MARCH 1996


Roy Trumbull - Editor

Bill Dempster - Artist


That's right, we'll have our regular luncheon meeting plus an evening meeting both on the 27th.

Our luncheon meeting will feature Sean Bowers of Virtex Communications. He will discuss Musicam USA's involvement in the USA Digital Radio ("USA DR") system for Digital Audio Broadcast; the joint venture between Virtex and Infinity called Musicam Express providing 3500 radio stations with a store and forward music system. Also the Virtex "Field Fone" analog phone line codec and their "Prima" ISDN codec.

As usual our luncheon will be at Sinbads. Sinbad's is just south of the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero near the foot of Mission Street. Please RSVP to Karen Prasek at Zack's: 408-324-0551 x126 as we've been running out of tables and chairs. We meet at 11:30 and are seated at 12:30.

Our evening meeting will take place at 7PM at KTVU in Oakland. Robert Davis of Harris Corp. will provide an HDTV/ATV primer, "Key Characteristics of the HDTV Signal." The presentation will address Digital ATV signal components, ATV formats, time and frequency domain analysis, transmitter requirements, performance characteristics, test signals ("eye" and "constellation" patterns), and highlights of the FCC Advisory Committee on Advanced Television Systems (ACATS) final report and implementation schedule.

[Gee...Maybe he knows how many dB you have to be over the carrier to noise cutoff point to be received 99% of the time per year at 50 miles. So far no one has had an answer to that one. - ED]

KTVU is just south of Jack London Square in Oakland. From I980/880 South take the Jackson Street exit, which will put you onto 5th Street going south. Continue past Jackson Street. Turn right onto Oak St., then right onto Embarcadero St. From I880 North take the Oak St. exit, turning left onto Oak when you exit the freeway. Then turn right onto Embarcadero. KTVU will be on your left. Turn into their parking lot.


An organizing meeting for EAS planning was held on Mar. 8th and sponsored by State OES and the FCC. It basically spelled out the planning steps which need to take place at the LECC (Local Emergency Communications Committee) level. Attendance was kept small but none-the-less overflowed the allotted conference room. Participants came from several regions plus the cable community.

Only the National Weather Service plans to equip its weather radio sites with EAS equipment. No state or federal money has been allocated to cities or counties for EAS equipment. And they are under no requirement to supply it themselves. The only ready portal by which communities could have access if they had the equipment is CLERS (California Law Enforcement Radio System) but it may not survive the budget ax.

We are faced with choosing a LP1 and LP2 (local primary) station. Obviously LP1 will be KCBS. Then we will monitor a NWS frequency (162.4 or 162.55) plus a CLERS frequency. But all this has to be written up in a Communications Operations Order (COO) and approved by State OES and the FCC.

The other required COOs are:

Once the LECC has created all 8 COOs, they are to be forwarded to State OES who will check them and, if proper, pass them along to the FCC for approval.

My feeling is that more breath will be wasted on the coordinated monthly test than on anything else so we should dispose of that COO first.

It is desirable to pick times that are on the hour or half hour and which correspond to natural breaks in programs. There is still the question of religious programs, live speeches, and symphony broadcasts to consider. I'm of the opinion that 5:45AM and 2:45PM are advantageous in that neither infringes radio drive time nor peak TV advertising periods.

The EAS Rules are contained in Part 11. The cable portion is still being modified.

It was pointed out at the meeting that most cable head-ends are unmanned. In the event of an EAS alert it would be much easier if they could just post visual and aural messages on the non-local channels saying to tune to the local channels. It remains to be seen if that will be possible. The current rules state:

"... provide a video interruption and an audio EAS message on all channels. The audio message must state which channel is carrying the visual EAS message."

There is other language involving cable that is unclear or conflicting in nature and it is hoped that the revised text will be more instructive than the present text.


Whereas this typeface is ambiguous, I'll mention that the letters in the address are LNS since you can't tell a 1 from a lower case l.

The address is:


The annual RTNDA convention will be held in Concord this year. You need not be a member of RTNDA to attend. For further information write to Nor-Cal RTNDA, 4317 Camden Av, San Mateo, CA 94403 or FAX to 415-341-9979. You may email to

Fred Graham of Court TV will speak on Saturday.