Additional Postings - 2002

Additional Postings - 1998 - 1999 - 2000 - 2001

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.

10-21-02 - ROBERT HAMMETT PASSES AWAY AT THE AGE OF 82
08-30-02 - CELL TOWER AFLAME PHOTO - IS IT REAL?
08-28-02 - WHITE DOT COMMENTS
05-23-02 - MICROWAVE DISH COVERS TO BE MANDATED ON FOREST SERVICE LANDS?
04-19-02 - TOWERS ALSO BENEFIT BIRDS
04-02-02 - ON RICHARD RUDMAN'S RETIREMENT
03-21-02 - RICHARD RUDMAN RETIRES
03-18-02 - WTC
03-13-02 - FCC & HAM TEAMWORK
03-08-02 - SURPLUS EAS?
01-23-02 - MAX ELLIOTT AND JACK GUYER PASS AWAY
01-14-02 - KUSC C-BAND SATELLITE TRANSMISSION PROBLEMS

ROBERT HAMMETT PASSES AWAY AT THE AGE OF 82

Robert L. Hammett, P.E., died peacefully on October 11, at age 82.
He is survived by Luana, his wife of 57 years, by his three children,
and by nine grandchildren.

Bob Hammett was raised in Bakersfield, California, and he earned 
Phi Beta Kappa honors at Stanford (1942) and a Masters in Electrical
Engineering from Stanford in 1943. During WWII, he conducted radio
research at Harvard Labs, and afterward began his career with A. Earl
Cullem in Dallas, Texas.

In 1952, Bob started his own consulting practice in San Francisco, 
which grew to national renown maximizing coverage for AM, TV, and FM
broadcasters. Bob fostered innovations in computer analysis and 
frequency utilization. He retired in 1988, and the firm of Hammett & 
Edison, Inc., Consulting Engineers, continues to this day, under the
leadership of Bob's son.

Bob is remembered for his sharp mind, quiet wit, high ethics, and 
gracious manner. He was instrumental in several projects preserving the
beauty of Fallen Leaf Lake, California, and he loved sailing. 
Remembrances in Bob's name may be made to Whitman College, Walla Walla,
Washington 99362.

 


CELL TOWER AFLAME PHOTO - IS IT REAL?
  CGC #535 carried the following story:

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

  CELL TOWER AFLAME

  Garden State Parkway, New Jersey:  We do not know the details,
perhaps a welding spark ignited the coaxial cables inside this
cellular monopole, but the results were dramatic.  With multiple
operators on the site, there were quite a bundle of cables to
serve as fuel.  See photo:

  http://www.bext.com/cgcold/pictures/celltowerfire.jpg

  The caption might read, "Hey Joe, I said 250 watts, not
250 dBm!"

  Mark van der Hoek, Sr. RF Engineer, Wireless Facilities Inc.

  [The photo underscores the need for "plenum rated" (fire
resistant) cables in building air shafts.  Without those, a
fire on one floor would quickly spread to areas above.   -Ed.]

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


  Bob Weller of Hammett & Edison claims 
  that the photo is a fabrication.  He 
  writes as follows:

  That photo is a fake.  First, there are visual clues: 
the antenna mounting platforms appear to be from several 
different manufacturers, the climbing pegs don't match 
throughout the length of the structure, and the shadow cast 
on the top section of the tower doesn't match the rest of 
the tower.  Second, there isn't enough flammable material 
to create a fire like that.  Finally, what are the odds of 
a fire breaking out at not one, but two, locations on a 
tower?

  This photo, or a similar one, has been making the
rounds in the "anti-RF" community for at least a year.
The point seems to be that cell site transmitters run
enormous amounts of power and can might cause a fire. 
The truth is that most cell site transmitters operate
in the 10-Watt range.


  ______



  Being concerned about the accuracy of 
  all information published in the CGC
  Communicator, the letter author, Mark
  van der Hoek, was asked by CGC to respond
  to Mr. Weller's concerns.  Mr. van der
  Hoek's reply follows:

  The origin of this photo is unknown to me, so I can't say 
with certainty that it is real.  But there are several reasons to 
consider this authentic, not the least of which is the fact that 
on my current project we had just such a fire a few weeks ago.   

  Several of our construction staff saw that fire, and commented 
on how similar it was to this picture.  Also, this picture was 
skeptically examined by 5 experienced cellular engineers in our 
group, and we picked it apart.  Our conclusion was that the photo 
is genuine.  That's not a guarantee, but see further comments 
below as I comment on Bob's points one at a time.


  Weller:

> That photo is a fake.  First, there are visual clues:
> the antenna mounting platforms appear to be from
> several different manufacturers.... 

  van der Hoek:  

  That's quite common.  A tower is often built with one or two 
carriers, then others come later.  Some of them look like they were 
thrown together from junk yard parts.


  Weller:

> the climbing pegs don't match thoughout the length 
> of the structure....

  van der Hoek: 

  I'm not sure what is meant here.  Again, though, with platforms 
being added by latecomers, pegs could have been removed at odd places 
to accommodate construction.  They often don't get put back in because 
they just don't get used much.  Cranes are the order of the day.  On 
an older monopole, it could have started life with a full complement 
of pegs and had them taken off as more carriers were added later.


  Weller:

> and the shadow cast on the top section of the 
> tower doesn't match the rest of the tower.  

  van der Hoek:

  The top platform (likely the first to have been installed) has a 
rather dense floor grate, suitable for walking around, so it casts a 
shadow.  The other platforms are open structures which do not cast
a shadow on the pole beneath them.  Looking at the shadows on the 
ground it appears that this fire occurred near midday, and the shadows 
are nearly vertical.  See also the shadows on the crane arm.  All 
appear consistent to me.


  Weller:

> Second, there isn't enough flammable material to 
> create a fire like that.  

  van der Hoek:

  Whoa!  Completely wrong!  With all that cable and contained in 
a nice chimney like that, the flames in this photo are probably not 
showing the fire at its worst.  I refer again to our actual experience 
with such a fire and the testimony of those who were there.


  Weller:

> Finally, what are the odds of a fire breaking
> out at not one, but two, locations on a tower?

  van der Hoek:

  It's not a matter of odds, it's a matter of certainty.  The fire 
is exiting at the top of the pole, which is open.  (This is standard 
procedure with such monopoles.)  It is also exiting at a cable port.  
If this platform had been added after the pole was manufactured (which 
is common practice), the port would have been cut on site.  In fact, 
that is what started the fire on our project.  

  Instead of using a cutting wheel, some genius used a cutting torch.   
The cables inside caught as the cutting was finished, providing a nice 
second opening for the flames.  These ports are about 9x16 inches,
typically, which makes a nice fire vent.  

  I was at a site today where we were going to go on an already 
crowded tower.  The mounts we will use look nothing like the others 
there, which are already mismatched.  And the site manager and our 
construction manager had a discussion about cutting new access ports 
for the cables.  In this case, they decided that there is enough room 
left in an existing port at the bottom that we can sneak our 12 7/8" 
cables in there, so they will only need to cut one at the 75' level 
where we are going.  

  In fact, I asked about how the cutting affected the structural
integrity of the tower, and the construction manager gave me a five
minute dissertation on the subject, including a description of the 
fire we had.  He was there.  He's also seen the picture in question,
and did not doubt its authenticity.   (Though I don't know if he 
examined it closely.) 


  Weller:

> This photo, or a similar one, has been making 
> the rounds in the "anti-RF" community for at least 
> a year.

  van der Hoek:

  Don't know about that.  But I did hear a woman at a public meeting 
ask (with fear and trembling) if our equipment could suffer a "meltdown".  
Oy, vey!


  Weller:

> The point seems to be that cell site transmitters run
> enormous amounts of power and can might cause a fire.
> The truth is that most cell site transmitters operate
> in the 10-Watt range.

  van der Hoek:

  That's roughly correct, except that Motorola CDMA runs 70 watts, 
though they've been yanked out of every major market.  (And most mid-
sized ones, too.)   15 watts is pretty standard for the digital
technologies.  But that's per radio.  In a TDMA site (AT&T and others) 
you might have the power from 40 radios going up those cables.  In the 
old analog days, considerably more.  Even a GSM site in an uncrowded 
area will typically have 2 radios per sector, for a total of 6 radios 
running 15 watts each.

  My conclusion?  Bob Weller could well be right, but I tend to think 
not.  I don't know the source of the photo, and can't say for certain, 
but I think the photo is authentic.  I find Bob's objections either
clearly wrong, or not convincing.  I am not clear on his comment about 
the pegs, though.

  Even if that photo is NOT authentic, it is a good representation of 
an actual event that occurred just a few weeks ago near Hartford, CT, 
on a tower build for AT&T.

  That said, I do wish more people would examine things as carefully 
as Bob!  We'd have a much better country if Americans applied that kind 
of scrutiny to our news media and politicians!

WHITE DOT COMMENTS

  In response to the Feature Story in CGC #533 entitled,
  "RETURN OF THE MYSTERIOUS WHITE DOTS," a number of comments
  were received.

  For clarification, the type of interference that we had
  intended to describe was a continuously-present well-defined
  grid pattern of white dots, as if created by a dot generator
  test set.  The dots did not come and go periodically as if
  caused by a sweeping radar beam, nor were they jumbled up
  (or in two thick bands slowly moving upward) as if caused
  by AC arcing.

  As a result of our failure to drive home the point that the
  dots were continuously-present in a well-defined grid pattern,
  some readers assumed they were, and some assumed they weren't
  - an important point to keep in mind as you sift through the
  comments below.

  Please limit any further responses to 100 words or less, and
  indicate whether you are talking about a continuously-present
  well-defined grid pattern, or something else.

  Finally, thanks to all who took the time to write!
  Apparently we have stumbled onto another interesting topic.

  Here, then, are the reader comments.

  - Ed.

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

  READER COMMENT #1

  I have a compact circular fluorescent light bulb that generates
RF interference with a white dot pattern like those described and
shown in the photos.  It is a Lights of America model 2630, and is
currently sold by Wal-Mart.  It carries an FCC ID number: IZN2600.
The bulb is a type used to convert an incandescent table lamp to 
fluorescent.  It includes an "electronic ballast" which I believe
converts 60 Hz AC line voltage to RF energy to light the bulb.  
The one I have creates interference only on low band VHF channels
2-6.  I found the following paragraph on the manufacturer's web 
site:

  "It is possible that the electronic ballasts may interfere with
other electronic devices in the home. Interference depends on many
situations, i.e. number of electronic products and area of room 
size.  If interference does occur, move the compact fluorescent 
approximately ten feet away from the product it is affecting".

  Bill Sutherland, Tucson, AZ, wvs@surfbest.net

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

  READER COMMENT #2

  I get that effect when I put an Icom HT into an ICOM charger. 
No idea why.

  Jerry Lebow

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

  READER COMMENT #3

  I've experienced the type of interference that you are seeing 
on low band VHF transmissions.  My former job about 6 years ago 
was as chief engineer for Cox Cable in Santa Barbara.  Our cable
network was fed via microwave at that time from La-Cumbre Peak. 
I had a vast view of everything from up there including the 
Channel Islands, Point Mugu NAS, the Navy radar on Santa Cruz 
Island, and the airport.  Our LA VHFs came up via microwave from
South Mountain on an off air pickup.  We also had VHF and UHF 
off-air backup at LA-Cumbre.

  Whenever I experienced this type of interference, I could 
usually track it to some sort of activity that the Navy or Point 
Mugu was doing.  Very random as to time and duration, but 
generally in the morning and afternoon.  Especially at this time 
of year as the weather changes from summer balmy to Santa Ana type
conditions. I've seen this stuff in VHF, UHF, and C Band.  I've 
always attributed it to radar interference due to the "sweep" 
pattern and the spacing of the dots.  I saw the rain affect that 
you describe and would attribute this to the sweep rate.  At one 
point I had a phone number for Pt Mugu which I could call to report
interference.  On more than one occasion the interference 
disappeared shortly after the call.  Also on more than one 
occasion, I could see the ships in the channel.  This problem seems
to appear during the time of the year when off air pickup points, 
especially ones that are near the edge of or out of the grade B 
contour of the station, are subject to fading and multipath.  I 
never saw this hit my Channel 3 off air at any time, as the site
was within their Grade A (10 miles as the crow flies).

  I have also seen similar interference generated on a CATV 
system by the system sweep equipment.  The pattern is much more 
random but it is predictable.  And we could always call the sweep
tech and ask if his sweep was on.  Adjustment of this equipment 
would eliminate the problem.  I went on a service call one day 
with our tech to a lady who had coke bottle bottom glasses and 
had to be 70 years old who was complaining about sweep dots.  The
tech couldn't see them and neither could I.  I finally caught a 
glimpse of them out of the corner of my eye. From then on I could
see them.  It turned out that our vertical interval timing was 
off on the sweep.

  I had airport radar interfere with my C Band equipment. That is
very predictable and easy to track, especially if your dish looks
south and is near the airport.  C Band filters take care of this 
nicely if you cannot use any type of shielding like a building or
hill. 

  ....I've never found any kind of filter that could be used on
this interference nor could I ever pick it up on any kind of 
analyzer.  It is very difficult to track.  

  Eric Kruzel

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

  READER COMMENT #4

  I saw this happen about 20 years ago.  At that time it was
traced to Off Shore radio location.  With the advent of GPS, I
don't know if this would still be applicable.

  Burt Weiner

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

  READER COMMENT #5

  Regarding the white dots, this looks like wideband digital 
RF to me.  Since you're seeing this over a wide area, I'd suspect
an errant high power transmitter.  Since the phenomenon is 
relatively recent, maybe DTV.  Then again, I wonder what digital
cable systems are leaking these days?

  Steve Blodgett

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

  READER COMMENT #6

  ... I am reminded of certain pulse interference drifting up
and down the screen

  ... I have noticed lately on a 420 MHz link, military radar
which has not been there for quite some time.  This radar seems
to come and go over time ... here this week, gone next type of
thing.

  So, I might suggest that when the dots appear that one might
want to check the 420 MHz band, plus or minus 50 MHz, for radar
activity to see if there is a connection.

  Stan Rohrer, W9FQN

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

  READER COMMENT #7

  I've seen something similar off and [on] over the past few
weeks.  I'm on Time Warner Cable [San Diego] and have seen it
appear between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.  I see it as streaks that are
sometimes accompanied by a buzz that fades in and out quickly
and is synchronous with the appearance and disappearance of the
white streaks.  The period is 12 to 14 seconds (I haven't used
a stop watch).

  I'm familiar with this type of interference.  It comes 
from high powered ships radar.  This may be what others are 
experiencing.

  I live in Clairemont and can see part of San Diego bay from 
my house.

  Oscar Medina

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

  READER COMMENT #8

  I have noticed this issue over my cable system off-and-on 
for the last couple of years.  I am under Adelphia in my area and
have noticed it on a number of channels, usually between 2 and 13,
but not limited to these.  It has also appeared on some of the 
higher channels as well.  Now the interesting thing about these 
spots is, that they start as you mentioned evenly spaced running
from top right going diagonally to the lower left.  You can be 
watching a program and it can be perfectly clear and then the
spots start to appear and last for some time.  

  Can you say HDTV?  I knew you could..

  Brian Clark, KIIS/KHHT, Los Angeles 

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

  READER COMMENT #9

  The white dots look to me like a form of impulse noise such 
as power line sparking.  When it gets really bad it becomes one 
or two horizontal noise filled bars in the picture.  Impulse noise
is quite bad on Channels 2 through 6 and is greatly diminished on
Channels 7 through 13 and usually not seen on UHF unless the 
receiver is very close to the source of the problem.

  Two possible sources, other than power lines, are a faulty 
doorbell xformer and a pole mounted step-down xformer ("pole 
pig").  I've only seen one bad step-down xformer, but it covered
about a square block with interference.

  Another potential source is a highly regenerative antenna 
amplifier.  I encountered one in a cul-de-sac used on a short-wave
radio and it put interference into CH-4 for about a block and 
created blanket interference at the house next door.

  Given the totally unrealistic signal values used by the FCC 
for DTV, it is doubtful that CH2 - CH6 can be used for DTV. 
Impulse noise impacts the reception.  Those who prefer COFDM 
should know that the impulse noise consequences are far worse 
for COFDM.

  Roy Trumbull

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

  READER COMMENT #10

  I've experienced flip-flopping dots on low band VHF, both over
the air and Charter Cable in the La Crescenta area for several
months, ending about late April or May, and again about early
July, lasting only a few days.  No knowledge of it's origin.

  David Zulli, CPBE

  ______

  It's Wednesday, 8/21, 8pm, La Crescenta, Charter Cable.  The
dots are back again (low band V)!

  David Zulli, CPBE

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

  READER COMMENT #11

  It's caused by co chan I/F---to much slop over from adj.
chans.

  Bill MacDonald

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

  READER COMMENT #12

  We have seen the phenomenon here in Hollywood.  Noticed on
Off-Air Channels 2,4,5.  Our In-House CATV headend (locally 
modulated) Channels 3 and 6 were unaffected.

  Yesterday (8/21/02), phenomenon started at around 0900 and 
was continuous until around 1100.  In-fact, as I'm writing this
note, the interference is starting again (8/22/02 @ 0910).

  We have an IFR 1200 connected to an outside antenna and have
been unsuccessful in locating the signal thus far..

  Larry Price, lprice@tribune.com, KTLA TV-DT

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

  READER COMMENT #13

  I've seen something like [the dots you describe] off and 
on for many years--once observed on CH-13, Eugene, OR (Grade B
received in Salem where I lived many years ago).

  I now occasionally see them on my closed-circuit CH-3
(4DTV satellite receiver).

  I've suspected they somehow are a shielding issue but I
honestly don't know.

  If someone else knows, I'd still like to get rid of 'em!

  Mark Nodine, KJ6MS, West Covina


******************************************************************
                      ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
******************************************************************

  READER COMMENT #14

  I'm not sure if this is the right answer, but I've seen 
*exactly* the same thing before.... at WFSU TV in Tallahassee, FL
about 20 years ago.  In our case the dots were caused by a problem
(I don't recall exactly what) in an old GE exciter.  They would go
away if you kicked it a little, but would come back later, like a 
microphonic.  

  Our evening TX operator solved the problem temporarily by 
building a "one shot hammer vibrator."  This device involved a 
piece of string attached to a small ballpeen hammer on one end and
the ceiling on the other.  An electromagnet held the hammer out at
[an] arc until you hit lower on the Moseley PBR30 RC.... then the 
hammer would gracefully swing over to the exciter, where it would 
bang hell out of the metal door covering the guts.  WHANG!!!! .... 
the dots would bloom and float ... then disappear.  Hopefully 
until the next day, when someone would reset the "hammervibrator."
After all, it was a one shot deal....

  Bill Sepmeier

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

  READER COMMENT #15

  The only explanation -- MARTIANS ARE TRYING TO CONTACT US!
Let's face it, we have bar codes, Morse code, binary code in 
those old IBM punch cards....  The Martians have the "white dot
code."  

  We just need to get those Star Trek viewers to talk with
Mr. Spock.  I am sure he could tell us what they are saying to us.
Better yet... CALL ART BELL!  He'll know for sure!   :)

  Ron Haney

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

MICROWAVE DISH COVERS TO BE MANDATED ON FOREST SERVICE LANDS?
To: Mr. Richard Tobin, Assistant Lands Officer
Supervisor's Office, Cleveland National Forest
10845 Rancho Bernardo Road, Suite 200
San Diego, California 92127-2107 
From: Robert F. Gonsett, Consulting Radio Engineer
Communications General Corporation
2685 Alta Vista Drive
Fallbrook, California 92028 
Date: May 3, 2002 
Dear Mr. Tobin: 
Thank you for asking me - as a consulting radio engineer - to comment on the
Forest Service's verbal proposal to have microwave dishes on local Forest Service
communications sites equipped with radomes (that is, covers over the front planes
of the dishes). As I understand it, radomes would prevent the California Condor
(Gymnogyps californianus) from perching on the horizontal feed horns of the 
dishes, thereby preventing the endangered birds from becoming exposed to strong 
radio frequency ("RF") signals from the dishes. 

I understand that the idea of requiring radomes stems from a lawsuit brought 
against the Forest Service by an environmental group. Apparently a condor had 
died in the vicinity of a communications site, and there was concern that excessive 
RF signals may have caused or contributed to the fatality. So, the central question 
is whether there is hard evidence to show that excessive RF signals were involved. 
(Was the vulture autopsied? Have near-field calculations or measurements of the 
RF power densities at the microwave dishes been made? Has anyone seen a condor 
actually perch on a microwave feed horn?).

Assuming that there is hard evidence that RF signals caused or significantly contributed 
to the fatality in question, please consider the following comments: 
(a) "Receive-only" microwave dishes do not transmit signals and should be exempted from 
    any radome requirements. To include receive-only dishes would probably be branded "irrational,
    arbitrary and capricious" by an attorney absent convincing data that the dishes adversely 
    affect condors. More to the point, it simply seems illogical to include dish antennas 
    that do not radiate. 
(b) A "grid" (or "slat") type microwave dish is not designed to be covered by a radome. This type of 
    antenna is designed to let wind flow freely through its "pipe like" structure, thereby reducing
    the wind loading pressure on the associated tower. If a dish were covered, its wind loading 
    would increase significantly which, in some cases, would require strengthening or replacement 
    of the supporting tower structure. (In all cases, new wind loading figures would have to be calculated
    by a Registered Profession Engineer to ensure that the tower could safely withstand the added pressure
    caused by a radome.) 
(c) A "grid" (or "slat") type microwave dish would be difficult to cover according to Rob 
    Ono of Scala, one of the leading manufacturers of grid dishes. The feed horn often protrudes 
    well beyond the front plane of a dish and would collide with a simple flat cover. By the way, 
    is the Forest Service considering having the back side of a grid dish covered as well? It is 
    partially open because the reflector surface is not solid but, rather, consists of a series of 
    slats or pipes with air spaces between. 
(d) Ripped, torn or improperly installed covers could create nesting havens for birds, precisely 
    the opposite effect of what is desired here. For example, Alan Nichols of Pappas Telecasting 
    Co. wrote in the CGC Communicator for May 1, 2002, "I have found [birds] nesting in dishes 
    with broken microwave covers on Questa Peak." 
(e) G.G. Pieper (USDA Forest Service, Corona, CA) mentioned recently that new or replaced radomes 
    must be gray in color. Is this new color tied into the condor case? Also, I recall some discussion, 
    perhaps from an earlier time, that bright lettering or symbols, such as the red "lightning bolt" 
    trademark used by Andrew Corporation, will be prohibited on radomes, so some discussion on this 
    point would be appreciated as well. 
(f) I have been following the condor release program and am unaware of any condors in the vicinity of 
    the Santa Ana mountains, for example, so users of the communications sites at that location would 
    naturally ask why they are being asked to install radomes at this time, if that is in fact the plan. 
(g) Obviously, radomes are expensive to install and maintain, which brings us back to the initial question
    of what tangible evidence, if any, demonstrates that radomes are necessary to protect the California 
    Condor. 
If the Forest Service elects to move forward with an anti-perching plan, the following steps are recommended:
(1)   Consider attending the yearly meeting of the Trabuco District Electronic Users 
    Association ("TDEUA") to discuss the radome plan and elicit users' input. 
    The next TDEUA meeting is scheduled for May 16, 2002 at 10 a.m. at the Forest 
    Service conference room in Corona. 
(2)   Consider alternative anti-perching devices. For example, one company manufacturers
    a device resembling a bottle brush where the spikes are made out of metal wires. However,
    installing such an "anti-perching device" at a communications site would be tricky business.
    If the device caused corrosion or arcing, massive radio frequency interference - including
    the generation of harmonics and intermodulation products - could easily result. Therefore,
    this type of device would have to be carefully studied and evaluated before being recommended
    for use. 
    Some ham radio operators claim to have had success by installing plastic owls to discourage birds
    from perching on their antennas, but others have reported that the stationary owls quickly become
    ineffective, at least with certain types of birds. Would an electronic whistle (super audible to 
    humans) discourage birds from perching? What techniques have proven effective or ineffective to 
    keep birds off airport runways? Obviously, several alternatives to solid radomes could be explored
    including the development of a "pseudo-radome" made out of a microwave-transparent sun-resistant
    mesh screen which would allow wind to pass through for the benefit of grid dishes. 
(3)   Once a reasonable plan is in hand, consider publishing a Notice of Proposed 
    Rule Making ("NPRM"). An NPRM would present the motivation and rationale for
    the new rules, discuss the alternatives and present proposed rules. This approach
    would give affected site users and others an opportunity to file written comments
    and suggestions. Only after their input was evaluated would final rules be formulated
    and adopted. 
As you can see, the issues involved with anti-perching devices are complex. I hope the Forest
Service will proceed cautiously and give its site users every opportunity to participate in
the rule making process assuming, of course, that anti-perching devices are warranted and 
do not create problems in and of themselves. 
Thank you for this opportunity to comment. 
Sincerely, Robert Gonsett 
cc: R.D. Hawkins, USDA Forest Service, Trabuco District, Corona, CA
G.G. Pieper, USDA Forest Service, Trabuco District, Corona, CA

 


TOWERS ALSO BENEFIT BIRDS

It is interesting that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service estimates that 4 to
5 million birds are killed by communications towers.  I am sure that they
have reason to cite these figures, but the following experience could sure
lead to challenging that estimate.  I do realize that the towers that I
cared for are not in "migratory routes" so I am probably mislead by my
experience.  Anyway, these are my observations.
  
KIEV in Los Angeles had a transmitter in the town of EAGLE Rock.  The site
is on a hill about 300 feet above average terrain.  I guess there were
Eagles there once, but in the recent couple of decades there were sure lots
of other birds.
  
There seemed to be a regular vigil maintained by three types of birds of
prey at this site.
  
In the afternoons, there were often Red Tailed Hawks perched on the towers
or on the guy cables.  The lay of the land allowed a quick access to
updrafts caused by the afternoon ocean breeze on the windward side of the
hill.  This made the location a Hawk haven, and a few times I watched them
hunt successfully from these perches.

In the early 90s, a pair of mating Peregrine Falcons became the sentries
there.  From atop the towers these falcons could dive the several hundred
feet of the tower height plus the hill height and gather so much speed that
it was difficult to watch them.  I saw on several occasions the result of
their dive.  It was fresh pigeon that they dined on from one of the towers.
The only bird kill I ever saw was the remains of those pigeons.

At night, the vigil continued with a large Owl that made the guy cables it's
staging position.  I would guess from the number of nights that the Owl was
observed there, the area must have offered a good harvest for the Owl.

Never did I see any bird of any type be harmed by the towers or guy cables
from 1971 to 1998, but just the opposite seemed to be my experience.


Hal Williams, Los Angeles, April 17, 2002, n6tz@netscape.net

ON RICHARD RUDMAN'S RETIREMENT


I've had the honor of knowing and working with Richard since 
June of 1978.  We all appreciate his recent contributions in the 
transition from EBS to EAS.  But we should not forget his vision and 
leadership shaping the definition of the role and procedures used by 
today's broadcast frequency coordinators.

For me, this vision was solidified during the 1984 Olympic games.  
In conjunction with the SBE, the Home Channel Plan for coordination of 
2 GHz ENG frequencies born in 1984 is still in use today.  In Los Angeles 
it enabled TV broadcasters to cover brush fires, floods, and riots with 
relatively little interference.  I don't think we actually realize how 
much Richard will be missed.  Richard: Enjoy.  We're all jealous!

  Robert Sudock
  Board Member, So. California Frequency Coordinating Committee, Inc.
  Assistant Chief Engineer, KTTV - KCOP/Los Angeles
  WB6FDF


  ______


I can hardly believe that so many years have passed, so quickly.  
When I read of Richard Rudman's retirement in "The CGC Communicator," 
I realized that it was really true that 30 years have gone by in a flash.
I had the pleasure of knowing Dick for nearly all of them. I am proud 
to say that I stood alongside Dick, while the SCFCC was founded.  Dick 
had the foresight to realize that voluntary frequency coordination was
necessary, at a time when that sort of thing was viewed in a less
positive light.  So it was with all of Dick's other accomplishments.  
I am honored to say that I know him, and that I worked with a real
pioneer.  Good luck on your retirement, Dick.

  Richard Fearns
  (Retired from KABC/KLOS/ABC-TV)


  ______


Sorry to hear Mr. Rudman is retiring.  I had some contact with him back
when I was at AirTouch, and found him to be a fine gentleman.  I was trying
to run down some intermittent interference out in the Palm Springs area 
that was driving [a cell site] crazy.  I had been driving around listening
to a silent termination call, trying to see if I could find an area where
the interference was stronger.  It was so intermittent that it was hard to
get a fix, especially with the limited equipment I had.  (A phone,period.)  

I stopped for lunch in my car and was listening to KFWB, when the
interference came up again, very strong.  But it was on KFWB, not my phone!
They had just gone to a reporter in the field, somewhere in Santa Monica,
and the noise was on his radio link.  It was a very distinctive digital
hash, and I knew it was the same stuff.  I contacted the station, and was
put through to Richard.  He was glad to share all he knew about it, and
managed to track it down a few days later.  Turned out to be an unapproved
800 MHz inventory tool being used by Von's markets.  Richard 'convinced'
them to cease and desist.  ;-)

Mark G. van der Hoek, Sr. RF Engineer
Wireless Facilities Inc.


  ______


The last time I saw Richard was at the memorial service for Stan Harter
in Sacramento.  It was a storefront location in a shopping center.  You
knew you were at the right place by all the vehicles with multiple
antennas.  

Richard came up on his own time and his own nickel.  I think that 
characterizes the situation with all of his activities.  They came out 
of his hide because he cared.  There was a time in this country when there 
were a lot of people like Richard.  I hope to see such a time again.  
Richard, all the best to you.

  Roy Trumbull

RICHARD RUDMAN RETIRES
After working a long time for a company that used to be called Group W (now
VIACOM), I put in for retirement today.  April 1, 2002 will mark for me a
total of 30 years of credited service.  Twenty-seven years, starting in 1975,
have been at KFWB.  To use a 60's term (a decade I still remember vaguely)
those 27 years at the best All News station have been a trip.  From 1968
when KFWB went "All News," it has been on the air for Los Angeles when it
has really counted.  On my watch we have been challenged by major brush
fires, power failures, earthquakes, riots, and more.  And, we stayed on
the air.
Since March of 1968, KFWB made and kept a promise of what we would do when
bad things happen in a great city.  The KFWB Engineering Department I have
had the singular honor to lead kept KFWB on the air to keep that promise.
For all those engineers, you made it happen.  I am proud beyond words to
have been part of this, and to know that when news "broke," you fixed it.
It has also been my distinct and singular honor to be a member of a family
that extends throughout the country and throughout the world -- the small
family of broadcast engineers.  Although sometimes under appreciated and
often misunderstood, this group lit the flame we call broadcasting nearly a
century ago and has kept it burning.
This change will extend to some of my activities outside of my "day job."
I will call a meeting of the Vice-Chairs on the Los Angeles County EAS
Local Emergency Communications Committee (LECC) so we can plan a smooth
transition.
May the news watch never stop, and may our profession continue to keep the
flame burning bright.
Richard Rudman, March 20, 2002

WTC

right click on the picture to save it as a jpg file.


FCC & HAM TEAMWORK
  Fallbrook, CA - The town whose outskirts were hit by a devastating fire on
February 10 is back in the news one month later as a mysterious source of 
interference hits Fallbrook's primary fire dispatch frequency, and hams aid
the FCC in locating the jammer.  The incident happened over the weekend of March 10.
  Division Chief Milt Davies, KD6UBA, of the North County Fire Protection
District, recognized the interference to his fire department's primary 
dispatch channel as on-channel jamming, and he knew he needed outside help.
This was no stuck mike.  He was dealing with a signal that was largely unmodulated
but would be pock-marked with strange data-like bursts.  Sometimes the jamming 
transmitter was on-the-air more or less continuously.  Sometimes it was on and off.
Sometimes it was off for long periods of time and only transmitted for a few seconds 
in bursts.  There was no pattern to the madness.

  The FCC and local hams were called into action to get to the heart of the
matter.
  First, permanent FCC direction finding stations on the West Coast were 
operated by remote control from Washington, D.C. in an attempt to pinpoint 
the source of the interference.  However, because some of the DFing pods were
down for servicing, only one line-of-bearing was obtained.  The hidden transmitter
could by anywhere along a 45 mile path.
  To home-in on the location, members of the Palomar Amateur Radio Club were 
asked to listen to the fire dispatch frequency and give signal strength reports
on the unmodulated carrier.  It soon became clear that the FCC's mobile DFing
activity - the next phase of the investigation - should begin in the vicinity 
of the City of Vista, CA.
  Soon, an FCC direction finding vehicle appeared on the scene, operated by Bill
Zears, District Director of the FCC's San Diego Field Office.  Unfortunately, the
jamming signal was weak at the locations where the DFing work began.  So Bill drove
to Fallbrook, got a good bearing, and that sent him into the rugged eastern portion 
of Vista, a place with private roads and locked gates.  Complicating matters was the
fact that the hidden transmitter had decided to go silent for long periods of time, 
making DFing more challenging.  Then a fire broke out on Marine Corps. Camp Pendleton,
which is right next door to Fallbrook - underscoring the need to clear Fallbrook's 
frequency as soon as possible.  The jamming had in fact blocked communications between
the Fallbrook fire crews working the Pendleton fire, and their dispatch center.  Bill 
stayed on the job as Sunday afternoon turned into evening.
  Finally, enough DFing information was available to pinpoint the jammer to a 30'
tower atop a hill in east Vista - a hill protected by a series of locked gates.  
Local residents believed the site was operated by the local water company, but the 
company's emergency phone number dead-ended into an answering machine.
  The Vista fire department was called where a Battalion Chief answered and
offered immediate assistance.  He was already up to speed on the interference thanks
to a contact earlier in the day from a local ham radio operator, saving valuable time.
  Then another ham chimed in and recalled that the City of Vista, back in its pre-800 MHz
days, had a transmitter up on the suspect peak.  That old transmitter just happened to share
Fallbrook's current VHF dispatch frequency!  The pieces of the puzzle were beginning 
to fit together.
  Soon, a caravan of vehicles headed up the hill to investigate, with the Vista fire
department opening the gates.  Once at the site, in a locked outdoor equipment box, was
Vista Fire's old VHF transmitter with the AC power still turned on - even though the radio
system had been abandoned long ago.  The crew lost no time in confirming that the box
discovered was indeed the culprit, and they shut off the AC power.  A long day's work
had come to an end.
  If you have ever wondered what the FCC considers as a high priority case, now you know.
  They're out protecting our public safety frequencies, and working long hours to do it.
Dedicated FCC Agents are priceless; and so are hams.
  In this case, it was a ham who recognized that the Fallbrook fire department interference
was co-channel jamming.  When outside help was needed, hams quickly zeroed in on the 
jammer's general location.  Another ham brought the Vista fire Chief up to speed ahead of time,
even though no one then suspected that Vista's old fire radio would be the culprit.  Once the
jamming site was identified, it was a ham who recalled the old Vista fire transmitter on that 
very spot, and the information was passed along to the FCC.
  In short, hams represent a vast national resource, in knowledge and skill, and their efforts
helped speed the resolution of this public safety interference case.
  The reason the Vista transmitter turned itself on is still a mystery as we go to press, but a
rat's nest was spotted in the bottom of the equipment cabinet.  Those critters are known to eat 
through and short out just about anything, and their copious fluids are conductive and corrosive.
  If there is a moral to this story, it is to always deactivate or remove unused radio equipment.
Even if you have a radio system that you want to keep around for a while as a contingency, pull 
the power or yank the coax.  Murphy lives.

SURPLUS EAS?

  In CGC #504, Jim Sensenbach wrote as follows in a
letter entitled, "RE THE EAS RULE REVISIONS: SOME EAS 
GEAR MAY BECOME SURPLUS" -

  As I read the FCC release's last sentence, they removed the
requirement for totally simulcast stations to have EAS equipment.
This comes some eight months after the expiration of waivers to
grant exactly that for those stations who were in that state
(fully simulcast satellites) when the new EAS rules first took
effect.  In other words, now that KUSC(FM) has spent the funds
to completely equip each of its satellite stations with a full
EAS complement, the rules change so that they don't have to!

  And now that it is installed, they will probably have to meet
all the logging requirements unless they remove the equipment!

  Jim Sensenbach, sev7nstars@cs.com

  [Richard Rudman has replied to Jim's letter. Visit
<http://www.bext.com/cgcold/>, click on "Additional Postings"
and then on the story entitled, "Surplus EAS?"   -Ed.]


  ______


  In reply, Richard Rudman offered the following:

  Here is the relevant text:

                "1. We will amend the Part 11 rules to exempt
satellite/repeater stations which rebroadcast 100% of the programming of
their hub station from the requirement to install EAS equipment.
Specifically, we will consider the use of a single set of EAS equipment at a
hub station (or common studio/control point where there is no hub station)
to satisfy the EAS obligations of the satellite/repeater stations which
rebroadcast 100% of the hub station's programming.  This exemption will
apply to existing satellite/repeater stations and any proposed new
satellite/repeater stations.  As the Public Broadcasters point out, the
satellite/repeater stations will comply with the requirement to transmit all
national EAS alerts because all national alerts will be passed through from
the hub station.  In addition, we acknowledge that it may be unnecessarily
burdensome for the governmental and educational institutions operating these
satellite/repeater stations to incur the substantial cost of installing EAS
equipment at each such satellite/repeater station for the sole purpose of
being able to transmit state and local EAS alerts, which are voluntary under
our rules.  Furthermore, only a small number of broadcast stations will be
eligible for this exemption.  We emphasize, however, that if any of the
satellite/repeater stations start originating any of their own programming,
they will be required to install EAS equipment.  Finally, we note that some
models of EAS equipment have the capability to monitor the assigned EAS
sources for more than one local EAS area, i.e., a hub station may have the
capability to monitor the assigned EAS sources of some or all of its
satellite stations in addition to its own sources.  Where this capability
exists, we strongly encourage the hub station to voluntarily transmit at
least the most serious local emergency alerts (e.g., tornado warnings) over
its entire network of satellite stations to help ensure widespread
dissemination of vital emergency information to the affected community or
communities."

  Common sense says to me that any logging burden should 
  disappear if there is no longer an equipment requirement. 
  In effect, any logging at such an installation becomes 
  "Voluntary."

  Since we cannot depend on common sense in all cases 
  when stations are inspected, I would say that clarification 
  is in order.

  AS NAC Chair, I am copying Joe Casey and Jim Dailey at the
  FCC to see if this point will be made clear to inspectors who 
  look at such installations, possibly supported by a simple 
  Public Notice.  If so, we can put this issue to rest on the
  "advice" of the EAS National Advisory Committee.

  If not, I think that NPR or SBE would not be out of place 
  if they filed a Petition For Clarification of this point. If 
  I had to bet, I would put money on our being able to settle 
  this without filing documents that say "Petition" at the top. 

  When I hear, I will get back to you.

  Richard Rudman, FCC EAS NAC Chair

MAX ELLIOTT AND JACK GUYER PASS AWAY

It is with great sadness that I bring news of two silent keys.

Max Sinclair Elliott, CPRA/APCO Life Member, passed away on October 11,
2001, at the age of 89, after a long battle with prostate cancer.  Max, who
installed the first radio transmitter owned and operated by the County of
Orange, California, for the County, its cities, and California Highway
Patrol and California Division of Forestry units in Orange County, later
came to work for Orange County, retiring after some thirty-two years as
Associate Director of Communications in 1974.  He moved to Redlands to be
with other retired friends.  He then spent some ten additional years with
the seven-county Northern California Emergency Medical Care Council as a
Senior Communications Advisor.  While at Orange County, he also hired a
"cub" communications engineer by the name of Gary Gray.

Max was very active in CPRA and APCO, having served as 1959 CPRA President.
He was active in both CPRA/APCO and IMSA Frequency Coordination.  He also
chaired the APCO authored a number of articles for the APCO Bulletin,
chaired the APCO Mobile Radioteleprinter Committee that made its report to
the 1968 APCO National Conference in Palm Springs, and was a contributor to
APCO Project 5, development of "The Public Safety Communications Standard
Frequency Coordination Manual, published in 1971.

His wife, Merna, had passed away in 1997.  He is survived by his daughter,
Lois Marsh.


Jack Guyer, N6MDA (ex-WB6GXC) passed away suddenly on or about Saturday,
January 5, 2002.  A member of CPRA/APCO for many years, Jack most recently
owned the firm Communications Design in Garden Grove, spending many years in
the two-way communications industry, including as a representative of RCA
Mobile Communications.

Jack had just moved in December of 2001 to Lake Havasu, Arizona.  Having
missed a breakfast meeting with some fellow hams, they contacted the local
police, and his body was found him on the couch at home.    His body was
cremated on January 9.  A memorial was held on January 11 at Lake Havasu,
Arizona, with another memorial service on January 14 in Westminster.  He is
survived by his daughter, Tanya Strickland..


  Gary Gray, Orange County Communications
  January 16, 2002

KUSC C-BAND SATELLITE TRANSMISSION PROBLEMS

Here is a synopsis of the problem we've been having with our downlink
service which according to our listeners started about four weeks
before Christmas 2001.

The interference manifests itself as squeaks, chirps, pops and dropouts with
a duration of anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes with no
particular rhythmic pattern. It is worthy to note that the occurrences seem
to be early in the morning or late in the evening.

Of all of KUSC's fulltime satellite clients (including KUSC network) only
KUSC on the IF frequency of 74.3 MHz and Hispanic Broadcasting Network on
59.3 MHz have reported the interference. With the exception that HBN started
to report the problem just two weeks ago. The other two clients (Radio
Express on 54.5 MHz and Radio Korea on 56.4 MHz) have not reported any
problems. All of these services are digital with the exception of Radio
Korea. The carriers are on Galaxy 4R, transponder 1.

Since at first KUSC network seemed to be the only service being affected, I
went ahead and replaced both the Comstream DAC-700 encoder and the CM-701
modem. This did not make any difference.

Standing right in front of the rack while this happened, you can see that
the Comstream ABR-700 (this is the NPR SOSS proprietary receiver version of
the ABR-200) audio sync alarm display flashes on/off. The RF sync alarm
display remains solid and the Eb/No decreases but not enough to lose RF
lock.

Barry Victor and Barry Thomas both spent hours with me at the uplink site
with a spectrum analyzer checking both the 4Ghz sample of the HPA and the
L-Band sample right of the LNB. We did find a very narrow spike (L-Band
sample) which swept across the analyzer's display but unfortunately we were
not able to pin-point its location compared to KUSC net L-band frequency.
For some reason we could not flag our carrier when the IF transmit frequency
was turned off.

I've been seeing reports on PubTech of a similar interference thought to
originate from AWACS aircraft. Positive results have been achieved by
installing two back to back bandpass filters (3.7ghz-4.2ghz). One did not
solve the problem. On Friday, I installed two of these filters at our Santa
Barbara downlink. I did receive good reports from listeners on Saturday,
however, one listener reported interference at 2am and again at 8am on
Sunday (today).

At this point, it is difficult to reach a conclusion based on listener's
reports since they will report every anomaly they hear. I will be installing
the same dual back to back filters in Palm Springs and Thousand Oaks this
week.

Pablo Garcia
Director of Engineering and Operations
KUSC Radio
Los Angeles, California
213 225-7550
pgarcia@kusc.org