National Office. Also joining were students from Orlando, Florida and Muncie, Indiana and a the first female Youth Member, from Cordova, Tennessee. More high school students are expected to join as they become aware of the program through teachers, local SBE members and news articles. If you know of a high school student who has an interest in the technical side of broadcasting, let them know about SBE's new Youth Membership category. Contact our office with names and addresses and we'll be happy to mail information to your prospects.

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Student Nights Key Part Of Youth Program

Some chapters have already started making plans to hold a "Student Night" Chapter Meeting later this fall or early in 1999. The SBE National Headquarters has a free special packet available to help chapters plan this special meeting. Just call us at (317) 253-1640 or e-mail Scott at kjones@sbe.org we'll mail one to you. Be sure to let our office know when you plan to hold your special meeting and, after it is over, drop us a line to tell us how it went.

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Just a word to the wise...

John Makley, WXXL-FM Orlando FL

AOL now has issued their latest version 4.0 on CD rom. People will start seeing a copy in their mailbox soon. They may already have a copy. Well, here's my story about installing this ver:

Our business manager frantically called me on Friday saying he had a serious computer problem. Apparently he was given a CD rom of AOL's latest ver. After the he installed it, it prompted him to reboot the computer. On the reboot, all sorts of error messages were suddenly popping up. I came in to his office and he had a full sheet of error messages he had written down.

Included on the CD is a copy of Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0, full install. AOL itself uses a scaled down ver of MSIE 3.02 for its browser but MSIE 4.0 is its own program. Somehow on the install process he selected to install AOL AND MSIE and MSIE started to auto-install other items into his system and was crashing big time.

I was able to uninstall the program from his computer before it did any real damage, but the uninstall process also corrupted his AOL 4.0 install as well as his AOL 3.0 ver. I ended up reinstalling AOL 3.0 for him and his box now appears to be no worse for the wear. (Whew! Dodged the big one)

My point is that this CD represents an "Upgrade" to an existing program that many people have become familiar and comfortable with using. Many people will not think twice about installing something they believe is just a simple mouse click on "OK" to get it to work. Who would suspect that a disk from AOL would cause them problems? Why would they even consult engineering or their IS person for such a "trivial" thing as upgrading thier existing AOL program? It's so harmless...

just an FYI.

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City of License Rules Changed

The FCC has changed its rules allowing stations to keep their public file at the main studio wherever it is located instead of in the city of license. The main studio can be within 25 miles of the official geographic location of the city of license or within the principal contour of any station, AM, FM, or TV, licensed to the community. The licensee is now required to mail public file documents at the station's expense if requested but may charge a reasonable copying fee. The FCC has just announced that it will require public file type requests and correspondance received by E-mail must also be kept in the public file.

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Filter Snips out Obscenity

SBE Chapter 3

Here's a new one! Principle Solutions, a Rogers, Arkansas based company is offering a $200 set top box said to filter out 95% of preprogrammed objectionable words from TV or VTR programming having captioning integrated with it. The captioning data leads audio associated with the program slightly, allowing a comparison with a preprogrammed library of words, which can include racial, sexual, or derogatory words or profanity, then a muting of program audio and deletion of the offending words from captioning. In the closed caption mode, an option allows some indication that words have been deleted. One test of the device showed elimination of 66 of 67 instances of profanity in the movie Men in Black. The box can be programmed for three levels of censoring, allowing soft profanity such as "sucks" or "butt-head" to pass, if desired. It also examines context of certain words such as "Jesus" or "God" to determine if they are used as expletives, allowing their use in shows with a religious theme. Check it out at www.tvguardian.com

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Chairman's Message

Ed Bukont, SBE Chapter 37, Washington DC

For technical support professionals, which is essentially the role of today's broadcast engineer, more important than "getting on the web" is what you can get off the web. For almost any topic, access to timely information is easier, faster and more productive via the Internet than using phone, fax or periodical references. In many cases, you can insert a firm or product name between the "www" and the ".com" to find a desired site. If you maintain technical systems, evaluate products, need training & reference materials, or have to contact vendors in another time zone, get yourself a basic Internet Service Provider (ISP). You don't need an expensive, memory intensive front end program like AOL to access the Internet. Free services abound on the Internet, including email, reference materials, links and rings that provide easy access to information. Recently, I needed to contact a firm with which I had not worked in some time. I had neither their phone number nor their address, just the name of the firm. Rather than calling 411, which is useless unless you know the business' exact listed name and address, I stuck the name of the firm into my browser. Viola! I had their address, their phone numbers, their email addresses and more, at considerably less of a chore than perhaps spelling "White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington DC" to 411.

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Thoughts About Frequency Use

SBE Chapter 67

I read in Radio World a large number of letters from irate readers replying to a letter by a Mr. Fisher. He had said that amateur radio operators were occupying frequency space that could be used to better advantage by other services. Mr. Fisher apparently did not take into account the many services that ham radio provides to the general public. I can forgive his ignorance of ham activities but not his effort to raid amateur frequencies. To protect broadcasters against the constant efforts, by others to take over FCC assigned frequencies requires constant vigilance. The SBE is, through the Board of Directors and with the support of engineers, constantly monitoring the efforts by non-broadcasters to take over frequencies assigned to broadcasters. When an effort to encroach is discovered, the SBE through its general counsel presents to the FCC reasons that the encroachment should not be allowed.

This is one of the poorly understood services the SBE provides to our industry. It seems to me that the NAB and other management organizations in broadcasting are more interested in programming and bottom line than how engineering gets the tools (frequencies) to do the job. It is the engineer in our industry that is leading the efforts to protect broadcasting from raids on our space. IF NOT US.... WHO?

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End of Code

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has set March 1, 1999 as the day when morse code will no longer be used by ships at sea. That date is just 22 days short of 155 years since Sam Morse sent the first message, "What hath God wrought?"

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Didja know that....

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Murphy's Corner
The Computer Law: All computers cost $2,000:

Chapter 36, San Diego

A $1,000 computer will need $500 of hardware upgrades and $500 of labor. A $1,500 computer will need $250 of hardware upgrades and $250 of supporting labor. A $2,000 computer needs no added hardware or support.

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Society of Broadcast Engineers
Chapter 48

2950 South Birch Street
Denver, Colorado 80222


SBE Officers

Chairman
Andre' Smith (303) 556-3549
asmith@carbon.cudenver.edu

Vice-Chairman
Fred Baumgartner (303) 486-3946
Baumgartner.Fred.M@tci.com

Secretary/Treasurer
Bill Harris (303) 756-4843
BHarris4@IX.netcom.com

Certification Chairman
Fred Baumgartner (303) 486-3946
Baumgartner.Fred.M@tci.com


SMPTE Officers

Chair
Fred Baumgartner (303) 486-3946
Baumgartner.Fred.M@tci.com

Secretary/Treasurer
Rick Craddock (719) 634-2844

Managers
Myron Olinger
Dick Phannenstiel
George Sollenberger

SMPTE Govenor (National Liason)
Rome Chelsi


Newsletter Committee

Bill Harris.......(303)756-4843 email: BHarris4@IX.netcom.com
Garneth M. Harris..(303)756-4843
Andre' Smith.......(303) 556-3549 email: asmith@carbon.cudenver.edu

Views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the official positions of the 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.