Now this is some serious Satellite Uplink training!

The SBE has partnered with the NAB in offering the long running Satellite Uplink Operators Workshop. This 4 day intensive course, held annually at the NAB headquarters in Washington, DC, provides in-depth information on the theory of satellite communications and all operational aspects of the ground equipment for uplink and downlink facilities. It is applicable to distributing signals for both analog and digital television and radio. Because it is useful for satellite operators to have a basic understanding of all parts of the broadcast system, this seminar provides significant background information on digital television (DTV) and, in particular, high definition television (HDTV), which has increasing importance through all parts of the broadcast television chain, from production to distribution to the home. This workshop takes place September 30-October 3, 2013. Click here for more information.

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EAS violations are happening more than you think. Here are some tips –

As an ABIP inspector, I continually find violations at stations regarding EAS.  What’s puzzling about this is that the rules are straight forward, and the EAS devices do most of the work for you! 

One of the first issues I usually find is with logging.  The device keeps an electronic log, which is all well and good.  But I recommend that station personnel print this log once per week for two reasons.  First, you can sign the paper copy, meaning that you looked at it and paid attention to it.  Second, I, at least, find it easier to print the log and then compare it to a calendar to see if anything is missing for a given week.  If you find, for example, that you did not receive a RWT in a given week from your second monitoring source, you need to find out why (maybe the station made a mistake and did not send a test that week), and you need to log the reason for the missing test.  Printing and signing the log forces you to put it in a folder.  Therefore, appending the log when you find something wrong becomes a simple matter. 

The next thing I find are stations monitoring the wrong monitoring assignments.  Note the word ASSIGNMENTS.  The stations you monitor are assigned, usually by a committee associated with your State Broadcasters Association.  EAS is a daisy chain, with some stations higher in the pecking order and others below them.  If you are monitoring the wrong stations, you may not properly receive crucial data and break the chain.  Check with the Broadcasters Association to find out who you should talk to, and make sure you are monitoring the correct stations.  If you cannot receive one of your assignments, you need to inform the Committee.  They will suggest other stations for you to monitor so the chain isn’t broken.  And if a monitoring assignment needs to be changed, the Committee will send you a note to this effect and inform the FCC of the monitoring change.  If the FCC were to inspect your station, they will look to see what stations you are monitoring.  If they are incorrect, this is a violation and your station may be subject to a fine.

Next, you need to be polling the FEMA CAP server.  I have run into one station where their corporate IT department will not unblock the FEMA CAP server, so they cannot receive it.  This is a violation of the rules.  If their IT people don’t seem to understand the regulation that monitoring the CAP server is a requirement, alternative measures, such as installing a separate DSL service, must be implemented. 

And, of course, you must send a Weekly Test every week – with the following exceptions.  You do not need to send a RWT in a week when a RMT (Required Monthly Test) is run, or if you activated EAS for any reason.   And the RMT must be forwarded within 60 minutes of receiving the test.

Any questions you have can be answered in 73 CFR Part 11 of the FCC rules.  It is available on several online sources and is worth the time to read it.

Tom Ray, CPBE, DRB, AMD 

Tom’s views do not reflect those of the SBE, or its Board of Directors.