September 2008 Meeting – Nautel

When you get 30 engineers show up for a radio-themed meeting as we had in August, you can get cocky enough to call for two meetings in one month. Yeah, that’s what we’re doing in September. Our second presentation this month is by Jeff Welton of Nautel, the broadcast radio transmitter guys. TV Magic will host the meeting at noon, Thursday, September 25. Jeff will buy you lunch. TV Magic is at 8112 Engineer Road in Kearny Mesa. Expect the presentation to last to near 1:30 PM.

About the Meeting

The proposed 10dB increase to digital sideband power levels for stations broadcasting with HD Radio(tm) technology in the FM band will have significant impact on equipment and infrastructure requirements. Even if the sideband power were to increase by a lesser amount, the effect will be much more serious than many have realized. This presentation will cover the increase and the associated changes that may be required with various methods of injecting the HD radio signal onto the analog. In addition it will cover technology that has been implemented, or is being developed, to assist stations in achieving the highest possible signal level increase with the least possible impact.

About Jeff Welton

Jeff Welton is a graduate of the Electronics Engineering Technician and Technologist programs at RCC Institute of Electronics (formerly Radio College of Canada) in Ontario, Canada. He has worked in electronics repair, installation, quality assurance and manufacturing since 1985. In 1990, he joined Nautel in the Customer Service Department. Then in March 2007, Jeff accepted a position with Nautel’s Sales Department, where he has been able to use his technical background to help customers find the best possible solutions for their particular requirements.

About Nautel

Nautel is a global leader in the design, manufacture, sales and support of high power Radio Frequency (RF) products for AM and FM broadcast, navigation, industrial and space-based applications.  With a long history of creating highly innovative products, Nautel continues to lead the way in providing valuable new solutions for the digital radio broadcast revolution.

XETV and KSWB Swap Networks

In February, Ed Wilson left his position as President of the Fox Television Network to become President of Tribune Broadcasting. The next month, he announced that Tribune’s TV station KSWB in San Diego would take over the Fox affiliation from XETV August 1, 2008, ending channel 6’s 22-year run with the network.

The race was on for KSWB Director of Engineering John Weigand to outfit the station not only for news, but high definition. Last Friday the station did just that, airing a four-hour morning program and hour-long 10 PM newscast, both in HD. This after a year of outsourcing news entirely to NBC O&O KNSD.

During the four months, they installed multiple Sony PMW-EX3 1080i cameras, a Ross Vision switcher, and related furniture and terminal gear. Crews from Tribune sister stations KTLA Los Angeles and WGN Chicago helped out.

Meanwhile, XETV negotiated with the CW Network to assume that affiliation on the same August 1 date. The contract wasn’t finalized until July 3, with 29 days to air.

The only technical challenge for XETV after changing web domain names was converting its DTV chain from the Fox Network’s elegant MPEG splicer that doesn’t involve decoding to the CBS distribution scheme that involves decoding not only HD video, but Dolby E audio, then rencoding AC-3 on an MPEG2 stream downstream of local switching. XETV aired the first night of CW with simple stereo audio, not having yet received the Dolby equipment.

There were a few stumbles during the transition, like Dish Network’s swapping channels, DirecTV’s forgetting to swap HD resolutions, KSWB’s 40 minutes of silence to debut its morning news, and XETV’s lip sync issues. But KSWB successfully introduced HD news, including ENG, and at a new price point as the technology advances.

The author is Director of Engineering for Bay City Television, US Operators of XETV Tijuana. 

Harris to Host HD Sideband Talk with Dinner

Harris is pleased to invite you and your engineering staff to a special dinner and presentation from 6:00 PM until 8:00 PM on Wednesday August 13th at our favorite spot, The Butcher Shop. Dinner is being served at 6:30 PM.

Harris will be featuring their latest Value Engineered products and a presentation provided by Tim Anderson on the proposed -10dB HD sideband power increase and how this will affect you. Tim has more than 30 years experience in broadcast engineering. He joined Harris Corporation in August 2007 as Radio Product Line Manager.  Prior to joining Harris, he served as a broadcast engineer for iBiquity Digital, developer of the HD Radio™ standard.  While there, he was instrumental in the development and testing of the HD Radio transmission system and advanced application services.

Come enjoy a great dinner and informative presentation complements of Harris. Since Dinner is provided I would request that you confirm you can make it and give me a head count of the folks that will be coming so we can prepare accordingly.

Thanks for taking the time and I hope to see you there.

RSVP with head count to

August 2008 Meeting – Arbitron PPM

The People Meter is coming to San Diego, and the good people at Arbitron would like you to understand how it works. Join the SBE Wednesday, August 20 at noon at Clear Channel Communications, for lunch and a talk. The PPM is up and going in Philly and Houston.
Sam Brown of Arbitron says:

The Arbitron Portable People Meter™ system uses a passive audience measurement device—about the size of a small cell phone—to track media exposure. Carried throughout the day by randomly selected survey participants, the PPM™ device can track when and where they listen to radio as well as how they interact with other forms of media and entertainment. The PPM detects inaudible codes embedded in the 1kHz to 3kHz portion of broadcast audio. It is also equipped with a motion sensor, a patented quality control feature unique to the system, which allows Arbitron to confirm the compliance of the PPM survey participants every day. At the end of each day, the survey participant places the meter in a docking station that extracts the codes and sends the data to Arbitron.

One of the first important steps in bringing PPM to San Diego is informing the engineers in the market about PPM encoding. For this, an SBE meeting is an ideal forum. Our presentation includes a demo of the system, examples of the equipment, Q&A, etc. which should make for an informative and entertaining meeting. Arbitron PPM SBE meetings have been well-received in other markets where we have introduced this exciting technology. We look forward to meeting you soon.

We start at noon with a lunch provided by Arbitron, followed by a presentation on the workings of the PPM system.  Should be out by 1:20 PM. Clear Channel is at 9660 Granite Ridge Drive. We have some door prizes from SCMS, including some nice headphones and a microphone. As always, members and guests are welcome to attend.

July 2008 Meeting – Surround Sound

The July 16 SBE meeting appears to be a real blockbuster. We’ll take a look at 5.1 surround audio and how it affects a broadcast facility.

  • Why the transition to DTV and 5.1?
  • What problems does this present to a broadcast facility?
  • Format compatibility
  • Metadata, including Dialnorm, digital rights management, downmixing etc.
  • Metering and monitoring for 5.1
  • Solutions: Facility implementation, production strategies, routing, embedding within SDI

Solid State Logic, Wohler Technologies and Dolby Laboratories™ will each have representatives. Between the three manufacturers, and with consultation from outside parties such as Roger Charlesworth of Charlesworth Media, we will address the above topics. Each manufacturer will present on their area of expertise, and SSL will be the main host of the presentations. No product oriented presentations, but on the individual request of an attendee, we can schedule more personal meetings and presentations in the future.

We anticipate one hour for the event, with each topic being given approximately 5-10 minutes for presentation and then we would like to have a Q&A session for the chapter to be able to quiz the professionals and ask questions for areas of specific interest or concern to them. We will also pull together a documented version of the presentation for distribution amongst the attendees.

We recommend the meeting for both radio and TV engineers interested in staying current with surround technologies.

Members and guests, join us July 16 at noon at TV Magic, 8112 Engineer Road in Kearny Mesa.

Society of Broadcast Engineers, San Diego