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. Issues are dated each Monday, although recently I've needed an extra day or two to complete each issue. Articles may be posted earlier if time permits or if there is a major, breaking story.

NOTICE You may have noticed that near the end of the month, the RF Current page had grown rather large. Starting this month, each issue will now have its own HTML page. This should make it faster to load, easier to search and make it a little easier for me to edit. I now have access to an Excite search engine. As soon as I can figure it out, I plan to have all issues search able from the new back-issues list.

April 5, 1999 - Issue 160 Final Edition

DTV - Scientific Atlanta to Premiere New PowerVu PlusTM Products at NAB '99 (Apr. 5)
Scientific Atlanta said it has expanded its PowerVu PlusTM system to include statistical multiplexing using the new PowerVu Plus BitMizerTM. It also announced it will be showing the PowerVu Plus Multiple Decryption Receiver and a new PowerVu Plus Compact Encoder. Other products include the PowerVu IP System, an IP hub and PC card system for high-speed Internet access, data broadcasts, file transfers and video-to-the-desktop applications via satellite.

The BitMizer Statistical Multiplexer is capable of handling up to 16 channels on one satellite transponder. It uses variable bit rate encoding and temporal adaptive analysis techniques to maintain quality while providing bit savings. The Multiple Decryption Receiver receives and decrypts an entire digital multiplex for delivery to a digital cable headend. It supports either 64 or 256 QAM and DVB-ASI, SWIF and DHEI multiplex formats.

Refer to the Scientific Atlanta Press Release for more information.

FCC Announces Formation of The Technological Advisory Council (Apr. 2)
The FCC announced it was forming a Technological Advisory Council, consisting recognized technical experts from several fields, to provide technical expertise to the Commission. Dale Hatfield, Chief of the Office of Engineering and Technology will service as Alternate Designated Federal Officer for the Council. He commented, "We are eager for the council to analyze the difficult technical issues facing the Commission in such areas as spectrum management, convergence, and the Internet. Sound technical advice is essential to our developing the best policies to serve the public."

Council members include Mr. Bruce Allen, VP and General Manager at Harris Corporation; Dr. Paul Limo, Chief Technology Officer at Panasonic and President of Panasonic Technologies; Dr. Wah Lim, VP for Technology and Deveopment for Hughes Space and Communications; Dr. Robert Martin, Chief Technology Officer of Bell Labs/Lucent; and Mr. Glenn Reitmeier, VP of DTV and Web Media at Sarnoff Laboratories, among others. The Chair is Dr. Bob Lucky, VP and Officer in Charge of Applied Research, Telecordia Technologies (formerly Bellcore).

The first meeting of the Council will be April 30, 1999 from 10am to 3pm in the Commission Meeting Room, 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. The public is invited to attend. More details and a complete list of Advisory Council members can be found in the FCC Public Notice (pnet9007).

DTV - California Microwave to Show COFDM Digital ENG Microwave at NAB '99 (Apr. 1)
In a Press Release issued today, California Microwave said it was cooperating with NDS Americas, Wescam, Wolf Coach to provide ongoing demonstrations of its new CodeRunnerTM mobile transmitter and central receiver. The signals will be transported from both a moving news van and a fixed wing aircraft. In the Sand Convention Center, California Microwave will introduce a new family of products for distributing IP data traffic over satellite.

California Microwave will also show its TwinstreamTM dual analog / digital radios and digital modems from its EFData division. More information is available in the Press Release.

FCC Adopts New Regulations To Prevent Cell Phone Reception on Scanners (Mar. 31)
The FCC has significantly strengthened its Part 2 and 15 rules to prohibit reception of cellular radiotelephone service transmissions on scanning receivers. It did not adopt some of the stronger prohibitions on the sale of test equipment such as spectrum analyzers and service monitors which are capable of receiving these frequencies.

Scanners must provide at least 38 dB rejection of Cellular Service signals on any frequency tunable on the scanner. This rejection is determined using a 12 dB SINAD measurement. The tuning and control circuitry in the scanning receiver must be made inaccessible and "the design must be such that any attempt to modify the scanning receiver circuitry to receive Cellular Service transmissions will likely render the scanning receiver inoperable." The FCC also required that the filtering circuitry be made inaccessible, to prevent reception on image frequencies. Scanning receivers must carry a warning label that says "Warning: Modification of this device to receive cellular radiotelephone service signals is prohibited under FCC rules and Federal law."

Of particular interest to people who build their own electronic equipment, the FCC modified the rules "to clarify that the prohibtion on modifying scanning receivers to receive Cellular Service transmissions contained in Section 15.121 overrides the home built device provisions of Section 15.23." The FCC also adopted rules that "prohibit the importation and manufacture of scanning receiver and frequency converter kits that are capable of receiving and decoding signals from the Cellular Service frequency bands." The FCC noted that the prohibition will not impact kits used to expand the frequencies covered by amateur radio equipment.

Although some parties requested the FCC define the type of user when considering the definition of test equipment, the FCC declined to adopt this request and instead focus on the functional design of the equipment. In this Order, the FCC defined test equipment as follows:
Test equipment is defined as equipment that is intended primarily for purposes of performing measurement or scientific investigations. Such equipment includes, but is not limited to, field strength meters, spectrum analyzers, and modulation monitors.

Refer to the Report and Order (FCC 99-58) for more details and a discussion of comments received in the proceeding.

FCC Releases Y2K Report - Some concerns with low response to survey (Mar. 30)
The FCC released a Y2K Communications Sector Report that was, for the most part, optimistic about communications services during the Y2K transition. There were some concerns with the lack of response to the survey. In the wireless industry, the report said only 31 percent of those surveyed responded. The FCC noted that while even those broadcasters who do not have a formal plan appear to be taking steps to continue service on January 1, 2000, "lack of a formal remediation plan is a concern and makes it difficult to know how far along in the process these broadcasters really are." The Report said that the availability of multiple broadcast services in any market gives viewers and listeners several alternative broadcast stations to rely on.

Twenty-eight of the 32 operators responded to the survey, but only 12 included a complete set of data. The report said "the industry consensus is that Y2K problems are unlikely to affect satellites now in orbit." This caused some concern - "The mediocre response rate to this survey does not, in and of itself, indicate a lack of Y2K preparedness... However, without more specific information, we must assign a certain amount of risk to this industry."

For more information see the FCC News Release, the complete Y2K Communications Sector Report, or the Executive Summary.

DIGITAL TELEVISION STATION APPLICATIONS - See ap990330.txt for more information
Call (DT) Ch. Licensee Location ERP (kW) HAAT (m) Antenna / Notes
KPIX 29 CBS B'casting San Francisco CA     License to cover CP
KICU 52 KICU San Jose CA 257 645 Dielectric TFU-18DSC-R C170
WPPX 31 Paxson Philadelphia Wilmington DE 250 398 Dielectric TFU-18GTH-R P230
WBBH 15 Waterman B/C Fort Meyer FL 215 418,7 Dielectric TUP-SP3-8-1
WBPX 52 Ch. 46 of Boston Norwell MA 310 247 Dielectric TUP-C4SP-12-1
WBAL 59 Heart-Argyle Baltimore MD 603   Mod to change ERP
KPXM 40 Paxson Minneapolis St. Cloud MN 1000 430 Dielectric TFU-18DSC P230
WWOR 38 Chris-Craft/BNC Secaucus NJ 143 448 Dielectric TUP-SP4-8-1
WNYB 27 Tri-State Christian TV Jamestown NY 500 463 Andrew ATW30H4-ETC4
KAMC 27 VHR B'casting Lubbock TX 1000 253 Dielectric TFU-36GTH-R-06DC
WKPC 17 Ky. Auth. for Ed. TV Louisville KY 60.3 237 Andrew ALP16M2-HSOC-17

OTHER Items of Interest

April 12 - Issue 161 Next >>>

RF Current Index

Links to news items and press releases that might be of interest to other RF and broadcast engineers are always welcome. Please e-mail me at dlung@transmitter.com or phone me at Telemundo, (305) 884-9664.

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Last modified April 11, 1999 by Doug Lung dlung@transmitter.com
Copyright © 1999 H. Douglas Lung