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.

Matthew Anderson Gets CBRE Certification

Matthew Anderson, the latest addition to iHeartMedia’s engineering crew, passed his SBE Certified Broadcast Radio Engineering exam earlier in June.

Congratulations Matt!

If you would like to get an SBE certification, they’re easier than ever to study for with the study guide CD. Tests are given periodically in San Diego. For more information check out our information page.

KHHS to Stay Silent

After years of non-operation, Horizon Christian Fellowship’s low power station, KHHS-LP at 107.5 in La Jolla (near the intersection of Genesee and La Jolla Village Dr.), finally met its end. The FCC announced this week that it was pulling its license and deleting the callsign. An attorney for Horizon wrote the FCC stating that the station could not return to the air by the June 25, 2015, the date of an the expiration of their last Special Temporary Authority to remain silent.

The station has filed since 2007 for STAs to allow it to remain off-the-air, complaining in FCC STA filings about nagging co-channel interference from KLVE 107.5 MHz in Los Angeles.

The station had filed for a move to 103.3 MHz, but that application became moot when they chose not to return to the air by the June deadline.

June 10 Meeting: Dialight for Your Tower

What do you know about current practices in tower lighting? Are the latest LED arrays always legal? Can you just have tower crews unscrew your old incandescent bulbs and replace them with LEDs? If so, what about your flasher? Are there better ways to power your lamps on an AM tower? What do you know about the trend to lamp fewer towers? Will LEDs really save money?

Whether or not you know all of the answers to these questions, why not join us at the June 10, 2015 SBE Chapter 36 meeting at 12 noon? It’s at KFMB, 7677 Engineer Road, in Kearny Mesa. Parking on the street. Dialight buys lunch.

About Presenter Craig Franck

Craig lives in Littleton, Colorado and manages sales in 19 western states. He worked in the telecom field for 25 years in the area of analog and digital voice and data, microwave radios, and power systems with companies such as Tellabs, Motorola, Eltec/Valere. He has electronics and business degrees.

Check Out This Component Tester

Sometimes it seems like we broadcast engineers now live in a black box era, when we tend to just retire and recycle a failed piece of equipment instead of repairing it. This can be due to the faster obsolescence cycle as devices are marketed with vast improvements in performance and storage. Besides, what devices now come with schematics? And even if they did, you would have to contend with multilayer boards and tiny surface-mount components. Continue reading Check Out This Component Tester

UT-TV Lays Off Remaining Employees

After its sale to Tribune Corporation, publishers of the Los Angeles Times, the San Diego Union Tribune management immediately laid off 178 employees, including all printing press and UT-TV staff. Manny Cervantes, SBE Chapter 36 Vice Chairman and the last engineer at UT-TV. He had been the facility’s Chief Engineer during its three-year attempt to bring live and recorded news video to the utsandiego.com website and cable TV. Manny said yesterday that the UT-TV staff recently numbered only 12 until the May final layoff. Manny had been a systems engineer for TV Magic until the company failed in 2012.

UCSD-TV Flash Cuts to Digital

K35DG on Mt. Soledad switched to an ATSC broadcast on channel 35 on May 28, 2015, just one day ahead of an FCC-imposed deadline that would have eliminated their eligibility for spectrum auction participation as a Class A low power TV station. The flash cut was conducted by yours truly with a new Anywave 5X exciter and PA140W power amplifier from RF Specialties. The new system has an ERP of only 150 watts due to spacing restrictions and Mexican treaty limitations. UCSD is retiring its Larcan NTSC transmitter installed in the early 1990’s.

May 20 Meeting: Grass Valley and the Role of IP Broadcast Infrastructure

The presentation will be an overview of IP based broadcast infrastructures.  We address some of the fundamental questions broadcasters have been asking.  Why do we even want IP at our core?  What advantages do IP-based designs bring to my facility?  What liabilities do IP designs bring to broadcast systems? We’ll cover current and emerging SMTPE standards on equipment and how current baseband technology will migrate into the IP world.

Join us Wednesday, May 20, at noon at KGTV, 4600 Air Way in San Diego, at I-805 and CA-94. Grass Valley will buy lunch. Everyone is welcome.

About Our Presenter

Robert Erickson is the Regional Account Manager for Grass Valley a Belden Brand, covering Broadcast, Post-Production, Government and Military sales for the San Diego and Los Angeles Markets.  Robert started with Grass Valley in 2008 as a Senior System Engineer designing critical infrastructure systems for broadcast networks worldwide.  In late 2013 Robert moved to Los Angeles to embark in his new sales role for Southern California.  Prior to joining Grass Valley, he was the Director of Engineering for KTUZ Telemundo in Oklahoma City, and Chief Engineer for KOKH/KOCB FOX and CW in Oklahoma City.  Outside of work Robert is an amateur radio operator, avid motorcycle rider and outdoorsman.  On weekends he can usually be found exploring the southern California region and all the eccentricities that go along with it.

 

Scott Mason Remembered

We learned that Scott Mason, SBE board member and longtime KROQ chief engineer and air personality died Sunday morning, April 19.

San Diego members may not know Scott, though we had a highly attended meeting a few years ago in which we had emergency and FCC monitoring vehicles on display at Clear Channel studios. Scott hauled from Los Angeles the regional CBS Radio emergency backup trailer outfitted with transmitters and antennas, and gave an educational tour.

Scott Mason
Scott Mason

He served on the SBE Board of Directors for many years and I was lucky enough to have served with him from 2012 to 2014. He was always generous of his time, having been not only as a leader for Los Angeles SBE Chapter 47, but for Boy Scouts and for Red Cross first aid classes. His most recent title at CBS Radio was West Coast Regional Engineering Director.

What fascinated me was his history at KROQ (FM) in LA. Since 1979, he served both as an on-air personality and engineer. He hosted “Love Line” until quite recently.

But Scott had health problems and went through a kidney transplant in 2013. It was quite a story, with a CBS Radio co-worker supplying the kidney. He did not look healthy and happy at our last meeting.

You can read more about Scott at a memorial page created in his honor at KROQ.CBSlocal.com.

FCC Memo Says San Diego Field Office May Close

Articles in Radio World and ARRL websites last week each quote internal FCC memos saying the Enforcement Bureau is set to reduce its field staff by half and close two-thirds of its field offices, including the one in San Diego. In the memo, EB Chief Travis LeBlanc and FCC Managing Director Jon Wilkins said the Bureau needed to take “a fresh look” at its 20-year-old operating model in light of technology changes and tighter budgets.

Under the plan, in the southwest, the Los Angeles field office would remain open, and Phoenix would have detection equipment in place but San Diego’s office would permanently close.

Part of the staff reduction plan would include creating a “Tiger Team” of agents “flexible enough to support other high-priority initiatives.” Under the plan, all field agents would have engineering backgrounds “to support the primary focus on RF spectrum enforcement.”

Apparently management would not be immune from the cuts, with director positions shrinking from 21 to 5, and administrative support positions from 10 down to 3.

March 18 Meeting: Orban Regarding Radio Loudness

We all went through the TV loudness discussion and regulations. How about radio and netcasting? Bob Orban will give a remote presentation to Chapter 36 about just this:

 My main topic will be the relationship between the fairly recent  ITU-R BS.1770 loudness measurement standard and non-television applications such as FM radio and audio-only netcasting: what “target loudness” is and how it applies to audio-only services. I will also briefly touch upon low bitrate compression artifacts and how things have changed with the widespread adoption of the MPEG4 HE-AAC codec.

Join us and learn something! It’s Wednesday, March 18, at 12 noon at iHeartMedia, 9660 Granite Ridge Road, San Diego. Orban will provide a light lunch. Members and guests welcome.

Woodson LPTV KZTC Flash Cuts to Digital

Mt. Woodson channel 7 VHF low power station KZTC flash cut to digital ATSC February 22. KZTC outputs a 1.5kW directional signal aimed at the southwest quadrant toward San Diego. The station had been rebroadcasting Entravision XHDTV’s MundoFox subchannel, but now rebroadcasts the same station’s English language services that include the Fox MyTV network and syndicated content.

KZTC is maintained, and partially owned, by Matt Lunati, who had been a fixture in San Diego broadcast engineering, but lately has been working servicing telecom sites in Arizona.