SBE Chapter 36

Society of Broadcast Engineers, San Diego

SBE Chapter 36 - Society of Broadcast Engineers, San Diego

October 21 Meeting: Video to Go by TV Pro Gear

The term “flypack” has meant many things over the years, from small, portable video production systems in a travel rack case, to satellite uplink systems built for airline cargo spaces. At our October meeting, TV Pro Gear will update us on current trends in production flypacks. With better large scale integration, users can pile more stuff into small spaces, and Andy Maisner will show us just what the current capabilities and limits are, in both a remote vehicle and Flypak™.

Join us October 21, 2015 at 12 noon, at KGTV, 4600 Airway in San Diego for a free lunch and presentation from TV Pro Gear. As always, this meeting is open to all.  Continue reading

KPRI Sells to EMF

KPRI (FM) 102.1, city of license Encinitas, filed this week to transfer its license to the Electronic Media Foundation, Rocklin, CA. The station at 3:30pm Monday suddenly changed to the EMF satellite-delivered Christian music “K-Love” format and sent home all of its approximately 20 employees. KPRI will be operated by EMF on a Limited Marketing Agreement until the FCC approves the transfer. Continue reading

September 2015 Meeting: ATSC 3 for You and Me

“If you stand still, there’s only one way to go, and that’s backwards”– right? ATSC 3.0 is coming for television whether you are ready or not. Joel Wilhide, Systems Design Engineer for Harmonic, Inc., is coming to San Diego to explain it to you. He’s a terrific speaker, so even if you’re a little slow like me, you can get the gist of what he’s saying, or at least have the opportunity to nod your head in public.

Come join us for lunch and learning at 12pm noon Wednesday, September 16, 2015 at KGTV, 4600 Air Way, San Diego. Joel’s going to by you lunch in KGTV’s amazing cafeteria.

Joel is on that ATSC-3 committee and he will join us to tell us more about it. He’s an Application Specialist in digital television broadcasting with a specialty in large and small compression systems and transport interfaces for digital media. He has been with Harmonic for 20 years.

Electrical Safety Class for Broadcast Engineers Offered in Los Angeles

(Edited 9/15/15 – New location) Save the Date! Sept 25, Friday, 730am-5pm, for a full day of electrical safety training, organized and sponsored in part by SBE Chapter 47, Los Angeles. All are welcome to attend.

This all-day seminar at KLCS-TV in Los Angeles will cover education about electricity and basic electrical safety techniques designed to keep you alive!  When you are done with this one day course and pass the in-class written test, you will receive a certificate for Electrical Safety – Cal-OHSA, Title 8 and NFPA 70E (2015 standards).

Presented by Joseph O’Dwyer, President O’Dwyer Technical Services.  Joe has taught this class to Disney, ESPN, ABC, Apple, JP Morgan, Boeing and many other corporate employees.  Is it raw?  Yes. Is it scary? Yes. Will there be gory pictures and videos? Absolutely.

This class is not meant to teach you to be an electrician, but if you deal with electricity at tower sites, transmitter sites or even studios, or you find yourself presented with electrical situations alone at these sites, this class is for you. Consider bringing your facilities personnel. Have you ever had to open an old, rusty panel with electricity in it and maybe its a little dirty? WAIT, don’t open it before you attend this class! Be smart and be prepared! We’re not talking snakes and rats here.

Topics include:

  • Codes and Standards
  • Safety Fundamentals
  • Electric Shock
  • ARC Flash and Blast
  • Safe Work Practices
  • Maintenance for Safety

Expect tests before and after instruction. 70% passing grade required for certificate

Register here.

NOTE: We require a minimum of 20 students to hold the class and a max of 25. We reserve the right to cancel the class if the minimum is not reached.Refunds will be provided if we cancel the class.

Making Waves Commentary: One Engineer’s Return from the Edge of Insanity

This week I’m starting a new job, serving as Assistant Chief Engineer at KGTV, with Bob Vaillancourt at the helm.

When systems integrator TV Magic started winding down in 2012, leaving me at the curb, I knew getting a good-fitting job wasn’t going to be easy if my family was going to stay in San Diego. Jobs in broadcast management here don’t open up every day, and I probably wasn’t going to go back to staff engineer. “He’ll just leave when a management job opens up.” “He’ll want too much money.” Without a EE or CS degree from a renowned university, high tech companies like Qualcomm and ViaSat would not even acknowledge my submissions.

So I dug right in to start my own consulting business, taking Small Business Administration classes, creating a website, and following up on referrals. (By the way, a big thank you to friends who sent potential customers my way. I believe we held up our part of the deal by treating these new clients well.)

What a great ride it’s been. I started helping Bext on their repair bench, taking small A/V jobs and then helping LPTV station KSDY-LD at their new studios in Chula Vista. I picked up an assistant with a bright young college student, Julio Ramirez, who helped with makeovers at KSDY-LD and KPRI (FM). At KPRI, we’ve done everything from fine tuning the IT systems, replacing the automation with Wide Orbit for Radio, completely rewiring the air chain for AES/EBU, retiring the old San Marcos aux site, and bringing in some redundancies that were never put in place. There were fun little projects like a weekend carrier-grade microwave STL/TSL sales and installation in Tijuana with Jeff Latimer.

A couple of days ago I looked at the huge list of equipment manual PDFs on my laptop hard drive. Holy cow, did Julio and I learn a lot in the last three years!

A truly successful business must scale itself properly, big enough that you can comfortably delegate much of your daily labor, take vacations, and afford a draw for yourself that is at least comparable to a staff engineering position, and that’s where I fell short. We’ve enjoyed the challenges and certainly the appreciation expressed, but you realize from time to time that you are to at least some extent servicing your own obsession with perfection, and that can seem a little…eerie at times. My wife Cheryl at one point after a number of overnight visits to the transmitter site seriously questioned my sanity, and if you look objectively at costs and risks vs. benefits, she was making a reasonable, if painful, point.

I don’t even want to get into the whole insurance and taxes thing about running your own business, except to say that there are very few days that go by without one or the other coming back with its beak open to feed.

The folly of any technical services business is that it’s one person producing work for one customer at a time, unlike software or sales of popular devices, where your business to serve multiple clients simultaneously, greatly increasing your income potential. Broadcasters are simply never going to pay you rates that a physician can demand, especially not the smaller broadcasters who can’t even afford their own full-time staff.

So I’m closing the business. Julio will carry on at KPRI.

Bob V. is a talented teacher and an experienced technical manager, so it’s back to being part of a corporate team. There’s much to be done, and with realistic budgets, daytime hours, and benefits like vacation, I’m looking forward to a new period of sanity.

Don’t laugh, Bob.

August Chapter Meeting: Al Salci’s Straight Talk About AVB

It’s a AVB and AES-67 Technology Update. With a focus on the Transport mechanism of various AoIP layer 3 and AoE layer 2 technologies, a basic overview of each topology will be described. We will highlight the architecture of IEEE 802.1 AVB (Audio Video Bridging) as well as AES-67 (Audio only over IP, AoIP) and the key differences between them. IEEE 802.1 is a layer 2 transport designed to replace HDMI point to point connections, and AES-67 is a layer 3 transport most commonly seen in radio broadcast facilities. We will outline important features, architecture and key differences for each followed by a summary of applications and application notes along with available products for each topology.

Join us Wednesday, August 19th at 12pm noon at KFMB Stations, 7677 Engineer Road in Kearny Mesa, San Diego. SAS will provide a lunch. Open to all.

About Al Salci

Al Salci is a veteran analog and digital designer, and software engineer with over 30 years experience in broadcast communications. Originally from Toronto Ontario, Canada, Al holds a Bachelor of Science from Mohawk College of Electrical Engineering & Technology.  Al started his career in Television broadcast designing vertical interval time code (VITC) editing systems for the then new helical scan VTR machines. Al moved into radio in 1983 as Director of Engineering for McCurdy Radio Industries where he developed a wide range of products ranging from Audio Consoles, Large Scale Switchers, Intercoms, DAs and the original ATS-100 Audio Test Set. Originally designed for ABC Networks, Al worked on the very first system utilizing large scaled switchers and RTOS automation for National programming syndication via Satellite to different time zones by sending control closures to trigger national or local breaks, ID’s liners, etc, many of which are still in use today known as NETCUE control.

Later, Al joined RTS systems in Burbank California as Senior Digital Design Engineer and developed Digital Intercom systems and 2-wire TV camera communications networks. Al Salci joined up with Ed Fritz, another veteran design engineer in Burbank California and started Sierra Automated Systems & Eng. Corp. that specializes in high-density distribution, Radio Intercom systems, and Digital Audio Control console surfaces. SAS is celebrating over 29 years of supplying high end, large scaled integrated digital audio distribution and console-networked systems.

San Diego FCC Field Office to Close in Compromise Plan

The FCC Enforcement Bureau July 16th adopted a plan to keep more field offices open than originally proposed, but San Diego still did not make the cut, instead relying on services from the Los Angeles office. The FCC came under fire for its planned reduction in force from Greg Walden of the House of Representatives and from the SBE and broadcast industry lobbyists concerned about piracy and RF noise sources. The FCC responded to Congressional inquiries with a letter and Q & A document outlining their reasoning for the cutbacks.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler responded to concerns about staffing in May, defending their plans to close offices, citing analysis that showed poor efficiency of services. SBE President Joe Snelson, in a Radio World interview, said their own input regarding field services indicated critically overworked staff, though he said they could not analyze the input  from consultants regarding their recommendations because they were not made public.

Precise closure dates have not been announced.


Importance of Proper Grounding Webinar

The “Importance of Proper Grounding” SBE webinar will be presented on Thursday, July 23 at 2 p.m. ET. The one-hour program will review the elements of a building’s wiring and grounding systems (including lightning protection) that pertain to power quality at communications facilities and improve up-time. Proper wiring and grounding, beyond those minimal requirements of the NEC, can greatly alleviate power quality problems in broadcast and public service communications facilities. These improvements can be very cost-effective, usually simple in description, and help prevent costly downtime and equipment damage. The presentation concentrates on actual experiences at broadcast facilities where grounding and lightning protection were of paramount importance in maintaining system availability.

Continue reading

SBE 36 Welcomes “Blue”

Chapter 36 welcomes new member LaDarien LaBlue. He’s a broadcast engineer at KGTV 10 and word has it he’s fast learner and a strong contributor to the team.

“I come from a pure HR and IT background working at illumina for past seven years as Senior Executive IT Technician. I played baseball at LSU and Northwestern State University. I’m from Louisiana and have 4 older brothers and a beautiful daughter named Jordyn. I love what I do here at KGTV.

“It’s really no different, other than things move very fast in broadcast. What I’m learning is that most broadcast equipment is going IP-based and I’m really excited about that.”

Transfer of San Diego’s Lincoln Financial Stations to Entercom Complete

The FCC today announced the approval of transferring ownership of Lincoln Financial radio stations to Entercom. In San Diego, this includes rocker KBZT 94.9 MHz, country KSON 97.3 MHz, and soft rock KIFM 98.1 MHz, In Escondido, this includes the KSON repeater Class A KSOQ 92.1 MHz.The Department of Justice still has to approve the buy-out from an antitrust perspective.If approved, Entercom will own over 110 stations in 26 markets. Entercom took over management of Lincoln Financial stations early this year with a limited marketing agreement (LMA).

Bill Eisenhamer continues to lead the local engineering effort and reports no major changes yet.

July Meeting: What’s New at Nautel

For several decades, the technological, bandwidth, and cost differences between television and radio made them two different electronic media. Information technology erases many of those differences. For example, IBOC has provisions for video while ATSC has provisions for radio, and IP has provisions for both. If broadcast engineering was separated into TV and radio in the past, this generation of engineers is divided between the over-the-air and content technologists. Broadcasting’s future is always bright and the nature of its creators, transmission, content and business plans constantly changing. There are practical things broadcast engineers can do for their stations and themselves, and some things broadcast engineers at some level already mostly know we can expect of the future.

Nautel has been working on both TV and radio transmitters of late, and are especially known for their products’ condition reporting that leads to predictive servicing and a tight design loop.

Join us Wednesday, July 15, 2015 at 12 noon at KFMB, 7677 Engineer Road in Kearny Mesa, San Diego. Nautel buys lunch.

About Our Guest Speaker

Fred Baumgartner, CPBE, is a fellow in the Society of Broadcast Engineers, a trustee of the Ennes Foundation, Fellow of the Radio Club of America and Nautel’s TV product manager. Fred was Director of Broadcast Engineering for Qualcomm’s MediaFLO project. Previously, he directed Leitch/Harris’ Systems Engineering group. Up to that time, he served as Director of Engineering for the Comcast Media Center in Denver. Before joining the satellite and cable origination world, he held the positions of Chief Engineer in Denver, Indianapolis, and Madison. Fred was also heavily involved with the development of EAS, and has authored several hundred articles on radio and TV engineering.