Monthly eNews November 2020

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Our Next Meeting:
Thursday, Nov 19th

Remote Broadcasting Trends
by Tieline

Doug Ferber, VP Sales, and Jacob Daniluck, Tech Sales Expert, of Tieline will present "Remote Broadcasting Connections: Trends and Suggestions". A variety of different codecs and methods of remote connections will be discussed.

7:00 PM - Meeting/Program
This meeting is Virtual
Connection information will be distributed
in the days prior to the meeting.

Look Back 10 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 7:03pm, October 14, 2020 via a Zoom Teleconference. The meeting had 30 members present from a number of SBE chapters across the United States with 19 being certified and one guest.

The meeting was followed with a presentation by RF Technician Gary Trenda on Radio Frequency coordination for large events such as the Latin Music Awards or the Super Bowl. The presentation covered best practices when over 100 devices are needed for a production. Not just microphones, intercom and in ear monitors. A special thanks to Sound Devices for sponsoring this presentation.

Program Ideas Appreciated

The Chapter 24 2021 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.

The First Broadcast: November 1920
By Neal McLain

      "On November 2, 1920, in a makeshift shack in East Pittsburgh, six men sat up all night reporting the Presidential election returns on KDKA, the first licensed broadcasting station in America.
      And Broadcasting was born.
      Since then it's grown at an astonishing rate."
      "Countries halfway around the globe are now no further away than your nearest radio or TV set. You've had ringside seats at Olympic games, inaugurations and coronations. You've even been to the moon."
And so began a full-page advertisement by Group W in the November 1970 issue of Broadcasting magazine. The entire issue recognized the historic significance of the date: the fiftieth anniversary of the first broadcast, on November 2, 1920, on KDKA, the first licensed broadcast station in America.

The article continues:
      "But broadcasting brings you more that athletes and astronauts. We bring you the war on poverty, rats and junkies.
      We show you how it feels to be old and alone. Or how it feels to be a kid sharing your bed with four other kids.
      We show you all this because we believe it is broadcasting's responsibility to make people care; for only when they care do they act.
      Fifty years ago on KDKA, broadcasting started making the world a smaller place. But as broadcasters we now face a much harder job: helping it become a better place."
Westinghouse Broadcasting Company. Advertisement. Broadcasting, Nov. 2, 1970: p. 3.

And so, with this issue of the Chapter 24 newsletter, we recognize November 2020 as the 100th anniversary of the first words ever broadcast by radio, in November 1920.

The author is a Certified Senior Broadcasting Engineer. He lived in Madison for several years and contributed numerous articles to this newsletter. He now lives in south Texas near the Gulf Coast. He is now a member of the Houston SBE Chapter 105, but he still considers Chapter 24 as his "home chapter." He can be reached at

Amateur Radio News
Compiled by Tom Weeden, WJ9H

Pittsburgh radio station KDKA celebrates 100 years of radio broadcasting in November, and Pennsylvania radio amateurs will honor that milestone in a multi-station special event. KDKA dates its broadcasting history to the airing of the Harding-Cox presidential results on November 2, 1920, and the station has been on the air ever since. The special event, which will involve the operation of four stations, will run through the entire month of November.

"More than 100 years ago, many experimenters started delving into a new technology known as wireless, or radio," said Bob Bastone, WC3O, Radio Officer for the Skyview Radio Society in New Kensington, Pennsylvania. Bastone explained that many of those early pioneers were radio amateurs. "One hundred plus years later, many amateur radio operators are still contributing to wireless technology, while also serving their communities and enhancing international goodwill. Congratulations to KDKA Radio, also known in the early years as amateur radio stations 8XK, 8ZZ, and W8XK."

Special event stations K3K, K3D, K3A, and W8XK will set up and operate at several locations in Pennsylvania during November. Stations will determine their own modes and schedules. Visit the W8XK profile on for information on certificates and QSLs.

What became KDKA initially began broadcasting in 1916 as amateur radio station 8XK, licensed by the Federal Radio Commission (FRC), the predecessor to the FCC. At the time, amateurs were not prohibited from broadcasting. The small station was operated by Dr. Frank Conrad, who was Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company assistant chief engineer. The transmitter ran 75 W, and the broadcasts gained some popularity in Pittsburgh.

During World War I, amateur radio operation was suspended due to national security concerns. After the war, 8XK was reorganized as a commercial AM radio station, KDKA. The first transmissions of KDKA originated in a makeshift studio on the roof of Westinghouse K Building in East Pittsburgh.

Despite vigorous and continuing opposition from ARRL and others, the FCC has ordered the "sunsetting" of the 3.3 - 3.5 GHz amateur radio secondary spectrum allocation, effective on November 9. The decision allows current amateur activity on the band to continue, "grandfathering" the amateur operations subject to a later decision. The FCC proposed two deadlines for amateur operations to cease on the band. The first would apply to the 3.4 - 3.5 GHz segment, the second to 3.3 - 3.4 GHz. The FCC will establish the dates once it reviews additional comments.

"We adopt our proposal from the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to remove the amateur allocation from the 3.3 - 3.5 GHz band," the FCC said in its Report and Order (R&O) and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in FCC-20-138A1, adopted on September 30 and published October 9 in The Federal Register. "[W]e adopt changes to our rules today that provide for the sunset of the secondary amateur allocation in the band, but allow continued use of the band for amateur operations, pending resolution of the issues raised in the Further Notice."

The September 30 R&O followed a 2019 FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in which the FCC proposed re-allocating 3.45 - 3.55 GHz for "flexible-use service" and auctioning the desirable "mid-band" spectrum (generally defined as between 1 GHz and 6 GHz) to 5G providers. These and other recent spectrum-repurposing actions stem from the MOBILE NOW Act, enacted in 2018, in which Congress directed the Commission to make additional spectrum available to auction for mobile and fixed wireless broadband. The FCC action is consistent with worldwide allocations adopted by the ITU for these frequencies.

ARRL will continue its efforts to preserve secondary amateur radio access to 3.3 - 3.5 GHz. Members are invited to share comments by visiting

"We recognize that any loss of our privileges will most directly impact radio amateurs who use the frequencies to operate and innovate," said ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR. "Such instances only embolden ARRL's role to protect and advocate for the Amateur Radio Service and Amateur Satellite Service. There will be continued threats to our spectrum. So I urge all amateurs, now more than ever, to strengthen our hold by being ceaseless in our public service, experimenting, and discovery throughout the radio spectrum."

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

compiled by Tom Smith

TV Freeze Lifted
On October 29th, the FCC issued a Public Notice (DA-20-1269A1) lifting the freeze on upgrades to full power and Class A stations and opened the filing of petitions for new allotments for full power TV stations. The FCC had frozen all applications for new stations and certain minor applications for modifications and upgrades to all full power or Class A stations. Low power TV stations and translators will still remain under a freeze on applications for new stations, but applications for minor modifications or for channel changes for existing LPTV stations and translators are still being accepted. This is due to the continuing need for a number of existing LPTV stations and translators to find new channels after being displaced from their existing channel either by full power or Class A stations or by having to be moved out of the 600 MHz band by the new wireless allocations in that band. The list of the allowed applications under the lifted freeze from the FCC are as follows.
  • Petitions for rulemaking to change channels in the DTV Table of Allotments
  • Petitions for rulemaking for new DTV allotments
  • Petitions to swap in-core channels
  • Petitions for rulemaking to change communities of license
  • Modification applications that increase a full power or Class A station's service area beyond an area that is already served
The freeze on upgrades and new allotments have existed in some form since 2004. The FCC allowed some modifications to stations facilities for limited periods during the time. The reason for the freezes was to allow for open channels for stations to be repacked into the new smaller TV bands. The FCC also has frozen new allocations and certain upgrades for certain markets since the late 1980's and early 1990's to allow for the transition from analog to digital TV.

Applications for upgrades and new allocations will be accepted 15 days after the notice is published in the Federal Register.

NCE Window To Open
On October 19th, the Commission issued a Public Notice (FCC-20-145A1) directing the Media Bureau to open a window in 2021 to accept applications for new non-commercial educational stations. Applicants would be limited to 10 applications to limit speculation. Currently, there are no application fees or ownership limits for non-commercial stations, but recent rule changes concerning NCE stations and the no filing window for 10 years will make it easier to apply for new NCE stations. The FCC may also require application fees which they normally do not require for NCE stations in either radio or TV to limit speculation. After a 2003 window for FM translators in which there were over 13,000 applications with many mass speculation filings by individual filers. The last window for NCE stations was in 2010 for a limited number of existing allotments and the last open window was in 2007 in which applicants were limited to 10 applications. FCC expects many applications due to built-up demand and wants to use the same application limits. Many of the applications will be mutually exclusive as there will be many applications for the same frequency in many markets. There were 3600 applications in the 2007 window and 300 applications for the limited number of frequencies available in 2010. The Commission will be seeking comment on the application limits and the possibility of fees. The Media Bureau will have to issue a notice some time before they open the window seeking these comments.

FCC Approves All Digital AM
On October 27th, the FCC adopted rules (FCC-20-154A1) allowing for AM stations to voluntary convert to all digital operation. Stations may elect to convert to all digital operation, but the Commission will not require any station to convert. Stations with be required to file the FCC form notifying the Commission that they wish to begin all digital operation 30 days before they begin operation in the all digital mode and give listeners notice that analog transmission will cease and will start digital operations. Stations will have to use the Xperi HD Radio system as it is the only approved System in the U.S. The Commission refused to consider the Digital Radio Mondale (DRM) system as an alternative transmission system at this time as it has not been approved for use in the U.S., but DRM may be considered in the future. There was also a discussion of any possible changes in emissions such as power levels and bandwidth restrictions, but the Commission decided to retain the current rules in regulating emissions.

The rules will become effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

New TV White Space Rules Adopted
The Commission adopted rules (FCC-20-156A1) on October 27th that will allow for power and height increases for TV white space systems. The power and height increases mainly affect areas that are rural or located at some distance from the largest TV markets. The FCC considers these areas as "less congested". A less congested area is one where the number of broadcast facilities occupy half or less than half of the number of channels available in the TV band that the TV white space system will operate in. The new rules will allow a TV white space transmitter to operate with an increased radiated power of 16 watts from the previous 10 watt limit in a less congested area. The antenna for these systems will be allowed to be placed as high as 500 meters above average terrain. The old limit was 250 meters above average terrain. The Commission also removed the antenna limitation of 100 meters above the ground. Previously to get the 250 meters above average terrain one would have had to place a transmitter site on top of a hill or mountain. The 4 watt transmitter power and 250 meters height above average terrain limitations still remain in congested areas. With the increase power and height limits in less congested areas, the FCC increased the separation requirements between broadcast facilities including translator receive sites and to licensed wireless microphone locations. The new power and height increases do not apply to TV white space operations on TV channel 36 in order to continue to protect space research and medical devices on channel 37. Transmitter power for TV white space devices will still be limited to one watt which will encourage the use of directional antennas to achieve 16 watts radiated output .

The Commission allowed for the operation of higher power mobile transmitters with limitations in less congested areas. These higher power transmitters could be used for services such as Wi-Fi in school buses and farm tractors for downloading soil information to determine the amount of fertilizer to apply to a particular field. The mobile devices will be required to be geo-fenced and will have to determine its location within the geo-fence once a minute using GPS. The expectation is the these mobile devices would have steerable directional antennas to help prevent interference when operating near the edge of the geo-fenced area. The FCC also set the power limitations on Internet of Things (IoT) TV white space devices. These are narrow band devices that could be used to transmit data from systems that monitor the operation of some system such as power transmission facilities.

The Commission did not change power limitations on personal mobile devices or allow operations of high power TV white space on channels adjacent and within the contour of an existing TV station.

The notice also announced a Further Notice of rulemaking asking for information on using the Longley-Rice Model for determining separation between TV white space sites and TV transmitters. Currently TV stations contours for determining the separation of the transmitters is by using the predicted field based on power and the height above terrain of the TV station's antenna. There will be a 30 day comment period with 30 more days for replies.

Audio Description Expended
At the October 27th meeting of the Commission, rules (FCC-20-155A1) were adopted to expand the requirement to provide audio descriptions of TV programming to the blind. Beginning on January 1st 2021, the FCC will require TV markets 61 to 70 to begin to provide audio descriptions. On January 1st of the next three years an additional 10 markets will be required to provide audio description with all stations in markets up to market 100 having to provide audio description by January 1, 2024. The FCC will be asking in the future if the requirement should be expanded to markets smaller than the top 100. Stations affected are those that carry the top four networks which are ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC. Stations are supposed to be able to carry a second channel to carry audio information relating to emergency crawls for the blind, so the FCC considers this action as not requiring a large cost to stations. As part of the notice, the FCC renamed the description service from video description to audio description.

Reimbursement Deadlines
A notice (DA-20-1171A1) was released from the FCC on October 7th that set the deadline for reimbursement for those stations that are eligible for payment for costs due to the TV repack. For TV stations that were in phase 1-5, invoices are due on October 8, 2021. For stations in phases 6-10, invoices are due on March 22, 2022 and for FM stations, TV translators, LPTV stations, and cable and satellite systems invoices are due on September 5, 2022.

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

Applicant: City Church, Madison, Inc.
          WIXL-LP, 97.1 Mhz, Madison, WI
Action: Voluntary Transfer of Control
From: City Church, Madison, Inc.. (Old Board)
To: City Church, Madison Inc. 'New Board'
Applicant: Relevant Radio, Inc.
          WDVM, 1050 Khz, Eau Claire, WI
          WHFA, 1240 Khz, Poynette, WI
Action: License to Modify

Certification and Education
compiled by Jim Hermanson

Well Done!
Congratulations to...
Andrew Kennedy of Morgan Murphy Media for passing his Certified Broadcast Television Engineer (CBTE) exam!

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

February 5-15, 2021

Local Chapters (Madison Area)

December 31, 2020

June 4-14, 2021

Local Chapters (Madison Area)

April 16, 2021

August 6-16, 2021

Local Chapters (Madison Area)

June 11, 2021

November 5-15, 2021

Local Chapters (Madison Area)

September 10, 2021

We are in need of use of a safe conference or meeting room for a one-hour certification exam to be given this month (November). If you have or know of such a place that can be available for two people for one evening or weekend exam, please contact Certification Chair Jim Hermanson at Thank you!

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.

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

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 1/1/2021. Please send in your re-certification paperwork by that date. If you have any questions contact Certification Director Megan Clappe.

November Live Webinars

Thursday, November 12, 2020, 1:00 PM CT

Broadcasting During and After a Pandemic: What Works and What Doesn't
What started with "two weeks to stop the spread" is now "we must wait for a vaccine", so staying on-the-air is an ever-changing challenge for radio broadcasters. During March, 2020, many broadcasters moved quickly from their familiar and busy corporate studios to individual home-based studios.

As the working-from-home paradigm has extended even longer, what are engineers envisioning as longer-term solutions? What equipment, software, or workflows are rising to prominence as we're settling into this work paradigm?

In this presentation we'll hear and see directly from broadcast engineers in large, medium, and small markets. We'll see how their signal paths and workflows have morphed over time and learn their predictions for the future of quality and timely content creation from home.

Instructor: Kirk A. Harnack, CBRE, CBNE, Senior Systems Consultant, The Telos Alliance.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020, 1:00 PM CT

HD Radio Streamlined and Redefined 4th Generation Hardware
A new generation of HD Radio hardware combines the Importer and Exporter into a single appliance and simplifies operation while providing integrated time alignment. Other features include more flexible HD2/HD3/HD4 software and hardware-based capture client encoding options, and integrated EAS features for multicast channels. Gen4 also offers the advanced extended hybrid mode MP11, which adds an additional 24 kilobits for a total data capacity of 144 kb/s.

Instructor: Alan Jurison, CPBE, AMD, DRB, CBNE, Senior Operations Engineer, iHeartMedia

***Free to SBE Members, Thanks to HD Radio***

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