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.

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July 10, 2000 - Issue 222 Final Edition

SATELLITE - INTELSAT Launches New Broadband VSAT Service (July 10)
In a Press Release issued today INTELSAT announced it was launching a new Broadband VSAT service. The new service provides bandwidth-on-demand supporting a variety of network topologies, including virtual private networks, star, mesh, and hybrid solutions. Applications include WAN/LAN interconnections, video-conferencing, multicasting, tele-education, tele-medicine, and thin route Internet backbone access. Virtual circuit-balanced connection data rates range from 64 kbps to 4 Mbps. The Broadband VSAT Service is based on COMSAT Laboratories' LINKWAY(tm) platform.

John Stanton, INTELSAT Vice President of Sales and Marketing, said, "Broadband VSAT is now available to our customers in the Americas, Europe and Africa, via INTELSAT's high-powered 801 satellite located at 328.5 degrees East. Within the next year, we will be rolling out the service on three other satellites to provide near-global coverage." Check the Press Release for the expected service dates in other regions.

FCC Grants PanAmSat Request to Launch Replacement for Ailing PAS-9 (July 6)
The FCC, in Order and Authorization (DA001489) granted PanAmSat Corporation authority to launch and operate PAS-23 at the 58 degree West Longitude orbit location. PAS-23 will replace PAS-9, which is currently at that location. PanAmSat requested the replacement because, according to PanAmSat, the battery cells in PAS-9 are defective. The cells are used to provide power to the payload and spacecraft operations during eclipse. PanAmSat said that as a result it has had to take a number of the transponders on PAS-9 out of service. The replacement satellite, PAS-23, is scheduled for launch in July 2000. It will transmit in the 11.45-12.2 GHz and 3.7-4.2 GHz frequency bands, providing video, audio and data services to satellites users in North, South, and Central America.

More information is available in Order and Authorization (DA001489).

SATELLITE - Harvey Mudd College Develops Portable Meter to Measure Digital Signal Quality & Amplitude (July 5)
Harvey Mudd College (HMC) and a team of students in its innovative Clinic Program were asked by DIRECTV to develop a portable meter that a service technician could use to measure both digital signal quality and amplitude. In less than a year, the team produced a working prototype of a hand-held digital signal meter. DIRECTV was pleased with the results. Dave Kuether, an engineer at DIRECTV, said, "The HMC project's outcome was better than we had expected. A couple of meter manufacturers have committed manpower and resources to developing the meter based upon the HMC design. One manufacturer is planning to start production this year. We received a lot of positive feedback from the installers when they saw the pre-production prototype."

A Harvey Mudd College Press Release said the meter will be priced to be affordable to professional satellite installers. Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California is a coeducational institution of engineering, science and mathematics that aims to graduate engineers and scientists sensitive to the impact of their work on society. More information on Harvey Mudd College is available at www.hmc.edu.

FCC Grants Move of NTSC Ch. 34 and DTV Ch. 32 from Lake Havasu City, AZ to Laughlin NV (June 30)
The FCC has granted a petition by Mojave Broadcasting Company (Mojave), permittee television station KMCC, Channel 34, in Lake Havasu City, Arizona to reallocate that channel and the associated DTV channel 32 to Laughlin, Nevada. This would be the first local television service in Laughlin.

The details of this grant are complicated, as the proposed reallotment would remove the only television channel alloted to Lake Havasu City. However, the FCC noted, since the station had not begun broadcasting at Lake Havasu City the reallotment would not represent a loss of service to the community. Mojave demonstrated its proposed reallotment to Laughlin would provide service to a greater service area and population than could be accomplished with the facility authorized for Lake Havasu City. FCC staff reviewed the engineering and found that due to power limitations at its authorized site (no commercial electric power), station KMCC would have provided Grade B service to approximately 51,274 persons in an area of 10,193 square kilometers. At the Laughlin site, KMCC could provide predicted Grade B service to 98,078 people in an area of 10,873 square kilometers.

The technical specifications for the channel 32 DTV allotment at Laughlin specify an ERP of 150 kW and a HAAT of 29 meters. Additional information on the grant can be found in FCC Report and Order, MM Docket 99-114 (DA001448).

OTHER Items of Interest

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