Monthly eNews April 2020

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WMSN-TV Fox 47

The April meeting of
SBE Chapter 24
has been canceled

In line with health officials recommendations for group gathering size and social separation, there will be no April Chapter 24 meeting. A determination of future meetings will occur at a later date.

Cast Your Ballot

Despite the cancellation of our April meeting we will hold our Chapter elections virtually. In keeping with our By Laws voting is open from April 1st through what would have been the end of our April 22nd meeting. You have the option of casting your ballot on line or downloading a ballot to be mailed in. We appreciate the candidates who have offered us their time and talent to keep our Chapter operating. If you are a current member of Chapter 24, please vote by choosing one of these links:

Cast your Ballot on line
Download paper Ballot

Look Back 17 Years

Last Meeting's Minutes

The March 26th meeting of Chapter 24 was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Program Ideas Needed

The Chapter 24 2020 meeting schedule is available here. Is there a topic you would like to see covered at one of our local Chapter 24 meetings? Or, better yet, is there a topic that you'd like to speak on at an upcoming meeting? Please forward any ideas to Britny Williams or to one of the Chapter 24 officers for consideration. There are several open dates available.

Madison's TV Repack

Milwaukee's Higgins Tower Service continues to work on completing the Madison candelabra tower channel change project. To date they have completed the removal of the old WMSN waveguide and the old 7 inch WISC transmission line. Work is now progressing on mounting the new main transmission line for each station as they continue to operate at less than authorized facilities from auxiliary side mounted antennas.

Meanwhile WHA and WIFS TV are operating from the top of the candelabra at fully authorized facilities. WKOW (also on the candelabra) and WMTV (on its own separate tower) were not involved in the channel change FCC mandate.

Amateur Radio News
Compiled by Tom Weeden, WJ9H

The FCC has granted temporary permission to wireless internet service providers (WISPs) in rural portions of 29 states and the US Virgin Islands to operate in the 5.8 GHz band (5.850 - 5.895 GHz). The authorization, to help meet the temporary surge in demand for residential fixed broadband services during the COVID-19 pandemic, was one of multiple waivers issued in the past week that grant temporary access to a variety of bands in response to the uptick in residential broadband demand.

The 5.8 GHz grants were effective on March 26. Each grant is for 60 days, provided individual WISPs file Special Temporary Authority applications within 10 days of March 26. Amateur Radio shares this spectrum on a secondary basis with Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC) systems and industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM) applications, and that status remains unchanged.

According to the request, each of the WISPs provides fixed wireless broadband service in rural areas, primarily relying on unlicensed spectrum for last-mile connections to end users. "Many of the WISPs' customers have no other alternative to terrestrial broadband services," the request said.

Commenting earlier this month in response to an FCC Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) in WT Docket 19-138 - in which the FCC said it would "take a fresh and comprehensive look" at the rules for the 5.8 GHz band - ARRL called the FCC's attention to the widespread use of the 5.8 GHz band for amateur mesh and amateur television networks, as well as links that radio amateurs have engineered into the band on a non-interference secondary basis "and which often are used directly for public service purposes when there are no other facilities available."

One Wisconsin company was included in the STA request, Ethoplex, LLC of Germantown, serving Dodge, Fond du Lac, Milwaukee, Washington, and Waukesha Counties.

For the first time in its 68-year history, Dayton Hamvention(R) will not take place this year, due to concerns about the coronavirus outbreak. The glum news was not entirely unexpected, given widespread cancellations of public gatherings and a national state of emergency.

"The Hamvention Executive Committee has been monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic. We have worked very closely with our local and state health departments. It is with a very heavy heart the Hamvention Executive Committee has decided to cancel Hamvention for this year," Hamvention General Chair Jack Gerbs, WB8SCT, said in announcing the cancellation on March 15. "This decision is extremely difficult for us, but with around 2 months until the Great Gathering we felt this action necessary. More specific details regarding the closure will soon be posted. Thank you for your understanding in this time of international crisis."

One example of how amateur radio clubs continue to meet in the era of social distancing is the K7UAZ Amateur Radio Club in Tucson -- a student organization at the University of Arizona -- who have moved their radio club meetings to the radio. K7UAZ Station Manager Curt Laumann, K7ZOO, said that when the university largely shuttered its campus, club President Ken Gourley, KM6BKU, immediately transitioned regular meetings to an on-the-air format using the university repeater. The club was already holding a weekly net on Monday nights, but the added on-air club meetings offer another opportunity to get on the radio. ARRL staff member Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, the liaison for the ARRL Collegiate Amateur Radio Initiative (CARI), underscores the importance that all radio clubs encourage on-the-air activity in this challenging time. "While I know many businesses and schools have moved to online meetings and learning, I can think of many advantages for a radio club to move club meetings to on-air," Inderbitzen said. His list includes: "Holding short meetings on the air will encourage individual club members to practice their personal radio communication capabilities. Station and skills readiness are tenets of the Amateur Radio Service. Nets generally help new radio amateurs gain practical operating experience. Think of this current challenge as an opportunity to encourage your club's new hams to get on the air. As online fatigue and a feeling of isolation will inevitably creep into our "new normal," being on-air will introduce variety into our communication practices. As many of us are now homebound working or studying, turning on a radio to connect with your ham radio peers will be welcome respite!"

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

compiled by Tom Smith

Filing Deadlines Delayed
On March 27th, the FCC announced (DA-20-353A1) that the deadlines for filing the first quarter issues and programming report and the Children's Programming lists are delayed because of the Covid-19 crisis. The Children's programming lists which were due on March 30th and were for the period from when the new rules went into effect in September to December 31, 2019 will now be due on July 10th. The program and issues report for the period from January 1 to March 31st was due on April 10th and will now be due on July 10th along with the second quarter report. The FCC would still like to have stations file these two reports as soon as the stations are able to with the extended deadline as soon as practical. Filings for political advertising reports must still be filed in a timely matter.

Relaxed SFN Rules Proposed
At the March 31st meeting, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (DOC-362933A1) in response to a petition asking for the relaxing of rules for the placement of transmitters that make up a single frequency network for ATSC 3.0 stations. Currently, SFN transmitters signal contours may minimally exceed the noise limited interference contour of the main transmitter when used for fill in purposes or the equivalent contour if the station uses multiple transmitters to cover its market instead of a high power, tall tower main transmitter. Class A stations, LPTV stations and TV translators are allowed to use a SFN for multiple individually licensed stations to build a network to cover larger areas. The petition asks that stations be allowed to exceed the noise limited contour by a slightly larger amount in order to place SFN transmitters in locations where they can better serve locations on the edge of their coverage area. The SFN transmitters will still be located within the stations existing contours only the amount of signal exceeding the main contour will increase under this proposal. The petition was opposed by the National Translator Association which was concerned about increased interference to nearby translators and Microsoft which was concerned that it would reduce spectrum to be used for TV White Space devices. They are promoting a plan for the use of TV white space for internet services in rural areas and are seeking rules to expand access to TV spectrum and recently were able to get power and antenna height increases for TV white space device use. Microsoft does support the use of SFN transmitters in place of translators to fill coverage issues within a station's licensed contour as it frees spectrum for other uses.

Besides allowing the increase in spillover from SFN transmitters, the Commission is asking for comment on possible interference issues, impact on LPTV and translators and other spectrum users such as TV white space uses and wireless microphones. Note that LPTV stations, translators, wireless microphones and TV white space devices are secondary services and are not protected from spectrum usage by primary users which are full power and Class A TV stations. The Commission also seeks comment on the use of SFN transmitters for extending coverage of a TV station within a station's market area (DMA) and its effect on localism. Currently, the rules prohibit the use of SFN transmitters to expand coverage into areas of a station's DMA that is not covered within the stations transmitter contour. Stations outside the most densely parts of the nation may have parts of their DMA that are not covered by their transmitter, either because of distance between markets or increase of homes served by cable. Comments are also requested on any possible effect on using the expansion of SFN transmitters on the current ATSC 1.0 transmission system.

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

Cable Carry Rules Proposed
The FCC adopted two Notices of Proposed Rulemakings affecting TV stations cable and satellite carriage. One notice (DOC-362934A1) asks for comments on the methods of determining if a station is significantly viewed in a community or county. If the station makes a certain threshold, that station will be able to be carried on the local cable system or viewed on a satellite service outside of its normal carriage area. This action is a result of issues raised in stations requests for carriage and changes in methods used by rating services. The other proposed rulemaking (DOC-362935A1) deals with the process of processing the requests by stations for the FCC to rule on carriage requests. These requests can turn into a lengthy process for stations seeking carriage on cable and satellite systems and many times these requests result in failure because of insufficient data on the stations behalf. There will by a 30 day comment period on both actions with a 30 day reply period for the notice on methods for determining significantly viewed and a 15 day reply period for the notice on carriage requests.

Certification and Education
compiled by Jim Hermanson

The Open 2020 Exam Schedule
Exam Dates Location Application Deadline
(to SBE National Office)
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

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. Contact the SBE Chapter 24 chairperson or certification chairperson for more information.

Ready to Take an Exam?
When you are ready to take an SBE exam, note the open exam schedule, complete the appropriate application (found here... and send it directly to the SBE National office (see address below) with the respective fee. You will be notified once your application is approved. Your local certification chairman will receive a list of applicants and exams in his/her chapter and arrange for a proctor. He/she will then contact applicants to schedule a mutually agreeable date, time, and place for the exam(s) within the respective exam date window. This must be coordinated before the exam will be sent by SBE National. Completed exam(s) will be mailed back to SBE National for grading. Pass/fail results will be mailed directly to the applicants within approximately six weeks.

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
Ready to Recertify?
When you are ready to recertify, see the following page for forms and information.

Please keep SBE up to date on your contact information. When your certification is due to expire, you should receive a letter from SBE six, three and one month prior to your certification expiring. You will also receive an email notification.

The next expiration date is 7/1/2020. Please send in your re-certification paperwork by that date.

If you have any questions contact Certification Director Megan Clappe.

April and May Webinars

Thursday, April 23, 2020
EAS Basics
Shane Toven, CBRE, CBNT presents this webinar. How much do you know about those bursts of data that fire off every week on your station? Do terms like CAP, RWT, RMT, EAN, EAT, EOM, and others make your head spin? Most broadcasters understand the fact that they are legally required by the FCC to install and maintain Emergency Alert System equipment, but what do you need to know in order to ensure compliance with these FCC regulations? This session will cover the basics of what EAS is and isn't, as well as what you need to know in the role of a Chief Operator responsible for monitoring and maintaining the system. We'll focus primarily on radio broadcast applications of EAS, but will touch on television applications as well. Register Here

Wednesday, April 29, 2020
AoIP Series, Module 3 - How AES67 Builds on 15 Years of AoIP Success
Despite over 10,000 AoIP-based audio consoles working today, and over a half-million AoIP streams in operation at any given time, some aspects of AoIP remain mysterious. Questions arise such as, "What do I need to understand about IP multicast?," "Can I mix AoIP and other data on my IP network?," "What are potential points of failure so I can plan for redundancy?," and "Can I connect facilities together without using IP-audio codecs?" These and other questions are best answered from a solid comprehension of AoIP fundamentals. Together we'll learn and review the key concepts in Audio over IP networking so you'll be confident in AoIP network design and configuration. Register Here

Thursday, May 14, 2020
2020 RF Safety Course
Stephen Lockwood, senior engineer and partner with Hatfield & Dawson Consulting Engineers, will present. This course provides an updated overview of RF radiation issues and practices for broadcasters, including: proving compliance at a broadcast site; biological effects of RF radiation and the distinct difference between RF radiation and ionizing radiation; FCC and OSHA regulations - what they are and what you need to do to comply; workplace hazards; transmitter sites; SNG and ENG trucks; remote operations (where new personnel can find problems such as on rooftops); the unique issues at AM stations, RF hazard protection equipment - you may not need it but your contractors probably will; and signs - what they mean and what you need.

Members $62, MemberPlus Members FREE and Non Members $92. Register Here

Tons of state-of-the-art radio, TV, multimedia, and IT engineering training is available through this page...

More information on SBE Education Programs is available here...

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