Doug Green Graduates
From Fred Baumgartner, Rocky Mountain SMPTE Section Chairman:
Denver SBE member Doug Green will be graduating from CU-Denver with a BSEE.
He has been recognized as Outstanding Undergraduate Student for Fall 2001 for the entire College of Engineering and Applied Science at University of Denver. This is reward to the top students for achieving scholastic excellence during their studies at CU-Denver. Doug is employed by Jones cable, and now that he has all this time on his hands, we'll expect to see him at more SBE meetings.
Strategic Planning Day Set By SBE
The Board of Directors of SBE will be holding a day-long strategic planning session to help identify Society objectives for the coming years. The aim is to continue to develop services and programs that are important to the individual member. Each SBE Chapter is encouraged to send their chairman or other representative to participate. The event will also involve the entire national Board of Directors and SBE staff. Tom Zoss, an independent facilitator from Bloomington, Indiana, will lead the session.
The Strategic Planning Day will be held at the Holiday Inn Select at the Indianapolis International Airport on Saturday, January 12 from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. Lunch will be provided. Participants will be responsible for their own transportation and lodging. Chapters that have the financial means are encouraged to cover the travel costs of their Chairman for this important event. Reservations for overnight accommodations at the Holiday Inn can be made by calling (317) 244-6861. Ask for the special SBE group rate of $85.
For more information, contact Ray Benedict, SBE Vice President and Strategic Planning Chairman, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 457-4518 or SBE Executive Director, John Poray at the National Office at email@example.com or (317) 846-9000.
SBE To Release Updated Education Tools
The Certification Committee of SBE will be releasing two updated educational tools. The 5th Edition of the SBE TV Operator Handbook, by Frederick Baumgartner and Douglas Garlinger, will be released in January. The SBE Practice Test computer discs, used to prepare for the SBE Certification Exams, are also being updated with new versions for all certification exam levels. They will be available in January 2002.
Help Continues For Families Of 9-11 Victims
Donations continue to be received for the relief fund benefiting the families of the six broadcast engineers killed at the World Trade Center on September 11. Donations have greatly exceeded our expectations. Contributions to date now exceed $113,000. Including matching gifts, the total will grow to more than $163,000!
By November 1, all six families had received their first check. A second check was sent to each family on December 3 and at least one more check will be sent to all six. Every penny contributed is going to benefit these families. SBE and the Ennes Trust are absorbing any expenses related to the fund.
It's not too late to make your tax-deductible contribution.
Make your check payable to:
and send to:
By His Fredness
I doubt that anyone harbors any serious misgivings about whether Digital TV will eventually happen. But no one can say when or exactly what form DTV will take, or what twists and turns we'll see along the way.
From the beginning, Congress, through the FCC, has pushed the various agendas, some more than others. The basic plan is to require existing TV stations to put DTV stations on the air, and then make the analog stations go away, leaving the thorny details of cable rules, content and ancillary services for some other time. Broadcast engineers should tread lightly in manners public policy, but I can't resist.
What if the transition was done an entirely different way, a lot more was accomplished in the process?
Consider replacing the current DTV required rollout time schedule with a requirement that analog TV stations reduce power by 1 dB each year. In three years, analog stations would be at half-power. In ten-years, signals now 1/10th their original power, would look pretty ratty in a lot of places. By year-20, analog stations would all approach LPTV power levels, and any protection from interference could be lifted. Stations should be allowed to accept cash from whatever service was going to "refarm" the spectrum in the shrinking service area, for early exits. Economics would encourage a faster migration to DTV on its own.
Broadcasters shouldn't be the only one saddled with responsibility for the transition. Congress could place an ever-increasing tax on analog only TV receivers. In five-years, analog only TV receivers should be uneconomical. Further, require that cable must carry DTV signals in their entirety without modification, whether as a 6 MHz pass-through, or packaged in a cable digital (256 QAM typically) multiplex. The regulatory cost of being a cable system is 66 MHz, about 10%, give or take a bit, of a system's capacity. The market will sort out which analog TV signals cable elects to carry and for how long.
With the course to DTV charted, Congress might take another look at how efficiently we use spectrum. Consider allowing TV stations a 10-year free use of their current DTV channels. In 2011, do a frequency reorganization ala the big reorganization of the AM band in the 1940s. Break the UHF spectrum into four blocks of 11, 6-MHz, 19.4 Mb/s channels (UHF 15-25, 26-36, 38-48, and 49-59). Allocate these cellular style (but much bigger, broadcast size cells) to cover each of the current DMAs. This allows total refarming of 60 MHz of the old UHF channels 14 and 60-69 (37 is already protected), and the very many small (cellular phone sized) cells that the big broadcast cells create "between the cracks" to other compatible services (e.g., in a metropolitan area assigned block-one, blocks two, three, and four, 180 MHz, are available for wireless services, in rural areas where the broadcasters overlap there is less, which is a good thing). If there is enough economic pressure for the new services, allow the non-DTV bidders for the "refarmed" spectrum to provide incentives to entice DTV broadcasters to transfer to the new collocated, cochannel singular towers earlier. Sweeten the pot with additional longevity and cash credits for those going through an early bidding process.
With DTV antennas now all UHF and the size of DBS dishes (and in most cases as easy to conceal), and the rural coverage that the cell scheme provides, any local TV regulation, one way or the other, of DBS could be lifted. Alternatively, in those big Western DMA's the broadcast service provider might elect to use one spot beam satellite rather than a bunch of rural cells. It would still be free and in the clear, and all 11-multiplexes must be carried intact.
Grant construction permits to the new regulated 3rd party transmission service companies that operate the centralized transmission systems. Require communities to designate where their big tower would be located, within the technical requirements.
Allocate the first 6 MHz channel of the block to audio services. Assign the second and third channel multiplexes to public and community services, and allow the local governments to decide what to do with them, and whether to cover the whole DMA or separately program the rural cells where rural cells are necessary.
To raise the needed revenue to operate the transmitters (and more), auction the eight 19 Mb/s commercial channels for 4-year terms, with one radio and one DTV block placed up for auction every 6-months, and 18-months in advance. Pool the revenue nationally to smooth out the artificially high revenue of the major markets and the artificially high costs of covering the poor and low population areas; after all we all travel and program availability shouldn't depend on where you live and your community's economics. The commercial revenue would underwrite the public channels, and maybe excess revenue beyond some point should go to support the public channels.
Do the same thing with the audio spectrum. There would be eight "commercial" (and two public) 1.9 Mb/s slots available for between 7 and 70 (depending on audio quality) audio services in each block (56 to 560 total, but typically, you'd get about 250 services). Use the 400 kb/s leftover on each multiplex (radio and TV) for weather radio, EAS, channel maps and basic guide information.
Allow successful bidders (or cooperatives of bidders) to subdivide and sell off their bandwidth as they see fit. Limit any one owner to two DTV and two radio slots, and mean it. Give existing broadcasters a declining "preference" cash voucher to give them an early advantage in bidding for slots and holding them, and smooth the transition to a free market.
Simulcast the radio service multiplex on the block that was VHF 7-10 as a COFDM for portable use, and refarm 48-MHz (old VHF 2-6 and 11-13) as the band clears out. Leave AM alone (it's not useful for much other than what it is used for now) and in 2011 start 1 dB per year power reductions on FM and refarm its 20 MHz.
Allow no more than 10% of any broadcaster's time/bandwidth (if it's a billion bits per month, than no more than 100 million bits per month) to be encrypted for pay-per-view or used for non-broadcast purposes. Make no restriction on HD versus Multicasts; the market is already sorting that one out as DVDs and satellite promote the HD market.
Of course, this would radically change broadcasting. No more have and have nots, no more channel advantage, no more antenna rotors or big old VHF antennas, no more pretending to debate over the most qualified licensees, no more wasted spectrum.
On the consumer side, provide a substantial 5-year tax credit and development loans to any manufacturer who can put a universal (8-VSB, 64/256 QUAM, whatever format Charlie Ergen chooses for DBS, HD/SD, 5.1 audio, EAS, DOCSIS modem, with transportable encryption modules, and a slot for an interactive or enhanced guide) receiver on the grocery store shelf for under $200.00, or incorporates it into a TV set. Do something similar for radio manufactures.
Drop the station EAS requirement as the very slim EAS digital message stream would appear on all terrestrial multiplexes, as would the weather audio channel. Likewise give up on trying to make analog EAS work in the digital cable world. Expand the weather radio people's charter to include all emergencies. The basic EAS stream should be sent to a central aggregation point, where all of those rare and tiny digital messages are combined into a national stream (no audio) and carried on every cable and DBS multiplex in the country. Little tweaks on the EAS coding, radio and TV receivers, and consumers could active the warning functions as they see fit. Any radio or TV could get the EAS message no matter what multiplex, or whether it was cable, broadcast, or satellite. Provide a tax credit for manufacturers to EAS enable their products.
Rather than pushing the string with a spotty "let's make them build a chicken and wait for an egg policy," we could use the most powerful tool we have; an innovative set of comprehensive spectrum use regulations and the free market economy to give the consumer, manufacturers, and broadcasters an incentive to move into the 21st century. We would free a lot of spectrum for other uses, like unchoking our wireless services and allowing us to catch up to the rest of the world, greatly expand the broadcast and wireless services available to the public, greatly reduce the number of big towers, improve our warning system, underwrite public broadcasting, produce spectrum revenues, and create a competitive and level playing field for broadcasters too (which isn't exciting for the haves, but better for the consumers). With our economy stalled, this plan would certainly provide opportunity and upside to a lot of businesses, without a lot of the pain.
Just to review the totals, this plan would refarm 134 MHz nationally, another 180 MHz in metropolitan areas, provide 250 audio services and, depending on the DTV to SD ratio, somewhere between 8 and 40 television services, all off-air and free (90% of the time), just about everywhere.
Maybe an engineer on the Commission or in Congress isn't such a bad idea after all.
Certificaton Exam Session Dates Announced For 2002
The SBE National Certification Committee has announced exam session dates for 2002. 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 Linda Godby, Certification Director at the SBE National Office at (317) 846-9000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Introducing Sample Test Study Disk For Certified Broadcast Networking Technologist
This sample exam disk is designed for your own personal study and exam preparation. The information is intended to help you identify those content areas of the exam in which you may need additional study.
The certification exam measures, in a practical way, your ability to implement, administer, and troubleshoot information systems that incorporate general networking technology. The exam covers a variety of network knowledge and skills common to all networks.
This Sample Test disk address topics such as Standards and Terminology, Planning, Implementation and Troubleshooting.
The Sample Test contains more than 100 questions, which will give you a good idea of the breadth of the actual exam. Keep in mind the actual Certified Broadcast Networking Technologist exam is an open book test and contains 50 multiple-choice questions.
The cost for the disk is $28, which includes shipping & handling. Orders can be placed via fax (317) 253-0418 or by telephone (317) 253-1640. MasterCard, Visa and American Express are accepted. Contact Linda Godby at Lgodby@sbe.org if you require additional information.
Company affiliated with ____________________________________
SBE Member #_________________ Chapter #_______
Daytime Phone # (_______) _______________
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Fax with credit card payment are acceptable. SBE Fax # (317) 846-9120
The Grass Valley Zodiac Production Switcher
Thanks to Kansas SBE Chapter 3
Our program was a presentation by Grass Valley of their Zodiac production switcher. Jon Ulfsrud introduced the product; which has built in 4 channel still store & DVE. It has floppy, zip drives and USB ports for connectivity. It uses CAT 5 cable to connect the control panel to the 7 RU frame. Tom Halliday, an professional editor and trainer for G.V., demonstrated the switcher. It has unlimited reentry. Keyers have their own pattern wipe generator keeping ME's open. Ultimatte technology is used in the chroma keyers. Up to one hundred full frame images can be stored in cache for instant recall, 1000 stills in the HD. Animations can play out of the still store. Interfaces allow transfer of FTP files I/O. The unit utilizes Pbus or CPL protocol and has 16 GPI's to connect to external equipment. Future releases of software will have machine and router control. Programming the switcher is required to set it up initially. It contains 64-inputs, which must be assigned and defined as crosspoints, serial or NTSC inputs, etc. and has fairly elaborate diagnostics, which can e-mail you or allow GV to dial into it for tougher problems. The touch screen controller uses Windows 2000, but the switcher does not. The touchscreen is used primarily in pre-production so the show goes on if the controller needs to reboot from a sudden power surge or the like. The still store function can be operated from any PC, via network because the menu is WIN based. It does not have aspect ratio conversion (ARC), but does have color correction on a per crosspoint/ME basis, allowing you to trim out the reflection of the Chroma Key mat off the talent's sleeve without affecting the same shot on other crosspoints. The base price is $115,000 w/o DVE'S (List prices); $125,000 for 2.5 ME and $149,000 for 3 ME.
Our thanks to Grass Valley, John, Tom, Brad Bartholomew and Jeff Washington for their part in a fun and informative evening, and to Don Hogg for hosting it.
Rome's Christmas Letter
All of us are familiar with the Christmas letter that brags of the years
accomplishments and sorrows. I think we all expect that with every letter
in a card. Rome Chelsi's though was much much different, and we asked him
permission to publish it in the Newsletter. I think you'll agree that
Rome comes to us from somewhere very special.
~ Old Photographs ~
I have a niece who turned 16 this year. Jennifer has developed into an absolutely lovely young lady; and much to the credit of her mom and dad has excelled in her school work. The matter of an appropriate Christmas gift is always a struggle. Uncle Rome, now in his 50s, has no concept of how 16 year old girls are geared. But it seemed like the time was right to provide something that would be preserved for her and perhaps a future generation.
I have a couple of old photographs that I had decided to copy, frame the duplicates, and send to her as a gift. It was important to me to keep the originals as on the back of each photo is an inscription, in German, of each scene. Visiting a local Kinko's copy center I was able to use one of the kiosks which housed a Kodak photo duplication service. The machine was made up of a scanner, a PC, and a printer. The PC uses a touch screen and voice commands to guide you through the process of making prints from your photos.
The image quality of the reprints could not be discerned from the originals. The newness of the paper was a give-away that the photos were reprints but the detail was remarkable. A sepia toned photo is one of my father teaching radio communications to the Polish army. I expect it was taken sometime in the mid 1930's before Hitler's army invaded Poland and my father became a prisoner of war. He was interned for five years at the Ingolstadt Concentration Camp in Germany not far from my birthplace, Neundettelsau.
The photo depicts Stash as an extremely handsome young man, perhaps in his twenties. He is positively dashing with his blonde hair and uniform. The soldiers around him are also in dress uniforms and appear to be intent on his demonstration of knowledge. A simple resistance circuit was drawn on the chalk board behind the men. This is the photo that I most cherish of my dad. On the day I arrived home from my own military service he told me of how, while he was a prisoner of war unknown to his captors, he had constructed a simple Morse Code transmitter. He told me of how from his prison room, he would tap out information he had learned of German activities not knowing who would be listening, if anyone. He was very proud of this feat and that he was never caught. If ever I needed a hero, I had to look no further.
A slightly faded photo of my mother, Lucia, was taken in December of 1950. She is standing against a stark white background, perhaps fog, or perhaps it is nothing more than overexposure of the film. The only discernable item behind her is the ship's railing. She is standing in front of the railing holding me in her arms.
I was two years old when my parents sailed on a U.S. troop ship departing from Bremerhaven, Germany. They immigrated to America with very little left of their lives. They did have a great deal of hope. My mother's wedding ring was silver and simple. I was to find out in later years that her ring was fashioned from the remains of a teaspoon handle.
I have often looked at the photo, Lucia's expression is devoid of emotion. An expression of what she had been through during the war years and, no doubt, the anxiety of what was to come. The composition of the photo, her standing against this whiteness, Lucia appears as a very beautiful woman, flowing black hair, and prominent Eastern European features. Were it not for the circumstances or the times, I am certain she could have been a magazine cover girl.
A close friend of mine, who is the Director of Human Resources for a prominent employer in the area, related how a few of the firm's employees voluntarily resigned this last week for reasons of immigration non-compliance. They did not have the right paperwork. This was brought about by the events of September Eleventh. The people were mostly Hispanic and I have no doubt that they were simply trying to make a better life and played the odds that no one would notice. I understood fully their situation. Stash and Lucia came over in December to a new life and were able to celebrate a modest first Christmas with their sponsor family in Chicago.
I hope my niece will hang onto the pictures and this year's Christmas letter. Perhaps some day down the road, she will tell her kids, grandkids, and anyone else who cares about Grandpa Stash and Grandma Lucia. By the way, I sent the original photos along with the duplicates.
Merry Christmas 2001
Another Cool Part Of Amateur Radio
Thanks to Portland Chapter 124
To quote from their site, http://www.irlp.net:
"The aim of the Internet Radio Linking Project (IRLP) is to provide a simple and easy system to link radio systems together using the Internet as the communications backbone.
Similar linking options exist, but they use expensive leased telephone lines or satellite equipment. It is not the goal of this project to compete, but to work along with other networks to improve the technology and improve radio linking for all parties involved. The people who benefit most from the IRLP are its users.
The software and hardware requirements are minimal, and the cost to set up a node is low. This brings the opportunity for smaller more remote locations, or small clubs, to experience national linking without the large capital cost of a satellite node or leased line."
I got a demonstration while I was in Sacramento during Thanksgiving week, talking to Mike Steiner KD6LVP here in Portland and folks in Arizona, and listened while the node at McMurdo Station in Antarctica was connected to, but none of the six amateurs there were available.
There are 253 nodes around the world: across the U.S. including Alaska and Hawaii, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Trinidad, and Dominica.
Also check out http://www.qsl.net/kd6lvp for additional information.
Black & White
From Fred Baumgartner
You could hardly see for all the snow, Spread the rabbit ears as far as they go Pull a chair up to the TV set, "Good night, David; Good night, Chet" Depending' on the channel you tuned You got Rob and Laura - or Ward and June It felt so good, felt so right Life looked better in black and white
I Love Lucy, The Real McCoy's Dennis the Menace, the Cleaver boys Rawhide, Gunsmoke, Wagon Train Superman, Lois Lane Father Knows Best, Patty Duke Rin Tin Tin and Lassie too, Donna Reed on Thursday night Life looked better in black and white
I wanna go back to black and white Everything always turned out right Simple people, simple lives Good guys always won the fights Now nothin's the way it seems In living color or on the screen I wanna go back to black and white
In God they trusted, in bed they slept A promise made was a promise kept They never cussed or broke their vows They'd never make the network now But if I could I'd rather be In a TV town in the '50s It felt so good, felt so right Life looked better in black and white
I'd trade all the channels on the satellite If I could just turn back the clock tonight To when everybody knew wrong from right Life was better in black and white
Latest Marine Corps Bumper Sticker
"IT'S GOD'S RESPONSIBILITY TO FORGIVE BIN LADEN
United States Marines
Actually Taken From Classifieds!
FREE CHIHUAHUA. 8 YEARS OLD. HATEFUL LITTLE DOG.
FREE PUPPIES: 1/2 COCKER SPANIEL 1/2 SNEAKY NEIGHBOR'S DOG
FREE PUPPIES... PART GERMAN SHEPHERD, PART STUPID DOG
GERMAN SHEPHERD 85 lbs. NEUTERED. SPEAKS GERMAN. FREE.
FOUND: DIRTY WHITE DOG. LOOKS LIKE A RAT...BEEN OUT AWHILE. BETTER BE REWARD.
1 MAN, 7 WOMAN HOT TUB -- $850/offer
SNOW BLOWER FOR SALE...ONLY USED ON SNOWY DAYS.
TICKLE ME ELMO, STILL IN BOX, COMES WITH ITS OWN 1988 MUSTANG, 5L, AUTO, EXCELLENT CONDITION $6800
COWS, CALVES NEVER BRED.....ALSO 1 GAY BULL FOR SALE.
NORDIC TRACK $300 HARDLY USED, CALL CHUBBY
BILL'S SEPTIC CLEANING "WE HAUL AMERICAN MADE PRODUCTS"
HUMMELS - LARGEST SELECTION EVER - "IF IT'S IN STOCK, WE HAVE IT!"
HARRISBURG POSTAL EMPLOYEES GUN CLUB
GEORGIA PEACHES - CALIFORNIA GROWN - 89 cents lb.
NICE PARACHUTE: NEVER OPENED - USED ONCE
TIRED OF WORKING FOR ONLY $9.75 PER HOUR? WE OFFER PROFIT SHARING AND FLEXIBLE HOURS. STARTING PAY: $7 -- $9 PER HOUR.
EXERCISE EQUIPMENT: QUEEN SIZE MATTRESS & BOX SPRINGS - $175.
OUR SOFA SEATS THE WHOLE MOB AND IT'S MADE OF 100% ITALIAN LEATHER.
JOINING NUDIST COLONY! MUST SELL WASHER & DRYER $300.
LAWYER SAYS CLIENT IS NOT THAT GUILTY.
OPEN HOUSE BODY SHAPERS TONING SALON FREE COFFEE & DONUTS
AND THE BEST ONE...
Garneth M. Harris
Newsletter archives are available online.
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.