September was a busy month with a visit to the other “Washington” early in the month, and a US Patent Office published on September 7. The patent is a milestone in development of a better way to monitor AM directional arrays, using fiber optics instead of the traditional coaxial cable. The goal now is to have the system in production in 2012. You can view the patent athttp://www.freepatentsonline.com/8026725.pdf This patent is my ninth for broadcast and communications innovations and hopefully the most productive.
It was a bit ironic that President Obama signed the “The America Invents Act” on September 16. The bill includes the most substantial changes in the last half-a-century. The most significant change in the patent process will be a change from the “first to invent” to the “first to file.” The bill is intended to reduce the backlog in patent applications and bring the US patent system in line with other countries. The National Small Business Association has said that the bill will “irreversibly damage” small-business owners and entrepreneurs and favor applications from large corporations.
FCC Extends CAP Deadline… Again
The FCC made a last minute decision to extend the September 30 deadline for broadcasters to install the new CAP capable EAS equipment until June 12, 2012. It became clear there were too many regulatory issues remaining to enforce compliance. One issue was the revisions needed to Part 11 to accommodate the new CAP equipment.
The CAP requirement extension will not affect the first national EAS test scheduled for November 9th at 11 am PST. The national test will not be a test of CAP capable equipment, but rather recent enhancements to the EAS system.
AM MDCL Technology Moves Ahead
The FCC has announced that it will permit AM stations to use transmitter technologies that reduce power consumption while maintaining both audio quality and coverage area. AM stations can request FCC waivers to use the green power Modulation Dependent Carrier Level (MDCL) technology. The technique reduces the power in the carrier of the AM transmitter without introducing perceptible audible distortion or coverage. Transmitters using MDCL are said to save 30 percent or more in power bills. The system also makes field readings difficult to measure. Easier implementation of MDCL algorithms and higher energy costs have recently made the technique more attractive. Editor comment: this is what we used to call “carrier shift” only now is it is intentional and controlled.
Jim Dalke W7PB