Radio Currents Online - Jun 01 - Jun 13, 2004
Jun 1, 2004 10:10 AM
Radio technology news updated as it happens.
College Physicist Invents New Antenna Technology
Kingston, RI - Jun 2, 2004 - Rob Vincent, an employee in the University of Rhode Island's Physics Department, has invented an antenna that he calls a distributed-load, monopole (DLM) antenna. He claims that the designs are smaller than comparable radiators, yield higher efficiency and retain good to excellent bandwidth.
Using conventional components, the four-part antenna design cancels out normal inductive loading, thereby linearizing the energy radiation along its mast and enabling the smaller size. EE Times quotes Vincent as saying, "With my technique, I reduce the inductive loading that is normally required to resonate the antenna by as much as 75 percent�by utilizing the distributed capacitance around the antenna.
"A helix antenna is normally known to be a core radiator, because the current profile drops off rapidly; they are just an inductor, and inductance does not like to see changes in current, so it's going to buck that. What I found was that for any smaller antenna, if you place a load coil in the middle you can normalize and make the current through the helix unity; that is, you can maximize it and linearize it."
Vincent credits his success with a new way of developing a helix for high frequencies that is a fully planar design, resulting in a two-dimensional helix.
"The Holy Grail of antenna technology is to create a small antenna with high efficiency and wide bandwidth," explains Vincent. "According to current theory, you have to give up one of the three - size, efficiency, or bandwidth - to achieve the other two."
His work to develop the antenna began by designing an antenna for use at 21MHz. His antenna was 18 inches tall, compared to the traditional design that is 12 to 24 feet tall. He tested this antenna from his home by communicating with stations in Chile and Europe at a transmitter power of 10W.
Vincent states that further tests confirmed that he has created antennas at one-third to one-ninth of their full-size counterparts. Normally smaller antennas are only 8 to 15 percent efficient. Vincent's antennas achieved 80 to 100 percent efficiency as compared to the larger antennas.
A patent is pending on Vincent's technology. The inventor has made the University of Rhode Island and its Physics Department partners that will benefit from any revenue his invention earns.
FCC Freezes FM Minor Change Apps
Washington - Jun 7, 2004 - The Media Bureau of the FCC announced that it will not accept applications for construction permits for minor changes in authorized commercial and noncommercial educational FM facilities during the Auction No. 37 Form 175 application filing window. The Media Bureau also announced a freeze on the filing of petitions to amend the FM Table of Allotments and counterproposals that propose a change in channel, class or reference coordinates for any of the 290 vacant non-reserved band FM allotments scheduled for Auction No. 37. These allotments are listed in Attachment A of the 2004 Auction No. 37 Comment Public Notice. The temporary freezes are designed to avoid conflicts between the frozen filings and auction proposals, and promote a more certain and speedy auction process.
Auction No. 37 is scheduled to begin on Nov. 3, 2004. Through competitive bidding procedures, 290 vacant non-reserved band allotments in the FM broadcast service will be offered. FM minor change applications, which can now be filed on a first-come first-served basis, must protect the reference coordinates of each of these allotments.
FCC Schedules Town Hall Meeting in Portland
Washington - Jun 3, 2004 - The City Club of Portland, OR, will host a town hall meeting to explore the connection between media and the local community on June 24 at the Oregon Convention Center. FCC Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein are slated to appear on a panel of public interest advocates and broadcasters to discuss recent FCC rulings and future legislation.
In the FCC action from June 2003, the FCC voted 3-2 to relax the media ownership rules. Copps and Adelstein were the two dissenting voices in the vote. Following the decision, FCC Chairman Michael Powell called for a series of six localism hearings to discuss how local broadcasters were serving their communities. Three meetings have already been held: Charlotte, NC; San Antonio, TX; and Rapid City, SD. Future meetings are slated for Albuquerque, NM, Detroit and Miami.
McCain and Leahy Introduce LPFM Bill
Washington � Jun 4, 2004 - On June 4, Commerce Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) introduced legislation � co-sponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) - that could allow the licensing and construction of thousands of low-power FM (LPFM) radio stations. The bill is currently called the The Low Power Radio Act Of 2004.
In a published statement, McCain said that the bill will allow the FCC to "license low-power FM stations on third-adjacent channels to full power stations without limitations, eliminating the requirement that the FCC perform further testing on the economic impact of low-power FM radio. Additionally, the bill seeks to protect stations that provide radio reading services, which some have suggested are more susceptible to interference than other stations because they are carried on a subcarrier frequency."
McCain's statement continued with claims that the bill will "right a serious wrong" that was created when Congress delayed the full implementation of LPFM because of "broadcasters' grossly exaggerated claims of interference." McCain claims that "Broadcasters masqueraded their true concerns about competition from a real local radio broadcaster in thinly veiled claims of interference."
McCain cited the recent MITRE report that found the interference claims to be untrue. The MITRE has been heavily debated since its release. Opponents of the report state that it stopped short of its intended goal and proves nothing. The report cost the FCC more than $2 million.
FCC Chairman Michael Powell has expressed support for an expanded LPFM service.
If the bill passes, it is possible the thousands of new LPFM stations could be licensed.
Read McCain's statement at this link: www.prometheusradio.org/mccain_floor_statement_lpfm.doc.
Read the bill at this link: www.prometheusradio.org/expand_lpfm_mccain_bill.pdf.
WAMU Dedicates Digital Radio Broadcast Signal
Washington - Jun 4 - WAMU 88.5 FM, American University Radio, is conducting the first live broadcasts of its second digital audio channel. FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein will officially dedicate the station's digital broadcast signal on June 8 at 9:00 a.m.
Under a six-month experimental authorization from the FCC, WAMU will evaluate the performance of its digital channels at several data rates. This test program is supported by National Public Radio (NPR), Kenwood and Harris.
"A supplementary channel would allow WAMU to air more of the quality public radio programming now available," said Programming Director Mark McDonald. "It will also give us the capacity to experiment with new, innovative programming before introducing it to our main channel."
Libin Appointed Frequency Coordinator for 2004 Political Conventions
Washington - May 26, 2004 - At the request of the Frequency Coordinating Committee for the 2004 Political Conventions (POLCOMM2004), the FCC has designated POLCOMM2004's chairman, Louis Libin, as the single point of contact for coordinating operations. The 2004 political conventions will be held in Boston from July 26 through July 29, 2004, and in New York City from Aug. 30 through Sept. 2, 2004.
The designation will allow for advance coordination of auxiliary broadcast frequency usage in the designated area, defined as a circle drawn around the Boston Fleet Center and around New York City's Madison Square Garden with a 100km radius for terrestrial stations and a 150km radius for any mobile operations aboard aircraft. All Part 74, 78 and 101 licensees sharing spectrum available under Part 74 of the Commission''s rules and operating in the designated areas are covered by this action.
All short-term auxiliary broadcast use under Part 74, without exception, shall be coordinated in advance through the POLCOMM2004 coordinator, Louis Libin. The frequency coordination forms are available through POLCOMM2004's website at www.polcomm2004.org.
POLCOMM2004 has also requested that the Commission grant a waiver of the mileage separation requirement (Section 74.802 of the rules) to permit the use of low-power auxiliary stations, not to exceed 2W of power, on channels allocated for TV broadcasting where the nearest operating station is located at least 40km from the Fleet Center and Madison Square Garden venues. According to POLCOMM2004, these low-power stations will be operated only inside the venues and the majority of the facilities will not exceed 200mW. The FCC granted the request, which takes effect from May 26, 2004, until Aug. 1, 2004, in Boston and until Sept. 4, 2004, in New York City.
Clear Channel Settles Indecency Claims
San Antonio, TX - Jun 9, 2004 - Clear Channel Communications has reached an agreement with the FCC that satisfies all outstanding fines and complaints relating to broadcasts of allegedly indecent material on its radio stations. Under the agreement, Clear Channel will make a voluntary contribution of $1.75 million to the U.S. Treasury and the FCC will vacate existing fines and terminate current investigations and complaints against Clear Channel. In addition to the one-time payment, Clear Channel agreed to enforce its Responsible Broadcasting Initiative for at least three years, and establish a strong disciplinary plan for any employee who violates Commission rules in the future.
"It was a tough negotiation, but a fair resolution," said Andrew Levin, executive vice president and chief legal officer. "We didn't agree that all the complaints were legally indecent, but some clearly crossed the line and for those we have taken full responsibility. No broadcaster has taken stronger steps to ensure its broadcasts comply with the law and we intend to keep it that way."
In February, Clear Channel announced a Responsible Broadcasting Initiative that includes policies and procedures to ensure broadcasts do not violate indecency laws. Training for all radio programming personnel and on-air talent is underway.
Levin reiterated the company's call for the government to establish standards that would apply fairly and evenly across all media platforms. He stated that cable and satellite networks should be treated no differently from broadcasters.
Musicpoint Online Service Launches in UK
New York - Jun 7, 2004 - Musicpoint has begun distributing new music provided by major record labels to radio stations in the UK. The service was first launched in Australia 18 months ago. Since then, the system has been updated and revised to fit the needs of its users.
BMG, EMI, Universal, Warner Music and independent labels have already used Musicpoint in Australia to promote nearly 1,500 songs, with total deliveries now approaching 50,000. As the service is launched in the UK, these labels are adding music and data. Stations can hear songs, transfer them directly to their playout system and get new music on the air immediately.
Musicpoint integrates with RCS' Selector music scheduling software. The Musicpoint website can be entered from within the Selector program. Likewise, each song on the Musicpoint site displays an "add to Selector" icon that creates a new Selector song card and automatically populates it with title, artist, CD name, runtime and other coding data. RCS is one of the partners in the Musicpoint venture.
The Beasley Atlanta stations - WGOR, WGUS, WKXC, WRDW and WSLT - have purchased four Logitek Audio Engines, seven Remora-10 consoles and a Vmix virtual console.
Logitek has sold a large system consisting of 26 Audio Engines, 30 Remora and Numix consoles, several hundred audio cards and router control panels, and accessory items to a systems integrator in the Washington, DC area. The equipment will be installed in New York City for a prominent news provider. Per the sales agreement, the names of the integrator and news provider can not be released at this time.
Wheatstone has sold several console router systems. Clear Channel Communications has chosen the Wheatstone Generation 4, Generation 3 and Bridge Router System to upgrade its facilities in Rochester, NY. Audioarts D-16 consoles will also be used. The stations in the facility are WHAM, WHTK, WVOR, WNVE and WKGS. The studios will also use Wheatstone Tech Series furniture. Delivery is slated for August this year.
ABC Radio Networks has also chosen the Wheatstone Generation 4/Bridge Router System to upgrade its studios in New York City and Washington, DC. Two studios in New York and three studios in Washington will also use Wheatstone studio furniture.
Dixon joins Pristine Systems