CONTENTS

Return to Archives

Random Radio Thoughts

Congressional Committees Set Analog Shutoff Date

Certification News

Chapter 22, Central New York To Host 2006 National Meeting

FCC OKs New Am Antenna System

News From The CGC Communicator

PDX Radio Waves

Clay's Corner

The YXZ Report

Amateur Radio News

Another Low Power Proposal

Leadership

Humor

Etc.

 

December, 2005

Return to table of contents

Random Radio Thoughts


Cris Alexander, CSRE
Crawford Broadcasting Company

Lessons
Over the years, I have done a lot of AM antenna work, including quite a few directional antenna construction and tune-up projects. I was taught by Charlie Gallagher, one of the old guard PEs that learned from the first generation of AM consulting engineers. I have always been grateful for the knowledge that Charlie passed on to me.

The real learning, however, came by doing. For some odd reason, we tend to learn better by making mistakes. I suppose this is okay as long as one of those mistakes doesn't kill you! I made a lot of mistakes over the years, and I don't think I repeated a single one. That, I believe, is the very definition of learning.

It has been interesting watching Ed Dulaney and his crew on the KLDC directional antenna project. I was involved, designing the directional antennas, phasing and coupling systems, etc., but I stood back during the construction/tune-up process and let Ed run with it. He did a great job, making a few mistakes but not many (and none fatal!), learning all the while. I have every confidence that Ed is ready to tackle the next AM DA project unassisted.

We've all heard it said that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. We all find ourselves doing things ourselves because it's faster and in the end, easier than taking the time and making the effort to teach an up-and-comer how to do it. And yet if we continue in that line of thinking and action, our craft will be lost when we retire. While we may think that's not our problem (and maybe it really isn't), don't we have a duty to teach the next generation of radio engineers? If nothing else, perhaps we should take the selfish position that if we go to the trouble to teach someone else how to do something now, we won't have to do it ourselves next time. Hey, whatever works.

So think about that a little bit, and if you are so inclined, invest some time and effort into passing some of your knowledge and experience along to someone else. After all, if no one had taken the time to do that with you, where would you be now?

Done!
At long last, the KLDC upgrade project is complete. The adjustment and proof of the daytime antenna is now complete and we filed it with the FCC on the day before Thanksgiving. And now we wait for the FCC to grant program test authority. Hopefully we'll have that early this month.

In the end, the three-tower, symmetrical daytime pattern was more trouble to tune than the four-tower asymmetrical nighttime pattern. The nulls in the daytime pattern are deeper - 4% of RMS for the daytime as opposed to 15% of RMS for the night. But I think that reradiation issues were also at work with the daytime antenna. Immediately adjacent to the day site at U.S. 85 and Weld County Road 6 north of Brighton is a gravel pit. Things are always changing at this busy quarry, with conveyors and other equipment being moved around, raised and lowered. I think these were introducing short-term reradiation that really gummed up the works during the tuning process. We got through it, though, and the proof shows that the nulls are all within standard pattern but nicely filled.

Sometimes when looking at the operating parameters of a directional antenna in comparison to the theoretical, it's tempting to think that the array tuning process must have been really easy. Phases within a couple of degrees of theoretical and ratios within a few percent would, on the surface, tend to indicate that it didn't take much to crank the pattern in. Au contraire! Sometimes when the operating and theoretical parameters are close together, the tuning was harder, particularly with inline arrays where the backside vectors are all stacked up on top of one another. A very small change in a phase or ratio can make a big change in the null position and IDF. And quite often, it's necessary to move the parameters of several towers together in order to achieve the desired end. The KLDC daytime array was very much like that. The final operating parameters ended up within 3% and 2 of theoretical, but it was no piece of cake to tune!

Our thanks to Tim Cutforth, Paul Pettit and Norm Price for their able assistance with this project. We couldn't have done it without you.

HD Radio Update
In November, KCMN in Colorado Springs fired up its HD Radio signal. I may be wrong, but I think that was the first HD Radio AM in The Springs. The KCMN oldies format sounds great in digital. This month, the new KLDC will likely make its digital debut. Knowing what I do about AM HD Radio installations, I never say for certain. With AM HD, nothing is certain until the receiver locks up.

Also during November, Entercom's KOSI and KQMT got their HD Radio signals tuned up and sounding right. Previously, both had low HD audio.

Now it's time for stations to promote-promote-promote and partner with retailers to stock radios. This is going to be difficult while prices are still in the $500 range, but we are hearing rumblings out of Maryland that lower-priced units may be just around the corner. Too bad they won't be out in time for the Christmas shopping season.

If you have news you would like to share with the Rocky Mountain radio engineering community, email me at crisa@crawfordbroadcasting.com.

black line

Return to table of contents

Congressional Committees Set Analog Shutoff Date

By Tom Smith

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and the House Commerce Committee advanced their separate versions of a bill to set a firm shut-off date for analog TV transmissions. In the Senate Bill, The date was set as April 7, 2009, which would place the shutdown after the 2009 NCAA Men's basketball final. The House version places the shut-off date as December 31, 2008. Both bills propose a payment to lower income homes to purchase set top converters. The senate is proposing $3 billion and the house is proposing $990 million. According to the House Bill, each household would get up to two coupons for the purchase of two converters starting on January 1, 2008. Coupons could not be doubled up for the purchase of one box. The coupons would expire on March 31, 2009. The Senate also allotted $200 million for translator conversions.

The overriding issue is that of auctioning up the spectrum and creating new spectrum for public safety. Both bills require auctions for the remaining spectrum from TV channels 52 through 69 to begin to be auctioned by January 7, 2008. The auctions are expected to take in $10 billion and both versions have allotted much of the money for other purposes in this bill. The Senate is also requiring the FCC to add another $10 Million in 2006 regulatory fees.

In the House version of the bill, there are requirements for manufacturers and dealers of analog TVs to place notices in stores and on packaging that alerts consumer to the analog shut off date, options for continued reception of broadcast TV after the shut off date, and information on the converter box program. TV Stations will be required to air a 60 second public service announcement twice a day on the hours between 8 to 9 AM and 8 to 9 PM alerting of the shut off. A short script is included in the bill. The bill also makes the FCC tuner rules and the deadlines for finalizing the DTV allotment table law.

The House version of the bill is 33 pages long and the Senate version is six. The House version contains much background material and more specific language while the Senate version just refers on many cases to the striking out and replacing of many sections of the current law.

Both bills will have to be voted on by their respective members and the bills will then have to go to conference to work out the differences.

From The House and Senate Websites

black line

Return to table of contents

Certification News

All The News About Certification
Michael Scott
by Michael Scott
Chapter 16

This month we are covering the Specialist Certifications of: 8-VSB & AM Directional.

SPECIALIST CERTIFICATIONS
To establish a benchmark of individual strengths, the National Certification Committee created the concept of Specialist Certifications. To apply for a specialist certification, you must currently hold certification on the Broadcast Engineer, Senior Broadcast Engineer or Professional Broadcast Engineer Certification level. Exams consist of 50 multiple-choice questions. To obtain an application for a specialist certification, go to the SBE website at www.sbe.org and click on the link to the SBE Certification Program or contact the SBE National Office.

CERTIFIED 8-VSB SPECIALIST
The SBE Program of Certification designed the 8-VSB Specialist Certification to help evaluate an individual's ability to perform the necessary tasks to keep facilities operating properly. The exam will cover these areas of competency: transport stream, audio (AC-3), video (MPEG-2), PSIP, DTV standards documents and transmission systems.

CERTIFIED AM DIRECTIONAL SPECIALIST
The SBE Program of Certification designed the AM Directional Specialist Certification to help evaluate an individual's ability to perform the necessary tasks to keep facilities operating properly. AM radio stations can operate as non-directional with a single tower or directional using more than one tower. While both require knowledge and skill to maintain in proper working order, the directional antenna system involves a higher degree of skill and understanding of RF theory. The exam will cover the operation, maintenance and repair of a directional antenna system. These are the tasks common to the station engineer charged with maintaining these systems. The exam will also gauge a person's knowledge of AM radiators, understanding of the principles of phase addition and cancellation, familiarity with the various components used in a directional antenna system, and ability to correctly make necessary measurements and take proper procedures to make repairs and adjustments to the system. In addition, the exam will cover the FCC rules concerning directional operation, test equipment and safety procedures.

Application for Specialist Certification: Application available on the SBE website (www.sbe.org) under the SBE Certification Program link. Applicants must currently hold certification on the Broadcast Engineer, Senior Broadcast Engineer or Professional Broadcast Engineer Certification level.

Dates to Remember:
2005-2006 Certification Application & Testing Deadlines

Deadline

Location

Test Date

December 30, 2005

Local Chapters

February 10-20, 2006

March 3, 2006

NAB Las Vegas

March 3, 2006

April 21, 2006

Local Chapters

June 2-12, 2006

June 9, 2006

Local Chapters

August 11-21, 2006

September 22, 2006

Local Chapters

November 10-20, 2006

CERTIFICATION OBJECTIVES
To raise the professional status of broadcast engineers by providing standards of professional competence in the practice of broadcasting engineering. To recognize those individuals who, by fulfilling the requirements of knowledge, experience, responsibility, and conduct, meet those standards of professional competence. To encourage broadcast engineers to continue their professional development.

black line

Return to table of contents

Chapter 22, Central New York To Host 2006 National Meeting

The 2006 National Meeting of the Society of Broadcast Engineers will be hosted by Chapter 22 of Central New York during their 34th Annual Broadcast Technology Expo in Verona, New York, September 26-27. The events of the National Meeting and Broadcast Technology Expo will be at the Turning Stone Casino Resort, located 30 miles east of Syracuse, New York.

The SBE Board of Directors accepted the invitation of Chapter 22 after considering invitations from several chapters. This will be the third time that SBE has held its National Meeting in conjunction with Chapter 22's regional convention since establishing the National Meeting concept in 1997. Past SBE National Meetings have been held with the Chapter 22 regional convention in 1997 and 2001.

black line

Return to table of contents

FCC OKs New Am Antenna System

By Tom Smith
Chapter 24

On October 25th, the Media Bureau issued a notice that announced simplified procedures for the authorization of the use of the KinStar antenna system by non-directional AM stations. The FCC will not require stations to routinely summit proof of performance, current distribution measurements of formula for vertical plane radiation characteristics for non-directional AM stations using this antenna.

The antenna was developed by Star-H Corporation and manufactured by Kintronic Laboratories, Inc. The antenna is about one third the height of a normal quarter wavelength vertical tower used by many AM stations.

The KinStar antenna consists of a cage that is .08 wavelengths high and .008 wavelengths in diameter. From the top of this cage four horizontal elements extend out .17 wavelengths. These elements are at 90 degrees to each other (see figure 1).

Figure 1. KinStar AM Antenna System diagram (from KinStar filing with the FCC, from the Star-H Corporation.)
Figure 1. KinStar AM Antenna System diagram (from KinStar filing with the FCC, from the Star-H Corporation.)

The antenna is matched to the transmitter and transmission line with similar units as would be used with a vertical tower, and the standard 120 ground radial system is used.

At the bottom of the AM band at 550 kHz, the KinStar antenna would be 136.3 feet high with the horizontal elements having a radius of 306.6 feet and the cage being 32 feet in diameter. At the center of the AM band at 1000 kHz, the height is 75 feet, the horizontal elements radius is 168.6 feet and the cage is 17 feet in diameter. At the top of the AM band at 1680 kHz, the height is 44.9 feet, the horizontal elements radius is 100.1 feet and the cage is 10 feet in diameter. Above 1200 kHz, wooden utility poles can be used for support, with metal towers used for antennas below 1200 kHz.

The KinStar antenna can be used to avoid aeronautical issues as they are short enough to normally not be lit or painted, and should be easier to get zoning approval as their appearance would be similar to overhead power lines and would be less visible then a tall tower.

The FCC will consider the use of the KinStar antenna for directional stations when more information is available.

The notice and the data submitted by the designers of the system, including construction information, modeling, and field-testing are linked to in the October 25th online edition of the FCC Daily Digest.

(From www.fcc.gov)

black line

Return to table of contents

News From The CGC Communicator

By Robert F. Gonsett W6VR
http://www.bext.com/_CGC/
Thanks to Chapter 124 - Portland

TIME IS NEAR WHEN CELLPHONES WILL REPLACE COMPUTERS
Qualcomm chairman Irwin Jacobs says the memory and processing power in today's cellphones are the equivalent of a Pentium III computer running at 550 MHz, and he predicts Moore's Law will soon boost that equation to make cellphones the personal computers of tomorrow. Jacobs thinks most major metropolitan areas of the United States will offer video on demand by the end of 2006. http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=26982

SINS OF TRANSMISSION - VATICAN RADIO
Remember the Roman Catholic cardinal and priest in charge of Vatican Radio who were convicted of polluting the atmosphere with powerful electromagnetic waves (CGC #686)? Leukemia was the concern for folks living near the Vatican's transmitter site. This past May, an Italian court imposed suspended 10-day prison sentences on the two named officials for the "dangerous showering of objects," meaning the antennas' electromagnetic waves. (The term "electromagnetic radiation" has not yet made it into Italy's legal vocabulary.)

Now, IEEE Spectrum probes this case in-depth, and a local RFR luminary, Wayne Overbeck, is quoted. Wayne is a specialist in the legal aspects of communications at California State University/Fullerton. http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/oct05/1866

SIMPLIFIED FCC PROCEDURES FOR USING NON-D KINSTAR AM ANTENNAS
By this Public Notice, the Media Bureau announces simplified procedures for AM station construction permit applications which specify non-directional KinStar antennas. Based on its review of the KinStar field tests and submitted reports, the Bureau announces that it will not routinely require the submission of a proof of performance, current distribution measurements, or a formula for the vertical plane radiation characteristic for non-directional AM facilities which utilize these relatively short antennas. http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-05-2741A1.doc
http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-05-2741A2.pdf

DATES NARROW FOR CLEARING 700 MHz BAND
The Senate Commerce Committee has approved legislation that would - if adopted into law - force television broadcasters to vacate the 700 MHz band by April 7, 2009. Meanwhile, the House Energy and Commerce Committee has set December 31, 2008 as the cutoff date. http://mrtmag.com/news/senate_transition_700_102005/
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,173637,00.html

HIGH GOALS SET FOR IMPROVING GPS ACCURACY
Founders of the recently established Stanford Center for Position, Navigation and Time want to create a navigation system capable of locating objects within one centimeter, or less than half an inch. The interdisciplinary center hopes to achieve that goal within the next 20 years. Of course, DGPS (Differential Global Positioning System) technology already exists and provides high accuracy, but requires the use of auxiliary equipment. http://www.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/12984188.htm

AN ILLEGAL CELLULAR TELEPHONE REPEATER?
The following article recently appeared in the news for a southern California mountain community:

"[The fire chief] needed his cell phone to work at the cabin they bought and found this great solution. You can get them through the link he provided below.... Appreciate any feedback from others who try this option." http://www.nielsen.bz/cellular/wilson/

There is no indication that the Cellular Phone Repeater shown on the referenced web site has been FCC notified, approved or otherwise accepted by the FCC, and the device may hold the potential to seriously disrupt a cellular network. Comments from the cellular industry? Send r.gonsett at ieee.org.

black line

Return to table of contents

PDX Radio Waves

by Michael D. Brown N7AXC CSRE
mike at brownbroadcast.com
From Portland Chapter 124

Just a short column this month, but it's been a hectic early fall. In the immediate wake of Katrina, the Commission did a very commendable job of quickly granting dozens of STA's, mostly for stations getting back on the air with emergency facilities - often many miles from the licensed main site. They even had key staff on duty on weekends and holidays, processing the requests. Some Experimental Licenses were also issued for new temporary low-power facilities.

We prepared such a request - actually two of them, initially for inside the Houston Astrodome, and then outside in the parking lot, to serve the 20,000+ evacuees housed there. They were both approved in just a few hours. The permittee, the Houston Independent Media center, ran the station successfully for two weeks, and handed out thousands of free radios. We've also been in close touch with the efforts of at least two stations licensed to New Orleans, and with others assisting in the recovery elsewhere on the Gulf Coast. The level of devastation is some areas is truly staggering. At Grande Isle, a popular vacation spot southwest of N.O. and directly on the Gulf, nearly every structure that wasn't flattened was lifted off its foundation and transported elsewhere. A full two feet of mud covers everything. The recovery will take many years.

September also saw us at the Harris HD Radio training school in Quincy, Ill., and also touring the Broadcast Electronics facility just up the road. In addition to the expected theory and field-setup procedure instruction, we did some critical listening to a variety of source material at different bit rates, both with and without a Neural 5.1 surround sound decoder. The decoder actually did a surprisingly good job with non-encoded music, bringing out some exciting rear channel information, and only occasionally sounding contrived. Up to 8 Secondary Program Service (SPS) audio streams are possible with FM HD, but the quality suffers at bit rates below 64 kb, and is strictly "voice grade" at 16 kb. 5.1 surround sound really needs the full 96 kb to achieve its full potential. Most stations will probably want to go 64/32 or 48/48, or perhaps 48/32/16, with the 16 kb channel used for short-term voice material, such as continuous traffic and weather reports.

Overall, it's still apparent that HD Radio is a technology "in progress". The Ibiquity encoder still emits occasional squeaks and bleeps at random times, and the manufacturers forced to use iBiquity's Pentium III computer-based encoder just have to shrug their shoulders. No one (except radio engineers) is listening to HD yet, anyway, right? As of last month, there still have been no mod-monitors shipped, no mass-produced HD home radios shipped, and only one car radio (Kenwood), that can receive SPS streams. There's a lively discussion on how the SPS channels will be identified, and even accessed, on the radios. For now, the Kenwood requires tuning to the Main Program Services (MPS) channel, and then toggling to a SPS "sub" channel. Harris is expected to begin general shipments of their SPS-equipped "Flexstar" line around the first of the year, which may eventually mean the retirement of the venerable Digit exciter. Those few stations already broadcasting SPS are using beta-test units.

It's good to see that most of the Portland HD stations are now synchronized and better matched, with KBPS-FM probably the best of the lot. 97.1 KYCH-FM ("Charlie FM"), is poised to turn on their HD signal very shortly , making it the 12th HD FM in the city, and making Entercom, along with Clear Channel, 100% HD on their Portland FMs.

black line

Return to table of contents

Clay's Corner

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

By Clay Freinwald
Chapter 16 - Seattle

No shortage of items this month- My Katrina in-box is overflowing!

It all started the night before the storm blew into NOLA...I was watching the weather channel and they were talking about the storm gaining strength as it moved into the Gulf. The next morning the electronic media was overflowing with news that Katrina had grown to a Cat 4 or 5 storm with the track taking it into New Orleans. I knew that this was going to be bad.

As I got into the office that morning the reports of 'bad' were coming true. With the Entercom corporate engineering office in Seattle and the company owning half a dozen stations there it was not long before 1820 Eastlake became a bee-hive of activity and the 'war-room' was in full swing. This effort was led by Marty Hadfield (VP of Eng) and Ken Beck, head of news/talk programming with the assistance of the rest of us. First reports were of extensive power outages and all the windows on the studio building being blown out. Then the levies broke and the flooding began; by then we had consolidated our programming on WWL. Not too long after this it became clear that we too were going to have to get out of town and plans were set in motion to change the station's broadcast point to the Jefferson Parish EOC and evacuate our employees and many of their family members who chose to ride out the storm at the station. Fortunately the station had the foresight to have some equipment already installed as part of their emergency plan. The EOC facility was quite limited leading to the installation of a satellite-link to Baton Rouge where Entercom joined forces with Clear Channel who luckily had studio facilities there. As time went by, every radio operation in the area was re-broadcasting WWL via a variety of means: off air relays, satellite and streaming. Broadcasters joining the 'network' included NCE's and a shortwave outlet that provided rather extensive geographic coverage. At this writing this effort continues. On the programming side, Entercom dispatched a number of reporters to the area to augment the WWL crew, two of them from Seattle. At this writing it was not clear just what the long term plans were to get Entercom's facilities in NOLA up and running with many options being explored. One of the big remaining questions is - What will the NOLA market look like in the future? ... Right now it's anyone's guess.

There are thousands of stories about the impact of this storm -Here are a few -

One bit of irony is the fact the WWL's Chief Engineer, Joe Pollet, just last April did a presentation at NAB on Emergency Preparedness....Oh what Joe could tell us now!

One floor below WWL Radio is WWL-TV. This station 'left the ship,' moving its operations to their Baton Rouge facility....NW Connection - WWL-TV is owned by Belo who owns KING/KONG etc in Seattle. A few broadcast towers fell; one in Miss went down taking a TV and some FM's; check out the WLOX-TV web site.

WLOX
(Editor's Note: Read the story at: www.rtnda.org/sow/bill_taylor.shtml).

Cellular and Land-Mobile systems did not fare as well. New Orleans police were forced to use a single radio channel - The National Guard was forced to use runners for communications. The New York Times and Wall Street Journal ran extensive stories about the effectiveness of Radio.

With modern and conventional communications systems down and out, Amateur Radio has again proved its value, over and over and over. All news channels have been a big hit with many that have been drawn to riveting television. How long has it been since Ted Koppel beat out Leno and Letterman?

The value of the Internet has been critical as a vehicle for locating and matching separated family members Just prior to writing this column, I entered Katrina into Google; the search engine stated it had 496,000,000 pages devoted to that subject...This is huge! Broadcasters across the country have raised millions from their viewers and listeners. No, EAS was not used for this event as there was plenty of notice as to what was about to happen. CNN got an injunction against FEMA as the federal agency tried to impose limits on coverage.

As we learned here in this area with our last major earthquake, land-line and cellular service becomes useless, something that helped to hamper communications in NOLA. The FCC reminded TV Broadcasters that were able to keep going of their obligation to provide services for the deaf and hard of hearing. With the world becoming totally dependent on battery powered devices, cell phones, portable police radios etc and portable AM and FM radios, these devices are rendered useless in a short period of time with no commercial power to re-charge them...Perhaps dependency breeds complacency ?

On the 9th of Sept. it was reported that 50 to 100 Broadcast stations remained off the air in the region. Other Broadcast companies impacted by the storm include - Hearst-Argyle, Emmis, Liberty, Tribune, Viacom, Belo, Clear Channel, Entercom, Citadel, Triad and countless others. The financial loss counting will continue for some time. Reportedly authorities ordered 10,000 body-bags; later news indicates that the death toll will be less than expected. Another winner in this event was the Satellite video and telephone. Reportedly calls went out for everyone that could be located.

In all of this I have some personal comments and observations - Hooray for Consolidation - If it were not for the ability of multi-market-station groups like Clear Channel and Entercom with their resources the consolidated effort in NOLA would likely not be taking place. Its been confirmed, by many, that the efforts of stations like WWL have saved lives, certainly our industries finest hour(s). Let us pray the lessons of Katrina are not lost in our area. I, for one, have been urging our local and state emergency managers to install some of the systems that have proved to be extremely valuable in NOLA - RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW!

Its tragic when you learn that many public officials on the Gulf Coast failed to execute their own emergency plans. Trust me, my work with EAS has taught me that emergency plans are ranked, by most, at the bottom of their list. Most broadcasters are in the same category; hopefully this tragic situation will improve. Hats off to the FCC for being one of the Federal agencies that was really on the ball, staying open on weekends and doing whatever they could to support the emergency. Redundancy is probably the most critical element in a disaster of this magnitude. I have to wonder how many radio or TV operations in this area would be able to stay on the air should we have a similar event?

One of the best things our industry can do is to investigate wrongdoing. The scandal over governmental actions in this disaster are likely to play a major role in cleaning up the mess. Its tragic that prior to this, rather than investigate FEMA, much of our industry was focused on a missing person in Aruba, perhaps now we will get our priorities right. Fuel supply and run-time for emergency generators must be re-evaluated everywhere. The concept of getting fuel delivered in a major disaster must be re-thought; the only answer is larger fuel storage tanks and changes in regulations that have limited them. What would you do if you were told that it would be 30 to 60 days before the power was turned back on and the possibility of getting generator fuel was very limited? Broadcast plants typically have large amounts of redundancy; yet the vast majority only have one generator. I can only think of two transmitter plants in this area with two gen-sets (KIRO and KOMO Radio). The good news is that we don't have a shortage of 'high-ground' in the Seattle area; however this is not much help when it comes to the type of major disaster we are likely to experience, earthquake. Certainly the bad news is that man had a lot to do with this situation through a number of contributing activities, hopefully scientists will be more listened to than politicians. Very much like our area with our predictions of Lahars and major quakes, the New Orleans area had its share of science based predictions; hopefully our level of complacency will not be the same. With scientists predicting that sea-levels will only be getting higher, the lessons 'should' be clear. It's been said that we should prepare for the worst and rejoice when it turns out not to be that bad.

It should be noted that SBE has stepped forward to act as a clearing house for Broadcast Engineers, putting those in need with those that have offered help. Meanwhile, Entercom has set up a New Orleans Employee Relief Fund.

Cause I said I would run this -

Greg Neilson is in immediate need of technical help at KNHC in Seattle with a variety of tasks that need attention. For more information, contact Greg at ,gneilson@seattleschools.org

Stay safe - Till next month

Clay Freinwald, CPBE, K7CR

black line

Return to table of contents

The YXZ Report

by Kent Randles K7YXZ CBRE
Senior Engineer, Entercom-Portland
watercooled at sbe124.org

LIFE WITH HD RADIO
We're holding at eleven FM HD signals and one AM HD signal on the air in the Portland market. Still no Multicasting or Tomorrow Radio, but the Clear Channel FM's will probably be the first to do it. In his column later in this newsletter, Mike Brown talks about how FM HD Radio is coming along in Quincy, IL, home of both Harris and Broadcast Electronics.

Kenwood is still the only manufacturer actually shipping HD Radios that can receive the secondary program services or multicasting. The way-cool Radiosophy table radios are not going to be shipped until December.

97. KYCH-FM's HD Radio signal is moving right along in its 5-step climb to get on the air.

Step one was taking apart the left side of the dual RCA backup transmitter and moving it out, yet keeping the right side working as the backup.

Step two was the installation of the Broadcast Electronics transmitter that will be the HD Radio transmitter, but is now the analog backup at 4 kW TPO.

Step three was disconnecting the right side and center cabinet of the RCA which will have left by the time you read this, and be replaced by one of the former KRSK High Camp Harris HT-35FM's.

Step four is retuning it from 105.1 to 97.1 to be the backup, and connecting it to the system. The main is an HT-35FM also.

Step five is plumbing the new B.E. transmitter into the KYCH backup antenna and switching it to HD-only, same setup as 92.3 KGON and 99.5 KWJJ.

black line

Return to table of contents

Amateur Radio News

By Tom Weeden, WJ9H
From Chapter 24

o The American Radio Relay League again has urged the FCC to provide meaningful operating privileges to entry-level Amateur Radio licensees, including access to high frequencies (HF), even if it doesn't want to create a new license class. Commenting in response to the FCC's July 9 Notice of Proposed Rule Making and Order, the League also stood by its stance that the Commission retain the 5 WPM Morse code requirement for Amateur Extra applicants, but do away with it for General applicants.

"Retaining Morse telegraphy as a requirement for only the Amateur Extra class license, in ARRL's view, places Morse telegraphy in a proper, balanced perspective," the League told the Commission October 31, the deadline to comment in the proceeding. Reply comments are due November 14.

The FCC's NPRM&O proposed eliminating the 5 WPM Morse code requirement for all Amateur Radio license classes but denied requests to create a new entry-level license class with limited HF privileges. The League said the FCC needs to finish the job of license restructuring it began in 1998 by reviewing operating privileges for all classes-especially at the first rung of the licensing ladder.

The ARRL reminded the FCC that its restructuring plan enjoyed the support the two Amateur Radio licensees in Congress-Rep Greg Walden, W7EQI (R-OR) and Rep Mike Ross, WD5DVR (D-AR).

Eliminating the Morse requirement for General class applicants "creates an anomaly with respect to the Technician class license," the ARRL noted. "If the telegraphy requirement for the General class license is eliminated, the distinction between the Technician class licensee and the Technician Plus class licensee will have disappeared completely." Therefore, the League contends, there is a logical basis for affording Technician licensees entry-level HF privileges.

Under the ARRL plan, Technicians would have telegraphy and data privileges on 3.55-3.7 MHz, 7.05-7.125 MHz and 21.05-21.20 MHz at 100 W output and on 28.05-28.3 MHz at 50 W output. The League wants the FCC to provide HF phone and image privileges to Technicians on 3.9-4.0 MHz, 7.2-7.3 MHz and 21.35-21.45 MHz at 100 W output, and on 28.3-28.5 MHz at 50 W.

The time is right to take a look at the operating privileges of Amateur Radio license classes, the ARRL said in its filing, "because the entry-level license class is demonstrably neither attractive to newcomers nor encouraging in terms of retaining the interest of license holders."

To back up its assertions, the League pointed to surveys it conducted in 1992 and 2003. Nearly half of the licensees responding in the latter poll indicated that they were not currently active in Amateur Radio-up 30 percent from the earlier survey. "The number of inactive Technician class licensees is 46 percent," the ARRL noted, adding that more than a quarter of Technicians responding in 2003 said they'd never even been on the air.

o Ground controllers are continuing efforts to get the Student Space Exploration and Technology Initiative (SSETI) Express satellite back in working order. The spacecraft, sent aloft from Russia October 27, went silent after about five orbits. Telemetry has indicated power problems. "Due to a failure in the electrical power system on board, the spacecraft is inoperable and mission control is on standby," SSETI Express Project Manager Neil Melville said last week. "There is a small but significant possibility of recovery, the likelihood of which is being ascertained by ongoing testing." The European Space Agency (ESA) and the SSETI Association are asking radio amateurs around the world to check for signals on 437.250 MHz at appropriate pass times. These signals may be short bursts of 9k6 data every 18 seconds or bursts of pulse telemetry every 30 seconds. Melville said the team remains "hopeful and vigilant."

(Excerpts from the American Radio Relay League's www.arrl.org web site)

black line

Return to table of contents

Another Low Power Proposal

By Tom Smith

The FCC is seeking comments on a petition proposing the creation of low power station on the AM band. This petition is in response to a petition by Fred Baumgartner for the creation of a low power AM service on the extended AM band (1610-1700 kHz). Baumgartner proposed a 100-watt service with a short antenna and with fixed distance separations from both existing full power stations and other LPAM stations.

The new petition is on behalf of five groups or persons. They are The Amherst Alliance of Michigan, The LPAM Network of Maine; The Michigan Music is World Class! Campaign, Nickolaus Leggett and Don Schellhardt.

In their petition, the group proposed that LPAM stations could not be owned by established broadcasters, an ownership limit of 12 LPAM stations, commercial operation allowed, owners live within 25 miles of one of their stations, no requirement that owners be a established non-profit group like in LPFM, with business and individual ownership allowed, and exemption from auctions.

The petition group was able to agree on the ownership and other non technical standards, but they did not present a final proposal for technical standards. The LPAM Network proposes a 100-watt power limit with the spacing-planning factor based on a 1000-watt output. The other groups proposed three power limits, 1 to 10 watts in large urban areas, 100 watts in smaller urban areas and 101 to 250 watts in rural areas. The planning factor for channel spacing would be five times the transmitter power.

The main point of the technical part of the petition was that the spacing guidelines in the Baumgartner petition were overly restrictive. With the ownership issues, they disagreed with Baumgartner's request that the service be non-commercial and built their case on the consolidation of the broadcast industry with the large ownership of station by one entity.

The Docket number is RM-11287 with comments on the petition due on November 21st.

From www.fcc.gov, with additional information from www.rwonline.com

black line

Return to table of contents

Leadership

Thanks to Chapter 56

Read this and imagine four people in your life.

ONE: High in task accomplishment, low in interper sonal skills. - Aggressive.

TWO: Low in task accomplishment, high in interpersonal skills. - Passive. THREE: Low in task accomplishment, low in interpersonal skills. - Inert.

FOUR: High in task accomplishment, high in interpersonal skills. - Assertive.

Who are you in this description?

Who, of the people of these characteristics, do you work with?

Assertive behaviors are the middle ground between the aggressive and passive.

Note that "inert" is not the lower ground. Certainly an inert person will not be assertive. They're not even on the map in our example here, but, they're out there.

Groups can have similar qualities. Some safety committees have been known to be paralyzed because one member cannot make a decision and create unity with the group, so the group is dragged down, decisionless.

One manager told me his company works towards the "lowest common denominator."

(Now, you're not permitted to continue this article until you read and understand the above paragraph. Please read it again.)

What this means, is that when challenged, the company will only work as high as the group agrees they can, not the height that can be achieved through the courage and thoughts of those who rise to the challenge.

The inert people rule. Didn't do the homework? That opinion counts as much as that of the person who did it twice. Didn't really understand the assignment? Those in the group who digested it and analyzed it for hours need to make sure they do not make the inert person feel inadequate when that person says: "the dog ate it."

While politically correct perhaps, the truth is, such governing of decision-making by awaiting the determination of the lowest common denominator, stinks.

Can you imagine driving a car, and relying on doing what would not make other drivers feel inadequate? You would not want to hurt their feelings by making a maneuver before they were prepared...so...crash!

Just think....that's Standard Operating Procedure for some, and maybe it's as such for departments at your station. They crash as well, however silently.

If seeking the lowest common denominator is not what you want in your job, there are a two analytical insights you can make, and two steps you can take.

1) Equipment skills. How are your equipment skills?

In order to be a heavy hitter with task accomplishment you have to know your equipment, operational techniques, and be able to do it right the first time. Have you reviewed and comprehended all the instruction and operations materials for your equipment? You can't operate equipment as well as it can be operated when your operational knowledge is simply guesswork.

2) Interpersonal skills. How effective a communicator are you? Most people are not as effective as they think. They don't know this, as others with limited communication ability do not tell them. They all become part of the formula for the lowest common denominator.

1) If you aren't the best equipment operator at your workplace, figure that out, then research and practice.

2) If you don't know your interpersonal communication skill level, make a list of 6 coworkers and 4 managers and ask them. They'll tell you. Promise yourself you'll listen, and heed their good advice.

Once you are truly aware of your levels, you can start to understand how assertive you can be, and how acceptable to your coworkers your assertions are.

None of this is easy, and none of it will guarantee to make you popular with your coworkers, at first.

But, in time, you will be the "go-to" person because you've mastered your work. You'll be the bridge between the concept of a task and being able to perform all the functions to get the task completed. It's a path on which there will be errors, so perhaps we should add "self evaluation" to all of this. Your mistakes, once corrected, will become optimized performance.

You'll have earned your way into leadership.

Then when you assert yourself, you'll be the one that has what it takes.

Contact information,

ENG Safety Memo:
Toll-free: 1-87-SAFE-6090
Phone: 781-383-6090
Fax: 781-394-0762
e-mail: safety@engsafety.com
www.engsafety.com

black line

Return to table of contents

Humor

The Club Scene

black line

LONG TIME...
Submitted By Kevin Rupert
Thanks to Chapter 24

You know you have been a broadcast engineer for a long time when...

  • Unlike most listeners, you turn up the volume when the DJ comes on and down when the song starts.
  • The tips of your thumbs still have grooves from cleaning quad heads.
  • You think you can tweak the color balance of things that you see on the street.
  • Your excuse for not wearing a tie is that you are afraid it will be caught in a tape machine.
  • You wish you could turn down the enhancement on your own skin tones.
  • You have a TV or radio in your house that you consider your official "demod".
  • You are old enough to know that "Kilocycles" has nothing to do with Harley Davidson.
  • You can say "El-Tee, Ar-Tee" like its one word.
  • When someone says, "Hit the plates," you don't think of breaking dishes.

Can you think of any more? Let us know!

black line

Return to table of contents

Etc.

Newsletter Committee

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

Garneth M. Harris

Newsletter archives are available online.

Visit www.smpte-sbe48.org/oldnews for an index of newsletter back issues.
Note: Old newsletters may contain outdated information, web links or email addresses. News archives are not updated when relevant information changes.

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.