Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers limited the number of stored digits needed to count the date, so some devices will roll back to zero on April 6, 2019.
Broadcasters seldom directly use GPS to supervise station activities. Most often, a GPS-based device might be used to indirectly correct a wandering computer clock, or as a time standard in a precise oscillator where its pulses are measured but the date may be ignored.
However, GPS is used often for time stamping video and for displaying time of day. I contacted Bill at El Segundo Electronics, ESE, about whether his ES-series clocks, used widely around broadcast stations, might have the 10-digit time problem. He replied, “The supplier for our GPS receivers assures us that there will be no problem with the WNRO (Week Number Roll Over) on April 6, 2019. Our Chief Engineer recommends that you keep the unit powered up and running over the WNRO.”
The FCC said, “These rules have become redundant and obsolete now that licensing information is readily accessible online through the Commission’s databases, including CDBS, LMS, and ULS. It therefore finds that eliminating these rules, which apply in some form to all broadcast licensees, will serve the public interest.”
You may officially take down those dusty old license frames.
(From SBE National Headquarters) We are deeply saddened by the passing of Barry Thomas, CPBE, DRB, CBNE, who died on Dec. 6, 2018. Barry devoted a great deal of his time and talents to the Society of Broadcast Engineers. He joined the SBE in 1986 and served the SBE with involvement in several local SBE chapters and on the national level. His national involvement included two terms on the SBE Board of Directors from 2002 to 2005, and two terms as treasurer from 2005 to 2007. He served as the society’s 25th president from 2007 to 2009 and immediate past president from 2009 to 2011. In 2017 he was elected to serve on the board again but decided to step down early in his term. In 2011, Barry was elevated to the membership grade of Fellow.
On Barry’s passing, SBE President Jim Leifer, CPBE, said, “Barry served the SBE in many capacities and has been a voice for many engineers in our industry for decades. After hearing this news, I remembered so many occasions where Barry spent time developing younger engineers and being that mentor so many of us talk about. He was a devoted father, son, brother and fellow engineer who will be sorely missed by all.”
Local note: Barry was Corporate Director of Engineering for Lincoln Financial Broadcasting when that company owned San Diego broadcasters KIFM 98.1, KBZT 94.9, and KSON 97.3 FM. Eric Schecter, local market DOE in the mid-2000s, remembers Barry. “I have a fond memory of driving the KSON signal with Barry and getting sushi. Barry loved good sushi. He gave us the resources to do our jobs and build out great studios, as well as permission to purchase new transmitters for Mt. Soledad.”
The FCC announced on October 30th a displacement application filing window for low power TV (LPTV), TV translators, and digital replacement translator stations displaced by the incentive auction and repacking process. Three San Diego TV broadcasters made mutually exclusive applications and are caught up in the fight for channel 25. KSDY (ICN, channel 50) and KDTF-LD (Entravision, channel 51), both now operating from Mt. San Miguel, are seeking to operate on channel 25 after repacking. KHAX-LP (Entravision, channel 49, Vista) is also listed, but Entravision can resolve that application by stipulating it could accept interference from its own transmissions in its isolated coverage area. KHAX-LP was granted a Special Temporary Authority (“STA”) in late October to operate on channel 21, which its Mexican sister station XHDTV Tecate is expected to move to from channel 47. Both XHDTV and KHAX in the past operated on channel 49.
Upper UHF stations in San Diego have received letters from T-Mobile stating they may begin operations on the upper UHF channels at the end of November 2018. Not only do the LPTV’s have to resolve the MX claim, but in many cases they must file STA applications for operation on a temporary channel, then must order and install the equipment before the end of November or go off the air.
Mutually exclusive applications can be settled a number of ways. One station could file for operation on another channel. The stations could agree to share a single physical channel. Or one station could pay the other’s legal and engineering expenses and have that station go off the air. Stations are not allowed to sell for a speculated value exceeding accrued costs.
The MX settlement window opened October 30 and will close January 10, 2019. If stations can’t resolve their mutually exclusive applications through a technical settlement, the FCC will force an auction for the channel.
The SBE filed comments on Oct. 29, 2018, with the FCC in response to the notice of proposed rulemaking (FCC 18-91), released July 13, 2018. That notice sought comment on various proposals for transitioning all or part of the 3.7-4.2 GHz band for flexible use, terrestrial mobile spectrum, and explores options for more efficient and intensive fixed use of the same band, all while protecting incumbent C-Band satellite earth stations from harmful interference.
The SBE comments constitute a counterproposal that offers a reasonable alternative to dividing the 3.7-4.2 GHz band, a reverse auction, or other action that would not protect incumbent C-band receive-only earth stations. The SBE suggests that, given the huge number of C-band registrations since the opening of the window (now reportedly greater than 16,000), the FCC’s initial premise that the C-Band could be shared with 5G as an overlay was simply wrong.
Recognizing that the European 5G proposal is 3.4-3.8 GHz, and since that offers 1 MHz of overlap with the U.S. proposal, the U.S, should adopt the European allocation, put the commercial broadband providers in the 3.4-3.7 GHz band and use the small overlap segment with C-band for local, private 5G networks critical for next-generation manufacturing and industrial applications. That is actually workable with C-band in the 100 MHz overlap segment. It leaves the vast majority of the spectrum, 3.8-4.2 GHz, intact with no 5G.
In contrast to other proposals, nothing is lost for current C-band users with the SBE plan. 5G moves into military radar spectrum, which was already designated years ago for broadband reallocation as part of the National Broadband Plan.