CHAPTER 24, Inc., MADISON, WI
Edited by: Mark Croom
Electronic Version: Leonard Charles
Electronically Distributed by Chris Cain
Contributors this month:
Articles Welcome!! Send correspondence to:
Chapter 24 Newsletter
34 Rustic Parkway
Madison, WI 53713-4700
or call (608) 271-1025 (home) or (608) 221-1979 (work)
or Email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Visitors and Guests are welcome at all SBE meetings.
This month's meeting will feature a presentation by Marshall Frey
of TCI Cablevision of Wisconsin, Inc.
Could '96 be the year that you stop running the ENG truck all
over town for video feeds? Marshall Frey of TCI Communications
will be with us for our February meeting to discuss a potential
Madison Area Video Network. He will also talk briefly about
impending telecommunications competition under the new
Telecommunications Reform, and about high speed data services
over cable and when they might be available in our community.
Business meeting and program at WECB / Wisconsin Public
Broadcasting Center 4th floor board room at 7PM.
Dutch treat dinner at Perkins (near Fish Hatchey Rd. and West
Beltline) at 5:30
Tentative Program Subjects
Tue, Mar 19, 1996
WP&L Center Tour (or Milwaukee area station tour)
Wed, Apr 24, 1996
Chapter Elections and annual NAB review
Thu, May 23, 1996
TCI Cable TV Technology
Tue, Jun 18, 1996
Related technology; Internet/software support
Sat, Jul 27, 1996
3rd annual Chapter 24 Family Picnic
JANUARY BUSINESS MEETING MINUTES
The January meeting of Chapter 24 of the Society of Broadcast
Engineers was scheduled on Thursday, January 18, 1996. This
meeting was cancelled due to inclement weather.
Submitted by Neal McLain, Secretary.
CHAPTER 24 ELECTIONS IN APRIL
Jim Hermanson has again agreed to chair the Nominations Committee
which will determine how to solicit nominations for the Chapter
24 election of officers to be held in April. Contact Jim if you
are interested in being a Nominations Committee member or if you
are interested in running for a Chapter 24 office. Jim's number
By Tom Smith
WERN (FM) 88.7 mhz, Madison, WI. Educational Communications
Board seeks permission to modify directional antenna pattern.
Announced Nov. 7, 1995.
>From Broadcasting and Cable.
LOCAL EAS COMMITTEE MEETS
Chapter 24's Local EAS Committee held its first meeting on
Thursday, February 1. Attendees included Neal McLain, Kevin
Ruppert, Tom Weeden, Leonard Charles and Paul Stoffel.
The committee decided:
- to take an active role in building a Local EAS Plan
- to educate counties located within the South Wisconsin
- to determine broadcasters, cable operators, emergency
government officials, sheriff's departments and the National
Weather Service Office within our Operational Area
- to sponsor a mid-week all-day EAS seminar in June
- to gather information from EAS encoder/decoder
manufacturers at NAB
Upcoming Local EAS committee meetings will be published in the
Chapter 24 newsletter. Your participation will be welcomed.
by Leonard Charles
Despite the Federal Government furlough shutdowns and the snow
days suffered out east, the FCC's technical lab did manage to
complete certification of all the EAS equipment designs submitted
to date. TFT and SAGE ALERTING SYSTEMS both received
certification in late January. The companies are busy producing
product and both say they will have plenty of units to sell on
the floor at NAB - LasVegas in April.
Though no other companies have submitted prototypes to the FCC as
yet, it is rumored that at least three other companies are
working on designs including one at the field testing stage.
Other companies are contemplating producing consumer receivers
that will not require FCC certification.
Many thanks to Paul Stoffel who has taken up the duties of EAS
Local Area Committee Chairmanship. After our first meeting, we
are on our way towards building an effective local system.
by Jim Hermanson
1995 proved to be a busy year for the Program of Certification.
In December, Linda Godby, SBE National Certification Secretary,
distributed an annual certification report to the SBE Executive
Committee, the National Certification Committee, and Chapter
Certification Chairmen. The following is an edited summary of
that report, mixed with late-breaking certification-related news.
1995 NEW CERTIFICATIONS
As of December, 325 new certifications were granted last year,
not reflecting all November '95 exams nor all Television Operator
exams. This compares with 282 in 1994.
Recertifications are pouring into the National Office. 1400
recertifications are due between January '96 and June '96. As of
December, 216 recertifications were granted, with another 75 to
be processed as of report time. This compares with 163 in 1994.
A grand total of 386 study guides were obtained from the National
Office in 1995. This compares with 303 in 1994.
RADIO OPERATOR'S CERTIFICATION HANDBOOK
This handbook was introduced in March '94. 394 were distributed
in 1995, compared with 151 in 1994. A new EAS section will soon
be inserted into new booklets.
TELEVISION OPERATOR'S HANDBOOK
849 Television Operator's Handbooks were sent out to date!
Finishing touches were put on the 2nd Edition Television
Operator's Handbook. This new handbook should now be available.
The new edition will contain the changes on EAS as well as the
FCC changes on "unattended". The price of the new Handbook is
The following is a direct quote from the report. "With a mission
ahead of us, we asked, begged, implored, connived, and finally
convinced Mr. Leonard Charles to take on the task of EBS/EAS.
Boy, what a man, what a Committee, what a team, what a lot of
work. The EAS Committee has produced the next "SBE Best Seller".
The EAS Primer is currently in the final stages of review. Mr.
Dick consented to do a final edit..."
Rogers State College and Boise State University implemented a
"course" using the SBE Television and Radio Operator's Handbooks.
These two facilities, as well as others, use the test from the
National Office as students' final grade. Boise State has taken
this a step further and has joined Bates College in using the
Broadcast Technologist exam as their students' final grade.
NATIONAL CERTIFICATION COMMITTEE
James Bernier and Richard Ryan are the two newest members of the
National Certification Committee. They join dedicated members
Jim Wulliman, Terrence Baun, David Carr, Robert Dye, Dane
Ericksen, Richard Farquhar, Douglas Garlinger, Paul Lentz, Jack
McKain, William Orr, Troy Pennington, and Roy Trumbull. Marvin
Born and Bill Hineman are also commended for their service to the
Jill Bolhuis joined the National Certification Office as Linda
Godby's assistant on November 2. Jill and her husband moved to
Indianapolis from Michigan.
NEW CERTIFICATION BROCHURES
I've received some of the new Program of Certification brochures.
They certainly have a new look. Very nice! Dated January, 1996,
they're now 8.5 x 11" and contain the latest information and
application forms for certification.
1996 EXAM DATES LOCATION APPLICATION DEADLINE
April 16 NAB Convention March 4 (Las Vegas)
June 14-24 LOCAL CHAPTERS April 29
October 10 SBE Conference August 26 (Los Angeles)
November 8-18 LOCAL CHAPTERS September 30
FOUNDER TO RETIRE
One of the founders of the Program of Certification, Jim
Wulliman, will retire in June '96. Mr. Wulliman is truly a
dedicated individual who has served the Program of Certification
to the best of his ability. He will remain a member of the
National Certification Committee.
CERTIFICATION INFORMATION ON THE WEB
There's a new addition to the SBE's World Wide Web page.
Certification and recertification information can now be obtained
at "http://www.sbe.org/cert.html" or by selecting the appropriate
area of the SBE's home page.
AMATEUR RADIO NEWS
by Tom Weeden, WJ9H
The FCC has made the new "vanity call sign" application form 610V
available, but it is still not yet accepting completed forms.
That won't happen until the Commission acts on four Petitions for
Reconsideration and until computer software has been installed
and checked out to handle the expected avalanche of applications
for custom call signs. Once the FCC does begin accepting 610Vs,
they won't go to the normal Gettysburg licensing office, but to
the FCC's bank contractor in Pittsburgh, since there is a $30 fee
Five schools have been selected for participation in the Shuttle
Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX) during the upcoming STS-76
flight set to launch March 21. Amateur radio on board the space
shuttle's nine-day mission will allow the school students to
communicate with the astronauts.
Two groups, Near Space Sciences (NSS) and the Wisconsin Space
Business Roundtable (WSBR) will be joining forces in May to
launch two amateur-radio equipped high-altitude vehicles. WSBR
will launch a rocket donated by NASA from the Lake Michigan
lakeshore in Sheboygan. The rocket, which will have on board a
live amateur TV camera and a GPS unit for location and altitude
tracking, is expected to reach at least 280,000 feet altitude.
Prior to the rocket launch, NSS will launch a high-altitude
balloon which will have a similar payload, but also include a
crossband repeater to provide communications for stations who
can't make it to Sheboygan. The two launches are currently
scheduled for May 4 or 5.
The FCC Interference Handbook is now available on the Internet.
The World Wide Web version includes the same information as the
hard copy edition, "Interference to Home Electronic Entertainment
Equipment Handbook," including illustrations. It discusses
equipment installation, identifying interference sources, curing
interference problems, and filters. It also includes a list of
home electronic equipment manufacturers and telephone numbers.
The "Interference Handbook" is at
(Excerpted from February 1996 "Badger State Smoke Signals" and
AREA CODES 312 and 708 SPLIT (AGAIN)
by Neal McLain
In November 1989, Chicago's area code 312 was split, and the
suburbs were moved into a new area code, 708. Now, after just
six years, both area codes are about to be split again. By the
end of the 1996, the Chicago area will have five area codes: 312,
630, 708, 773, and 847.
Suburban area code 708 will split three ways, creating 630 and
847. The new areas, as described in Ameritech's press release,
847 - Suburban Cook County north of Chicago's city limits, most
of Lake County, the portion of McHenry County currently in 708,
and the northern portion of Kane County.
630 - DuPage County, the southern portion of Kane County, and the
portions of Kendall and Will Counties currently in 708.
708 - South suburban Cook County, areas around Peotone and
Beecher currently in 708, and near-west Cook County suburbs south
of Franklin Park.
The process has already started: 847 was introduced in February,
and becomes mandatory on April 20, 1996. Area Code 630 takes
effect on August 3, and becomes mandatory November 29.
Meanwhile, what's left of the original 312 -- now just the City
of Chicago -- will be further split in October: the downtown loop
area will retain 312, and the rest of the city will move to 773.
This situation is the outcome of a major political battle. It
all started well over a year ago, when Ameritech announced that
708 was running out of central office codes, and that a new area
code would be needed. Ameritech proposed assigning 630 as an
overlay on 312 and 708. According to this plan:
- Initial 630 assignments would be for cellular and paging
services in 708. As the need arose, 630 also would be used for
cellular and paging services within 312, and even for landlines.
- Eleven-digit dialing would be required for all calls throughout
the entire region, including intra-area code calls.
- Additional area codes would be introduced in the future on a
The battle commenced immediately. Cellular operators objected
that it wouldn't be "fair" if they had numbers in a different
area code. Nobody liked the eleven-digit dialing requirement: it
was claimed that the confusion would be bad for business, and
that children would not be able to memorize their telephone
numbers. The City of Chicago filed an objection with the
Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), and threatened to appeal the
matter to the FCC.
The ICC held a series of public hearings, and eventually decided
that the new code should be a geographic split rather than an
overlay. This, of course, precipitated another battle: where
would the split boundary be located?. Nobody wanted a new area
code, least of all suburbanites who had just lived through an
area code change six years earlier.
In the end, the ICC decided on a three-way split in 708 and a two-
way split in 312. They apparently recognized the fact that, if a
geographic split was inevitable, a three-way split would at least
forestall the need further splitting for several years.
Similar battles have occurred elsewhere whenever overlay area
codes were proposed.
In California, the battle over 562 began in early 1994, when
Pacific Bell and GTE announced that 562 would be an overlay on
213, 310, and 818 -- the entire Los Angeles basin -- effective
March 1996. The announcement was widely publicized at the time:
even the Las Vegas Sun carried a story. But it wasn't long
before the California Public Utilities Commission got into the
act. After a year of deliberations, the PUC finally decided on
two geographic splits: 562 will be split from 310 (even though
310 itself has only existed since 1991) and 626 will be split
from 818. By March 1997, the Los Angeles area will have five
area codes: 213, 310, 562, 626, and 818.
In Georgia, Bell South wanted to introduce 770 as an overlay on
404 in the Atlanta area, but the Georgia Public Service
Commission voted 3-2 in favor of a geographic split. The result
is a donut: 770 covers the suburbs outside the I-285 loop, with
404 in the middle, surrounded by 770 on all sides.
In Florida, Bell South proposed 954 as an overlay on 305 in the
Miami area, but the Florida Public Service Commission decreed a
geographic split. The result is a very lopsided split: 954 was
assigned to Broward County (Fort Lauderdale), but Dade County
(Miami) and Monroe County (the Keys) retained 305.
In Missouri, Southwestern Bell South wanted to introduce 573 as
an overlay on 314 in the southeastern part of the state,
including St. Louis. The Missouri Public Service Commission
voted 4-0 in favor of a geographic split. The St. Louis metro
area retained 314, and the rest of the area, including Jefferson
City, Columbia, Gape Girardeau, and Hannibal, moved to 573.
In Texas, the battle still rages. Southwestern Bell proposed two
overlays: 281 on 713 in the Houston area, and 972 on 214 in
Dallas. The Texas Public Utility Commission has been studying
the issue for over a year, and PUC staff has recommended that the
overlays be approved. Meanwhile, the mayor of Dallas as
threatened to sue the PUC if any of those "unglamorous" 972
numbers appear in his city. The PUC was scheduled to vote on the
matter on January 11, but, as of this writing, the vote has been
To date, the only overlay area code which has actually taken
effect is 917 (overlaid on 212 and 718 in New York City),
introduced in January 1992.
Sources: Ameritech Illinois: "60-Day Countdown Begins" (News
Release), November, 1995. Associated Press: "New Area Code
Created for California Cellular Users," Las Vegas Sun, March 23,
1994. Wally Bloss: "314 Stays in St. Louis, 573 to Outside MO,"
TELECOM DIGEST, July, 1995. Edmund C. Hack: "Area Code Overlays
in Texas Delayed," TELECOM DIGEST, January, 1996. Carl Moore:
"History of Area Splits," TELECOM DIGEST, November, 1995.
Mitchell Weiss: "630 Area Code and New Dialing Patterns," TELECOM
DIGEST, January, 1995.
FCC LAUNCHES INQUIRY ON PROMOTING CLOSED CAPTIONING AND VIDEO
DESCRIPTION OF VIDEO PROGRAMMING
The FCC has issued a Notice of Inquiry regarding closed
captioning and video description of television programming. The
Commission seeks comment on the current availability, cost, and
uses of these two services. It also requests the public's views
on the appropriate means of promoting the wider use of closed
captioning and video description in programming delivered by
television broadcasters, cable operators, and other video program
providers. Legislation currently pending in Congress would, for
the first time, generally mandate the closed captioning of
television video programming, and also would require the FCC to
study the uses of video description. The record developed in
this proceeding will enable the Commission to expedite the
implementation of this legislation if enacted into law.
Closed captioning provides important benefits primarily for
individuals with hearing disabilities by displaying the audio
portion of a television signal as printed words on the television
screen. Video description is a more recent innovation that
benefits individuals with vision disabilities. It provides audio
descriptions of a program's key visual elements that are inserted
during the natural pauses in the program's dialogue. There are
presently no Commission rules regarding video description.
For the full, unedited news report, see Mass Media Bureau's
NEWSReport No. MM 95-115 available on the FCC's web homepage. or
contact Kara Palamaras at (202) 418-0500 or Charles W. Logan at
MASS MEDIA ACTION December 4, 1995.
MCI GETS DBS SLOT
By Tom Smith
The telephone giant MCI won a full CONUS DBS slot in the latest
spectrum auction held by the FCC. MCI will team up with Rupert
Muroch's News Corp. in providing the new service. MCI's winning
bid was $682.5 million for 28 channels at 110 degrees west. TCI
dropped out of the bidding at $367 million and EchoStar dropped
out at $650 million. EchoStar won a block of 24 channels at 148
degrees for $52.3 million. This slot offers coverage to the
western half of the U.S. only. MCI's bid is still subject to
lawsuits for TCI who was trying to buy the license for the 110
degree slot from previous owner TEMPO. The FCC pulled TEMPO's
license for failure to construct. DirecTV and EchoStar are also
suing, because as holders of full CONUS permits they were
prevented from bidding.
Instead of bidding on the auctioned channels AT&T purchased a
2.5% share of DirecTV with a option to acquire up to a 30% share.
Finally, EchoStar plans to start operations in March after the
successful launch of their satellite by the Chinese late last
year. HTS and Philips will market their receivers.
Compiled from BROADCASTING and CABLE and ELECTRONIC MEDIA
TELECOMMUNICATION REFORM BECOMES LAW
By Tom Smith
In a ceremony in the Library of Congress on Thursday February
8th, President Clinton signed the Telecommunications Reform Act.
The signing contained a little show biz with an Internet
demonstration, leaders of the communications industry in
attendance and speeches by leaders of both parties.
The House and Senate passed the bill a week earlier, on Thursday
February 2nd, with the bill passing 414 to 16 in the House and
91 to 5 in the Senate. The bill moved forward when senate
majority leader Sen. Robert Dole ended his opposition to the
giving of broadcasters the use of spectrum for ATV without paying
for it. Congress adapted language that requires congress to take
up the subject later in the year and prohibits the FCC from
granting any licenses before that time.
Broadcasters objected to the V-chip requirement and the computer
industry and users objected to indecent speech restrictions on
the Internet. Civil liberties groups objected to both as free
speech issues. Many consumer groups have expressed concerns
about the bill causing rates to increase as the caps on cable
rates are lifted and companies start to merge and possibly create
new monopolies. Industry groups say the law will create new
competitors which should lower prices.
Even before the bill was passed various communication companies
were jockeying for position in this new deregulated world. Many
broadcasters were purchasing additional stations that put them
over existing limits and seeking waivers to hold on to them.
They were counting on the communication bill to raise the various
ownership limits so that they could retain all of their old and
The phone and cable companies were creating new alliances that
would allow for eventual mergers and consolidations of resource.
With this bill long distance and regional phone companies and
cable companies will be able to enter into each others
businesses. Also, expect to see various phone and cable
companies to start to merge to compete in new market areas
against existing companies. Bell Atlantic has suggested that it
may merge with NYTEX to form one large communication company
serving the Northeast. AT&T plans on re-entering the local phone
service market and recapture 1/3 of the market it held before the
breakup. One writer in the WALL STREET JOURNAL suggested that we
will all be getting more dinner time calls soliciting our
business as more companies get more into each others businesses
and start to compete.
The FCC will have to start about 80 new rule makings and complete
many of them in the next 6 months.
Compiled from the WIS. STATE JOURNAL, WALL STREET JOURNAL, NY
TIMES, BROADCASTING and CABLE and WASHINGTON POST
NATIONAL NEWS REMINDERS
Committee Reports are available from the SBE's Internet Homepage,
including an EAS Committee Report. The SBE's web site has had
more than 12,000 visitors since it began in July of 1995. SBE's
homepage includes updated information about SBE, links to
chapters' homepages, links to other broadcast related websites,
lists of SBE Frequency Coordinators, the SBE Job Line and more.
Check it out at http://www.sbe.org. Most SBE Board members have
an internet address and welcome communication through this
method. The SBE National Office is also on-line. Chapter 24
joins fourteen other SBE chapters with homepages reachable
through the National SBE homepage. Chris Cain is the designer
and coordinator of Chapter 24's homepage which includes upcoming
monthly meeting announcements, lists of officers and committee
representatives, and much more.
For the second year, SBE will be co-sponsoring with the National
Association of Broadcasters the Broadcast Engineering Conference
(BEC), held as a part of NAB'96 in Las Vegas, April 14-18. This
will be the 50th BEC. Special displays and some nostalgic
glimpses at the early days of broadcasting will mark the
occasion. A joint SBE/NAB committee, chaired by former SBE
national Vice President, Jerry Whitaker, has planned five full
days of broadcast engineering paper presentations, panels and
tutorials. Joining Jerry on the Committee are Bill Beckner,
Marvin Born, Andy Butler, Jerry Butler, Dutch Doelitzsch, Dane
Ericksen, Bill Ruck, Robert Seidel and Milford Smith.
Registration for NAB'96 is made through NAB. SBE members receive
the NAB member conference registration rate, a savings of $300!
For registration information, call (800) 342-2460. You are urged
to make your hotel and travel arrangements early as rooms and
flights tend to fill quickly each year.
SBE President, Terry Baun, has appointed Vice President, Ed
Miller Chairman of the Futures Committee. This Committee will
seek to define who, what and where the SBE is today and explore
potential directions the organization could take in the future.
To help achieve those objectives, the Futures Committee is
planning a strategic planning meeting for June 29 in
Indianapolis. This meeting will involve officers, members of the
Board, chapter representatives and office staff. The meeting
will be guided by an independent facilitator skilled in keeping
the group focused on the issues and bringing it to some
constructive conclusions. More on the progress of the Futures
Committee will be reported throughout the year.
1996 MEMBERSHIP DRIVE plans are being prepared by Dave Johnson,
SBE Membership Chairman. Dave is planning a couple of twists to
it to increase its effectiveness. Look for details in the
February/March issue of the SBE SIGNAL.
SBE and the Ennes Educational Foundation Trust will release a new
booklet on the Emergency Alert System (EAS). The SBE EAS PRIMER
will introduce the WEB concept of Emergency Message relaying.
Also included is a guide for State Emergency Communications
committee chairs, an extensive question and answer section
clarifying many fine points in the rules, diagrams of the various
levels of EAS configuration, and copies of FCC Public Notices and
Press Releases issued since the R&O was originally released.
Call the SBE National Office today to reserve your copy or use
the order form found in the November/December issue of the "SBE
Please welcome our new sustaining member:
Our recent renewals:
Thanks to all our
Clark Wire and Cable
Fuji Film I&I