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 November 15 - Issue 191

Note: Due to the U.S. Thanksgiving Day holiday, RF Current will not be published November 29. The next issue will be published December 6, 1999 and will include any items received after November 25, 1999. Have an enjoyable Thanksgiving!

November 24, 1999 - Issue 192 Extended Edition

FCC Releases Topics for November 30th Tutorial on "Wireless Access to the Internet" (Nov. 24)
The FCC Office of Engineering and Technology has released a list of presentations included in its tutorial on "Wireless Access to the Internet":

Morning session

Afternoon session

The public is invited to attend. Both sessions will also be available over the Internet at www.fcc.gov/realaudio. The meeting location, information on videotapes of the tutorial and other details may be found in the FCC Public Notice Topics for the November 30th Tutorial on "Wireless Access to the Internet" (pnet9026).

DTV - Mark Richer Returns to ATSC as Executive Director (Nov. 23)
The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) said Mark S. Richer has been named Executive Director of the organization, effective January 1, 2000. Mark Richer leaves Thomcast Communications, where he was President and General Manager of its Comark Digital Services unit.

ATSC Chairman Robert Graves said "We are absolutely ecstatic that Mark has agreed to return to the ATSC. Since the ATSC was founded in 1982, one of our greatest strengths has been the handful of exceptionally talented and capable people who have served as Executive Director. By persuading Mark to return, we have continued this unbroken trend, ensuring that the organization will benefit again from his tremendous insight, wisdom and enthusiasm." Graves added that "Mark's leadership, diplomacy and broad knowledge of the broadcast, telecommunications and computer industries make him ideally suited to help provide strategic direction and to lead the vitally important technical work of the Committee, especially the development and implementation of digital television and data broadcasting standards."

More information is available in the ATSC Press Release Mark Richer Named ATSC Executive Director. Note that an Adobe Acrobat reader is required to view the release.

FCC Releases Principles for Reallocation of Spectrum to Encourage New Technologies (Nov. 22)
Today the FCC released a Policy Statement on Principals for Reallocation of Spectrum to Encourage the Development of Telecommunications Technologies for the New Millennium. The FCC has identified 187 megahertz of spectrum available for reallocation. Frequencies mentioned include 216-220 MHz, 698-746 MHz (TV channels 52-59), 1390-1395 MHz, 1427-1429 MHz, 1432-1435 MHz, 1670-1675 MHz, 1710-1755 MHz, 2160-2165 MHz, 2300-2305 MHz, 2385-2390 MHz, 2400-2402 MHz, 2417-2450 MHz, and 4635-4660 MHz.

The FCC statement said "this spectrum will not satisfy all existing or future needs." The FCC is looking at increasing the efficiency of currently assigned spectrum. According the statement, "One way to speed the clearing of spectrum is to provide incentives for existing users to relocate, either to different frequencies in another part of the spectrum or to a non-radio based transmission medium such as wire or fiber optic cable." The FCC mentioned fees for spectrum use as another approach, but recognized that this may require legislative action.

The FCC will consider using the new spectrum to provide additional frequencies to the General Wireless Communications Service - GWCS (final allocation would be 4940-4990 MHz), create a new Advanced Mobile and Fixed Communications Service - AMFCS (allocations at 1710-1755 MHz, 2160-2165 MHz and 2110-2150 MHz), and create a new Land Mobile Communications Service - LMCS (allocations at 1390-1395 MHz, 1427-1429 MHz, and 1432-1435 MHz). The spectrum recovered from TV channels 52-59 (698-746 MHz) would be assigned to Fixed, Bobile and new broadcast services using the same approach adopted for TV channels 60-62 and 64-66.

The FCC is also considering the best way to facilitate development of an active secondary market in spectrum - "We also intend to pursue apporaches for streamlining our license transfer procedures and for allowing licensees to aggregate and disaggregate the spectrum rights held under licenses to facilitate more efficient operation of secondary spectrum markets."

The FCC said it would consider petitions to permit the use of new technologies that provide for more efficient use of the spectrum. The FCC plans to initiate a rule making to accomodate ultra-wideband technology "in the near future." Petitions to use spread spectrum technology will also be considered.

For more details about the FCC's spectrum plans, see the News Release FCC Issues Guiding Principles for Spectrum Management and the complete Principles for Reallocation of Spectrum to Encourage Development of Telecommunications Technologies for the New Millennium - Policy Statement, available as an ASCII text file or Microsoft Word document.

INDUSTRY - Acrodyne and Rohde & Schwarz to Cooperate on Sales and Technology (Nov. 20)
Rohde & Schwarz and Acrodyne Industries announced they had signed an agreement to market each other's products in the United States and Europe. Acrodyne will receive exclusive sales rigths for Rohde & Schwarz TV transmitter in the U.S. Rohde & Schwarz will market Acrodyne TV transmitters in Europe. In addition, both companies will contribute their expertise to the venture. Acrodyne President and CEO Robert Mancuso said "a significant order for a number of solid-state ATSC transmitters has already been received." Michael Vondermassen, Executive Vice President and Head of the Rohde & Schwarz Broadcasting Division said, "This first order shows that our combined product diversity fills a major niche in US broadcasting requirements, so the chances are good to capture a large market share."

This information was taken from the joint Rohde & Schwarz/Acrodyne press release Rohde & Schwarz and Acrodyne Team up on Television Transmitter Sales and Marketing.

FCC Invites Comments on Petition to Address Satellite Network Unwanted Emissions (Nov. 19)
Motorola Satcom, Teledesic, and Hughes Space and Communications Corporations sent a joint letter to the FCC this summer requesting the FCC "initiate a proceeding to revise and bring up-to-date its Rules relating to out-of-band emissions from satellite networks." The FCC is treating the letter as a petition for rulemaking. The current rules in section 25.202(f)have existed in their present from for more than twenty-five years.

The FCC asked commenters to address the following five questions raised in the joint letter:
  1. "Should the generic out-of-band (OOB) mask be in dBc, dBs, or PFD units or some combination?
  2. "Should the emissions of a multi-carrier system with a wideband frequency allocation be treated differently than those of a system with a single broadband carrier?
  3. "Should the mask be defined as a function of authorized bandwidth (FCC approach) or necessary bandwidth (ITU approach)?
  4. "Should a generic mask be used for all space services allocations unless otherwise specified?
  5. "Should the FCC Rules incorporate out-of-band values agreed in Recommendations of the ITU-R?"

Comments are due December 20, 1999, with reply comments due January 20, 2000. Refer to FCC Public Notice DA 99-2601 - Proceeding to Address Satellite Network Unwanted Emissions (RM-9740).

FCC Proposes Requirements for Video Description of TV Programs for Persons with Visual Disabilities (Nov. 18)
The FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Docket 99-339, FCC 99-353) on implementation of video description of video programming. Video description is a narration describing the settings and actions in a scene that are not reflected in the dialogue. Video description allows people with visual disabilities to follow the visual action on a TV program. This information is usually transmitted on the Secondary Audio Programming (SAP) channel. The FCC is seeking comments on "what technical issues are raised by the provision of video description by digital broadcasters and on how the conversion to digital affects the costs associated with the provision of video description." Initially, the rules will be limited to analog TV stations. However, the FCC asked for comments on extending them to all video programming distributors.

The FCC proposed that broadcasters affiliated with the ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC networks in the top 25 television markets provide a minimum of 50 hours per calendar quarter of described prime time and/or children's programming no later that 18 months from the effective date of video description rules. The FCC is aware that some broadcasters use the SAP channel for foreign language audio. It requested comments on "whether this could conflict with the implementation of video description, and if so, how to prevent or minimize the problem."

For details, see the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Docket 99-339, FCC 99-353). It is summarized in the FCC news release FCC Proposes Major Market TV Broadcasters and Program Distributors Introduce Video Description for Persons with Visual Disabilities.

SATELLITE - GE-4 Launch Successful (Nov. 13)
GE American Communications successfully launch its GE-4 satellite on November 13, 1999 from Arianespace's facility in Kourou, French Guiana. GE Americom expects it to be fully operational by December 21, 1999.

The GE-4 satellite is a Lockheed Martin A2100 AX spacecraft. It has twenty-four 36 MHz C-band transponders with 20 watt SSPAs and twenty-four 36 MHz Ku-band transponders using 110 watt TWTAs. The satellite also has four 72 MHz 110 watt Ku-band transponders that will cover most of South America. GE said the Ku-band transponders are individually switchable between North American and South American beams. GE initially plans to use some of the satellite capacity to meet the demand for capacity to cover the millennium. The C-band side portion of the payload will be dedicated to GE Americom's Cable2 neighborhood, which includes the adjacent GE-1 satellite. The Ku-band transponders will serve business, VSAT, broadband and Internet access markets.

More information and pictures of the lauch may be found in the GE Americom Press Release.

OTHER Items of Interest

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Last modified November 24, 1999 by Doug Lung dlung@transmitter.com
Copyright 1999 H. Douglas Lung