Monthly eNews July 2018

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Our Next Chapter Meeting
July 25th
A Tour the Sun Prairie Media Center

After a short business meeting the Chapter will tour the Sun Praire Media Center's TV studios and LPFM station.

Dutch treat dinner at 5:30 pm
Varsity Bar & Grill
1205 W Main St
Sun Prairie, WI

Meeting and program at 7:00 pm
Sun Prairie Media Center
1350 Linnerud Dr
Sun Prairie, WI
(enter on east side of building, toward the water tower)

Directions Here

Visitors and guests are welcome!

Meeting Minutes
Submitted by Richard Wood, Chair

June 20, 2018

The Chapter 24 June 20 SBE meeting was held at the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Summer Engineering Conference in Milwaukee. The Conference included multiple sessions of Engineering interest. Topics included News Staff and Facility Safety round table, General Manager RoundTable on attracting new Engineers, Saving a Tower, TV Repack Experiences, plus Wireless Mics presented by Sennheiser. This meeting did not have a Chapter business component.

Amateur Radio News
compiled by Tom Weeden WJ9H

High-frequency radio beats digital networks for latency.

Experimental operations now under way on HF appear aimed at leveraging low-latency HF propagation to shave microseconds from futures market trades and gain a competitive edge in a field where millionths of a second can mean winning or losing. Bloomberg on June 18 reported on a secretive antenna facility near Maple Park, in Kane County, Illinois, and speculated that futures traders might be looking to take advantage of lower-latency HF propagation over state-of-the-art microwave links and undersea cables, where even the slightest path delay could compromise a transaction. The facility is not far from a major futures data center. As the Bloomberg article explained, "Rapidly sending data from there to other important market centers can help the speediest traders profit from price differences for related assets. Those money-making opportunities often last only tiny fractions of a second."

Bloomberg said the company behind the Kane County project is New Line Networks, LLC, a joint venture of Chicago-based Jump Trading, LLC, and New York-based Virtu Financial, Inc. While no FCC Part 5 Experimental license appears to have been assigned to New Line Networks, WH2XVO is assigned to partner Virtu Financial, which assumed the license from Services Development Company LLC.

Sites listed on the license are Aurora and Chicago, Illinois, in addition to Homer, Alaska, and Secaucus, New Jersey " home to several financial firms and right across the Hudson River from many more in New York City. Part 5 Experimental license WI2XAJ has been assigned to Toggle Communications, which is using the West Chicago site and appears to be experimenting with a similar system from other sites. Other entities may also be conducting similar experiments.

The Experimental licensed systems use a variety of frequency shift-keying modes, including FSK, AFSK, QPSK, and 8-PSK, on frequencies ranging from about 6 MHz to 24 MHz and power levels from 20 kW ERP to nearly 50 kW ERP, depending on the Experimental license in question. Van Valzah pointed out in his blog post that, while HF is low bandwidth, unreliable, and expensive, "you can"t beat it for latency."

Speculation is that the systems are taking advantage of software-defined radio (SDR) techniques and technology. Transmitter equipment information on the Experimental license application for WH2XVO was redacted from the public filing.

--Thanks to Southgate Amateur Radio News for some information

A Washington, DC-based broadcast journalist and radio amateur, whose ability to speak was severely impaired a couple of years ago by a rare disorder, is adopting a technological solution to return his voice to the airwaves. Jamie Dupree, NS3T, suffers from tongue protrusion dystonia, and he has limited speaking ability -- he uses the barrel of a pen in his mouth to help better control his tongue. He had to drop off the broadcast airwaves and turn to print and online journalism to continue covering politics for Cox Media Group's capitol bureau. But now, Dupree plans to leverage technology that will give him a fresh voice.

Dupree, 54, a contester and Potomac Valley Radio Club member, said in a blog post this week that his plight attracted the attention of his colleagues at Cox Media Group, who mounted an effort at the company's Atlanta headquarters to find a high-tech solution to get him back on the broadcast airwaves.

"What they found was a Scottish company named CereProc, which agreed to sift through years of my archived audio and build a voice," Dupree said. "The big news today is that it looks like that is going to work, and allow me to 'talk' on the radio again." He's calling it "Jamie Dupree 2.0."

"Does the voice sound perfect? No. But it does sound like me," Dupree continued. "When I type out some words, the text-to-speech program that I use spits them out in my new Jamie Dupree 2.0 voice." Dupree concedes that the voice will sound robotic to some of his listeners, but "for the first time in 2 years, I will be back on the radio."

Dupree said the plan is for him to once again feed news stories to Cox Media Group's news-talk radio stations, putting him back on the air in hourly newscasts, reporting the news from Capitol Hill and Washington, DC.

"Jamie Dupree 2.0 is here -- and I couldn't be more excited about it!" he said.

--Thanks to The Daily DX via Eric Rosenberg, W3DQ, PVRC

(Excerpts from the American Radio Relay League's web site)

compiled by Tom Smith


On June 21st the Commission released the agenda for its July 12th meeting. Included with the agenda are copies of the proposed rulemaking actions that it will take up. One of the actions to be approved is a proposed rulemaking Order and a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (DOC-351868A1.pdf) on allowing broadband fixed point to multipoint and mobile operation in the 3.7 to 4.2 GHz C-band now used for satellite downlinks.

In the proposed final Order of Rulemaking, the FCC is requiring operators of licensed or registered earth stations to provide additional information to their registration. Besides the information that is already required for registration , the FCC is requiring information on which satellites are being received along with the transponder and how often they are used, regularly (daily, weekly) or if occasional or as back-up. They also request the particular antenna used to receive that satellite, the azimuth and elevation of the antenna and the size and gain information on each antenna used along with the rest of the information on the antenna that was required in the form 312.

In the Order, the FCC would ask for information from the satellite providers on when future satellites that are authorized will be operational, the lifespan of current satellites in orbit, how often each transponder is used (full time, daily, occasionally or as a back-up) and the location of the satellite in space.

The reason for this information is that the FCC would like to, at a minimum, repack the satellite band in the upper part of the spectrum. The satellite providers have already stated that they would be willing to give up the lower 100 MHz of the band. The information that the FCC is requesting would allow them to determine if they can require less spectrum for satellite use or even if (with the information on which satellites and transponders are being received) broadband services could be shared by interweaving spectrum used by the broadband providers with the spectrum that is used for satellite reception in the same area.

In the proposed Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the FCC is proposing to protect registered owners of licensed earth stations in operation before April 19, 2018 from increased terrestrial use of the band. Owners may be able to file for changes in operation from an existing location. Stations not registered by October 17th (a new closing date for registration or new earth stations at different locations) will not receive protection. This could cause major problems if a station relocates its studios. If the FCC is not provided the updated information, they will lose their registration and further protection. Another proposal is if reception of a satellite or particular transponder is not used for 180 days, a licensee or registered user must notify the FCC so that information can be deleted. An unregistered earth station would be able to continue to receive satellite transmissions with no interference protection. Comments are sought concerning making the temporary freeze that was ordered on April 19th for the registration of new earth stations, or new satellites after that date, be made permanent. Earth stations that are non-operational for some specified period would have their registration canceled.

The Commission is also proposing that any changes in operation which requires a station to receive programming from another satellite or a different transponder would have to coordinate with the new terrestrial services. There would no longer be full arc registration which the FCC acknowledges would reduce flexibility in earth station operation.

The FCC would make permanent the freeze on new applicants for new space stations (satellites) with existing licensees being able to file for new satellites if it would increase spectrum efficiency. The existing fixed common carrier microwave stations that have mostly been abandoned by the phone companies with only 115 licenses remaining may be required to cease their operations to make way for mobile broadband.

Because of the limited number of satellite operators, there was a lot of discussion of the how to award the C-band spectrum to possible new users of the band. An incentive auction was discussed, but because there are a limited number of satellite operators, there is not the competition to make that workable, other forms of auctions or some other market mechanism may be used.

Finally, there is a long discussion on how sharing between earth stations and the new broadband service would work. How the new service would be allocated such as by the service areas of particular terrestrial transmission sites or by geographic or marketing areas. They proposed 25 channels of 20 MHz which could be combined to a possible 160 MHz per licensee if all of the band is used. There was discussion if only part of the band should be allocated at the beginning with the eventual possibility to use the whole band. The proposed power level for base stations is 1640 watts with double that in rural areas. Mobile units could be operated with up to one watt. Satellite receive stations may be required to install filters or new LNB's to prevent interference and may have to modify receive dishes or antenna sites. The new mobile services could also be required to provide protection zones around satellite receive sites. Emission standards and signal contours between mobile broadband allocations were also discussed.

Most of the proposals in this proposed rulemaking would indicate that satellite services in the 3.7 to 4.2 GHz spectrum would eventually severely be curtailed or eliminated.


On June 21st, the International Bureau of the FCC issued two notices concerning C-band satellite service. One of the orders (DA-18-639A1.pdf) extended the registration period for C-band earth stations to October 17th. This extension is no doubt linked to the possible requirement that earth stations must list what satellite and transponders they are receiving. The second notice (DA-18-640A1.pdf) froze all filings of new applications for new satellite space stations (satellites) and new service to the United States by foreign providers. If this freeze becomes permanent depends on the outcome of the proposed rulemaking on allocation of terrestrial mobile broadband service in the 3.7 to 4.2 GHz C-band.


At the July 12th meeting of the Commission, they will act on a proposed rulemaking (DOC-351864A1.pdf) concerning the rules for children's TV programming. In the press release for the proposed notice the FCC listed the following bullet points that are discussed in the full notice.
  • Tentatively conclude that the requirements that Core Programming be at least 30 minutes in length and regularly scheduled weekly programming be eliminated.
  • Seek comment on whether to expand the timeframe when Core Programming can be aired.
  • Tentatively conclude that noncommercial stations should no longer be required to identify Core Programming with the "E/I" symbol, and seek comment on whether to continue to require commercial stations to identify Core Programming with the "E/I" symbol.
  • Seek comment on whether to retain the requirement that broadcasters provide information identifying children's programming to publishers of program guides.
  • Tentatively conclude that the Children's Television Programming Report, FCC Form 398, should be filed on an annual rather than quarterly basis and seek comment on ways to streamline this report.
  • Seek comment on whether to modify the three-hour per week safe harbor processing guideline for determining compliance with the children's programming rules.
  • Seek comment on the creation of a framework under which broadcasters could satisfy their children's programming obligations by relying in part on special sponsorship efforts and/or special non-broadcast efforts, and propose to allow Media Bureau staff, rather than the full Commission, to approve the renewal applications of licensees relying on such special efforts.
  • Propose to allow multicasting stations to choose on which of their free over-the-air streams to air their required Core Programming hours and tentatively conclude that the additional Core Programming guideline applicable to multicasting stations should be eliminated.
  • Seek comment on whether the policies governing the preemption of children's programming should be revised or whether other rule changes proposed in the Notice would provide broadcasters sufficient flexibility to schedule their Core Programming so as to avoid the need for preemptions
Most of the points listed in the press release are self explanatory except for the first on program length. In the notice, the Commission is proposing the time devoted to other children's efforts be counted as part of the required three hours of children's programming. For example, if a short segment aimed at children such as the old School House Rock segment on ABC and the In the News segments on CBS that aired in the 70's and 80's in between Saturday morning children cartoons should be counted. Other short segments that would air during breaks could also be possibility counted.

It would seem that the current rules are not working as children are watching less broadcast TV. Most of the Saturday morning programming seems to be more nature programs than anything so that they could be watched by adults in order to get advertising to support them because of the ban on advertising to children. There is very little other programming either educational or entertainment that is actually aimed for children on broadcast TV other than on public TV. This rulemaking may create some much needed discussion on the subject of children's TV. Some groups have called for a Notice of Inquiry instead of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking so the FCC could gather more information of the subject.


The FCC will vote on a Report and Order and a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (DOC-351865A1.pdf) concerning EAS. The Report and Order will adopt new rules that will require the performing of "Live Code Tests" which use the actual alert codes to better educate the public on how to respond to EAS alerts. Copy in the test must state that the test alert is a test. Another rule that could be adopted will allow for the use of the 8 second alert tone and simulated header tones in PSA's that must be provided by Federal, State or local governments and must not mislead the public that it is an actual alert. A third rule that would be adopted would require EAS equipment to be configured to reject invalid digital signature and legacy over the air alerts that have an expiration that falls outside specific time limits. This would affect CAP and Aware messages.

The items in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seek comment on a requirement to report false alerts and lockouts. Another item could require state EAS plans to have a procedure for preventing and correcting false alarms. A third item asks for information on network issues that may delay or prevent the distribution of WEA alerts and what could be done to provide reliable delivery. WEA stands for Wireless Emergency Alerts which are distributed over cell-phone systems.

Certification and Education
compiled by Jim Hermanson

Well Done
Congratulations to Marshall (Pete) Deets of WMTV-TV for recertification as a Certified Broadcast Technologist (CBT), and Andrew Kennedy of WISC-TV on recertification as a Certified Broadcast Networking Technologist (CBNT)!

The Open 2018 Exam Schedule
Exam Dates Location Application Deadline
November 2-12, 2018 Local Chapters (Madison Area) September 24, 2018

When you are ready to take an SBE exam, please fill out the appropriate application and send it into the SBE National office (see address below). You will be notified once your application has been approved. Approximately 3 weeks before the exam time, your local certification chairman will receive a list of applicants in his/her area. He/she will then contact those applicants to schedule a date, time and place for the exams. The exams will be mailed back to the National office for grading. The pass/fail grades will then be mailed directly to the applicants.

You may mail, email or fax your applications to:

Megan E. Clappe
Certification Director
9102 N. Meridian St., Suite 150
Indianapolis, IN 46260

317-846-9120 Fax

Education Opportunity
Thursday, July 26, 2 pm - 3:30 pm ET

Advanced RF Series: RF 201: Module 2 - FM Antenna Systems, presented by Tom Silliman, PE, President ERI
This webinar covers a host of topics as they relate to side mounted FM antennas, FM multiuser panel antennas, and the filter networks needed to combine the individual FM stations onto these custom antennas. Topics include; antenna input power and transmitter output power; how to calculate the transmission line loss of the feed line running up your tower; antenna gain and antenna radiation pattern considerations; calculation of the FM stations ERP; and theory of operation of side mounted FM antenna arrays.

The cost is $59 for SBE members and $89 for non-members. SBE MemberPlus members participate in the webinar for FREE. Click here to register.

Past and future SBE Webinars are available at

Views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE), its officers, or its members. SBE Chapter 24, Inc. regrets, but is not liable for, any omissions or errors.