Welcome to RF Current, a weekly electronic newsletter focusing on Broadcast technical and F.C.C. related issues. This newsletter is part of The RF Page @ www.transmitter.com, a web site devoted to TV Broadcast RF engineering. For more information see the What is... guide to the R.F. Page site.

This page contains stories from RF Current issues published in August 1998. Links referenced in the articles were current when published but by this time may have changed. If you find a bad link, try connecting to the home page of the publication or company and look for an archive of past articles. If you find a changed link, I'd appreciate it if you'd let me know by dropping me a note indicating the new location at dlung@transmitter.com.

August 31, 1998 - Issue 131 Final Edition

SATELLITE - PanAmSat Galaxy X Destroyed when Boeing Delta III Rocket Explodes (Aug. 28)
Boeing is investigating the Wednesday failure of its Delta III rocket. Clarene Quan, Boeing investigation leader, commented that "Based on the data we reviewed over the past couple of days, it is pretty clear the failure is related to our control system." A Boeing News Release said Boeing engineers and U.S. Air Force Safety personal had "identified what was seen to be a fireball on the horizon after the vehicle destructed as the satellite. High-speed camera film showed the object as cube shaped, and the bright explosion lead experts to conclude it was caused by the storable propellants on board the satellite, and not a piece of solid rocket motor." It also said "Boeing has postponed the next Delta II mission scheduled out of Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., while the investigation team ensures the issues surrounding the Delta III failure are not related to the Delta II program."

The Delta III explosion destroyed PanAmSat's Galaxy X satellite. The Hughes-built HS 601HP spacecraft had 24 C-band and 24 Ku-band transponders. PanAmSat planned to locate Galaxy X at 123 degrees West Longitude, allowing Galaxy IX and SBS 5 customers to move to Galaxy X after which Galaxy IX and SBS 5 would to be moved to a new location. PanAmSat has four more launches planned - Galaxy XI, Galaxy III-C, Galaxy IV-R and the Galaxy X replacement. Galaxy XI will be launched in early 1999. The Galaxy X replacement should be launched in "approximately 18 months". This information was obtained from a PanAmSat News Release

DTV - Dielectric Received Order to Build WBZ Boston Community Tower (Aug. 28)
Dielectric Communications announced it has received an order worth over 1 million dollars from CBS for the WBZ, Boston Community Tower. The project involves a complete rebuild of the WBZ tower top and the installation of antennas for WBZ, WCVB, WGBH and WGBX for transmission of their NTSC and DTV signals from the existing tower. Dielectric will provide the antennas, wideband digiTLineTM transmission line, and combining systems. Lew Kling, president of Dielectric, said "this is a landmark project for Boston, the number six market in the U.S., and Dielectric is honored to have been chosen by WBZ and CBS". This information was obtain from a Dielectric Communications Press Release.

DIGITAL TELEVISION STATION APPLICATIONS - See ap980825.txt for more information
Call (DT) Ch. Licensee Location ERP (kW) HAAT (m) Antenna
KPNX 36 KPNX Broadcasting Mesa AZ 819 534 Dielectric TFU-26GBH 06
KPHO 17 Meredith Phoenix AZ 625 507 Dielectric TFU-26DSC C170
KUSA 16 Gannett Colorado B'ctg Denver CO 290 434 Dielectric TFU-24GBH-R 08
WFLA 7 Media General B'ctg Tampa FL 18.8 475 Dielectric TCL6A7(S)
WBHS 47 Seta Broadcasting Tampa FL 200 443 Dielectric TFU-34GTH-R06
WEHS 59 SKIL Broadcasting Aurora IL 200 494 Alan Dick Q5-9-189
WFLD 31 Fox Television Chicago IL 585 ERP change only
KSDK 35 Multimedia KSDK St. Louis MO 838 339 Dielectric TFU-20GTH-R 04
WHSP 66 SKVI Broadcasting Vineland NJ 200 280 Dielectric TFU-18DSC-R CT3
KHSX 48 SKDA Broadcasting Irving TX 200 365

DIGITAL TELEVISION STATION ACTIONS - See ac980825.txt for more information
Call (DT) Ch. Licensee Location ERP (kW) HAAT (m) Antenna
KCRA 35 Kelly Broadcasting Sacramento CA 1000 462 Dielectric TFU-30GTH-R
WRAL 53 Capitol Broadcasting Raleigh NC 962 614 Andrew ATW25H4-ETO-53S
WCCB 27 North Carolina B'ctg Charlotte NC 83.2 366 Dielectric TFU-10DSC-R C170
WKFT 38 Carolina Capital Comm. Fayetteville NC 200 538 Dielectric TFU-18DSC-R C170
WTVD 52 ABC Durham NC 1000 564 Dielectric TFU-28DSC-R CT3
WABC 45 American B'casting Co. New York NY 182.4 397 Harris TAD-16UDASP-4/32
KTRK 32 KTRK Television Houston TX 796.8 562 Dielectric TFU-30DSC-C170

OTHER Items of Interest

August 24, 1998 - Issue 130 Final Edition

FCC Experimental Actions for July 1998 (Aug. 21)
The FCC today released its Experimental Actions report for July, 1998. There was very little activity in July. The FCC granted Blick Communications, Ltd. authorization to test a 151.88 MHz low-power radio link from a vehicle to an individual for lone-worker protection purposes. Medtronic received an experimental license to operate in the 402-405 MHz band to develop equipment for a proposed "Medical Implant Communications Service?". [Editors note - Imagine combining this with the neuroscience breakthrough described in Other Items!]

TECHNOLOGY - Cornell Researchers Develop New Generation of HF High-Power Transistors (Aug 20)
Cornell University researchers have made significant progress in building RF transistors based on gallium nitride. A News Release from Cornell University reports "Lester F. Eastman, the John L. Given Foundation Professor of Engineering, and James R. Shealy, professor of electrical engineering, say they have tested gallium nitride transistors with output power of up to 2.2 watts per millimeter at a frequency of 4 gigahertz (GHz) and expect to see power figures five times higher as soon as improved test equipment is installed." The work is largely supported by a grant from the Office of Naval Research. Gallium arsenide transistors typically handle power of about 0.7 watts per millimeter, according to Eastman. He said "We believe we can make transistors with an output power of 12.5 watts per millimeter. We plan to combine four devices, each 2 millimeters long, on a monolithic integrated circuit to make a chip with an output power of 100 watts at a frequency of 10 GHz." The crystal on which the chips are made is grown on a heat sink made of either silicon carbide or sapphire. Cree Research, one of the companies working on silicon carbide material for UHF high power transistors is also working with Cornell to develop the gallium nitride transistors.

Much more detail on this interesting development in high power RF transistors is available in the Cornell University release titled A new generation of high-frequency, high-power transistors is being developed at Cornell.

ODD - Sealing Ducts? Use Anything But Duct Tape! (Aug. 18)
Duct tape (also called "gaffer's tape" in the TV and movie business) has been used in many applications - holding sets together, bundling cables, and temporary auto-body repair. However, it may not be the best material for sealing ducts! Max Sherman, who along with Iain Walker conducted the study, said "We tried as many different kinds of duct sealants as we could get our hands on. Of all the things we tested, only duct tape failed. It failed reliably and often quite catastrophically. On the other hand, while duct tape may not last long as a sealant, in the short run it is strong, sticky, and fairly easy to use." If you have a roll of duct tape in your tool kit, you may want to read more about this research in the article Sealing HVAC Ducts: Use Anything But Duct Tape released by Berkeley Labs.

DIGITAL TELEVISION STATION APPLICATIONS - See ap980824.txt for more information
Call (DT) Ch. Licensee Location ERP (kW) HAAT (m) Antenna
KCRA 35 Kelly Broadcasting Sacramento CA 1000 462 Dielectric TFU-30GTH-R
KOVR 15 SCI - Sacramento Lic. Stockton CA 691 594
KNSD 40 Station Venture Op. San Diego CA 18.2 566 Dielectric TFU-10DSCS180
KTXL 55 Channel 40 Sacramento CA 287 585 Dielectric TFU-18JSC T160
KCOP 66 KCOP Television Los Angeles CA 371 888 Dielectric TFU-36DSC-RC170
KCNC 35 Group W/CBS Television Denver CO 490 452 Dielectric TFU-24GTH-R 04
KMGH 17 McGraw-Hill B/casting Denver CO 25 450 Dielectric TFU-24GTH-R 04
WFSB 33 Meredith Hartford CT 500 284 Dielectric TFU-24GTH-R04
WTIC 5 Tribune Television Hartford CT 0.975 614 Dielectric TDM-3A5
WVIT 35 Outlet Broadcasting New Britain CT 87.1 457 Dielectric TFU-18GTH-R04
WFTV 39 WFTV Orlando FL 417 494 Dielectric TFU-18DSC-R C170
WTVT 12 TVT License Tampa FL 72.3 436 Andrew ATW9V3-ETO-12
WXIN 45 Tribune Television Indianapolis IN 200 285 Dielectric TFU-24GTH 04
WBAL 59 WBAL Hearst-Argyle Baltimore MD 537 312 Dielectric TFU-20GTH-R 04
WBFF 46 Chesapeake Television Baltimore MD 955 379 Andrew ATW25H3-ETC-46H
WCCO 32 CBS Broadcasting Minneapolis MN 1000 433 Harris TAD-32UDA-5/80
KDNL 31 KDNL Licensee St. Louis MO 1000 336 Andrew AGW25H3-ET01-31
WRAL 53 Capitol Broadcasting Raleigh NC 962 614 Andrew ATW25H4-ETO-53S
WSOC 34 WSOC Television Charlotte NC 370 352 Dielectric TUP-04-12-1
WCCB 27 N. Carolina B/casting Charlotte NC 83.2 366 Dielectric TFU-10DSC-R C170
WKFT 38 Carolina Capital Comm. Fayetteville NC 200 538 Dielectric TFU-18DSC-R C170
WLFL 57 WLFL Licensee Raleigh NC 316 61- Andrew AGW25H3-ET01-57
WRAZ 49 Carolina B/casting Sys. Raleigh NC 200 629 Andrew ATW25H4ETO-495
WCNC 22 WNC-TV Charlotte NC 355 577 Dielectric TFU-22DSC-R C170
WTVD 52 ABC Durham NC 1000 564 Dielectric TFU-28DSC-R CT-3
WABC 45 American Broadcasting Co. New York NY 182.4 397 Harris TAD-16UDASP-4/32
WKRC 31 Citicasters Cincinnati OH 800 278 Andrew ATW22H4-HSO-315
WJW 31 WJW License Cleveland OH 633 315 Andrew ATW22H2-ESQ
WTAE 51 WTAE Heart-Argyle Pittsburgh PA 145 250 Dielectric TLP-16I(C)
WPGH 43 WPG Licensee Pittsburgh PA 1000 312 Andrew ATW22H3-ETC1-43H
KTRK 52 KTRK Television Houston TX 796.8 562 Dielectric TFU-30DSC-C170
KPDX 48 KPDX Licenese Vancouver WA 4.6 527 Dielectric TFU-32GTH/VP-R DC SP130
KCPQ 18 Kelly Television Tacoma WA 650 585 Andrew ATW22H3-ESC1-18S

DIGITAL TELEVISION STATION APPLICATIONS - See ap980818.txt for more information
Call (DT) Ch. Licensee Location ERP (kW) HAAT (m) Antenna
WNCN 55 Outlet Broadcasting Goldsboro NC 525 628 Dielectric TFU-28GTH/VP-R 06

DIGITAL TELEVISION STATION ACTIONS - See ac980824.txt for more information
Call (DT) Ch. Licensee Location ERP (kW) HAAT (m) Antenna
WFOR 22 Group W/CBS Television Miami FL 956 310 Dielectric TFU-200TH-R 04
WMAR 52 Scripps Howard B/casting Baltimore MD 602.6 310.7
WJZ 38 CBS Corporation Baltimore MD 522.4 312
KOMO 38 Fisher Broadcasting Seattle WA 810 223 Dielectric TFU-32DSC C 164

DIGITAL TELEVISION STATION ACTIONS - See ac980820.txt for more information
Call (DT) Ch. Licensee Location ERP (kW) HAAT (m) Antenna
KTVU 56 KTVU Partnership Oakland CA 501 432
KQED 30 KQED San Francisco CA 777 437

DIGITAL TELEVISION STATION ACTIONS - See ac980819.txt for more information
Call (DT) Ch. Licensee Location ERP (kW) HAAT (m) Antenna
KRON 57 The Chronicle Publishing Co. San Francisco CA 100 446
KGO 24 KGO Television San Francisco CA 561 437

OTHER Items of Interest

August 17, 1998 - Issue 129 Final Edition

FCC Chairman Kennard Calls for commercially viable 1394-enabled DTV sets by Nov 1999 (Aug 14)
The FCC has released a copy of a letter from Chairman William Kennard to Mr. Decker Anstrom, President and CEO of the National Cable Television Association and Mr. Gary Shapiro, President of the Consumer Electronic Manufacturers Association. In the letter, Chairman Kennard called called on the industries they represent to "work together to complete a baseline 1394 specification that will allow manufacturers to produce commercially viable, 1394-enabled digital television sets by November 1999." 1394 refers to IEEE Standard 1394, which defines a high speed digital interface for electronic devices. Kennard stated he saw "no reason why this should not be complete by November 1, 1998." He warned the industry representatives that "If for some reason this deadline cannot be met, I request you alert me and tell me the sources of delay so that the FCC can continue to facilitate resolution of this important issue."

He was also urged the industries to "redouble your efforts to enable the American public to receive digital broadcast programming over cable for display on first-generation digital television sets." Solutions suggested included having cable operators pass-through digital broadcast signals in their original broadcast format or use set-top boxes that would deliver a high-resolution component video signal to the proper input on a digital set. See Chairman Kennard's letter for more information.

SATELLITE - Likely Cause of HS 601 Satellite Failures Found - Lauches Ready to Resume (Aug 11)
Hughes Electronics Corporation announced its extensive investigation has revealed electrical shorts were the most likely cause of failures in three Hughes HS 601 satellites over the last three months. A Hughes Press Release reported:
A team of Hughes engineers and outside experts confirmed that all three satellites experienced an electrical short within the SCP, resulting in blown fuses. The SCP is the on-board computer that controls the satellite. It executes a number of critical functions, such as propulsion for attitude control, solar wing positioning and antenna pointing. Hughes installs two SCPs, as well as other redundant systems, on each satellite to assure long life and reliability.

The investigators have narrowed down the most probable cause to a tin-plated latching relay that serves as an on/off switch within the SCP. Under certain combined conditions, a tiny, crystalline structure, less than the width of a human hair, can grow and bridge a relay terminal to its case, causing an electrical short.

For this to occur, however, a number of factors must be concurrently present. Those factors include the presence of pure tin, incomplete protective coating leaving part of the tin relay exposed, and a grounded relay case. Additionally, other factors with a finite probability of happening must also be present for a short to occur. There must be localized stress in the tin plating to precipitate the growth of the crystalline structure, and the structure must grow a sufficient length and in a certain direction.
Hughes Space and Communications Company (HSC) president Donald L. Cromer commented "Manufacturing records and photos are being scrutinized to narrow the number of in-orbit satellites that are possibly susceptible to the phenomenon and we are investigating possible actions that might reduce the probability of recurrence in orbit." Galaxy IV was rendered inoperable when both its main and backup spacecraft control processors (SCP) failed. However, the Hughes Press Release said "The second SCP failure on Galaxy IV is distinctly different from the other three and is viewed as a random event. Galaxy IV was the first operational HS 601 model satellite to suffer a complete failure." Galaxy VII and DBS-1 each experienced a failure of one of their two SCP units and are now operating normally with their backup SCPs.

On the same day PanAmSat issued a News Release announcing it had begun the final countdown to the Galaxy X satellite launch in late August. Galaxy X is a Hughes-built HS 601 HP satellite. It does not have the same relay design as the HS 601 satellites that experienced SCP failures. PanAmSat president and chief executive officer Frederick A. Landman said "PanAmSat believes these anomalies were unusual exceptions to the high performance of Hughes-built satellites. PanAmSat fully supports the investigation results and is moving forward with final preparations for the Galaxy X launch later this month."

DIRECTV also issued a News Release on August 11 announced it had ordered a new satellite from Hughes Space and Communications Company. It will also be an HS 601 HP model. The launch is planned for mid-1999. It will be positioned at 101 degrees among the three existing DIRECTV spacecraft, pending FCC approval. The satellite will replace DIRECTV's capacity on DBS-1. The primary SCP in DBS-1 failed July 4. DBS-1 will remain available as an in-orbit backup.

FCC Releases Additional Application Processing Guidelines for Digital TV (Aug. 11)
Broadcasters planning DTV facilities that don't meet the FCC's "checklist" requirements or modifying existing NTSC facilities had to deal with practical matters that weren't clearly addressed in the FCC's earlier proceedings. The FCC this week clarified how de minimis interference should be calculated, what the baseline is for population covered, tolerances allowed in calculations and several other points that were subject to various interpretations. The FCC's Additional Application Processing Guidelines for Digital Television (DTV) is not easy to summarize. The guidelines must be used when submitting "non-conforming" applications for either NTSC or DTV services or when filing opposition to applications based on increased interference.

For purposes of determining de minimis interference, the greater of the NTSC or DTV population served listed in the FCC's DTV Order must be used. However, if a DTV station expands its coverage, the two percent additional / ten percent maximum de minimis limit applies only to the DTV population served as listed in the Order. The cumulative effect of other de minimis authorizations must be considered. If a station receives increased interference through a negotiated agreement, that interference must be included in the de minimis calculations.

The FCC recognized that variations in the implemenations of OET Bulletin 69 may produce slightly different results. The Guidelines state "Determination of compliance with the rules will be based on the Commission's implementation of the software, with the result rounded to the nearest tenth of a percent." DTV maximum ERP values and the ERP values along individual azimuths will be rounded to the nearest tenth of a dB. Distance calculations will be rounded to the nearest tenth of a kilometer. For NTSC applications, determination of interference will be rounded to the nearest percent. NTSC applications are not permitted to cause any additional interference to DTV allotments.

The Guidelines also contain information on procedures to be followed when filing applications proposing the use of beam-tilt to increase ERP, DTV allotment exchanges and several other topics. The Guidelines are available in both text and Adobe Acrobat (PDF) formats.

FCC Amends Main Studio and Local Public Inspection File Rules for Broadcasters (Aug. 11)
In Report and Order (FCC98-175), the FCC relaxed its rules regarding the location of a broadcast station's main studio and public inspection files. Under the new rules, with few exceptions "each AM, FM, and TV broadcast station shall maintain a main studio at one of the following locations: (1) within the station's community of license; (2) at any location within the principal community contour of any AM, FM, or TV broadcast station licensed to the station's community of license; or (3) within twenty-five miles from the reference coordinates of the center of its community of license as described in 73.208(a)(1)."

Relocation of the main studio may be made without specific FCC authority to locations meeting the requirements listed above. FCC notification is required. Written authority is required to locate a main studio outside the locations specified in the new rules, even if the present studio is outisde those locations. The FCC Order also specifies "Each AM, FM, and TV broadcast station shall maintain a local telephone number in its community of license or a toll-free number.".

The local public inspection file of commercial stations "shall be maintained at the main studio of the station." See the complete test of the Report and Order for additional details.

SPACE - SOHO Spacecraft "on the road to recovery" (Aug. 11)
As reported in last week's RF Current, engineers regained communication with the SOHO spacecraft. Six days later, late Saturday night (August 8), several blocks of telemetry data with the spacecraft's on-board status were acquired. Data acquistion continued Sunday and over the following days. ESA and Matra Marconi Space engineers sent a series of commands to diverting solar power to charge one of the on-board batteries. After ten hours of charging, telemetry transmission was commanded on for one minute Saturday. Sunday telemetry was acquired in two sessions lasting four and five minutes.

ESA's Francis Vanderbussche, in charge of the SOHO Recovery Team at Goddard Space Flight Center, said "I am truly satisfied with the information the data we acquired gives us. Conditions on-board are as good as we expected them to be." An ESA news release said the team was working on the next series of procedures -- thawing the on-board hydrazine fuel. This will be attempted once the spacecraft's batteries are fully charged. More information is available in the 11 August ESA Press Release, on the ESA SOHO web site and at the new ESA science web site. NASA has posted animation from a dynamic simulation of the last ESR (Emergency Sun Reacquistion) of the spacecraft. Information and an MPEG file are available from the NASA web site at http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/operations/ESR7/.

DIGITAL TELEVISION STATION APPLICATIONS - See ap980817.txt for more information
Call (DT) Ch. Licensee Location ERP (kW) HAAT (m) Antenna
WOFL 22 Meredith Orlando FL 1000 449 Andrew ATW25H3-ETC3-22H
KARE 35 Gannett Minnesota B/casting Minneapolis MN 774 435 Harris TAD-32UDA-5/90

DIGITAL TELEVISION STATION APPLICATIONS - See ap980814.txt for more information
Call (DT) Ch. Licensee Location ERP (kW) HAAT (m) Antenna
KSTP 50 Hubbard Broadcasting St. Paul MN 1000 433 Harris TAD-32UDA-5/80-MRST

DIGITAL TELEVISION STATION ACTIONS - See ac980817.txt for more information
Call (DT) Ch. Licensee Location ERP (kW) HAAT (m) Antenna
WMUR 59 WMUR-TV Manchester NH 537 305 Dielectric TFU-24JTH-R(S)

DIGITAL TELEVISION STATION ACTIONS - See ac980814.txt for more information
Call (DT) Ch. Licensee Location ERP (kW) HAAT (m) Antenna
WFTS 29 Tampa Bay Television Tampa FL 100 465 Dielectric TFU-16GBH 06
WSVN 8 Sunbeam Television Miami FL 14.4 291 Harris TAB-12H
WTSP 24 Pacific and Southern St. Petersburg FL 625 440 Dielectric TFU-18DSC-R C-170

DIGITAL TELEVISION STATION ACTIONS - See ac980813.txt for more information
Call (DT) Ch. Licensee Location ERP (kW) HAAT (m) Antenna
WXIX 29 Malrite Communications Group Newport KY 247.6 290 Harris 18C-VSM-29
WHSH 23 USA Station Group Partnership Marlborough MA 49.6 326

OTHER Items of Interest

August 10, 1998 - Issue 128 Final Edition

FCC Proposes New Allocations at 5, 7 and 15 GHz for Satellite Services (Aug. 6)
The FCC proposes amending Part 2 of its Rules to allocate the 5091-5250 MHz and 15.43-15.63 GHz bands to the fixed-satellite service (FSS) on a co-primary basis for Earth-to-space (uplink) transmissions. The 6700-7075 MHz and 15.3-15.63 GHz bands would be allocated on a co-primary basis for space-to-Earth (downlink) tranmissions. The FCC news release said "The adoption of these proposals would provide spectrum for feeder links to support the current and immediate requirements of NGSO MSS systems." Frequencies in the 5150-5250 MHz band would also be affected. For more information, see the FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking - ET Docket 98-142.

FCC Adopts Rules For Public Safety Use of Reallocated TV Channels (Aug. 6)
In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Third Notice) (NPRM) not yet available on-line, the FCC established service rules for licensing 24 MHz of spectrum in the 764-806 MHz band. The NPRM establishes a band plan for the spectrum, seeks comment on how to license the remaining 8.8 MHz of the public safety spectrum and requests comment on proposals to implement nationwide public safety interoperability. The spectrum is channelized into narrowband and wideband channels for voice, data, image, high speed data and video transmissions. 12.6 MHz of spectrum was designated for general use and 2.6 MHz for nationwide interoperability purposes. The FCC also proposed and sought comment on technical solutions to address possible interference problems to global satellite navigation satellite systems.

More information is available in Report No. WT 98-24 Wireless Telecommunications Action and Commissioner Gloria Tristani's Keynote Address before the 64th Annual Conference of the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials-International (APCO).

FCC Announces Agreement by Municipal Governments and Wireless Industry on Towers (Aug. 6)
FCC Chairman William E. Kennard announced a facilties siting agreement between the FCC's Local and State Government Advisory Committee (LSGAC), the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA), the Personal Communications Industry Association (PCIA), and the American Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA). The agreement sets appropriate guidelines for tower and antenna siting and an informal dispute resolution process for related issues. Chairman Kennard said "One of the of the most contentious issues I have faced as Chairman of the FCC is the issue of tower siting. This agreement presents an important breakthrough. The towers and antennae that make up our nation's wireless infrastructure are essential to delivery of the benefits of these important new technologies to the public. Competition has made wireless an increasingly affordable and convenient telecom choice for a growing number of consumers. On the other hand, local governments and citizens clearly have a legitimate interest in where and how towers are sited."

The Agreement allows moratoria on construction "when a local government needs time to review and possibly amend its land use regulations to adequately address issues relating to the siting of wireless telecommunications facilities in a manner that addresses local concerns, provides the public with access to wireless services for its safety, convenience and productivity, and complies with the Telecommunications Act of 1996." However, the agreement also states the moratoria should be for a fixed length of time, with a specified termination date. 180 days was suggested as a maximum length of time. The Agreement also stated "Local governments are encouraged to include both the community and the industry in the development of local plans concerning tower and antenna siting. Public notice and participation in accordance with the local government's standard practices should be followed."

If disputes arise, the agreement states "Local government experts in the area of land use siting of wireless telecommunications facilities in accordance with Section 704 of the Telecommunications Act, as well as industry representatives will be encouraged to serve as volunteers to assist in the resolution of problems relating to moratoria." One volunteer would represent local government and another volunteer would represnet the wireless industry. The FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) may be contacted for the name of a volunteer to review the matter. The organizations taking part in the agreement (listed above) will supply names of volunteers to the FCC.

More details on the process are available in the FCC News Release and in the text of the Agreement.

FCC Advisory Committee on WRC-2000 Proposes Additional Preliminary Views (Aug. 5)
As reported before in RF Current, the WRC-2000 Advisory Committee is working with the FCC in the development of proposals for the World Radiocommunication Conference in 2000 (WRC-2000). At its fourth meeting on July 30, 1998, the committee proposed further preliminary views on WRC-2000 issues. The FCC requests comment on these issues. The complete list is too long to include here. Some of the frequencies affected include 470-960 MHz, 1.4-3.4 GHz, 10-14 GHz, 17-19 GHz, 20 GHz, and 36-51 GHz. In most cases, additional services are being proposed for these bands. The Committee is taking preliminary views supporting or opposing these allocations. If you have operations on these frequencies, see the Report IN 98-43 International Action for more details.

SPACE - NASA Re-establishes Contact with SOHO Spacecraft (Aug. 4)
After six weeks of silence, the efforts of NASA and the European Space Agency to contact the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) were rewarded with two to ten seconds bursts of signal from the spacecraft. Signals transmitted from the NASA Deep Space Network at Canberra, Australia triggered the response. Contact is being maintained through Deep Space Network stations at Canberra; Madrid, Spain; and Goldstone, CA.

Dr. Joe Gurman, NASA SOHO Project Scientist at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt Maryland was encouraged - "This is an excellent sign. It means the spacecraft still has a heartbeat and gives us added optimisim that we may be able to restore SOHO to scientific operations. Our next step, already underway, is to continue the careful process of attempting to re-establish control of the spacecraft. We well be attempting, in the near future, to begin data transmissions in order to get an assessment of SOHO's condition."

More information is available in the SOHO News Release and on the NASA SOHO and ESA web site.

DTV - CEMA Releases Survey Showing Increasing Awareness and Interest in HDTV (Aug. 4)
Yesterday the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association (CEMA) released the results of a consumer survey conducted in July on the DTV transition. The survey found 58 percent of consumers are aware of the termins "high definition television" and HDTV. This is up from less than 30 percent in April, 1997. The CEMA News Release said about 42 percent of U.S. adults feel they know at least somewhat more about digital TV than they did at this time last year. Of these adults, more than half are much more interested in buying a digital TV. Observing that consumer awareness of DTV has nearly doubled since April 1997, the president of CEMA, Gary Shapiro, said "This awareness coincides with increased interest in DTV and consumer demand for first- and second-generation product."

The study found movie fans are more familiar with DTV than fans of sports and sitcom programming. The CEMA New Release reported about half the movie fans surveyed will consider buying a DTV because of movies. More information on the survey, including categories of DTV consumers and interest in DTV by age group, is available in the CEMA News Release.

DIGITAL TELEVISION STATION APPLICATIONS - See ap980806.txt for more information

Call (DT) Ch. Licensee Location ERP (kW) HAAT (m) Antenna
KNXV 58 Scripps Howard Phoenix AZ 73 509 Dielectric TFU-18DSG T150
KXTV 61 Great Western B/casting Sacramento CA 1000 593 Dielectric TFU-30GBH-R08
WTNH 10 WTHN Broadcasting New Haven CT 7.88 342 Dielectric THP-0-2-1-R
WFTS 29 Tampa Bay Television Tampa FL 100 465 Dielectric TFU-16GBH 06
WSVN 8 Sunbeam Television Miami FL 14.4 291 Harris TAB-12H
WFOR 22 Group W/CBS Television Stations Miami FL 956 310 Dielectric TFU-200TH-R04
WTSP 24 Pacific and Southern St. Petersburg FL 625 440 Dielectric TFU-18DSC-R C-170
WRTV 25 McGraw-Hill B/casting Indianapolis IN 898 294 Dielectric TFU-30GTH-R04
WJZ 38 CBS Corporation Baltimore, MD 522.4 312 Dielectric TFU-20GTH-R04
WMUR 58 WMUR-TV Manchester NH 537 305 Dielectric TFU-24JTH-R(S)
WPXI 48 WPXI Pittsburgh PA 501 289 Dielectric TFU-30GBH-R0-06
KUPX 29 Roberts Broadcasting Provo UT 60.3 1171 Dielectric TUP-SP2-12-1 & TUP-SP1-4-1
WETA 27 Greater Wash. Ed. TV Washington DC 75 177 Dielectric TFU-8JST-R03
KTCI 16 Twin Cities Public TV St. Paul MN 50 394 Andrew ATW30H4-DSC3-17S

DIGITAL TELEVISION STATION ACTIONS - See ac980805.txt for more information

Call (DT) Ch. Licensee Location ERP (kW) HAAT (m) Antenna
KCBS 60 CBS Broadcasting Los Angeles CA 469 1087 Dielectric TFU-18DSC-R C170
KNBC 36 NBC Subsidiary (KNBC-TV) Los Angeles CA 380 991  
KABC 53 ABC Holding Company Los Angeles CA 182.5 924 Dielectric TUP-14-04
WFLD 31 Fox Television Stations Chicago IL 200 475  

DIGITAL TELEVISION STATION ACTIONS - See ac980804.txt for more information

Call (DT) Ch. Licensee Location ERP (kW) HAAT (m) Antenna
WBZ 30 Group W Broadcasting Boston MA 600 390 Harris TAD_24UDA-5/60
KOIN 40 KOIN-TV Portland OR 806 522 Dielectric TUP-14-04
KING 48 KING Broadcasting Seattle WA 1000 239  

DIGITAL TELEVISION STATION ACTIONS - See ac980804.txt for more information

Call (DT) Ch. Licensee Location ERP (kW) HAAT (m) Antenna
KPRC 35 Post-Newsweek Houston TX 1000 585 Dielectric TFU-26GTH-R04
KTLA 31 KTLA Los Angeles CA 375 954  

OTHER Items of Interest

August 3, 1998 - Issue 127 Final Edition

CHIPS - Motorola Delivers Single Chip Front-end Solution for DVB Digital TV (Aug. 3)
Motorola becomes the second manufacturer to offer a single chip COFDM demodulator. The Motorola MC92314DH is able to demodulate and decode DVB-T 2K carrier compliant broadcast signals. It includes a 2K COFDM demodulator, 2K-mode Fast Fourier Transform processing and forward error correction (FEC). Motorola plans to have a 2K/8K single chip receiver ready for the European market by the end of 1998. It will be pin-compatible with the MC92314DH. First samples of the MC92314 are being supplied. Volume production is planned for December 1998. A Motorola Press Release said Motorola plans to price the unit under $20 for volume purchases. For more details, see the Motorola Press Release First True Single-Chip Front-End Solution For DTTV.

LSI-Logic announced its L64780, a single chip DVB-T 2K/8K COFDM demodulator in May. (See the May 18, 1998 RF Current). [Motorola link added Aug. 5]

FCC Approves 47 GHz Frequency Allocation for Stratospheric Platforms (Aug. 3)
The FCC released a Memorandum Opinion and Order on Reconsideration and a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in in various dockets and rulemakings in the use of radio frequencies above 40 GHz for new radio applications and for an amendment of the Commission's rules to establish requirements for a global stratospheric telecommunications service in the 47.2-47.5 GHz and 47.9-48.2 GHz frequency bands. Licenses for use of this spectrum would be auctioned to potential stratospheric platform and satellite users. The FCC said that while it specified stratospheric platforms as the dominant use of the 47.2-47.5 and 47.9-48.2 GHz bands, other uses were not precluded from using the spectrum as long as they did not cause interference to the stratospheric platforms and accepted any interference from them.

The FCC MO&O and NPRM also looked at the public safety issues raised by Motorola. The FCC said "Sky Station's proposed communications service, as described in its application, would be provided by multi-ton platforms suspended by balloons floating in the stratosphere over major cities across the Nation. The possibility that these platforms, or parts of them, could fail may present a significant safety concern." The FCC said Sky Station replied that "its platforms are designed with multiple redundant safety features that will eliminate the risk of injury or harm to airplanes or people on the ground. It also claims that any damage on Earth is no more likely to occur than from satellite launch and de-orbit operations."

Several issues remain to be resolved in the rulemaking. The FCC requested comments on power limits for equipment used in the frequency band. Please refer to FCC 98-142 for the full text of the Memorandum Opinion and Order on Reconsideration and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for more detailed information. Comments are due September 21, 1998, reply comments by October 13, 1998.

Sky Station International, Inc., plans to begin operating a high-speed, high-density wireless service via stratospheric platforms during 2001. Sky Station said it expects an auction for the frequencies will be scheduled in the first half of 1999. Refer to the Sky Station News Release for its comments on the FCC action. Visit the Sky Station Web Site for interesting technical information on the platforms.

FCC - U.S. and Mexico Agree on DTV Service Implementation Along Border (July 31)
FCC News Report IN 98-42 released today said "The FCC and Mexico's Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that establishes procedures for implementing digital television (DTV) service along the United States/Mexico border and approves all five DTV stations in the U.S./Mexico border area slated to begin service in November 1998 and May 1999." FCC Chairman Kennard and SCT Undersecretary of Communications Jorge Nicolin signed the agreement. Chairman Kennard commented "this MOU represents a major step forward in the cooperative efforts of Mexico and the U.S. to bring the benefits of DTV to consumers quickly, and clears the way for the imminent roll-out of DTV in the Top 10 U.S. markets."

Most authorized DTV stations in the area around the border can begin operation within 15 days after notifying the other country. Los Angeles, California falls within this border region. The MOU specifies that the Los Angeles stations volunteering to begin DTV operations by November 1, 1998 or required to begin operation by May 1, 1999 will not be required to submit further notification. Some other stations are short-spaced and will require earlier notification. The MOU lists the mutually acceptable DTV channel assignments for each country, identifies the short-spaced stations, outlines procedures to be followed in notifying each country of plans to implement DTV service on one of these allotments and the methods to be used by each administration to evaluate acceptability of proposed DTV facilities.

The complete Memorandum of Understanding is available on-line in Adobe Acrobat "PDF" format. See http://www.fcc.gov/ib/pnd/agree for more information.

DTV - Australian Specialist Group-DTTB Recommends Preferred HDTV formats (July 30)
After the recommendation of the DTTB Selection Panel that Australia should adopt the DVB-T modulation system, Specialist Group-DTTB has recommended preferred formats for HDTV production. The preferred video format is 1920 by 1080(interlaced) at a 50 Hz field rate. Dolby AC-3 was recommended as the preferred method of encoding audio prior to modulation. The group rejected the ATSC PSIP Service Information data standard in favor of the DVB-SI standard. It found the DVB-SI basic system met more of the essential Australian requirements than PSIP.

More information is available in the Australian Comms Lab Media Release. Thanks to Kirk Bayne, alt.video.digital-tv Home Page, for pointing me to this release.

FCC Grants Extension of Time For Comments in the Conducted RF Emission Limits Docket (July 29)
The FCC granted a motion requesting a sixty-day extension of the comment and reply period in ET Docket 98-80 - Conducted Emissions Limits Below 30 MHz for Equipment Regulated Under Parts 15 and 18 of the Commission's Rules. The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) submitted the motion to allow it to conduct tests and submit its comments to the Commission. NAB has contracted with an engineering firm to perform tests on various broadcast receivers to ascertain their susceptibility to interference from RF energy on AC power lines. See Order Granting Extension of Time - DA 98-1499 for more information.

DIGITAL TELEVISION STATION APPLICATIONS - See ap980729.txt for more information
All listings are for a new digital TV station unless otherwise indicated.

DIGITAL TELEVISION STATION ACTIONS - See ac980729.txt for more information
All listings are CP application grants for a new digital TV station unless otherwise indicated

OTHER Items of Interest

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Last modified August 31, 1998 by Doug Lung dlung@transmitter.com
Copyright 1998 H. Douglas Lung