A monthly newsletter by Society of Broadcast Engineers Chapter 48

November 1999


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Contents

November Open House Features Speakers From Many Fields
Rocky Mountain Film and Video Expo '99 a Success
Upcoming Meetings And Happenings
Job Postings
Another Lesson From The L.A. EAS System
Major Tower Problem In Baltimore
Sbe National Election Results
Clay's Corner
Amateur Radio News
Monthly HAMnet Brings SBE To Remote Areas
Palm briefs licensees on color OS
Fcc Releases Study On Telephone Trends
On Channel Booster
1st and Ten Systems
Digital TV Decoding Continues To Improve
Publications
Switchcraft Acquires Conxall
The End User
PDX Radio Waves
2000 Certification Exam Periods
Fun Stuff
Etc.

November Open House Features Speakers From Many Fields

The Society of Broadcast Engineers, Chapter 48 and The Rocky Mountain Chapter of The Society of Motion Picture and Television Enginers invite you to attend an open house evening. Wednesday, November 10, 1999 at 6:30 pm at the studios of KCNC, News 4, 1044 Lincoln, Denver.

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

On hand will be the following people: Bill Harris, Director of Engineering, AMFM, Inc., Denver; Scott Barella, Chief Engineer, KCNC TV; Doug Houston, KCNC Operations Manager; Rome Chelsi, RIA Corporation and Fred Baumgartner, AT&T Broadband and Internet Services.

Fred Baumgartner, SBE Chapter 48 Certification Chairman, will give a presentation on the SBE Certification program. Established in 1975, the certification progarm has become recognized in the industry as the primary method of verifying the attainment of educational standards. There are currently over 3,300 people holding SBE certification.

For more information, contact Eric Schultz, SBE Chapter 48 Chairman at (303) 486-3694 or Schultz.Eric@TCI.COM .

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Rocky Mountain Film and Video Expo '99 a Success

More than 1700 film and video industry and corporate professionals attended the Rocky Mountain Film & Video Expo '99, which was held on October 6-7, 1999, at the John Q. Hammons Convention Center at the Holiday Inn DIA, near Chambers Road and I-70. James Morgese, President and General Manager for Rocky Mountain PBS, provided the Keynote Presentation, 'Digital Television and the New Audience', where he discussed the future of digital television. At each of the 23 free "Short Takes", or mini-seminars, up to 120 attendees gained the latest in technological information and trends from industry experts and vendors.

Exhibit space at Expo '99, which was sponsored by BURST Communications, Inc., CEAVCO Audio Visual Company, Inc., and Film/Video Equipment Service Co., and produced by ExpoMasters of Englewood, Colorado, was, once again, sold out. More than 130 exhibitors, including JVC Professional Products, Panasonic Broadcast & Digital, Sony and Toshiba showcased thier latest products and technologies, demonstrated new equipment and techniques, and answered attendee's questions one-on-one.

Mark Cramer, show manager, said, "I'm delighted to work on such a dynamic show. It's a credit to the sponsors and the exhibitors that they can bring such a wealth of knowledge and expertise to film and video professionals in the Western region."

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Upcoming Meetings And Happenings

>> November 10, 1999 Certification Night / Open House , Chapter Elections - 6:30PM, KCNC

November 19-22, 1999 141st SMPTE Technical Conference & Exhibit, NY, NY

>> December 15, 1999 Hands-On DTV, Howard McClure, Itelco - 6:00PM at Itelco

>> January 19, 2000 DTV Test Equipment, Chris Noland, Tektronix- 6:30PM, Location TBA

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

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

April 8-13, 2000 NAB Convention, Las Vegas, Nevada

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Job Postings

AMFM, Inc. of Denver is looking for a RADIO CHIEF ENGINEER for its stations in the Denver market. Medium to large market experience as a chief or assistant chief is preferred. High power FM transmitter experience, computer knowledge at the DOS and WIN 9X levels are required. SBE Certification, former First/Second/General class FCC licenses desirable. Please call Bill Harris at (303) 572-7059.

As a service to SBE/SMPTE membership, technology positions in the Rocky Mtn. region are posted at no charge. Please send your posting to:

Rome Chelsi
ROMEC@compuserve.com

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Another Lesson From The L.A. EAS System

A recent RMT was originated on time by the Sheriff's Dept. in this area, but had more than 30 seconds of noise preceding start of audio. There was a shorter but no less noisy period after the audio ended before the EOM went out..... The lesson here at KFWB is that at least one of our operators needs reminding that the posted procedure calls for listening to the entire message before attempting to (air it).....[Sound familiar? - ed.]

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Major Tower Problem In Baltimore

(From the Baltimore Sun) BALTIMORE (AP) -- A construction accident on a television tower in September forced the evacuation of a nursing home and 200 houses and sent several television and radio stations scrambling to find ways to transmit programming. A bolt holding a crane to the top of a 900-foot broadcasting tower snapped while workers installed a digital television converter, according to Baltimore Fire Department Battalion Chief Hector Torres. Safety officials, fearing the crane, antenna or sections of the tower itself could fall, asked residents in a number of homes in the nearby Woodberry neighborhood to evacuate. Torres estimated that a 12-block area, with perhaps 150 households, was affected.

The incident also prompted officials at Alice Manor Nursing Home to begin evacuating residents. As a precaution, WJZ-TV, WBAL-TV and WBAL-AM called for evacuations of their studios. Only six people remained at the WBAL-AM out of a usual 70, said WBAL-AM News Director Mark Miller. The station broadcast for most of the day from the Virginia home of one of its talk show hosts, with reporters calling in by cellular telephone with updates on the tower repair. The situation forced the station to temporarily stop airing advertisements and meant that listeners didn't hear Wednesday's installment of the Rush Limbaugh show. WBAL-TV canceled its noon newscast Wednesday because of the accident and WJZ-TV reporters broadcast their show from the station's parking lot. In the evening, WJZ-TV broadcast from the parking lot of a rival station, WBFF-TV, while WBAL-TV broadcast from a bare-bones studio of Maryland Public Television in Owings Mills. The problem also forced the Maryland Lottery to cancel its daily televised lottery drawings Wednesday afternoon -- the first time since the lottery's inception in 1973 that a drawing was not conducted on live TV. A crew from a Virginia television station videotaped the midday drawings. There were no reports of injuries. The tower is owned by Television Tower, Inc.

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Sbe National Election Results

Officers for the 1999-2000 Term

President: James (Andy) Butler, CPBE
Vice President: Richard L. Edwards, CPBE
Secretary: Barry D. Thomas, CSRE
Treasurer: John A. Batson, CPBE

Board of Directors
Two Year Term 1999-2001

Dane E. Ericksen, P.E., CSRTE*
Clay Freinwald, CPBE
Ralph R. Hogan, CPBE*
Keith Kintner, CPBE*
Christopher Scherer, CSRE*
Thomas P. Weber, CPBE

* Incumbent

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Clay's Corner

By Clay Freinwald
Seattle Chapter 16

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

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

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Amateur Radio News

By Tom Weeden, WJ9H
Chapter 24

The American Radio Relay League has asked the FCC to deny an experimental license application by Los Angeles County, California, to develop a public safety video system on the 2.4 GHz band. The LA County proposal, filed in August, seeks FCC authorization to develop an experimental system using four 10-MHz channels to transmit video images from helicopter-borne cameras to five remote receiving sites with active tracking antennas. LA County already is licensed for video operations on a single 2.4 GHz channel but says it encounters operational conflicts with broadcasters. The proposal targets the 2402-2448 MHz band, characterizing it as "underutilized" and asserting that current occupants—including Amateur Radio and industrial, scientific and medical instrumentation would not suffer harmful interference. Amateurs have a primary domestic allocation at 2402-2417 MHz.

The FCC has relaxed rules governing the use of spread spectrum techniques by radio amateurs. The new rules, effective November 1st, will allow amateur radio stations to transmit additional spread spectrum emission types but require that stations running more than 1 W be required to incorporate automatic transmitter power control. SS emissions will be restricted to a maximum power of 100 W. Stations employing spread spectrum techniques will remain secondary to and must accept all interference from stations employing other authorized modes. The FCC dismissed assertions from manufacturers of Part 15 devices that the proposed changes could "upset the delicate balance" on bands where hams share spectrum with Part 15 users especially in the 915 MHz and 2.4 GHz bands.

The National Weather Service will hold a special event on November 27 to recognize the contributions hams make to the NWS during times of threatening weather. The objective is for amateur radio operators at NWS sites to work as many other amateur stations as possible. Local NWS offices will provide a place to work the event, and hams will set up radio equipment and antennas. The Sullivan Weather Amateur Radio Association will activate the NWS office at Sullivan, WI using their club call sign, WX9MKX. (Excerpts from the American Radio Relay League's "The ARRL Letter" and October 1999 "QST" magazine)

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Monthly HAMnet Brings SBE To Remote Areas

At 8:00 pm EST, 0000 GMT, on the second Sunday of each month, SBE Chapter 73 takes the air. Hal Hostetler, WA7BGX, of Tucson, Arizona, is the control station for the "meeting." Updates on SBE activities are given each month and participants can discuss technical issues and visit. HAMnet was originally begun to help serve members who lived too far to attend meetings of any regular chapter, but any amateur operator is welcome and encouraged to participate. Look for HAMnet on 14.205 mHz.

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Palm briefs licensees on color OS

By John G. Spooner, ZDNet News

Palm Computing is edging closer to supporting color. The Santa Clara, Calif., maker of handheld hardware and software steadfastly maintains that it won't offer a color handheld until the technology is ready. And, although it is clearly taking steps in that direction, caution could be a wise approach for Palm Computing. The prospect of color Palm handhelds is a controversial subject among Palm users. Many would like to have it, if nothing else than for its aesthetic effects. Others, however, are happy with their monochrome Palms and contend that color is unnecessary for the small screen used by Palm handhelds. It will be an additional cost, they say, and represent too much of a compromise in battery life. Despite the debate, Palm has been briefing its Palm operating system licensees -- including Handspring Inc., IBM Corp. and Symbol Technologies Inc. -- and application developers on a forthcoming release of the OS that will include support for color. The forthcoming release will offer a color application programming interface (API), which will allow applications to take advantage of a color screen.

Talk of the color device comes after Motorola Inc., the maker of the Dragonball processor used in Palm handhelds, announced a new Dragonball chip that offers improved color support. The 33MHz chip, called Dragonball VZ, offers chip support for screens with up to 256 colors. That chip will be available in January, according to Motorola.

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Fcc Releases Study On Telephone Trends

Chapter 124

The FCC has published a synopsis of its Trends in Telephone Service report. Among the interesting findings: There are currently three toll free prefixes in use - 800, 888, 877 - with almost 20 million toll free numbers assigned as of the end of August 1999. Two new codes - 866 and 855 - are expected to be placed in service in early 2000. http://www.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/1999/db990921/nrcc9069.txt

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On Channel Booster

Sam Zborowski, ADC Telecommunications

The rollout of DTV service brings new concerns of signal coverage to broadcasters. In many places significant populations of viewers reside in "propagationally challenged" areas that are substantially terrain shielded from primary transmitter locations. These viewers historically are served either by CATV (where economically feasible), by TV translators (where channels are available), or they just tolerate snowy/weak signal pictures. CATV operators are agonizing over the carriage of additional DTV signals in systems that are already at capacity. Many existing analog TV translators are being forced to go dark due to the premature loss of the upper UHF channels simultaneous with the need for spectrum for new DTV primary stations. With the "cliff effect" of the DTV signal, many receive locations which now experience a weak, noisy NTSC signal may find a DTV signal level below the receiver's input threshold, resulting in no picture at all. Where channels are not available for translators, the use of on-channel signal boosters may prove to be helpful in filling specific gaps in coverage. The use of signal boosters in MMDS service at 2.5 GHz is relatively common to solve similar problems. The MMDS case is actually easier to implement than UHF due to the availability of antennas with narrower beam width and better side lobe performance in a modest physical size. A critical parameter of on-channel booster applications is the isolation between receive and transmit antennas.

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1st and Ten Systems

by Nick Cap, Panasonic
nicholas_cap@worldnet.att.net

This past summer I had the opportunity to leave a job that I worked at for 13 years, and join a new start up company that was on the cutting edge of using computers in a new light to enhance the game of Football. Now you ask, what could computers do other than keep up with statistics of the game and produce new and better graphics for the broadcasted signal? Well let me give you a brief overview how eight very powerful computers can change how you look at a football game.

SPORTSVISIONS, 1st and Ten System enables television football fans to see the first down line as easily and clearly as they see the goal line or any 5 or 10 yard line. It does so by painting a virtual first down yard line in video and this line appears to be on the field under foot, just like the actual yard lines. The only visible difference is the first down line is yellow (or any color the producer chooses.) SPORTSVISIONS, 1st and Ten Systems has been issued several patents for the technology it uses that help to render a virtual first down line on anyone of three main play by play cameras. The use of four SGI 02 computers are the main core of the system. Additional computers that are located at each camera, help to gather the needed data from each camera. An additional computer will serialize all the data onto a network stream that the 4 SGI 02s will use to help draw the 1st down line.

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Digital TV Decoding Continues To Improve

From Chapter 3

An article in a recent issue of Electronic Design tells of research by NxtWave Communications of Irvine, CA which appears to have "cracked the code" when it comes to indoor reception of terrestrial delivered 8VSB DTV broadcasts. Designated the NXT2000, the chip's outstanding feature is in the area of blind equalization, mitigating impairments caused by static and dynamic multipath, phase noise, impulse noise, and distortions caused by adjacent and cochannel interference. It boasts quick acquisition time in capturing the digital signal. Tests to date indicate that the chip is fully capable of providing DTV receivers with the ability to quickly acquire and lock on to cable or terrestrial broadcasts in either indoor or mobile (including laptop PC) situations, and it can do so without fear of signal loss due to such everyday occurrences as passing cars, airplanes, or people. The timing for this improvement couldn't be better. As fast as the roll out of DTV is occurring, loss of indoor reception in major metro markets could quash acceptance of an expensive product and has indeed caused some to ask for reconsideration of the COFDM system.

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Publications

by Joe Risse

The Digital Signal Processing Handbook, by VIJAY K Madisetti and Douglas B Williams, published by CRC Press 2000 Corporate Blvd, Boca Raton, FL 33431 telephone 800 272 7737 or web: www.Crcpress.com priced at $129.95. This is a complete guide to the field of digital signal processing; it outlines both introductory and specialized aspect of information-bearing signals in digital form. It also explores the use of computers and special-purpose digital hardware in extracting information or transforming signals advantageously. Subjects covered include telecommunications engineering, acoustics, seismic data analysis, DSP software and hardware, image and video processing remote sensing, multimedia applications medical technology, and radar and sonar applications. Also discussed are the current and future directions of DSP applications.

Home Satellite TV Installation and Troubleshooting Manual, 5th Edition. By Frank Baylin with Brent Gale and Ron Long, published by Baylin Publications, 1905 Mariposa Blvd., Boulder, CO 80302 telephone 800-483-2423 web: www.baylin.com . Price is $30.00 plus S and H. Written in layman's language, this 326-page manual is an important working tool designed to make it easy to understand selecting, installing, and maintaining large-dish satellite systems Rewritten or reorganized, with over 300 up-to- date illustrations photographs and table, and includes background theory and details on how satellites and TVROs operate as well as methods to select and judge satellite TV components.

Bigelow's Computer Repair Toolkit, by Stephen T Bigelow, published by McGraw- Hill, 11 West 19th St., New York, NY 10011 telephone 800 - 2MCGRAW. Price $39.95. This book brings together over 100 shareware and public domain diagnostics and utilities on a singe disk: the DSL Diagnostic CD (included with the book) The book and CD give the technician a Swiss army knife of tools to aid in troubleshooting or upgrading computers. The nine chapters tell where, when, and how to use these diagnostic programs.

Introduction to DTV RF, by Douglas W Garlinger, CPBE. This is a practical guide intended to assist the broadcast engineer in understanding the technical issues faced by all television stations in the transition to DTV. It focuses on the 8-VSB-transmission system selected by the FCC. It provides an overview of 188-byte MPEG-2 digital transport system used to carry the compressed video, audio, and data bit-streams to the transmitter. The Dolby AC-3 system capable of 5.1 audio channels per bitstream is covered along with the 8 types of audio services, which will be available with DTV. SBE Member price is $49.00, non-member price is $65.00 plus $2.00 shipping charge from: Society of Broadcast Engineers, 8445 Keystone Crossing, Ste. 140 , Indianapolis, IN 46240

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Switchcraft Acquires Conxall

Switchcraft has completed its acquisition of Conxall Corporation of Vill Park, IL. Conxall manufactures custom cable assemblies and connectos for marine, industrial, sensor, communications and transportation applications.

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The End User

Richard Jones
Chapter 16

More computers are being sold than ever before. It is estimated that now approximately half of the American public own personal computers and the numbers are growing every day. In addition to this statistic computers are becoming cheaper every day as well. Remember when the 286 sold for at least a couple thousand dollars? Only a few years ago when the Pentium 200 came out it sold for about three thousand dollars. Now Pentium 450s go for well under a thousand dollars.

What's popular as add-ons for PCs these days? A few years ago the TV tuner card was being marketed as a great new thing that would take the market by storm. Doesn't seem to have made any inroads. No one is buying these things because who wants to watch TV on a desktop? Likewise, it appears most computers these days are being sold with the old CD-ROMs. The DVD-ROM has not yet taken off. The most popular features of new computer sales are comprised of two things--processor speed and the size of the hard drive.

Computers are in a continuous state of upgrading in this country. Although there are some recycling plants that deal specifically with old computers they are woefully inadequate. Too many old computers are winding up in the city dumps and they do not biodegrade very well. There will have to come a time in which old systems are either required to be upgradeable or some form of mandatory recycling will have to be imposed. So, what's the solution? If you have heard of any unique fix for this problem please let me know. If you have any ideas or suggestions please let me know by emailing me at: richard@serv.net or fax at (206)824-1966.

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PDX Radio Waves

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

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

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2000 Certification Exam Periods

Exam Date(s)         Location         Application Deadline 

February 11-21       Local Chapters   December 31, 1999
April 11             NAB Convention   March 5, 2000
June 9-19            Local Chapters   April 21, 2000
August 18-28         Local Chapters   July 7, 2000
November 10-20       Local Chapters   September 22, 2000

For more information about SBE Certification, see your Chapter Certification Chair Fred Baumgartner at (303) 486-3946 or contact Linda Godby-Emerick, Certification Director at the SBE National Office at (317) 253-1640 or lgodby@sbe.org .

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Fun Stuff

BENT QUOTE: Anybody can jump a motorcycle. The trouble begins when you try to land it"
-- Evel Knievel.

Some Sayings We'd Like To See On Those Office Inspirational Posters (Thanks to Fred B.)

If you can stay calm, while all around you is chaos...then you probably haven't completely understood the seriousness of the situation.

Doing a job RIGHT the first time gets the job done. Doing the job WRONG several times gives you job security.

We put the "k" in "kwality."

If at first you don't succeed, try management.

Never put off until tomorrow what you can avoid altogether.

TEAMWORK...means never having to take all the blame yourself.

We waste time, so you don't have to.

When the going gets tough, the tough take a coffee break.

Succeed in spite of management.

Aim Low, Reach Your Goals, Avoid Disappointment.

You pretend to work, and we'll pretend to pay you.

Work: It isn't just for sleeping anymore.

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Newsletter Committee

Bill Harris........(303)756-4843 email: bharris4@ix.netcom.com
Garneth M. Harris..(303)756-4843
Andre' Smith.......(303)556-3549 email: asmith@carbon.cudenver.edu

Views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the official positions of the Societies, its officers, or its members. We regret, but are not liable for, any omissions or errors. The Denver SBE and SMPTE Newsletter is published approximately twelve times per year. It is prepared with a combination of text and graphic data. Submission deadline is 10 days before the last day of each month. Other SBE or SMPTE chapters are permitted to use excerpts if attributed to the original authors, sources, and/or the Denver SBE/SMPTE Newsletter.