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November Last revision Jan 9, 2019

Next Meeting: We meet Tuesday January 15, 7:30 PM in Manhattan at McCain Auditorium, in KSDB Studios, hosted by John Langer. Parking is available in A1 or A2. There is no organized meal for this meeting, but the Pizza Ranch worked well last time. James Copeland of KSU, will present a Power Point presentation on the Q Go Live product, used at KSDB in Manhattan. February will be at KTWU in Topeka with HVS; March will find us in Manhattan, with Ron Jones telling us of his project of installing solar power in his home.

Last Meeting: Eight members met in Manhattan at Dole Hall on the KSU campus, Tuesday, November 13, at 7:30 PM. We were hosted by John Langer, Vice Chairman, who also provided our program. Several of us gathered at the Pizza Ranch for a meal prior to the meeting. This was my first visit to this establishment, but all in the group agreed the food and service was good, and at a reasonable price. Chairman Bob Locke opened the meeting at 7.28 PM. John Langer gave the Treasurer's Report, in lieu of Robert Nelson, who was absent working a basketball game. The minutes of the October meeting were approved as published in the newsletter.

Chairman Locke noted a conversation he had recently had with Frank Santucci, who has closed his business. He indicated he was withdrawing from SBE, and pursuing other unspecified interests. He wished all the friends he had met in Chapter 3 well. Other items of business included approval of new bylaws voted in at the October meeting, a copy of which were published in the November newsletter The new bylaws take effect November 14, 2018.

Discussion was held on possible programs for 2019. Vern Wirka told of new software applications in use at the KSU Ham station. Rod Rogers will explore the possibility of another tour of the vinyl record pressing plant in Salina. Several people that were unable to attend our previous tour indicated they would like to attend another tour. Don Hogg said he would inquire of his brother Rod, on progress in digitizing the Doc Brinkley program, and the possibility of a program on that subject. Ron Jones has completed installation of a net zero solar electric system in his house. Some who had seen it commented on the quality of the installation. Ron says he did not sign up to sell power back to the electric power company, but is able to switch to them for a backup power source, should that be necessary. John Langer said he probably would contact HVS, or SAV for a January program. Our business meeting was adjourned at 8:06 PM, on motion of Don Hogg, and seconded by Ron Jones.

Our program for the evening was given by John Langer, SBE-3 Vice Chair. He spoke on a recently upgraded Ubiquity microwave STL used for KSU's FM station, KSDB. The discrete left and right audio and remote control commands at the KSDB studio are digitally encoded at present on an Windows XP computer, (soon to be replaced) and fed to the Ubiquity Air Max STL, which was installed in 2011, and just recently upgraded because of degraded performance at temperatures below 50F. Investigation showed the dish at the transmitter location had twisted in a strong wind, leaving the system operating on a side lobe. Replacing mounting hardware and feedhorn on the dish was not possible because that model was no longer produced, but an upgraded model was available for about the same price. Interestingly, the replaced unit with the bent bracket still works. .


Our group attending the November meeting at KSU John Langer, seated at the right end of the table, conducted the program on the Ubiquity STL recently upgraded, and used by KSBD-FM, KSU's on campus FM radio station.

The original installation, ready to accept digitized audio and remote control commands was purchased for a cost of about $400, and that price is still possible today. This includes the 18" fiberglass dish antennae, with transmit/receive units built into their respective feedhorns. Also included on the side of the feedhorn is a series of LEDs which reflect signal strength for alignment, or another aural method is available on an app for your computer (if Internet is available at your transmitter site). That app puts out a tone which increases in pitch with amplitude of received signal strength, so you can hear results as you finish aligning the small dish. The system operates between 5.1 and 5.9 Ghz, and is low enough in power output there is no need to be licensed. The initial set up looks at signals in that band and recommends the best operating frequency for use. That can be overridden, but John let it chose on its own. The software provided simulates a spectrum analyzer, and has many handy features included in the standard package. Our thanks to John for the program! Good stuff - and we all learned something new!

The previous STL Receive/Transmit and dish used at KSDB in Manhattan. It would require a more substantial mount if used on a tower of any substantial height, but it still functions as intended.

John did an excellent job in his presentation, made all more credulous because he has installed and used the gear he is telling us about. Find more information on Ubiquity at:https://airmax.ubnt.com/. Look for Air Max

Another feature John Langer told of in his November program was about the setup at the transmitter. A 1X8 switch, controlled from the studio or by phone, allows individual pieces of gear to be reset. This has often saved them the need to send someone to the transmitter to reset something as a result of a lightning strike or a power bump. The transmitter used at KSBD is a Nautel and ERP is 1400W. They use TP Link for control software, and a Si Controller to monitor various items at the transmitter site, which will send an email to the on call guy if any of the monitored items get out of the parameters that are set. The Ubiquity gear used here can be used in point to point applications, or in point to multipoint. More information on the Ubiquity gear can be found at www.ubnt.com

Don Hogg loaned me a packet of papers he had accumulated when wind turbine people were soliciting property rights near his wife's family farm near Zenda, KS There were several case studies for small users that I found interesting, even though the studies were based on 2006 data. The least costly was a 5 KW alternator on a pipe mast for residential use, but likewise, the average life of such a project was about forty-two to forty eight months, but the break even point at that time was 38 months. This based on connecting to the grid and selling power back to the local electric supplier. Another study was based on farm based people with plenty of room for such a project. They ran an Iowa hog farm and wanted to lower or eliminate their $6K/month electric bill.. The father-son pair studied the project and figured they would have to produce at least 10 KW of power to eliminate their high monthly electric power bill. One day as the son surfed the Internet, he noticed a 500 KW turbine for sale in Texas which was part of an aborted municipal project. Quickly running running the numbers, he decided this was worth a trip to Texas to look at it. They came home with it after talking to their banker. The break even point for this project figured to just over four years, especially since the life of this commercially rated gear was substantially greater than that used in the 5 KW residential case study, and it made their case work, but did require attention and maintenance time on their part.

The size of the paper packet Don supplied me was about a third of a ream. The main part of it was explanations of how to obtain financing, how to fill out the required applications to be supplied to the local electric provider, and the requirements for your system to be designed and installed by a Professional Engineer trained in solar power. If you were going to apply to connect to the grid, the process got complicated and very expensive very quickly, as the paperwork required grew. These papers were of interest to me, since Ron Jones told us recently of his plans to improve his home to a "net zero" position. He chose not to back feed, or to not sell power back to a utility company. Based on the complications involved, I can see why he chose as he did, and yet, he has the ability to connect to the local power company should he have a problem with his own solar system. A mere choice of an either/or situation, rather than that of a co-generation partner with the local electric company, but what a difference that choice would make in cost. You may ask why I am dwelling so much on solar power. As it turns out, Ron Jones will be presenting a program to our chapter in March, on that very subject - so perhaps the attention ahead of time will spark some questions for you to ask at that time.

Authorities arrested a man in late December in an incident in South Central Kansas, in which he allegedly used a laser aimed at a Kansas Highway Patrol aircraft, temporarily blinding a pilot. The plane was being used in a search for a criminal on the run. The laser perpetrator was apparently not involved with the person being sought by the KHP. I don't know how they tracked him down so quickly, but good for them. It may have helped because not many persons posses this type of laser (in this case it was green light) with the power required to do such damage. The bad thing is that it only takes a few such incidences to increase regulations on all use of lasers, whether for good or bad.

Gary Krohe was the first to send me notification of the relaxation of rules on posting FCC licenses at transmitter sites. He writes: "I just got the copy below. Guess they'll be no more Chief Engineers... Although originally scheduled for consideration at tomorrow's Commission meeting, the FCC has already acted to eliminate the requirement that stations post licenses. This rule change will go into effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. Historically, broadcasters had been required to post main station and broadcast auxiliary station licenses in the studio on the wall or in a binder at the control point. Translator licensees have been required also to display contact information at the transmitter site. The Commission determined that its staff and the public now have ready access to station licenses and related information through online public files and FCC databases, such as CDBS and ULS. The Commission has also removed the requirement to post a Chief Operator designation." Thanks, Gary.

The recent round of who will blink first, Trump or the Democrats, continues with no funds allocated by Congress, and Trump still without funds to finish up the border wall. At present, the FCC will technically be included in those agencies shut down, although several databases and the FCC website will remain up, but will not be updated. (CDBS and EDOCS will remain available.) EAS Test reporting and Consumer Complaint Department will close. 30.

Ubiquity Air Max Series for last mile connectivity

Click for campus map!

Parking available in lots A -1 and A - 2.

Newsletter Editor: R.W. Abraham

CPBE / CBNT Regional Engineer Cox Cable Wichita Retired


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