San Francisco
Roy Trumbull - Editor
Bill Dempster - Artist
Advertisers for this month's newsletter are:

Santucci Video Systems - Sandra Santucci - (818) 704-6324
Belden - Steve Lampen - (415) 440-8393
Media Technical Consulting - Paul T. Black - (925) 827-9511
MARCOM - Martin Jackson - (408) 768-8668
William F. Ruck, Jr. Broadcast Engineer - (415) 564-1450
Ross Marketing Associates - Kevin Frost - (408) 988-8111
Kathrein (Scala Division) - Michael Wm. Bach - (541) 779-6500
Hammett & Edison, Inc. - Dane E. Ericksen, P.E. - (707) 996-5200
Howell Communications - Mike Howell - (559) 674-8989
Econco - George Badger - 650-327-7599
Improbable Missions Fource - Mike Schweizer - (888) 4-ISDN4U
Digi-Gear / Cancomm - Eric Lane - (818) 980-9188
West Penn Wire/CDT - Michael J. La Porte - (650) 652-9080
Microwave Radio Communications - Clark Rhoads - (909) 246-1602

Babes/SBE Luncheon on Wednesday November 26th

This month our speaker will be Steve Lampen of Belden whose topic will be "The History of 50 Ohm Coax". Steve will also tackle the question, "Why 50 ohms?" Steve is a longtime BABES member and a published author who has written such books as:

All kidding aside, Steve knows his wire and cable and has given a number of fascinating talks that delve into the little known history of this vital technology.

This is our last meeting of the year. There is no meeting in December.

As usual, our luncheon will be at Sinbad's just south of the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero near the foot of Mission St. We meet at 11:30 and are seated at 12:30. To make reservations call Paul Black at 925-827-9511 and leave a message on his machine.

Don't Forget The Come-Along

Several months ago I speculated about the reason towers had failed while being upgraded for HDTV so I was gratified to find that OSHA had determined the cause was what I thought it was. In replacing horizontal and diagonal members the towers had become dangerously stressed leading to failure and collapse. While the structural engineer, who designed the upgrade, said, "Replace this with that." , he didn't specify how the work was to be accomplished because then he would be leaving himself open for liability.

It seems odd that with our Judeo-Christian legal tradition that in recent years the sins of omission have fallen on hard times. It this case the lives of workers were forfeit for lack of a few words of advice.

In most of the situations where a tower member was replaced the remedial step needed for safety while one part was removed and another installed was simply the use of a "come-along" to substitute for the part.

Being an old geek, I remember the first name for the "come-along", it was once called a "coffin-hoist".

DVD & Hard Drive

It has been my observation for years that virtually nothing is developed for broadcast or professional use that doesn't have some consumer product fallout. So it was with some interest that I noted a new product reviewed in the Circuits Section of the New York Times. It was a DVD recorder housed in the same chassis with a digital hard drive style recorder. Three manufacturers will have product out there this holiday season. One of them contains TIVO software.

As I look at my tired DVC-Pro decks that are approaching 15,000 hours of use, I wonder how long tape will be with us? We've been dumping everything into hard drives to edit for quite some time now. Cameras have been demonstrated with dockable hard drives as have cameras with DVD recorders.

It is a real challenge to bring a tape transport back to original specs when it has been used for 3 or 4 years. It's not just that parts wear out it's that those parts were cherry picked at the factory to make the machine meet spec.. Just putting any old replacement part in won't accomplish the same thing and the manufacturer won't facilitate the process. If anything, the replacement parts are jacked up in price year after year so that your only choice is to buy new equipment because the old is too expensive to maintain.

If I can buy a recorder that doesn't have media grinding against heads and guides, that doesn't hang loading and unloading, and that permits rapid access without spooling and spooling, why shouldn't I make the move?

The adoption rate will tell the story. No one had to draw diagrams in the sand to explain the virtues of using a server for spots and programming. Everyone got it really fast. I think the hard drive DVD combination will go the same way.

Roy Trumbull