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Published by: Larry Bloomfield & Jim Mendrala      The following are our current e-mail addresses:
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 We have copied the original Tech-Notes below as it was sent out.  Some of the information may be out of date.

Tech Notes

Published by: Larry Bloomfield & Jim Mendrala

E-mail = or

October 11, 1999

Tech Note - 042


Talent does what it can, but genius does what it must!

Our Mission: Sharing experiences, knowledge, observations, concerns, opinions or anything else relating to Electronic Cinema, DTV, etc., with fellow engineers and readers. We do hope that everyone will participate with comments, experiences, questions and/or answers.  Please note Jim Mendrala's new E-mail address. Phone numbers and other stuff that used to be up here is now at the end of this newsletter. We now have over 480 subscribers & growing.                  This is YOUR forum! 

                                   Past issues are available at: WWW.SCRI.COM


Subj:  Reader Feedback


 Thanks for the latest Tech Note; very interesting, as always, and I enjoyed reading it.


Really sorry to say, three, if not all four, of the four viruses (etc.) you (by forwarding) warned about are hoaxes. I'm sorry to see nice folks get trapped by this, but, along with Spam, another nasty thing that happens on the 'Net is false chain messages scaring people by warning about nonexistent viruses. It's enough of a problem to have at least two web sites devoted to the topic: (Virus hoaxes) (Virus hoaxes) (Virus hoaxes)


The second of these has less info. (BTW, let me know if these URLs didn't appear correctly and usably.)


No virus warning is valid unless it gives very specific info about exactly where the warning can be verified. At least, one won't make such mistakes twice!


Best regards, and best of luck!                      Nicholas Bodley 


In Tech Note #41, we sent along a message about possible viruses.  It originated from Ralph P. Manfredo, President & CEO - Broadband Networks Corporation (Email: -- Web:  We printed the following:   "Ed Note -- BBNC is a Santa Clara based company.  Larry has done some contract writing work for them and while there did indeed discover that they had virus problems.  (Norton Anti-virus discovered them.)  It is not difficult to understand Ralph's concerns.  Although he never saw any of these viruses, out of past experience with these folks and first hand knowledge they are reputable, we're passing this on for your consideration." 


In response, we received the following from: Don R. Barbin Jr., Field Application Engineer, TeraLogic, Inc., Wake Forest, NC.  Email:


"I appreciate your newsletter. Please don't let it turn into a source of misinformation. The credibility is certainly jeopardized when it includes articles such as: (he then quoted to article from Manfredo)"


"I did not verify that every WARNING mentioned was a hoax but was familiar with most of them. The correct information can be found at the US Department of Energy's web site at


"Keep up the good work and don't let the inclusion of off the topic

misinformation diminish its value."      Don


ED Note:  Based on first hand experience at BBNC, we posted the message.  We apologize if any of it was incorrect or misleading.



Subj:  Coordination- The key to successful Communications 

By Larry Bloomfield


With the football season just around the corner and the National political conventions not far behind, the temporary use of additional frequencies for a multiplicity of reasons will raise it's ugly head and the whole idea of "special" and "temporary" begins to take on a really significant measure of importance irrespective of the service, NTSC or ATSC. 


Part and parcel with this scenario is the need to interface with one of broadcasting's most essential people who does probably the most thankless job in the business, and that's the guy who dons the cap of area frequency coordinator.  It goes without saying that there's never enough frequencies or channels available for the mundane, day-to-day operation of a station or network. Add to this, the FCC's seeming relentless on-slot of whittling away what is still available, makes doing what he does, nearly impossible. 


So, what happens when a special event comes to town, like an NFL football game or a major political convention, and the job of providing all the support communications falls on your shoulders?  You've got to come up with frequencies and do so without impacting anyone else's daily operation. Well, Good luck!


Probably the most important factor is to hope and pray that the local area frequency coordinator has done his or her job, followed with a supplication to the "Force" that the local broadcasters have propitiously espoused supporting the frequency coordinator's efforts to keep the records current and accurate.  If you come up on the positive side of all this, you stand a slim chance of unabated success, but don't hold your breath.


Although the job of maintaining these very large databases is a Herculean task, in and of itself, and one without pay, it is probably one of the most important in broadcasting. Unfortunately, there is no software available to help the coordinator make sense of the RF usage at "special" events.  The software provided to the coordinators by the SBE was designed to keep track of permanent facilities, and not itinerant events.  Despite this much of the information contained in many of the databases across the country tends to be old, outdated, incorrect or just not there, making any kind of "special situation" requiring their use, next to impossible, but, even still, it's far, far better than nothing at all.


To help you with your best shot in all of this, touch base with the area's frequency coordinator. If you don't know who or where he is, you can find out through the Society of Broadcast Engineers web page, which is updated quarterly by Scott Jones at 


One of the many volunteers who maintain a frequency coordination database and the wearer of many other hats, Karl Voss have been involved in this kind of work for many years.  Voss, in addition to being an Engineering Communications Supervisor at KPNX-TV in Phoenix, AZ, he's also the SBE Frequency Coordinator for the state of Arizona and the Frequency Coordination Consultant to the NFL.


Voss has worked as a consultant to the NFL in helping frequency coordinate the past 4 Superbowls.  Voss says:  "The NFL recognized the need to frequency coordinate all football events and its requirements are the same as what the SBE does to coordinate itinerant events.  The NFL is writing a piece of software to SBE specifications to help coordinate any itinerant events."


This software is currently under test at this time.  "When it has been checked out thoroughly," Voss said, "it will be made available to any SBE coordinator that wishes to use it to coordinate itinerant events.  In this way, the SBE gets tools to help its coordination of itinerant events, and because the NFL generates many of these events, both groups benefit."  As any software project, there will probably be certain changes/updates as required.


Aside from the software, Voss told Broadcast Engineering that: "The most essential things that should be coordinated are each and every 2-way radio frequency, microwave system and all wireless mics and cameras."  Voss pointed out:  "It doesn't seem necessary when you are talking about only a few milliwatts on these units, but when you end of with a dozen or so, it begins to make a big difference."  "Some of the wireless cameras," Voss added, "operate at low power in the two Gig range and can cause pure havoc with other links, like say from a blimp." 


Just remember that everything that can transmit carries with it the ability to interfere with something else.  No matter how insignificant a device may seem or that its low power, if it transmits, coordinate it! With the cost of wireless devices plummeting, the need for frequency coordination has never been more important, especially at "events" (political conventions, sporting events, etc.).


"At the last few Superbowls, many users think "low power" devices do not need to be coordinated."  Voss says: "This is far from true." When many, in some cases hundreds, of wireless devices converge at an event," Voss added, "even low powered devices need to be coordinated." 


Don't rent or bring any equipment with you to the special event site until you have done a site survey to see what is there and what you will need.  Before you touched base with the area frequency coordinator, it would help to have some basic information available.  You could fax or e-mail this information prior to your conversation, as it would help make things go much smoother when you do speak.


Whenever possible, send the frequency coordinator the name of the event, its location and include a brief description of what it is.  Try to include the first date and time the frequencies are required, the date and time of air, and when you'll no longer need the frequencies.  Provide your company name with complete address, one or two contact person's voice and fax numbers as well as e-mail address.  This will get you hero status in their book.  Don't forget the back up person in case the primary is unavailable for any reason.


It's really easy to do frequency coordination on an itinerant event. Here it is in a nutshell.  Make the request via a WEB based request page, probably at the SBE WEB page.  This request will be E-mailed to the coordinator, where the coordinator will import the request into the coordination program.  The coordination program will pre-filter the request, flagging any frequency that cannot be used at the requested venue because of any number of conflicts.


The coordinator will mark the remaining frequencies as used at the event and e-mail a response to the requesting user.  As frequencies are marked "used" on a per request basis, local users will be protected by entering their requests first.  If the event coordinator is not also the SBE coordinator, the event coordinator will work with the SBE coordinator to make sure there are not any changes in the local frequency usage.


Voss did say: "The most important information you can provide, are all the frequencies, how when and where they'll be used and if there are any alternate frequencies available you could use."  


A large part of the coordination process is the education of users.  Voss said it was his experience that when people find out that an event is being coordinated, they are usually more than willing to work with the coordinator.  He concluded by saying; "We just need to get the word out."          LB


Note:  From the San Diego SBE chapter electronic newsletter, at Marge Baldwin, KGTV Chief Engineer reports that KGTV started equipment testing of DTV broadcast on UHF Channels 25-1 (standard definition) and 25-2 (high definition) at 7:29 PM on Monday, September 12 and became San Diego's first DTV station.  If you are the first in your market or have something unique to report, let us know.  We'll run it.


Subj:  Tek (or should we say GVG) is on the move again

By:      Larry Bloomfield


A few left over from before the big announcement about GVG spinning off from Tek is the announcement from Tektronix & Accom: "Tektronix and Accom have announced an OEM alliance that will provide customers with one more choice in high quality effects systems and will be offered from Grass Valley Products. The alliance includes an OEM agreement under which they will integrate Accom's DVE products with Grass Valley switchers for a total production solution." Dveous becomes GVeous!


Ampex Data Systems & Tektronix (probably GVG now): "In response to a growing trend towards facility automation have announced a joint marketing agreement. Both companies will jointly offer mid to high-end broadcasters and video customers an expandable DST digital video archive from Ampex that is fully compatible with Tektronix's new network-attached storage architecture."


If you are interested in either of these areas, it is suggested you contact your local salesperson.  LB


Subj:      One Less Wire Service   

By:          Larry Bloomfield


Irrespective if the news organization is at a digital or analogue station, their success and "look" is directly related to their ability to "get the story" and present it to their audience in a timely fashion.  As of the first week in August, broadcasters choices have narrowed down to one less service from which to draw from, United Press International (UPI).  


Engineers should be aware of this, as it may possibly impact how their newsrooms get their various feeds.  In a conversation with Arnaud de Borchgrave, UPI's President and Chief Executive Officer, de Borchgrave told Broadcast Engineering: "To fulfill UPI's contractual commitments with broadcasters, the Associated Press will take over United Press International's broadcast news customer contracts serving more than 400 US radio and television stations in the United States." Of the 400 UPI subscribers, 352 - 346 radio stations and six television stations - are not currently AP members.


When asked why, De Borchgrave said that the numbers of broadcasters have diminished over the years from about 1,200 radio and television station back in the 1970s to near four hundred in recent times.  "We are getting out of the broadcast news business in an effort to reposition our self in more specialized markets. The deal fits the company's new focus.  What UPI is doing is transitioning out of the traditional conventional news agency business and positioning itself for the 21st century.''  De Borchgrave said 47 news people involved with broadcast services throughout the United States would lose their jobs as a result of the deal.


A joint press release said that the sale was effective immediately, but did not disclose a purchase price.  De Borchgrave told Broadcast Engineering, during a telephone interview, that the move to AP services would take about 90 days or less.  AP now serves some 3,700 radio stations and more then 800-television stations with print, audio, video and graphic services. 


De Borchgrave mentioned that in his career, he's seen the news business go from the Morse key, which he used when he reported stories from "darkest Africa," to the Internet, from teleprinters at 60 words per minute to satellite phone and laptops with wireless uplinks and downlinks."  Under his direction, "UPI is headed into out of the-box thinking for over-the-horizon directions."  De Borchgrave said:  "I'm afraid that all these bells and whistles have not enhanced our understanding of the world around us."  The way news is handled is boring!  Too much time is devoted to sensationalism and many of the stories are milked for every drop.  People are tired of this.  They want to know the story and move on. 


With this in mind, De Borchgrave believes that the traditional media has three years to adapt -- or die.  "The Internet is transforming our working lives…our private lives… the way we deal with ideas.  By giving up UPI's declining broadcast services, will permit us to more fully devote our time to our new direction."


Looking back in our history, De Borchgrave mused, "UPI was a pioneer in the radio news business, beginning a news wire in the 1930s that was written in a format to be used by broadcasters."  This predated AP by over ten years.  "In the 1960s,"  De Borchgrave continued, "We added an audio service that provided audio feeds from newsmakers and our correspondents from around the world."


The New UPI will focus it's attention to the anticipated one-sixth of humanity- a billion people, who, they say, will be on the Internet by the year 2005 and "UPI will be there with new products and services for the electronic marketplace."  The New UPI will offer three services: The WebLine, Global Impact Net and Specialized Web Newsletters.  For additional information about UPI, visit their web page at:


Those stations that have not had the AP experience have little to fear. Through its local station and network members, AP news reaches more radio listeners and television viewers than any other news source.  For additional information about API, visit their web page at:       LB


Ed Note:  Many of our readers are broadcasting trivia buffs.  If you are interested in such things visit      It has some really neat stuff.  For example: Although KFI-AM 640 kHz has always been located in Los Angeles, it had its own antenna in San Francisco for many years.  Check it out. 


Also Jim Mendrala, co-publisher of these venerable Tech Notes has been up to his ears in alligators with all the electronic cinema things he's been doing.  He's been on an aeronautical pogo stick between the two coasts getting things rolling for his company. He does have some very interesting things to share with us and as soon as he has a moment to get them down on paper, we'll certainly print them.


AND  Craing Tanner has bailed from his position at ATSC to take a job with Sharp Electonrics.  Wonder if it is something we said?  Leo Hindery has also left his post at AT&T (formerly TCI cable).  Lots of buying out and mergers going on in the industry.  Check out Broadcast Engineering for those stories and more.  Larry


(Ed Note:  The Editors and Publishers of the Tech Notes wish to thank Des Chaskelson, Research Director of SCRI International for his generosity in posting the Tech Notes on the SCRI web site.     


From: Des Chaskelson, Research Director, SCRI International (

Re: New Website with Industry Press Releases Plus New HDTV Survey


SCRI launched a new website last week ( The new site contains a new Industry Press Releases section accessible to all -- check the current releases from PixStream, Alcatel, Ciprico, Digibid, and many more. Also check the trade show section for releases from RTNDA 99 and VidTrans 99.


In addition, SCRI is getting ready to update the annual HDTV survey of TV Stations. We invite your input to the questions tracked this year. Check out last year's online survey at:                  Send any questions you think would be important to track to


The Tech Notes are published for broadcast professionals, and others, who are interested in DTV, HDTV, Electronic Cinema, etc., by Larry Bloomfield and Jim Mendrala.  We can be reached by either e-mail or land lines (408) 778-3412, (661) 294-1049 or fax at (419) 710-1913 or (419) 793-8340. The Tech Notes are sent (BCC) directly only to those who have asked to be on the mailing list, however feel free to forward them, intact, to anyone who you think might be interested. There is no charge for this Newsletter, no one gets paid (sigh), there is no advertising and we do not indorse any product or service(s).  The ideas and opinions are those of the individual authors.  We still administer everything manually.  We don't use any "majordomo" automatic servers. News items, comments, observations, opinions, etc. are encouraged and always welcome. We publish when there is something to share.  Material may be edited for brevity, but usually not.  Tech Note articles may be reproduced in any form provided they are unaltered and credit is given to both Tech Notes and the originating authors, when named.  If they are to be used by a publication that normally compensates their writers, please contact us first.