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November Last revision Nov 9, 2018

Next Meeting: We will meet Tuesday, Nov 13 7:30 PM in Manhattan at KSU's Dole Hall. John Langer will present a program on the use of Ubiquity Wireless Radios to relay remote control instructions for KSDB for KSU. This is a good lesson in making do, when you are saddled with a tight budget, or a sudden request comes up to do a remote and all your gear is tied up elsewhere. The food situation has changed in Manhattan since the Golden Coral closed. You should allow some extra time to find a place to eat. There is a buffet at a place called Pizza Ranch. See you!

LAST MEETING Seventeen members and guests met on October 15, 4:00 PM at the Airport Hilton in Wichita, KS. The occasion was KAB Engineering Day. Chairman Bob Locke opened the meeting at 4:03 PM. The minutes of the past meeting were approved as published in the Chapter 3 Newsletter, on motion of Robert Nelson, seconded by John Langer, and vote of those in attendance.

Robert Nelson gave the Treasurer's Report, which was approved as presented on motion of Don Hogg, seconded by Martin Heffner, and vote of attendees. Conversation on the last program held at the WIBW transmitter site was taken - an excellent evening, with a really good description of how a slotted antenna is constructed was given by Steve Moreen, Regional Sales Manager of Dielectric Antennas. Dick Abraham gave a brief report on the proposed changes in the Chapter Bylaws, as well as the Nominating Committee's slate of candidates for Chapter 3 officers for the coming year, and gave information on the ballot members in attendance would receive.

Nominations from the floor were solicited. John Langer was placed in nomination for Vice Chairman of the chapter on motion of Don Hogg, seconded by Robert Nelson, and vote of attendees. Robert Nelson moved, seconded by Dick Abraham to close nominations. The motion passed on vote of those in attendance. Robert Nelson moved, seconded by John Langer to accept the proposed bylaws, subject to a vote of the membership. The motion passed. Ballots were passed out and checked off a current membership list printed from the National SBE Chapter 3 Roster as members requested a ballot from Election Committee Chair, Don Hogg. The marked ballots were tallied by the Election Committee, with the following results: Bob Locke was re-elected Chair for his second consecutive term; John Langer was elected Vice Chair. Robert Nelson was re-elected to his second consecutive term as Secretary-Treasurer.

In addition, the proposed bylaws for Chapter 3 were adopted in the election. Both the officers and the bylaws were elected unanimously! Our thanks to those serving as officers for the past year, and to those who stepped up for 2019. The newly adopted Chapter 3 bylaws are printed out on later pages for your information and your files. They will take effect November 14. Our business meeting stood adjourned at 4:37 PM on motion of Don Hogg, seconded by John Langer, and vote of attendees.

Our Engineering Day 9:00 AM session was introduced by Vern Wirka, Chief Operator of KDCU, KSU's 70 yr old Educational FM The program was given by Sam Matheny, NAB acting head. Our subject was on The demographics of radio listeners, and the importance of drive time to broadcasters. Sam told us of the purchase of Ibiquity by Xperi. Of digital radio stations, there are about 2,000 that are multicasting programs on their assigned frequency. Only 1 or 2 ofour audience were doing that. There are about 40 Million vehicles that are now equipped with HD radio, about 15% of all vehicles on the road. 50% of all new cars are outfitted with HD radio. About 5 Million homes have HD radio, and about 5.8 Million listeners do so using Internet streaming to obtain high quality radio programming. Another factor that has increased the number of IP streamers, is the use of home digital assistants, such as Alexa, which has been assessed at 14% of all streaming listeners. Broadcasters do have to pay extra fees or licensing for those who receive their programs via streaming. It was also noted that many users had more than one home digital assistant, some with one in every room of the house.

This has also influenced the acceptability of applications that are written for devices such as Alexa and Siri. Apple, Amazon and the like, want programs that are universally applied across the world, rather than having one system for the USA and another for Europe or Asia. The analog FM radio feature of many cell phones is now being activated by cell phone manufacturers, generally accessible by an app, but this chip does not work for digital over FM yet. AM/FM radio still remains in 82% of vehicles on the road, and Satellite radio remains at 21%. In vehicles, the dash display is now in all new vehicles, since the National Highway group has madated back up cameras in all new cars. If you have that, you have a display, and then its easy to add other features to it. As a result, the volume and tune knobs seem to be going away, and will be replaced either with a touchpad icon, or controlled by speech recognition as in Siri or Alexa. The dash displays use icons that are similar to those used on cell phones or tablets for the convenience of users.

Vern Wirka noted that audio levels are all over the place on HDA's (home digital assistants). That issue may be solved more quickly with a downloadable app than on the originator end. Wanna work on one? Sam said there was some concern at NAB about broadcasters migrating to ATSC 3.0 in timely fashion, but at present that is being left to market driven forces, since  ATSC 3.0 is not backward compatible. Sam told us that $1 Billion additional funding was made available to broadcasters impacted by the repack, but those must still be applied for prior to given deadlines, and are contingent on mileposts in the conversion process. The repack process is set up in 10 phases, but all of those conclude at July 3, 2020. Nine TV and five FM radio stations are affected in Kansas. KTWU is affected on one translator. NAB is assisting members with "ReScan Day" promos. These are highly individualized, so be sure to share your event day info with NAB in timely fashion if you want help from them with a spot ad. Everyone was encouraged to register their wireless mics, and C-Band receive frequencies with the FCC, or suffer the QRM when G5 cellular gets active. NAB is now providing a few $5K block grant scholarships for TV interns, to encourage broadcast majors (especially IT people) to move into working with stations. At present they are working with OSU, but this may expand to other universities in the future. It was mentioned that salary inequities between broadcast and other industries will have to be reconciled if this is to be successful.

Cyber Security for broadcasters was brought up. NAB is offering educational classes online for employees, administrators, and engineering and IT personnel. Out thanks to Sam Matheny for sharing his time with us. There is so much changing information on digital, TV formats, and broadcast regulation, that the same subjects can be presented annually, and yet the discussion is always different.

Session II at 10:45 AM was given by Leo Cirbo, FCC Electronics Engineer from the Denver Tiger Team. Leo reviewed the FCC restructuring and told us of the duties of the "Tiger Team", which is mainly complaint driven for any action taken. Leo said there is a Tech Team in Atlanta that is in charge of outfitting FCC unmarked vehicles with direction finding antennae hidden in their roofs and other covert technical equipment. Tower marking, lighting, and logging remains an issue for the FCC, although the FAA shares in this to some degree. Occasionally ASR signage gets switched between towers when being updated or when towers are sold to new owners. Station Public Files must now be online as of March 1 of this year. Leo suggests using Google to navigate the FCC website when you are looking for a specific subject, if you are not familiar with the site.. He warned engineers and tower climbers to be aware of changing numbers for allowable radiation, especially when stations are changing frequencies during the repack. EAS weekly sign off and review of logs is another item to keep current.

He discussed the Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS), which is voluntary, but which helps in time of disaster to assess the effectiveness of recovery efficiency. Items such as how many cell sites are out, or when power outages affect information distribution by broadcasters, can help in getting grant money or other recources from FEMA to obtain motor/generators and such for your station. The FCC has DIRS manuals that can help you in this effort.

The afternoon session for engineers was given again by Sam Matheny, who talked on "The Automotive Experience". Sam noted that radios have been in automobiles for 80 years, but their position there is not guaranteed. Broadcasters have long been favored by having a prominent position on the dashboard, but having the old idea of a volume and tune knob, and six or so pushbuttons is going away. Car manufacturers have there own ideas of how news, weather, and entertainment should be delivered, not to mention the ability to update vehicle software via IP rather than having to take the car to a dealer for a flash update. However, opening up the automobile to IP presents its own set of problems, since cyber security must immediately become part of the mix, as autonomous vehicles are considered. No one wants to be liable for not having protection in place to subvert terrorist hackers from using a driverless car as a weapon to achieve their ends.

Our thanks to vendor sponsors, Kent Cornish and KAB for allowing engineers to attend these sessions without charge, and for providing a meeting place for our SBE Chapter meeting.

The combined Monday Management/Engineering Session was well attended. The FCC information update is usually a good combo event, sometimes bolstering a point an engineer has been trying to make unsuccessfully to his GM - sometimes it works the other way around. In either case, keeping up on this subject is a worthwhile endeavor, and one not to be taken lightly. It is not a good idea to inadvertently, or otherwise, draw too much attention of the one who is your regulator.

Kent Cornish, Pres. & Exec.
Director of KAB

I received new credit card for my account with a a major card company as a result of a data breach at a restaurant chain at which we used this card. Once again, I thought of the miniature chip used in the cards. John Langer just sent me an interesting article he saw in Bloomberg News. It told of a chip inserted by a major PC board producer, onto mother boards sent out and used by many computer manufacturers. The result was that this tiny addition to a motherboard lay dormant for a long time, but who would know? It was disguised to look like a capacitor or another line conditioning device. Most of these boards are made in China - indeed, the article was titled "China is Not our friend", and this monopoly has allowed the insertion of a small very innocent looking device to actually change or interrupt normal instructions on startup allowing outside instructions to enter the motherboard, and in fact, to direct the unit to look to specific sites for new instructions. This is a threat that has been sounded in the past, but competition and the scramble for supply of boards with which to meet the ever increasing demand for product, seems to have caused manufacturers to overlook or ignore this, possibility to satisfy demand by consumers. This tiny device, no bigger than the tip of a sharpened #2 pencil, looks innocent enough, but its very size allows it to be almost entirely hidden between layers of the fiberglass PC boards. The implications are mind boggling. Here is a Trojan Horse hidden in plain sight, and just waiting for instructions that could cripple all data transfer in an instant were the command given. True, that likely would be a last resort used only in case of war, but the data furnished of all that goes on in the way of financial transactions, file transfers, military strategy, and millions of conversations being sampled and sent to some entity for analysis and use in daily commerce is unthinkable, yet here is that possibility, if not the actuality. Could it be, that having been so cautious with security detection for our software and downloads, we left a back door unguarded in our hardware and firmware? Better than me telling you, here is the link. Check it our for yourself:


Thanks. John!

Another article in Popular Mechanics Oct. 2018 issue, cautions that start up businesses are ripe targets for business espionage. Many times college dropouts who do have a good idea, but in the rush to get their business up and going, neglect worthwhile cyber and physical security precautions, and pay the price. The hardware glitch John pointed out, could tip business pirates off to start ups that might be easy pickings. One young business CEO had heeded a security suggestion to limit access to certain areas of the plant. One night before going home, he noticed a person sitting alone in the conference room. (He didn't have access to the lab) Asking for whom he was waiting, the guy responded, "the CEO". The CEO called the police! Now, the plant also has 24/7 security patrols in place. 30.

Additional photos displayed in the pdf version of the newsletter!

Newsletter Editor: R.W. Abraham

CPBE / CBNT Regional Engineer Cox Cable Wichita Retired


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