From the Editor

September  2011 – Jim Dalke CPBE AMD 8VSB CBNT:

Trip to Washington DC

I just returned to Seattle after visiting the Washington, DC, area.  On Saturday, September 3, I had the privilege of walking my Granddaughter Kate down the aisle as she married a fine young man, Brian Zickle.  The ceremony took place in the garden of a beautiful home in a DC suburb of Manassas, Virginia.  Many of you know Kate from her work at Fisher Broadcast and her occasional visits to our SBE Chapter events.

I also had the pleasure of visiting with a patent examiner at the US Patent Office in Alexandria to put the finishing touches on my Fiber Optic AM Antenna Monitor System.  Thanks to an introduction to the folks at the FCC in Washington by Stephen Lockwood, I was also able to make a presentation on the system and discuss the challenges to come with the FCC rules that cover AM Antenna Monitors.

I took a break and visited the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum at Dulles Airport.  This 8 year old facility is one of the largest and finest air museums in the world.  This vast structure contains an assortment of historic aircraft including the space shuttle Enterprise and the Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay that helped bring WWII to a close.

One of the reasons I wanted to visit the museum was to find the famous Boeing 307 Stratoliner.  As you may recall, in 2002, the Stratoliner made a dramatic crash and sank when it ditched in Elliott Bay near Salty’s Restaurant in West Seattle.  The crash occurred on what was to be the last flight before heading to the Smithsonian.  Despite the incident, it was again restored, flew to the Smithsonian Air Museum at Dulles where it is now on display.  The Stratoliner crashed within yards of the KKOL-AM transmitter, which at that time was operating under an STA from the 175 foot ship, the Coastal Ranger.

EAS Developments

CAP deadline extension?

With the September 30 CAP deadline fast approaching, there are many questions about extending the deadline, at least until after the Nationwide EAS test scheduled for November 9.  The NAB and the NASBA including the WSAB, PBS and other organizations have petitioned the FCC for a deadline extension.  There is also the question of the acceptability of EAS converters which connect to the internet to receive CAP messages and then send them to existing EAS Endecs when CAP generated EAS alerts are received.

Nationwide EAS test

FEMA, in coordination with the FCC and NOAA, has scheduled the first nationwide EAS test on November 9 at 11 am Pacific time.  The test will determine whether the EAS system which has been disseminating state and local emergency messages, will function on a nationwide basis.  The nationwide EAS test is not a pass or fail measure, and does not require a CAP enabled Endec to work properly.  CAP compliant equipment should pass the Emergency Action Notification (EAN) live-code in the same manner as legacy EAS equipment.

FM on cell phones

The recent hurricane along the eastern seaboard and the unusual earthquake that followed has prompted new interest in providing emergency information via FM radio enabled cell phones.  While we have become communications dependent on our cellphones, the cellular infra-structure is vulnerable to disaster damage, and if it survives, quickly overloads with emergency and non-emergency welfare calls.

FCC Commissioner Copps opened a forum for discussion of the topic recently and cited the situation during the earthquake when people were only able to get information through radio broadcasts when the phone networks got congested.  The NAB said they welcomed the timely call for discussion of integrating FM chips on cellphones.

Copper Thefts Grow

Utility companies in the Puget Sound area are going high tech to fight copper thefts, and broadcasters should take note.  Puget Sound Energy says that in the past year there have been 74 break-ins in substations and they are taking major steps to put a stop to the problem.  PSE says each break-in costs thousands of dollars to repair and puts the public at risk by compromising protective fencing and enclosures.  The company is installing motion detectors and covert video observation to notify them when an intrusion occurs.

In addition to the motion sensors, PSE is also replacing much of its stolen copper wiring with something called copper weld. It’s steel-covered with a thin sheet of copper, and it’s not nearly as valuable as the real thing.  Signage outside the fences makes it clear that wiring and hardware is copper plated steel and have no salvage value.

Time and space are running short so…


Jim Dalke, W7PB