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Radio Currents Online - Jan 23 - Jan 29, 2006
Radio technology news updated as it happens.
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The SBE's new office will be down the street from the old location. The new address is 9102 N. Meridian Street, Suite 150; Indianapolis, IN, 46260. The telephone numbers will stay the same. Telephone service at the old office will cease at about 3 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 2, and the SBE office will be closed all day Feb. 3. The office will open at its new location on Monday, Feb. 6.
DRM Plans Demos at NAB2006
Las Vegas - Jan 26, 2006 - A panel of DRM proponents will present how-to seminars for broadcasters and anyone thinking about DRM implementation called DRM: the Basics in 90 Minutes. The seminars will be hosted by DRM members Continental Electronics and Harris, and will take place at their respective NAB booths. The DRM seminars will be held on April 24, 25 and 26.
The seminars are free, but registration is required. Reserve a space by e-mailing the DRM Project Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DRM will also have a presence during the 60th Annual NAB Broadcast Engineering Conference. Two DRM presentations will be made in the Digital Radio Worldwide session from 10:30 a.m. until noon on April 24. The first relates to the use of DRM at higher frequencies for local and regional broadcasting. DRM Technical Committee Chairman H. Donald Messer will present DRM Progress in Developing a Capability in the Broadcasting Bands above 25MHz.
The second session describes some pioneering work on monitoring the performance of digital radio delivered on HF over wide geographical areas. Andy Giefer of DRM member Deutsche Welle will present Digital Shortwave Reliability Analyzed with Deutsche Welle's DRM Monitoring.
On April 25, John Sykes of the BBC World Service will present a paper introducing a simple signaling system for AM radio. This system allows existing AM broadcasters to signal their station ID to a new generation of hybrid digital and analog receivers, thus keeping them on the digital dial. The presentation called An AM Signaling System (AMSS) will be part of the Emerging Technologies for Radio session from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
HD Digital Radio Alliance Creates Engineering Cooperative
Orlando - Jan 25, 2006 - As the HD Digital Radio Alliance begins its work to promote HD Radio to the public, the group has launched an internal effort to allow the engineering community within the alliance to share technical information. John Dickey, executive vice president of Cumulus, suggested that the members should organize an Engineering Cooperative to help share common concerns, issues and information relative to the installation and roll-out of HD Radio.
As stations begin their roll-outs, each one gains valuable information about the installation process and technology. The goal of this element of the alliance is to provide assistance to all the member stations.
Gary Kline, corporate director of engineering for Cumulus, has agreed to lead this group.
Ramsey Electronics Fined for FCC Violations
Washington - Jan 25, 2006 - The FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture to Ramsey Electronics with a fine of $25,000 for willful and repeated violation of the Communications Act of 1934 and sections of the FCC's rules. The apparent violations involve Ramsey's marketing of two models of unauthorized FM broadcast transmitters and two models of external RF power amplifiers. The initial fine was assessed at $7,000 for each of the four products found to be in violation, but the fine was reduced by $3,000 because of Ramsey's history of FCC rule compliance.
The FCC investigated Ramsey's marketing the fully assembled FM35WT (1W) and FM100BWT (up to 1W) transmitters and fully assembled PA100 (2W to 40W) and LPA1WT (1W) RF amplifiers. The first three units operate in the FM broadcast band. The LPA1WT operates in the 300kHz to 1GHz range.
While Ramsey said that "the end user is responsible for complying with all FCC rules and regulations within the U.S., or any regulations of their respective governing body" to operate the the FM35WT, FM100BWT or PA100, Ramsey has not received a grant of equipment certification for them.
Ramsey said that its products include a form for the purchaser to certify that the units are not authorized for use in the United States. However, Section 302(b) of the Communications Act of 1934 provides that "[n]o person shall manufacture, import, sell, offer for sale, or ship devices or home electronic equipment and systems, or use devices, which fail to comply with regulations promulgated pursuant to this section." Additionally, Section 2.803(a)(1) of the Commission's implementing regulations states that "no person shall sell or lease, or offer for sale or lease (including advertising for sale or lease), or import, ship, or distribute for the purpose of selling or leasing or offering for sale or lease, any radio frequency device unless…[i]n the case of a device that is subject to certification, such device has been authorized by the Commission in accordance with the rules in this chapter and is properly identified and labeled as required by § 2.925 and other relevant sections in this chapter."
Further, Section 2.803(g) of the Commissions implementing regulations provides that "[R]adio frequency devices that could not be authorized or legally operated under the current rules…shall not be operated, advertised, displayed, offered for sale or lease, sold or leased, or otherwise marketed absent a license issued under part 5 of this chapter or a special temporary authorization issued by the Commission."
The FCC also noted a violation of Section 2.815(b) of the Commission's implementing regulations.
Because Ramsey manufactured the transmitters at least until 2005 but had not received a grant of equipment certification for either transmitter, that Section 15.201(b) of the FCC rules was violated.
Ramsey argued that it does not need equipment authorizations for the FM35WT and FM100BWT because it requires buyers in the United States to provide signed statements certifying that the devices will be operated in accordance with applicable law of the land for the intended destination of cooperation. Ramsey admits that it does not actually export all of the FM35WT and FM100BWT devices it sells and attempts to shift the burden for compliance with the Commission's rules entirely to the buyer. The FCC cited Ramsey for marketing two models of uncertified FM broadcast transmitters in the United States, in willful and repeated violation of Section 302(b) of the Act and Section 2.803(a) of the rules.
The RF amplifiers were cited because they are not FCC certified. The LAP1WT cannot be legally certified or operated under the rules.
The FCC has also required Ramsey to submit a report within 30 days describing the steps it has taken to come into compliance with the Communications Act and the FCC rules.
The FCC notice is available at this link.
SBE Files Comments Regarding EAS
Indianapolis - Jan 25, 2006 - The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) filed comprehensive comments related to the FCC's EAS Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making (FNPRM, docket 04-296). Among the many recommendations for changes and improvement to the EAS, the society called for the creation of point-multipoint distribution systems for the distribution of EAS messages from their sources to those systems that transmit emergency messages to the public and for the elimination of the EBS-era daisy-chain system. Because of the critical need to provide text messages to existing TV-based systems and a growing array of non-broadcast EAS participants, the SBE also called for the adoption of the Common Alerting Protocol as the vehicle for the distribution of emergency messages from their sources.
In addition, the filing calls on the FCC to create EAS performance standards, to eliminate broadcasters as an EAS origination source, to provide federal funding and training for a national system, and to mandate consumer electronic devices to have warning capabilities.
The SBE has been involved with the EAS as well as the predecessor EBS at all levels across the United States--national, state and local--for many years. The society's interest has historically been to recommend and assist in the understanding and implementation of these public warning systems.
"It is the SBE's view that the EAS has reached a point where simple modifications or band-aid approaches are no longer applicable," said Clay Freinwald, CPBE, vice president of the society and chairman of the SBE EAS Committee. "The most recent report and order augmenting the EAS is a clear call for the application of additional technology to not only correct existing issues, but make changes in the way the system works in order to enable the EAS to move forward."
The complete text of the SBE's response to this FNPRM is available on the SBE website at www.sbe.org under Regulator/Gov't Relations.
Jampro Donates Antenna to Pakistan Earthquake Relief Effort
Neelam Valley, Pakistan - Jan 24, 2006 - Although relief measures for the massive earthquake that hit Pakistan in October are well underway, the mountainous terrain and catastrophic devastation have sorely impeded progress. The need for communication within the affected areas is underscored by the Pakistani government's appeal for volunteers to build an FM radio station that can reach survivors with valuable information. Jampro Antennas/RF Systems donated an FM antenna to Volunteer Radio Service, the organization coordinating the project.
The FM radio station’s major role will be news reporting to trigger public participation in the rescue and relief operations. The station will pool resources with other FM stations to provide live reports from the devastated areas. It will serve as a crucial source to those seeking information about safety activities, missing people and families, medical aid areas, food supplies and weather forecasts. It will also facilitate coordination among the earthquake aid/relief teams, NGOs, and provide encouragement and hope to those that survived the disaster.
In November, Broadcast Electronics shipped a frequency-agile, 1kW Plug N Play 1000 FM transmitter for the relief effort. Orban has also provided equipment for the cause.
Clear Channel Buys RCS
San Antonio and White Plains, NY - Jan 26, 2006 - RCS, known for its Selector music scheduling software and other radio software products, has been purchased by Clear Channel. No details of the transaction have been released.
RCS is also the owner of Media Monitors and Florical, a manufacturer of TV automation software. All the RCS companies are included in the sale. Andrew Economos, the founder of RCS founder and inventor of Selector, will serve in an advisory role to the RCS Group under Clear Channel. The current RCS management will continue to operate the day-to-day operation
Clear Channel already owns Prophet Systems, which also manufactures automation software and music scheduling software. RCS was founded in 1979.
Harris to Open Miami Office
Cincinnati - Jan 24, 2006 - In an effort to better serve Latin American and Caribbean broadcasters, Harris plans to open a Miami, FL, office. Scheduled to open Feb. 1, the new office will reduce the travel time between the United States and destinations in Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
Harris recently acquired Leitch Technology. Leith has had a Miami office for seven years. Nahuel Villegas, regional director for TV and radio, Harris Caribbean and Latin America, will oversee the office at 703 Waterford Way, Suite 810; Miami, FL, 33126; 786-437-1960.
Prophet Systems and Radio Systems Partner
Ogallala, NE, and Bridgeport, NJ - Jan 26, 2006 - Prophet Systems Innovations and Radio Systems have agreed to provide Studio Hub+ connectivity as a factory-supplied option for all Prophet Systems installations. Prophet Systems Innovations provides digital delivery systems through its Nexgen and 101 models of PC-based audio storage and playback equipment. Studio Hub+ from Radio Systems is an integration and wiring platform that uses CAT-5 cable assemblies and break-out boxes.
StudioHub+ wiring for Prophet Systems installations will be offered as a factory shipped pre-wired option or field installed by Prophet's team of field technical reps.
Bush Has Possible Choice for Open FCC Slot
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