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February Last revision feb 17, 2021

SBE-3 received notice yesterday afternoon, of a request from Telefunken to change the Virtual Tour of Telefunkfen from Thursday February 18, to Thursday February 25, 2021 at 1:00 PM. The SBE-3 Kansas Business meeting remains the same - Thursday February 18, at 2:15 PM. We regret any inconvenience this may cause.

Next Meeting: Our next program will occur on February 18 at 1:00 PM. It will be a joint meeting with members from Chapters 3, 55, and 59 and is a virtual tour of a Telefunken facility! The tour will take an hour. Since we are on Telefunken's nickel, our SBE-3 business meeting will occur shortly after the program on a separate Zoom link. If you don't receive a link by 10 mins before a meeting, e-mail Robert for a link (contact below). Mark you calendars now.

Last Meeting: Eleven members and guests met via Zoom on Tuesday January 12. Vice Chair Robert Nelson opened the meeting at 7:04. There being little other business, the business meeting was adjourned to the program for the evening, on motion of Rod Rogers, seconded by Jeff Gibson at 7:09 PM. Our program was presented by Ben Nemser, and Danny Ritt of Nemal Electronics, on the subject of Fiber Optics in Broadcasting. Ben began by comparing the effective lengths of high density digital data carried on RG6 or RG11 coax vs. Single Mode Fibers. The distance and 1/20th the weight difference was readily apparent in favor of fiber. He showed us several commonly used protective cladding and jackets, as well as different connectors used to correctly terminate the fiber to allow the best transmission of light from one fiber to another or to active light transmitters or receivers. Connectors commonly used are: ST; SC; FC; and LC, including two metal and two plastic outer connector shells. There are others, and it was stressed when ordering patchcords, how important it is not to be misunderstood - use phonetics, and follow up with written confirmation in an email or letter. The above is for single fiber connections. There are equipment connectors that are multiples, containing copper pairs, coax, triax, as well as fiber for power, audio, video and data. Nemal has adapters for common conversions or can construct special conversion cables in pigtail or connectors made to order. Danny Ritt, Nemal's technical specialist showed us the different ferrules used, and close up views of the art of cleave and polish necessary to accomplish a low loss termination of raw fiber optics. He showed us these common end polishes.: UPC @ -50 to -60 dB reflection; ADC @ -60 to -70 dB reflection; and PC @ -30 dB reflection.

DOT 80,000 pound limits on highways, and lack of rack space shifted remote trucks and studios to using fiber optics. The advantages are listed above.

You need a separate cleaning pen for each size of ferrule you may encounter, and dirt alone accounts for most of the high loss in connectors. If you are opening a fiber connector, or changing fibers on a patch panel or equipment, be prepared to clean both ends of the connection before reassembling. Compressed clean air is one good tool, but you should be prepared with lintless cloth, cleaning agent and a properly sized cleaning pen, before completing your connection. Using a close up camera, Danny showed us how to strip and prep a fiber cable for termination with an FC connector. He did a two stage crimp of the Kevlar or Aramid yarn protecting the fiber optic cable and at the back of the connector. Then, cleaving the fiber, he secured it in the ferrule with epoxy, and after hand polishing the end, checked it with an inline video camera for cleanliness and proper end fit. One does have to be careful showing a view at this magnification, because the slightest movement of the hand is magnified along with the very tiny fiber end, making it difficult to follow, but we certainly were able to see what Danny was doing. Danny finished his demonstration by showing us the finished connection on a spectrometer which allowed viewing in a profile mode, the end of the fiber protruding through end of the ferrule in microns! This is not a piece of gear one would find used in the field, but it gave us a view we would not normally be able to see.

Above, Connector types and Polish modes. Below, Danny shows how much dirt can be introduced from just touching the fiber with a finger.

 I have in my possession from my Cable TV days, an end blank which was inductively heated to its melting point from one end where the fiber cable was drawn to 50μM and measured by laser for proper width. The blank is about an inch and a half in diameter at the back and tapers to and is broken off at about an eighth of an inch at the draw end. We have it mounted in a display box with an LED light on the back end which lights the entire blank which we use as a nightlight. The blank is such pure glass, it was told me that one could see for seven miles through it (were it that long) and still distinguish objects on the far end! Heady stuff, and it shows the reasons one must carefully align and polish the drawn fiber measured in thousandths of an inch, and the polished ends measured in millionths of a meter to prevent loss of transmitted light. Our thanks to Ben Nemser and Danny Ritt for an interesting and informative program for our chapter. It gave us much to think about and the specificity needed when dealing with programs transmitted via fiber optics.

Ben Nemser of Nemal Electronics. Ben is still working at what he loves besides being active in Ham Radio at WA4DZS

Danny Witt, Nemal Tech Guy, who stayed late into the evening to teach us his experiences in dealing with fiber optics.

It may be that in watching this month's SBE-3 program, it may have caused you to think about putting some money in the budget for fiber optic tools you do not now have. That could pay off later in saved downtime, and that's how it should be justified. Don't neglect training in how to use these tools though, and practice with them periodically once you get them. If that dog won't hunt, you'd best be finding out which qualified local or regional contractors can come to your rescue on short notice, and get them under contract. One wants to be careful with the tongue.

Over the holidays, I did three things I said I would never do again:

1.) Own another Dodge vehicle;
2.) Buy a Diesel powered truck;
3.) Buy a used 4x4 truck.

It started innocently enough. My car sales person call to wish me a Happy Birthday, and at the end of the conversation asked if he could do anything for me. I had been following the used truck market for a while, and there simply were no 4-5 year old Ton pickups out there within 200 miles of home - especially GM built. My car guy said the consumers that would usually buy new trucks couldn't do so this year because CoVid had shut production down, so they bought up all the late model pickups instead. It made sense. However that may be, I told the guy I was looking to upgrade from my '94 Chevy 2500. He asked several questions about how I was going to use it, and we ended the conversation. Within three days, he had a truck coming in on trade he wanted me to look at. When he said Dodge Ram, I said no thanks, but thought better of it because he is a straight up guy, so I called him back, and said we would at least come and look at it. It was a white 2016 RAM 4x4, Turbocharged Diesel, 4 door cab. It had a factory installed trailer brake controller, and came with a newer fifth wheel hitch already in place, both were items I would've had to add at my expense if I bought a truck without them. The tires looked good, and it only had 57K miles on the odometer. When I test drove it, it was a done deal. The torque was excellent and the fuel economy was in the upper teens (calculated by onboard computer, which is usually a bit high), whereas my old Chevy was 10 MPG not pulling a load, and 7 when you were. We liked it well enough that we didn't drive our Buick road car for more than two months, while we were getting used to the differences in Dodge and GM design. It reminded me of the difference in thinking used in design of RCA and GE Transmitters - Red for ON with RCA, and Green for ON with GE. Go figure. I kept the old truck, thinking my daughter would want it. She did, but when I asked her later why she wanted it, I told her no. She wanted it because it was Daddy's and she knew I took good care of it. She is getting crippled up with arthritis, and had another small van available that she liked and could buy, so I think we both are happier the way it turned out. I sold the old truck off the street for more than I would have received on trade in, so it worked out better all the way around.

After the last SBE meeting in November, I decided I had enough time to deal with the tight cover hinge that was forcing my HP laptop case apart on the right edge, since the computer was still in warranty. It took a couple of tries with HP Customer Support, but eventually I got a box they sent to me with packing instructions and a prepaid label to sent it in. I dropped it off at a Federal Express office like they said, and got an email four days later acknowledging receipt of the unit, and saying it should be repaired and back with Fed Ex within four days. I am still waiting.. You can't talk to anyone over the phone - only by email. Checking status only says the repair is on hold. I'm NOT impressed. A later chat session with an HP person found that the reason for the hold was a parts shortage. While this could be caused by a production shut down, the fact that HP is out of that part tells me I likely was not the only person complaining of that problem…… That was the reason I did not appear on the January Zoom meeting, nor could I talk. Zoom still doesn't recognize the mikes on my old Dell laptop, and would not let video be turned on either. I was able to see and hear everyone else, My thanks to Robert for the screen captures he sent for use in the newsletter. I only managed to get one. It was good to see Bob Locke at the meeting .last time, and we're glad to see Jeff Gibson attending. John Schilberg asks good questions too, don't you think?

Our thanks to Chris Scherer for arranging the February program. The reason we are meeting jointly with Chapters 55 & 59 is that Telefunken desires an attendance of at least 25 on its virtual tour. Chris spotted the opportunity on FaceBook flagged our officers, and set up the tour, which will count as a chapter meeting for SBE rebate purposes. We are all spending more time than we used to, attending online meetings. C-Net had a feature recently on making you look your best for Web meetings.

Some suggestions made were:
1.) Have your camera at eye level. No one really is interested in inspecting the interior of your nose. The method doesn't have to be expensive - a stack of books or what ever works is fine, and isn't seen.

2.) Maintain eye contact. Once the meeting begins, remember to look into the camera, especially when you are talking. When your eyes drop down to the screen below, or wander somewhere else, you are projecting the image that you really wish you weren't stuck in this meeting.

3.) Pay attention to the lighting on your face. If only the monitor lights your face, you are going to have a blue zombie like appearance.

4.) A better mike than the one on your laptop is recommended. A short boom mike on a headset can make you sound much better than hearing all the room noise from the omni microphone on your laptop. Wow, I need to polish up my on-air image with a couple of suggestions from this list. 30.

Newsletter Editor: R.W. Abraham

CPBE / CBNT Regional Engineer Cox Cable Wichita Retired


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