Radio Currents Online - Oct 27 - Nov 2, 2003

Radio technology news updated as it happens.

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News


Another Station Succumbs to California Fires
Lakeside, CA - Oct 26, 2003 - At about 4 a.m. on Oct. 26, the wildfire swept through the KECR property in Lakeside, CA. This fire started the evening before about 12 miles northeast of the transmitter location and has already moved another 16 miles west and east. Continuing winds, low humidity and drought conditions have aided the fire's spread.

According to Jeff Zimmer of KECR, the winds from the fire itself were strong enough to move a 5-meter aluminum dish that was stored on its back and flip it over. Five of the station's seven tower tuning houses were destroyed. One tower collapsed. The studio and transmitter buildings did not suffer any damage.

The station is currently on the air at 850W non-directional through one of two undamaged towers.
California Fires Damage Transmitter Sites
San Bernardino, CA - Oct 26, 2003 - The CGC Communicator, an e-mail newsletter from Communications General Corporation (CGC), reports that the wildfires burning in California have affected a shared transmitter site.

The transmitter site for KCAL-FM, KFRG-FM and KSGN-FM, which is located on the slopes of the San Bernardino Mountains about six miles due north of downtown San Bernardino, CA, was overwelmed by the fire on Oct. 25. The following is taken from the CGC Communicator issues 599 and 600.

KSGN reports that its emergency power generator kicked into operation at about 12:30 p.m. Saturday, and that at about 1:30 p.m. the station went off the air. KSGN is a non-commercial/educational station operating on 89.7MHz.

Bruce Potterton, chief engineer of KSGN, was the only engineer who managed to penetrate police lines and visit the transmitter site on Saturday. He reports that while all the towers are still standing with antennas apparently intact, the roofs of the broadcast transmitter buildings have been destroyed. Potterton was unable to view the condition of KCAL's transmitting equipment, which is presumed to be seriously damaged or destroyed, but did confirm the destruction of the transmitting equipment at KSGN and KFRG. Anything made of aluminum no longer exists. Furthermore, it appears as if an explosion had occurred inside the KFRG building.

As of Oct. 29, KCAL and KFRG have temporary low-power operations on the air from Box Spring Mountain, while KSGN has installed new coax to its still-standing antenna and plans to resume near full-power operations from its site soon. KSGN conducted on-air tests and achieved about 70 percent power on Monday Oct. 27 by using station's emergency power generator, which survived the firestorm.

Preliminary reports have raised some questions as to the structural integrities of the KCAL and KFRG towers.

Thanks to Communications General Corporation (CGC), consulting radio engineers, Fallbrook, CA, for allowing Radio magazine to reprint this information. Past issues of the CGCG Communicator can be read online at www.bext.com/_CGC.
FCC to Offer Training on Electronic Filing and Licensing
Washington, DC - Oct 27, 2003 - The FCC will offer training sessions on several of its electronic licensing and filing systems at its Washington, DC, headquarters on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2003. The training will begin at 9 a.m. in the Commission Meeting Room TW-C305, 445 Twelfth Street, SW.

This training is designed for those who have experience using the FCC's electronic systems and wish to become more proficient. The primary purpose of this training is to provide an opportunity for experienced users to gain a better understanding of how to most efficiently use the FCC systems, learn how to work around common problems and increase understanding of system functions, features and limitations.

This session is not intended for new users needing an introduction to basic functions and will not provide hands-on classroom style training. Likewise, this session is not intended as a forum to discuss recommended changes or enhancements.

The training sessions are scheduled as follows:
Check-in: 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Introduction: 9:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.
Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS): 9:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
Electronic Document Management System (EDOCS): 11:00 a.m. to noon
Universal Licensing System (ULS): 12:45 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Broadcast Radio and Television Electronic Filing System CDBS): 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
International Bureau Filing System (IBFS): 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.


Pre-registration by electronic mail or phone is required. The FCC will confirm your registration by return e-mail. To register, provide the following information to Drew Eisenhauer (202-513-4534) at deisenha@fcc.gov. Your name, organization, telephone number, e-mail address, the sessions you wish to attend, any questions or topics you would like the training to cover, any accommodations needed or accessibility concerns.

The meeting site is fully accessible to those with wheelchairs or other mobility aids. Meeting handouts can be provided in accessible formats; sign language interpreters, open captioning and assistive listening devices can be provided on site. Please allow at least five days advance notice for requests for reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. Include a description of the accommodations needed with as much detail as possible.

The sessions will be recorded and made available to the public within a week or so after the event. Recordings may be viewed on the FCC website www.fcc.gov/realaudio/workshops.html or purchased from CACI Productions; 341 Victory Drive; Herndon, VA 20170; (703) 834-1470 ext. 19; fax (703) 834-0111.
20 Stations Begin DRM Transmissions
Washington - Oct 23, 2003 - As of Oct. 26, 20 U.S. licensed or based radio stations began Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) transmissions within the National Association of Short-wave Broadcasters’ program Voice of the NASB. Voice of the NASB will boost the total number of broadcasters sending daily, weekly or periodic DRM programs to 49.
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Business


Mexico Airs IBOC
Quincy, IL – Oct 28, 2003 - The first IBOC signals to air in Mexico were heard at 2:10 p.m. on Oct. 3 following the installation of a Broadcast Electronics (BE) FMi transmitter system at XHFAJ-FM Radio Alfa. The station is operating under an experimental license on its licensed frequency of 91.3MHz in Mexico City. XHFAJ-FM is owned by Grupo Radio Centro, the country’s leading radio broadcaster with 13 stations and the program supplier to more than 100 affiliate radio stations across Mexico.

The IBOC system is on loan from BE for testing purposes and to demonstrate the technology at the country’s fall broadcast convention. IBOC was compared to Eureka 147, XM Radio and Sirius satellite signals during the Cámara Nacional de la Industria de Radio y Televisión (CIRT) convention held in Mexico City the week of Oct. 5. Attendees listened to XHFAJ-FM’s digital audio through a Kenwood HD Radio receiver, also on loan for the show.

BE's HD Radio transmitter system remains in operation at XHFAJ-FM pending further testing and technical consideration by Mexico’s Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes (SCT), which is expected to set national digital broadcast standards in the future.

On loan to XHFAJ-FM is a factory BE FMi 402 HD Radio FM transmitter, one FSi 10 HD Radio signal generator and two FXi 60 digital exciters. The BE FMi 402 HD Radio FM transmitter provides 1.5kW into an injector supplied by Shively Labs. XHFAJ-FM’s existing transmitter remains in service for the analog path and provides 16.66kW into the injector. The output from the injector is a combined 15kW analog and 150W digital into a master antenna system, resulting in 90kW ERP analog and 900W ERP digital.

BE supplied XHFAJ-FM with two FXi 60 digital exciters. One is feeding the FMi 402 HD Radio transmitter and the other is installed in the analog transmitter, allowing for synchronization of the two broadcasts. The FSi 10 and both FXi exciters are synchronized to a 10MHz master oscillator, which is needed for continuity of service in blended coverage areas.
Andrew to Sell Broadcast Products Line to ERI
Orland Park, IL, and Chandler, IN - Oct 23, 2003 - Andrew has received and accepted a letter of intent from Electronics Research (ERI) for the purchase of the assets of Andrew Corporation's Broadcast Products Division. ERI is currently carrying out due diligence and the deal is expected to close in early November 2003. Financial details of the transaction are not being disclosed.

Andrew Corporation's Broadcast Products Division manufactures antenna systems for all broadcast applications; filters, combiners and RF components for television and FM radio; and rigid line and components. Andrew will retain its Heliax air cable-manufacturing business and will be the main supplier of air cable to ERI. Andrew also has a Satellite Communications business that is not affected by the proposed sale of assets of the Broadcast Products Division.

The Andrew Broadcast Products division provides RF system from the transmitter to the antenna. The current range of broadcast products includes antenna systems for all television broadcast applications; filters, combiners and RF components for television and FM radio including IBOC; and rigid line and components.

ERI has been in busines since 1943. ERI sells standard FM and TV antenna products through broadcast transmitter OEMs and resellers and towers and multi-station antenna products directly to broadcast stations. ERI products and services include VHF and UHF television broadcast antennas, Ibox digital radio systems, single and multistation FM antennas, FM filters and combiners, grounding and lightning protection products, guyed and self-supporting towers and turnkey installation services.
XM Satellite Radio Tops One Million Subscribers
Washington, DC - Oct 27, 2003 - XM Satellite Radio recently surpassed 1 million subscribers, reaching this major milestone in less than two years since its national debut on Nov. 12, 2001. XM reports that consumers have adopted XM Satellite Radio faster than local radio, television, satellite TV, CD players, MP3 players or digital video recorders. As a mass medium, XM has reached one million subscribers in less time than cable television or online subscription services - two of the nation's most successful subscriber businesses.

XM will celebrate its one-millionth subscriber with a gala celebration on Nov. 4 at its national broadcast headquarters in Washington, DC. The master of ceremonies for the day-long celebration will be music legend Quincy Jones. The event will feature live music and stand-up comedy by a wide array of artists, including Shelby Lynne, Cassandra Wilson, Marty Stuart, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Musiq and Lewis Black. The event will be aired throughout the day exclusively on XM Live (XM Radio Channel 168). Guests will tour XM's state-of-the-art studios where world-class DJs and expert music programmers broadcast live every day.

The celebration will feature displays of the latest XM radio products and many of the more than 80 2004 vehicles with XM on board. Among the products will be the new Delphi XM Roady receiver, the Delphi XM SKYFi radio, the XM Commander and the XM Personal Computer Receiver (PCR).
Music Choice Adds Dolby AC/3 Audio Library
New York, NY – Oct 12, 2003 - Music Choice went live Wednesday Oct. 8, 2003, with its custom built multi-channel digital audio broadcast system designed by OMT Technologies. The system features OMTs Imediatouch broadcast automation software and uses the latest Dolby AC/3 audio technology.

The music library, converted from CD to AC/3 Dolby Digital form, was accomplished by using OMT's Imediaexpress Encoder software. Music Choice also uses OMT's WAN technology software Imediaaccess to schedule logs, edit play lists and manage audio content on any workstation within its virtual private network.
ATI Expands Flexibility of System 10K
Horsham, PA - Sept 15, 2003 - Audio Technologies (ATI) delivered the first RM103 rack mount option for its System 10K to the Philadelphia local NBC affiliate Channel 10 for service in the new Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles football team.

The RM103 expands on the flexibility of ATI's System 10K by allowing the use of as many as three additional modules in a 1RU space. ATI's modular SYS10K allows users to plug in up to 10 single-line, dual-line or microphone amplifier modules and distribution amplifiers and two dual redundant power supplies. Separate fusing and regulation in each amplifier module minimize localized heat build-up and yield the highest system reliability. All modules have front-panel output level adjustment and headphone jacks. Remote control is available via RS-232 or RS-485, and VCA options are available for remote gain control for mono or dual units.
ERI Promotes Tower Safety
Chandler, IN – Oct 27, 2003 – As part of an on going effort to promote tower safety, Electronics Research (ERI) has begun a comprehensive campaign to make ERI tower owners aware of regulatory changes, safety concerns and maintenance issues. ERI provides a range of products and services to ensure that tower owners are in compliance with the most recent regulations.

OSHA may soon require that tower safety climb devices be installed, or other positive climber attachments be used. If the tower does not have ladders and platforms in accordance with OSHA standards, warning signs must be installed. ERI now offers these signs along with other safety signs.

While tower inspection and maintenance is the responsibility of the tower owner, ERI offers all the resources necessary to meet this responsibility. For example, ERI can help tower owners adhere to the standard for inspection frequency described in the TIA/EIA-222-F Standard Manual. ERI’s Professional Service Team can aid with other safety concerns as well, such as wear and replacement of fiberglass insulator rods, corrosion of underground guy wire anchor shafts, and guy wire vibration issues. In addition, the Professional Service Team will assist with maintenance issues.

For further information on the company's initiative visit www.eriinc.com.
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People


Simon Jones Becomes Director of Product Marketing
Westlake Village, CA - Oct 10, 2003 - TC Electronic, has appointed Simon Jones as director of product marketing at TC Electronic U.S. Jones will be based in the California office and will oversee the management of all products distributed in the United States. He will also play a role in the development of the U.S. market and provide a link to the product management teams in Denmark.
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Internet Watch


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Products


Omnia A/X Software Now Shipping
Cleveland - Oct 29, 2003 - Omnia A/X is a software audio processor designed for streaming audio, and it is now shipping through the Omnia dealer network. The software operates on Windows, conditioning and processing audio prior to encoding. It works with most applications that use the standard Windows Wave in/out driver interface, including Windows Media, Real and MP3 streaming encoders.

The multi-band processing delivered by Omnia A/X is accomplished entirely in software. It features a wide range of professional processing controls, including wideband automatic gain control (AGC), a three-band combined AGC/limiter, high frequency EQ, an adjustable-bandwidth low-pass filter and a look-ahead final limiter. A variety of processing presets are included with Omnia A/X.
Lynx Studio Technology now Shipping AES16
Costa Mesa, CA - Oct 30, 2003 - Introduced last summer, the AES16 audio card from Lynx Studio Technology is now available. The AES16 192kHz multichannel AES/EBU interface is a half-size PCI card that provides 16 channels of 24 bit AES/EBU digital audio at a 192kHz sample rate, and works with single-wire and dual-wire AES devices. It is shipped with a hardware-based 32-channel digital mixer that is controlled by its own software application. Designed to integrate digital consoles, multichannel A/D and D/A converters, hard disk recorders, digital audio workstations and other digital audio equipment, the AES16 is compatible with Windows and Macintosh operating systems.

The AES16 is the first product to incorporate Synchro Lock, a proprietary Lynx technology, that allows the AES16 to output low jitter digital audio from severely degraded signals. This ensures bit-perfect digital transmission and translates into low distortion in signals converted to analog. The AES16 also acts as a format converter. Its on-board Lstream expansion port accepts the optional Lynx LS-ADAT 16-channel ADAT Lstream card, to combine ADAT Lightpipe signals with the AES/EBU I/O. Two AES16 cards may be connected for seamless routing of 32 channels of digital I/O. As many as four cards can be combined in a single computer for 64 inputs and 64 outputs. The AES16 is able to internally route 32 available channels to each of its 8 stereo record devices. Each of these channels can also be routed to any of the 16 output channels for zero latency monitoring. This allows the AES16 to function as a 16 input, 16 output cross-point routing switcher, for flexible monitoring configurations.

The AES16 mixer software for Windows and Macintosh (OS9 and OSX) allows all parameters to be set and monitored on the computer, as well as signal routing and level control for inputs and outputs. The 32-channel mixer also includes the ability to save and recall an unlimited number of mixer scenes, making the AES16 a virtual digital patchbay. Two models are currently available, the AES16-XLR and AES16.
DAB Available in Starter Kit
Rennes, France - Oct 24, 2003 - Harris' DAB Broadcast Starter Kit includes a pre-configured DAB transmission chain, and a training package to evaluate the range of DAB applications to prepare for the DAB deployment and to create a DAB business plan. The package also features the DAB equipment that a broadcaster needs for a DAB operational broadcast. Security and redundant equipment are not included.
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