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 isn’t
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 (24”x36”) 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 I’d 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 I’m 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 doesn’t
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:  <hdtvguy@starband.net>.  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., rtell@radhaz.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)
  jsensen@kusc.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), w8hdu@wlio.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
       footage@panix.com
       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, ghardwic@harris.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