Regional National Periodic Test Scheduled for Feb. 24

The first test of the new EAS National Periodic Test (NPT) code will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016. The test is scheduled for 2:20 p.m. Eastern Standard Time/1:20 p.m. Central Standard Time. This test will contain audio, and it will sound very much like a Required Monthly Test. There is no Web portal verification required on this test. Stations are to relay this test just as they would a Required Monthly Test. FEMA is requesting that LP1 and LP2 stations relay the test immediately with no hold time.

The primary purpose of this test is to verify the NPT code is programmed correctly in station equipment. The test does not require the use of the all-zero FIPS code. EAS equipment that has not been upgraded to handle the all-zero FIPS code should have no immediate concern. Because specific states are receiving the test, those state FIPS codes will be transmitted. All stations should, however, verify that their equipment is ready for the all-zero FIPS code. Contact your EAS equipment manufacturer if you are not sure.

The Missouri Broadcasters Association has posted instructions on preparing EAS units for the NPT code.

FEMA presented several webinars on EAS programming and preparation for this test. A list of those presentations and links to some of the archives are at the end of this article.

Test participation is encouraged, but not required for stations in the targeted states and territories. FEMA, working with state broadcast associations, started with a single state, West Virginia, and progressed to a north-south string of states from Michigan to Tennessee. That test was followed by a six-state test in New England, and more recently a group composed of four southwestern states plus two north central states. The next proposed group consists of 22 states from Nebraska to New York to Florida to Texas including all states in between that have not participated in previous testing, plus two territories and the District of Columbia.

IPAWS/ EAS Test States/Territories

Alabama Kansas North Carolina
Arkansas Louisiana Oklahoma
Delaware Maryland Pennsylvania
District of Columbia Mississippi Puerto Rico
Florida Missouri South Carolina
Georgia Nebraska Texas
Illinois New Jersey US Virgin Islands
Indiana New York Virginia
Iowa

FEMA does not propose that the NPT will replace any scheduled RMT or RWT messages. This eliminates FCC Enforcement Bureau action should a volunteer test participant experience a problem relaying the test message. This is an opportunity for EAS participants to observe exactly how their equipment performs prior to mandatory participation in the next national IPAWS/EAS test currently scheduled for early December 2016.

FEMA Webinar Audio Recordings

ISSRT Non-Technical Webinar
Jan. 20, 2016

Technical Webinar I
Jan. 28, 2016

Technical Webinar II
Feb. 3, 2016

Technical Webinar III
Feb. 9, 2016

The Recording of the technical webinar presented in Spanish in cooperation with the Puerto Rico Broadcasters Association on Feb. 10, 2016, is unfortunately not available.

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SBE Webinar: Broadcasters Sharing 2025-2110MHz With the DoD

This webinar aims to foster collaboration between the U.S. Department of Defense and the broadcast community in pursuit of establishing coordination procedures and operational harmony.

Topics:

  • Background on recent rulemakings affecting the regulatory status of the 2025-2110 MHz band and driving the DoD’s sharing with the broadcast community
  • DoD systems that will operate in the 2025-2110MHz band
  • Overview of coordination mechanisms and associated compatibility analysis and testing approaches
  • Framework for collaboration between the DoD, the SBE, and the NAB
  • Ongoing development of a coordination MOU
  • Need for development of database of broadcaster operations, equipment, and agreements
  • Q&A

 

Instructional MethodOnline

Date: Thursday, March 3, 2016 2-3:00 p.m. ET

Overview

SBE Recertification Credit

Registration and Pricing

Questions

Register Now

SBE Nominations Committee Seeks Board Candidates

The annual election of officers and directors to the national SBE Board of Directors will take place this summer. The SBE Nominations Committee is seeking qualified candidates who are voting members (Member, Senior, Fellow or the designated representative of an SBE Sustaining Member) in good standing (dues paid). Candidates must hold an engineering level of SBE certification (CBT or higher or CBNE) and maintain it the entire duration of service on the Board, if elected. Candidates should have a desire to serve and lead, not only as a member of the board, but through service as a national committee chair or member. Members of the Board represent all members, not any one specific region, state, city or chapter. It is suggested that candidates have previous experience as a leader in his or her local chapter, or other volunteer leadership experience, prior to running for the national SBE Board.

Members of the Board are expected to attend two regularly called meetings each year; in the spring, held during the annual NAB Show, and in the fall, at the annual SBE National Meeting. Other meetings may be called via conference call during the year.

The national SBE board includes 12 directors, four officers and the immediate past president. Directors serve two-year terms and officers serve one-year terms. Six director seats will be contested in 2016 as will all four officer positions. The SBE By-laws limits the number of terms of elected members of the Board. Directors may serve three consecutive terms. The secretary and treasurer may serve up to four consecutive terms and the president and vice president may serve up to two consecutive terms. The maximum number of years anyone may serve on the board is ten. The time spent as immediate past president does not count towards the ten-year total.

Members interested in offering their candidacy and serving on the national Board if elected are encouraged to contact the chairman of the SBE Nominations Committee, R.J. Russell, CPBE, at rjrussell@sbe.org or 215-982-5310. A slate of nominees will be assembled by the committee by April 29. Other qualified members may be nominated by members in good standing no later than July 12.

The election takes place from July 25 through Aug. 25. The election is held online, but SBE members can opt-out of electronic voting and have a paper ballot mailed to them. Candidates elected will be installed into office during the SBE National Meeting in Columbus, OH, on Oct. 27 in conjunction with the Ohio Association of Broadcasters Engineering Conference.

2016 SBE Fellow Nominations Now Open

There is still time to recognize a broadcasting peer who has contributed to the success of an SBE chapter or broadcasting. The membership grade of SBE Fellow is the highest in the society, and it honors those who have exhibited a dedication to the advancement of the broadcast engineer, the field of broadcast engineering and the Society of Broadcast Engineers itself. To date, 76 members have been recognized with the honor in the society’s more than 50 years of existence.

To nominate a member, candidates must be proposed in writing by a voting SBE member to the Fellowship Committee. The nomination must include a comprehensive professional history of the nominee and an explanation of why the candidate is deserving of this honor. The nomination must also include the written endorsements of at least five other voting SBE members. Nominations are confidential. No others besides the nominators and the members of the Fellowship Committee should be aware of the nomination. The nominee should not know that he or she has been nominated.

Nominations for 2016 must be received no later than March 11, 2016, for consideration. The Fellowship Committee will bring the names of nominees to the Board of Directors for consideration and election at the April 2016 meeting. The SBE secretary will notify those elected. Awards will be presented at the SBE National Awards Dinner during the 2016 SBE National Meeting to be held in Columbus, OH.

Submit your nominations to: Fellowship Committee Chair Troy Pennington, CSRE, CBNT; 6156 Hampton Hall Way; Hermitage, TN 37076 or to tpennington@sbe.org.

The SBE Ennes Workshop at the 2016 NAB Show

On Saturday, April 16 at 8 a.m. at the Las Vegas Convention Center in room S219, the SBE’s annual Ennes Workshop educational program at the NAB Show takes flight for the 21st time. Attendance requires a full NAB convention registration (available at a discount to SBE members) or either a PBS Techcon or NPR APRE registration and badge.

The Ennes Workshop at the NAB Show has always addressed what broadcast engineers most needed to know to be successful. The presenters are the best teachers, recruited specifically to address the topics at hand. The 2015 Workshop was so popular, an additional room was opened to handle the crowd overflow.

Following is a rundown of the day’s topics and presentations.

Morning

What you need for ATSC 3.0 – What’s different from 1.0
8:00 a.m. – 8:35 a.m.
Introducing the day’s program; a high level view of how an ATSC 3.0 TV station will be different from today’s ATSC 1.0 station and the fundamental architecture of the next generation in broadcasting.
Presenter: Rich Chernock; CSO; Triveni Digital

Immersive & Personalized Audio in ATSC 3.0
8:35 a.m. – 9:10 a.m.
An overview of Audio for ATSC 3.0, describing its immersive and personalizable elements.
Presenter: Skip Pizzi; Senior Director, New Media Technologies; NAB

SBE Executive Director’s Remarks
9:10 a.m. – 9:25 a.m.
Presenter: John Poray, CAE; Executive Director; Society of Broadcast Engineers

ATSC 3.0 PHY – Configurations/Coverage (Putting This Together)
9:25 a.m. – 9:50 a.m.
ATSC 3.0 PHY introduces many new technological features such as two-dimensional non-uniform constellations, improved and ultra-robust LDPCs, a novel frequency pre-distortion MISO antenna scheme and many others. It has extensible signaling to allow technology evolution within the physical layer in the future without breaking previous ATSC 3.0 PHY operation. Furthermore, it provides great flexibility in terms of configuration, and as a consequence the tradeoff of coverage area vs. configuration settings needs to be understood. Use cases of ATSC 3.0 will direct configuration settings to be set for certain expected channel conditions and various examples will show new coverage areas possible with the ATSC 3.0 PHY Layer.
Presenter: Luke Fay; Senior Staff SW Systems Engineer; Sony Electronics, Inc.

Demo: A Practical Complete TV Production System in a Carry-on Bag
9:50 a.m. – 10:10 a.m.
An amazingly complete video production system that not so long ago required a semi-tractor trailer is now a carry-on. We asked Paul, following an article inStreaming Magazine, to come to the NAB Show and demonstrate.
Presenter: Paul Schmutzler; Principal; Braintrust Digital

Signaling and Announcement Metadata – The next PSIP
10:10 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
The ATSC 3.0 standard encompasses a large variety of broadcast technologies beyond the standard linear model provided by the original DTV standard: ATSC 1.0. While broadcasters will be able to deliver much higher quality linear digital television, the new standard also supports non-real-time (NRT) data delivery, an interactive runtime platform, companion screen support, automatic content recognition, personalization, and usage metrics. These new services are delivered using an underlying set of IP protocols over “pipes” within the broadcast frequencies or over broadband forming a hybrid delivery environment. The broadcast “pipes” (PLPs) can simultaneously deliver the broadcast content at different bit rates and robustness. All of this capability must be communicated to receivers in a way that allows efficient selection and decoding. The ATSC 3.0 delivery standard, A/331, includes signaling which prescribes a way to locate and tune to the services currently being broadcast and simultaneously provided over the Internet. The announcement standard, A/332, provides a mechanism to describe the upcoming programming event schedule. These standards encompass the core facilities for transmitting data and metadata that allow receivers to tune to the ATSC 3.0 services, including interactive applications and data, and provide a rich environment for discovery and promotion of upcoming programming. This talk will focus on the details of the signaling and announcement standards specifically the organization of the data structures, their interrelations and how they are expected to be used by receivers. The signaling and announcement data structures can be delivered simultaneously over broadband and broadcast so a description of how this is specified will also be covered. Implementation examples will be shown for how the signaling and announcement information could be used by an interactive receiver environment.
Presenter: Mark Corl; Sr. VP, Emergent Technology Development; Triveni Digital

Advanced Emergency Alerting in ATSC 3.0
10:45 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
As the next generation of digital broadcast television known as ATSC 3.0 develops, one of the key features and application specified in the requirement for the system is Advanced Emergency Alerting (AEA). AEA will provide the public with alerting capabilities that are far beyond the EAS and WEA systems. AEA will not only support and deliver governmental provided alerts, it will allow stations to provide critical supporting information and even originate alerts when the station’s news and weather resources can provide critical and timely information on impending situations that could cost lives. This presentation will look at the system requirements along with the solutions and capabilities that are emerging in the ATSC 3.0 development process. Examples of the alerting content as displayed on receiving devices will be shown as well as a look at the information workflow that will take place within the system and television station.
Presenter: Jay Adrick; Technology Advisor and Consultant; GatesAir

Building Out an ATSC 3.0 SFN
11:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Presenter: Winston Caldwell; VP, Spectrum Engineering, Advanced Engineering; Fox Networks Group

Afternoon

SMPTE Century
1:00 p.m. – 1:20 p.m.
Presenters: Barbara Lange; Executive Director; SMPTE
Peter Symes; Director, Standards and Engineering; SMPTE

IP Content Delivery for IP Broadcasting – STLs for ATSC 3.0
1:55 p.m. – 2:25 p.m.
The ATSC 3.0 transmission system fundamentally is based on the use of Internet Protocol (IP) methods and data structures for delivery of content to consumer receivers. To facilitate that delivery, new infrastructure will be required to support aggregation of the data carrying the content and its transport to one or more transmitters. Most of the new infrastructure itself likely will be based on use of IP techniques. One significant portion of the new infrastructure will be the segment extending from the output of the Transport Layer to the input of the transmitter(s), encompassing formation of ATSC 3.0 Link-layer Protocol (ALP) packets and operation of the Studio-to-Transmitter Link (STL). In designing the new ATSC 3.0 STL system, it was necessary to make provision for Single-Frequency Network (SFN) operation of multiple transmitters and to document provisions for practical transmitter operations in both single-transmitter and SFN configurations. The new ATSC 3.0 IP STL sub-system will be described in its various aspects along with considerations for SFN operation.
Presenter: S. Merrill Weiss; President; Merrill Weiss Group LLC

The State of and the Pieces of UHDTV
2:25 p.m. – 2:55 p.m.
Believe it or not and as painful as the shift to HD appeared, it was a perfect storm where several technologies lined up for program suppliers, new distribution methods and consumers. This specifically being file based workflows, 16×9 aspect ratio, digital distribution, flat screen TVs and surround sound. By contrast, UHD’s improved resolution does not present the same kind of visual improvement for consumers with sub 55-inch screens at normal viewing distances. Consumers generally consider more pixels as an upsell feature only. The real UHD benefits of high dynamic range, wider color gamut and higher framerates allow the industry to break free of many of the legacy parameters designed initially for tube displays at the expense of compatibility. This makes UHD a real game changer that will likely be more disruptive than the switch to HD. This session will put all the UHDTV issues on the table to help inform your direction as ATSC 3.0 makes UHDTV a reality.
Presenter: Stan Moote; Advisory CTO; IABM

Cellphone 101 for Broadcasters
2:55 p.m. – 3:25 p.m.
A smart phone is a very capable RF platform that can be configured not only for data and phone calls, but in some cases FM radio and UHF television. Most of what a smart phone is, is software defined and limited by the hardware. There is also a carrier component. What your carrier will support and allow is a big part of what your cell phone can do. ATSC 3.0 supports mobile viewing either via the over-the-air transmission path or through a WiFi gateway. Knowing the basics of how your cell phone works will help you understand what is possible and practical.
Presenter: G. Kent Walker; Vice President of Technology; Qualcomm

Digitizing Terrestrial Radio
3:25 p.m. – 3:55 p.m.
There is much debate in the broadcast industry on the future of terrestrial radio transmission. AM service is widely recognized to be struggling and some countries are working on replacing FM with DAB transmission in band III. While HD Radio deployment combined with the FM service is gaining momentum there are no concrete plans for full digitization of the FM band. No matter the technology, while operating in an analog/digital simulcast environment the broadcaster bears the highest transmission cost. This session will show that only when the end goal of pure digital transmission is reached can we achieve lowest transmission costs and best spectral efficiency. Now imagine turning 30 analog FM stations to 300 digital HD Radio stations within the existing FM band. Extending the FM band to include TV channel 5 and 6 can provide yet another 200 audio services; plenty of capacity to revitalize the AM service with shared translators on a digital carrier. Today, many radio receivers can tune to the top end of TV channel 6 and many chipsets have support for the entire extended FM band. With digital HD Radio transmission it is also possible to provide ancillary audio service to a TV station with minimal impact to the ATSC signal. A single transmitter can broadcast 15 or more audio services along with data services; ideal for cultural and ethnically diverse content in urban markets or more audio services in rural markets. What about crowd sourcing 15 different music genres and making radio an interactive experience? With increased data capacity can we carry TV based immersive audio over to radio? Is it time to make surround sound work in cars? Artist experience and traffic services are already well established. Let’s build out graphical data services over HD Radio. What about graphical sport updates and adverts? What about advertising campaigns delivering coupons to listeners via QR codes captured on a smartphone? What about periodic traffic camera updates in your car? This session will paint a vision of a true multimedia radio experience that is only achievable once we embrace all digital terrestrial radio broadcasting. The best part is that this future is available now as we can demonstrate this system working with over 30 million HD Radio receivers in the field and shipping now in most automobile models.
Presenter: Philipp Schmid; Research Engineer; Nautel Limited

Where the Rubber meets the Cloud – Implementing Television in a Datacenter IP
3:55 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Television Networks from ABC to XYZ are experimenting (or more) with IT-based Channel Origination, including Live Integration, in all-IP datacenter environments. These environments include local and hosted “cloud” technologies and practices, a long way from green tweakers and black burst. This talk explores the early lessons and design approaches of several early adopters of these data-centric television technologies.
Presenter: John Mailhot; Manager; Imagine Communications

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for News Gathering
4:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Many broadcast and media organizations are pursuing commercial operation approval by the FAA of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for news gathering. Navigating the training, procedures and proper application with the FAA for waiver under Section 333 can be very involved. The disciplines are similar in scope to other regulations and safety procedures with TV helicopter operations; however, these aircraft are unmanned. This session will give an overview of how to get involved with an FAA Designated UAS Test Site, assigning a designated UAS Operations Manager, implementing a UAS flight program, training Pilots and Visual Observers. The current status of FAA requirements for UAS Pilot certification will be reviewed. “Safety First” is the goal and initiating flight procedures with your Risk Management teams is imperative.
Presenter: Doug Houston; Director of Engineering; WCPO-TV

Nominations Open for 2016 SBE Awards

Do you know an SBE member or chapter that you believe goes above and beyond the call of duty in his or her job, the broadcasting industry or to the SBE? Often these efforts go unrecognized. Don’t let that happen this year. Nominate a deserving individual or SBE chapter for a National SBE Award.

At the end of 2015 the SBE Board of Directors approved some changes and additions to the SBE Awards program to reflect the changes in the industry and to find ways to better recognize you, our members. New for 2016 are two new awards: Facility Innovation of the Year and the Freedom Award. The Facility Innovation of the Year award will recognize a member who has incorporated an innovative idea through technology and/or new media that results in improved facility or operational management. The Freedom Award will recognize an individual or group who has performed extraordinary service to the U.S. through the use of media technology. Candidates will have applied the principles of the SBE in a position that supports our U.S. Armed Forces broadcast initiatives through actions overseas or domestically.

Two other new award categories combine some previous categories to reflect the ongoing changes in broadcast and multimedia technology engineering. Best Chapter or Regional Educational Event takes the place of the Best Regional Convention or Conference Award. This award has expanded to also include chapter-sponsored seminars, Ennes Workshops and other events that chapters promote and produce that have an educational objective. Best Chapter Communication award combines the Best Chapter Website, Best Social Media Site and Best Chapter Newsletter awards.

Two award categories have been retired: Most Interactive Chapter and Best Frequency Coordination Effort. The remaining awards are the same: Chapter Engineer of the Year, Best Technical Article, Book or Program by an SBE Member and the Technology Award. Additionally, the top two awards presented each year are the Robert W. Flanders SBE Engineer of the Year and James C. Wulliman SBE Educator of the Year.

To nominate a worthy individual or chapter, go to the SBE website to download and submit the nomination form. Nominations are due by June 15, 2016. Winners will be notified in July and the awards will be presented during the national meeting on Oct. 27.
All the national awards were created to recognize the efforts of members and chapters. For more information contact Megan Clappe at mclappe@sbe.org, 317-846-9000 or go to sbe.org/awards.