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 24, 2000 - Issue 224 Final Edition

FCC Designates Broadcast Aux. Freq. Coordinators for Political Conventions (July 21)
In two Public Notices released today, the FCC designated the Broadcast Operations Coordination Authority 2000 (BOCA2K) as the single point of contact under FCC rules Section 74.24 for the 2000 Republican Convention to be held in Philadelphia PA July 31 - August 3 and the 2000 Democratic Convention to be held in Los Angeles, CA from August 14 - 17.

All Part 74, 78 and 101 licensees sharing spectrum licensed under Part 74 of the FCC Rules are covered by this action. The affected areas cover a radius of 100 kilometers from Philadelphia, PA and Los Angeles, CA and a 150-kilometer radius for any mobile operations onboard aircraft.

The FCC stated, "All short-term auxiliary broadcast use under Part 74, without exception, shall be coordinated in advance through the BOCA2K Coordinator." Frequency coordination forms are available on the Society of Broadcast Engineers Web Site - www.sbe.org. Completed forms should be faxed to Mr. Howard Fine at (310) 287-3827 or e-mailed to him. Additional information is available in FCC Public Notices DA 00-1580 - Auxiliary Broadcast Frequency Coordinator Designated for the 2000 Republican Convention in Philadelphia, PA and DA 00-1581 - Auxiliary Broadcast Frequency Coordinator Designated for the 2000 Democratic Convention in Los Angeles, CA.

FCC Adopts Technical Standards for Closed Captioning Display on DTV sets (July 21)
The FCC announced that by July 1, 2002, it would require DTV set manufacturers to "include compliant DTV closed captioning decoder circuity in DTV devices." The devices covered include widescreen sets measuring at least 7.8 inches vertically and DTV sets with conventional displays measuring at lease 13 inches vertically as well as all stand-alone DTV tuners.

The FCC incorporated sections of EIA-708-B, "Digital Television Closed Captioning" into the rules. Other provisions will require viewers have the option to choose and alter the color, size, and font of their captioning and be able to choose between multiple streams of captioning. The multiple streams could include "easy reader" or alternative language captioning.

Cable providers and other multichannel video programmers are required to transmit captions in a format "that will be understandable to the decoder circuitry in digital television receivers." On the program provider side, 100 percent of all new nonexempt programming will be required to be captioned by January 1, 2006.

More information is available in the FCC News Release FCC Adopts Technical Standards for Display of Closed Captioning on Digital Television Receivers.

DTV - CEA Says DTV Sales Strong, Blames Broadcasters for Delays (July 21)
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) announced that factory sales to dealers for digital television (DTV) displays totalled 26,750 in June. The total factory sales since January 2000 now stands at 129,438. The figures are for both DTV and HDTV display monitors, some of which require the addition of a set-top box to receive digital broadcasts and for DTV and HDTV sets that included a DTV tuner. CEA said 17,671 stand-alone set-top DTV receivers have been sold to dealers since January 2000.

Gary Shaprio, CEA President and CEO, said, "These numbers demonstrate that despite limited broadcast programming and some who advocate delays in the broadcast community, consumers are buying DTV. Non-broadcast digital and high-definition content is available to consumers via satellite and, in some markets, via cable. And many consumers are simply opting to buy DTV and HDTV displays now - to enhance their analog TV and DVD experience." Chastizing some broadcasters, Shapiro said, "Even as consumers enjoy non-broadcast digital and high-definition content from a variety of sources, some vocal broadcasters are dragging their feet, confusing consumers, and stalling the broadcast transition to DTV. Broadcasters made a commitment to deliver DTV in return for the loan of valuable public spectrum. Further delays are a denial of the public trust. Lingering debates over the digital broadcast standard and efforts to accommodate new broadcast business models cannot be allowed to trump consumer interest in DTV."

Information was obtained from a CEA Press Release, which should be available for a limited time at the CEA Newsroom.

INDUSTRY - Motorola to Acquire Zenith's Network Systems Division (July 19)
Motorola's Broadband Communications Sector announced it had entered into a definitive asset purchase agreement to acquire Zenith's Network Systems Division. Once acquired, the Zenith division will become part of Motorola's Satellite and Broadcast Network Systems business. Motorola's Broadband Communications Sector merged with General Instruments, another maker of analog and digital set-top boxes in January.

Ed Breen, Motorola Executive VP and President of Motorola's Broadband Communications Sector explained, "The acquisition of Zenith's Network Systems business will better position Motorola to meet the needs of a growing marketplace. Combining Zenith's digital product portfolio and technology expertise with that of our Satellite & Broadcast Networks business will give us one of the industry's broadest product lines and geographic reaches. In addition, it will expand our extensive support capabilities to better meet customers' specific needs."

Ian Woods, President and CEO of Zenith Electronics Corporation, said, "For Zenith, the sale of our Network Systems business represents one of the last major steps in our transformation into a consumer electronics technology, marketing, and distribution company."

Since Zenith is widely recognized as the developer of the current U.S. 8-VSB modulation standard, RF Current asked Zenith if the sale would affect its terrestrial DTV operations. The response, in agreement with that of Ian Woods, was that the sale does not affect Zenith's plans in any way related to terrestrial and satellite digital TV. Zenith is continuing to develop set-top boxes for the consumer market, including a new combination DirecTV and ATSC over-the-air receiver HDTV box due to be introduced this Fall.

Information on the sale can be found in the Zenith news release Motorola to Acquirer Zenith's Network Systems Division.

FCC Implements New Commission Registration System (CORES) (July 19)
In a move that should make it easier for the FCC to validate on-line application filings and payments, the FCC has begun implementing the "Commission Registration System", abbreviated CORES. People or companies will be able to obtain a unique 10-digit FCC Registration Number (FRN) on-line or by completing and filing a FCC Form 160 (CORES Registration). Anyone registered in the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau's Universal Licensing System (ULS) prior to June 22, 2000 will automatically receive a CORES FRN by mail.

CORES is password-protected. The FCC said that once it is fully implemented, "every entity filing and application or paying a fee will be able to indentify itself using its registration number." CORES will not, however, replace call signs, license numbers, certification numbers or other numbers in authorization of service documents.

The FCC will hold a public forum on CORES on Monday, July 31, 2000, from 10 am until noon in the Commission Meeting Room at 445 12th Street, SW, Washington, D.C. More information is available in the FCC Public Notice New Commission Registration System (CORES) to be Implemented July 19 (DA 00-1596).

FCC Notice of Proposed Rule Making to Modify DTV Table of Allotments in Jamestown, North Dakota (July 20)
Red River Broadcast Company, licensee of station KJRR, NTSC Channel 7 in Jamestown, North Dakota has requested the substitution of DTV Channel 30 for its assigned DTV Channel 14. The FCC said, "Red River believes that the allotment of DTV Channel 30 to Jamestown will alleviate possible problems resulting from land mobile operations on Channel 14."

The FCC has found this channel change would meet its requirements and warrants consideration, although because Red River is located within 400 km of the U.S. Canadian border, Canadian government concurrence is required. The technical parameters of the modified allotment on Channel 30 would specify an effective radiated power of 1000 kW at a height above average terrain of 135 meters.

Interested parties may file comments on or before September 11, 2000. Reply comments are due on or before September 26, 2000. Refer to the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (MM Docket 00-127) for details on the request and information on filing comments.

FCC Grants Change to DTV Table of Allotments in Albany, Georgia (July 20)
The FCC has granted the request of Waitt License Company of Georgia, LLC, licensee of WFXL, NTSC Channel 31 in Albany, Georgia, to substitute DTV channel 12 for channel 30. Aside from Waitt, no other comments were filed in the proceeding.

The FCC agreed the public interest would be served by the substitution since it "will reduce station WFXL(TV)'s need to modify existing towers or build new ones. The technical parameters of the Channel 12 DTV allotment to Las Vegas specify an effective radiated power of 60 kW at a height above average terrain of 287 meters serving a population of 631,000.

This information is from the Report and Order (Proceeding Terminated)(MM Docket 99-319).

OTHER Items of Interest

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