MFJ Enterprises to Quit Manufacturing

Apologies to those of you not involved in the allied field of ham radio, but this news is huge to those who are. The founder of MFJ Enterprises, Martin F. Jue, announced yesterday that the company would cease manufacturing on May 17, 2024, after 52 years of operations. The company, based in Starkville, Mississippi near Mississippi State University, represents a kind of throwback operation. Local Americans manufactured and sold relatively inexpensive accessories, antennas, and amplifiers for the ham radio hobby. Given the labor costs relative to imported goods from China, businesses like this are nearly impossible to keep afloat. Mr. Jue is 80 years old and said he has been looking for a buyer without success and is ready to retire. 

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Bext Joins As Chapter 36 Sponsor

Many thanks to new SBE Chapter 36 sponsor Bext, Inc., San Diego supplier and service center for FM transmitters, antennas, filters, STLs, and even custom RF amplifiers for scientific, industrial or medical applications. 

The Bext line of XL FM transmitters from 50 to 22000 Watts include Ethernet-connected remote control built in and several types of connectivity options.  I got to thoroughly test drive them (and then wrote the manual), and I have to say I was impressed. They have a built-in stereo generator with audio limiter, as well as optional RDS dynamic encoder, SNMP2, AES-EBU, Audio-over-IP capability, programmable FSK ID Keyer and a built-in user manual file always accessible through a USB on the front panel.   Breaking news—the 150 W and 300 W models are LPFM FCC Certified.   For southern California stations, you have the advantage of in-stock, off-the-shelf availability and immediate replacements or loaners.  No waiting for shipments!

SBE Releases Broadcast Station Self-Inspection Guides

The SBE has released new Broadcast Station Self-Inspection Guides for FM and TV broadcast stations. The SBE partnered with the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to produce the documents, which are the first part of a planned series to cover all broadcast services. These Guides are designed to aid stations and Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program (ABIP) inspectors in evaluating a broadcast station’s compliance with FCC rules and regulations.

The Guides were developed to replace the FCC Self-Inspection Checklists that were first released in the 1990s, but have not been updated for nearly 15 years. While the previous Checklists only provided references to rules, the new SBE Guides include recommended practices for stations to establish policies and procedures for their own stations to ensure overall regulatory compliance. The Guides are available for download from the SBE website under the Legislative/Regulatory and Resources tab. They are free to SBE members.

EAS Digital Certification Update Required

[ FEMA Bulletin] An element of the current Emergency Alert System (EAS) IPAWS CAP message verification certificate used by EAS devices will expire on Sunday, April 28. Any EAS device not updated prior to that date will no longer be able to authenticate received IPAWS CAP messages. EAS device manufacturers have included the updated verification certificate in recently published updates or made it available via other means. If you have not done so already, please reach out to your EAS manufacturer as soon as possible to replace the existing digital certification bundle or update your EAS device firmware, as necessary. You may review your EAS device logs following the regular Monday morning IPAWS RWT to determine if your EAS device has the updated verification certificate.

Thank you to all our AM/FM radio, television, and cable partners. Every day we see the impact of the lifesaving EAS alerts you voluntarily distribute. Your community is safer because of you. 

Please let us know if you have any questions at

SBE Alert: Be Alert to Possible Interference to Your 6 GHz Microwave Systems

[From SBE National HQ] The FCC recently authorized unlicensed very low power (VLP) devices in the 6 GHz spectrum band: 5.925-7.125 GHz. The FCC is also actively considering proposals to allow even greater VLP and LPI (low-power indoor) use in the Band.

The SBE, the NAB, and others have expressed concern that the FCC’s proposals to increase unlicensed use of the 6 GHz Band could introduce harmful interference to broadcasters’ licensed electronic newsgathering (ENG) activities in the band. Interference and reduced margin in fixed BAS links (STLs, etc.) may also be a problem as Wi-Fi-6E devices become common. Consequently, we urge you do fully document the performance of any 6 GHz fixed links that your station may have (signal levels, margin to failure, error rates, etc.). We are also interested in hearing from anyone who has experienced interference in the 6 GHz Band that could be attributable to unlicensed devices.

One local San Diego example of this was recently observed at Snapdragon Stadium where ball-tracking technology at a rugby game using ultra-wideband 6.5 GHz centered emissions. They were using very low power and the stadium mildly shields radiation outside the stadium bowl, but similar used in front of your stadium or transmitter site could be detrimental to the reception of your Studio-Transmitter Link or ENG signal. –Gary Stigall, editor

If you have experienced interference to your ENG operations in the 6 GHz band over the past several months, please notify the SBE at no later than April 17. And remember, any interference should be reported via the FCC Interference Reporting portal.

More background on 6 GHz interference was provided in the August 2023 issue of The Signal on page 12.

Society of Broadcast Engineers