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                      THE CGC COMMUNICATOR
                            CGC #981
                   Monday,  December 21, 2009
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                Robert F. Gonsett, W6VR,  Editor
                <cgc (at) cgc333.connectnet.com>
    Copyright 2009, Communications General® Corporation (CGC)
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  OPTIONS FOR A NATIONAL BROADBAND PLAN
  The FCC says, "The National Broadband Plan being
developed by [our agency] should build on the attributes of
the American broadband ecosystem" (we can't make this stuff up)
"with high aspirations but in a practical and sustainable way."
See for yourself at the URL below.  The bottom line is that the
FCC is still bent on usurping a big chunk of TV broadcast
spectrum:
  http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-295256A1.doc
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  FCC NEWS BRIEFS
  o  Chairman Genachowski hires a "Broadcast TV Hitman"
  (according to this article) to go after TV spectrum:
  http://www.tvnewscheck.com/articles/2009/12/11/daily.6/
  o  Two-way radio news: Narrowbanding deadlines loom in the
  150-174 and 421-512 MHz bands:
  http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-09-2589A1.doc
  o  Online safety guidebook for parents introduced:
  http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-295266A1.doc
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  REJIGGERING THE FM BAND
  The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a bill to
eliminate the requirement for LPFM stations to protect full
power FM stations on third adjacent channels.  A complimentary
Senate bill is pending:
  http://tinyurl.com/House3rdAdjacencies
  Editor's comment:  A well respected broadcast engineering
consultant suggests eliminating the need for full power FM
stations to protect other FM stations on third adjacent channels.
If this were done, he believes that full power stations should
be given the first crack at using any new channels that become
available courtesy of the rule change.
  This is a very reasonable approach because full power
stations make much more efficient use of the electromagnetic
spectrum than LPFMs.  LPs serve small areas but cause inter-
ference over relatively large areas.  For more on the in-
efficiencies of LPFMs, see the second Letter to the Editor at:
  http://www.bext.com/_CGC/2008/cgc823.htm
  The inefficiencies of LPFMs are easily demonstrated via
F(50,50) and F(50,10) propagation calculations.
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  FCC ENFORCEMENT WATCH -- SELECTED ITEMS
  o  BIG NEWS.  Duke Energy, an electric utility company
  serving North Carolina, has been ordered to cease operating
  a small portion of its power grid because of its inability
  to remedy RFI on 111.7 MHz.
  The FCC directed Duke to "cease operations at the noted
  locations immediately until [Duke] can affect repairs.
  Failure to do so can subject you to additional enforcement
  action."
  http://www.fcc.gov/eb/FieldNotices/2003/DOC-295187A1.html
  o  KRTO(FM), Guadalupe, CA, has been issued a Notice of
  Violation for overmodulation.  It is very encouraging that
  the Commission is actually looking into modulation levels:
  http://www.fcc.gov/eb/FieldNotices/2003/DOC-295191A1.html
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                      THE MT. WILSON REPORT
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  THE ROAD TO MT. WILSON IS "CLOSED INDEFINITELY"
  Perhaps stung by the 90 vehicles stranded on Angeles Crest
Highway (CGC #978), Caltrans has closed that road indefinitely,
even to Mt. Wilson/Harvard workers.  Occasional workers are
being allowed through, but it seems that many more are being
denied access -- even those holding Caltrans-issued passes.
  No one at Caltrans wants to discuss the issue or take
responsibility for the road closure.  So, broadcasters are
considering a wide variety of options including the use of
press passes (apparently California law requires that members
of the press be allowed through); the use of TV news crews to
go into Caltrans offices and shine some light on their secrecy;
the use of Caltrans/CHP/etc. paid escorts; and even the use of
helicopters to ferry workers during fair weather conditions
(the logistics aren't easy).
  Lots of good ideas.  Now they just need someone to get the
ball rolling on one or all of these options.
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  RECONSTRUCTION OF THE MT. WILSON BACKUP POWER FEED
  Southern California Edison (SCE) has announced its plan
to rebuild the backup power feed to Mt. Wilson -- the feed that
was destroyed by the Station Fire.  SCE will use the same route
as before but employ lightweight steel poles that are somewhat
taller than the old wooden poles.  Some 234 poles will be required
in all with 64 set from the ground and the rest by helicopter.
  The target completion date is "2010" but potential delays could
occur particularly from the Forest Service which must review and
approve of the reconstruction plan.
  News source: SCE pps slide show dated December 16, 2009.
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  THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN DRIVING TO MT. WILSON
  Driving to and from Mt. Wilson this time of year can be
treacherous (assuming you are let through the checkpoints) because
of landslides and rock slides following the Station Fire, with
snow and ice just around the corner.
  Dennis Doty, an NBC-TV transmitter engineer, has graciously
listed the items he carries in his vehicle -- and the precautions
he takes -- while navigating the desolate roadways leading
to Wilson:
  http://earthsignals.com/add_CGC/Letters/safetylist.html
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                           RANDOM NOTES
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  NEWS BRIEFS
  o  Chicago stations are dealing with their own Franken FM
  (87.7 MHz) and tempers are flaring:
  http://www.rwonline.com/article/92038
  o  San Francisco may require RF "radiation labels for cell
  phones" at their points of sale:
  http://tinyurl.com/CellRFRwarnings
  o  Vikki Amrine will be leaving American Tower effective
  December 31 (corporate cost cutting).  She is one sharp
  individual and we can't wait to see what she'll do next:
  http://earthsignals.com/add_CGC/Letters/AmTwr_2009.html
  o  Senate Bill S.2881 would potentially add one electrical
  engineer or computer scientist within each of the offices
  of the five FCC Commissioners:
  http://www.sbe.org/pub_sc.php#SenateBill
  o  Historical images from KMGM(FM), Los Angeles, are archived
  on this impressive Web page.  KMGM became KCBH, then KJOI, and
  is today known as KYSR "Star 98.7 FM:"
  http://earthsignals.com/Collins/0017/index.htm
  o  Bob Gonsett, Consulting Radio Engineer and Editor of
  The CGC Communicator newsletter, has been awarded a Lifetime
  Achievement Award by the Society of Broadcast Engineers
  and was deeply honored by the occasion:
  http://earthsignals.com/add_CGC/Images/award.jpg
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  KBRT(AM), AVALON, VIRTUALLY ELIMINATES THEIR UPPER HD SIDEBAND
  In response to numerous interference complaints from
KFMB, 760 kHz, San Diego, KBRT, 740 kHz, Avalon, has virtually
eliminated its upper HD sideband in a voluntary experiment.  The
sideband was reduced 17 dB from its normal value by using the
maximum attenuation practical with the first-generation HD
equipment installed.  (KBRT would have turned off the upper
sideband completely, but reduction below 17 dB made "strange
things happen" within the equipment.  The 17 dB reduction is so
deep that it just about amounts to a complete shutoff.)  New,
current-generation HD equipment has been ordered and a further
reduction may well be implemented when it arrives.
  What KBRT found in their voluntary experiment was surprising:
The loss of the upper HD sideband did not appear to diminish
KBRT's HD reception, at least in initial testing.  According to
Cris Alexander, Director of Engineering for Crawford Broadcasting
(owner of KBRT), "I drove the KBRT digital signal yesterday
[December 15, 2009] and found that it works just fine with just
one set of primary digital sidebands."
  A copy of KBRT's occupied bandwidth spectrogram follows.
It was taken December 3 at a site called "Haypress" on Catalina
Island.  Haypress is about 1 km from KBRT's transmitter and is
in the main lobe of the station's signal.
  http://earthsignals.com/add_CGC/Images/KBRTspec.jpg
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  THE CGC COMMUNICATOR IS CLOSED FOR THE HOLIDAYS
  The CGC Communicator is now closed for the Christmas Holidays.
We will reopen on Monday, January 4.  Keeping e-mail traffic to
a minimum through January 4 would be appreciated.
  Special thanks to our readers who provide us with countless
story tips each week.  Do keep in mind that Letters to the Editor
should be kept to 100 words or less.  If you have more to say,
post your thoughts on the Web and send us the URL.
  May you and your family enjoy the Holidays and have a healthy
and prosperous 2010!
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                       LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
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  NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO ("NPR") LABS, A DIVISION OF IBIQUITY?
  The blanket power increase proposed for all FM HD stations
by the NPR-iBiquity compromise hasn't been justified.  Recall
that Ibiquity proposed both 6 and 10 dB power increases to the
FCC, and miraculously NPR caved in and agreed to a blanket 6 dB
increase for everyone (sans superpowered stations) and 10 dB for
some.  The coincidence of iBiquity's requests (6 and 10 dB) and
NPR's grants (6 and 10 dB) cannot be ignored.
  Where are the technical studies justifying the blanket 6 dB
increase?  Did NPR push its own studies aside for political
reasons?  If the FCC swallows the NPR/iBiquity compromise, this
will be the "AMization of the FM band" and do widespread harm
to analog signals.  Yet it is analog that pays the bills and
it is analog tuners that are being built into the new generation
of cell/data phones.  We have to protect analog.
  Wake up everyone.  Alarm bells ought to be going off but
the NPR-iBiquity compromise was perfectly timed to avoid an
uproar.  With the holidays here no one is paying attention.
NPR is looking more like a division of iBiquity instead of a
distinguished, trustworthy, independent test lab.
  Name withheld upon request
  Editor's notes:  NPR's technical report to the FCC dated
  November 3, 2009 may be found at:
  http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020246934
  Increases in HD power cannot only lead to adjacent channel
  interference but host interference as well.
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  ON THE FCC'S TV SPECTRUM GRAB FOR BROADBAND
  The best defense is a good offense.  If the broadcasters
were smart, they would collectively hire the best public relations
agency on Madison Avenue and take their case directly to the
public with newspaper, radio and TV ads.  Something like:
  "You just spent $1000 for a new HDTV to watch us and now
the FCC wants to take your programs away.  Write your Senator and
Congressman and tell them to tell the FCC -- NO!!"
  It would not take very long for the FCC to back away if they
started getting daily inquiries from irate legislators -- and the
possibility of a congressional investigation of the way the FCC
is acting as a pawn of the broadband interests.
  Bill Pasternak (retired and loving it!)
  newsline (at) ix.netcom.com
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  OLD RADIO: FACSIMILE BROADCASTING
  The story on KFI-FM mentioned that a lot of early FM stations
made their money doing "store-casting."  Another early FM use
was facsimile broadcasting.  This was specifically allowed in
the FCC rules (see, for example, 3.266 on pdf page 52 at
http://www.hallikainen.org/FCC/FccRules/1955/rules19551104.pdf
(1955 rules)).  The standards for facsimile broadcasting are
listed in 3.318 on pdf page 61.
  [Editor's note:  The above URL is a 16MB download.]
  I believe the idea was to allow electronic delivery of
newspapers.  Does anyone have info on a station actually doing
this in the 1950s?
  Harold Hallikainen,  harold (at) hallikainen.org
  P.S. FCC rules are updated daily at http://www.hallikainen.com
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                            OFF TOPIC
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  GRADE A OFF TOPIC MATERIAL
  o  Drag your cursor over the picture shown and note the
  "instant magnification" that occurs if your computer works
  like our XP machine.  This is a very neat graphic feature:
  http://tinyurl.com/InstantMagnification
  o  Here is a show and tell on predicted innovations that
  never really made it:
  http://www.woot.com/Blog/ViewEntry.aspx?Id=10506
  o  The automated stunt kite:
  http://tinyurl.com/AutomatedKite
  o  Microscopic radioactive "batteries" could power miniature
  electronic devices for decades - including spy transmitters:
  http://tinyurl.com/IsotopeBatteries
  o  One big downside of LED traffic signals -- they don't
  melt snow (seriously):
  http://tinyurl.com/LEDindigestion
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  HIGH RESOLUTION PHOTOS AVAILABLE
  Mike Curran enjoys taking very high resolution photos
(100 MB+) of beautiful and unusual scenes.  Thumbnails of two
of his pictures are available at the URL below.  Click on the
photos for slightly larger images.
  One photo shows cable tray damage caused by high winds on
San Miguel Mountain in San Diego (a most unforgettable image)
while the other shows a gorgeous sunset.
  If you would like to obtain the full high resolution images
of either of these photos, drop Mike at line at
mikec53 (at) yahoo.com
  http://earthsignals.com/add_CGC/Images/photos.html
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                  TV - LOCAL ITEMS FROM THE FCC
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  DIGITAL CLASS A TV APPLICATION FOR LICENSE TO COVER GRANTED
  BLDTA-20091113AAF  KVMM-CD 18741  CABALLERO ACQUISITION INC.
              E      CHAN-1             SANTA BARBARA, CA
  License to cover construction permit no: BDFCDTA-20080804ACQ,
  callsign KVMM-CA.
  Editor's note:  The FCC says "CHAN-1" but should have said
  "CHAN-41."
  http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-295248A2.txt
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  CHANNEL 4 LPTV AND/OR TRANSLATOR FOR SANTA BARBARA
  This is a proposed Construction Permit:
  http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-295261A1.doc
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  CHANNEL 7 LPTV AND/OR TRANSLATOR FOR CALEXICO
  This is a proposed Construction Permit:
  http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-295260A1.doc
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  CHANNEL 12 LPTV AND/OR TRANSLATOR FOR BIG BEAR LAKE
  This is a proposed Construction Permit:
  http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-295260A1.doc
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  CHANNEL 23 LPTV AND/OR TRANSLATOR FOR LOS ANGELES
  This is a proposed Construction Permit:
  http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-295260A1.doc
  Editor's note:  Beware, a harmonic of CH-23 falls in the
  GPS spectrum.
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  DIGITAL TV APPLICATION FOR LICENSE TO COVER ACCEPTED FOR FILING
  BLCDT-20091214ABB    KMIR-TV  16749  JOURNAL BROADCAST CORP...
                E      CHAN-46              PALM SPRINGS, CA
  License to cover construction permit no: BPCDT-20080619AGK,
  callsign KMIR-TV.
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  CHANNEL 50 LPTV AND/OR TRANSLATOR FOR NATIONAL CITY
  This is a proposed Construction Permit:
  http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-295260A1.doc
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  TV TRANSLATOR OR LPTV STATION APPLICATION FOR LICENSE TO COVER
  ACCEPTED FOR FILING
  BLTTL-20091211AGA  KPSE-LP  51660  JOURNAL BROADCAST CORPORATION
              E      CHAN-50                PALM SPRINGS, CA
  License to cover construction permit no: BPTTL-20091007AAT,
  callsign KPSE-LP.
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  Corporation (CGC), consulting radio engineers, Fallbrook, CA.
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