All posts by Gary Stigall

FCC Issues Notice of Violation for Vista Pirate on 93.7 FM

The FCC issued a Notice of Violation after the Los Angeles office investigated a complaint of an illegal radio station on 93.7 MHz in the Vista, CA area. They used direction-finding techniques to locate an alleged pirate FM operation at the home of Lyle E Hilden, ham radio licensee KD6LUL.  An interesting twist on this violation was the tie-in with his ham license, with the NAL noting “The license for amateur radio station KD6LUL does not authorize operation on the broadcast frequency 93.7 MHz.”

May 17th Meeting: Sencore and Technology to Help Your Station

If you’re old enough, you remember Sencore as the company that in the 1960’s made quality capacitor checkers and vacuum tube testers. During the digital TV transition, they introduced a cool, modular demodulator adopted by the thousands. They’ve taken it to the next level in the past few years. I have a client with a Sencore satellite IRD that has a streaming IP output and great signal diagnostics and logging.

Jay Gedanken, who represents Sencore in the southwestern U.S., visits Chapter 36 this month to discuss some of the technology you might consider for your broadcast plant. If you’re uplinking to satellite, the FCC is requiring you to have a new carrier ID in place, and he’ll talk about that. Sencore has an end-to-end plant data system monitoring solution called “Videobridge” that he plans to discuss, as well as various methods of transporting video.

Join us Wednesday, May 17th, at 12 noon at KGTV, 4600 Air Way, San Diego. Jay will buy us lunch in the cafeteria, then we’ll have an hourlong presentation with Q & A.

About Jay

Jay Gedanken has been with Sencore for the past two years. He started his career as an electronics engineer, but moved into technical sales, where you might know him from his time in San Diego at Adtec, Scopus, CBW Systems, and Optibase.

NAB Show 2017 as Seen by San Diego Engineers

A number of San Diego broadcast engineers got away for a few days to the NAB Show in Las Vegas and came back with some good impressions of technology advances on display there.

Chris Aamodt of KFMB Stations said, “The new Volicon products are impressive and much easier to use than previous models.”

Leon Messenie of KPBS responded, “The only thing I saw different was the Ross Graphite.  It is a new low-cost production system to go after the Tri-Caster market.

“I spent most all of my time looking at TV and radio automation systems, Items for the FCC repack, and production automation systems. These are projects active at KPBS.”

Scottie Rice of KSDS made a few picks:

“The new SAS iSL with OLED displays and programmable LED switch colors. It is the combination of quality and sex appeal! The Premium SR color on it also makes it durable, as well as functional. The new iSL is the hit of the show.

“The new Wheatstone Air Aura X4 processor with the multipath mitigation software is absolutely superb. Its loudness and functionality are amazing.

“The product that everyone has been waiting for is the new Nautel Importer/Exporter all in one box. With the extraordinary quality and service of Nautel, it is on KSDS’ wish list for next year to replace our old Harris HDI-100 and HDE-200.

“The mic/recorder from Yellowtek is quite superb. As our SS portable recorders are dying here at the college I intend on replacing them with the Yellowtek. Quite a nice product, established, and the German engineering is quite superb.”

Matthew Anderson of iHeartMedia added, “Especially with the TV repack coming up, there was a lot of good information from vendors and those in the know about what is the real future for wireless mic use.

“One great feature of the NAB is to meet the engineers behind the products you love. Bugs, features, and enhancement requests were all talked about. I talked with Aaron, working with SAS and our conversations sparked a project we are going to work on to add older Telos system interoperability to the SAS Phone Controller.”

Bill Eisenhamer of Entercom said, “Truth be told I was not impressed by much there.  I already own the Tieline Via used for baseball.  We look at most anything IP-based. I am interested in the AVT phone system. Comrex is trying, but seems to be missing the point of who their end users are. That’s about it from me.”

This year I concentrated mostly on RF products and spent time holding down a booth, so my impressions were limited:

Synegy showed a low-cost IP-based modular master control playout system that appeared easy-to-use, stable and mature.

GatesAir showed its Maxiva liquid-cooled and air-cooled high-efficiency TV transmitters with impressive remote control and monitoring options. They can work with either ATSC-1 or ATSC-3, or any number of international standards like DVB-T2. Its clean layout seemed to be designed for ease of service.

California-based antenna manufacturer Jampro offers a number of solutions for TV spectrum repacking projects, including a nice circular polarization panel antenna and broadband slots for all power levels.

I checked out the 8K video technology display at NHK. I swear, every time I see one of these demos, I think they’ve finally come to the peak of technology’s ability to recreate a real-life visual experience, and every time it just gets better. This demo had 23 audio speakers to envelope you in the concert experience. My neighbor commented that “we ARE in this symphony!” Yeah, it was that good. Not currently transmittable in real-time over consumer-friendly paths, but I wouldn’t bet against it in the future.

Similarly, Harmonic showed an impressive 8K demo using their compression equipment and digital media. The color is astoundingly realistic. They have ATSC 3.0-ready multiplexer/encoders ready-to-ship.

Steve Moreen Hired by Dielectric

Dielectric, headquartered in Raymond, Maine, named Steve Moreen to represent the company’s radio and TV antenna, filters, transmission line, and other RF accessories to broadcasters. He joined the company shortly before the NAB Show, so was seen manning their booth this year. Most recently, he was President of RF Specialties of California and past Chapter 36 Program Chairman.

Steve Moreen

Steve said the RF Specialties of California team of Jeff Motta, Nigel Worrall, Bill Newbrough and Tom Driggers are busy operating the office and using him from time to time as a consultant on more complex orders. Steve is looking for a new principal to lead the office. Anyone with an interest may contact him at his RF Specialties email address.

Steve took over RF Specialties of California in 2009 and has grown their sales steadily ever since.

Dielectric anticipates an increase in its business with the FCC TV Spectrum Auction that requires stations to move to TV channels below 37. Many of those stations are looking to install antennas with both horizontal and vertical polarized radiators in anticipation of the adoption of ATSC 3.0 after the repacking projects are finished.

FCC Issues TV Spectrum Auction Results

The FCC today announced both the winners of the spectrum auction and the station winners of cash.

There are surprises

FCC LogoSomehow it seems just wrong to have such classic stations as WNBC-TV New York go dark, taking their $214-million auction winnings with them. Just so you don’t get too teary-eyed, they will be able to channel share with their superior signal from Comcast O&O sister WNJU. Comcast stations in Chicago and Philadelphia will also shut down and multiplex with their NBC sister stations. For more information, see the FCCBroadcasting & Cable and TV Technology sites.

The biggest spenders in the auction:

  • T-Mobile at $8-billion,
  • Dish Network (“ParkerB.com”) second at $6.2-billion
  • Comcast (“CC Wireless Investment”) at $1.7-billion
  • AT&T at $910-million

Interestingly, Verizon did not participate.

In San Diego DMA 28

Locally, the big money winners were KSEX-LD getting over $34.7-million and K35DG (UCSD-TV) getting $24-million to each shut down their operations. Also,

  • KBNT-CD will move from channel 25 to 24
  • KNSD-TV 40 will move from channel 40 to 17
  • KPBS-TV will move from channel 30 to 19
  • KSWB-TV will move from channel 19 to 26

San Diego was assigned Phase Two in the repacking process. This means stations must complete new construction and begin broadcasting on their newly assigned channels by April 12, 2019.

You may ask yourself why make unnecessary moves? Why not just have KPBS take channel 26 and KSWB stay on 19? It has to do with the pre-determined rules on how stations were going to shuffle. Preference is given to a channel change over a loss in population coverage. KSWB was going to lose a thousand or so viewers, so bingo, they get a new channel along with a new antenna, filters, and possibly a transmitter funded by auction proceeds.

Low power UHF broadcasters on channels 38 – 50 like KSDY-LD will have to wait until the FCC opens a window allowing change applications and hope they can get spectrum. There is no guarantee and no compensation offered.

Meanwhile In Los Angeles DMA 2

If you were wondering how LA was going to fit in all those TV stations, wonder no more. Most are going to shut down for good. Ethnic viewers may lose out in the short-term, though ATSC 3.0 will allow stations to multicast like never before, and TV cable with switched digital service and FTA satellite serve those constituents well.

  • KAZA-TV will go off-air for $91.1-million
  • KBEH will go off-air for $146-million
  • KCBS 43 will move to channel 31
  • KDOC-TV Anaheim will get $66.6-million to move to channel 12
  • KESQ-TV 42 Palm Springs will move to channel 28
  • KILM will go off-air for $76.5-million
  • KJLA will go off-air for $135.5-million
  • KLCS (LA Unified School District) will go off-air for $130.5-million
  • KMIR 46 Palm Springs will move to channel 26
  • KNET-CD will go off-air for $53.7-million
  • KNLA-CD 50 will move to channel 32
  • KOCE-TV 48 (PBS) will go off-air for $138-million
  • KPXN-TV 38 will move to channel 24
  • KRCA will go off-air for $142-million
  • KSFV-CD 23 will go off-air for $64-million
  • KTLA 31 will move to channel 35
  • KVCR-DT 26 (PBS San Bernardino-Riverside) will move to channel 5 for $157-million
  • KWHY-TV 42 will move to channel 4

Not all low power stations are listed for the Los Angeles DMA.