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A monthly newsletter by Society of Broadcast Engineers Chapter 48

December 1998

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The November Meeting
1998 SBE / SMPTE / SCTE Meeting Schedule
SMPTE Administrative Report
SBE's Short Circuits
Chapter 48 Photo Gallery
Monthly HAMnet Brings SBE to Remote Areas
Important info regarding the Telex "Coach's Intercom System"
Hunting for Pirates
News and Views
You Might Be An Engineers Wife If...
Experts Warn Of Threat From 100GB Bug
Signs That You Are No Longer A Kid

The November Meeting

Our combined SBE/SMPTE meeting was held on Thursday, November 19, 1998 at the National Digital Television Center. As our guest speaker was not able to attend until later in the day, we scheduled the meeting for 6:00 pm.

At shortly after six, we convened in the second floor conference room. SBE chapter 48 secretary/treasurer Bill Harris called the meeting to order. The first order of business was SBE chapter nominations and elections of officers for the coming year. Eric Schultz was nominated and elected as chapter chair, and Bill Harris will continue to serve as secretary/treasurer. As no vice- chairman/program chairman was elected, the elected officers will coordinate programs for the year's meetings.

There followed quite a bit of discussion concerning the situation at Lookout Mountain. If you are not up to speed on this issue, there is a movement underway to build a tall tower to accomodate both TV transmitters which are HDTV capable, and a number of FM broadcasters as well. The idea is to consolidate many facilities and reduce the total number of towers. The timetable on this new tower is driven to a great extent by the DTV deadlines set by the FCC. As of this writing, the large combined television antenna design is quite a bit more advanced than the FM antenna design. Jack Lambiotte of Jacor's KRFX and KBPI is organizing a work group to coordinate the FM system design to insure the radio broadcaster's needs are met in the new facility. You can contact Jack at 303-893-8500.

Following this discussion, Bill Harris introduced Mr. Al Jason of CMBE, Incorporated. Al's presentation was "Real Coverage Mapping". This company's approach to determining the coverage of FM and TV transmitters involves a sophisticated combination of computer power and specially designed reception systems in a mobile environment. By using a calibrated receiving antenna mounted on a vehicle, this approach is used to gather data at timed intervals as the operator drives the streets of interest throughout a metro area. The data gathered can then be used to construct computerized maps that show the actual received signal levels in the survey area.

Al's presentation created quite a bit of discussion as the attendees turned to the pizza and cold drinks provided compliments of TCI.

We'll be taking December off, no meeting, enjoy your Holidays! Our next meeting is scheduled for January 20, 1999 as Dennis Roundtree from Industrial Power Systems discusses backup power systems.

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1998/1999 SBE / SMPTE Meeting Schedule

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

1999 Schedule

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

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

14 July - World Famous Annual Picnic on Lookout Mountain.

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SMPTE Administrative Report - November 1998

SMPTE world-wide membership is in excess of 8000. The Rocky Mountain Chapter sports 136 active members. If you have wondered how this compares with other chapters; the largest chapter is Los Angeles at 1550, San Francisco at 560, while Russia has 92 members.

SMPTE is keenly interested in developing student affiliations through student chapters. The notion of training students who will eventually enter the industry was a dominant theme at the recent technical conference.

As opposed to the usual technical formats of SMPTE meetings, student chapter meetings should provide broad exposure to the industry with a mix of technical, social, and presentations by local industry leaders. If any of the Rocky Mountain membership is interested in facilitating a local student chapter, please contact Rome Chelsi at 303.428.8300.

Member support of the last film conference held in conjunction with Show Biz Expo was disappointing. The conference generated substantial losses placing future film only conferences in jeopardy. The next conference is scheduled for June 1999 again in conjunction with Show Biz Expo.

The 1999 fall technical conference was scheduled for November 20 through November 23 at the Marriott City Center in New York City.

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SBE's Short Circuits

News from the National Office


The 1998 SBE National Meeting was held October 27-29 in conjunction with Chapter 16's Electronic Media Expo in Bellevue, WA. More than 2,000 attendees and exhibitor personnel took part. The convention included two days of technical papers, more than 200 exhibit booths and the Ennes Workshops. Participants could also attend the SBE National Awards Dinner and the fall meeting of the national Board of Directors. Craig Tanner, Executive Director of the Advanced Television Systems Committee in Washington, D.C., served as keynote speaker at the Awards Dinner. Terry Baun was recognized with the SBE Fellow Award during the dinner. Leonard Charles was named Broadcast Engineer of the Year and Richard Farquhar, Educator of The Year.


SBE President Ed Miller presided over the October 27th meeting of the SBE Board of Directors in Bellevue, WA. The Board approved the National SBE budget for 1999. Finance Committee Chairman Bob Hess reported that the budget includes a 2% increase in revenue and a 1% increase in expenses. Regular Member dues will remain the same for the eighth year.

The Board authorized the Publications Committee to proceed with plans to develop a new Chief Operators Handbook. Release is expected for early 1999. The Board authorized computer network, hardware and software upgrades for the National Office. Funds will come from long-term savings.

The Board also approved expanding the scope of the electronic newsletter, "Short Circuits". Beginning with the January 1999 issue, it will be sent to all members whose e-mail addresses are in the National Office database. Short Circuits provides information on SBE programs and activities in between issues of the quarterly THE SIGNAL. The new service will enhance the flow of information to many of our members.

The Board accepted the invitation of Chapter 24 in Madison, Wisconsin and the Broadcasters Clinic to host the 1999 National Meeting. Locations for the National Meeting were also tentatively scheduled for 2000 and 2001. Following approval by those host chapters, locations for those years will be announced.


Chapters are reminded to get in all of their chapter meeting reports for this year by December 31, 1998. Those chapters who have documented at least five meetings during 1998 will be eligible for the annual rebate, paid on June 1, 1999. Chapter reports, which include a brief description of the meeting and attendance list, should be mailed, faxed or e-mailed to Teresa Ransdell, Membership Coordinator at the SBE National Office.

The SBE Board has endorsed National Groundhog Job Shadow Day, February 2, 1999. Sponsored in part by "America's Promise, The Alliance For Youth,"; and chaired by USA Ret. General Colin Powell, National Goundhog Job Shadow Day will enable hundreds of thousands of students to participate in the second annual event that gives students a close-up look at how the skills they learn in school are put into action in the workplace. SBE Members are encouraged to participate by having one student shadow them during the work day on February 2. Local Junior Achievement offices will be facilitating the student placements. More information on how to participate will follow in the December "Short Circuits".


There will be four 10-day periods when SBE Certification exams will be offered in local chapters during 1999. Certification candidates will have more flexibility in choosing when to take an exam. Exams can also be taken during the 1999 NAB Convention in Las Vegas. For more information about SBE Certification, see your Chapter Certification Chair or contact Linda Godby- Emerick, Certification Director at the SBE National Office at (317) 253-1640 or to:

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Chapter 48 Photo Gallery

If you have any old photos of Chapter 48 events, we can put them into an electronic "photo gallery" on the Chapter 48 Web Page. Send your photos, with a brief description to:

Eric Schultz
National Digital Television Center
4100 E. Dry Creek Road
Littleton, CO 80122

If you would like your photos back, please send along a self-addressed stamped envelope.

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Monthly HAMnet Brings Sbe to Remote Areas

At 20:00 EST, 0000 GMT, on the second Sunday of each month, SBE Chapter 73 takes to 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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Important info regarding the Telex "Coach's Intercom System" and possible interference to broadcasters.

Bill Ruck, San Francisco

The NFL has started using a Telex coach's intercom system at both 3Com and Oakland Colleseum that uses 32 narrowband channels scattered from TV channel 25 through TV channel 61. I do have the list of frequencies used here but have been asked to keep them confidential. If you want a copy for your own reference, please let me know.

The NFL Coach system is also being marketed by Telex to the high school and college football marketplace, so the problem will only get worse.

The SBE is trying to pressure Telex and the NFL to stop using this unlicensed (and unlicenseable) Part 74 system. If necessary, the FCC will become involved. We need to know if ANYONE has interference at football games. The system is narrow band but digitally scrambled. It has been described as "sounding like noise".

It is extremely important for ANY situations involving the NFL intercom system be carefully and completely recorded/noted. If any local station experiences any difficulties at NFL games this year, please let me know the impacted mic's data (frequency and date/game) and any other details you can give me. I will forward this to SBE.

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Hunting for Pirates

From the Chapter 70 Newsletter

OK, the feedback says that a lot of you really don't know how Krieger's 3P (Perennial Pain to Pirates) low-tech approach to pirate hunting works. SO... since I have now sorta retired, I will share with all the members who give the secret handshake and promise not to tell. Have all the infidels left the cyber-clubhouse? Ah-ha... there's a scurvy dog hanging on at a Coffee House connection. Out with you! There....that's better. We've purged all the dangerous radicals from the system.

The first rule of Pirate hunting think like a Pirate!! (I have been thoroughly trained in this, by.uh...the CIA, uh yeah.) The hardware required is a 20 to 100 dB step attenuator. These are easily obtainable from CATV suppliers or surplus sources. You will also need a 3' piece of PREMIUM coax - RG-58 or 59 will work. Impedance is not important as long as it has a high shield percentage (90% or better). Terminate one end with a Motorola style pin connector and the other to suit your attenuator. Now simply unplug the car antenna from the radio (On some cars this ain't so simple!) and insert the attenuator in the line. You may need an additional jumper to get the switch out where you can fiddle with it while you drive. The idea is to be able to switch in more or less attenuation as you go. Now, train yourself how to do this by going out to one of the areas where some of the weaker non-coms are on the air. Try to forget where the stations really are and try to find them by driving in concentric circles. If you don't know the turf - GET A MAP...and get familiar with it before you start. Now we're ready to start.

Once you can hear the station, switch in enough loss to get near the noise floor of the radio - nice 'n hissy. Now drive - is the signal getting stronger or weaker? If it's getting weaker, do a 180 turn. At some point, the signal will peak out. The whole trick is to add more loss as it does so you can use the noise floor as a level indicator. You have to keep track mentally, but you'll get the knack pretty quickly. (My 14 year old son did.) Anyway, once you pass through the peak, do a 180 and go back to it and turn right (easier than turning left). Repeat the process from the top. You will now find yourself travelling in an ever-tightening spiral. Eventually, you'll have all the loss you've got kicked in and you'll have it down to less than a block. To buy even more margin (so important with today's modern, high- powered Pirates) tune off by one channel and drive slooow. You can get within a few 100' this way. The rest is gumshoe work (on foot) - just look for the antenna! (Yup - even on top of a 150' building.) In the unlikely event the Pirate has cleverly hidden the antenna, you can use a walkman style radio that will overload like hell as you get really close. This is the fun can dress in clever disguises and peer in the window, if you feel bold! If anyone asks you what you're doing say " vewwey, vewwey quiet..I'm hunting piwates". If this seems too indiscreet, mutter something about looking for "the shelter" ask them for a buck.

This process sounds crude and time consuming, but it is actually VERY effective - much better than directional antennas or FI meters (doesn't beat a Doppler though). With a little practice and some savvy, you should be able to nail them within 20 minutes. That's it. Though, once you've found them, all the fun is gone out of it like stale gum. Do with the info what you will.

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News and Views

Clay Freinwald, Seattle Chapter 16

Will there be an IBOC or Digital FM? We are all wondering. Certainly the proponents are busy. USADR has petitioned the FCC for an IBOC/DAB Standard. They've also apparently inked a deal with Shively for the development of combiner equipment for the transmission of FM Digital. Meanwhile Lucent (one of the other IBOC proponents) has announced that they will be testing their system in fifteen different markets. For those of you that attended the NAB Radio show here in Seattle, you no doubt got your ears full of some of the proponents' hopes and wishes. Sounds sorta like the Chicken and egg situation that presently exists in TV. But at least a bunch of TV Set makers have announced that they are jumping into the fray. The question is whether or not there will actually be any IBOC Radios made. Meanwhile, what may become our first true Digital Radio, CD Radio, who is about to start broadcasting to us from overhead, has been busy raising the cash necessary to make it all happen. These folks are also going to require a new radio to receive their transmissions. The makers of all of this receiving equipment are probably wondering if they can really pull off convincing Joe Consumer that he should buy all this equipment. If they can, it will, for them, be a dream of major proportions.

The FCC has been (finally) getting back into the enforcement business and doing so in style, I might add. In the last thirteen months the Commish has shut down some 318 Pirate Radio Stations. Many of us had feared that the FCC we knew had gone for good and that the foxes were about to rule the hen house. Apparently those that complained to their representatives did some good for the picture has certainly taken a turn for the better. Enforcement, or the re-discovery of same, is not just limited to the Broadcast Bands. The FCC has been on the move on the other bands as well. If you'd like to read an interesting story look up the Oct. 7th FCC release involving a situation in Palm Bay, Florida. In this case a VHF Pirate thought he'd interfere with the local Police Radio system on 154.6 MHz. He got nailed... and fined 2500 Bucks.

What's happening at the FCC was recently announced by Chairman Kennard: the creation of two new bureaus, Enforcement and Public Information. This change will require approval of congress, which has got to be under considerable pressure from industry to approve it. The Chairman hopes to have this change in place by next year.

Remember back in the good old DOS days when you had a key on your keyboard that was called PRNT SCRN? You pushed the key and your printer printed out a snapshot of what was on the screen. With the advent of Windows and graphical everything the key, somehow, became a relic of the past. Well, now, there is a nifty piece of software that restores the function. It's called Screen Shot Deluxe... about 30 Bucks from Broderbund.

The test results of over the air testing of DTV in Chicago are in... looks like DTV will work there. With the table top flat terrain in the windy city I would hope so. One highlight was the issue of antennas.... they are a lot more critical to adjust. Just drive around and look at TV antennas sometime. Granted, a lot of folks are now on cable but a lot are using antennas installed in rather hap-hazard ways. Hmmm... a new industry... installing TV antennas... what a concept! The latest issue of Popular Science has an interesting article about DTV that you should read.

DG Systems of San Francisco, the largest electronic distributor of spots and music to Radio stations with some 6100 stations on line, recently purchased DCI of Vancouver, B.C., who has some 4900 stations in their network.

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By Judy Hebert, Wife of former NW Broadcast Engineer, Dave Hebert.
Submitted by Clay Freinwald, Chapter 16

Your kitchen table has soldering iron burns on it.

You have made more trips to the transmitter site than the General Manager has.

You can find the correct value of a resistor from the box on the workbench.

Your kids bring home broken toys because their dad can fix anything.

You have served the exact same plate of food for three nights because he was not home to eat it.

Your husband has more screwdrivers and tweakers in his pocket than credit cards.

You are in a romantic mood and his eyes glaze over as he tells you about a shunt fed antenna.

Your husband's idea of high society is the SBE meeting.

You get a 3:00 AM call from the talking remote control box at the transmitter saying that "something is wrong with me."

Your husband spends all day at the hamfest turning knobs like a safecracker.

The whole family has Christmas dinner at the transmitter with dad.

You fellas are welcome to share this with your wives. Drop me a note and let me know if you come up with some jewels to expand this list.

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Experts Warn Of Threat From 100GB Bug

Bob Stroupe, C.E., KKBQ

Firebringer News Service (FBNS) - Experts warned today of a new and deadly threat to our beleaguered civilization: the 100GB Bug.

As most people know, McDonald's restaurant signs show the number of hamburgers the giant chain has sold. That number now stands at 99 billion burgers, or 99 Gigaburgers (GB). Within months or even weeks, that number will roll over to 100GB. McDonald's signs, however, were designed years ago, when the prospect of selling one hundred billion hamburgers seemed unthinkably remote. So the signs have only two decimal places.

This means that, after the sale of the 100 billionth burger, McDonald's signs will read "00 Billion Burgers Sold." This, experts predict, will convince the public that, in over thirty years, no McDonald's hamburgers have ever in fact been sold, causing a complete collapse of consumer confidence in McDonald's products.

The ensuing catastrophic drop in sales is seen as almost certain to force the already-troubled company into bankruptcy. This, in turn, will push the teetering American economy over the brink, which, finally, will complete the total devastation of the global economy, ending civilization as we know it, and forcing us all to live on beetles.

"The people who know -- the sign-makers -- are really scared of 100GB," one expert said. "I don't know about you, but I'm digging up a copy of THE FIELD GUIDE TO NORTH AMERICAN INSECTS and heading for the hills."

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Signs That You Are No Longer A Kid

Mark Durenberger

Your back goes out more than you do
You quit trying to hold your stomach in, no matter who walks into the room
You buy a compass for the dash of your car
You are proud of your lawn mower
Your best friend is legally dating someone half their age
Your arms are almost too short to read the newspaper
You sing along with the elevator music
You would rather go to work than stay home sick
You constantly talk about the price of gasoline
You enjoy hearing about other people's operations
You consider coffee one of the most important things in life
You make an appointment to see the dentist
You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge
Neighbors borrow your tools
People call at 9 p and ask, "Did I wake you ?"
You have a dream about prunes
You answer a question with, "Because I said so!"
You send money to PBS
You take a metal detector to the beach
You wear black socks with sandals
You know what the word "equity" means
You can't remember the last time you laid on the floor to watch television
You talk about "good grass" and you're referring to someone's lawn
You get into a heated argument about pension plans
You can go bowling without drinking
You have a party and the neighbors don't even realize it

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Society of Broadcast Engineers
Chapter 48

2950 South Birch Street
Denver, Colorado 80222

SBE Officers

Eric Schultz (303)486-3694

Bill Harris (303) 756-4843

Certification Chairman
Fred Baumgartner (303) 486-3946

SMPTE Officers

Fred Baumgartner (303) 486-3946

Rick Craddock (719) 634-2844

Myron Olinger
Dick Phannenstiel
George Sollenberger

SMPTE Govenor (National Liason)
Rome Chelsi

Newsletter Committee

Bill Harris.......(303)756-4843 email:
Garneth M. Harris..(303)756-4843
Andre' Smith.......(303)556-3549 email:

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