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                      THE CGC COMMUNICATOR
                            CGC #998
                   Monday,  February 15, 2010
                             ________
                Robert F. Gonsett, W6VR,  Editor
                <cgc (at) cgc333.connectnet.com>
    Copyright 2010, Communications General® Corporation (CGC)
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  FCC CLOSED FOUR DAYS DUE TO SNOW
  FCC headquarters were closed Monday through Thursday last
week due to monumental snow.  Most or all meetings scheduled
for last week were postponed.
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  CHANGES AT THE CGC COMMUNICATOR - LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
  Starting with CGC #1000, the CGC Communicator will no
longer accept Letters to the Editor and will become a once/month
publication -- much as it was in the paper publishing days.  We
will also be discontinuing a significant amount of trade news
readily available elsewhere.  This means that CGC #1001 will be
pretty much filled to the brim with FCC Broadcast Applications &
Actions information plus links to major FCC news items.
  We may print Invited Letters on special topics from time to
time, but that should be of comparatively small scale.  And we
might issue a flurry of newsletters to cover monumental events
(including NAB Show highlights), but those special editions will
hopefully be few and far between.  Several scheduled consulting
projects require that I spend much less time on the Communicator
for the remainder of 2010.
  If you have important news to share, there are two ways to
do it starting with CGC #1000.  The first way is to post your 
thoughts on the Web and send us the URL for publication.  The
second method is to post your material on a new Web-based
publication called Tech Letters.  It's currently in Beta Test
and is looking good.  Watch for details in CGC #999.
  Please keep in mind that nothing changes until CGC #1000
is published.  We are still accepting e-mailed Letters to the
Editor for the moment (100 words or less).  And if you do send
us an e-mail, please indicate if we may use your name if your
letter is published.
  Finally, thanks for all of those great letters over the
past 35+ years.  Hopefully with Tech Letters coming online,
your comments and news items will be disseminated faster than
ever before.
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  FCC ENFORCEMENT ITEMS OF INTEREST
  o  Be sure your STL coordinates are accurate and that you
  comply with the "not serve as the final RF link" rule if
  you are authorized to use certain frequencies just above
  the normal STL band:
  http://www.fcc.gov/eb/FieldNotices/2003/DOC-296093A1.html
  o  FCC acts on a complaint of unauthorized transmissions
  in the 460 MHz band by an elementary school district in
  Pennsylvania:
  http://www.fcc.gov/eb/FieldNotices/2003/DOC-295189A1.html
  http://www.fcc.gov/eb/FieldNotices/2003/DOC-295195A1.html
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                          FEATURE STORY
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  450 MHZ INTERFERENCE NAILS METRO TRAFFIC IN SAN DIEGO
  According to broadcast engineer Matt Lunati, Metro
Traffic's voice repeater in San Diego was jammed about a week
ago by a large number of simplex hand-held radios that were
pressed into service at the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District.
The radios were reportedly programmed to transmit on 455.500 MHz
and sold to the District by an equipment dealer that told the
district not to worry about licensing.
  Unfortunately, 455.500 MHz is Metro's licensed repeater input
frequency and the resulting interference jammed Metro's helicopter
communications.  Matt found the source of the interference by
using his Amateur Radio direction finding ("DFing") skills, then
met with the school district staff to explain that 450-460 MHz
is NOT a licensee-free band.
  We understand that the San Diego FCC field office is now
involved in the case.  While the Commission might only go after
the school district for allegedly operating on an unauthorized
frequency, FCC Rule 90.427(b) states that, "Except for frequencies
used in accordance with Section 90.417, no person shall program
into a transmitter frequencies for which the licensee using the
transmitter is not authorized."  This means that the equipment
dealer could conceivably be liable.
-------------------
  HOW DID 455.500 MHZ GET PROGRAMMED INTO SCHOOL RADIOS?
  CGC asked the alleged equipment dealer how 455.500 MHz got
programmed into the school radios.  The vendor at first said that
a third party did the deed, then changed the story and said that
the school district itself did the programming.  When asked
specifically how the frequency was entered into the radios --
for example by front panel keystrokes or a programming cable --
the representative said he had to end the conversation and turn
the matter over to company management.  We requested a return
call but none was received.
  Brian Marshall, Superintendent of the La Mesa-Spring Valley
School District, stated on February 11 that the district will
not comment until their own investigation is complete, but he
did confirm that his district has been in touch with the FCC.
  An informed source stated to CGC that once it became obvious
that 455.500 MHz was causing interference, the equipment vendor
supplied the district a list of other frequencies for the 
district to try.  If such a list exists, it would be a smoking
gun.  Again, the 450 band isn't license free and people should
not be "trying" frequencies.  Prior coordination and licensing
are essential.
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  450 MHZ -- BECOMING THE BUSINESS MAN'S CB BAND
  The 450 MHz private land-mobile band is fast becoming the
CB band of the business world.  The FCC could -- and probably
should -- put inspectors to work full time doing nothing but
450 enforcement.
  In our view, the problem with people using unauthorized 450
frequencies began years ago when inexpensive radios flooded the
market with a large number of pre-programmed channels accessible
by front panel command.  Users found what seemed to be clear
frequencies and simply started transmitting, often without
formal frequency coordination or licensing.
  To address this situation, we recommend that the FCC (a)
prohibit front panel frequency selection (from a bank of pre-
programmed channels), (b) prohibit dealers from selling radios
to unlicensed users, (c) punish dealers for programming
unauthorized frequencies or enticing others to do so and
(d) police the 450 band and get rid of unlicensed users.
  The La Mesa-Spring Valley School District case should be
a treasure trove for an investigative reporter.  If the District
programmed their own frequencies, who made the frequency
recommendations and supplied the programming cable if a cable
was used?  It will be interesting to see how this case shakes out.
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                       THE MT. WILSON REPORT
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  L.A. COUNTY CANCELS WILSON ESCORTS
  I just got the word and it is not good.  [L.A.] County is no
longer providing escorts [to and from Mt. Wilson].  "We are out
of the escort business."
  L.A. County will clear the road completely and then open
it to emergency vehicles, contractors and residents as it was a
few days prior to the last storm.  The expected date for the
reopening is this coming Tuesday, February 16, 2010.
  In addition, the [old] toll road [a rough dirt road leading
to Mts. Harvard and Wilson] has been blocked by large rocks that
came down on Saturday I am told by L.A. County crews.
  Dennis Doty, Thursday, February 11, 2010
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  QUESTIONS ("Q") BY CGC -- ANSWERS ("A") BY DENNIS DOTY
  Q.  How long have you and the others been stranded on
  Wilson due to road closures?
  A.  I came up Friday, February 5, right before they locked
all the gates.  I had tried to come home with the Monday AM Escort
but it was canceled mid-trip.  Bob with KTLA is still on site and
Scott from Trinity.  Mike was on site for the Mt. Wilson group
but flew out yesterday, and Rigo flew in to relieve him.
  Q.  How is the weather and do you still think the road will
reopen Tuesday?
  A.  It is very nice up here right now.  80% of the snow has
melted and most of the roads are clean and dry.  I think the
roads will open Tuesday as all signs look good.
  Q.  Have there been any major transmitter outages or equipment
failures recently?
  A.  ION went down due to a Harris DA card failure.  They
flew in a replacement Wednesday and had more parts and staff fly
in Thursday.  Ion Flew out during the Mt. Wilson DTV group
shuttles.  ION tried to fly out Thursday afternoon but we were
fogged in so flights in and out were suspended.
  Q.  Any other interesting information to pass along?
  A.  Many people assume that if something happens they will
just fly right up but that is far from reality.  ION was off
the air for over a day due to bad weather and then even when
the weather cleared we still did not have IFR conditions.
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  CAR ACCIDENT RAISES CONCERNS
  L.A. County firefighters have responded to a car over the
side of a cliff in the Angeles National Forest north of Lake
View Terrace and off the side of Little Tujunga Road.  Hopefully
the incident will not entice some overzealous bureaucrat to
restrict access to Wilson.
  http://tinyurl.com/Tujunga-Rescue
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                       LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
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  ABOUT THE SCHOOL INTERFERENCE TO METRO TRAFFIC
  Comment from a Los Angeles broadcast engineer on the
450 MHz interference impacting Metro Traffic helicopter
communications in San Diego:
  "I hope the FCC nails the two-way shop."
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  COMMENT ON THE FM HD RADIO POWER INCREASE
  Re Paul McLane's editorial in Radio World [see URL below]:
  What Mr. McLane and the FCC don't tell us is the Dark Side
of HD FM.  Not a word.  They don't say anything about digital-to
-analog interference to your OWN station that NPR Labs found,
for instance, and how this interference will help speed the end
of analog FM.  It's as if we are shooting ourselves in the foot
with this HD power increase.
  Managers need to wake up and ask questions.  HD FM has a
number of problems.  There is a big gap between what the FCC and
Mr. McLane and saying and what we engineers in the trenches have
found and our corporations have kept us from saying.
  Name withheld upon request
  http://www.radioworld.com/article/94498
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  COMMENTS ON THE PROPOSED WSKQ-FM $16,000 FINE
  In the last Communicator, we learned that WSKQ-FM, New York,
was tentatively fined $16,000 for a technicality involving an
extraordinarily crass telephone prank: intentionally telling a
wife that her husband had died when that was not the case.
  Communicator readers responded as follows:
  o  This "would be a revocation of license if it were my
  [call]."
  o  "It's disgusting that broadcast professionals have
  degenerated to the point of fabricating death notices
  to elicit emotional responses."
  o  "Disgusting is a mild term to describe this sickening
  promotional attempt.  I hope that someone goes after the
  station's license.  This is way, way over the line."
  The full text of the telephone "stunt" is posted here:
  http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-10-234A1.doc
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  WATCH FOR THIS GEM AT THE NAB
  The Panasonic 3-D video camera.
  http://tinyurl.com/yecerh4
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                    GRADE A OFF TOPIC MATERIAL
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  SECRET MESSAGES
  A growing cadre of criminals is hiding secret messages
in voice data.
  http://tinyurl.com/ConcealedData
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  HIGH SPEED LIGHTNING PHOTOGRAPHY
  Here are beautiful high speed videos of lightning events.
You might start by clicking on the last thumbnail photo.  It's
entitled "TV Tower Initiates Lightning Strike."  If that video
captures your imagination, progress to the second of the six
thumbnails ("Lightning at Bear Butte") and watch some very
spooky stuff:
  http://www.wired.com/thisdayintech/2010/02/gallery-lightning
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  CAVE RADIO
  Alexander Kendrick, 16, won the 2009 International Science
Fair for inventing a radio system that allows two-way text
messaging with people and machines deep underground.  The system
appears to use the VLF spectrum with large coils of wire mounted
on PVC forms serving as the antennas.
  http://tinyurl.com/yf96o8z
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  INADVISABLE USE FOR CAR ANTENNA
  A police story with a happy ending, except for the culprit.
  http://tinyurl.com/CarAntennaUse
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  WHITE WONDER
  Snow on Palomar Mountain.  A beautiful photo by Bonnie Phelps.
  http://tinyurl.com/PalomarSnow
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               FM RADIO - LOCAL ITEMS FROM THE FCC
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  FM STATION APPLICATION FOR ORIGINAL CONSTRUCTION PERMIT GRANTED
  BNPED-20071017ADA   NEW   175096   CALVARY CHAPEL OF BIG BEAR
            E      88.7 MHZ               BIG BEAR CITY, CA
  CP New Station.
  Engineering Amendment filed 10/18/2007
  Petitions to deny must be on file no later than 30 days from
  the date of this public notice accepting the application for
  filing.
  Settlement Agreement filed 7/30/08
  Engineering Amendment filed 02/03/2010
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  FM TRANSLATOR APPLICATION FOR ORIGINAL CONSTRUCTION PERMIT
  INFORMAL OBJECTION
  BPFT-19971124TD   971124TD  89263   LIVING WAY MINISTRIES, INC.
             E      99.1 MHZ             WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA
  CP NEW STATION, PRIMARY STATION KTLW(FM)
  Engineering Amendment filed 06/27/2005
  Engineering Amendment filed 02/03/2009
  Informal Objection Filed 05/27/2009 by LIVING WAY MINISTRIES...
  Engineering Amendment filed 04/20/2009
  Informal Objection Filed 02/02/2010 by CALIFORNIA STATE
  UNIV, NORTHRIDGE
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                  TV - LOCAL ITEMS FROM THE FCC
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  TV TRANSLATOR OR LPTV STATION APPLICATION FOR MINOR MODIFICATION
  TO A CONSTRUCTION PERMIT DISMISSED
  BMPTVL-20091001ADV   KVTU-LP  130176   MARK C. ALLEN
                E      CHAN-3           LOS ANGELES, CA
  Modification of construction permit file number BPTVL-
  20080922AFN.  Engineering Amendment filed 12/02/2009
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  DIGITAL TRANSLATOR OR DIGITAL LPTV APPLICATION FOR
  ORIGINAL CONSTRUCTION PERMIT ACCEPTED FOR FILING
  BNPDVL-20100202AAX    NEW   184234   MIRIAM MEDIA, INC.
                 E    CHAN-3            PALM SPRINGS, CA
  Construction permit for a new station for PALM SPRINGS, CA
  on channel 3
  [Editor's note: See also Channel 24]
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  DIGITAL TRANSLATOR OR DIGITAL LPTV APPLICATION FOR
  ORIGINAL CONSTRUCTION PERMIT ACCEPTED FOR FILING
  BNPDTL-20100202AAV   NEW   184237   MIRIAM MEDIA, INC.
                 E   CHAN-24           PALM SPRINGS, CA
  Construction permit for a new station for PALM SPRINGS, CA
  on channel 24
  [Editor: See also Channel 3]
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  DIGITAL TRANSLATOR OR DIGITAL LPTV APPLICATION FOR
  LICENSE TO COVER ACCEPTED FOR FILING
  BLDTL-20100204ABX   KDTF-LP   3022   ENTRAVISION HOLDINGS, LLC
                E     CHAN-51                SAN DIEGO, CA
  License to cover construction permit no: BDISDTL-20081231AAD,
  callsign KDTF-LP.
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