CGC #1107

by CGC on December 2, 2011

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                      THE CGC COMMUNICATOR

                            CGC #1107

                    Friday, December 2, 2011

                             ________

                Robert F. Gonsett, W6VR,  Editor
                

    Copyright 2011, Communications General® Corporation (CGC)

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  WIND TOPPLES THE MAIN KSCI(TV) ANTENNA ON MT. HARVARD

  The TV broadcast antenna that toppled on Mt. Harvard (per CGC #1106) 
was the Main Antenna for KSCI(TV).  Pictures of the disaster are being 
posted on the Tech Letters Website at the first URL below.  Hopefully 
the photos will be available by the time you read this newsletter.

  The KSCI antenna was one of several UHF-TV antennas that had been 
installed in a candelabra configuration atop Harvard's main tower.  
It appears that the KSCI antenna mast may have separated from one of 
its end flanges -- but it is too early to tell for sure.

  Kevin Moore of KNBC(TV) was one of the first engineers to inspect 
the fallen structure and commented that it was as if God had guided 
the mast to fall in a very confined zone that would protect other 
equipment from damage.  The antenna fell right between Harvard's 
microwave antenna rack on one side and power transformers and 
emergency power generators on the other.  All of this equipment is 
vital to the proper operation of Harvard.

  The good news is that KSCI is back on the air from its auxiliary 
facility at the KNBC site on Mt. Wilson.  KSCI is fortunate to have 
an operating aux in place --  and one that has an emergency power 
generator with a good supply of fuel.

  In other news, Los Angeles County has declared a state of emergency 
because of windstorm damage.

  http://www.earthsignals.com/press/
  http://tinyurl.com/WindSituation

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  METAL THEFT TAKES KVCR-TV OFF THE AIR

  The unattended KVCR-TV transmitter on Box Springs Mtn.
has been hit by two copper thefts in one week.  The second theft 
(Wednesday) was major in scope and knocked their transmitter off 
the air.

  http://tinyurl.com/KVCRTV-CopperTheft

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  FCC NEWS BRIEFS

  o  Comment window opens for allowing (as a matter of routine)
  asymmetrical FM HD sidebands:
  http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-11-1945A1.doc
  http://tinyurl.com/CommentWindow-FM-HD-Asymmetric

  o  FCC provides additional spectrum (413-457 MHz) for medical
  micro-power networks.  These networks rely on new types of
  implanted medical devices that use functional electric
  stimulation to, among other things, restore sensation, mobility,
  and function to paralyzed limbs and organs:
  http://tinyurl.com/AddedMedicalSpectrum

  o  Second Sight Medical Products granted a request to use
  3.156 MHz to transmit data and power to a device implanted
  in the human eye to aid the profoundly blind:
  http://tinyurl.com/SecondSightURL

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  CALM ACT MAY BE ADOPTED IN DECEMBER

  At its Open Meeting of December 13, 2011, the FCC may implement the 
CALM Act by issuing a Report & Order.  The CALM Act is designed to 
prevent DTV commercials from being at louder volumes than the program 
material they accompany.  The Open Meeting will be Webcast.

  http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-311163A1.doc

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  FCC ENFORCEMENT WATCH

  o  A fine of $5,000,000 has tentatively been levied against
  Simple Network, Inc. for deceptively marketing prepaid calling
  cards:
  http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-11-178A1.doc


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              REGARDING THE FIRST NATIONAL EAS TEST
******************************************************************

  FEMA IN THE SPOTLIGHT

  o  FEMA held a webinar on Tuesday, November 29, for a
  discussion with industry experts and leaders on the Nation-
  wide EAS Test findings, lessons learned, observed technical
  challenges" etc.  Following are some comments on the Webinar:

  o  Since FEMA has not explained the botched audio leaving
  their facility for the first National EAS Test, broadcast
  engineers have figured out the likely cause.  It's simple,
  and FEMA has apparently seen this problem in earlier tests,
  see pages 1 and 2:
  http://tinyurl.com/BotchedAudio

  o  Leslie Stimson provided this overview of Tuesday's Webinar:
  http://tinyurl.com/Nationwide-EAS-Test-Discussed

  o  Some thoughts from another attendee of the Webinar:
  http://www.earthsignals.com/press/?p=1218

  o  Opinions on the future of EAS vary widely.  Marian Mustoe,
  Ph.D., says it is time to abandon national messaging over EAS
  and to concentrate instead on local and regional messaging:
  http://tinyurl.com/LocalizedEAS


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                       ALL OTHER THINGS EAS
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  LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE

  o  News from the FEMA online seminar:  Senate Warning Bill
  to be introduced soon:
  http://www.earthsignals.com/press/?p=1211

  o  A new type of emergency alerting is being tested at
  at four PBS-TV stations:
  http://www.televisionbroadcast.com/article/126528


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                           RANDOM NOTES
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  GENERAL NOTES FOR RADIO & TV

  o  San Diego SBE's Holiday Banquet is December 21 at
  high noon.  Door prizes and great company, see:
  http://sbe36.org/

  o  Carlsbad hopes to catch a copper thief:
  http://www.10news.com/news/29834251/detail.html

  o  A major threat to America exists today that could wreak
  utter havoc on the nation's electronic systems.  It is called
  "EMP," short for electromagnetic pulse, and it is a byproduct
  of a nuclear explosion:
  http://tinyurl.com/EMP-Paper

  o  In the foothills north of Simi Valley, AeroVironment
  engineers have been quietly testing a miniature remote-
  controlled surveillance helicopter named Qube.  Some ENG work
  will undoubtedly be done by this type of device in the future:
  http://tinyurl.com/TheQubeSimiStory

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  ANOTHER ADVANTAGE OF ENDING AM IBOC (BESIDES CAUSING
  LESS INTERFERENCE AND INCREASING AUDIO FIDELITY)

  Here is an interesting comment from a powerful AM station that 
recently shut off IBOC: "MDCL does not work with IBOC so the upside 
to ending AM IBOC for us is the ability to do MDCL and save 
thousands of $$...."

  MDCL ("Modulation Dependent Carrier Level") is a technology that 
allows AM stations to automatically reduce power consumption while 
maintaining both audio quality and licensed coverage areas, see 
CGC #1089.


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                          HAM RADIO NOTES
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  NOTES FROM ALL OVER

  o  Fox News reports on the growing interest in ham radio:
  http://tinyurl.com/FoxOnHams

  o  Ham radio in the 21st century:
  http://tinyurl.com/HamRadio21

  o  Morse Code on the new Mars Rover:
  http://www.arrl.org/news/new-mars-rover-to-feature-morse-code

  o  Copies of old Radio Shack catalogs are available at this
  Website.  The Shack offered a lot of stuff circa 1960:
  http://www.radioshackcatalog.com/index.html

  o  Beautiful photos from Field Day, June 25, 2011, at Otay
  Mountain in San Diego.  The group consisted of NA6L, AG6AZ,
  W6MTR, W6GLS, AF6JC & AF6AV (Phil Wells).  Click on Slide
  Show for fast viewing:
  http://tinyurl.com/OtayMountainFieldDay2011

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  ONE HUNDRED TEN METER CW BEACONS

  W6VR has logged 100 ten meter CW beacons over the past two months 
using a grossly non-resonant antenna.  Think of what you could do 
with good equipment.  Ten meters is hot.

  Some interesting statistics from W6VR's log:  25 beacons reported 
their power levels and of those 84% were QRP (5 watts or less) and 
two of the 25 beacons reported running only 0.5 watts of power 
("QRPp operation").  The complete log is posted here:

  http://www.earthsignals.com/press/?p=1207

  For those interested, WJ5O has provided this neat and clean list 
of worldwide 10 meter beacon stations:

  http://www.qsl.net/wj5o/bcn.htm

******************************************************************

  60 METER IMPROVEMENTS -- NOT AVAILABLE YET

  The changes to the 60 meter ham band mentioned in last week's 
Communicator do not become effective until 30 days after they are 
published in the Federal Register.  Most of our readers know this, 
but a few may not.  Bottom line:
Don't use the improvements just yet.

  http://tinyurl.com/60MetersIsImproved


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                       LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
******************************************************************

  TECH LETTERS

  Letters to the Editor of the CGC Communicator should be
  posted on the Tech Letters Website at the URL below.  Special
  thanks to Steve Blodgett for posting two timely EAS items
  this week.

  If you are a registered Tech Letters user, post your letter
  via email to Steve.  All letters and comments are moderated,
  and are posted after review.  Also contact Steve if you have
  trouble viewing or posting:

  sblodgett (at) earthsignals.com

  http://www.earthsignals.com/press/


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                            OFF TOPIC
******************************************************************

  TRACKING SHOPPERS USING CELLPHONE PINGS

  The Temecula Promenade shopping mall is one of two malls in the U.S. 
using a new system that tracks the physical movements of shoppers.  
The shoppers' own cellphones transmit pings that allow their loca-
tions to be determined.

  If the Promenade is only receiving pings from cellphones, there 
might not be an FCC issue.  However, if the Promenade's locator system 
transmits pings to elicit return pings, the mall would need written 
permission from the cellular/PCS carriers or a written FCC authoriza-
tion to allow the unusual practice.

  The name of the locator system was given in one of the articles 
below and the company's Website indicates that the positions of 
shoppers are determined frequently, suggesting that the locator 
equipment is indeed transmitting signals to elicit return pings.  
The word "passive" used in one of the articles may simply mean that 
the cellphone user is unaware of the pings.

  The FCC Field Office in San Diego is responsible for any possible 
field investigation and they are aware of the potential lack-of-
authorization problem.

  http://tinyurl.com/MallsSiphonSignals
  http://tinyurl.com/MallsTrackShoppers

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  STRINGING UP GIBSON GUITAR

  In August, federal agents raided the Tennessee factories of the 
storied Gibson Guitar Corp. (CGC #1086).  The suggestion was that 
Gibson had violated the Lacey Act -- a federal law designed to 
protect wildlife by importing certain India ebony.

  The company has vehemently denied that suggestion and has yet to be 
charged.  It is instead living in a state of harassed legal limbo.  
Which, let's be clear, is exactly what its persecutors had planned all 
along.  The untold story of Gibson is this:
It was set up.  Here's the scoop from the Wall St. Journal 
(subscription required):

  http://tinyurl.com/StringinUpGibson

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  MORE HIGH STANDARD OFF TOPIC MATERIAL

  o  'Find My Phone' iPhone app leads police to an armed robbery
  suspect who allegedly stole a purse with a cellphone inside.
  'Find My Phone' told the cops where the phone and therefore the
  suspect were located, so police went to that spot, arrested the
  alleged culprit and recovered the phone:
  http://tinyurl.com/FindMePhone

  o  If you were an astronaut, this could be the view (in HD)
  each day from your office window:
  http://tinyurl.com/HD-View-from-Space

  o  An IEEE writer says consumers will be victimized by
  widespread mobile hacking thanks to free apps with hidden
  malware:
  http://tinyurl.com/MobileMalware

  o  A cliff on this asteroid is 11 times taller than
  Palomar Mountain:
  http://tinyurl.com/AsteroidCliff

  o  Brand new video of incredible model railroad in Hamburg.
  Miniatur Wunderland is the largest model railway in the world
  and attracts almost 1,200,000 visitors per year:
  http://tinyurl.com/NewWunderlandVideo


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