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WBA Summer Engineering Workshop
June 20th

There is no scheduled Chapter 24 monthly meeting in June. Instead members are urged to attend the WBA Summer Engineering Workshop in Milwaukee on June 20th. Its not too late to make your plans to attend. This Workshop is held in conjunction with the WBA Summer Conference with two days of activities at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center. You can choose to attend a single day or both days. Follow this link to register but hurry, registration closes soon. On site registration is also an option. Please take a look at the Workshop Agenda.

In addition the WBA Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be the evening of June 21st at the same site. Wisconsin's EAS Chair and retired broadcast engineer, Gary Timm, is one of this year's inductees. Remember to check that box on the registration form if you plan to attend.

Meeting Minutes
Submitted by Mike Norton, Secretary

May 23, 2018

On Wednesday, May 23, 2018 Chapter 24 of the Society of Broadcast Engineers held its monthly meeting at the studios of WISC-TV/Madison. There were 12 members present, 9 who held SBE certification, and 1 guest.

Chapter Vice Chair Clif Groth called the meeting to order at 7:01pm. Clif had everyone around the conference room quickly introduce themselves. He also let everyone know that Chair Rich Wood had developed a medical issue which required hospitalization, and sent well wishes.

The April meeting minutes, as published in the May Newsletter, were accepted on a motion by Kevin Ruppert and a second by Tom Smith. There were no treasurer, membership, or sustaining membership reports available.

Clif Groth reviewed the upcoming programs, starting with the June event held in conjunction with the WBA Summer Engineering Workshop on June 20 at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center. The following meeting and program will be a tour of the Sun Prairie Media Center on July 25; location and directions will be posted on the web site.

Certification and Education chair Jim Hermanson announced the next local exam session will be August 3 - 13, with a June 5 deadline to submit an application to the national office. Another local certification opportunity will be November 2 - 12, with a deadline of September 24. Jim also reminded everyone that Article 12 of the bylaws allows Chapter 24 members to receive reimbursement for ½ the exam cost after obtaining a new SBE certification level. See the item in the May Newsletter for full details.

Frequency coordinator Tom Smith said there were no recent requests for coordination. He did, however, provide an update on the FCC study to share C-Band satellite downlink frequencies with mobile terrestrial users. As this spectrum is heavily used by both radio and television users, he urged stations to register their receive-only downlinks with the FCC by the July 18 deadline. He also suggested those who feel strongly should file formal comments with the FCC, as he felt these were reviewed more closely than informal or website comments. More background information about this can be found in FCC Dockets 17-183 and 18-122, with instructions on how to register at or at the website.

Leonard Charles provided the National report starting with new SBE webinars being offered, including Transmitter Site Safety, an RF201 Advanced RF series, and an RF Safety course. These are available to SBE MemberPlus members for no additional charge. Standard members can still opt in to MemberPlus status for $90; contact the national office. The SBE Strategic Planning Conference will be held June 9 in Indianapolis; see for more details.

There was no old business brought forward. In new business, Leonard Charles reviewed each proposed change or addition to the Chapter 24 bylaws, as previously published in the May Newsletter and posted on the web site. These modifications eliminate all reference to a newsletter, and provide for information to be centered on the web site. A quorum of members was present, and all bylaw changes carried on a unanimous voice vote. There was no other new business discussed.

In professional and general announcements, Clif Groth said that WORT-FM is looking for an interim transmitter engineer, as their usual engineer is on medical leave. See Clif for more information if you are interested.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:35pm. Kevin Ruppert introduced Bret Quinnell from Eaton, who gave a presentation on uninterruptible power supplies. The overview discussed typical lead-acid battery, spinning flywheel, and lithium-ion battery UPS systems.

Amateur Radio News
compiled by Tom Weeden WJ9H

China launched two microsatellites into a lunar transfer orbit on May 20 in conjunction with the Chang'e 4 mission to the far side of the moon. The Longjiang-1 (LJ-1) and Longjiang-2 (LJ-2) microsats were secondary payloads on the launch, piggybacking on the Queqiao relay satellite. The satellites were maneuvered onto a track to the moon, but LJ-1 then appeared to have encountered problems, and Harbin Institute of Technology, which developed the satellites, was asking for help from the world Amateur Satellite community.

"We lost contact with Satellite A on S band after an orbit adjustment," Wei Mingchuan, BG2BHC, of Harbin Institute of Technology said. "We just tried to switch on UHF, but we don't know if it works or not." He said on 435.425 MHz, the satellite should alternate between 500 bps GMSK and JT4, while the 436.425 MHz signal should be 250 bps GMSK. Both transmit once every 5 minutes.

LJ-1 and LJ-2 also will test low-frequency radio astronomy and space-based interferometry. The astronomy objectives of the two spacecraft are to observe the sky at the lower end of the electromagnetic spectrum -- 1 MHz to 30 MHz -- with the aim of learning about energetic phenomena from galactic sources, using the moon to shield them from earthbound radio signals. The Chang'e 4 mission will mark the first-ever attempt at a soft landing on the far side of the moon.

Signals from the satellites were received after launch by radio amateurs around the world. Each satellite carries VHF/UHF software-defined radio transceivers for beacon, telemetry, telecommand, and digital image downlink. Onboard transmitting power is about 2 watts.

The Queqiao communications relay satellite is required for the lunar far-side landing to facilitate communication with a not-yet-launched lander and rover, because the moon's far side never faces Earth, and some significant scientific measurements from the dark side of the moon require real-time contact with Earth. Queqiao was developed by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST).
- - -

Legendary rock guitarist Joe Walsh, WB6ACU, of the Eagles is featured in a just-released set of American Radio Relay League audio and video public service announcements promoting Amateur Radio. ARRL will provide the 30- and 60-second PSAs to Public Information Officers (PIOs) to share with their Section's television and radio stations.

The ARRL Media and Public Relations Department also will provide these announcements files directly to interested television and radio outlets, and the announcements are available for downloading from the ARRL website for members to use in promoting Amateur Radio at club meetings and public presentations, such as ARRL Field Day on June 23-24 (PSAs specifically for ARRL Field Day also are available).

Walsh, who visited ARRL Headquarters last year for taping, wanted to deliver two main messages in his PSAs: Get involved in Amateur Radio, and become a member of ARRL. The messages highlight the tremendous service that radio amateurs provide to communities, and convey how ARRL advocates on behalf of Amateur Radio on a wide range of legal and political issues.

An ARRL Life Member and longtime radio amateur, Walsh personally has been a strong supporter and advocate of ARRL and Amateur Radio, and his ham shack is just as impressive as his home recording studio. "I want to give back to the hobby that has given me so much enjoyment," he said.

PSA download link:

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

compiled by Tom Smith


In a speech before the Wireless Interstructure Association, (DOC-350919A1.pdf) FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced that the Commission will take action on repurposing the 3.7 to 4.2 GHZ spectrum used for C-band satellite downlinks. This band is heavily used by TV and radio stations and cable systems to receive programming. The FCC issued a notice on May 1st asking for comments on the possible use of the spectrum on using the band for wireless broadband use. Comments were due on May 31st and replies will be due on June 15th. The FCC will close the period for submitting registrations for existing C-band receive stations on July 18th. Chairman Pai did not give a date for the July Meeting, but there appears that there will be little time between the registration period and the meeting. The Commission may not have a final total of receive earth stations when they take their action. The part of the Chairman's statement concerning the possible action is as follows:

"I've got some good news to report on the mid-band front. Last year, the FCC agreed to explore repurposing more mid-band spectrum, including the 3.7 to 4.2 GHz band, commonly called the "C band." We have done a lot of work on this issue in the time since-enough so that I'm pleased to announce today that at the FCC's July meeting, I intend to put up for a vote a proposal to make more intensive use of that 500 MHz of spectrum, including seeking additional input on making it available for commercial terrestrial use."

In the speech, he did not state if the action would be a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking or would be a Report and Order issuing a final rulemaking. The Commission is under Congressional action as a result of the Ray Baum Act which was passed on March 23, 2018 that requires the FCC to evaluate the possible use of the 3.7 to 4.2 GHz band. This followed FCC releasing a Notice of Inquiry last August 3, 2017 asking for comments on mobile use of the 3.7-4.2 GHz, the 5.925-6.425 GHz and the 6.425-7.125 GHz bands, all which are used by broadcasters. The last two bands are used for fixed microwave and mobile remote video relays. That Notice is named Expanding Flexible Use in Mid-band Spectrum Between 3.7 and 24 GHz. The docket number is GN Docket No. 17-183.


On May 10th, the FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that asked for comments on eliminating the requirement for the posting of broadcast stations and broadcast auxiliary licenses. Licenses are required to be posted either at the transmitter or at the control point which is normally at the studio control room. FM translator stations are required to post call letters and contact information at the transmitter so that it can be seen by the public.

The reason for this possible action is that a control point can be anywhere because of changes in the way that one can communicate with the remote control system such as use of dial-up phone or by web enabled connections via computer or Smartphone. Also with the information on the station's FCC public file, the information is available to everyone. There will be a 30 day comment period with a 15 day reply period. This is part of the FCC's rule modernization project.


The FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on interference to a full power FM station from a FM translator. This notice (NPRM) was adopted and released on May 10th. The FCC is proposing that the compliant be filed by an individual and must give their name, contact information, description and location of the interference reception, is listening to the station that is being interfered with at least twice a month, and is not affiliated with the station being interfered with. The interference must occur outside the desired station's 54 dbu contour. There must be a minimum of six interference complaints for the complaints to be considered. Interfering FM translators may change frequency, move antenna location as long as they provide some coverage within their existing 1mv contour and move from a reserved to unreserved channel as a minor change, Comments will last 30 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register followed by a 30 day reply period.


In another action on May 10th, the FCC opened a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing the expansion of wireless broadband use of the 2.5 GHZ Band. This band was originally allocated for use by educational institutions and called ITFS or Instructional Television Fixed Service. In 1980, the FCC authorized Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Systems were allowed to share the spectrum to provide a wireless cable like TV service with ITFS stations allowed to lease time to them on their transmitters. After small dish satellite providers started, these systems quickly went out of business. The FCC then divided the band giving the newly named Educational Broadband Service as a replacement for ITFS 114 MHz of the band and creating a new service called Broadband Radio Service with the remaining 80 MHz . Much of the BRS spectrum was purchased by Sprint in the auction for that spectrum.

The FCC is proposing to change the rules concerning the 114 MHz of the EBS spectrum for use by the BRS. Because of a number of factors including a limited number of filing windows for new BRS licenses in the 1990's, there were no additional EBS licenses with few licenses in existence. There are 1300 licensees with 2190 licenses. Each license is for a EBR station covering a radius of up to 35 miles. Because there are so few licenses with some large cities having none and none west of the Mississippi, the FCC would like to extent the BRS service to the unused EBS spectrum. In the notice, the FCC asks about methods for taking assigning new licenses for EBS service, changing licensing from a fixed radius to irregular census tracts based on actual coverage and allowing EBS licensees to lease or sell licenses for BRS service. Much of the discussion in this notice was on possible procedures for processing and granting new EBS and BRS licenses.

Certification and Education
compiled by Jim Hermanson

The Open 2018 Exam Schedule

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

From ... New ATSC 3.0 Certification in Development Stages

The Society of Broadcast Engineers, Inc. (SBE), the association for broadcast and multimedia technology professionals, and the Advanced Television Systems Committee, Inc. (ATSC) announced a cooperative effort to develop a new Specialist level of SBE certification that will benchmark an individual's proficiency in the ATSC 3.0 System standard.

"ATSC is pleased to work with SBE to develop an ATSC 3.0 Specialist Certification program. The SBE has extensive experience training and certifying broadcast engineers. Our work with the SBE is part of efforts to support deployment of ATSC 3.0," said Mark Richer, president of ATSC. The world's first internet-based broadcast television standard, ATSC 3.0 will give stations and viewers more choices and options now that broadcast TV can seamlessly connect with broadband-delivered content. Approved for use by U.S. broadcasters and deployed in South Korea, ATSC 3.0 technologies make it possible to transmit in Ultra High-Definition, to offer immersive audio, and to add more capabilities like high dynamic range, wide color gamut, and interoperability with Internet-delivered content.

The Society of Broadcast Engineers Certification Program is part of the society's efforts contributing to the advancement of broadcast engineering for the general benefit of the entire broadcast industry. The program was created in 1975 to recognize and raise the professional status of broadcast engineers by providing standards of professional competence. Through the years, the SBE's certification program has become recognized in the industry as the primary method of verifying the attainment of educational standards. With the industry constantly changing, the SBE-certified engineer must keep up with those changes.

To hold SBE Specialist Certification, an individual must first hold one of the SBE core-four certifications: CBT, CBRE/CBTE, CSRE/CSTE or CPBE. Once the new Specialist Certification is released, applicants will take a 50-question, multiple-choice exam and answer an essay question.

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

SAGE EAS Encoders Need Update
by Tom Smith

Sage has announced that they have an update for Sage Endec Model 3644 that have version 89-30 software installed. The update is required to be installed by 11:45 AM EDT on June 24th. The reason for this update is that FEMA requires a new security certificate to access the IPAWS website. Without this update, the Sage Entec will cease to receive CAP originated tests and alerts. Information can be found on the Sage website ( on how to download and install the update.

Gary Timm to be inducted into the WBA Hall Of Fame

Four new members of the Wisconsin Broadcasters Hall of Fame will be inducted in ceremonies the evening of June 21 during the WBA Summer Conference at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center. One of those inductees will be long time broadcast engineer and SBE member, Gary Timm.

Gary is best known for his dedication to promoting and supporting the Emergency Alert System (EAS) in Wisconsin and nationally. He embodies the commitment Wisconsin broadcasters have to serving their communities. His career in engineering, numerous consultant roles, and leadership as Broadcast Chair of the Wisconsin State Emergency Communications Committee for more than 25 years have demonstrated his expertise, commitment to excellence, passion for broadcasting, and dedication to the important role broadcasters play in keeping people informed and safe.

Timm was an engineer at WTMJ-AM, WKTI-FM, and WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee starting in 1973 and spent much of his career working on EAS issues. Timm is the primary author of the Wisconsin State EAS plan, which was the first in the nation to be completed. From 2010 until his retirement in 2015, Timm was a senior consultant supporting the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In retirement Timm continues to be involved in EAS issues and has assisted the National Weather Service, Wisconsin Emergency Management, Amber Alert, the FCC, and FEMA. He has authored numerous articles and handbook chapters and is recognized as an EAS expert. He has won acclaim for his ability to explain technical issues to a non-technical audience.

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.