Weekly Tech Reminders: Firmware Update, ABIP Seminar, C-Band & More

An excerpt from this week’s Monday Morning Coffee and Technical Notes
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The following is from the Alabama Broadcasters Association’s weekly e-newsletter, Monday Morning Coffee and Technical Notes. Thanks to ABA’s Larry Wilkins. To subscribe to the newsletter, email lwilkins@al-ba.com.


As a quick reminder yesterday, June 24 was the date FEMA was upgrading their CAP Security Certificate. All EAS participants were required to upload new software to their EAS equipment by that date to remain in compliance with FCC Rules and Regulations. Stations that do not update their EAS equipment may not be able to receive required tests and/or alerts from the IPAWS server after that date.

Sage units: www.sagealertingsystems.com

DasDec units: www.digitalalertsystems.com/resources_fsb.html


The ABA Engineering Academy will host a special two-day training seminar for ABIP inspectors, those who are interested in working in this area and any engineer that would like to understand how these Alternative Inspections are conducted. It will offer some valuable information to aid you in maintaining your operation in complete compliance with current FCC rules and regulation.

We will offer both class room instruction and conduct mock inspections at area radio and television stations.

The training seminar will be held July 17-8 at the ABA Training Center in Hoover, Ala. You can register online by going to www.al-ba.com and clicking on the Engineering tab. There is no charge for the seminar. Sign up today!


The FCC has announced a 90-day extension of the filing window to file applications for C-band receive only earth stations. The window now closes on Oct. 17. The original deadline was July 18.

The FCC also addressed some of the concerns raised about the financial burden relating to registration of operators with multiple dishes. Operators with multiple receive only dishes at the same geographic location can apply to register the antennas under a single earth station application, with only a single $435 FCC application filing fee.

Broadcasters today rely on the C-band because content providers, like networks, use the C-band to distribute content to broadcast radio and television stations via satellite. The C-band is well suited for this purpose because it is reliable, affordable and provides ubiquitous coverage. However, there is enormous momentum at the FCC to allow expanded use of the C-band, particularly for mobile use.

Registering your C-band downlinks will help ensure that the FCC understands how important the C-band is to content distribution and how important it will be to protect and accommodate existing uses.

While we know that there is a filling fee of $435, we feel it is very important to register these earth stations during this window to ensure that the FCC has a more accurate picture of C-band use and to help ensure that broadcast users get as much protection or accommodation as possible following the reallocation of some part of the band - so we are encouraging broadcasters to make sure their earth stations are registered.

If our efforts fail to sway the adoption of expanded use of the C-band spectrum, your station could lose its ability to receive programming that you are currently receiving via satellite.

You may register using FCC Form 312 online at http://licensing.fcc.gov/myibfs.

If you have any questions regarding the filing window or registration of C-Band receive only earth stations, please contact Larry Wilkins or Scott Johnson.


The FCC's power level increase approvals over the years (-20 dB to -14 dB, and subsequently, -10 dB) have magnified the need to effectively measure HD Radio power levels for compliance. The FCC mandates a defined ratio between analog FM signal power and HD Radio carrier sidebands.

Spectrum analyzers have traditionally been used for power ratio measurements, which communicate the power vs. frequency relationship of hybrid RF signals. In addition, the FCC and NRSC have specified an RF frequency mask for RF emission compliance.

Sometimes, when HD Radio sideband power elevates interference to unacceptable levels, the RF mask needs to be adjusted based on the different upper and lower sideband power. This encompasses asymmetrical distribution. For example, the upper side band may be at maximum power while the lower sideband may be at a reduced power. This would result in an RF mask limit of -30 dB on the upper sideband and -34.0 dB on the lower sideband, with a -4 dB reduction.

Because of the many possibilities of how carriers can now broadcast, it is more important than ever to better define measurement strategies to verify that levels are correct and unchanging. The approach to accurate measurements will be somewhat different depending on how your signals combine in the RF system.