Additional Postings - 1999
Additional Postings -1998
Editor's Note: This section is for material too lengthy to be included in the normal CGC Communicator but which may be of interest to our readers.
12/23/99 - CALL FOR SPEAKERS FOR THE RADIO CLUB OF AMERICA
12/18/99 - DIGITAL CAMERAS AND RFI
12/17/99 - MARGIE BALDWIN LEAVES KGTV
12/10/99 - SUPPORT THE COFDM VS. 8-VSB DEBATE
11/29/99 - MORE ON Y2K
11/29/99 - APRS TRACKS DOWN STOLEN VAN
11/23/99 - FIXING ON-AIR DIGITAL ERRORS
11/16/99 - 8VSB vs. COFDM UPDATE
10/21/99 - RICHARD RUDMAN REPLY (ENG)
10/13/99 - MEASURING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF CLEAR CHANNEL AM STATIONS
9/29/99 - HOW TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE LOS ANGELES EAS LIST SERVER
9/24/99 - CONGRESS TRYING TO LIMIT NWS ACTIVITIES
9/16/99 - DETAILS ON THE DEBUT OF KGTV-DT, CHANNEL 25, SAN DIEGO
9/14/99 - COFDM VS. 8-VSB: UPDATE
8/05/99 - RICHARD RUDMAN: COMPLETE AND UNABRIDGED COMMENTS
7/21/99 - THE PAGER SERVICES OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
7/20/99 - THE END OF MORSE
7/07/99 - DTV FIELD TESTING IN LOS ANGELES & VENTURA
6/09/99 - Whatever to do with the F.A.A.?
5/26/99 - 3.5 MHZ INTERFERENCE FROM CABLE COMPANY
5/18/99 - IS THAT 'THE' RED BLANCHARD? 5/14/99 - USADR PROPOSES TO CUT AM ANALOG BANDWIDTH IN HALF 5/14/99 - MYSTERIES OF THE EGYPTIAN CROSSED-FIELD ANTENNA (CFA) 5/14/99 - ONGOING PROBLEMS WITH THE HARRIS DIGIT & DIGIT CD FM EXCITERS 5/07/99 - FREQUENCY HOPS WITH THE HARRIS DIGIT AND DIGIT CD FM EXCITERS 5/05/99 - WARNING: YOUR LAND-MOBILE LICENSE MAY HAVE BEEN CANCELED 4/27/99 - THE USELESSNESS OF BAROMETERS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 3/26/99 - FCC INSPECTS KMEX-TV, LOS ANGELES 3/22/99 - ASSETS OF TOWER TECHNOLOGY FOR SALE 2/02/99 - Mt. Wilson Telescope Domes
CALL FOR SPEAKERS FOR THE RADIO CLUB OF AMERICA The Radio Club of America is looking for qualified speakers to tell of interesting information about any facet of the radio/wireless industry at the club's breakfast meetings at trade shows in the year 2000. These meetings provide a nice and convenient opportunity for members to meet with each other and learn interesting and useful things. Speakers can consider talking about such things as historical events of broadcast radio or television, or about the development and current status of DTV/HDTV, or about the new Emergency Alert System (EAS) currently being implemented on broadcast radio. Visions of future regulations, technologies, and uses also may make for an interesting talk. Speakers may have their own good ideas about topics that they are qualified to speak about. It is not necessary that speakers be Club members. The trade shows where these meetings are being planned include the IWCE in Las Vegas March 22-24, APCO in Boston August 13-17, and PCS in Chicago September 27-29. Other shows that Radio Club members attend may also be considered. If you or someone you know would like to be a speaker, then please e-mail Rich Reichler at RJRWireles@aol.com or Ray Trott at Ray.Trott@TrottGroup.com (by January 18 for the March meeting at IWCE). For information about this distinguished 90-year-old club, please see its web site at: http://www.Radio-Club-of-America.org The club also welcomes new members and corporate sponsors. Richard "Rich" J. Reichler, RJR Wireless
DIGITAL CAMERAS AND RFI Regarding the letter about digital cameras in RF environments, I have been using a rather inexpensive digital camera from AGFA for about a year in all sorts of nasty places without any trouble whatsoever. I've probably taken 200 photos of transmitter sites, including inside hot ATUs, phasor cabinets and near all kinds of FM/TV equipment. I can't speak for the high-end cameras with all the bells and whistles, but the cheaper one I have works wonderfully! Jeremy Preece, KFMB AM/FM San Diego ______ So far I have not detected any RF problems with my Nikon 950 CoolPix digital camera. I have used it on Mt. Wilson as well as at the base of the KFI (50 kW AM) tower. Marvin Collins ______ Western Technical Services extensively uses the Sony Mavica Digital Camera in high RF environments. Substantial interference is seen while pointing the camera in the direction of the RF source, although the picture is often usable. The camera is often unusable inside a radio room, especially if it is filled with 500W paging transmitters. Christopher Gibbons, Western Technical Services ______ And a Video Camera Comment: ....I have had experience with cameras at the Tucson Mountains Site. Cameras would just not (be) usable because of all the interference to the video! I solved the problem by fashioning a "pillow case" for the camera. The "pillow case" was made from window screen. Metal screen was used and it had holes for the eyepiece, lens and a hand. This provided more that enough shielding to get good video without garbage in the picture. Bob Malsbury, Tucson, AZ
MARGIE BALDWIN LEAVES KGTV After 25 years of devoted service to KGTV, I have decided to accept another position with ANN Systems (Advanced News Network Systems formerly Nexus Infomatic of Germany) as Vice President of Operations (and Engineering/Tech Services). ANN Systems is an international company with several holdings in Norway, Germany and US. Recently, they decided to bring their Internet Development and Sales & Marketing headquarters here to San Diego. They are currently operating out of temporary facilities and would like for me to build their class A accommodations in Rancho Bernardo. After which I will take charge of all technical support services for all of the Americas (North, South & Central) and Australia - directly supporting the sales and marketing division of ANN Systems. Their primary product is Open Media and Star Drive, the next generation competitor to Avstar. Since Tektronix merged Newstar with Avid and decided not to grow the Newstar code, Open Media became a major viable NT option. Open Media is a leading automated newsroom system in Europe, Asia and Africa. They want to expand their product and services to the Western continents and felt that this was the right time. I am very excited about my new job and its future possibilities. I will be trained in Munich, Germany and will be building my tech support team right here in San Diego. I am looking forward to going to NAB, RTNDA, Video Expo in Brazil and to many TV and Radio stations to check on customer support satisfaction and system integration process. (You know that I will enjoy checking out how all these other Radio and TV stations do things compared to KGTV.) The company is expected to grow in size & number by the end of next year. This growth expectation is refreshing after so many cutbacks over the last few years. It is a bit hard leaving KGTV, but I have to give this level of a position a try in the private business sector as my next professional challenge. As one of my engineers stated in our informal shop meeting when I announced my plans, I guess that "I am reaching for that brass ring". For those of you who want to stay in touch, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org until my new account at ANN Systems is set up in January. The email address of email@example.com will be good through the end of January. Margie Baldwin, Engineering Director, KGTV-10 (Reprinted with permission from the author)
SUPPORT THE COFDM VS. 8-VSB DEBATE (Reprinted from Tech Note #046 for December 9, 1999) Subj: Update on FCC deliberations From: Mark E. Hyman, VP Corporate Relations - Sinclair Broadcast Group We completed a second round of visits at the FCC regarding the DTV modulation standard. The meetings went very well. Commissioners and staff have been very receptive and engaged on this issue. While I am certain no one at the Portals is overjoyed that a significant problem with the ATSC standard has been identified, it is what it is, and they realize it must be addressed. They also realize that a solution is at hand. The Commission must still place the broadcaster's petition on public notice for comment. Very small minorities of groups with financial interests in 8VSB and/or the status quo have lobbied against placing the petition on public notice. However, several hundred stations have filed in favor of the petition and a few hundred more have taken the public position that the DTV modulation standard warrants further review. If you and your organization are uncertain of your position, but believe that this matter is deserving of public scrutiny, then I urge you to immediately notify the FCC that you support a public comment period. It is only then that the hallway discussions and the secret-handshake meetings will end and all parties will have to "put their cards on the table," go on the public record and back up their claims with technical data and hard facts. We have been in contact with various groups, which are awaiting public notice before they file comments on this matter. Unfortunately, there are some groups with self-interests that are not aligned with free, over-the-air broadcasting that would prefer to have this matter swept under the rug. As one Commissioner told us, "You deserve your day in court and for that reason I will vote to place your petition on public notice." We believe this is the proper approach, as NO ONE WANTS THIS MATTER DECIDED IN THE COURTS OR IN CONGRESS. A few more groups have recently gone on the record in support of the petition with more to come. Broadcasters are realizing that it is time we reclaim the leadership of broadcasting's future and not leave it to trade associations not aligned with our best interests, Washington lobbyists who oppose our industry and a minority of manufacturers whose entire future is invested in a single product that does not work. Thank you. Mark E. Hyman
MORE ON Y2K Just finished reading the AT&T/Lucent Y2K article in CGC #359. As an interesting note, Pacific Gas and Electric here in the Merced, CA area has asked that the Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) have people standby at their trouble reporting desk, and have teams of ARES members out in the field to report in via amateur radio where the power goes out on New Years eve. Also, as I understand it, the Turlock (CA) Irrigation District is going to disconnect themselves from the power grid prior to midnight on 12/31, since they are actually capable of producing enough electrical power to meet their customers demands. This is being done as a precautionary measure. Doesn't make for a real warm and fuzzy feeling about the Y2K problem when you hear these things coming from AT&T, Lucent Technologies, and Pacific Gas and Electric. We've decided to rent a generator (if there are any still available) for our transmitter site for KABX FM and KYOS AM. Thanks for your very informative newsletter. Rick McMillion, K6SIX, firstname.lastname@example.org Chief Engineer KABX FM, KYOS AM, KIBG FM, KFIE FM
APRS TRACKS DOWN STOLEN VAN (From NEWSLINE #1163 for November 28, 1999) For most of us, having a car stolen is a traumatic experience. But for one Canadian ham it was more the thrill of the chase. Newsline's Fred Vobbe, W8HDU, has more: --- When Bill Guthrie, VE6OLD, of Bentley, Alberta, Canada woke up to find his van missing from his driveway, he did one thing before he called the police. Bill ran down to the computer, and had a quick peek. Almost instantly, the APRS beacon in his van told Bill's computer that his vehicle was enjoying a leisurely drive around the town of Red Deer. Then, calmly, Bill picked up the phone and called the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He reported the stolen van, adding that they could recover it and catch the thieves if they sent someone to the Red Deer location. They did, and the arresting officers got even more than they were looking for. It seems some young teens needed a vehicle to haul their loot from a recent spate of break and enter robberies. Not only did the alleged thieves get caught red handed for grand theft auto, but the stolen goodies in the van tied them to those other crime scenes as well. But that's not all. Obviously, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police wanted to know how the owner of a stolen vehicle could possibly know where it was located. That was the opening for VE6OLD to begin explaining the magic of Amateur Radio's Automatic Position Reporting System (APRS). He also invited some of the officers to his house to demonstrate how APRS works. The Mounties were impressed. From Lima, Ohio, I'm Fred Vobbe, W8HDU, reporting for Newsline.
FIXING ON-AIR DIGITAL ERRORS By Ray Herring We ran into a little problem that we didn't know we had with our on air DTV signal. Gus Fernandez of TeraLogic did an analysis on our off air signal and found that it had about 35 errors per minute. Our digital signal path starts with our Harris/Lucent encoder. From there we go to a Leitch Digibus interface, into a DS3 line and then on to the transmitter site. At the transmitter site, it goes from the DS3, to the Leitch interface and then to the exciter. It seems that the Leitch interface was changing some bits on some of the packets. The Sencore analyzer says the Adaptation Field of the Null Field Packet header was being changed to '00' instead of '01.' This was causing a loss of some video packets: sometimes one, two or three packets. Most receivers cannot correct for three lost packets and will breakup. The new hardware from Leitch will be installed by the time this Tech Note gets on the street. Leitch was very concerned about this and was very responsive. Anyone who is using a similar setup might like to know about this and check for errors. For the most part, on air you can't see the result, but add to it, the multipath problems with the present receivers, and you magnify the problem. Hope this helps someone out. (Ray is the Transmitter Supervisor at KGO-TV, Channel 7 & KGO-DT, Channel 24, ABC, San Francisco. His letter first appeared in Tech Notes for November 22, 1999. -Ed.)
8VSB vs. COFDM UPDATE (The following article first appeared in Tech Notes for November 16, 1999, a publication of Larry Bloomfield & Jim Mendrala.) Subj: The 8VSB - COFDM - Sinclair Issue From: Mark A. Aitken, Advanced Technology Group (a part of the Sinclair Broadcast Group) In an attempt to get everyone "on the same page", I will try to "demystify" the issues being raised by some. "Why is Sinclair asking the FCC to 'abandon' 8VSB?" This IS NOT what Sinclair has requested in its filing. The following list details Sinclair's primary position with respect to the filing: What Sinclair Is Asking the FCC To Do? 1. Modify the digital modulation standard so broadcasters can transmit their digital signals using Coded Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (COFDM). 2. Appoint a COFDM Task Force that would be assigned two responsibilities: A. Conduct a study and issue recommendations to the Commission regarding the integration of COFDM digital modulation technology into the DTV standard; and B. Conduct a rigorous scientific analysis to determine the interference ratios for COFDM transmissions into existing NTSC and 8-VSB DTV signals. 3. Adopt rules implementing the recommendations of the Task Force. What Sinclair Is Not Asking the FCC To Do? 1. Abandon 8-VSB as a digital television modulation standard. 2. Delay any of the time deadlines for the DTV rollout. Why Should the FCC Allow Broadcasters To Operate Using COFDM Technology? 1. Use of COFDM digital modulation technology will permit reliable and robust over-the-air reception by viewers using simple antennas in broadcasters' core business areas. 2. Use of COFDM would enable broadcasters to provide mobile and portable DTV video services. 3. By permitting COFDM operations, the Commission will allow the marketplace to play an appropriate role in the development of broadcast technology. Permitting use of COFDM would make the US DTV system compatible with the DTV technology adopted in the majority of countries around the world. A decision by the Commission to permit COFDM operations would accelerate the development of DTV in the United States and speed the recapture of NTSC spectrum. What's Wrong With The 8-VSB Digital Modulation Standard? 1. The ATSC 8-VSB standard does not currently permit reliable over-the-air reception of DTV with simple antennas in broadcasters' core business areas, or permit portable or mobile services. 2. Given the reception problems, continued reliance on the 8-VSB standard would diminish viewing functionality and impose unnecessary costs on US consumers, both during and after the DTV transition. Are there Legitimate Technical or Economic Reasons To Preclude Broadcasters >From Operating Using COFDM Technology? 1. There is no legitimate technical reason precluding the use of COFDM modulation technology. A. COFDM signals can be used to provide HDTV over 6 MHz channels. B. The greater coverage predicted for 8-VSB signals in a laboratory environment does not hold up under real-world conditions. C. The Commission should not perpetuate exclusive reliance on the 8-VSB standard based on any speculated improvements in 8-VSB receiver technology. 2. Broadcasters, manufacturers, and consumers would incur only minor costs if the Commission decided to permit use of COFDM in the US A. Any additional costs for broadcasters would be borne voluntarily, and would likely be inconsequential. B. Grant of the instant petition would not impose significant costs on DTV receiver manufacturers. The prior sale of 8-VSB receivers to a tiny fraction of consumers should not prevent the Commission from permitting broadcasters to use COFDM technology. "What about the extra power required by COFDM? " Some 8-VSB proponents have stated that a COFDM transmitter will need to operate at significantly higher peak and average powers to achieve the same coverage as an 8-VSB transmitter. Increases of up to 7 dB have been quoted; the implication being that the initial transmitter capital acquisition costs and the ongoing expenses associated with power consumption will be much higher for the COFDM transmitter. Ergo, a change to COFDM will cost the US Broadcaster huge sums of money. This is just not true and needs to be examined from both the peak and average power perspectives. Peak power: COFDM does have a higher peak to average ratio than 8-VSB. However the actual peaks occur for very short periods and both systems can tolerate a reduction of the peak to average ratio without significant distortion. Certain digital signal manipulation techniques currently being deployed take advantage of the inherent robustness of the multi-carrier COFDM format to provide a greater reduction in peak to average ratio than is possible for the single-carrier 8-VSB signal. The resultant peak to average ratio "penalty" of COFDM is reduced to about 1 dB. This may result in a slightly higher initial purchase cost for a solid-state transmitter due to a higher device count, but it is unlikely to have any impact on the cost of a high power vacuum tube transmitter. Average Power: For equivalent data rates, 8-VSB would appear have a theoretical C/N "advantage" of about 4 dB over COFDM. This "advantage" is often used to justify the claim that 8-VSB will provide greater coverage than COFDM operating at the same average power. The theoretical advantage can, in fact, only be confirmed in a laboratory environment. When real world signal propagation and reception characteristics, such as static and dynamic multipath, are factored in, the "advantage" evaporates into the ether! Sinclair tested and demonstrated the ability to receive COFDM signals at the far fringe coverage areas with no meaningful differences when compared to 8VSB signals at the same average power. Given the realities of a typical fringe reception environment, any small difference is of little relevance when compared to: Antenna downlead losses (6 dB) Diurnal fade margins (6 dB) Modern fringe antenna gains (+12 dB to +16 dB) Low cost and effective "Low Noise Amps" (~2.5dB NF@13-20dB gain) Under real-world conditions, there exists no meaningful or material difference in the receivability of 8VSB and COFDM signals. We see absolutely no reason why higher average power transmission would be required by COFDM. "Will COFDM have a major (negative) impact on the FCC table of allotments?" The FCC revealed in its recently released OET Report 99-2 that the most highly congested "Top 10" DTV markets were studied to determine the impact on the table of allotments and differences in service availability. In the FCC OET analysis they assumed: COFDM to have an advantage in urban areas close to the transmission facility, and 8VSB to have an advantage in fringe area coverage. As well, they assumed (incorrectly) that COFDM would have to operate at an increased power level of +4dB (see above). Under these conditions the FCC OET found that: The estimates indicate that the relative advantages/disadvantages of the systems have a "generally small" impact on the overall coverage, and vary by market. The interference to NTSC service, even when providing for an additional +4dB of power by COFDM, would be "generally small". "What is the cost impact to convert 8VSB transmission systems?" Clearly, the cost will vary from various system providers. In general, the conversion of an existing 8VSB transmitter at similar or equal power levels will typically be less than $50,000, the cost of integrating and setting up a new modulator. In many cases, where the equipment provider is also supplying COFDM equipment to the global market, the conversion may be significantly less than $20,000 (the cost of an exciter modulator card swap and setup). In the case of equipment such as encoders, there are similar variables. Many of the encoder manufacturers/providers are supplying exactly the same hardware for 8VSB and COFDM markets, with a simple requirement of software or firmware revisions. We would like to thank you for the support that you have shown during most recent period. Your support and informed understanding of the issues at hand is shaping the course for the future of digital television broadcasting. If you have questions, please visit our site: www.sbgi.net. You will find a link to DTV information, and may also address any your specific concerns to email@example.com.
RICHARD RUDMAN REPLY (ENG) [In the following Letter to the Editor, Richard Rudman adds valuable background material to the story in CGC #353 entitled, "2450-2483 MHz Request for Declaratory Ruling, L.A. & Vicinity." We appreciate his insights. -Ed.] There are more sides to the Request for Declaratory Ruling filed with the FCC principally by Los Angeles County than meet the eye. I think it would be useful if I recapped some of them for your readers. Here are some relevant facts: I am the SCFCC 2 GHz. Subcommittee Chair with responsibility in this issue. Since the 2 GHz. Subcommittee was begun, a "radio guy" has always chaired it on the assumption that it would help make the effort more impartial. On this matter, I asked for and got an SCFCC mediation meeting last week with the proponents within the LA County public safety world who asked for the DR and the licensee most directly affected. Another licensee involved could not attend. Since the late 70's, SCFCC treated first LAPD and now other Part 90 public safety licensees who share 2450-2483 with broadcasters and other entities on a secondary basis. The 2 GHz. Subcommittee and the SCFCC Board SCFCC view this matter as a licensee-to-licensee and SCFCC member-to-member dispute that probably should have gone to mediation before reaching this point. At that meeting, all parties expressed a new resolve and respect for the "other side", and a renewed atmosphere of attempting to make the best out of a situation forced by the FCC, if not Congress itself at this time. SCFCC became aware three years ago that Los Angeles County was designing an extensive multi-receiver location video microwave system principally for helicopter video. This will be a system shared between Sheriff's and LA County Fire. LAPD announced about the same time that all their new choppers would be equipped for video microwave. The problem is that the only Part 90 suitable and "licensee-able" spectrum is in the 2.5 GHz. band that is shared between a number of entities. SCFCC finally got LAPD, LA County, plus approx. twelve other Southern California region public safety entities in the to meet under the auspices of NASA at JPL in Pasadena. All in attendance, including broadcast licensees saw that the single channel would eventually not support all the eligible licensees. As you know, the FCC will issue licenses regardless of channel loading, leaving coordination up to the licensees. Last Fall I was part of a team that made twelve presentations in Washington to the FCC, several Congressional offices, and others on this issue. I coined a name for what I proposed as a new service that the FCC should authorize under Part 90 and provide suitable spectrum for a modified public safety SCFCC Home Channel Plan. The name I coined is Tactical Video Down-Link (TVDL). As you also know, public safety has received a lot of new spectrum in the past decade. All has gone to voice channels. None is either available or suitable for quality full motion video. The good news is there is suitable at spectrum 1710-1780 that the FAA will no longer need. This spectrum will transfer from the NTIA side of the Government to the FCC public sector. Unfortunately, an auction Congressionally mandated in the Budget will probably be held. While nothing prevents Public Safety from bidding, this would result in a subtle hit for taxpayers. Auctions are nothing more than a delayed end-user tax. If Public Safety prevailed, the auction money would also come out of our pockets since for this purpose we all pay the operating expenses for the end users. TVDL will save lives and money. Anyone who has watched an officer on the ground attempting to hear a radio transmission from an LAPD helicopter above trying to spot an armed suspect for them can understand this. This technology can also save lives and dollars by giving fire department incident management on the ground a live picture from above. During major emergencies, emergency management has to do rapid damage assessment. Even with some help from broadcasters at such times, emergency management must be able to literally call their own shots. SCFCC and my committee recognize the need to develop some sort of short-term solution allowing for TVDL. Why? Because the FCC has created a band sharing situation that turned adversarial. When major emergencies occur and we are all in the same leaky boat, SCFCC and the Public Safety community must not be in contention for a resource both must have to function. SCFCC has standing before the Commission as a coordination entity, so it is up to SCFCC to help ALL its member-licensees co-exist. What the short-term solution will look like will be discussed over the next few months. The Request for Declaratory Ruling has to do with a Part 90 restriction that further restricts short-term TVDL. Ground-based transmissions have precedence over airborne. Personally (Repeat: Personally) I believe that it is not to the advantage of broadcasters to use this or other Part 90 rules to bar or restrict public safety activity. Indeed, it may be better for broadcasters to join with public safety to have this restriction lifted. The quid-pro-quo would be that public safety rededicates itself to achieving the long-term solution of a primary allocation in non-broadcast spectrum. Indeed, for SCFCC or any broadcaster to use "the rules" here will only result in a bitter feud either group of licensees or the public at large can ill afford. The SCFCC has been held together by one basic precept since its 1976 inception. This precept is that we must always act to facilitate the dance of communications and coordination that the FCC says must be the engineering responsibility of existing and "new" licensees. To act otherwise would open us up to charges of withholding use of the scarce natural resource of spectrum in question from otherwise qualified licensees. If our facilitation does not work, this allows us to become mediators with the understanding that it is always better to solve problems locally rather than have the FCC step in and impose a solution neither side will like. The public safety attempt to strike a sharing arrangement in the Amateur microwave spectrum is also controversial. As a licensed amateur since 1956, I have and will continued to bring to the attention of ARRL and others that such an arrangement might actually help the amateur community hold on to that spectrum. The economic pressures on Congress may not be enough to save it from the auction block unless a "white knight" compatible sharing partner can be found. Preserving the rights of any 2.4 weak signal experimenters would be a challenge, but a spectrum usage study that will be done soon locally may prove that there is simply too little amateur activity in the band to justify the status-quo. Like the legendary feuds that sheepherders and cattle ranchers fought in the Old West, the answer here is the spectral equivalent of fences. A long-term solution that gives public safety its own primary allocation for TVDL must be the common goal. I have been and still am committed to that goal. Thanks and regards for your continued excellent coverage of all the issues you cover that we need to know about. Richard Rudman, October 18, 1999
MEASURING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF CLEAR CHANNEL AM STATIONS I noted with great interest your recent comment that KFI is "perhaps our finest clear channel station." With the lowest frequency of any Class A AM, and 50-kw ND in an area of decent conductivity, it is easily the biggest signal in Southern California. Add to that its very strong ratings and revenues, and you'll find no argument from these quarters that it is one of our "finest clear channel stations." But is it the biggest signal? The 50-kw at 640 position has led many to assume that it is. I've always wondered, and over the years several people have asked me, if it is the largest. Two years ago, I finally had the means at my disposal to do a study of all the major AM signals, to find out which are the largest. I did the study using Peter Moncure's AMR engineering software. After input from several consulting engineer friends, I set as my parameters daytime, 2 millivolt, U.S. land-area coverage. I used AMR's population and land area figures, and manually subtracted over-water coverage. I used the 2 mil contour because I feel it is a good compromise signal value in terms of "real world" reception conditions. AM has become so noisy that few people are listening to weaker signals today. We at Duncan's have much data on file demonstrating a very strong correlation between the 2 mil contour and Arbitron diary response. Of course, car radio reception can be quite adequate well past the 2, but the 2 is often merely adequate for home reception, and clearly isn't enough for most office and urban listening situations. Yes, the FCC recognizes the 0.5 as "protected," which some would argue conveys bragging rights, but who's actually listening at that level today? I compared daytime coverage, because nighttime coverage, particularly skywave coverage, is all-but-impossible to quantify with any degree of precision. So, limiting ourselves to just the officially-designated "clear channel" stations, or "Class A" AM stations (formerly Class I), and to daytime 2 mil land-area coverage, KFI, good as it is, doesn't make the top twenty. Among officially-designated "clears," WBAP Ft. Worth covers the most ground in its 2 mil, followed by KRLD Dallas, KOA Denver and WLW Cincinnati. Remember how much of KFI's signal is over water. As you can see, using my parameters, a station had to be in an area of excellent ground conductivity and away from water to be at the top of the list. As for who reaches the most people in the 2 mil daytime contour, the big clears in New York win, simply because more people live there than anywhere else. In order, the top four in reaching population are WFAN, WOR, WCBS and WABC. KFI is 5th; KNX is 8th. Interestingly, KDIS and KBRT (Avalon) slot in at 6th and 7th. The complete "Top 20" signals lists, for AM and FM, by land-area coverage and population, are on our web site, duncanradio.com, under "Vital Stats, Web Site Bonus." Here's an irony: AMFM, Inc., KFI's owner-to-be, is being sold to Clear Channel Communications, which will match the name of KFI's licensee with the traditional name of the FCC power class to which it belongs. Clear Channel Communications took its name from the second station the company acquired, WOAI San Antonio, which is a "clear channel" station. Clear Channel owns many other Class A "clear channel" AM stations, including WLW, WHAS, WRVA, KOA, WTAM, WHAM, WGY and WHO. I though you and/or your readers might enjoy seeing this. J T Anderton, JTAnderton@duncanradio.com (About me: VP/Managing Director of Duncan's American Radio, industry analysts, in Cincinnati. Company tracks radio revenues in 174 markets and publishes market profiles after each Arbitron sweep. I track signal infrastructure changes in the major markets and produce Duncan's FM coverage map atlases. The latest edition, published in 1997, includes roughly 1,300 maps, one for each major FM in the top 100 markets.)
HOW TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE LOS ANGELES EAS LIST SERVER There is an automatic e-mail "list server" which will let you see what Los Angeles broadcasters are saying about each and every EAS Required Monthly Test (RMT) - much more information than we can publish in the CGC Communicator. To subscribe to this free service, do the following: (1) Use the same computer as the one where you want the messages sent, and address an e-mail message to: firstname.lastname@example.org (2) The subject of the message doesn't matter. (3) In the first line of text, type "subscribe la-eas" (without the quotation marks). (4) Send the message. This will sign you up and you should receive a written confirmation on short order. (Information submitted by Mike Callaghan)
CONGRESS TRYING TO LIMIT NWS ACTIVITIES Even with the aftermath of hurricane Floyd, congress is considering legislation that would effectively prohibit the National Weather Service from providing some rather vital services. Under the terms of a bill making its way through congressional committees, lawmakers are looking at banning the N-W-S from providing any service that can be made available by commercial forecasting companies. The October issue of C Q V H F magazine reports on H R 1553, also known as the National Weather Service and Related Agencies Authorization Act of 1999. The magazine says that the measure has already been passed by the House of Representatives and is currently awaiting Senate action. Among its provisions is a section that restricts the National Weather Service from competing with private sector forecasting businesses. It states that the National Weather Service shall not provide or assist other entities to provide a service if that service is currently provided by, or can be provided by commercial enterprise. The only exceptions are so-called vital weather warnings and forecasts for the protection of life and property of the general public and those services required by international aviation agreements. According to Maricopa Arizona Emergency Management Director Bob Spencer, this legislation will effectively bar the N-W-S from providing the public or other government agencies with weather watches and storm tracks, routine fire weather reports, telephone consultations to emergency management personnel, meteorological briefings to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, private pilot weather briefings and even specialized weather services for the Federal Aviation Administration.... [Story by Newsline, Report Number 1154 for Friday, September 24, 1999, and reprinted by Communications General Corporation with permission.]
DETAILS ON THE DEBUT OF KGTV-DT, CHANNEL 25, SAN DIEGO In reply to an inquiry by the CGC Communicator, Margie Baldwin, Engineering Director of KGTV-10 and KGTV-DT-25, San Diego, replied as follows on September 16, 1999: YES, KGTV is the first station to air DTV in San Diego! We are all very excited here. My team of engineers worked very hard and long to air Monday Night Football in high definition. We had a thermal related component problem so we aired MNF in low power feeding the driver directly into the antenna. But with only 150 watts, we received the signal beautifully 22 miles away at our studios. We are scheduled to replace that component today. With fans directed at the heat sensitive chip, we ran full power into the dummy load Tuesday night and full power into the antenna for several hours last night (Wednesday) with no problems. With equipment testing nearing its completion, we will be filing our 302-DTV form with the FCC next Monday. Of the 3 network stations having to go on by Nov 1st in San Diego, it is my current understanding that we will be the only station going 720p with all 6 channel capability for AC-3 Dolby Digital surround sound. KGTV launched into DTV transmission with 2 channels multiplexed together. Tiernan calls this "simulcasting" instead of muxing, but in the true sense of the word it is multiplexing. Channel 25-1 launched with the standard definition "DTV" signal of our current NTSC channel 10 product. Channel 25-2 launched with the high definition signal. We will always air the highest quality available to us on the HD channel. Currently, we are switching between available HD product (from ABC and HD VTR) and upconverted analog product. We are experimenting with bit rates for SD & HD. We have the capability to devote the entire 19.39 to HD, but are currently splitting it with 14 to HD and 4 to SD and will play with the left over bits for data. I believe that we are now in position to learn more about multi-casting and its possibilities. Our goal is to convert the plant from analog to serial digital 601 over the next few years and have islands capable of handling high definition.
COFDM VS. 8-VSB: UPDATE By: Nat Ostroff -- V.P. New Technology, Sinclair Broadcast Group The comparative testing of COFDM and 8-VSB has been competed in Baltimore. Over 40 sites were included in the test. These sites were located both inside of the Grade A contour of the station and at the fringes of reception beyond the radio horizon. The test sites were both indoor and outdoor. The initial analysis of the data shows that the current implementation of 8-VSB in commercially available consumer grade set top boxes falls far short of what a consumer product must do to gain general user acceptance. On the other hand, COFDM allowed easy reception using simple antennas in most locations. Generally speaking 8-VSB failed to be received at most locations when simple antennas were in use. COFDM was easily received at every site where 8-VSB was received and in addition it was received at an overwhelming number of the total sample of sites tested using simple antennas. Furthermore, at the fringes of coverage there was no consistent difference between 8-VSB and COFDM. Where one failed the other also failed. Thus we were not able to demonstrate the claimed loss of coverage for COFDM against 8-VSB. A full report of the Baltimore test effort will be published and presented at the Fall IEEE Broadcast Symposium held in Washington, DC on September 24th, 1999. With the test results in hand Sinclair has prepared a petition to the FCC to request that the Commission allow COFDM as an alternative transmission standard to be available to broadcasters along with 8-VSB. It was our intent to circulate this petition throughout the industry to obtain signatures and support. In the last several days announcements have been made by both Motorola and NxtWave corporations about a new chip based on new technology that, according to news releases, "solves the multi-path problems of 8-VSB." The new technology does not approach the problem of multi-path reception in the conventional manner that continues to be implemented by the consumer set makers. Both of these companies are not set makers. These announcements, coming from non-consumer set makers, need to be taken into consideration and evaluated before any further steps are taken with the FCC. The fact that the work has been inspired by background intellectual property from The Sarnoff Corporation lends a degree of creditability to the issue that must be recognized. Sinclair has therefore decided to temporally hold onto the FCC petition and instead invited the chip making companies to come to Baltimore and demonstrate their achievements using our facilities and the "calibrated locations" available in Baltimore. We believe that they will accept the offer and come to see us early in September. If the September tests bear out the claims already made for this technology then there may not be a reason to file the current version of our petition with the FCC. We will report to you as the information is developed. While we at Sinclair remain skeptical we are also cautiously optimistic that these companies have found the code to crack the most difficult aspect of the reception of the 8-VSB standard. If they can demonstrate their achievement we want to be among the first to say congratulations. Our objective throughout this entire process was to insure that the broadcaster ended up with a robust over the air delivery service. We rejected the CEMA model that required outdoor directional antennas and continue to find that model both unrealistic and unacceptable. If our efforts have contributed to the atmosphere that enables these companies to come forward now, we are pleased. Reprinted from Tech Note #40 (September 13, 1999) published by Larry Bloomfield <email@example.com> & Jim Mendrala <J.Mendrala@ieee.org>.
RICHARD RUDMAN: COMPLETE AND UNABRIDGED COMMENTS This is in reference to the item I wrote that you ran under the headline, "GOOD NEWS: THE L.A. SHERIFF IS TAKING EAS SERIOUSLY." Here is the item in full: -------------------------- As far as I can determine from the LA County July Required Monthly Test: 1. Received OK direct from LASD at KFWB 2. Relayed OK by KFWB 3. Received KNX Relay OK at KFWB 4. Received KFI relay OK at KFWB 5. No audio upcuts on direct reception or relays noted at KFWB. I waited 24 hours after the July EAS RMT to see if reported any problems to me. I received only one call from one TV station. I suggested to the caller that they might have an equipment problem at their station since the RMT was originated and relayed properly. LA County is 100% (7/7) this year for EAS RMT originations. My thanks to the Sheriff's Emergency Operations Bureau for their overall buy-in and tremendous support. Sgt. Larry Bryant and Tech Jack King are due a special word of thanks. We are still working on technical issues having to do with EAS RMT's and real warnings that are translated by our non-English LP stations. These same issues face EAS committees across the country and will most likely require some changes in either the EAS station "hardware" or to the FCC's Rules, or possibly both. Richard Rudman LA County EAS LECC Chair ---------------------- Though I wrote the story, your headline might be misconstrued. LASD has always taken EAS very seriously. Much to their credit, LASD and LA County ordered and installed equipment soon after EAS went into effect. They even have EAS equipment for three geographically separated origination points. Whatever problems we have had with local EAS in LA County, LASD's commitments to EAS has NEVER been an issue. In fact, LA County and LASD have responded to the spirit and letter of Part 11 faster and with more commitment than most other local government entities here in California, or for that matter, nationwide. To date, only a handful of local governments across the country have purchased EAS origination equipment, installed it and trained their personnel. Without this equipment, local government must depend on an LP1 to create their civil EAS Warnings. This places much more of the responsibility and burden for EAS on broadcasters than I see in Part 11's language. Simply stated, local government has the legal "duty" to warn people when really bad things happen. EAS, and EBS before it, says broadcasters are primarily conduits for such warnings, not originators. Thank you for your continued support to help me keep people up to date on EAS in this region. Your publication continues to be a valuable and unique resource to the broadcast engineering community for this and many other reasons. Richard Rudman LA County LECC Chair California EAS SECC Vice Chair, Southern Region
THE PAGER SERVICES OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA The CGC Communicator (July 1999) asked: "What company provides your paging service, do you receive pages reliably and where do you receive the pages (give us general area descriptions like L.A., San Diego and San Bernardino). Have you had bad luck with any particular paging company? Send us an e-mail....." In response to this survey request, eleven letters were received. Each is published below with the names of the paging companies arranged in alphabetical order. When the comments concerning current service were generally favorable, a plus sign (+) was put after the name of the paging company. A minus sign (-) indicates generally unfavorable results. Thanks to all who participated in this informal survey. ______ AIRTOUCH (+) Our pagers are leased from Airtouch and I have had great coverage from Ensenada to Ventura Co. and as far east as Tucson. It's one of their 900 MHz units. Dick Warren, Airwatch America ______ METROCALL (+) Regarding paging, I've had a pager from Metrocall on 931.1625 that covers CA, AZ and NV. I have not missed a page that I am aware of, except for a rare few that were missed at the discretion of pagee. (Me) Paul Sakrison, Radio Services Group ______ MOBILECOMM (+) I have been using a pager for 8 years, and have had excellent service throughout California, except in certain mountain regions like Mammoth, and in some parts of the Los Padres Forest; also have some problems in deep basements & bomb shelters. Otherwise I haven't had any problems in metropolitan areas and suburbs of the western states, particularly southern & central California. Originally signed up with METROMEDIA PAGING 10/91, they changed names to MOBIL MEDIA 12/94, and changed names again to MOBIL COMM 6/96, It costs $38.85 a quarter or $12.95 a month for a simple numerical pager, not the cheapest, but certainly reliable. Mobil Comm headquarters are in Dallas 800-437-2337 Chuck Hastings, Santa Barbara, Ventura ______ MOBILECOMM (-) My pager is MobileComm with an 800 number access that is supposed to work nation-wide. I miss a lot of pages even in my home area around Los Angeles (specifically on Catalina Island). It was a pain from the beginning when I had to change locations (to a different area code) where I would have to dial up an 800 number and change my home location. Many pay phones didn't work with their commands making it difficult to let the service know about my new location. Also, any pages received during my travel between cities were never forwarded and lost forever. Quite frankly, I think it is the worst pager I have ever had except it has the best travel alarm clock feature I have ever had. For the most part, my pager is useless to me. My Nextel cellular phone works better than my pager ever has. Gary Bloodworth, KBRT(AM), Avalon, firstname.lastname@example.org ______ PAGENET (+) We have been using Pagenet for years and have found the reliability and coverage to be excellent. However, my experience with the Los Angeles support staff has not been good. In particular, a few years ago I wished to change my service from local to California north and south plus Las Vegas. The rep in LA said I didn't need to change the pager. I was skeptical, and when I got to the NAB in Vegas I did a test page and it didn't work. Next morning I went to the pagenet office in Las Vegas, and I was very impressed with the staff there. They were quite knowledgeable and helpful. There was a minor glitch that one of their databases showed the pager as owned and another as leased. Since it was leased, they swapped pagers on the spot and set me up with the correct service quickly and efficiently. The coverage is as advertised. The only times I've gotten errors or 'tone only' messages are in places I'd expect it, like on the road to Mt. Wilson, and inside basement parking structures. Incidentally, this is one time I was glad the pager was leased. Had it been owned, there would have been a $10 charge for a crystal change, and I would probably have had to leave the pager for the day for their technician to make the change. Chris Hays, Los Angeles ______ PAGENET (+) I have had pagenet for several years. The pager seems to work everywhere in California, save for a stretch through the mountains between L.A. and Bakersfield. It is sporadic at Denver's new airport, and doesn't come in at all in Ogallala, Nebraska...but then, that's a place you go to get away from pagers in the first place! Service: Very, very poor in the beginning. Long waits on voice mail hold.... looong waits in line at their office - literally out the door. Very very good now! I'd recommend it to anyone. I forget the previous pager company which serviced us...but I do remember getting several pages a month from them just to make sure it was working. After a number of times pulling off the freeway to find a pay phone (I always assume an emergency), I asked them to stop testing me. They didn't, so we changed to pagenet. (Although I now have a cellular phone, so it would't be such an annoyance today). Lee McGowan, KYXY/KPLN, San Diego, email@example.com ______ PAGENET (+) We have Page Net's Nationwide Service. It works quite well in the Los Angeles area. I mainly use it in Hollywood and in west LA. It is also the first system I have used that works reliably at our transmitter site on Mount Wilson. Lynn Duke, KRTH(FM) ______ PAGENET (+) We use Pagenet. Personally, it works very well the vast majority of the time. I receive pages reliably in San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino and Los Angeles Counties (even in Lancaster, 200 freeway miles to the north of San Diego). Occasionally something happens and the messages get buffered on their end, meaning we don't get them for a couple hours, but this happens very rarely--perhaps once or twice a year. Here in San Diego County, the only place I go that it doesn't work is Pine Valley. Cell phones don't work very well there either. Dennis Younker, Cox Communications, San Diego ______ PAGENET (+) My PageNet pager on 929.2875 MHz works fine in most buildings, and outside locations around the county as long as I stay west of the Sunset Highway and not much north of Ramona. Wish there was one that would work as far east as Jacumba or other places out in the boonies. Tom Oaklund, KPBS-TV, San Diego ______ PAGENET (+) & AIRTOUCH (+) .....Here at KPBS we have been using PageNet for some years now. I've had my pager for about 4-5 years, and service has been fine. Coverage is the US. On weekends, I often travel the US providing freelance work for NBC and CBS (sports audio). Reception has been fine everywhere I've tested it or have been paged. I've missed about 1 in 20-25 pages, and that has happened mostly in San Diego (though that's where I spend most of my time). With PageNet I have the option for page verification. I call in and listen to the pages that have been sent. Nice feature when you get bad pages. My only comparison is my wife's pager with Airtouch. It has southern California coverage and seems to work fine. Not used very much. Donn Johnson, KPBS-TV, San Diego ______ SKYTEL (+) I use a SkyTel SkyPager. It seems to work everywhere I go. I live in a canyon N of LA, where there is no cell phone coverage, but the pager works just fine. Dave Rickmers
THE END OF MORSE The end came yesterday. We knew it had to come. But the end had been predicted so many times for so many years while Morse soldiered on, paying no attention, providing good, reliable service for decades after it was declared dead... maybe some of thought the day would never come. But when KPH/KFS signed off the air for the last time yesterday it was the end of commercial Morse in North America. It was a sad day but one I knew I couldn't miss. Tom Horsfall, WA6OPE and I were invited along with many others to be present at the Half Moon Bay master station of Globe Wireless from which the final messages would be sent. I held in my hand two messages I hoped to have transmitted. They were messages of greeting and farewell from the Maritime Radio Historical Society and the San Francisco Maritime Historical Park - typed of course with a mill on historically correct Mackay Radio radiogram blanks. I secretly dared hope that I myself might be permitted to send these messages. I brought along my favorite straight key in its carrying case and my radiotelegraph license just in case. I have visited KFS many times over the years. On my first visit the operating room had nothing but Morse positions. Over the years the number of computers steadily advanced as the Morse positions retreated to the west end of the building. When we walked in yesterday both sides of the operating room were lined with racks holding sleek black computers and monitors. And way down at the end was the one remaining Morse operating position. Tom spotted him first... Paul Zell, the morse operator on duty. We knew him by his green eyeshade. All real radiotelegraph operators seem to wear green eyeshades. Pictures I have taken at KFS and KPH decades ago show men in green eyeshades at the key or the Kleinschmidt. Pictures taken at those stations decades before that show the same thing. I am convinced that there is a secret ceremony of the green eyeshade in which the distinctive headgear is carefully placed upon the head of the operator newly welcomed into the fraternity. This is of course a ceremony we have not been permitted to witness, a ceremony that will never again take place. I sat down next to Paul Zell as we listened to Russian and Cuban ships calling their respective coast stations. I realized that true to its nature, Morse will carry on in other parts of the world even after the keys in North America are finally silent. I had to ask Paul the question... "How are you feeling about today?" An impossible question to answer but he answered it. "CW was my life," he said and turned back to the receiver. More people started to arrive, a surprising number of reporters among them. But the real dignitaries in my eyes were the radio men and women who knew they had to be there on this day. Jack Martini, manager of KPH when it shut down (he intentionally left the receivers on when he left). Ray Smith, the operator who sent the farewell message when KPH at Bolinas/Pt. Reyes shut down. John Brundage, manager of KFS in its golden age of Morse. Denise, the first female coast station operator on the west coast. Rex Patterson, chief engineer at KFS in its glory years. And many more. We swapped stories and I showed them my photo album. We ate from the delicious spread of food provided by Peter Kierans of Globe Wireless. But our eyes kept glancing at the clock. It was now less than two hours to the end. I finally screwed my courage to the sticking place and asked Tim Gorman, Director of Operations, if my messages might be sent and if, perhaps, I might be permitted to send them. Tim had met me only that day. I might be a fumble-fisted lid for all he knew. And he was busy with the press and with all the details of the ceremony. "We'll see...", he said. And that was enough for me. Now the final transmissions from WCC/WNU began. We copied them off the air. The room fell silent. I noticed one man in particular. He was probably the oldest person there but had a presence that we used to call "spry". He had a quick laugh and twinkling eye. I watched him now. He stood leaning forward, eyes closed, as the sound washed over him.... drinking in... the Morse. He was a pioneer operator, the genuine article, no doubt about it. I wanted to meet him, to ask his name at least. But of course I couldn't possibly interrupt his reverie. Paul Zell sent the first of the KFS/KPH sign off messages from the local position. Again we were all silent and when he finished... there was a round of applause! Applause for a radiotelegraph operator! Well deserved applause, deserved by every radiotelegraph operator everywhere, applause unheard for 80 years. Paul made a small, embarrassed nod of his head, accepting the tribute for himself and for all the operators on all the ships and at all the coast stations over the years. Then he copied the last commercial message KFS would receive, from the Liberty ship Jeremiah O'Brien/KXCH on 500kc. The op on the O'Brien said he would standby until 15 past the hour. Zell replied "better make that 18 past, OM." The operator on the O'Brien understood and said that yes, he would observe the silent period - which of course is no longer required by regulation but is absolutely demanded by tradition. Then Paul said that he'd standby "on 600". The crowd got a big kick out of that - 600 meters instead of 500kc. Subtle, but all the more meaningful for that. I saw Tim approaching me across the room. "Get your key...", he said. Get your key! Holy mackerel, they were going to let me do it! So I got out the key, gathered up my messages, and plugged in. But then I realized: the best Morse operators in the country... the best Morse operators in the world, probably... would be listening to every dot and dash I sent! They would be too polite to say anything if I flubbed it of course... but they and I and everyone else in the room and all the ships at sea would know! My palms started to sweat at that thought but there was no turning back now. I took Paul Zell's seat. I sent a couple if Vs to see if there was side tone in the 'phones. The knob on the key was loose! I tightened that up... and began to send. I sent the first message from the Maritime Radio Historical Society and all went well. Then I signed the station calls.. "de KPH/KFS". Tom and a few others noticed that I sent KPH first and understood why. Then the second message from the San Francisco Maritime Historical Park. And the calls again... followed by my "sine"... and K. I had gotten through it! And there was a round of applause for me! Thoroughly undeserved but very much appreciated. Someone even said, "Nice fist". High praise indeed in that crowd. Then the final messages from KFS/KPH began. Paul Zell sent the first ones. Then Tim Gorman sat down and proved himself to be much more than just a competent manager. He sent the final message in meticulous Morse using the chrome-plated Vibroplex, signed off with "What hath God wrought"... then SK... and it was over. There were wet eyes in that room, mine among them. I heard more than one tough-looking old timer mumble, "I didn't think it would get to me, but..." and then turn away. I had one further item on my agenda: to get my license endorsed showing me as an operator at KFS/KPH on the last day of North American Morse. Once again Tim Gorman showed himself to be a gracious and understanding man as he took pen in hand to write "satisfactory" in the blank provided for operator evaluation on the back of the license and add his signature. Finally it was time to go. I gathered up my key and my photos and my papers and shook hands once more with all the great men and women who were there. And finally we were heading north on highway 1 with the beautiful Pacific sunset on our left and the green coastal hills on the right. "That was one helluva day," Tom said. "Yep," I agreed. Vy 73, Dick/"RD" Dick Dillman, W6AWO Chief Operator at K6KPH of the Maritime Radio Historical Society Collector Of Heavy Metal: Harleys, Willys and Radios Over 100lbs. Reprinted by Communications General Corporation with the kind permission of the author.
DTV FIELD TESTING IN LOS ANGELES & VENTURA This 4th of July weekend I took to the streets in one of our masted vehicles to run some DTV performance tests just for chuckles. My methods were neither scientific nor comprehensive but I can say that I came back a bit disappointed. With a high-quality set-top box fed by an admittedly "poor" mast-top VHF/UHF antenna, I did NTSC/DTV comparisons at a number of random locations in LA and Ventura... I stopped at locations where SOME of the LA DTV signals were present but others were not... I stopped at locations where NTSC was pristine but DTV was altogether absent. In short, I came across a number of very odd DTV reception situations- most having little relation to the quality of the corresponding NTSC signals... Given my preliminary findings, we plan on doing a far more methodical test in the near future- at preplanned radii and azimuths, in various types of topography, and with a better UHF antenna. I'm curious to know if any of the other stations have done any of their own coverage tests in this market and would like to share their findings. Also, if anyone would like to join us when we embark on our next field trip, please let me know. Neil Mazur <firstname.lastname@example.org>, July 6, 1999
Whatever to do with the F.A.A.? If you don't know the answer, it's ok. They don't know either. A client station recently ran into a problem with the F.A.A. as a result of an FCC inspection. It seems this station had lost a beacon due to the recent rains. The F.A.A. had been properly notified, or so the station thought. The station's operators had called the F.A.A. 3 times because 3 different operators thought they were supposed to call every day. The station was coincidentally inspected by the FCC. During the inspection the question of tower lights came up. The FCC inspector was told about the beacon outage and shown the entries in the log made by the operators for all three times. The entries showed the date, time and name of the person they spoke to at the F.A.A. Interestingly enough each caller got the same F.A.A. person on different days. Several days later when the FCC inspector called the F.A.A. to confirm the report, the F.A.A. had no record of the reports. It took a long time to track down what had happened. During a conference call involving the F.C.C., the F.A.A. and myself, It was discovered that the person who took the report was not given the "proper" type of "exact location" when he asked for the location of the towers. As a result he didn't file the report. The people at the station each claim the F.A.A. person taking the information said, "I'll take care of it". No further questions were asked. According to the supervisor I spoke to, the F.A.A. does not keep their telephonic recordings beyond 15 days, sometimes less. In speaking to various people at the F.A.A. I discovered they want to know where the tower/s are in relationship to a navigational aid. Some say coordinates are good, some say not. It just depends on who you talk to. The one thing they all agree on as being a good "exact location" is a bearing in degrees and distance in nautical miles from the nearest navigational aid. If you don't already have this information posted along with your reporting instructions, it wouldn't hurt to call the F.A.A. and find out what wording they recommend for your particular tower's exact location. Copy it down word for word and add it to your reporting instructions. I suggest giving the tower coordinates as shown on your station's tower registration as additional information. It couldn't hurt. Be sure to have the person phoning in the report get the full name of the person taking the report. Be sure to enter that person's name as well as the time of the report on the station's log. ______ Whatever to do with the F.A.A.? Chapter II Remember, I recently wrote the story about the client station, the tower lights and the FCC inspection? Well, there's more to this continuing saga. The tower light problem was corrected and the FAA properly notified. I know, I called to report the repairs myself. I spoke to a Mr. "Fuzzy Bear". I gave the station's call letters and exact location per the FAA's wording. Mr. Bear took the information and told me he'd report the repair. He thanked me for letting them know and we hung up. Simple, right? HA! A few days later I received a call at home from the FAA. They were going through their records and just wanted to know what the status of the station's tower lights were. I recall his exact question, "Have your tower lights been repaired?" I proceeded to tell him what had been done and about my call to Mr. Fuzzy Bear. The fellow I was talking to (this time) admitted their record keeping wasn't the best in the world. By the way, why did I get this call at home? When I was trying to get this problem straightened out the first time I left my home number for the supervisor to call me back. He did, and he understood it was my home number. That, they managed to log and not lose! There's one last hope. Next time you need to report a tower light problem, follow up your phone call with a registered letter. In Los Angeles their address is: Hawthorne Flight Service 12111 S. Crenshaw Boulevard Hawthorne, CA 90250 ATTN: NOTAM Position - Operation Floor Don't forget the return receipt. When you pay for the return receipt, you should be given a "receipt for certified mail" by the Postal Clerk. Attach the receipt along with a copy of the letter to your station log. When you receive the signed returned receipt in the mail attach it your station log along with the letter and original receipt. Check with your local F.A.A. office for the reporting point, phone number and mailing address nearest your station. Report the repair by telephone and letter. What could be more simple. Only time will tell. Burt I. Weiner Burt I. Weiner Associates Broadcast Technical Services Glendale - Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. 818-409-0185 email@example.com
3.5 MHZ INTERFERENCE FROM CABLE COMPANY (PHONEX) BOXES AND THE FIERCE RIALTO WINDS Your CGC newsletter is VERY much appreciated! I am a simple ham, not a broadcaster, but still find it extremely informative and interesting. I know John, K6AM, engr at KPOP, KFMB, KGB, etc.. said it is a MUST in the industry. The part about Rialto winds was particularly interesting. I lived there from birth to age 21, and remember many similar events with the "north wind," as it was called locally. As a little kid walking to school I remember leaning way over into the wind to make progress. Somewhere around the age I learned to walk I remember thinking "one day I am gonna get OUT of this place!" The CGC article by Dave Rickmers was right on. Incidentally, the 80 meter interference from those Phonex boxes is being addressed by the local cable company (Daniels.. your company, too). Thanks for putting me in touch with Don Williams. He is a really nice guy. If you have not listened to the horrible noises they generate between about 3510 and 3545, take a look. Even after replacing hundreds of the offending boxes there is barely (but noticeably) a difference. I have found many sources using the new Sony receiving loop and my ICF-2010, and Daniels has replaced the old boxes with new ones. Some radiate 5 or 6 miles and are still over S-9 here. John and I were tracking one in Carlsbad when suddenly a woman started a phone call and eventually gave her credit card #, which was easily readable on 3.5 Mhz AM from miles away. The new Phonex replacements will only transmit RF during billing cycles, but will transmit on 3.3 Mhz. Though the hams will be relieved, these devices are still illegal, with non intentional radiation often at several MILLIvolts at 100 ft. I recently heard Intel sells a new device which acts in a similar way, linking computers within a household by transmitting RF through household power lines, on a frequency somewhere between 5 and 9 Mhz. 40 meter fans will love Intel for this. Sincerely, Jim McCook, W6YA, Leucadia
IS THAT 'THE' RED BLANCHARD? In the May 17 CGC Communicator, there was a letter from a Red Blanchard. Is that the same Red Blanchard who was a radio personality in LA in the 50's and 60's? If so, I remember one New Years Eve in the early 60's, up all night, with us listening to him on KFWB agonizing whether to play W.C.Fields' Temperance lecture, as he had done on other stations, wishing he would, and disappointed that he didn't play it. Russ Jackson ______ Russ, Yes, I am that Red Blanchard, and I well remember when I was the all-night DJ/Newsman on KFWB in 1959/60. As you probably remember the station had a highly structured play list of "top 40" records, but I could get away with a lot of stuff in the middle of the night, I suppose as a reward for being up that late. I still have my record collection, including the WC Fields "Temperance Lecture." In early 1960s I was lucky enough to be hired as a staff announcer at CBS/KNX (that's when there actually WAS a CBS radio). From there I went to KHJ in 1965 and worked there until retirement. To tell the truth I never would have left KNX, but I had to, due to illness. (The boss got sick of me.) These days I am only on my ham radio mostly on 3785 Kc. starting at 7:30AM daily... but I have started this SETI@home program, where my computer is doing something worthwhile whenever I am not using it. I would like to recommend it to anyone with a computer. For more info, here is a URL that will tell all, plus download the necessary software: http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/setiathome_science.html Sincerely, Red Blanchard
COMMENTS ON: "USADR PROPOSES TO CUT AM ANALOG BANDWIDTH IN HALF" FROM CGC #325 As a matter of record, the following Letter to the Editor of the CGC Communicator appeared in CGC #325: ****************************************************************** USADR PROPOSES TO CUT AM ANALOG BANDWIDTH IN HALF At the recent NAB convention, I talked with the folks at USA Digital Radio regarding their proposal to reduce the analog bandwidth of AM stations in order to accommodate their AM IBOC signal. In the USADR proposal for rulemaking submitted to the FCC, they are asking to reduce the AM analog audio bandwidth to 5 kHz, for a RF bandwidth of 10 kHz. As a practical matter, AM stations will have to transmit less than 5 kHz of audio response in order to roll off and comply with the +/-5 kHz mask. This would give USADR the necessary room to place their IBOC waveform. However, it will reduce by half our present transmitted audio bandwidth. The USADR engineers are absolutely convinced that few, if any, AM receivers pass audio above 3.5 kHz. They are wrong. One can only hope USADR can come up with a better coding scheme that doesn't require trashing the analog signal. Michael Smith, KCBS/KLLC, San Francisco ****************************************************************** In response to this letter, the following comments were received: ______ I appreciated (Mike Smith's) comments in the latest CGC Communicator regarding the limitation in AM analog bandwidth required to accommodate IBOC DAB. I drive a '98 Ford Explorer. It has a radio with real clean AM detection, and a bandwidth significantly exceeding 5 kHz. While I do not believe it goes all the way to 10 kHz, you can hear the frequency response limit inherent to G.722 (7.5 kHz) if you listen closely. The biggest problem with the 5 kHz limitation is likely to be the "zillion-dB/octave" filter that will probably be required to achieve a "brick wall" cutoff at 5 kHz. It will ring so much that we will have to roll off the audio even more before it hits the filter. If it were a 6 dB/octave rolloff, beginning at 5 kHz, that would be a different deal. Erik Disen, KRLD ______ USADR should be ashamed. I will never limit my analog to 5000 Hz. What happened to the IBOC guys? Is this the new and improved "Out of Band, Off Channel" version? I would rather the market place had digital receivers in place, then make the switch. Analog one day, digital the next. Screw the dual operation. There are several AMs in So. Cal that should just shut-off and regroup anyway. Why not make them digital now? Design the digital medium and get some real R&D started. Robert Leembruggen, Los Angeles ______ I was appalled by the news that USADR proposes to reduce the analog audio bandwidth to 5KHz or less in its digital AM IBOC system (see Mike Smith's letter in CGC #325). I grew up listening to wideband AM receivers with wonderful sound from the better stations. Many current radios can reproduce (to some degree) that last audio octave---you can and will hear the difference if it gets taken away. Analog AM will be around for quite a while as we transition to new technology, so let's not degrade it in a rush to jump on the digital bandwagon. For those who missed it, there was an interesting article on the useful transmission range of various Part 15 frequencies in the April 1999 issue of RF Design magazine. Jim Garrett, WA6YOS
COMMENTS ON: "MYSTERIES OF THE EGYPTIAN CROSSED-FIELD ANTENNA (CFA)" FROM CGC #325 As a matter of record, the following story appeared in the CGC Communicator newsletter #325: ****************************************************************** MYSTERIES OF THE EGYPTIAN CROSSED-FIELD ANTENNA (CFA) Perhaps the most curious technical paper presented at this year's NAB Convention was the one entitled, "Four Egyptian MW Broadcast Crossed-Field Antennas." These short antennas (often less than 3% lambda) are said to consistently outperform quarter-wave towers by "3 to 10 dB per uV" (why "per uV"?), yet no far field measured data are provided in the paper to support this point. Does anyone plan to build and test a CFA in the U.S.? Has anyone looked deeply into the claims? One engineering consultant who attended the paper commented that he was 90% in disbelief of what he saw, but the other 10% was anxiously awaiting more data. Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof. ****************************************************************** In response to this story, the following comments were received: ______ Don Lancaster has commented about this antenna. I've also spoken with others who agree that the measurement techniques and reporting methodology are not adequately based in the scientific method to be acceptable. Reports include that the "reference" 0.25 lambda antenna had a woefully inadequate ground system, thus lowering the efficiency of the "reference" and improperly suggesting an exaggerated figure of merit for the "CFA". I will reiterate your comment: "Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof. " See: http://www.tinaja.com/glib/muse138.pdf for Don's comments in his "Tech Musings #138". Marty Hadfield, VP Engineering, Entercom Communications Corp. ______ I read with interest the section on that Egyptian crossfield antenna and copied it to Dick Adler at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey who, as you may know, wrote much of the NEC program and is very much into antennas and modeling and I seem to remember his mentioning this antenna to me several years ago. He can be reached at RWA@ibm.net. When I asked him if he'd ever heard of this antenna, here was his reply: "Yes! It has been a hoax since 1988 when the thing was announced. Ben Dawson went to Egypt to "participate in and witness" verification measurements. The proponents did not show up. The xmtr was locked up. The feedpoint was unavailable. All he could do was measure the fields, but no info on power, feedpoint, etc. makes the measurements useless. This has been the case for years. NEC modeling shows it to be a very small antenna with rotten input Z, just like it looks. The theory is bogus. The antenna is supposed to make very big electric fields from the short monopole, and very strong magnetic fields from the two capacitor plates. The last time I checked with the laws of the universe, capacitors make very strong electric fields, too! That is what NEC shows. I will recant all above once it is verified by the engineering community. Don't hold your breath!" - RWA Jerry Lewine ______ Memo to Dick Adler from Bob Gonsett: .....I am wondering if the remarks (quoted in Jerry's letter) are in fact yours (etc.)..... ______ Reply from Dick Adler: Thanks for the invitation. I will decline at this time, since I am not actively "helping" the cause to debunk or prove the CFA claims. I refer you to John Belrose of Canada, who has been and still is modeling the critter and intends to track all efforts to verify or disprove the CFA. Jerry Burke is the sole creator of all versions of NEC MoM, and I have been a very avid user of NEC and its predecessors since 1970. Jerry just completed a detailed model of the CFA via NEC and has verified that the claims of the inventors are bogus. John Belrose is the center of CFA efforts and he can help. firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks, R W Adler ______ Ben Dawson of Hatfield and Dawson was in Egypt this year at the behest of Harris to make field intensity measurements of the CFA. His take on the CFA is that it works pretty well for a short antenna, but nowhere near as well as a 1/4 lambda vertical monopole with a proper ground system. The inventor's performance claims are wildly inaccurate. He also notes that the field set used by the Egyptians to make measurements was out of calibration and the technician who made the measurements apparently did not know how to do this properly. You might want to verify his comments before attributing them. Gray Frierson Haertig, Gray Frierson Haertig & Assoc., Telecommunications Engineering, email@example.com ______ Dr. Bill Bayha of Harris and I traveled to Egypt to make measurements of the actual performance of the Hatley/Khabbary antenna. Because the Nile Delta is an area of very high conductivity (much like parts of the California Central Valley) and because of its ease of access to Cairo, we requested that the measurements be made at the Tanta installation. Tanta is the largest city in the Delta between Cairo and Alexandria, and the antenna is located at the edge of the city, adjacent to agricultural land for many kilometers to the north. Although we made very careful observations of the potential for reradiation from other antenna structures on the site, and of the measured field from the antenna, we were unable to verify the power input to the antenna or its impedance/bandwidth characteristics, because we were not given access to the input matching system, despite earlier assurances of access. From these measurements, and from observation of the approximate power fed to the antenna from the transmitter used, a very ancient Tesla 30 kW unit operating at somewhat lower power, we have determined unambiguously that the antenna efficiency is almost exactly what would be expected from a moderately lossy very short radiator. The antenna did not appear to cause significant carrier shift or other serious bandwidth limitation, and the modulated signal received on an FIM-21 did not exhibit obvious impaired fidelity due to bandwidth limitation. Until valid repeatable measurements by independent observers with properly calibrated equipment can be made of both field strength and input power and impedance, it is not possible to say much more. In my view if the input impedance circumstances can be resolved favorably the antenna may have some application for specialized uses, but it not a good solution for very many if any medium wave broadcast situations. Dr. Alberto Fassio of RAI in Italy is constructing one for just such tests, and when completed his installation should resolve the exaggerated claims for this antenna's performance. Ben Dawson
COMMENTS ON: "ONGOING PROBLEMS WITH THE HARRIS DIGIT & DIGIT CD FM EXCITERS" FROM CGC #325 As a matter of record, the following story appeared in CGC Communicator newsletter #325: ****************************************************************** Many of our readers know that a Harris Digit and an Optimod 8200 have had compatibility problems resulting in unacceptable center frequency shifts for FM stations. A second and distinct problem is that some Harris Digits - all by themselves - appear to display unstable center frequencies. While discussing this possible problem with Harris, one of our clients came into possession of a Harris Service Bulletin describing yet another frequency instability problem, this one causing jumps of up to 300 kHz (!) in a small percentage of Digit and Digit CD exciters. See the bulletin at: http://22.214.171.124/cgc/ Click on Additional Postings, then click on the item entitled, "Frequency Hops with the Harris Digit and Digit CD FM Exciters." ****************************************************************** In response to this story, Ellis Terry of Harris (who at first was unaware that the 300 kHz problem existed) did some in-house research and provided the following reply from Dick Fry. - Ed. ______ The subject of the DIGIT being pulled off frequency when connected to the AES3 output of an Orban 8200 was known and fixed by Orban over six months ago. Orban discovered that in some cases, there was a digital DC offset in the AES3 output of the 8200. As the AES3 input of the DIGIT is "DC coupled" as far as the incoming data is concerned,* this could move the center frequency of the DIGIT somewhat. Orban furnished the required updates free of charge to users of the 8200. Current 8200's do NOT have the digital offset. This information was widely circulated on the Internet -- BNet website, for example --, and on the Orban website. Harris field service had the right answer to tell anyone calling here about it. As a result I doubt if there are many unmodified 8200's out there (that are used with the AES3 input of a DIGIT, anyway). Orban will still send the update to Orban 8200 users on request. Although not new, you may have just heard about the contents of Harris field bulletin FM-498-DWA that we sent to all registered DIGIT users last February. It alerted them to a possible off-frequency condition that could result from very low line voltage or unusual line transients, noting that it had occurred in less than 0.5% of all DIGITs shipped. It invited any DIGIT owner to request the firmware update at no charge, under an extended warranty. There have been a couple of comments about this lately - on the CGC website, for example. The URL included in that post was basically the text of our Bulletin FM-498 from February. The CGC URL for it is http://126.96.36.199/cgc/ So all DIGIT frequency-shift issues have been acknowledged by Harris and Orban, and the fixes were available and distributed to users as soon as the situations were discovered. Hopefully this will resolve your concerns about the DIGIT, and Harris service and warranty support. Regards, Richard Fry FM Applications Engineer, Radio Product Line Management Harris Broadcast Communications Division Quincy, IL tel (217) 221-7136 * This was a design request by customer focus groups to remove low frequency tilt and resulting overshoot in the exciter. Digital techniques made it possible and practical to do.
FREQUENCY HOPS WITH THE HARRIS DIGIT AND DIGIT CD FM EXCITERS Harris Communications Service Bulletin - Maintenance and Modification Data Broadcast Division _____________________ Bulletin No: FM-498-DWA Date: February 1999 Equipment: DIGIT & DIGIT CD FM Exciters Subject: Digital Modulator Firmware _____________________ It has been determined that under certain types of AC power line anomalies, such as power surges, low voltage periods or impulse AC outages, a DIGIT or DIGIT CD FM exciter may return to service off frequency. This is not a widespread problem and less than half of one percent of the installed base has reported this condition. The abnormal exciter condition causes the carrier to shift frequency between 100 kHz and 300 kHz. The DIGIT will return to normal opera- tion by turning it off and on again. A revision in the firmware on the digital modulator board (A3) has been made, to eliminate the possibility of this abnormal condition occurring. The new revision level is Rev. C. Recent models of the exciter may have this version of firmware installed. You can determine your Rev. level by examining the IC designated as (U15) in the DIGIT or (U16) in the DIGIT CD. See the picture on the following page for location of the IC. Due to the rare occurrence of this problem, we are making the firmware upgrade available on a request basis. To obtain the new firmware IC under extended warranty, please returned the attached card. A service bulletin that covers the replacement procedure and the IC will be provided. Time required: Allow 1 hour to complete. Tools required: #2 Phillips screwdriver PLCC extraction tool or equivalent Anti-static wrist strap Harris Broadcast Systems Division Radio Field Service Post Office Box 4290 Quincy, IL USA 62305-4290 telephone 217-221-7528 facsimile 217-221-7086 telex 650-374-2978 Haris UR _____________________ [If you need "the picture on the following page for location of the IC," contact Harris directly. The new Radio Rep for southern California is Ellis Terry: (661) 252-9641 or (800) 671-3939 or firstname.lastname@example.org -Ed.]
WARNING: YOUR LAND-MOBILE LICENSE MAY HAVE BEEN CANCELED From: Ray Vaughan <email@example.com> Via LMR@ONELIST.COM I would like issue a bit of warning. Some of you may be operating without a license. A few months back, I was hunting around the FCC web site and found a call sign look up page. I tried it with a few of my call signs, and then I tried my fairly new 800 MHz pair. This is what I saw: Callsign Results [WTB LAND MOBILE DATABASE] Callsign Licensee Name RadioDelete/Delete/ServiceCancel CodeCancel Date WPCN264 VAUGHAN, RAY JGXOOct 19, 1998 Delete/Cancel Info CANCELLED PURSUANT TO PN DA 98-2021 - NOT GRANTED RELIEF BY GOODMAN/CHAN ORDERS The web site was telling me my license was cancelled! I called to ask about this and was told, yep, you're cancelled. Needless to say, this was rather distressing since I spent quite a bit of money on this license. I never received a warning, no paper work... nothing. Meanwhile, I'm running without a license. And I bet APCO is all set to coordinate someone on top of me. It's an 806 near downtown Miami, so I know there would be some demand for it. Well, a few letters later, and a lot of consultant fees, I got a nice letter from the FCC (which I may frame) which basically says they made a mistake, they're sorry, and a new license will be issued. If I hadn't noticed until renewal time, I bet it would have been too late to do anything about it. Now I just have to hope there's no one else constructing on my channel. My guess is that I'm not the only one that this has happened to. Some of you may be in the same boat. That license you have hanging on the wall could be as invalid as mine was. From the sound of the cancellation order, I think a lot of licenses were purged in one move. Take a few minutes to check your licenses on this site: http://gullfoss.fcc.gov:8080/cgi-bin/ws.exe/beta/genmen/call_res.hts?db_id=2&rows=&callsign=WPCN264 Just change the WPCN264 at the end of that long URL to yours. Might be a good idea to check all your licenses yearly at least. If nothing else, double check all the information the FCC has on file for you. You might find a typo or something you weren't aware of. Let us know if you found problems too. Good luck. Ray J. Vaughan, MS, CBTE KD4BBM firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.rayvaughan.com/
THE USELESSNESS OF BAROMETERS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA My barometer was mostly useful to cover up the extra nail holes in the wall.... It just didn't correlate with the weather in southern California. Same thing with the recording barometer I had in my room at San Gabriel High School. The main thing it did was record a glitch each morning when a shaft of sunlight moved over the barometer. It wasn't temperature compensated, I guess. The only thing I really learned about predicting the weather in southern California was that if the weather gurus postpone a storm more than three times, it's not coming... It'll stop at the Tehachapi Mountains. During the rainy season, here in northern California, the barometer is a dependable predictor of rain. It's not so much the actual pressure reading but how fast it's changing that is the tipoff. My wall barometer, cheap aneroid model that I've had for years, is slightly miscalibrated, but I wouldn't touch the adjustment on purpose. The 30-inch mark has become my "magic number," I've only seen it rain a few times when the barometer was above this mark... (I have no clear idea of the actual pressure this indicates, I haven't bothered to check...) When the TV guys are predicting an imminent storm, and the barometer isn't moving downward, it's a good bet the storm has stalled. Very often that news doesn't filter into the weathercasts until much later. Don Beaty [Editor's Note: Don worked with Marvin Collins at the old KCBH (now KYSR(FM)) around 1955, and again with Marvin at the old KPOL(AM) in Los Angeles; Don later taught math and physics at the college level in San Mateo and now resides in northern California. His ham call is K6VH.]
FCC INSPECTS KMEX-TV, LOS ANGELES By Jeff Staigh, WA6EQU Letter Received by CGC on March 26, 1999 We DID get a real FCC EAS inspection last week and passed with flying colors. I was going to tell you how things went but it's easier to copy you with the e-mail message I sent to all the Univision stations after the fact. That message follows. ______ Yesterday afternoon the local FCC inspector appeared at our door for a surprise EAS compliance inspection. After looking at the station license (just for official information) we went down to master control. Specifically he was looking for the official EAS manual and that it was on-hand. He asked specifically about alert tone duration. Apparently there are a lot of folks backing off on the length so they don't have to listen to them. I told him ours were factory default and I'd be happy to get into the programming if he preferred, but he was happy with my answer. He asked me specifically if I knew the max alert forward-delay time -"15 minutes" declared I. They're on the lookout for those who either don't know or willfully delay beyond the 15 min limit by turning off the force send mode. They just wrote a station for delaying the alert 2.5 hrs (!) because the Program Manager couldn't find a slot for the test. That was an $11,500.00 fine and probation to the station. Make sure your M/C operators clearly understand what to do! We (the M/C TD on duty) were asked to go through the entire EAS RWT drill - step by step, up to pushing the "air" button. As far as the logs go, we keep copies of all EAS test day logs in a separate book in Traffic that can be snatched by anyone quickly - in case we get inspected..... He looked back to the last 4 weeks for proper logging, operator signature, etc. We tape the EAS paper onto the program log so there's no question what ran & when. One thing I missed in the rules (although I remember someone mentioning this....Ken?) was there also needs to be a Chief Operator signature for the EAS logs. I've reviewed the last 4 weeks of logs and signed them as he asked, and won't miss that one again. The main focus seemed to be how the box was set up and that the operator knew what to do without hesitation. Another thing he suggested is that each receiver, or rcvr position on the rotary, be labeled by station and designation (LP-1/LP-2, etc.). Not too much to ask. EAS is about the last thing that they have total control over. The bottom line is that we passed with no problems whatsoever! We tried to get a tour of the T-Hunt mobile but were denied. Ever since someone in San Francisco posted pictures of it on the web last year after a mini-tour, the brass have classified the equipment because it "monitors military and classified" equipment itself, and therefore must be the same. Go figure....
ASSETS OF TOWER TECHNOLOGY FOR SALE March 22, 1999 I want to thank the broadcast community for the huge turnout at Andy's funeral and all of the cards and flowers, but most especially for sharing your memories of Andy with me. He was a very special man. I am in the process of liquidating the business. I have huge amounts of tools including a THI-4417 Readout and Single Probe System Holaday Watt-Meter that was just purchased in September. The truck is just a year old with 34,000 miles. It's a GMC cab over utility truck with tool boxes and a crane built in, asking $32,000.00. The 1990 jeep has 275,000 miles on it, but only 38 on the brand-new engine! If you are interested in any of these items, please contact me at email@example.com to come take a look. It would really be helpful if anyone could just give me bids on the whole kit and caboodle. I need to be out of the shop by July. Thank you, Susan Figge, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mt. Wilson Telescope Domes
Click Here to see picture - 6 domes.jpg (53194 bytes)
This picture was taken in early January 1999 by Marvin Collins, Chief Engineer, KFI Radio, Los Angeles. The location was the big parking lot just west of the Mt. Wilson Pavilion. Shown are five observatory domes that will be placed on top of round structures like the one in the foreground. When finished, the five 1-meter scopes will be linked together in a phased array manner to create the equivalent of one telescope with the resolving power of an 1800 foot mirror, if all works as planned. The five scopes will be linked to a Beam Synthesis Facility by fiber optics passing through vacuum tubing for maximum phase stabilization. All scopes are anticipated to be fully operational in early 2000.