Monthly eNews December 2019

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Look Back 20 Years

Last Meeting's Minutes
Submitted by Russ Awe, Secretary

The Society of Broadcast Engineers Chapter 24 monthly meeting was held on Wednesday, November 20, 2019 at the Wisconsin Public Radio studios. The business meeting was held in the Engel Conference room as the studios were still under construction. There were 15 members present, 10 who were certified, and three guests.

The meeting was called to order by chapter Chair Britny Williams at 7:01pm. With the large group present, she asked everyone to introduce themselves. The secretary's report consisted of the October National SBE Membership meeting held in Madison last month. A motion was made by Leonard Charles and seconded by Tom Smith to approve the minutes as published in the online eNews. Motion passed.

With the Newsletter report, Editor Leonard Charles announced the deadline for item submission for the upcoming eNews would be Sunday, December 1st. Please forward any article of interest to the members of Chapter 24 to If you are not receiving the eNews letter and would like to receive it, send your email address to to be added to the distribution list.

Britny noted that we are holding steady with 48 members in Chapter 24. For Sustaining Membership, Fred Sperry had forwarded a message that two companies have renewed their Sustaining Memberships. Token Creek and The Mink Company. Thank you for your support. Chapter 24 has 13 Sustaining Members.

Program Committee chair Britny Williams reminded everyone that the annual holiday party will happen Wednesday, December 11th at the Maple Tree Supper Club in McFarland. Cocktails at 5:30pm, dinner at 6:30pm. Sign up with Chuck so we can give an attendance number to the restaurant. Britny also announced the January program will cover the Candelabra Channel Change Project presented by Kevin Ruppert on Thursday January 23, 2020. Britny is working on upcoming programs such as the Charter NOC, Overture Hall and Electronic Theater Controls in Middleton. Jeff Welton also is offering a transmitter maintenance presentation. Laura Gutknecht suggested touring the new Hamel Music Center. Please submit any program ideas to Britny.

Certification chair Jim Hermanson reported that the next exam session will be February 7 - 17th, 2019. The deadline to submit an application to the SBE National office is December 31st.

Frequency Coordinator Tom Smith mentioned that there is a conference call for frequency coordinators and the Department of Defense on the sharing of 2 GHz - Volk Field and Fort McCoy. Frequency Coordinators are now being offered a stipend for their work from National. 280MHz is being removed from C-Band by the FCC.

With the SBE National report, Leonard Charles let everyone know that SBE National is offering a FREE webinar on Workbench Tips by John Bisset on December 12 at 1pm CST. This is a FREE workshop but you must still register at or Also, SBE will present two ½ day educational programs on Saturday, April 18 in conjunction with the 2020 PBS TechCon in Las Vegas. The morning session will be everything about microphones with Steve Savanyu of Audio-Technica. In the planning for the afternoon is a session on emergency communications for Next Gen TV. Registration information will be released in Mid-December.

There was no old business or new business.

The meeting adjourned at 7:13pm. Britny Williams from WPR gave an overview of the process of sprucing up the on-air studios, new consoles, better workflow, and how it snowballed into a full statewide infrastructure overhaul. Britny then offered a tour of the new and still under construction facility. She then took us on an impressive tour of the DoIT Data Center where all radio operations are now programed through.

Wisconsin EAS Reprogramming
from Gary Timm, Wisconsin EAS Committee

Wisconsin Broadcast and Cable Engineers,

The attached letter outlines two parameters that need to be checked and possibly reprogrammed in your EAS unit Incoming Alert Filters in order to continue rebroadcast of all Wisconsin Required Monthly Tests (RMTs) and targeted Amber Alerts.

These checks/changes need to be completed by January 1, 2020, so you have about a month to complete this task.

Contact me ( with any questions on the attached letter and its associated required actions.

The TV Channel Repack
Information provided by Kevin Ruppert

As of December 2nd, all Madison stations have changed to their newly assigned channel but not all stations are yet operating at their full authorized height and power on that channel. WIFS TV (now RF channel 21) is operating from the top of the Candelabra tower combined in a single antenna with WHA TV (RF channel 20). That antenna was changed in this project to enable eliptical radiation for those stations.

While WMSN TV (now RF channel 18) and WISC TV (now RF channel 11) have installed their individual Main antennas in a stacked configuration on top of the tower, both stations continue to operate on side mounted auxiliary antennas awaiting installation of their new main transmission line.

The project awaits the return of the tower crew from a Thanksgiving Holiday break. They are expected back on site December 3rd with modified work rules enabling them to work partial days and Sundays if necessary dictated by the weather. There is an estimated two weeks of good weather days needed to complete the project.

Program Ideas Needed

The Chapter 24 2020 meeting schedule has been published. The Chapter is in need of program ideas to fill the schedule. If you have a program or program suggestion please send it to Britny Williams for consideration. There are several open dates available.

Amateur Radio News
Compiled by Tom Weeden, WJ9H

Radio Amateur's "Tribute to a Century of Broadcasting" Video Debuts on YouTube
Art Donahue, W1AWX, of Franklin, Massachusetts, has posted his "Tribute to a Century of Broadcasting" video in recognition of the centennial of formal radio broadcasts. The video features a complete scan of the AM broadcast band (530 - 1700 kHz), with station IDs for all 118 AM radio channels.

Donahue told ARRL he recorded these off the air using two long-wire antennas in the trees. Each slide highlights one station on each frequency with call sign, location, power, day/night/gray-line reception, distance, and year of first broadcast, accompanied by audio of an actual station identification.

"If you ever spent evenings when you were a kid trying to hear long-distance radio stations on your AM radio, this video has what they all sound like today," Donahue said. "I wanted to do something in honor of the KDKA broadcasting centennial next year and thought I'd try to get every single channel recorded. It took a lot of time, patience, and good luck. You'll hear a lot of surprises on the video."

Donhaue added, "It was a fun project to work on." Link:

RF-Seismograph Gets Traction in Hackaday
Canadian amateur radio operator Alex Schwarz, VE7DXW, has theorized for some time now that his RF-Seismograph, initially aimed at indicating band openings, seemed to also act as a real seismograph of sorts, with effects of earthquakes affecting HF noise levels and -- going out on a limb -- actually briefly enhancing HF propagation . Schwarz has some support from Professor Kosuke Heki of Hokkaido University in Japan, who has been researching whether changes occuring in the ionosphere as a result of an earthquake.

The work of both citizen scientist Schwarz and space geodesy expert Heki caught the attention of Hackaday, the online publication with a stated goal of promoting "the free and open exchange of ideas and information." A November 12 Hackaday article, "HF Propagation and Earthquakes", outlines the observations of both men. According to the article, Heki "knew that changes in the ionosphere can affect GPS and GNSS receivers on the ground, and with Japan's vast network of receivers to keep track of the smallest of movements of the Earth's crust, he was able to spot an anomalous buildup of electrons directly above the devastating 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake that preceded the earthquake by 40 minutes."

Schwarz reported that the US Geological Survey recorded nine "significant earthquakes" on November 11, eight of which also were recorded by his RF-Seismograph. According to Schwarz, several small quakes early in the morning "opened the 40-meter band slightly, but the precursor of the quake [in Neiafu, Tonga] created a disturbance starting 4 hours prior to the quake and a total radio blackout between 0330 UTC and 0550 UTC. The quakes in late morning did not have a great effect on the local propagation. The one from Vanuatu created 80-meter propagation for 10 minutes only. At 2340 UTC, another quake from Indonesia opened the 30-meter band again," Schwarz said.

The Hackaday article concludes, "Clearly, the RF-Seismograph is not yet ready to claim to have a solid predictive ability for earthquakes. For that matter, Dr. Heki's space-based observations aren't ready to stake that claim either. But it certainly looks like ionospheric changes can be correlated to earthquakes, both in time and space..."

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

compiled by Tom Smith

All Digital AM Stations
On October 29th, the FCC announced they were opening a docket to authorize all digital AM broadcast stations. At their November 22nd meeting, the Commission adopted a Proposed Notice of Rulemaking (FCC-19-123A1) that would allow an AM broadcast station to operate in an all digital mode on a voluntary basis. Currently both AM and FM stations can operate in a hybrid digital mode with the analog signal as they have always done and with additional digital signals added above and below the analog signal. AM stations needed to reduce their analog signal to plus or minus 5 kHz from the center carrier which limited the audio bandwidth to 5 kHz. Normally AM stations can transmit with audio bandwidth of up to a little less than 10 kHz. The audio bandwidth is reduced to keep the total bandwidth of the analog and digital signal within plus or minus 15 kHz of the carrier frequency of the AM station. An all digital station will use less bandwidth then a hybrid AM stations as the analog audio will be replaced with the main digital signal. Secondary digital information will still extend into the adjacent channel which was the case with analog AM with audio bandwidth greater than 5 kHz.

This action is in response of a petition from Bryan Broadcasting Corporation asking that AM stations be allowed to broadcast in an all digital mode. There is currently one station operating in the all digital mode. WWFD (AM) in Fredrick, Maryland is operating under special test authority in the all digital mode. That station is owned by Hubbard Broadcasting and has already provided much information on all digital operation.

As the current rules for digital broadcasting in the AM band are written for the hybrid mode, the notice asks for comment on a number of issues concerning bandwidth limitations such as the digital emissions mask, power limitations and interference to other stations operating on both the same channel and adjacent channels to the proposed digital station. There are existing standards under NRSC-5-D which was created by the National Radio Standards Committee for both hybrid and all digital operation. The FCC would like to adopt those standards for all digital operation, but need to know if they are sufficient.

There are currently both AM stations and shortwave stations around the world operating in the all digital mode using the Digital Radio Mondale (DRM) system which is an open system which does not require license fees as the FCC approved system does which was created by the Ibiquity consortium and now licensed by Xperi.

There will be a 60 day comment period with an additional 30 days for reply comments.

Non-Duplication Rules Examined
In another docket that was opened on October 29th and adopted on November 22nd, the FCC opened a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC-19-122A1) concerning the non-duplication rules for AM and FM radio stations. In order to foster the adoption of FM radio, the FCC adopted rules in 1964 that limited FM stations from duplicating more than 50% of the programming of co-owned AM stations in cities of more than 100,000. In 1976 the FCC reduced the amount of time that duplicate programming could be used to 25% in cities with populations of more than 25,000. In 1986, the rule was completely eliminated as FM stations had become viable and it was thought that market forces would determine if duplication was required for an AM-FM station to survive and serve their community. In 1992, the FCC reinstated the rule to prohibit commonly owned stations that overlapped or were operated under time brokerage agreements from duplicating more than 25% of their programming. Besides helping FM stations to develop, increasing diversity of programming, the rules also were to promote the best use of limited spectrum. The FCC now feels that with the doubling or more of stations from 1992 to the present and the creation of low power FM stations and AM translators, there may no longer be the issue of lack of spectrum limiting the diversity of programming.

The FCC is asking for comment on either eliminating or modifying the rule against program duplication. They are asking for information on the impact on competition, program diversity, news sources, spectrum efficiency and new audio sources such as satellite radio and streaming.

There will be a 30 day comment period followed by a 15 day reply period.

Kids TV Quarterly Filings
On November 15th, the FCC announced (DA-19-1186A1) that after December 17th, the FCC will no longer accept new or amended quarterly children's television reports. This action is due to the updating of the Commission's Licensing and Management System for the new yearly Children's TV report.

New LPTV and Translator Filings
On December 2nd, the FCC is opening an application period (DA-19-1215A1) for new rural LPTV stations and TV translators to replace stations that were displaced by the TV repack. These are stations that filed applications for new stations in 2009 after the DTV transition. These applications were frozen because of the Incentive Auction and the FCC is giving them another chance to find a new channel to operate on. As LPTV and translator stations are secondary to full power and class A TV stations, their applications were frozen to make way for full power and Class A stations moving to new channels which were previously open for new LPTV stations and TV translators. The FCC is opening a filing window from December 2nd to January 31st at 11:59 PM. These stations will need to find a new open channel to move to and then apply for it during that period.

Certification and Education
compiled by Jim Hermanson

The Open 2019 - 2020 Exam Schedule

Exam Dates Location Application Deadline
(to SBE National Office)
February 7-17, 2020 Local Chapters (Madison Area) December 31, 2019
April 21, 2020 NAB Show in Las Vegas March 9, 2020
June 5-15, 2020 Local Chapters (Madison Area) April 17, 2020
August 7-17, 2020 Local Chapters (Madison Area) June 12, 2020
November 6-16, 2020 Local Chapters (Madison Area) September 21, 2020

What certifications am I eligible for? Click here

A reminder that each year, account balance permitting, Chapter 24 will reimburse half the application fee to any member of Chapter 24 in good standing who successfully obtains any SBE certification level not previously held by that member.

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

December Webinars

Thursday, December 12, 2019
Workbench Tips
The author of Radio World's popular column and Telos Alliance Western Regional Radio Sales Manager, John Bisset, will bring a combination of tips from his column and discuss the conversion to AoIP and what AES67 means to you. In this session, you will learn useful tips to do your job more efficiently as well as other things to consider when upgrading an analog facility to AoIP.

Thanks to sponsor Telos Alliance this webinar is complimentary to SBE members and non-members. Register Here


ATSC 3.0 Tutorial Videos from SBE@PBS TechCon 2019

Please note numerically the videos are out of sequence as content was combined appropriately to produce fewer videos. Thus, the complete series includes Parts 1, 2, 4, 6, 7 and 8 and all are now available.

Part 1: The Physical Layer
The fundamentals of transmission change dramatically compared to 8-VSB. Originally, this alone was the motivation for replacing ATSC 1.0. It is the Physical Layer (PHY) that enables single-frequency networks and mobile reception. Beyond OFDM, a bootstrap signal and Physical Layer Pipes (PLPs) empower NextGen over-the-air (OTA) TV to reach receiving devices in an extremely broad set of circumstances and for a multiple of uses. Presenters include Madeleine Noland, Consultant, LG Electronics and President, ATSC; Luke Fay, Senior Manager Technical Standards; Sony Electronics US Technology Standards Office; and Bill Soreth, Senior Systems Development Engineer, Acrodyne Services.

Members $59, MemberPlus Members FREE and Non-Members $89. Register Here

Part 2: Broadcast Regulations
NextGen regulatory and contractual deployment requirements include simulcasting carriage mandates, program hosting agreement issues for 1.0 and 3.0 stations, government applications and notifications. Meeting these obligations and preserving station cashflow require broadcast engineers to know how far ATSC 1.0 content compression can be pushed and at what cost. Partnering through channel sharing is a big part of broadcasters' deployment plans. Broadcast engineers must provide the technical specifications competently in these legal arrangements. Jerry Fritz, Executive Vice President for Strategic and Legal Affairs; ONE Media 3.0 presents.

Members $59, MemberPlus Members FREE and Non-Members $89. Register Here

Part 4: NextGen/ATSC 3.0 Transmitter Conversion
Converting transmitters and STLs to ATSC 3.0 service and performing the proof-of-performance and acceptance testing are covered by the engineers that build the transmitters. Presenters include Doug Lung, VP Engineering, Telemundo Group; S. Merrill Weiss, President, Merrill Weiss Group; Joe Seccia, Principal Architect, TV Transmission Products; GatesAir; Thomas Barbeau, Vice President of Engineering; Comark Communications; Greg Martin, Account Manager Broadcast & Media; Rhode & Schwarz USA; and William Smith, USA Sales Director, Avateq Corp..

Members $59, MemberPlus Members FREE and Non-Members $89. Register Here

Part 6: NextGen Broadcast/ATSC 3.x Scheduler
The Gateway, System Scheduler and Manager is the central piece of a NextGen broadcast transmission system that aggregates all the IP content and assigns it to the proper Physical Layer pipes (PLPs), adding low-level signaling, control, announcement and configuration information that becomes the studio transmitter link (STL) stream that in turn feeds the modulator/exciter of the over-the-air (OTA) transmitter. Presenters include Richard Lhermitte, VP, Solutions & Market Development, ENENSYS TeamCast, Inc.; San Jin Yoon, Senior Vice President, DigiCAP; and Jerome Floch, Product Marketing Manager, Enensys.

Members $59, MemberPlus Members FREE and Non-Members $89. Register Here

Part 7: Monitoring and Display
An ATSC 3.0 station's first piece of NextGen test equipment might be a dongle with an array of analytical and decoding/player/display software. The first home gateways with limited capability and storage are in the prototype stage. All the aspects of monitoring and display are covered in this section. Presenters include Myra Moore, Founder and President, Digital Tech Consulting; Bonnie Beeman, CEO and Founder,; Michael Minakami, Koherence, LLC; Ralph Bachofen, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Triveni Digital; Jason Justman, Senior Principal Architect and SinclairDigital; and Joonyoung Park, DigiCAP Co., Ltd..

Members $59, MemberPlus Members FREE and Non-Members $89. Register Here

Part 8: The NextGen Broadcast Station
Stations will first focus on transmitting current content via ATSC 3.0, but the service provides new sales opportunities as well. Operationally, an additional transmission system will be monitored in master control, digital and linear workflows meld, and informing becomes important for processing, validating, curating, and archiving information then distributing it on platforms that now include AEI receiver apps. Presenters include Winston Caldwell, Vice President of Advanced Engineering; Fox Networks Engineering and Operations; Jim O'Brien, President, Aveco Inc.; Tim Carroll, Senior Director Technology, Office of the CTO, Dolby Laboratories, Inc.; and Michael Guthrie, Director of Sales and Engineering, Harmonic.

Members $59, MemberPlus Members FREE and Non-Members $89. Register Here

Several On-Demand Webinars are available, and for information on acquiring the NOW AVAILABLE ATSC 3.0 Tutorial Videos from SBE@PBS TechCon 2019, see

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. Articles of interest to Chapter 24 members are accepted up to the close of business the 1st day of each month. Send your article to .