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November Last revision Nov 13, 2017

Next Meeting: We meet in Topeka on Tuesday November 14, 7:30PM at WIBW Studios, 1210 SW Executive Drive, Hosted by Roy Baum of WIBW. Our program will be provided by Don Free, longtime producer/engineer for calling the Royals baseball team games. The meeting was arranged by Duane Loyd, Vice Chair and Program Committee Chair. For those that want to eat together before the program, most of us will be at "Kansas Buffet", formerly Coyote Canyon, just off Wanamaker and Huntoon.

Last Meeting: We met in Manhattan at the Hilton Garden Inn during KAB Engineering Day. Thirteen members and two guests were in attendance as Chapter Chairman Steve Reiter called the meeting to order at 4:05 PM. Treasurer Robert Locke gave a report on the funds of the chapter. A motion was made by Robert Nelson, seconded by Ron Jones, to accept the motion as given. The motion passed. A motion to accept the minutes of the last meeting as published in the October chapter newsletter was made by Ron Jones, seconded by Richard Abraham, and passed. A report was given on the status of revising the chapter bylaws was given by Richard Abraham, and a report on the addition of a new member to our chapter, Paul Parker, of Manhattan was noted. Robert Nelson offered a motion, seconded by Richard Abraham, for the chapter to send a thank you card to Kent Cornish, KAB President, for allowing engineers free access to KAB events on Engineering Day, and for providing a meeting place for the Chapter 3 SBE meeting. The motion passed with many affirmative comments. There being no other business at hand, the annual chapter election was held. Official Ballots were passed out to thirteen members in attendance as they were checked off a current roster printed from the National SBE records. Two absentee ballots were received and added to the growing pile of voted ballots. The election tally committee consisting of Richard Abraham, Ron Jones, and Rod Rogers counted the votes and reported to Chairman Steve Reiter, that the following persons had been elected for the coming year:

Chair, Robert Locke, CPBE, CBNT, KPTS C.E., Retired.
Vice Chair, Duane Loyd, KTWU C.E. Emeritus.
Secretary/Treasurer, Robert Nelson, CPBE, CBNT, KSU Dir. Video & Engr Svcs for Comm. & Mrktg. Dept.

The new officers will take office November 1. The Vice Chairman Electee Duane Loyd announced the November meeting would be held in Topeka November 14, 7:30 PM at WIBW Radio Studios, hosted by Roy Baum. The program will be given by Don Free, longtime producer/engineer for the Royals baseball team, who will tell of his experiences calling those ball games.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:34 PM on motion of John Langer. The motion passed. The program for this month's SBE meeting consisted of four sessions at KAB's 2017 Convention, geared toward the engineer. The first was at 9:00 AM featuring David Layer, V.P. NAB Engineering. His topics centered about the Digital Dashboards found in new automobiles of today, and an update on progress of ATSC-3.0 Television Standards.

The digital dashboards of new cars produced today are placing less and less emphasis on AM radio, with many of the hybrid electric vehicles having no AM button available to select on their screens.

It would seen that the manufacturers are placing more emphasis on streaming services they either endorse or own outright. OTA FM Digital Radio stations are encouraged to buy a slot in the streaming service offered. Then seamless switching can occur between the OTA broadcast and the streaming service, guaranteeing continuous product to the listener. Much of this influence originates in Europe where efforts are being made for Digital Audio Products (DAB) to be standardized for the continent. There are no competing systems as we have in the U.S. with cell phone systems, i.e. GSM, PCS, etc.

Because of the exclusive system, pairing of your cell phone with your automobile comm system is anticipated to occur soon. Your personal preferences are stored on your cell phone, which connects with your car system and transfers those preferences to the music that is offered to you in the car. These preferences could be expanded to set the seat and mirror position, ambient temperature, communication contacts, or other choices that may be available and accessible on the automobile dashboard. All of these new behaviors are working toward the day of the autonomous automobile, where you probably will not own a vehicle, but you will be able to summon one as easily as you could arrange for a ride with Uber. This would especially appeal to those in large cities on both coasts of the U.S.

Surveys suggest that Smart Phone use in automobiles is up by 80% in 2016. The set-up of digital dashboards in vehicles has become more difficult or complicated as time progresses. Of course, there are more choices as time moves along.

Apps for use on auto dashboards are proliferating, and Apple, Google, and others would love to have access to this product, but so far have been stopped cold by efficient firewalls put in place by auto manufacturers. This is a necessary feature, however, since you wouldn't want anyone hacking into your vehicle's computer system.

David told us of "Hackathon's" in which NAB has been invited to participate. These events are sponsored by car manufacturers, and are further efforts to discover and protect their vehicles from take overs by hackers of any sort, to prevent undesirable or disastrous problems from occurring. Nonetheless, look soon for smart speakers, such as "Alexa" to be available in your new car. Hands free operation of your car's dashboard would certainly be considered safer than texting or making choices on your dashboard while driving. It is likely soon that texting while the vehicle is in motion will be blocked anyhow, but you get the idea.

The ATSC-3.0 update informed us that this system is now being deployed in South Korea. In the U.S., this transition is planned to be voluntary, or market driven - which means it is going to have to make money for someone before it is widely pushed.

"UHD" is not just 4K, but uses extra data for enhanced for High Dynamic Pictures.

DTV is trying hard to advance itself as much as the rest of the electronics industry in the U.S. - i.e. cell phones moving from 3G to 4G.

The data rate for ATSC-3.0 is 24 MB/sec, and delivered entirely by IP, but so far, only Samsung and LG are making sets to directly use this feature without additional conversion. Many new sets are simply monitors sold without built in tuners, but rather with multiple inputs allowing connection of set top boxes for streaming services or tuners for over the air broadcast decoding. Most however, do allow IP connections so the Internet can be reached and qualifying them as "smart" sets.

Session II for the morning was an FCC update for both Managers and Engineers, featuring Lark Hadley, FCC head of the Enforcement Bureau for Region 3. Mr. Hadley had previously been employed in the broadcast field, with Continental Transmitters, and is familiar with problems encountered by broadcast engineers. His region encompasses almost everything west of the Mississippi, save Texas and Oklahoma. He said much of his work is in resolving interference problems, but don't think you may be able to spot an FCC van because of its funny antennae bristling at odd angles.

The new vans often have their antennas embedded into the roof of the vehicle, making it look like any other on the road. The Kansas City office, of course, no longer is manned, however, KC, now is well stocked with equipment ready for an agent to use on short notice after arriving from wherever he happened to be prior. Lark dealt with several questions, as follows:

1.) Main Studio

2.) ID rules for AM over FM translators

3.) Waivers for ETRS test

4.) EAS

5.) 3rd party fund raising in the public file

6.) Party responsible for filing tower lights out

7.) Does the KC Office still monitor

8.) Missed this one in my notes, sorry.

9.) Uploading files to the FCC website

10.) 600 MHz Auction and repack

11.) ATSC-3.0 implementation

12.) Timeline for filing AM on FM Translators

NAB VP David Layer presented information on Digital Dashboards for new cars, and ATSC-3.0 Updates in the first morning session for engineers.

Lark Hadley, FCC Region 3 Director, gave a good presentation, despite interface problems between his laptop and the video projector, which only wanted to see HDMI inputs. The problem was quickly resolved, because Lark had his Power Point presentation duplicated on a SD flash card. Plugging it into a borrowed PC from an audience member, whose laptop did have an HDMI port on it, the program was quickly back on track.

Other issues asked about included noise generated by LEDs. It was also noted in the case of 600 MHz Wireless Microphone use, the all such use must cease by July 13, 2018, if not before, should the band be lit up by the Cellular spectrum buyer. Also discussed were cases of interference between cellular and harmonics. Lark said there had been some cases of 7X harmonic radiation through the transmitter cabinet causing such interference, and those harmonics must be suppressed to -110 to -120 dB to clear the problem, but these calls are rare. Lark also cautioned that if the FCC calls your station with an issue, rapid communication is often the best way to defuse a complaint. In that light, be sure your Chief Operator, or whomever is standing in for him if he is on vacation, is well known to your Receptionist, and/or GM. A quick and proper reply on your part may explain enough that no further action is necessary to resolve the issue for your station.

Lark Hadley, FCC Region 3 Director, gave a good presentation, despite interface problems between his laptop and the video projector, which only wanted to see HDMI inputs. The problem was quickly resolved, because Lark had his Power Point presentation duplicated on a SD flash card. Plugging it into a borrowed PC from an audience member, whose laptop did have an HDMI port on it, the program was quickly back on track. The first afternoon engineering session again had David Layer presenting an expansion on Tech and Regs updates.

On AM revitalization: Although there are some new rules, not a lot has changed here. The AM noise floor continues to rise.

AM on FM translators seems to be the biggest item. Translators can move up to 250 miles, but the window for this is closing soon. FM translators rebroadcasting AM programming can be on air 24/7, which may help those AM's who are daytime only. All digital AM would allow much more power to the digital than is presently broadcast, but the FCC has not allowed this so far, nor has anyone made an attempt at filing to push the issue.

EAS national test: There were some problems with the Form 2 submission after the last test, but it was attributed to problems with the browser being used. It was discovered that MicroSoft Edge on Windows 10 would not respond properly, but those using FireFox had no problems. It is still too soon to expect analysis reports to be issued by the FCC. However, problems are what tests are suppose to find, and it will be fixed before the next test is conducted. Roy Baum, Kansas State EAS Coordinator, noted that 98% of Kansas stations had participated, and that 95% of them could relay the test. Those that did have problems got tangled up in the latency of the message coming in on one method of distribution, versus the other.

The repack or realignment of stations to accommodate the spectrum sbe1117asold in the FCC auction is going so far, about as predicted. Those stations required to change channels number 957. To date, only 235 stations have begun the move. The first repack progress report was due to the FCC on 10/10/17. The FCC only alotted 39 months for relocation and new build of those stations who are moving frequency. The fact remains that there are only five tower companies in the nation qualified to work on the big towers, and much of their time is now being committed to repair of those stations damaged in the hurricanes. Time will tell how this pays out. An article in Broadcasting and Cable magazine, indicated 2X the stations assumed, are taking their share of the relocation money and running, or going dark. Mmmmmm! Interesting times.

In the 1st afternoon session, David Layer, NAB V.P., elaborated and expanded on comments made in the morning FCC session, using a chart provided by GatesAir. The question kept coming up about small churches and other unlicensed wireless mic users not being aware of the coming 600 MHz band being sold to cellular providers. One thing mentioned at the noon break was that not much use will be made of the band until there are phones produced for those frequencies.

The fourth engineering session was a time to visit with vendors who sponsored the event.

Our thanks to Kent! We learned a lot, and many of those attending would not have been able to do so without the offer of free registration for the day.

Newsletter Editor: R.W. Abraham

CPBE / CBNT Regional Engineer Cox Cable Wichita Retired


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