Monthly eNews November 2019

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Our Next Meeting:
Wednesday, November 20th
The WPR Rebuild Saga

It started out as a little sprucing of the on-air studios, new consoles, better workflow, and it snowballed into a full statewide infrastructure overhaul. We'll check in on the construction progress, discuss lessons learned along the way, and take a look at all the new systems. We'll be able to tour the studio spaces and listen to a presentation on the physical aspects of this project. Eric Bartos is the architect behind the networking, server, and security designs that made all of this possible, and he will join us to answer questions about the intricate details.

We will also be offered a bonus tour of the DoIT data center after Vilas Hall to anyone who wishes to stay after and walk a few extra blocks. For security reasons we need to provide a headcount of those who wish to tour DoIT. If you will be taking this bonus tour please email Britny Williams to RSVP.

5:30 PM - Dutch Treat Dinner
Nitty Gritty
223 N. Francis St.
Madison, WI

7:00 PM - Meeting/Program
Vilas Hall, UW
821 University Ave
Madison, WI

Click on Map to Enlarge

Look Back 21 Years

Last Meeting's Minutes
Submitted by Russ Awe, Secretary

SBE Chapter 24 held its October meeting in conjunction with the SBE National Membership meeting in Madison on October 16, 2019. The SBE National Membership meeting can be found at:

Many Chapter 24 members were in attendance as well as producing the live stream of the event. The SBE National Membership meeting was part of the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association - Broadcasters Clinic held at the Madison Marriott West in Middleton, October 15th - 17th. Many great speakers and ideas were heard, seen and discussed by the attendees.

The TV Channel Repack

How is the TV Channel Repack going? It depends on who you ask. According to Neil Derek Grace, Senior Communication Advisor at the FCC, as of October 15th (just short of the Phase 6 completion deadline) 546 stations had transitioned from their pre-auction channel. Mr. Grace said "this is fully consistent with the number of transitioned stations anticipated when the Plan was prepared at the beginning of the transition period". However according to many broadcast consultants and station group technical management the number of stations fully transitioned is somewhere in the 70s percent of that number.

In fact both sides are correct given their definition of "transitioned stations". Industry experts consider a transitioned station to be one completely built out at their full post transition channel authorization. The FCC however appears to consider a transitioned station to be one that is operating on its post auction assigned channel with any facility. The FCC data does show 423 stations to have fully completed their channel transition to authorized facilities, or 77% of their total number of transitioned stations. The other 23% of transitioned stations are operating on their new channel but with Special Temporary Authority (STA) having yet to achieve their fully authorized facility. Mr. Grace points out that "some stations that have not entirely completed their construction may be using interim facilities with little or no decreased coverage or population loss but instead closely match their permitted facilities." There is no indication of how many of those 23% stations fit that description.

Here in Madison all 3 transitioning stations are in phase 6 (or have moved to phase 6) which was to begin on September 7th, 2019. Due to delays, the market's rescan date kicking off the phase "test period" was pushed back to October 18th when the phase was to have fully completed. While all stations are now operating on their post auction channel not yet all are on their fully built out post auction authorized facility. The market transition continues with the area's early winter weather certainly a growing factor on project progress.

The FCC still anticipates that all 987 stations scheduled to change channels will have done so by the July 3rd 2020 end date. Those inside the industry anticipate that it will take another year and a half or slightly longer for those stations operating under an STA on July 3rd to be fully built out to their post auction authorized facility.

(Excerpts from the TV Technology web site)

Chapter 24 is 50 years old this year!

There's a new page on the Chapter's web site that you may be interested in. The Chapter 24 Historical Highlights page is located under the Chapter Archives menu and has many early documents in the forming of the Chapter. You'll find the meeting minutes from the Chapter's organizational meeting in April of 1969 which generated an application to the national SBE for Chapter status. Also there is the official letter returned from the national later that month marking the birth of our Chapter.

Feel free to contribute content to the historical page should you find you are in possession of any additional documents related to Chapter 24's history. Please forward them to for inclusion on the web site.

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

World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19) is under way in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. More than 3,500 delegates from 193 member-states around the world are attending the month-long gathering, sponsored by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which opened on Monday, October 28. WRC-19 delegates will discuss changes to the ITU Radio Regulations. Amateur radio issues are but a small part of the conference agenda. The ITU is characterizing the aim of the conference as forging pathways for future digital communications.

The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) and its member-societies are representing the Amateur and Amateur Satellite Services with a team of 14 people from 10 countries. IARU Secretary David Sumner, K1ZZ, reported on the ITU Radiocommunication Assembly (RA) that took place in Sharm el-Sheikh just ahead of WRC-19. "Last week, the RA met to approve standards developed during the 2015 - 2019 cycle of work in the ITU Radiocommunication Sector and to begin planning the work for the next 4 years," Sumner said in a post to the ARRL IARU Group. Sumner said Brazilian delegation member Flavio Archangelo, PY2ZX, with the support of several other administrations, pressed for greater attention to the growing problem of radio noise. IARU cited "the rising level of radio spectrum pollution caused by unnecessary and unwanted emissions from electronic devices, such as wireless power transfer for the recharging of electric vehicles (WPT-EV), is a serious threat to radiocommunication services including the Amateur Service."

Members of the Milwaukee Radio Amateurs' Club (MRAC) celebrated the radio club's 100th anniversary of ARRL affiliation on September 28 during the 2019 ARRL Central Division Convention, held September 27 - 28. The convention was hosted by Ham Radio Outlet at its Milwaukee location during the HRO Superfest.

MRAC was formed in January 1917. In 1919, after World War I, ARRL introduced the concept of having local radio clubs officially affiliate with ARRL to formalize a network for relaying message traffic from coast to coast. MRAC was granted ARRL affiliation on December 5, 1919, as one of a group of 10 clubs. In 1970, MRAC was recognized as the only one of that first group of clubs that was still active, making it the oldest ARRL-affiliated club.

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

compiled by Tom Smith

FM Licenses to be Auctioned
On October 10th, the FCC announced an auction for 130 FM licenses to be held in April of 2020 with the scheduled starting date of April 28th. The notice (DA-19-1027A1) asked for comments on the procedures for conducting the auction with comments due on November 6, 2019 and replies due on November 20th. In a separate attachment (DA-19-1027A2) the FCC listed the 130 licenses up for auction along with the minimum bids. In Wisconsin, there are two licenses available for auction in the following locations along with the class of station and minimum bids. They are a Class A (6KW) in Crandon with a minimum bid of $1500, and a class C3 (25KW) in Tomahawk with minimum bid of $10,000. The FCC issued a freeze for any changes in the allocations that are subject to this auction or any proposals for a new allocation that may affect any of these allocations. The freeze will expire after the long form applications from the winning bidders are filed. The lowest minimum bid is for a license in Alaska for $750 and the highest is $100,000 for a license in Sacramento, CA. That allocation is a replacement for a station that returned their license to settle an action the FCC was taking against them. Many of these allocations up for this auction were previously auctioned off and the winning bidders failed to construct their new stations by the required deadline for completion.

Expanding DTV Coverage With SFNs
On October 11th, the FCC issued a Notice (DA-19-1036A1) asking for comment on expanding the use of Single Frequency Networks for DTV stations. Currently SFNs are restricted for covering areas within a DTV station's noise limited contour which is defined as a signal level of a UHF station's 41 dbu for 50% of the receive locations for 90% of the time. America's Public Television Stations and the National Association of Broadcasters have filed a petition to expand the area where a SFN can be used. The petition asks that SFN's contours not exceed the 36 dbu contour of a UHF station and the 33 dbu contour for a high band VHF station that is available 50% of the receive locations for 10% of the time. The current noise limited 50/90 contour for a high band VHF station is 36 dbu. The contour level of 28 dbu remains the same for low-band stations other than SFNs can use the 50/10 reference for determining the 28 dbu contour.

In the petition, the APTS and the NAB propose that by allowing the expanded contour of a DTV station for use of SFN transmitters, two issues can be addressed. The first is more effective coverage by the SFN transmitter within the existing contours. The petition suggests that siting of a SFN transmitter can be limited due to the possibility of the SFN transmitter signal extending past the main transmitters contours. This can occur when the SFN translator is located near the edge of the main transmitter's coverage in order to provide additional coverage in a difficult reception area. Even with a directional antenna to remain within the contour limits, coverage could be limited to the extent that the SFN transmitter would be ineffective. By allowing the signal to extended past the current limits, the SFN transmitter can provide better service by providing the stronger signal. The second issue is that of a replacement for a translator, it would be more spectrum efficient as no new channels would be used. Because they would have to protect other stations on the same channel, the SFN transmitter would be located in an open white space area between stations on the same channel and would allow for fuller use of the spectrum.

Comments are due on November 12th and replies due on November 27th.

Tower Rule Change
On October 25th, the FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC-19-106A1) that asks if it should delete its rules requiring TV and FM stations to make their tower sites available to other TV and FM broadcasters. This rule was enacted in the late 1940s when materials were still in short supply after World War 2 and there were few towers available for new TV and FM broadcasters to use. The FCC suggests that with the increase in the number of TV and FM stations and other towers for other communications services and the emergence of tower leasing companies, there are many more options for a broadcaster to secure a tower location and the possibility of an existing station using access to their tower site as a method of preventing a competitor from securing a transmission site is less likely to be an issue. The Commission also feels that there are enough tower sites available that zoning and environmental restrictions and capital considerations along with existing stations trying to earn extra revenue from their towers should not be an issue in locating tower space.

There will be a 30 day comment period with an additional 15 days for replies starting with the publication of the notice in the Federal Register.

FCC to Discuss the Future of Radio and TV
On November 21st, the FCC is going to hold a symposium (DA-19-1092A1) on the future of TV and radio titled "Current and Future Trends in the Broadcast Radio and Television Industries". The symposium will be held in the Commission Meeting room at the FCC headquarters starting at 10 AM EST and ending at 3:10 PM. There will be two panels, one in the morning and one in the afternoon after a lunch break. Each panel will have different panelists and will be made up of 15 persons, all affiliated with the broadcast industry in some way. They include station management, consultants and technical managers. The symposium can be attended live and will be streamed at

Certification and Education
compiled by Jim Hermanson

Very Well Done!
Chapter 24! Congratulations for being named the recipient of the Most Certified Chapter (Class B) award for the 2019 awards program. (Class B chapters have greater than the median number of members.) This award was formally presented to us at the society's annual awards dinner on Wednesday, October 16, as part of the SBE National Meeting held in conjunction with the Wisconsin Broadcasters Clinic in Middleton, WI.

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

November and December Webinars

Tuesday, November 5, 2019 (Rescheduled from October 23)
RF 201: Module 8: AM Multiplexed Antenna Systems
Tom F. King, President and CEO of Kintronic Labs, Inc., presents this AM Multiplexing webinar that covers the feasibility criteria for multiplexing two or more AM stations. Basic isolation filter designs and tower feed methods for improved audio bandwidth of multiplexed AM stations will also be covered. Omnidirectional AM multiplexed design approach and directional AM multiplexed design approach as well as analog versus HD digital and AM multiplexed design approach will also be discussed.
Members $59, MemberPlus Members FREE and Non-Members $89. Register Here.

Thursday, November 14, 2019
Implementing SNMP: Part 2
The Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) was created as a means to monitor and control devices in an Internet Protocol (IP) network. Implementing SNMP: Part 2 of this series will build upon the SNMP fundamentals presented in Part 1 by looking at implementation of a SNMP platform in the broadcast environment to provide a robust monitoring and notification alerting environment from IT equipment to the transmitter. The focus will include commercial and open-source options available to implement your own SNMP system.
Members $59, MemberPlus Members FREE and Non-Members $89. Register Here.

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

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 .