Charles Gawlik of San Diego passed his Certified Broadcast Network Technologist (CBNT) exam at the NAB Show in Las Vegas in April and has become a member of Chapter 36. He’s a systems engineer for Vigor Systems in La Jolla by day and a photographer by night. Congratulations Chuk!
According to their website, new non-comm KNSJ installed their antenna at Monument Peak and expect to hit the air on 89.1 MHz as soon as they install their transmitter. The FCC lists the station as having an ERP of 330 watts and city of license as Descanso, but the elevation will give the station a decent signal to line-of-sight locations throughout San Diego County. The organization behind the new station says in their mission statement:
Activist San Diego is a social justice organization that promotes and facilitates the development of an active, inter-related, progressive community in San Diego through networking, culture and electronic technology.
For the time being, listeners in the Pacific Beach, La Jolla, and University City areas shouldn’t expect much reception due to co-channel 4-watt K206AC in La Jolla that rebroadcasts KPBS-FM.
Sam Bass at CBS Radio in San Diego reports in Facebook:
Our long time chief engineer Lee McGowan is in the Critical Care at a local hospital and unable to receive visitors for the time being. We want to be ready to cheer him up when he feels better. I’m asking all of my radio friends who know Lee to please share some personal insights or memories. We want to make him feel loved and maybe have some laughs at the same time. Thank you all in advance.
I hope Lee gets well soon. My prayers for his full recovery.
Thanks to Bob Gonsett for passing on this bit of news. Bob adds:
Lee, you are one of my favorite people. Your combination of enthusiasm, curiosity and technical competence have made you a perfect fit for the job your’re in. Your story about “the tank, the tank!” is a classic. We all miss you and want to see you “back in the saddle” at the earliest possible moment. You’re in my prayers.
Well said, Bob. Lee has been engineering at KYXY 96.5 and 103.7 FM since the mid-1980s. Wishing you a speedy recovery, Lee.
Michael Chorpash, Vice President of Sales at VITEC will discuss IPTV inside the enterprise LAN and outside Over The Top (OTT) across the WAN. This will cover encoding, transcoding, middleware IPTV management and display to multiple screens (desktops, TV’s and mobile devices). There will be practical examples of how systems are being used today in small and large organizations; from broadcasters replacing their in-house cable plant to organizations broadening their reach and control over their content through IP networks.
Join us Wednesday, June 19, noon at KGTV, 4600 Air Way in San Diego. VITEC buys your lunch in the cafeteria at 12 sharp (and we have to say that reviews about the food have been 100% positive), then we move to studio space for the 12:30 presentation. Members and guests welcome.
UPDATE – Analog stations along the border are back on the air Friday 5/31 after electoral candidates complained about lack of exposure ahead of July 7 elections.
Eight Tijuana TV stations went dark May 28, 2013 as the first broadcast market in Mexico to go all-digital, delayed a month from the previous target date of April 16. Those stations included:
- XHTJB channel 3, affiliated with Once TV, public/educational
- XETV channel 6, Televisa O&O, affiliated with Canal 5
- XEWT channel 12, Televisa O&O, affiliated with multiple networks
- XHTIT channel 21, TV Azteca O&O, affiliated with Azteca 7
- XHJK channel 27, TV Azteca O&O, affiliated with Azteca 13
- XHAS channel 33, Entravision operated, affiliated with Telemundo
- XHBJ channel 45, Cadena owned and Televisa operated, affiliated with Galavision
- XHUAA channel 57, Televisa O&O, affiliated with Canal de Estrellas
Notably, XETV had just celebrated 60 years of broadcasting, having signed on with English language broadcasting in 1953 and continuing to do so until last year, when it switched to Televisa’s Spanish-language broadcasts of Canal Cinco. XETV-DT was the first digital TV station to broadcast in Mexico in 2000, and likely the inspiration for having Tijuana selected as the first market to shutdown its analog TV.
Mexico’s EFE indicates that over 192,000 free digital TV converters were passed out to Tijuana area residents as part of the transition. Unconfirmed statistics have 48% of Tijuana residents receiving their TV via free over-the-air broadcasts.
Interestingly, Entravision-operated XHDTV on Cerro Bola near Tecate remains on the air on channel 49. The next shutdown date, November 26, 2013 is supposed to include Mexicali, but it is not known whether XHDTV will shutdown at that time.
What is not yet known is how the empty channels will affect FCC-mandated repacking of TV channels along the border. There’s likely to be a scramble on both sides of the border to occupy the empty lower UHF channels.
Ellis Terry visited Chapter 36 this month to update us on new technology at Nautel. Their Analog NVLT FM transmitter series now includes models from 3.5kW to 40kW, and they introduced a Nautel NT series of low power TV transmitters with the Nautel AUI and built-in test instruments.
Many thanks to Nautel for the lunch and to KGTV for hosting the meeting at its facility.
San Diego SBE Chapter 36 member Tox Cox came away from the 2013 NAB Show with an award for the best technical session. His paper title, “Using Public Domain and Open Source Software to Derive Base Drive Voltages for AM Method of Moments Models, “described his presentation about an inexpensive means of deriving these calculations. Tom was given the award at the annual Technology Luncheon at the show.
Tom serves as Senior Vice President Engineering for Clear Channel Media + Entertainment overseeing technical and regulatory operations for over 150 radio stations in 28 markets in the Southwestern U.S. Tom has been employed in the broadcasting industry for over 35 years, including KFMB AM/FM and Clear Channel in San Diego. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Electronics degree from Chapman College and is a Registered Professional Electrical Engineer.
We learned last month that Chapter 36 member Nigel Worrall accepted the position as Plant Manager at Broadcast Microwave Systems’ Kemel, Germany facility. Nigel most recently served as Applications Engineering Manager, and has been with BMS since 2010.
BMS has manufactured ENG microwave transmission systems for decades, but since being purchased by Cohu they produce systems primarily for law enforcement, and often now for unmanned aerial vehicles.
Francisco Laurent Martinez, who served as engineer and Chief Engineer of the Transmission Department at XETV in Tijuana from 1959 till this month, passed away March 24, 2013 in Tijuana. He saw the facility progress from a single English-language ABC affiliate for San Diego to a cluster of eight Televisa-operated TV stations, all now with solid-state transmitters and antennas on two self-supporting 500 foot towers.
He mentored engineer Humberto Borzani, who told us Francisco was born December 7th, 1930 in Tijuana. He graduated in 1956 as an Engineer with a major in Electronics and Communications in Mexico City. He served as Chief Engineer of the Radio Monitoring Station of SCT (the Mexican equivalent of the FCC) from 1972 to 1987. The SCT sent him to Washington to coordinate cross-border frequency allocation studies in 1979.
Francico served as professor at the Instituto Tecnológico de Tijuana from 1971 till 1987, and was founder of the associated cultural FM station Radio Tecnológico 88.7 MHz FM from 1987 till 2005.
On a personal note, I worked at XETV’s U.S. operations from 2004 till 2010, but was always warmly welcomed at the Mexican master control and transmission site. I have never seen a transmitter site like the one Francisco led, from the marble floor at the entrance and master control rooms to the spotless transmitter rooms to the twice-filtered air and shiny copper transmission lines. The 1955 GE transmitter was ready for air until just a few years ago. Their UPS and generator backups kept the transmitters going without interruption for years at a time. Francisco was justifiably proud of that facility, and he will be missed.
Just when you thought your H.264 codecs were about as efficient as possible for transmitting your media files, along comes H.265. This new HEVC is likely to change everything. But how much more efficient is it? What exactly is different about it? How are vendors gearing up for the new codec? When will it be ready for prime time?
Chapter 36 is fortunate enough to bring to our March meeting highly regarded speaker Joel Wilhite from Harmonic.
Be sure to mark your calendar for 6:30 PM, March 28th at the KGTV studios, 4600 Air Way, near where the I-805 and CA-94 freeways meet. Note this special evening time and day. Harmonic will provide dinner at 6:30, followed by a brief business meeting and the presentation. RSVP so that we can get a good count for dinner to email@example.com.
Joel Wilhite has been a Broadcast Solutions Manager for Harmonic for 18 years, designing media compression and storage systems for news and programming originators. He’s frequently called on to update groups like SBE with technology presentations.
James Culligan of El Cajon recently became an SBE Certified Radio Operator.
Ken Tondreau joined Avid Technology as Enterprise Account Manager for the Los Angeles region in January this year. Ken had been a Sales Representative with Grass Valley since 1986. Ken recently renewed as Certified Broadcast Technologist.
Matt Lunati joined a technical team installing and servicing mobile cellular sites for CellularOne in Show Low, Arizona. Matt says they serve a large network in northeast Arizona.
Broadcast engineering managers who get hired from outside the company have to spend some time becoming familiar with the plant. Not so with Fred Swift, who took over as Chief Engineer at KUSI after 29 years of building much of the facility. Fred succeeds Richard Large, who retired February 1st.
Like most older broadcast engineers, much of Fred’s knowledge is self-taught. “I took ROP electronics Junior and Senior year of high school at Santana. I got up at 5AM everyday to catch the bus to Santana from Mt. Miguel. I got my [Third Class] FCC License at 16, had an A.S. equivalent when I graduated high school, then worked at Conic Data Systems about a year on L-band FM video transmitters. A guy in the calibration lab told me about a job at KCST-TV (now KNSD). I applied, and Tom Wimberly, the chief then, hired me. That’s when Richard and I met. Tom hired Richard from WAND-TV. He came in about a year after me and left after a couple of years to work in Philly at WPHL-TV. Then He was Hired to put KUSI on the air.
“A lot of my education was self-taught. The most beneficial part was freelance work. I’ve done Atlanta Olympics, two Super Bowls, Oscars red carpet wireless HD cameras, New York Marathon, NBC Golf, etc. Those shows teach you a lot technically and a lot about your abilities and confidence.”
When Fred started at KUSI in 1984, the station was outfitted as an RCA package of 1/2″ reel VTRs, Plumbicon cameras, telecine, Grass Valley switcher, and big TVU-55 UHF transmitter. But Fred embraced change and taught himself the technologies necessary to eventually integrate high definition file-based streaming and transmission systems. You always see him at local high tech seminars.
At channel 39, Fred met his wife who continues as Production Manager at KNSD after 36 years. They have one son Daniel who is a student and works at Sea World.
When asked about career highlights, Fred mentions moving to Viewridge Avenue location and starting newscasts in 30 days. More recently, their conversion of master control and news studio to HD. The trademark of KUSI is their low-cost, high local content news with its many live on-location shows, and Fred was always part of those behind the scenes.
Fred and Richard battled the effects of the 2003 Cedar and 2007 Harris and Witch Creek fires, when their ENG relay sites were going down one by one, backup generators running out of fuel, phone lines failing, burnt telephone poles falling.
During the 2007 Harris fire, the Mt. San Miguel site Proscan antenna rotator stopped turning. “It was the only site still up for us. I was at Jamacha junction watching the site at midnight from below, on the phone with Richard telling him it looks like the fire went past our site and south west toward Otay Ranch because some genius thought a back fire in Proctor valley was a good idea.
“Richard and I went to Miguel around 9 AM (the next morning) and wanted to go to our site. We were stopped by US Forest Service brush truck with four firefighters. We requested they escort us up to the site. Their reply was, ‘No way—it’s too dangerous—but you can go by yourselves!’
“We got up to site through fire tornadoes in the canyons. It was very surreal, like the moon. Scorched earth and dead wildlife everywhere. We entered our site and found the cable company building collapsed, still smoldering. We went to our building and noticed our roof cap was smoking pretty well. I called our assignment desk to have CDF come up and put some water on the fire. [CDF] basically said, ‘You’re on your own.’
“Richard got the ladder out. I found a five gallon bucket and some RG-59 for a rope, and I bucket brigaded water up to him on the roof and we put it out ourselves. We fixed the bad relay in the Troll [controller] and came back to studio. Wow–what week that was!”
In spite of their tight budgets, Fred and Richard managed an almost complete upgrade to high definition video. Their current news operation uses JVC GY-HM-700’s that output .MOV files directly to Apple Final Cut Pro. They play out video with a Bitcentral system.
Their channel 18 ATSC transmitter is a Harris Diamond Solid State with Apex exciters. Fred says that next on the horizon is a bonded cellular field video transport backpack system.
KUSI is looking for an Assistant Chief Engineer. And no, you don’t have to commit to 29 years.