A monthly newsletter by Society of Broadcast Engineers Chapter 48

December 1999


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Contents

The November Meeting
Chapter 48's Next Meeting
Upcoming Meetings And Happenings
Millennium Project Ticks Down Towards Conclusion
SMPTE 141st Technical Conference
Certification Pays!
Job Postings
Some Recommended Reading Material..
FCC Concludes First Broadcast Auction
News From Pennsylvania Association Of Broadcasters
FCC Issues Study On VSB Vs. CODFM
Broadcasters Clinic Highlights
Amateur Radio News
News and Views
Standards?
Dear Dad
Planes
Anagrams
Etc.

The November Meeting

by Rome Chelsi

A Great Gathering

KCNC News 4, Denver kindly hosted The Rocky Mountain SMPTE Chapter and Section 48 of the Society of Broadcast Engineers industry "Careers Night". The evening found 80 students from Auraria Campus, Brighton Charter Schools, ITT Technical College, AIMs Community college, various high schools, and instructors in attendance. This program is intended to familiarize area college and high school students with careers in fields related to broadcast engineering.

Moderated by: Scott Barella and Doug Houston of KCNC speakers included:

Bill Harris, Director of Engineering AM/FM Stations in Denver, provided us with insight into the aspects of radio station engineering and responsibilities from small stations to large group ownership stations.

Scott Barella, KCNC Chief Engineer, discussed various aspects of the role of television engineering and qualifications for positions within his operation at KCNC

Doug Houston, KCNC Operations Manager, provided insight into television station operations, the various aspects of running a station and qualifications for various disciplines.

Rome Chelsi, SMPTE Section Chairman, provided an overview of the manufacturing sector in the television industry and the role of product managers, as well as activities of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers

Fred Baumgartner, AT&T Broadband and Internet Services, & SBE Chapter 48 Certification Chairman, gave a presentation on the Society of Broadcast Engineers' Certification Program.

A question and answer panel discussion, moderated by Eric Schultz (AT&T Broadband services engineering & SBE Chapter 48 Chairman) followed the formal presentations. KCNC provided the students with a studio tour to cap off the evening.

Categorically by the response we received afterwards, the program was a tremendous success. It was unfortunate that we had to turn away almost 100 additional students. We thank KCNC for providing facilities and Philips Video Systems for providing refreshments.

Be sure to mark your calendar for Wednesday, December 15 when the good folks at Itelco host an evening event with "heavy refreshments". Complete details appear in this letter.

See you there!

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Chapter 48's Next Meeting

Itelco is pleased to welcome SBE members to the December 15th. meeting to be held in our facility located at:
7575 W. 103rd Avenue
Suite 110
Westminster, CO
tel: 303-464-8000

We will provide "heavy" refreshments so attendees don't need to eat before the meeting.

We will do an in depth Powerpoint presentation on digital (8-VSB) exciter technology. The presentation will deal with theory and practical aspects of the device.

We will then move to the final test area for a demonstration of an operational 40 kW peak/20 kW average IOT transmitter. The transmitter is equipped with analog and digital exciters. We will show both NTSC and DTV characteristics.

Chris Nolan from Tektronix will be on site demonstrating the model RFA 300 8-VSB Analyzer.

We plan a full evening of demonstration, discussion and munching.

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Upcoming Meetings And Happenings

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

January 19, 2000 DTV Test Equipment, Chris Noland, Tektronix- 6:30PM, KUSA

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

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

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Millennium Project Ticks Down Towards Conclusion

The next time you're reminded of the continuing countdown to the year 2000, remember that the clock is also ticking off the time remaining for you to participate in the Millennium Certification Project. For the first and only time, SBE is offering engineers with lapsed certifications the opportunity to have those certifications restored without taking a test. If your career and interests have kept you current in broadcast technology over the past several years, your SBE certification CAN be restored to you...but only if you act before midnight on December 31st! Contact Linda Godby-Emerick, Certification Director, for more details (lgodby@sbe.org ), or go to the SBE web page (www.sbe.org) to read all about it. All it takes is a little effort on your part-but you have to act before 1999 is over! Shouldn't you care as much about your career as about that silly calendar in your computer?

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SMPTE 141st Technical Conference
- New York City

Rome Chelsi - Section Chairman

If one were to categorize one aspect of the conference it could be summed up by the bar tab at one of the local eateries. One glass of champagne and one glass of Merlot - $28.00. I love New York.

The conference itself was quite rewarding. Clearly the DTV transition is taking place, albeit in pockets of the country. It will be interesting to watch the inevitable shake out of ATSC formats over the next couple of years. The papers were too numerous to mention, here is a sample of the presentations.

NHK presented a paper on the continuing development of a high sensitivity HDTV camera intended for use in astrophysics. The trick is overcoming noise when shooting dark objects. The progress was nothing short of stunning. The camera was deployed at the Subaru telescope in Hawaii with live broadcast to Japan. The intent is to eventually deploy the technology to the international space station.

Telestream. These are the folks that invented a way to send media packets over the Internet and telco services. The are working on a "Media Transfer Protocol" which the hope will become the interchange standard for servers. At this time, MTP is a proprietary standard that Telestream hopes to move to a SMPTE practice. Rex Furburch is the contact at Telestream on this project.

The Federal Government is not sitting still either. They have officially changed their nomenclature from Video to the "Initiative for Motion Imagery". In a nutshell, all devices utilized by the government are to be equipped with SDI interfaces. The intent is to standardize production on 720P and MPEG2 (MPEG4 when it becomes a reality) as the transmission standard. Steve Long of the DOD presented some interesting footage from Kosovo emphasizing the military's interest in "battlespace awareness".

NASA presented uses of DTV emphasizing the move from 259M to 720P. They provided a demonstration of a wonderful low cost test chart. The new $20.00 bill. If you focus on the engraving just below Andrew's right shoulder you would be amazed at the distortions caused by interlace vs. progressive scanning devices.

The SMPTE Task Force for the Harmonization of Standards for the Exchange of Program Material as Bit Streams (TFHS) is moving to standards. TFHS provides a content model for packages which includes: source clips (audio/video), a Content Item or master set of clips, and an edited composition of several clips. Beyond the material itself metadata or descriptors of the material is included. The work is intended to eventually provide a software developer's kit which interested parties can utilize when content cross platform interchange will be a factor. For further information check out the SMPTE WEB site for working group W25.

We all watch television and some of us might, at some point purchase DTV receivers (except in Jefferson County). Jeff Sampsell of Sharp Laboratories provided some enlightening data. A 27" NTSC receiver has a viewing sweet spot of 8.5 feet. This is the same as for a 16 x 9, 70" diagonal 1080i monitor. Beyond 8.5 feet most folks cannot see the difference in resolution between an NTSC and 1080i picture. Oh by the way, sitting closer improves apparent resolution, but also reveals artifacts. I may just hang on to my 35" ProScan for a while.

IEEE 1394 is moving very quickly into the server environment. For those of you interested in keeping abreast of the technology the web site is: 1394TA.com and IEEE.org.

SMPTE, through working groups, is looking into the issues of transmitting video information over various technologies; SONET/SDH, DWDM, etc. As some of you have experienced the problem is not insignificant as data rates, header information, and synchronization schemes for teleco traffic do not match video transmission rates. Steve Storozum of Video Products Group provided an enlightening summary of the issues. If you would like a copy of the paper please contact Steve at Video Products Group.

NEWS and Asset Management. One of the most informative papers was presented by CNN, Atlanta. The objective is to create a format independent server based network for news footage. In an ideal world, this process eliminates the need for multiple copies of tapes utilized by the various departments of the organization. The key to the deployment is a successful application of metadata, in CNN's parlance this is proprietary textual information associated with the content. CNN has in operation a system based on the Virage logging software application which provides a WEB based browser providing access to material from all workstations. Very sophisticated and operational for about a year. presenters were Kevin Ivey, CNN New Media and Carlos Montalvo, Virage

New Technology. Xytrex of San Jose, CA introduced their latest low cost, remote MPEG monitoring system designed for the DVB/ATSC network applications. Information is at: www.xyratex.com/mpeg.

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Certification Pays!

It's a FACT! The annual salary survey conducted by BE Radio <http://www.beradio.com/> magazine proves that engineers who are certified by the SBE on average make more money than those who aren't. 21% more according to the survey. So contact our Certification Chairman Fred Baumgartner for more information on become certified.

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Job Postings

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

Rome Chelsi
ROMEC@compuserve.com

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Some Recommended Reading Material..

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

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

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FCC Concludes First Broadcast Auction

By Tom Smith, Chapter 24

The FCC concluded its first auction of broadcast licenses on October 8, 1999. This auction was the twenty-fifth auction that the FCC has conducted to award licenses in various services. The broadcast auction started on September 28th and went 35 rounds. The final amount that the FCC will collect from the bidding is $57,820,350. The bids totaled $68,781,900, but many bidders were able to lower the final amount paid to the FCC by the use of bidding credits. Bidders who held no other media interests or were businesses grossing under an amount set by the FCC were able to deduct up to a 35% credit from their final payment. Auction revenue was also reduced by last minute settlements between applicants and some applicants dropping out. Those applicants settled or dropped out to avoid paying large amounts for the licenses in the auction. By law, if the particular license is not contested by two or more applicants, it cannot be auctioned.

Only 12 of the 28 TV licenses went to auction, with 11 out of the 80 low power TV also going to auction. In the FM band 94 of 144 licenses went to auction, but only 1 out of 7 FM translator licenses went to auction. In the AM band, there were 6 that were supposed to be auctioned, but in the end none went for auction. The big winner in the TV band was the Winstar Broadcasting Corporation which was the winning bidder of 5 out of the 12 licenses up for bid. They also held the highest and lowest bids.

The highest LPTV bid was for Elizabeth, New York at $842,400 after credits. The highest FM bid was $5,055,000 for Oro Valley, AZ and the lowest bid was $10,400 after credit on a $16,000 bid for Belle Fourche, SD. The lone FM translator bid was for $1,900.

In an article in BROADCASTING AND CABLE, there were quotes from a number of brokers stating that the bids and construction costs of these licenses were higher than the value of stations in similar markets.

When and how they will conduct future auctions for broadcast licenses will no doubt be known in the near future due the success of the first one. From FCC Releases (<http://www.fcc.gov/>) and BROADCASTING AND CABLE

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News From Pennsylvania Association Of Broadcasters

By Jim Dorrence, Chapter 18

PAB's Engineering Conference in October spotlighted speakers talking on eight subjects which broadcasters need to address. This is one:

Many broadcast operations are swinging into leasing their towers for support of communication antennas. This is a dynamic growth area for our industry. A number of stations are deriving more than 50% of their revenue from this source. Tower strength, OSHA, FAA, and site safety are among the many areas to check into before decisions are implemented. Some organizations are getting out of the tower ownership business completely and just renting space at their transmission sites. Radio frequency radiation can be dangerous to one's health. The frequency involved is a key factor, as is the transmitted power and distance from the radiator, and exposure time. At frequencies above 30 MHz, the problem rises as the transmitting frequency rises. At microwave frequencies, the speed of the transmitted wave affects body parts and fluids. If a person is in the presence of an RF device and feels something different in one's head or other part of the body, they should cease transmission or move away from the antenna. This includes hand-held radio telephones. Standards have been established by OSHA.

With the proliferation of new towers around the country for cellular, PCS, mobile and other antennas, a number of municipalities are responding to citizen protests and are restricting new construction, such as limiting height fo 35'. This has always been a concern to broadcasters, but the problem is growing. Cases are being won, and our speaker explained how to go about working with a community to overcome objections. Tact is a valuable asset in negotiations. Are you aware that simply climbing your own tower to replace a tower light can result in a fine of $30,000? Also, OSHA is now requiring toweer workers to wear a full body harness. The standard belt is no longer acceptable. Does your insurance policy provide full replacement cost for a loss, or only present value? The difference can be substantial when your station suffers a loss. Is there a 48-hour deductible before insurance kicks in when you have a service interruption? That cost can be substantial. This may be a good time to sit down with your insurance specialist to see just how much protection you have and whether it should be improved.

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FCC Issues Study On VSB Vs. CODFM

By Tom Smith, Madison WI Chapter

The FCC has issued an analysis of Sinclair Broadcasting Groups tests comparing the VSB versus COFDM modulation systems for the transmission of digital TV. The Office of Engineering and Technology did the report. The OET viewed a number of tests conducted by Sinclair and sought the views of others broadcast groups, including the major networks. Some of the interviewees had seen the Sinclair tests and others had done their own reception tests. Also discussed was a report by Oak Technology who makes DVB-T chipsets, as well as reception information from the original DTV tests and a paper on reception tests by Gary Sgrignola of Zenith. In discussions with both TV and broadcast equipment manufacturers, the FCC concluded that reasonable solutions to the multipath problems were being developed. The FCC's description of the Sinclair tests were very similar to those in many of the trade magazines. In fact, the FCC analyzed many of the press reports. Their conclusions were that there were advantages and disadvantages to both the VSB and the COFDM systems, but in the end there were not enough benefits in the COFDM system to justify the cost of making a revision. The OET recommended that the VSB standard be retained. From FCC Releases (<http://www.fcc.gov/>)

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Broadcasters Clinic Highlights

By Kevin Ruppert

Don Borchert reports that the number of people attending this years Broadcasters Clinic was the most ever, and was over 200. The Clinic also had the highest number of exhibitors in its history at 83. The annual National Meeting of the SBE was held in conjunction with the Clinic. The National Meeting included the fall Board of Director's Meeting, annual SBE Fellows Breakfast, Certification Committee Meeting, Annual Membership Meeting and the National Awards Reception and Dinner.

The Awards Dinner, which was held on Wednesday night, included awards presented to Chapter 24 for Best Frequency Coordination Program, headed by Tom Smith, Best Technical Article by a member to Neal Mc Lain, and Best Chapter Newsletter, editor Mike Norton (tied with Chapter 124). Linda Godby-Emerick, Certification Director of the National SBE office, was presented with the first National Wulliman Award for service to the SBE Certification program. There was plenty of traffic and interest at the booth. The Board of Officers of Chapter 24 would like to thank everyone who helped with the SBE events this year. I would also like to thank Don Borchert and Past Chair Fred Sperry for helping to get the National SBE involved in this year's Clinic and for organizing the event.

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Amateur Radio News

By Tom Weeden, WJ9H, Chapter 24, Madison

The Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act, HR.783, continues to gain support in the US House of Representatives with 182 cosponsors. Support remains bipartisan with approximately equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats. Only one of Wisconsin's nine representatives, Ron Kind (D-WI-3rd) had signed on to the bill as of October. The bill will likely not go to the House Commerce Committee until next year.

The FCC will hold the line on conducted emissions below 30 MHz from unlicensed consumer electronic and industrial, scientific and medical devices operating under Parts 15 and 18 of the Commission's rules. International emission limits, with which the FCC plans to agree, are "approximately 5 dB more stringent below 5 MHz and 1 dB more stringent above 5 MHz" than the existing standards for consumer equipment, the FCC said. The Commission said it was not persuaded by a National Association of Broadcasters' suggestion to impose much tighter standards-22 dB greater than present-to protect AM broadcasting. Interfering devices include such common household appliances as computers, TV sets, and microwave ovens.

AMSAT, the Amateur Satellite Corporation, has urged the FCC to reject Los Angeles County's application for an experimental license to develop a public safety video system on the 2.4 GHz band. The proposal targets the 2402-2448 MHz band. Amateurs have a primary domestic allocation at 2402-2417 MHz. In comments filed October 22 with the FCC, AMSAT-North America President Keith Baker, KB1SF, urged the FCC to deny the experimental license application because it could limit the use of the pending "Phase 3D" amateur satellite. Phase 3D includes transmitters and receivers on 2.4 GHz. The satellite is expected to be launched sometime next year. The decision to grant the proposed experimental license is up to the FCC Office of Engineering and Technology's Experimental Licensing Division. (Excerpts from the American Radio Relay League's "The ARRL Letter" and November 1999 "QST" magazine)

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News and Views

Clay Freinwald, Chapter 16, Seattle

Can you believe it, the year is just about over, and so is the century and for an entire year you will be able to write the date as Y2K. I still wonder how many have come to learn that Y2K means something bad is going to happen but still don't know that K means 1,000.... Oh, well. My only regret is that I did not come up with some way of cashing in on the whole thing.

The MCI/Sprint deal (sure glad Sagan taught us to use .. BILLIONS AND BILLIONS), then of course there's the Viacom/CBS deal, and, finally, the Clear Channel purchase of AMFM. The latter will end up creating the largest radio group of them all with some 830 stations under one roof. What's interesting is they will have to spin off well over 100 stations just to fit the FCC's guidelines; this in itself is a big group. The deal makers are licking their chops over this one with brokers and lawyers dreaming of new boats, cars and vacations to really nice places.

Ahhh, ain't America great? From the "I was just wondering" department... If Fed Ex and UPS were to merge would we have FED-UP? Here locally, only one of these deals is likely to have any impact.

If you have been following news on the HDTV front you know that Sinclair suggested that we should take another look at COFDM for DTV. Well, the Office Of Engineering and Technology did just that. They compared COFDM and 8VSB. Conclusion? COFDM is good but not so good that we should switch horses. Apparently there are some improvements in receiver designs that will overcome most of the reasons why the proponents of COFDM wanted to switch. COFDM certainly looks like it will have a future in Broadcasting, but not for over the air stuff. ENG may turn out to be the big user of the mode.

There has been a proposal made to the FCC to designate 87.9 as a nationwide Emergency Radio Data System Channel (apparently someone was watching where Pirate Radio operators like to hide out). I have the feeling that the TV channel 6 operators in the country are going to be hauling out the heavy pieces to fight this one. The proponent, Federal Signal, wants a system that will automatically activate consumer Receiving equipment, even if it's turned off. This is really not a new idea as it was proposed as part of the EAS rule making.

Before I leave you, I must submit some ideas that you can use to spice up those dull technical memos that you have to write from time to time. I'm not talking about the general ones, but rather those that you have to write to specific people. Next time you are having difficulty coming up with just how to say it, grab a couple of these gems. Let me know how they work . . .

Thank you, we are all refreshed and challenged by your unique point of view. I don't know what your problem is, but I'll bet it's hard to pronounce. Any connection between your reality and mine is purely coincidental. I will always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about you. How about never? Is never good for you? You sound reasonable. Time to up my medication. I'll try being nicer if you'll try being smarter.

CUL, Clay K7CR, CPBE

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Standards?

From Chapter 3

Jim Shaw reminds us that some things are "in the walls" from a long time back! Where do Specifications come from? The US Standard railroad gauge is 4ft. 8.5 inches. That's an odd number. Why was that gauge used? Because that's the way they built them in England, and the US railroads were built by English expatriates. Why did the English build them like that? Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre- railroad tramways, and that's the gauge they used. Why did they use that gauge then? Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing. Okay! Why did the wagons use that odd wheel spacing? If they tried to use any other spacing the wagons would break on some of the old, long distance roads, because that's the spacing of the old wheel ruts. So who built these old rutted roads? The first long distance roads in Europe were built by Imperial Rome for the benefit of their Legions. The roads have been used ever since. And the ruts? The initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagons, were first made by Roman war chariots. Since the chariots were made for or by Imperial Rome they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing. Thus, we have the answer to the original question... The United States standard rail gauge 4ft. 8.5 inches derives from the original specifications (Military Spec) for an Imperial Roman Army chariot. Mil Specs, and Bureaucracies live forever. So, the next time you are handed a specification and wonder what horse's patoot came up with it, you may be exactly right. Because the Imperial Roman chariots were made to be just wide enough to accommodate the back-ends of two war horses!

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Dear Dad

The letter to dad:

Dear Dad,

$chool i$ really great. I am making lot$ of friend$ and $tudying very hard. With all my $tuff, I $imply can't think of anything I need, $o if you would like, you can ju$t $end me a card, a$ I would love to hear from you. Love, Your $on.

The Reply:

Dear Son,

I kNOw that astroNOmy, ecoNOmics, and oceaNOgraphy are eNOugh to keep even an hoNOr student busy. Do NOt forget that the pursuit of kNOwledge is a NOble task, and you can never study eNOugh. Love, Dad

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Planes

Several months ago I went on a business trip to the enormous Boeing factory in Redmond, WA, where I was able to crawl on and around several 747s, 767s, and 777 airliners in various stages of assembly.

I noticed that the engines aren't attached until the rest of the plane is pretty much assembled. To keep the airplanes from tipping while workcrews are in the fuselage, enormous weights are hung from chains on the wings, dangling above the floor like bizarre Christmas ornaments. Each weight is a solid slab of steel the size of golf cart and is painted with florescent, reflective yellow paint.

Most interesting is the boldface label stenciled on each side of the weight: "7,800 LBS. REMOVE BEFORE FLIGHT".

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Anagrams

From Fred Baumgartner

An anagram, as you all know, is a word of phrase made by or rearranging the letters of another word or phrase. The following are exceptionally clever. Someone out there either has way too much time to waste or is deadly at Scrabble.

Word When you rearrange the letters
Dormitory Dirty Room
Desperation A Rope Ends It
The Morse Code Here come Dots
Slot Machines Cash Lost in 'em
Snooze Alarms Alas! No More Z's
Alec Guinness Genuine Class
A Decimal Point I'm a Dot in Place
Eleven plus two Twelve plus one
Astronomer Moon Starer
Princess Diana End Is A Car Spin
And here is the most intriguing part
Year Two Thousand A Year To Shut Down

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Newsletter Committee

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

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