Additional Postings - 2001
Additional Postings - 1998 - 1999 - 2000
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.
12/17/01 - DO SATELLITE TV IMAGES LOOK SOFT, OR IS IT JUST MY IMAGINATION
09/15/01 - EYEWITNESS TO THE PENTAGON DISASTER
08/17/01 - INLAND EMPIRE
06/15/01 - KUSC(FM), LOS ANGELES, RECEIVING C-BAND TERRESTRIAL INTERFERENCE ("TI")
05/18/01 - KFMB-FM CLARIFIES THEIR COMMUNITY ANTENNA EVENTS
05/18/01 - TRANSCRIBING OBSOLETE VIDEO TAPE FORMATS - CGC READERS REPLY
02/16/01 - SELF-OSCILLATING TV PREAMPS - UPDATE
02/16/01 - ROBERT SILLIMAN, DECEASED AT 87
02/16/01 - TONY MEZEY, DECEASED
02/16/01 - REMEMBRANCE OF TONY MEZEY
01/20/01 - ABOUT USING EAS FOR ROLLING POWER BLACKOUT ALERTS
01/01/01 - RADIO SHACK'S SATELLITE INTERNET SYSTEM: DISAPPOINTING
DO SATELLITE TV IMAGES LOOK SOFT, OR IS IT JUST MY IMAGINATION By: Jim Mendrala, December 2001 (Excerpt from Tech-Notes #94) Where I live, I cannot get OTA (over-the-air) signals that are considered good. I live in a valley, called Val Verde, 45 miles northwest of Los Angeles, CA and Mt. Wilson where the majority of the TV and DTV transmitters are located. Since there are only about 1,000 homes in Val Verde there isnt any cable company that services my area. Even the phone company cannot provide DSL service to my area. Two months ago I got tired of watching the hour glass as I surfed the Internet using a 56k modem that never connected much above 24600 bps to my old Internet service provider. So I decided to go with StarBand. StarBand is an Internet service provider that uses a geosynchronous satellite to provide a high-speed downlink as well as a fast uplink. One Antenna, Two-Way: StarBand uses a single satellite dish antenna (24x36) for receiving AND for sending information. Plus, the StarBand antenna can accommodate both the Internet and EchoStar's Dish Network satellite TV programming. StarBand service brings the Internet and hundreds of channels of television into my home, all through one dish antenna. StarBand is up to 10 times faster than dial-up can provide. With download speeds up to 600 kbps, downloading a file that used to take me up to 5 minutes with dial-up now takes me as little as 30 seconds! As a StarBand subscriber I have the opportunity to be part of a unique satellite multicast network. In the future, I should be able to surf the Internet and receive channels of high-quality content from top entertainment and information partners, including MP3 files, software downloads, subscription content and more. For the last 6 years I have been a DirecTV subscriber prior to subscribing to the Dish Network. In the early days of DBS the DirecTV pictures were stunning. Sure there were some MPEG artifacts like noisy fades and sometimes some mosquito artifacts on edges but overall quite acceptable. Once in awhile during a heavy rain Id get some MPEG blocking but that was pretty rare. Last year I purchased a Sony Wega 24 TV set for my living room while waiting for a decent HDTV to arrive on the scene. My preferred viewing distance from the Wega is approximately 8 ft. or 9 screen heights. The flat screen Trinitron display on the Wega has much more than 500 lines of horizontal resolution and a very stable DC restorer. Blacks are black with little, if any, long term drift. I use the S video connection for all the heavy viewing and the composite video connection for other videos sources such as my digital still camera, S-VHS machine and sometimes my camcorder. My camcorder also has an S video connection as well as the IEEE Fire Wire. In the bedroom I have an old Sony 17 Trinitron monitor, the kind that many of the off line editing bays used several years ago when doing 3/4 U-Matic editing. It has a horizontal resolution of about 300 lines. Now let me get back on track with the subject of this article. When I made the switch from DirecTV to Dish, I was not impressed with the quality of the images I was seeing. They were very soft, exhibited lag, had very noisy fades and poor resolution. These are all MPEG artifacts from not having enough bits to do the job properly. I have spoken with some of the engineers at both DirecTV and Dish and they admit that on some channels they do turn down the bit rate so as to not overwhelm the statistical multiplexers or Muxers as they are called. This way they say they can get more programs into the limited bandwidth available on the satellites transponders. Pay-for-view seem to get top priority with the higher bit rates as they usually look pretty good. Kind of like DVDs. I have two receivers at my house. An EchoStar 6000 HDTV receiver and an EchoStar DP301 receiver. Both are DVB compliant. The artifacts Im seeing are common to both receivers. The interesting thing though is that the Dish Networks HDTV demo channel, #9443 and the CBS-HD feed from the east coast, on channel #9453 look great even when viewed using the 480i output to my 24 Sony Wega. The pictures are sharp and crystal clear. In the CBS case, however, the same program in SDTV on channel #243 looks very soft, has lag and poor resolution. Other network feeds such as NBC and ABC are very soft, have lag and poor resolution also. Is this my imagination or are the pristine images that are being provided by the various networks, to the two DBS companies, DirecTV and Dish, (now merging into one company per FCC approval) being degraded to VHS quality? With the FCC in a decision last week that all DBS must carry all local TV stations will this further the degradation of the images? When a TV that has less than 350 lines of resolution displays images with less than 200 lines of resolution I think it is time to take a closer look at what is happening. When my camcorder images look sharper than what the networks through the DBS companies are transmitting I can imagine what might happen on the cable companies when they standardize on a set-top-box and go digital. Why do we as consumers have to watch less than VHS quality? What ever happened to true broadcast quality? If we are to continue into the digital world with digital television then I think it is time to think about switching over to HDTV because even though, at this time, most people only have analog SDTV sets an HDTV picture at 480i resolution looks like studio quality SDTV as seen on studio monitors. Distribution of content can take many avenues. Who is going to be the watchdog for quality control purposes? As we have seen during the 911 crises only a minority are receiving images OTA. The broadcaster probably doesnt know or even cares about how his signal is being degraded as it is being distributed to the viewing public. We would like to hear your comments on this developing problem. [Editor's note: Since this article first appeared in Tech-Notes, please send any comments to the editor of that newsletter, and not to the CGC Communicator. The editor of Tech-Notes is Larry Bloomfield: <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Thanks!
EYEWITNESS TO THE PENTAGON DISASTER I have just returned from the NYC area at 1:00 am this morning, Saturday. I had gone to Washington, DC for an IEEE committee meeting of IEEE C95 Subcommittees 2 and 4 being hosted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Tuesday through Friday. I had flown into DC's National Airport on Monday night and showed up at 8:30 to start our meeting. No sooner had I started the meeting than someone came quickly into our conference room and alerted us to the fact that an airplane had hit one of the WTC towers. We turned on a TV monitor in the room and immediately got the news of what was happening. By that time, the second plane had just hit the second tower. In disbelief, we just stood speechless watching the monitor. After a bit, I wandered over to just stand and look out the big windows of the FCC building from which you can directly observe both National Airport and the Pentagon. At one point, I saw a large plane in a steep turn but thought it was just a plane taking off from National, you almost look directly down the runway from the bldg. Moments later I was looking at the Pentagon and then directly witnessed a giant fireball, perhaps about one-half, or less, the diameter of the Pentagon. This was the attack on the Pentagon! At this point, we began to wonder if we might be next! Needless to say, our meeting was destroyed for the day as the Federal government ordered everyone to evacuate the bldg immediately. We all scattered and I headed for the nearest Metro station to try to get back out to the Maryland suburbs before they might close the Metro system. Eventually, they closed the Pentagon and Pentagon City Metro stops but the rest of the system did continue to operate. As the government announced that it would continue to be open for business the next day, we held the second day of our two day meeting with only about six people in attendance. The last two days set for another committee meeting (Subcommittee 4) were canceled as folks were coming in from all over the country and, of course, no one could get into any of the DC area airports. The air flight system had, properly, been shut down by the FAA. I could not get out of DC with the airports shut down and continued to try to do work on my computer from my hotel room. Unexpectedly, on Thursday morning, the World Trade Center broadcasters that I have worked with so much in the past learned that I was in Washington, DC, tracked me down and asked me to come to a big meeting of all the NYC WTC broadcasters Friday morning in northern NJ. I rented a car and drove up early, early yesterday morning to make the meeting, rain storm and all. They are trying desperately to establish emergency backup transmitting facilities to provide some degree of coverage for NYC. Believe it or not, essentially all of the stations in NYC that were broadcasting from the WTC are presently off the air now and are scrambling to get something in the interim going. Their concern is that RF safety matters be constantly considered as they hang temporary antennas, potentially among many other existing antennas. It was a crazy time trying to get back yesterday. I had changed my ticket to fly out of Newark to get home but then the airport got closed and I went there anyway to check. You could not reach anyone on the phone at that point. The only way I every communicated with the airlines was through Valeria back here in Las Vegas. Then, when almost getting on the plane finally, they had to immediately evacuate the entire Newark airport. I don't know why. So, everyone had to trudge out of the terminal. I stood outside in the middle of 10,000 other people and then, finally, after a while, we could go back in. But, then, it was 10,000 people trying to get through the security system again! It is clear that our mode of traveling is not going to be the same again, if ever. The tragedy at the WTC towers affected me as I have done a lot of work there, all of it on the roofs of both the north tower (with the broadcast antenna mast) and the south tower where the public walkway observation deck was located. I had been asked to come back and perform additional measurements now that the new digital television antenna had finally be completed. I had been delaying my work there due to the press of other projects. While I had not been scheduled to work on the roof on last Tuesday morning, I could have been there. It gives me a really creepy feeling to watch the replay of the north tower come down with the antenna mast going straight down! I have been up inside that mast performing RF field measurements. Six of the transmitter engineers, stationed in the transmitter rooms at the top of the WTC north tower have been lost. Others that I knew who were associated with the Port Authority and who had offices in the WTC are gone. No one knows exactly what happened to them but we can guess. During the 1993 bombing attack on the WTC, the broadcast folks went to the rooftop to wait for rescue. Perhaps they did the same thing this time without, of course, any help. Finally, ironically, I was involved in a theoretical analysis of RF fields associated with one of the UHF TV stations for a new antenna. I was waiting to get detailed drawings of the roof showing where the steel comes up through the roof and I was going to complete it upon my return to Vegas. Now, of course, there is no need for the analysis. Ric Tell, Richard Tell Associates, Inc., email@example.com
INLAND EMPIRE Question: What's up with the "Inland Empire, CA" designation as the location for a broadcast station? In CGC #466, "Inland Empire" is listed as the city of license for KHTV-LP. I live and work in the Inland Empire but there is no such city, it's just a place (some call it the valley areas surrounding those incorporated communities). Does the FCC consider 'Inland Empire' a valid location? Answer: As far back as 1987, the Commission stated the elements of "community" status - designation by name on state highway signs and official maps; the use of that name as an identifier in the names of some businesses, churches and schools in the vicinity; a populace of appreciable size served by a number of retail stores, other business establishments, churches and schools; and the fact that that place is not encompassed or intersected by the borders of any incorporated municipalities. The applicant proposing that place as its community of license is not required to present testimony by residents that they conceive of themselves as a distinct community. On the basis of the above, and the fact that the Commission has already determined that "Inland Empire" is a "community" when granting both the CP and the license of KHTV-LP, "Inland Empire" appears to be acceptable even though it is not an incorporated city. If anyone would wish to dispute such status, a formal petition to the Commission and formal hearing proceedings would be required. Phil Kane, Communications Law Center, San Francisco
KUSC(FM), LOS ANGELES, RECEIVING C-BAND TERRESTRIAL INTERFERENCE ("TI") For about a week, KUSC has been experiencing an increasing level of TI to its satellite-delivered programming signal in LA. The signal shows up in my 70 MHz IF as a fairly narrow (50 kHz carrier) that is drifting between 57.8 and 59.3 MHz. I figure the original frequency as 3707.8 MHz drifting up to 3708.5 MHz or so. The drift is actually a very slow sweep, taking about an hour to cycle from one end to the other and back. Once this carrier gets into the passband of my digital carrier at 57.8, my signal is unusable and muted. Neither NPR nor PanAmSat can see the carrier, so its got to be local to the USC area. Conversations with the TI expert at ComSearch are pointing me to this being a harmonic of a cellular transmitter, a wireless phone, or a wireless link in a security system. Since the problem has been here for only a week, I'm looking for something installed or malfunctioning in the last 10 days. The signal appears to be present only during the daytime, 9 AM to 6 PM (once it comes up it stays up all day), and is showing up on my spectrum analyzer as consistently 8-10 dB hotter than my desired signals. I get interference only on 57.8, but I get it whether I use a 70 MHz IF receiver or an L-band receiver. Other frequencies (NPR channels) are unaffected. I've talked to ComSearch, Howard Fine, and NPR - all have come up empty handed -- there is virtually no 4 GHz terrestrial left in the LA basin. I'm down to hunting for the transmitter. Any ideas or experiences would be helpful. Of course, this problem showed up one day before we moved the entire KUSC offices from the USC campus to downtown LA. Alas, we are not ready to move the operations to the new building yet, so I can't just leave the problem in my wake! We are keeping KUSC alive by using an ISDN circuit from the uplink in Idaho and manually triggering the local breaks. Jim Sensenbach, Chief Engineer, KUSC(FM), Los Angeles (213)225-7552 fax(213)225-7553 (new as of 6/9/01) firstname.lastname@example.org
KFMB-FM CLARIFIES THEIR COMMUNITY ANTENNA EVENTS KFMB-FM, 100.7 MHz, San Diego, was operating at 1.73KW TPO from late Wed. night (May 9, 2001) until Friday (the 11th) at 5:00pm. At that time we switched to the top 4 bays of our new Dielectric 8 bay community antenna with a TPO of 10KW (licensed), this as part of our ongoing antenna project at the Midwest Television Inc. building atop Mt. Soledad. From about 7:00am to 4:00pm the next day, KFMB was again at approximately 10% power while riggers finished the install. As of 4:55pm this evening (Sat. May 12, 2001) the bottom portion of the antenna was connected and we are now broadcasting at 30KW E.R.P. from all 8 bays. For a monumental 4 hours (2am - 6am) on Sun. May 13, 2001, all the commercial FM stations that broadcast from Mt. Soledad will be off the air to facilitate tuning of our multi-port combiner... (Mike later commented that it "turned out to be 2:00am to about 3:00am." -Ed.) ....Note: KFMB-FM, has had (2) new Harris Z10 Platinum transmitters as of September 2000. Mike Somerville, Chief Engineer, KFMB-AM/FM
TRANSCRIBING OBSOLETE VIDEO TAPE FORMATS - CGC READERS REPLY The letter in CGC #451 concerning the transcription of obsolete video tape formats triggered a number of responses. The story read as follows: ****************************************************************** QUESTION ABOUT OLD 1/2" VIDEO TAPES A question for the older ladies and gentlemen of TV: A fellow stopped by our station and wanted to get copies of some 1/2" reel- to-reel video tapes shot sometime in the early 70s on a portable machine. According to the person who saw the tapes, they looked like 7" reels of audio tape except thicker, and were stored in cans. Anyone know what format this might be, and (more importantly) how I might get it transferred to M-II or DV-Pro? Fred Vobbe, WLIO(TV), email@example.com P.S. I have both film and 2" helical tape here on my desk and can't find a place to get them transferred either. ****************************************************************** The responses were as follows: ______ (1) From Rick Prelinger, Prelinger Archives - http://www.prelinger.com P.O. Box 590622, San Francisco, Calif. 94159-0622 +1 415 750-0445 Fax: +1 415 750-0607 firstname.lastname@example.org Internet Moving Images Archive: http://www.moviearchive.org Probably the most experienced and competent company doing restoration of obsolete video formats is VidiPax. They have playback equipment for literally hundreds of formats and can also clean and physically prep old tape for transfer. Contact Jim Lindner there: VidiPax 450 West 31 Street New York, N.Y. 10001 212-563-1999 ext. 102 www.vidipax.com In the Bay Area, there is also a nonprofit known as Bay Area Video Coalition (www.bavc.com) who does great work, but specializes in fewer formats, notably 1/4" open reel, U-matic. ______ (2) From Sherman George, UCSD Media Center and UCSD-TV: You (probably) have 1/2 inch EIAJ tapes. They can be transferred at RGB Obsolete Video Transfer in Philadelphia: www.rgbvideo.com There are other companies that do this work but I have found that RGB is very cost effective and they seem to do any format including Akai 1/4 inch color. ______ (3) From Hank Landsberg at Henry Engineering: Contact "Antique Video Transfer Service" in San Francisco: (415) 821-7500 or (415) 821-3359. They're at 5001 Diamond Hts Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94131-1621. ______ (4) From Bob Sudock, WB6FDF, Assistant CE, KTTV/Los Angeles: One knows it is time to retire when one can rattle off this stuff from memory! There were a number of 1/2" videotape formats back in the late 60s/early 70s. Each was proprietary to the manufacturer -- Sony, Panasonic, etc. A common format emerged known as the EIA-J standard. It was originally only monochrome and later updated to color. There is another possibility. Your tape could be a time lapse recording. 1/2-inch tape was used for surveillance recording and television stations used this equipment as an off-air tape log. As I recall, the tape speed was either 15/16 or 15/32 IPS for 24 hours on one reel. The likelihood of finding a compatible player for this is pretty slim. The original Sony "skip field" monochrome equipment was prefixed CV. The compatible Sony EIA-J mono equipment was prefixed AV. AV-3400 "Portapack" or "batt[ery] pack", AV-3600 player/recorder and AV-3650 assemble editor. The AV-86xx series was the EIA-J Sony color series. This equipment was found in schools and industrial video shops. The predominant two-inch formats at the time were used in either high-end industrial or professional situations. The transverse-scan quadruplex format was the first generation professional standard as videotape was introduced to broadcasting and production. But you say this is a helical scan tape. There are two that come to mind. It is probably Ampex's VR-600 series. Less likely is the IVC-manufactured segmented-scan two-inch machine identified as the 9000 series. Film is the easiest format to get transferred. You do not indicate 8, 16 or 35mm but there are still a number of facilities that provide this service for all the common film sizes and formats. I visited Google (www.google.com) and entered "film-to-tape transfer" as a search term and got 3,560 hits. I get about a dozen hits on Google for each 1/2-inch VTR model number I search. Google returns 1,040 hits for the IVC 9000 but only 25 for the Ampex VR-660. Perhaps someone who posted has a line on locating working equipment that can be used for transfer.
SELF-OSCILLATING TV PREAMPS - UPDATE We've had a rash of interference problems created by oscillating pre- amplifiers which are built into Winegard TV reception antennas, used primarily on RVs, campers, and motor homes. The oscillations generally appear in the 400 - 500 MHz range, and have caused IX problems to Public Safety, amateur, etc., at distances of several miles. Winegard recognizes the problem, and estimates that there may be as many as 40,000 defective units out there!! They have agreed to replace any defective units at no charge. All the user needs to do is contact the factory at Burlington, Iowa, at (319) 754-0600. This includes RV owners, as well as RV dealers and repair shops which may have new, but defective, units still in stock. Winegard also proposes a pro-active program in which service technicians will visit the larger campgrounds, rallies and dealers around the country, actively looking for defective/radiating units in operation or on the dealer's shelves, and replacing them, again at no charge to the customer, regardless of the age of the unit. I wanted to let you guys know how to contact Winegard, in case you run into any of these. Gary Hendrickson, FCC
ROBERT SILLIMAN, DECEASED AT 87 Robert Mitchell Silliman, 87, died Monday, February 12, 2001 in Baltimore, MD. For more than 70 years, since early high school, he has been involved with radio communications and engineering, earning his Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree at the University of Minnesota in 1936. Together with his boyhood friend Robert Gilruth (later of NASA), Mr. Silliman worked under the direction of Dr. Jean Piccard on the latter's high altitude balloon experiments of the 1930s. He served as an engineer with the Federal Communications Commission, the Radio Research Laboratory at Harvard University (during WWII), the U.S. Navy Bureau of Aeronautics, and commenced his 50 year practice as a Radio Consulting Engineer in 1946. Always an innovator, he was granted several patents for aeronautical and broadcasting antennas, and was one of the first to apply electronic computer techniques to antenna design. He began a parallel career as an antenna manufacturer in 1947 as a consultant to Electronics Research, Inc. of Evansville, IN, later purchasing the firm and serving as its president and then chairman of the board of directors. Mr. Silliman, a registered professional engineer in multiple jurisdictions, was a member and past president of the Association of Federal Communications Consulting Engineers, a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a member of the Radio Pioneers, and a member of the Cosmos Club. He was presented with the Lifetime Radio Engineering Achievement Award from the National Association of Broadcasters in 1993. Surviving are his wife of 62 years (and high school sweetheart), Elizabeth (Peterson), three daughters, Dana Kline of Pittsburgh, PA, Mary Gibson of Baltimore, MD and Jean Albrecht of Marietta, OH, a son Thomas B. of Newburgh, IN, and nine grandchildren. There will be a memorial service at 11:00 AM on Saturday, February 17th at St. David's Church, 4700 Roland Ave., Baltimore. Burial will be in Lakeview Cemetery in New Canaan, CT, where his ancestors settled in the early 1700s. Arrangements are through the Mitchell-Wiedefeld Funeral Home in Baltimore.
TONY MEZEY, DECEASED It is with a sad heart that I must announce the death of a dear friend and coworker. Tony Mezey died suddenly at his home on February 9th. Known as Tony London during his On-Air days, and more recently as Tony Mezey Broadcast Equipment and a Harris Sales rep, Tony's death comes as a shock to us all. Tony is survived by his wife, Yolanda, her children Deborah & Daniel and his son Aaron. Visitation will be held at Chapel of the Valley Mortuary, 38141 N. 6th St. E., Palmdale, on Saturday, February 17, 2 - 6 pm. Funeral services will be held at First Baptist Church, 1051 East Palmdale Blvd., Palmdale, on Monday, February 19th at 11 am. All of us here at Harris are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of our teammate and friend. Gary Hardwick, Manager Harris Broadcast Center West, email@example.com P.S. Tony was 56 years old and alone at home when he died. The medical examiner's office preliminary report indicates that Tony died from a ruptured aorta artery. He was found clothed, reclined on his bed, no signs of trauma or distress. Here is the contact information for Tony's wife and son: Yolanda Mezey 1630 Alta Vista Drive Vista, CA 92084 Aaron Mezey 1240 E. Avenue South, #108 Palmdale, CA 93550
REMEMBRANCE OF TONY MEZEY As one who has been a co-worker and friend of Tony Mezey since we worked together at KACY AM/FM in the late 1970s, I am profoundly saddened by his passing. When I first met Tony in Ventura County, we were typical young crazy radio guys. Although I was Chief Engineer at a 50,000 watt rock 'n' roll AM station, I was still a little "wet behind the ears" and "Tony London" (as he was then known on the air) had a couple more years in the biz than I did. He was one of those special broadcasters we have all known who inspired and helped us to advance and succeed in this strange business we call "radio". Through all the respective twists and turns our careers took in the twenty-some-odd years that Tony and I knew each other, we kept in touch and have been close as both colleagues and friends. I shall forever miss him. Fred Holub, Los Angeles
ABOUT USING EAS FOR ROLLING POWER BLACKOUT ALERTS In response to a letter from Bill Wysock in CGC #429 suggesting that the EAS system be used to carry rolling blackout power alerts, Richard Rudman replies as follows: Using EAS for the current blackout situations is not a good idea at this time in my personal opinion. The time line from the decision on the area in question to the actual pulling of the switch is so short that it is unlikely that the warning would propagate before the lights go out. At that point, the event, somewhat like an earthquake, provides its own alert. At that point, people will get out their battery powered radios and tune to a source of local news information. I also fear that as we get into summer we would be going with the EAS format version of "all Blackout All the Time." As we learned when the weather service generated lots of weather warnings back in the EBS days, people and program directors get turned off, and we get back to the danger of creating a system that people hear go off so much that they ignore or tune out. EAS has its place, but people must take some responsibility for keeping up on what is important to them as individuals. One other point. When we can convince receiver manufacturers to put in what I call the "E" chip, we can do EAS events without generating as many or as severe program interruptions. The EAS National Advisory Committee is looking at this whole issue and now has a subcommittee looking at advanced warning systems. This means getting warnings out on personal wireless communications devices like pagers, cell phones and Palm Pilots. People can then tailor their own devices to pick up whatever threats are important to them. Broadcasting can then concentrate on what it does best -- telling the ongoing story of emergencies as they unfold.
RADIO SHACK'S SATELLITE INTERNET SYSTEM: DISAPPOINTING High speed Internet is like buying a plain paper copier. The question is not just how many pages per minute a machine can produce, but HOW LONG it takes the first page to appear, and IF the page will appear at all! Our local Radio Shack ("RS") store here in Fallbrook has a complete "high speed" Microsoft satellite Internet system up and running. I tested it using about 12 web addresses (URLs) that had recently appeared in the CGC Communicator newsletter. I had opened all of the URLs at least twice in the past few weeks via our company's 56k dialup Internet connection, and therefore had firsthand experience with typical download speeds. The satellite setup used at RS/Fallbrook relied on an older computer which was only capable of about 240k download speed according to the store manager (up to 500k is said to be possible with a modern computer). Although the web pages - when they downloaded - seemed to load noticeably faster than 56k, the problem was connecting with the pages in the first place. Often, there were wait times of 20-30 seconds for a page to BEGIN downloading during which time the cursor was frozen and there was no way to abort or take any action whatsoever. About 20% of the time the RS computer (after a long wait) indicated that the page requested was unavailable. However, when the same URL was entered again, the system usually found the page. (Cut and pastes were used in entering the URLs directly from a web copy of the newsletter to avoid transcription errors.) All things considered, for the types of web pages our company downloads most often, our 56k Internet connection is adequate. The RS satellite system, as implemented here in Fallbrook, is simply not impressive. Bob Gonsett, Communications General Corporation