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(week) 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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September 18, 2000 - Issue 232 Final Edition

FCC Technical Advisory Council Meets Wednesday, Sept. 27 (Sept. 18)
In the Public Notice Technological Advisory Council to Hold Sixth Meeting, the FCC released details on the Council's September 27, 2000 meeting. The meeting will be held at 10:00 AM at the FCC, 445 12th St. S.W., Room TW-C305, Washington, D.C. 20554. Subjects considered will include "(1) software defined radios and similar devices, and ways that the availability of such technologies might affect the FCC's traditional approaches to spectrum management in light of electromagnetic noise levels, including the possibility of creating a set of principles governing the behavior of intelligent communications devices and the initiation of a noise floor study; (2) current technological trends in telecommunications services, including changes that might decrease, rather than increase, the accessibility of telecommunications services by persons with disabilities, and ways by which the FCC might best communicate to designers of emerging telecommunications network architectures, the requirements for accessibility; (3) telecommunications common carrier network interconnection issues and how the Council should address those issues; (4) additional issues that the Council may choose to address in the future."

Also see the Technology Advisory Council Agenda for more details on the meeting.

SATELLITE - GE Americom Completes Columbia Acquistion, Launches GE-7 (Sept. 14)
GE Americom announced it has closed its acquistion of Columbia Communications Corporation. John F. Connelly, Chairman and CEO of GE Americom, said, "The closing with Columbia marks another milestone in our growth as a premier provider of worldwide satellite services. Americom and Alcatel are constructing state-of-the-art spacecraft for future operations in the Columbia orbital positions." Alcatel Space is building four satellites, GE-1i, GE-2i, GE-3i and GE-4i to replace and expand the Columbia spacecraft fleet. The GE Americom Press Release said service would focus on traffic between North and South America, Europe and South America, North America and Africa and Europe and Africa. Expansion over the Pacific is also planned. Refer to GE Americom Satellite Fleet web page for more information on the satellites.

On the domestic side, GE announced Arianespace successfully launched the GE-7 satellite from Kourou, French Guiana at 7:33 PM, September 14. The satellite will be located at 137 degrees West Longitude and is expected to be fully operational by October 25, 2000. The satellite will cover all 50 U.S. states as well as the Caribbean. GE-7 has 24 36-MHz C-band transponders equipped with 20 watt solid state power amplifiers. GE-7 will take the place of GE Satcom C-1, which will be relocated to 141.5 degrees West Longitude. This information was from the GE Press Release GE-7 Satellite Successfully Launched from Kourou, French Guiana.

The FCC adopted the Memorandum Opinion, Order and Authorization allowing GE Americom to launch GE-7 two days earlier, on September 12. The FCC also granted GE Americom's request to allow testing of GE-7 at the temporary location of 146 degrees West Longitude. The authorization to operate Satcom C-1 at 141.5 degrees W.L. was granted on a temporary basis, pending replacement of Satcom C-5/Aurora II currently at 139 degrees W.L., with GE-8. After the replacement, GE Americom was authorized to relocate Satcom C-1 to 79 degrees W.L. Several other issues with GE Americom were addressed in the Memorandum Opinion, Order and Authorization.

FCC Adopts Rules for Labeling DTV Receivers (Sept. 14)
The FCC has adopted rules specifying three categories of DTV receivers and requirements that DTV receivers carry labels showing their category.

"Digital Cable Ready 1" TV receiving devices are capable of receiving analog basic, digital basic and digital premium cable TV programming by direct connection to a cable system providing digital programming. There is no IEEE 1394 digital connector or other digital interface. To view encrypted programming, a security card or Point of Deployment module provided by the cabe operator is needed.

"Digital Cable Ready 2" TV receiving devices have the features of the "DCR-1" sets above and also include the 1394 digital interface connector. The FCC definition said connection of a DCR-2 receiver to a digital set-top box may support advanced and interactive services and programming delivered by the cable system to the set-top box.

"Digital Cable Ready 3" TV receiving devices include the features of the DCR-1 sets above and are also able to receive advanced and interactive digital services by direct connection to a cable system providing these services. The FCC said "additional industry work was still required for design specifications for the Digital Cable Ready 3 category of receivers, and that it would therefore keep the record open in this proceeding, giving the Commission the option of incorporating these specifications into its rules at a later date."

This information is from FCC News Release FCC Adopts Rules for Labeling of DTV Recevers. Also see RF Current - September 4 for an article on the Consumer Electronics Association definitions for DTV products.

DTV - FCC Sets Rules for Set-Top Boxes, CEA concerned about DFAST License (Sept. 14)
In a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Declaratory Ruling in its navigation device proceeding, the FCC "concluded that some measure of anti-copying encryption technology located within a host navigation device is consistent with the Commssion's navigation devices rules. The FCC said that the Ruling was needed to resolve the controversy over the copy protection licensing agreement under development by CablesLabs, called the Dynamic Feedback Arrangement Scrambling Technique ("DFAST") license. The DFAST license requires the copy protection encryption system be located in host navigation devices, which some parties said was in violation of the security separation requirement of the Commission's navigation devices rules. The rules require a cable operator's conditional access functions be located in a separate point of deployment ("POD") device.

The complete Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making and Declaratory Ruling - CS Docket No. 97-80 is available on the FCC web site as as text file - fcc00341.txt or a Word document - fcc00341.doc.

FCC Experimental License Grants for June 1 - August 1 (Sept. 13)
The FCC Office of Engineering and Technology's Experimental Licensing Branch has released a list of experimental actions during the period from 6/1/00 to 8/1/00. Some of the interesting licenses granted include an experimental license to Motorola to use 182.88-184.416 MHz and 790-806 MHz in Schaumburg, IL, for development of equipment for export; a license to the University of Massachusetts to operate in the 910-920, 2400-2483.5 and 2900-3100 MHz spectrum to conduct atmospheric research at Amherst, MA; a new experimental to Lucent Technologies to operate in 1755-1850, 4400-4500 and 5620-5910 MHz to use IEEE 802.11 standard equipment to do proof of concept testing for a military air-air and air-ground system; and an authorization for AT&T Labs to operate in the 2100-2200 MHz region to test smart antenna technology. Aeronautical Radio, Inc. was granted a licennse to operate on 136.975 MHz to evaluate co-channel and adjacent channel protection requirement for the ICAO "Standards and Recommended Practices" for VHF Data Link Model-2 air-ground data link communications.

For other grants and additional details, see the FCC Public Notice - List of Experimental Actions.

OTHER Items of Interest

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