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.

<<< Back to August 2 - Issue 176

August 9, 1999 - Issue 177 Final Edition

FCC Allows AT&T to Discontinue High Seas Shortwave Radio-telephone Service (Aug. 9)
The FCC in Memorandum Opinion And Order DA 99-1567, released August 9, 1999, granted AT&T's application to discontinue its High Seas radio-telephone service, effective November 9, 1999. Public coast radio stations KMI, WOM and WOO will be closed. The FCC delayed action on the application after twenty-five users filed informal comments opposing it. The delay was to allow AT&T time "to pursue negotiations with third persons for the assignment of AT&T's radio licenses. The FCC met with FCC staff and presented a plan to help existing High Seas customers transition to other service alternatives. The FCC Order stated that "Because we believe that the plan proposed by AT&T demonstrates that users can obtain viable alternatives to AT&T's current High Seas Service, we conclude that discontinuance of High Seas Service will not unduly harm the public convenience and necessity and that we should grant AT&T's application."

FCC Grants New Earth Station Licenses to Access New Skies Satellites (Aug. 6)
The FCC has "authorized approximately 120 U.S. earth stations to provide fixed satellite services (FSS) to, and from and within the United States via satellites operated by News Skies, NV (New Skies." Prior to this Order, many earth stations were communicating with the New Skies satellites under Special Temporary Authority (STA). This Order allows these operators, as well as several new U.S. earth operators, access to these satellites.

Noting that none of the New Skies satellites meet FCC two-degree spacing requirements, the FCC allowed New Skies to provide service to the United States on a non-interference basis to two-degree compliant operations. The FCC Order noted that none of the New Skies satellites meets the FCC polarization requirements in the 4/6 GHz band. They also do not meet the FM/TV frequency plan requirement of the FCC rules. INTELSAT-K and INTELSAT-513 violate other FCC requirements. The FCC Order said that at the present, there are no U.S. or foreign licensed satellite services serving the U.S. near the New Skies satellites that have not already been coordinated wit the New Skies satellites.

More information may be found in the FCC International Bureau News Release (nrin9027) and in the FCC Order And Authorization (fcc99210).

FCC Revises and Clarifies DTV Service Policies (Aug. 4)
The FCC has revised and clarified Section 73.622 by adding this note to paragraph (e)(2):
Note to paragraph (e)(2): During the transition, in cases where the assigned power of a UHF DTV station in the initial DTV Table is 1000 kW, the Grade B contour of the associated analog television station, as authorized on April 3, 1997, shall be used instead of the noise-limited contour of the DTV station in determining the DTV station's service area. In such cases, the DTV service area is the geographic area within the station's analog Grade B contour where its DTV signal strength is predicted to exceed the noise-limited service level, i.e., 41 dB, as determined using the Longley-Rice methodology.
The FCC also added a new paragraph, (e)(3), which reads:
(3) For purposes of determining whether interference is caused to a DTV station's service area, the maximum technical facilities, i.e., antenna height above average terrain (antenna HAAT) and effective radiated power (ERP), specified for the station's allotment are to be used in determining its service area.
Under this rule, if a DTV station chooses to maximize its coverage area beyond that allocated in the DTV Table of Allotments, the area extended beyond the allocated coverage is not protected from interference. More information is available in the FCC Erratum (DA 99-1541).

DTV - CEMA DTV Summit to Focus on Content and Programming (Aug. 4)
The Consumer Electronics Mnaufacturers Assocation (CEMA) announced the fifth Digital Television (DTV) Summit would be held September 28, 1999 in Los Angeles, CA. The event is sponsored by CEMA and co-sponsored by Maximum Service Television (MSTV), North American Retail Dealers Association (NARDA), the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), the National Cable Television Association (NTCA), the Satellite Broadcasting Communications Association (SBCA), the Professional Audio/Video Retailers Assocation (PARA) and the National Association of Television Program Executives (NAPTE).

CEMA said the Summitt would cover information on DTV set sales, broadcasters' roll out plans, and consumers' repsonse to DTV. Other issues covered include post-production challenges and opportunities, set-top boxes, format, bandwdith and other delivery options.

Manufacturers, broadcasters, cable and satellite executives, retailers, content providers and media are welcome at the event. It will be located at the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, CA. For more information, see the CEMA Press Release DTV Summit To Focus on Content and Programming.

FCC - Petition for Rule Making - DTV Change at Monroe LA (Aug. 3)
The FCC has received Petition for Rule Making from KNOE-TV NTSC channel 8 in Monroe, Louisiana seeking the substitution of DTV Channel 7 for its assigned DTV channel 55. The FCC has found the proposal is in compliance with the principal community coverage requirements and is acceptable under the two percent de minimis criteria. The technical parameters theproposed channel 7 allotment are 5.0 kW ERP at a height above average terrain of 519 meters. Comments on this proposal are due September 24, 1999 and reply comments are due October 12, 1999.

WIRELESS - CEMA Proposes New Mobile Multimedia Broadcast Service on Reclaimed TV Channels
The Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association (CEMA) proposed a new "Mobile Multimedia Broacasting Service" (MMBS) to operate on TV channels 60, 61, 62, 65, 66 and 67. The service would not use the current ATSC 8-VSB transmission standard. CEMA submitted a CRC study to show that the COFDM system would work in a mobile reception environment. Ralph Justus, CEMA director of Technology and Standards, said "With multi-channel audio, MMBS would give mobile listeners an exciting immersion into the entertainment experience already a part of high-definition television and DVD."

The CEMA proposal said the maximum data rate per channel would be 384 MHz. The available spectrum on the six UHF TV channels would allow more than 70 channels. Justus explained "Mobile access to this much digital information and data services would spawn an entirely new category of mobile products. The entire local paper could be delivered electronically to mobile receivers throughout a given city. In-dash navigation systems could use real-time map and traffic data to calculate the fastest route dynamically. Everything from sports scores to flight schedules and congressional hearings to comic strips could be delivered to small wireless devices. The possible applications are limitless." Gary Shapiro, CEMA President, said "We believe the FCC has an opportunity and an obligation to establish rules ensuring that this radio spectrum will be used in a way that best serves the public. MMBS serves this interest by integrating free over-the-air broadcasting of high-quality multi-channel audio with high-capacity data services intended for mobile use."

According to the CEMA filing, MMBS could offer an alternative to the In-Band-On-Channel (IBOC) FM radio. The proposal stated "It remains to be demonstrated, however, that an IBOC approach can provide compact disc ("CD") audio quality, compatibly, with robust coverage and performance features that CEMA believes are critical to widespread consumer acceptance."

Under current law, the UHF channels proposed for this service must be auctioned. MMBS would compete with existing FM broadcasters, with each of the more 70 channels offering 5.1 channel digital audio, along with a 64 kbps data channel. The system would also compete with TV broadcasters planning to offer digital data services on their DTV channels, with the advantage that MMBS would work in a portable/mobile environment, which the ATSC 8-VSB DTV system was not designed for. However, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to put full resolution, 30 fps video into a channel with a maximum data rate of 384 kbps per channel. Lower quality streaming video feeds, such as those available throughout the World Wide Web, could be transmitted.

More information on the CEMA proposal may be found in the CEMA Press Release CEMA Urges FCC to Create New Next Generation Radio System and in the CEMA Comments on WT Docket 99-168 - Service Rules for the 746-764 and 776-794 MHz Bands.... The last document is only available as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file.

DIGITAL TELEVISION STATION APPLICATIONS - See ap990809.txt for more information
Call (DT) Ch. Licensee Location ERP (kW) HAAT (m) Antenna
WWMT 2 Freedom B'cstg of Michigan Kalamazoo MI 10 305 RCA TF-12AL
WNEP 49 WNEP-TV Scranton PA 100 506 Dielectric TFU-24GTH-R
WSMV 10 Meredith Corp. Nashville TN 42.4 414.6 Dielectric TW-9B10-R(S)

DIGITAL TELEVISION STATION ACTIONS - See ac990805.txt for more information
Applications granted:
Call (DT) Ch. Licensee Location ERP (kW) HAAT (m) Antenna
WCBB 17 Maine Public B'cstg Augusta ME 29.7 281 Dielectric TUP-C3-2-1

DIGITAL TELEVISION STATION ACTIONS - See ac990804.txt for more information
Applications granted:
Call (DT) Ch. Licensee Location ERP (kW) HAAT (m) Antenna
WFSG 38 Board of Regents of FL Panama City FL 49.2 137 Dielectric TLP-32A
WTTW 47 Window to the World Chicago IL 200 465 Andrew ATW13H4-HSC1-475
WTVA 57 WTVA Tupelo MS 257 528 Shively Labs SMP 16L2HSO
WVCY 22 VCY/America Milwaukee WI 50 285 Dielectric TUP-12

DIGITAL TELEVISION STATION ACTIONS - See ac990803.txt for more information
Applications granted:
Call (DT) Ch. Licensee Location ERP (kW) HAAT (m) Antenna
KUSI 18 Channel 51 of San Diego San Diego CA 145 580 Dielectric TFU-10GTH-R S180

OTHER Items of Interest

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Last modified August 19, 1999 by Doug Lung dlung@transmitter.com
Copyright 1999 H. Douglas Lung