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The Chapter 24 Newsletter is published monthly by Chapter 24 of the Society of Broadcast Engineers; Madison, Wisconsin. Original hard copy edited by Mike Norton on Pagemaker 5.0. Submissions of interest to the broadcast technical community are welcome. You can make your submissions by e-mail to:
Information and/or articles are also accepted by US Mail. Please address them to:
SBE Chapter 24 Newsletter Editor
2029 Greenway Cross #11
Madison, WI 53713-3000
Please submit text file on DOS or Windows 3.5" floppy diskette if possible.
Steve Paugh is the editor for the Electronic Version of this Newsletter uploaded monthly onto SBE Chapter 24's web page.
Thanks to Leonard Charles for his work on the Chapter 24 WWW page and electronic newsletter.
Contributors this month:
© 2000 by SBE Chapter 24. Views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the official positions of the Society, its officers, or its members. SBE Chapter 24 regrets, but is not liable for, any omissions or errors. The Chapter 24 Newsletter is published twelve times per year. Other SBE Chapters are permitted to use excerpts if attributed to the original author, sources, and SBE Chapter 24.
Thank you to WKOW-TV for providing copying and folding facilities for the Chapter 24 newsletter!
Thank you to WISC-TV for maintaining the web server for the Chapter 24 Web page!
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Jim Edwards of Tektronix will be on hand to give a presentation on testing component serial digital video. There will be a demonstration of some digital monitoring equipment.
Visitors and guests are welcome at all of our SBE meetings!
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|Tentative 2000 Program Subjects|
|Thur||Feb 24||Steve Zimmerman|
|Tues||Mar 21||Denise Maney|
|Weds||Apr 26||Denise Maney|
|Thur||May 25||Steve Paugh|
|Tues||Jun 20||Kerry Maki|
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Submitted by Lloyd Berg, Secretary
Chapter 24 of the Society of Broadcast Engineers met on Thursday, December 21, 1999 at Engineering Hall, on the UW-Madison campus. There were fourteen members and two guests present; eleven held SBE certification.
The meeting was called to order by Vice Chair Tom Smith at 7:05 pm. Minutes of the November meeting were approved as published.
It was reported that Chapter 24 has 23 Sustaining Members including the recent renewal of WISC-TV.
Mike Norton reported that the January Newsletter deadline will be Friday, 1/7/00, at midnight; with the folding party on Wednesday, 1/12/00, at 5:30 pm at WKOW-TV.
Jim Hermanson, Certification & Education, reported that the next local certification exams will be given in February; deadline for application is 12/31/99. The following opportunity for SBE certification will be at the NAB convention.
Tom Smith, Frequency Coordinator, made a report about recent frequency coordination efforts and issues.
Tom Smith read a letter from Kevin Ruppert thanking all who helped with the November meeting (student night).
Tom Smith read a letter from John Poray (SBE Executive Director) congratulating Chapter 24 for success of student night meeting.
Vicki Kipp reported on the recent field trip to Green Bay to tour the ABC HDTV truck.
Tom Smith reported that WHA-TV has an opening for an engineer.
The business portion of the meeting was adjourned at 7:20 pm.
The evening’s program was presented by David Devereaux-Weber, engineer with the UW-Madison Division of Information Technology. It featured information on, and demonstrations of, streaming audio and video over Local Area Networks and the Internet.
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Say what you want about Y2K, but it was an excellent drill. Before you turn the page, think about it for just a minute. When was the last time you checked ALL of the systems in your plant, forged relationships with the tech support departments at their manufacturers, or established new ones with companies that took over the product after the originator went out of business?
When was the last time you seriously exercised your generator during cold weather, or made up a plan to run the station on a portable Honda?
Y2K gave us all the chance to hone skills that were rusty or altogether forgotten about. (Remember DOS?) It also gave us an incentive to investigate new and innovative ways to do things that had been done one way for a long time. Maybe that change had to be made because the old system would no longer work at all once the date changed over to 2000. It gave us a chance to break old paradigms.
Another totally unexpected benefit of Y2K was the opportunity to give something back to the community. Our local newspaper ran an article about a group that feared the worse. They stockpiled canned goods and other supplies. Now that the "event" is over, they are giving all of that food to local food pantries.
Many say that it was a waste of time and money. I disagree. Even though "millions" of dollars were spent by companies the world over, I think it was worth it. It gave as all a chance to see how dependent we are on technology, and to prepare to do without at least some of it.
It gave us an opportunity to remember how vulnerable we are to "circumstances beyond our control". (We don’t get an opportunity to use that phrase on the air very often anymore, do we?). The skills needed for surviving Y2K were very much like those needed to survive a severe winter storm, a skill that could prove useful in this part of the world!
I think that this was such a good experience that we should plan on doing it more often. Maybe every five years or so? (Okay, would you settle for every 10 years?)
Here’s a thought for those of you who like to indulge in conspiracy theories. Maybe our government knew that Y2K would be a bust. Maybe they found this out with their super fast computers months ago, but let us all prepare for the worse anyway! After all, we no longer have air raid drills or "duck and cover" drills. Maybe this was one way that they could get us to be on our toes once again the way we were when the "red menace" was something to be concerned about.
Anyway, those are my random thoughts on the subject. Maybe you have some favorite Y2K stories that you would like to share with the readers of this newsletter. Maybe you can tell us about that piece of backup gear that management finally let you buy, only because of Y2K.
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• In a move that will streamline amateur radio licensing, the FCC has issued its long-awaited Report and Order on amateur licensing restructuring. Starting April 15, 2000, new licenses will be issued for only three classes: Technician, General, and Amateur Extra. Also, the 13 and 20 word-per-minute Morse code requirements will be dropped in favor of a single code speed proficiency test of 5 WPM.
"We believe that an individual’s ability to demonstrate increased Morse code proficiency is not necessarily indicative of that individual’s ability to contribute to the advancement of the radio art," the FCC said in its Report and Order. Besides drastically streamlining the Amateur Radio licensing process, the FCC said its actions would "eliminate unnecessary requirements that may discourage or limit individuals from becoming trained operators, technicians, and electronic experts."
Although no new Novice and Advanced licenses will be issued after the effective date of the Report and Order, the FCC does not plan to automatically upgrade any existing license privileges. The American Radio Relay League had proposed a one-time, across-the-board upgrading of current Novice and Tech Plus licensees to General class, but the FCC declined to adopt the idea. This means that current licensees will retain their current operating privileges, including access to various modes and subbands, and will be able to renew their licenses indefinitely.
A copy of the entire Report and Order (FCC 99-412) is available at http://www.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/1999/db991230/fcc99412.txt
• 75 MHz of spectrum around 5.9 GHz has been reallocated to the new "Intelligent Transportation System" services aimed at improving highway safety. The allocation of 5.850 to 5.925 GHz includes the upper portion of a secondary amateur radio allocation (5.650 to 5.925 GHz) which is shared with government radar and non-government fixed satellite uplinks. The FCC said that proposed uses of this Part 90 service would include traffic light control, travelers’ alerts, automatic toll collection, traffic congestion detection and electronic inspection of moving trucks. The commission has already allocated 5.725 to 5.825 GHz for high-speed wireless digital communications under Part 15.
(Excerpts from January 2000 "QST" Magazine and the American Radio Relay League’s "The ARRL Letter")
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MM Docket No. 99-262; FCC 99-389
Establishment of a Class A Television Service; Comments Suspended
The FCC has suspended the filing of comments in the matter of the establishment of a Class A Television service, This action was in response to legislation passed by Congress and signed into law that was titled the Community Broadcasters Act of 1999. This law requires the FCC to establish regulations by rulemaking within 120 days of the signing of this Act to create a Class A Television Service. The service is for low power TV stations that meets certain criteria as dictated in the Act. The criteria set in the legislation more closely limits the provisions of the rules for Class A TV service than the notice of rulemaking did. Because of these limitations, the FCC suspended comments on the issue.
The suspension became effective on December 14, 1999 with the comment period originally set to end on December 21, 1999. The notice was published in the FEDERAL REGISTER on December 22, 1999 on pages 71,712-71,713.
CS Docket No. 99-363; FCC 99-406
Implementation of the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act of 1999: Retransmission Consent Issues
This rulemaking is the result of the Satellite Home Viewer Act of 1999 which allows satellite and other multichannel video providers to carry local TV broadcast signals that due to compulsory licensing provisions of the copyright law were previously prohibited. The provisions of the Act seeks to place satellite carriers on a equal footing with cable operators by making broadcast programming available to satellite subscribers, thus adding to the consumers choice of video service providers.
The Commission requests comment on the process for negotiating retransmission consent between broadcasters and video providers. The FCC is suggesting the use of the cable retransmission and must-carry process in the Cable Act of 1992 as a model. Must carry rules with satellite providers will be subject to a later rulemaking, as that part of the Act does not become effective until January 1, 2002.
The Act requires that broadcasters negotiate in good faith with satellite and other video providers concerning retransmission consent and must-carry, and the FCC seeks comments on what defines good faith negotiations. Comments are sought on both the actual negotiations and the handling of any fee differences that stations could charge different video providers.
The Act also prohibits stations from entering into exclusive contracts with video providers. A station must make its signal available to anyone. The FCC is seeking comments on the what activities would constitute engaging in exclusive agreements and language describing such actions.
Comments were due on January 12, 2000 with replies due on January 19, 2000 for the Exclusivity and Good Faith parts of the notice. Comments on the Retransmission Constant Process are due on February 1, 2000 with replies due February 20, 2000. Comments from the public on the entire notice are due on February 1, 2000 also. The notice was adopted on December 21, 1999 and released on December 22, 1999. It was published in the FEDERAL REGISTER on December 29, 1999 on pages 72,985-72,992.
MM Docket No. 99-360; FCC 99-390
In the Matter of Public Interest Obligations of TV Broadcast Licensees
The FCC has issued a notice of rulemaking concerning the public interest requirements for DTV stations. This notice deals with a large number of issues, including a number which are resurrected from the past and were eliminated by past deregulation. Many of the proposals were based on recommendations by the Presidents Advisory Committee on the Public Interest Obligations of Digital Broadcasters and from a petition from the group People for Better TV.
The FCC has listed four categories of issues concerning the proposed public interest obligations for digital broadcasting. The first category pertains to the new opportunities of digital. Should any obligations be evenly applied to all the digital services or just the primary program channel. The Commission is asking if requirements for childrens programming, public service programming, and political advertising should be applied equally to each channel in the multicast mode or should the requirements be considered for all programming in total that is transmitted over the whole DTV channel. The FCC would like comments if information on data channels should be included in the obligations.
The Second category concerns responding to the community. Emergency information to the community is one issue in this category. Should stations be required via their DTV data streams and their web sites on the internet to supply emergency information to the neighborhood level. Closed caption and descriptive video obligations are also discussed. The section of the community concerns that may have the most connection with past regulation is what is called disclosure obligations. This concerns a stations public file and what is required to be placed in it. The FCC has a number of proposals including adding new categories of information, such as diversity issues and the use of ascertainment or surveys of community needs. Ascertainment was eliminated in the 1980’s and the People for Better TV would like broadcasters to conduct them again. The FCC also suggested the broadcasters make their public files available on their websites and by other electronic means.
The third category is disability and diversity. The use of new methods of closed captioning and descriptive video were discussed, as was increasing broadcasters obligations for providing these services. Increased access to the media by diverse groups in this country was another issue raised. Besides requiring broadcasters to show in their public file what programming them have provided to serve these groups, the FCC is proposing that one of the returned analog channels in each viewing community be reserved for non-commercial use with the station including programming for minority and other underserved groups.
The last category is political discourse. There are a number of proposals in this category. One is that broadcasters provide five minutes each evening for political discourse for 30 days before elections. Broadcasters would be able to choose formats. A second proposal would require broadcasters to provide twenty minutes of airtime for candidates for 30 days before a general election in even number years and for 15 days before a general election in odd numbered years. Broadcasters would be prohibited from adopting blanket bans on the sale of airtime for political adds.
There are a lot of issues in this notice of inquiry and they could have a larger impact on shaping DTV and possibly all of broadcasting. Comments are due on March 27, 2000 and replies are due on April 25, 2000. This notice was adopted on December 15, 1999 and released on December 20, 1999.
CS Docket No. 98-201; FCC 99-276
Satellite Delivery of Network Signals to Unserved Households for Purposes of the Satellite Home Viewer Act.
The notice revises the rules concerning the testing of signals at a viewers home to determine if they are eligible to receiver network TV service via broadcast satellite, instead of receiving it from a regular broadcast TV station. Viewers are restricted from receiving the signals from ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC from DirectTV and Echostar if they are within a stations Grade B coverage, unless there is some obstruction that prevents reception. Stations may use a form of the Longley-Rice method or field measurements to determine eligibility.
In this notice, the FCC rejected modifications to the Longley-Rice method of prediction as requested by DirectTV due to insufficient details. The FCC did clarify the test methods to be used at a viewer’s home.
Tests may be conducted with dipole or multi-element antenna with known gain. The test must be done at five locations at least three meters apart with the antenna at height of 20 feet. The same locations should be used when testing multiple signals. Antennas should be pointed to maximize signal. The antenna is to be horizontally polarized with shielded cable used and properly matched. The field strength meter should have a bandwidth of 200 kilohertz to one megahertz. A written record is required of the calibration and description of the equipment, the results of the measurements, description of the site such as foliage, terrain, weather, and obstacles and time and date of test. The FCC also states that the weather while testing should not be inclement or changing such as when a front moves through.
These rules were adopted on October 5, 1999 and released on October 7, 1999. They became effective on December 30, 1999 when they were published in the FEDERAL REGISTER on Pages 73,429-73,434.
From the FEDERAL REGISTER (www.access.gpo.gov) and FCC Notices (www.fcc.gov)
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2000 BRINGS NEW LEADER SKILLS SEMINARS
After three years of sponsoring five-day Leader Skills seminars for broadcast engineers, the Society of Broadcast Engineers, in cooperation with instructor Richard Cupka, will modify the program for 2000.
The program will essentially be split into two parts. Course I will be held over three days, June 7-9 in Indianapolis and will provide the essentials to understanding leadership styles of yourself and others. It will provide the technical individual the basics on how to manage other people successfully. Course II, to be held August 16-18, also in Indianapolis, will pick up where Course I left off, going into further depth and providing the participant with a solid foundation to manage others.
The cost for each course is $425, which includes instruction, materials and refreshment breaks. Transportation, hotel and meals are additional. Those wishing to attend Course II must have attended either Course I or any of the SBE or NAB sponsored Leader Skills programs held since 1965. Registration Forms will be available in the March issue of the SBE SIGNAL, from the SBE National Office or through the SBE web site, www.sbe.org, after January 15.
Once again, SBE members will be able to register for the NAB Spring Convention in Las Vegas at the NAB Member rate, a savings of $330. NAB has begun sending registration materials for the April 2000 event. They also have on-line registration available at their web site: www.nab.org. If your station is not a member of NAB, be sure to take advantage of this great SBE member benefit. The savings are equal to SIX times the cost of ONE year of SBE membership!
Since early in 1999, SBE has been offering an opportunity to engineers with lapsed certifications to have those certifications restored without taking a test. The Millennium Project ended on December 31. During that time more than 60 people took advantage of the offer.
If you have questions about recertification, contact your local Certification Chairman, or Certification Director, Linda Godby-Emerick at the SBE National Office. You can also get information on recertification at the SBE web site, www.sbe.org.
A number of SBE chapters offer opportunities to attend a regional SBE convention or conference near home. Most of these events are very inexpensive or free, and take minimal time away from your work and free time.
Coming up February 29 – March 1: Great Lakes Broadcasting Expo Lansing Center, Lansing, Michigan
Contact: Michigan Assn. of Broadcasters (517) 484-7444. Engineering sessions organized by Chapter 91, Lansing, MI.
Questions and comments about SBE may be e-mailed directly to Executive Director, John Poray at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Want to get your resume out to employers? Participate in SBE’s new Resume Service, available to SBE members only free of charge. Call the SBE National Office at (317) 253-1640 or e-mail Scott Jones at email@example.com for a Resume Service participation form.
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