Monthly eNews July 2020

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WMSN-TV Fox 47

Our Next Meeting:
Thursday, July 23rd

Transitioning to IP

Austin Thomas of LAWO will talk about the broadcast industry's transition to IP along with some of the challenges the industry faces. Also discussed will be how manufactures like LAWO fit into the IP puzzle.

7:00 PM - Meeting/Program
This meeting will be held virtually.
Details including connection information will
be distributed in the days prior to the meeting.

Look Back 14 Years

Last Meeting's Minutes
Submitted by Russ Awe, Secretary

The SBE Chapter 24 meeting was called to order by Chapter Chair Britny Williams at 7pm, June 24, 2020 via a virtual meeting. The meeting had nine members present with seven being certified and two guests attending.

The Secretary meeting minutes from 5/28/2020 were moved, seconded and approved as submitted.

With the eNews letter, Leonard Charles reported that the deadline for articles for the July eNews letter is Wednesday July 1st at 5pm. Please forward any article of interest to Chapter 24 members to If you don't receive the eNews letter and want to, send an email addressed to to be added to the distribution list.

Britney reported that our membership numbers remain the same. Fred could not be present tonight, but passed along a note that the chapter remains at 12 Sustaining Memberships.

Russ mentioned that the Overture Hall tour set for July has been cancelled due to COVID. Britny will be working on a replacement program. If you have ideas for programs, please contact Britny. The WBA Broadcasters Clinic at this time is planning for an in person clinic. For a full list, dates and planned programs please see the Chapter 24 web site.

With the Certification Report Jim Hermanson stated that due to COVID, there has not been a lot of certification lately. A certification session is planned for November 6 - 16. Registration is due with the national office by September 21 for that session.

Tom Smith with Frequency Coordination reported that the 608 MHz band must be vacated by July 13. This will effect some wireless mics and new mics may need to be purchased. 548 - 608 should be available in the Madison area.

With the National SBE news, Leonard Charles reported that Sierra Automated Systems & Engineering Corp., presents an SBE webinar that covers the Dante/AoIP mechanism with a detailed overview of the technology and how it's implemented into manufacturers' products. It streams live on Thursday, July 13 at 1:00 pm CDT. Register at the SBE website. It's free for those SBE MemberPlus members.

We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in some SBE members being laid off or even job loss. To help stay connected to the SBE community and maintain access to member benefits, the SBE offers a Membership Dues Waiver program that waives the annual dues payment if a member is experiencing economic (or health) hardship due to no fault of their own. To apply for a waiver, send an email to SBE Executive Director John Poray ( explaining your circumstances. He will share it with the national Membership Committee chair for the approval of a waiver of dues. Requests for waivers must be from current SBE members who have been a member since at least April 1, 2019 and have not received more than one waiver in the past. Requests for dues waivers of 2020 dues must be received no later than June 30.

No old or new business was brought forward.

Motion to adjourn was made and seconded.

Meeting was adjourned by Britny at 7:08pm.

The meeting was followed with a presentation from William Smith of Avateq. He and his team showed us what modern day RF monitoring and analysis looks like. Avateq Corp., headquartered in Canada, manufactures RF Layer Monitoring Receivers and Signal Analyzers. Their AVQ1020 RF monitor is deployed monitoring hundreds of television transmitters. Their AVQ1022 RF Signal Analyzer is used by RF consultants and transmitter field engineers for proof of performance at transmitter sites. They also have in field monitoring and SFN monitoring with their portable AVQ200 tool.

Program Ideas Appreciated

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. Open dates are available.

Amateur Radio News
Compiled by Tom Weeden, WJ9H

A balloon launched on May 20 by "Amateur Radio Roundtable" web show host Tom Medlin, W5KUB, and his team has begun its third circumnavigation of Earth. The balloon, at 43,000 - 45,000 feet, completed its second trip around the globe on June 19. It crossed the Atlantic Ocean "in record time" at a speed of about 170 MPH, the balloon website reported this week.

Identified as W5KUB-18, the balloon carries APRS and WSPR amateur radio payloads. By the morning of June 25, it was above China, moving at more than 100 MPH.

According to the balloon website, the mission and goal are to launch a high-altitude balloon for long-duration and multiple trips around the world. The balloon, an SBS-13, is capable of flying up to 45,000 feet. "It will be filled with hydrogen to obtain higher altitude," the website explains. "It will be solar powered only (no batteries, so it will only transmit during daylight). We will receive tracking every 10 minutes via WSPR on HF [14.0971 MHz]." Tracking transmissions will be turned off over the UK, Yemen, and North Korea due to regulations. The tracking transmitter runs just 10 mW, but it's being heard as far away as 9,000 miles, Medlin told ARRL.

"The entire tracker with GPS and processor is only 2 grams," Medlin said. "That's about the weight of a penny. The entire payload is only 15 grams total." The current effort is the group's ninth attempt to circumnavigate the globe.

From the balloon tracking web site: "The payload consists of a home made tracker (YO3ICT design) that contains the GPS system, and an HF transmitter running only about 10 milliwatts. This is less power than most of your bluetooth devices at home. We are trying a different power system on this launch. The solar panel is a single 3.6 volt 100 mA panel. We are using a 2 F super capacitor across it and have implemented a 3.3 V regulator to get the proper voltage to the tracker board."

Medlin's livestreamed "Amateur Radio Roundtable" goes live on Tuesdays at 9 PM Eastern Time and accepts calls from viewers.

Two special events in June marked the centennial of the first entertainment radio broadcast in Great Britain (and possibly the world). England's Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society (CARS) operated special event station GB100MZX on June 13 - 20, and Wales' Dragon Amateur Radio Club operated special event GB0MZX on June 12 - 21. Both commemorated the 100th anniversary of the live radio recital by well-known Australian soprano Dame Nellie Melba, on June 15, 1920. These special events opened the door to some interesting radio history.

MZX was the call sign at Marconi's second Chelmsford radio factory on New Street, built in 1912. A CARS history recounts that after 1913, all G- and M-prefix call signs were allocated to the UK, with the M prefix being associated with Marconi. The Marconi factory received a general experimental license in late 1919 with the MZX call sign.

According to CARS, in order to test transmitters manufactured in the new plant, it became common practice to power them into an antenna and invite people to read "railway timetables or similar mundane material" over the air.

Listeners who wrote Marconi suggested that he air more enlightening material, so some locals were informally invited into the factory to tell stories or even sing from a makeshift studio. Two 750-foot towers at the factory supported wire antennas for MZX, which by the time of the historic broadcast was running a 15 kW transmitter.

Dame Nellie Melba. [BBC archive]

Sensing a potential profit, The Daily Mail newspaper paid Dame Nellie Melba to travel to Chelmsford by train, where she was picked up in a chauffeur-driven car and taken the long way around Chelmsford on a route advertised beforehand to waving crowds before arriving at the studio in New Street, just a few hundred meters away.

The CARS account continues, "Her historic performance was very well received, although she realized that possibly future (paid) public performances may suffer if she was often 'on the radio,' [and] she never made a radio broadcast again.

"The Postmaster-General was not amused by such trivial use and withdrew the license in November 1920 on 'interference grounds,' in particular with Croydon airfield. The public clamor for reinstatement was substantial, and due to pressure from the Wireless Society of London and the House of Commons, the Post Office eventually relented."

The Wireless Society of London eventually became the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB), the International Amateur Radio Union member-society.

Additional history of Marconi's manufacturing and broadcasting in the UK appears on the CARS website.

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

compiled by Tom Smith

Important FCC Deadlines Coming
The FCC has two important deadlines coming up. The first deadline is the end of the TV repack. On June 18th, the FCC issued a reminder (DOC-365005A1) that phase 10 was to end on July 3rd. On that date, the last group of TV stations that were required to move to a new channel will have needed to finish the move. Out of the 987 full-power and Class A low-power stations, 92 stations had not completed their move as of June 18th. In the reminder notice the FCC extended the deadline for WFOX-TV in Jacksonville, FL to September 8th because of interference issues with land mobile operations that were difficult to resolve. WFOX currently operates on a channel below channel 37 which would not be an issue with new wireless broadband operations in the 600 MHz band. The end of the repack allows wireless broadband operations not already on the air will now be allowed to start operations on July 13th. At that time all wireless microphones will have to cease operations in the 600 MHz band (TV channels 38-51) except for operation as allowed in the wireless broadband guard bands. This may require stations to purchase new wireless microphones on the UHF channels 14 to 36 or move to the VHF band. Note to the Madison wireless microphone users: With both full power and low power stations on channels 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24 and 26 most of the open spectrum is on channels 27 through 36 (548 to 608 MHz).

The second important deadline pertains to all radio stations in Wisconsin. Radio licenses expire on December 3rd with renewal applications due on August 3rd. Information on filing for renewal can be found at broadcast-radio-license-renewal. A number of low-power stations have come on the air following the last renewal period and may not be familiar with the process. If you are involved with any of these stations, please help them with the process as the FCC will fine or cancel licenses for being late or failing to file.

EEO Rules Suspended
On May 4th, the FCC suspended (DA-20-482A1) its requirement to conduct outreach when refilling positions that were reopened after staff layoffs due to Covid 19. Stations that rehire an employee within nine months of having been laid off from a position will not have to conduct the required EEO outreach.

Relaxed Ownership Rules For Non-Broadcast DTV Services
On June 9th, the FCC issues a Declaratory Ruling and a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC-20-73A1) concerning non-broadcast use of a DTV station's digital stream. Stations are allowed to lease excess data capacity for ancillary or supplementary use. Congress required the FCC to collect a 5 percent fee from the proceeds that stations collect from any non-broadcast use of their data stream either from a paid service by the station or by leasing the bandwidth to a third party. Congress required the fee as part of the agreement to provide a second channel for the DTV transition as a way to prevent undue enrichment for the use of the new digital spectrum. In the Declaratory Ruling, the FCC is allowing another station in the market to lease another station's spectrum without violating ownership limits. A station may also enter into a joint agreement to combine each stations excess bandwidth for a jointly operated service. Services could be data services including software downloads, paging services, audio services such as leasing bandwidth for radio or streaming services, video subscription services and anything else one can think of. Stations are required to maintain one free standard definition TV service when providing paid services with their bandwidth. In the past, there have be attempts to provide paid cable like video services in ATSC 1.0 which did not succeed because of bandwidth and channel limitations of early M-peg encoders. This action is due to the upcoming transition to ATSC 3.0 with the increased data rates and the increased efficiency of video encoders allowing for an increase in video streams or increased excess data bandwidth that may be available. With this action, stations could get together and provide additional programming normally carried on subscription services and gain an additional revenue stream or new innovated data services.

In the Proposed Notice of Rulemaking, the Commission is asking for comments on different methods of computing the fee to the FCC for the use of a data stream for subscription services. They ask what types of services should be subject to fees and if the fees should be computed differently for some services. Currently, many stations receive a fee from the networks that they carry on their sub-channels for their carriage, but because they are free to the viewers and the fee is considered payment for carrying the commercials on the network, those fees are exempted from the FCC fee.

Next Generation DTV Rules Clarified
The FCC issued a Second Report and Order and an Order of Reconsideration (FCC-20-72A1) on issues pertaining to the authorization of stations transitioning to Next Generation or ATSC 3.0 DTV operations. In the Report and Order portion of the notice, the Commission clarified the local simulcast waiver standard. The FCC affirmed that a station could ask and receive a waiver from the local simulcasting requirement for having no viable simulcasting partner if it has fewer than three other stations (zero to two) in its DMA that can provide coverage of its entire community of license. A station must make an attempt to find a partner to simulcast with, but the Commission recognizes that many stations may not agree to become a partner and a station may be unable to find a partner to team up with. The FCC will give additional consideration to a waiver if a station agrees to provide an ATSC 3.0 convertor at little or no cost to viewers, but will not require stations to do so. These waivers will affect stations in small and rural markets. The FCC also ruled that they will not provide a second channel for stations to provide an ATSC 1.0 simulcast platform for stations converting to ATSC 3.0. The FCC denied the use of second channels in order to avoid disruption to LPTV stations, TV translators, wireless microphone users and TV white space operations. The cable industry objected to the FCC allowing waivers to the simulcasting requirement because of the possible need to purchase ATSC 3.0 receiving equipment to meet mandatory carriage requirements. The FCC has ruled the ATSC 3.0 transmissions are not subject to mandatory carriage. Cable systems only are required to carry ATSC 1.0 transmissions. The Commission also ruled to retain its significantly viewed rules for stations transmitting ATSC 3.0 as comparable to its ATSC 1.0 significant viewing rules. This rule determines cable and satellite carriage of a station by determining if that station receives a significant amount viewers in an area to warrant carriage.

The Order of Reconsideration ruled against requests by the cable industry in a number of matters. They included objections to the sunset of substantially simulcast rules of the ATSC 1.0 and ATSC 3.0 transmissions. Before July 17th, 2023 stations must provide similar versions of their programming, other then differences such as video resolution and ATSC 3.0 enhancements. Other objections include the March 6th 2023 sunset of parts of the A/322 ASTC 3.0 standard for the physical layer protocol in order to allow the standard to evolve. The FCC also ruled against the cable industry objection to allowing that a station could transmit its ATSC 1.0 signal in standard definition, allowing TV stations to negotiate the carriage of the ATSC 3.0 signal as part of the retransmission agreements, patent licensing standards, and allowing translators and LPTV stations to directly transition to ATSC 3.0 without simulcasting an ATSC 1.0 signal.

Program Origination on FM Translators
The FCC is seeking comment (DOC-365103A1) on a petition to allow limited program origination on FM translators. This petition is mainly a result of the proposed rulemaking by Geocast (see May 2020 newsletter) to allow program origination on FM boosters for the localization of programming within a FM stations coverage area. They are proposing that FM translators for both FM and AM stations be allowed to provide programming separate than the main station as long as the translators carry the main station for a minimum of 40 hours of the week. Currently, FM translators owned by third parties may carry a limited number of spots a day separate from the main station to provide support to the translators operation. Suggested programming for the translators are local high school sports, government meetings and other localized programming.

The petition also requests that station owned translators owned by commercial stations be allowed within their 45 dbu contour. Currently a station owned translator must limit its signal within its 60 dbu contour for class A and C stations, 54 dbu contour for class B stations and 57 dbu contour for class B1 stations. Third party translators may carry a commercial FM beyond the FCC contour limits. The FCC adopted rules in August 2019 that allowed FM stations that receive interference complaints from listeners within their 45 dbu contour to request the FCC to require interfering FM translators to modify their signal or cease operation. In that ruling, the FCC acknowledged that normal FM reception extended beyond the protected Class A and C 60 dbu contour, the class B1 57 dbu contour or class B 54 dbu contour. The petition also requested that the FCC allow FM translators to use a four letter call sing with a suffix of FX in place of the current call sign of a W or K channel number and two letters.

The petition was signed by 24 station groups including Mazer LLC. station group in Sturgeon Bay, WI. Comments are due on July 23rd.

For the Record
(Wisconsin FCC Actions)
compiled by Leonard Charles
from the FCC Daily Digest

Board of Regents of Univ of WI System
WHA 970 KHZ Madison WI
Granted License to Modify

No 2020 EAS National Test
from Inside Radio

For the first time in nearly a decade, there will not be a national test of the Emergency Alert System this year. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has announced that because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the "unusual circumstances and working conditions" faced by many broadcasters and cable operators, it will put the test on the backburner until next year.

Certification and Education
compiled by Jim Hermanson

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

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.

The majority of SBE certifications are open book and access to the Internet is allowed to give a more "real world" situation.

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

ATSC 3.0 Specialist Exam Prep Materials

The ATSC3 Specialist is still in the development phase. There has been one round of beta testing conducted. After that round, the committee determined that some additional questions needed to be added. Those questions are being written. Once they have been incorporated, a second round of beta testing will take place.

In the meantime, there is a reference list of items that may be helpful in studying for the exam.

When the exam is ready to accept applications the SBE will make an announcement.

July Webinars

Thursday, July 16, 2020
AoIP, Module 5 - Dante Based Products, Deep Dive Webinar
Al Salci, Vice-President, Sierra Automated Systems & Engineer Corporation presents this webinar that will cover the Dante/AoIP mechanism with a detailed overview of the technology and how it's implemented into manufacturers products. In addition, this seminar will cover the DANTE exclusive "Primary and Secondary" built in backup failover networks, which is the only AoIP system that will automatically and synchronously fill-in audio packets from the secondary network in the event of a primary network failure. Additionally, using IEEE1588 GPS locked master clock generators and Dante Domain Manager, this webinar will cover how to get full 24-bit linear audio from one location to another.

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

Thursday, July 23, 2020--FREE for all SBE MEMBERS!
C-Band in the New Shared Environment
Mark Johnson, CSRE, President, Link Up Communications Corporation presents this webinar. Since the early 1980's, the broadcast industry has relied on a fleet of C-band geostationary satellites to reliably deliver content for radio and television stations. In 2018, the FCC began a process that will transition 60% of the C-band bandwidth to the mobile broadband companies. It is critical for each broadcaster to understand the process and stay informed. This presentation will review the key entities in the FCC order, the timeline and milestones, qualified earth stations, transition planning, and next steps to prepare for the new shared environment.

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

Completion of each of these SBE webinars qualifies for one credit, identified under Category I of the Recertification Schedule for SBE Certifications. The fee for SBE members $62. SBE Members with SBE MemberPlus are FREE. The non-member fee is $92.

Several 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