to believe that we only have a couple of months to go in 2014.
Wow has this whizzed by. Of course all things do when you reach
this point in life. You can certainly tell we are at this time of
year when the days are getting really short and the weather has
turned wet. Speaking of which, have you noticed that Seattle’s
precip total is about 10 inches - above - normal for the year? I’m
guessing that the folks in California would like to have their 10
inches back. Winter is getting really close. I noted that
the higher peaks in the Cascades are sporting a nice fresh coat of
snow. For those of us that head up into the hills - it won’t be
long before we will be dealing with the ‘white-stuff’. I just
checked and the snow level is now down to about 4000 feet. For
those of you that read this column in other places, this must seem
strange to read. Remember we are at 47 degrees North!
Just completed a roll out of new Satellite Receivers for WSU’s
NWPR. This required a lot of driving over a short period of
time. Gone are the old ICP’s with new XDS’s taking their
place. On the subject of NWPR, one of my co-workers, Tom Saylor,
has been out due to a medical issue…The latest is that he is,
thankfully, on the mend. On the subject of NWPR - the WSU based
radio network continues to grow and now consists of 19 transmitters and
12 translators. In-State programming originates in Pullman as well
as at the KVTI Studios in Lakewood at Clover Park Technical College.
Well, we had another EAS mess. Like many times before, someone has
used EAS data in their programming with no regard for the FCC’s rules,
potential fines, or the impact on others down-stream. In this case
it was a syndicated radio DJ that thought it was a good idea to make
fun of a station that ran an EAS during a ball-game. It just
happened that the data he used was of the type that the FCC’s rules
require everyone to forward so a lot of broadcasters, perhaps 100, ran a
false message. I suspect that the DJ that ran this had no clue
about the impact of what he was doing. He probably just thought
the data bursts were just noise-makers. What technophobe would
think to decode the sound of computer data before running it during a
radio program? The other thing is that it’s very likely that this
DJ had no clue about the legality of what he was doing. Chances
are he is not likely to be well versed in the FCC’s EAS rules.
The big question now is what is the FCC going to do about it and who are
they going to do it to? If the radio program syndicator is not a
licensee, the FCC has limited authority. What about the licensed
stations whose EAS equipment was triggered and, obediently, forwarded it
as an legitimate message? Can they be held responsible for the
authenticity of EAS messages they receive? Or could the FCC go
after the syndicator?
A number of solutions have been proposed. Because the EAS data was
from a couple of years ago…EAS Boxes should be able to not forward
messages that are not current. Only problem is that much of our
current hardware won’t do that. One party suggested that perhaps
preventative equipment could be deployed that would prevent an EAS tone
from being sent from syndicators or other suppliers of programs and
program elements for broadcasters.
At this writing there is a lot of dust in the air - and when this
settles out, the Feds will likely weigh in …In the meantime - a lot of
band-width is being used by a lot of people discussing what happened and
waiting for the next shoe to drop.
On the subject of EAS - We are always looking for volunteers to help
with the EAS effort in Washington State. The most pressing need is
at the local level, working with the LECC’s. If you have an
interest in helping (I call it giving back)…Drop me an email and I will
get you connected. The next meeting for the Washington State SECC
will be Thursday, November 13th at the State EOC at Camp Murray - I hope
you can attend either in person or via the conference bridge.
Doug Fisher is back to working full time after his open heart surgery….He is assisted these days by Alex Brewster.
We have all heard someone’s cell phone whose ringer sounds like an old
Western Electric mechanical bell. Those of us old enough will
smile at this sound in the world of electronic tweets or other
sounds. (Still like Jim Dalke’s phone that rings in Morse). Now for those that have an ‘old phone ringer’ comes this App.
If you look back in history, just a wee bit, you discover a huge number
of problems that were addressed with mechanical solutions…..Then came
electricity and with that the marriage of the two and electro-mechanical
devices. The rotary-dial phone, step switches and mechanical
bells were an example. Later, when electronics came along we had
mechanical devices controlled by electricity that were controlled by
electronics. Now we have computers controlling everything. I
have to smile when I had a neighbor kid come over to the house a while
back and he asked about an old radio I had…and asked if it worked.
I said sure-does and turned it on. He looked a bit puzzled when I
told him it had to warm-up and asked, "What do you mean ‘warm
up?’". I explained it had vacuum tubes inside - He frowned some
more. Then (when it had warmed up) I dialed about and found 3
stations in Portland. I suggested he should go home and see if he
had a radio there that could receive 3 Portland stations… He was
blown-away that something so old could work so well. I recently
ran across this item in the same category.
Talking about a very cool thing to do - The Arne Skoog Memorial
Scholarship Fund providing money to pay for a percentage of educational
efforts for engineers who wish to improve their skills. Arne, as
you know, was an Engineer for CBS Radio in Seattle. Check the
Chapter 16 Web Sirte for more info - http://sbe16.org or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The FCC has pushed back their filled with controversy spectrum incentive
auction until early 2016. Have to think a lot of lawyers are
involved with this one. Remember those days when there was all
that unused spectrum allocated to TV?
It’s been said that the most dangerous phrase in our language is - “We’ve always done it this way.”
Then comes word that the French outfit that made glass tubes for Amperex
has stopped production. Apparently the only manufacturer for
tubes like the 4-400’s (used in many 1 kw AM Transmitters) and 3-500’s
(Use in many Ham amplifiers) are in China. I don’t know of any 1
kw AM’s still running tube type transmitters, but knowing the economic
state of AM Radio test days, I would not be surprised that there are
quite a few.
For some time, especially in explaining how EAS works, I have used made
up call letters KRUD and KRAP, admittedly for the smile factor.
Old sage - Phil Johnson did a bit of research into perhaps funny or
interesting call letters and came up with the following list:
KRAP-AM Washington, MO
KRUD-FM Newman, CA (dark). This also didn’t work very well for KRUD-AM, Honolulu (dark)
KPOO-FM San Francisco
KLIT-FM Ranchitos Las Lomas, TX
WFRT-LPFM Bronte, TX (dark)
KBRF-AM Fergus Falls, MN
In Seattle there used to be a number of AM Radio Sites - KAYO at 4th and
Lander, KJR on the West Waterway, KOL on Harbor Island, KXA on Rhodes
Department store etc. Peter Ward dropped me a note informing me
that the Pigeon Point AM Tower used by KKDZ (1250) and KBLE (1050) is
the last AM tower in the city. What makes this a bit more
interesting is that the tower is not even owned by a broadcaster but
rather belongs to American Tower. Thanks Peter.
What is it about successful Pacific Northwest or Seattle area companies
that people don’t like? Just think of all of those folks that
would bad-mouth Bill Gates and Microsoft (That is until he starting
giving away millions to help people around the world). Microsoft
succeeded because it developed products that people wanted. Now
it’s time for another Seattle based company, Amazon, which has become
just a wee bit too successful. Some are now saying that they have
grown too large and must be stopped through government action.
Seems to me that Amazon earned their way to where they are.
Every once in a while, someone with lots of time on their hands, comes
up with a phony piece of equipment that brings smiles to the faces of
broadcast engineers. Thanks to Dwight Small, here you go -
This is right in there with the Engineer that provides the technophobe
manager with a very impressive box with lots of blinking lights and
knobs and switches that they can use to enhance their skills.
The story of the Fox network in our town has taken a few twists and
turns. First the media ran a story about how Fox was buying KBCB
in Bellingham. (Viewed from elsewhere they were calling KBCB a
Seattle station …A bit of a stretch.) Then the news that Fox
wanted to buy KCPQ-13. The latest is that KCPQ will remain with
Tribune where they just inked a long term affiliate agreement. Now
the question is what will Fox do with the Bellingham station?
Just another story to be continued.
Apparently Nielsen has determined that Seattle is at the top of the list
of cities where people are cutting the cord…or where TV signals are not
delivered via cable or Satellite but rather via on-line services.
This comes on the heels of another survey that shows the vast majority
of folks watch television delivered by the ‘cord’.
No copper thefts to report this month - However I’m sorry to report that
James Boyd who does contract work all over the PNW had his truck broken
into with the theft of a considerable quantity of very expensive test
equipment. For example - an Aglient Network Analyzer,
Agilent Spectrum Analyzer and a number of adaptors etc. If you see
this equipment, or hear of where It might be - Please contact James at
503-703-8360 or e-mail email@example.com.
I’m going to leave you with some interesting quotes - all from Thomas Edison:
1. Never Underestimate the Power of Persistence
2. Your Accomplishments Define You
3. Learn from Failure
4. Give Employees the Freedom to be Creative
5. Don't Be Afraid to Think Big
6. Listen to the Customer
7. There is No Substitute for Hard Work
8. There Are No Shortcuts to Greatness
9. Success Doesn't Come Easy
10. The Keys to Achieving Anything Worthwhile Haven't Changed in Over 100 Years
That’s it for this month - As we approach the Holiday Season - Have a
wonderful Thanksgiving and may you weigh less the day after!
73, Clay, K7CR, CPBE