CGC #1197

by CGC on April 22, 2013



                      THE CGC COMMUNICATOR

                            CGC #1197

                     Monday, April 22, 2013


                Robert F. Gonsett, W6VR, Editor

   Copyright 2013, Communications General® Corporation (CGC)



  Dielectric has begun letting customers know that it plans
to get out of the radio, television and wireless antenna business.
The company will continue to operate in a limited capacity only
through the end of June.

  Dielectric produced some of the finest broadcast antennas
in the United States, so their closure represents a significant
blow to U.S. manufacturing capabilities:



  o  FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski will become a
  fellow at the Aspen Institute when he steps down, and he
  may announce his departure date soon:

  o  Government report: "Strengthening the Emergency Alert
  System (EAS): Lessons Learned from the Nationwide EAS Test:"

  o  Foti, Adrick, Charles honored for engineering excellence:

  o  FCC's tentative agenda for its May Open Meeting includes
  an item looking toward improving consumer access to broadband
  aboard aircraft:

  o  On May 1, 2013, the FCC will begin issuing five-character
  grantee codes for Certified Radiofrequency Equipment:

  o  The FCC has adopted rules requiring that emergency
  information provided in video programming be made accessible
  to individuals who are blind or visually impaired and that
  certain apparatus be capable of delivering video description
  and emergency information:

  o  FCC and U.S. State Department officials are engaging
  in "continuous discussions" with Canada and Mexico on border
  issues related to the Incentive Auction of TV spectrum:

  o  FCC modifies its Part 90 rules and, among other things,
  modifies the trunking rules for private land-mobile radio
  stations below 800 MHz:



  KBIG-FM, Los Angeles, to KBIG
  KVTA(AM), Port Hueneme, to KUNX
  KUNX(AM), Ventura, to KVTA



  o  Illegal use of cell phone jammers at two job sites results
  in proposed fines of $126,000 and $144,000 respectively:

  o  Licensee of WQJR646, Brentwood (near San Francisco),
  flagged for not transmitting their call sign as required:



  CGC #1196 mentioned an enforcement action on a "building
with tower" at 541 S. Spring Street in Los Angeles.  One of our
readers has identified the tower as the "old KRKD(AM) tower in
Downtown LA."

                          NAB SHOW NOTES


  NAB reports exhibit space grew nearly 10 percent over 2012.
The event comprised 1,600 exhibitors spanning 900,000 net square
feet of exhibit space, up from 815,000 net sq. ft. in 2012.

  Total registered attendees: 92,414
  (of which 24,461 were international attendees)

  Countries represented: 155

  The 2012 NAB Show final attendance was estimated at 91,565.

  As usual, we will let the trade press do the heavy lifting
with stories on the convention and confine ourselves to making
just the few remarks below.



  Glynn Walden (and Ben Downs) pushed hard at the NAB Show
for the FCC to establish an "AM Sunset and All-Digital Sunrise"
date for the AM broadcast band.  They also want the FCC to mandate
that all radio receivers sold in the U.S. have all-digital
receiving capability built-in (for HD Radio of course).  Not
a word was said about testing DRM or any other all-digital
broadcasting technology.

  What these gentlemen failed to say is that the AM band is
already partially digital -- especially in major markets --
and the public isn't demanding digital receivers.  So now they
want the FCC to force digital receivers on everyone -- a very
sweet deal indeed for iBiquity, the parent of HD Radio.

  We appreciate that Glynn Walden believes 110% in AM digital
broadcasting.  His heart is in the right place.  However, the
AM HD technology currently deployed by iBiquity is seriously
flawed -- as we have said repeatedly -- and helps contaminate
the AM band.  Glynn even mentioned the self-inflicted inter-
ference in his remarks during Commissioner Pai's panel.

  So, if the AM band ever does go all-digital, it would be
wise to consider all options before taking the leap.  Let's not
blindly trust iBiquity which has done such a poor job with AM
so far.

  P.S.  Another major AM station has shut off AM HD at
  night and there have been no listener complaints.  (Private
  communication to the CGC Communicator at the NAB Show.)

  P.S.2.  Riddle:  What happens when AM stations use FM
  translators?  It gives the public yet another reason not
  to listen to AM.



  One of the perpetual problems at remote transmitter sites
is line voltage regulation.  Superior Electric offers servo-motor
variacs that are simple, reliable, cost effective and screwdriver-
repairable.  What more could you want?

  This isn't an advertisement.  We just noticed their elegant
time-tested equipment off to the side at the NAB Show and thought
they deserved a good word.  Director of Sales is Mike Miga:

  mike.miga (at)

                          RANDOM NOTES


  Free over-the-air TV is making a comeback and Mobile TV
will only accelerate the trend -- if enough stations get on
the bandwagon and install mobile encoding.



  o  Stories about the TV spectrum auction and TV channel
  repacking are appearing in the public press as the following
  article indicates:

  o  Copper thefts increase in Escondido:

  o iHeartRadio is coming to Burbank:

                        SOLAR POWER SPECIAL


  On Interstate 15 between Barstow and Las Vegas is a very
curious exit labeled "Zzyzx Rd."  The made-up name Zzyzx was
given to the area in 1944 by Curtis Springer, claiming it to be
the last word in the English language and, we are told, the last
word in health care.  He also established the Zzyzx Mineral
Springs and Health Spa the same year and used AM radio
broadcasting to attract customers from far and wide.

  Today the health spa is long gone but you will find in its
place an equally curious establishment called the Desert Studies
Center operated by California State University.  Here, researchers
stay for various lengths of time in the middle of nowhere.
Trouble is, the Center is so far removed that there is no
commercial electric power to run the lights, the scientific
equipment and the all-important air conditioning.

  Until recently, Zzyzx relied on diesel and propane generators
to meet their energy needs (an earlier attempt at solar simply
didn't produce much power).  Today, the generators serve as
peaking power providers and emergency backup sources because Zzyzx
has a new medium-sized solar power array to carry most of the

  The solar panels track the sun along a single axis, tilting
from east to west each day under computer control.  There are a
total of 280 individual solar panels each producing 235 watts of
electricity in maximum sunlight.  After accounting for nominal
losses, we are told that the panels provide 58 kW max at 408 VDC.
There is even a feature that will automatically move the panels
to a flat horizontal plane position in the event of heavy winds.

  In addition to the solar array, Zzyzx has a temperature-
controlled battery building for overnight energy storage (new
battery cost = $400k but these batteries were purchased from AT&T
in virtually unused condition for only $90k).  There are also
multiple power inverters both before and after the battery bank.
The new installation went online in September 2012 and Desert
Studies Center is about to determine how well it meets their
summertime needs.

  Following are photographs showing the drive shafts and gearing
to tilt the solar panels, the survo-motor to do the tilting, a
portion of the air conditioned battery building and an eye-
pleasing old truck that just happened to be parked nearby:

  Special thanks to Desert Studies Center site manager Rob
Fulton for an excellent tour of the new solar plant.

  Background info on Zzyzx and Curtis Springer:,_California

                         HAM RADIO BRIEFS


  o  Ham Radio responds to the Boston Marathon terrorist
  attack, and kept cranking out communications despite cell
  phone overloads:

  o  The Catalina 2-meter repeater has turned 40 years of age.
  See the cover story from 73 Magazine for April 1974:

  o  About the Cal State Northridge Cubesat project:

                     LETTERS TO THE EDITOR


  Letters to the Editor of the CGC Communicator should be
posted on the Tech Letters Website.  Here is the URL to see
the most recent postings and to make new postings (all letters
and comments are moderated and are posted after review):

  Please contact the moderator, Steve Blodgett, if you are
having trouble viewing or posting: sblodgett (at)


                           OFF TOPIC


  Following the zombie thread from the recent EAS hoax:

  o  Interesting article:  "During a zombie apocalypse, the
  only reliable form of communication would be using Amateur
  Radio, as cellphones and the Internet will become useless:"

  o  Temecula: An attempt to shake zombies off a truck trailer
  by swerving the truck side-to-side resulted in a six vehicle
  accident in which eight people were injured:



  o  Jackie Evancho with a song her uncle composed.
  Beautiful and timely in light of the Boston tragedy:



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