SBE Chapter 36

Society of Broadcast Engineers, San Diego

SBE Chapter 36 - Society of Broadcast Engineers, San Diego

EMF Sends KPRI Callsign to Julian

The FCC in late October approved the Educational Media Foundation’s request to swap callsigns between two of their San Diego County FM stations. 102.1 MHz on Mt. Soledad became KLVJ and 100.1 Julian became KPRI. This is the third frequency in San Diego to identify itself as KPRI, the first being 106.5 in the 1970s and early 80s.

Does this signal an intent to sell the Julian property? Does anyone else find it interesting that both KLVJ 102.1 and KLQV 102.9, transmitting from the same building atop Soledad, market themselves as K-LOVE (though the latter is in Spanish)?

November 18 Meeting: Henry’s Little Boxes

If you work at a typical broadcast station, you have a number of little boxes under a console or in the back of an equipment rack. They amplify the lower level of a prosumer audio playback device, mute a speaker, or digitize an audio feed. Hank Landsberg is one of the original interface box makers and says he’s sold 120,000 little blue boxes. He still makes the IHF interface amps, but now offers a wide product selection, including a new AES audio switcher, PowerClamp surge suppressors, and A-to-D converters.

Come meet Hank and learn a thing or two about how he got started, what’s different about his blue boxes, and what’s new to the line-up.

Join us at iHeart Media, 9660 Granite Ridge Drive, San Diego on Wednesday, November 18th at 12 noon. Henry buys us lunch. All are all welcome. Continue reading

IEEE-BTS Meeting: Hybrid Television Broadcasting

Traditional broadcasting was a one-way communication scheme as it provided little opportunities for interaction due to lack of an integrated return channel. With the penetration and popularity gained by the broadband, broadcasting can make use of broadband as a return channel to interact with the broadcast services. There are a number of technologies and standards available which offer hybrid or integrated broadband broadcast services.

Until recently, when watching online services such as catch-up TV or video on demand, the user had to do it on a personal computer or laptop. Now, with a Connected TV it is possible to access content from the comfort of your sofa and watch your favorite shows on TV. Continue reading

Chapter 36 Officer Nominees Named

The next crop of San Diego SBE chapter officer volunteers were announced by the nominating committee. Running this year:

  • Chair, Gary Stigall
  • Vice Chair, Matthew Anderson
  • Secretary, Doug Alman

Doug Alman was Chapter Chair in 2012 – 2014. Gary was Chair previously from 1998 – 2000.

The nominating committee consisted of current officers Andrew Lombard, Steve Moreen, and Gary Stigall.

Steve Moreen has volunteered to serve a second term as Program Chair, a position that is appointed by the next serving Chair.



FCC Auction: What Will You Do With Your $221-Million?

When the FCC published on October 16 the TV spectrum auction starting prices, you have to believe a number of San Diego station general managers were dreaming of what they would do with the money. KSWB-TV had the highest listed price for abandoning its channel 19 spot at $221.5-million. All infomercial low power broadcaster KSEX-CD came in at $146-million. K35DG-D, the 300 watt flamethrower of UCSD’s has a starting bid of $91-million. Continue reading

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 Educational 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

Rick Hill Passes

San Diego sports radio technician Rick “Red” Hill died September 29 of pancreatic cancer. Rick was a fixture in setting up Padres and Chargers radio broadcasts, and worked for KFMB and iHeart Media, among others.

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.