Weekly Tech Reminders: Satellites, EAS, Gain Structure and More - Radio Magazine

Weekly Tech Reminders: Satellites, EAS, Gain Structure and 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.

REGISTERING C-BAND SATELLITE DOWNLINKS

The Federal Communications Commission is working towards making 3.7 GHz to 4.2 GHz mid-band frequencies - spectrum that is coveted by U.S. mobile operators - available for 5G.

This frequency spectrum is the C-Band service used by most major networks and programmers to deliver content to radio and television stations 

Michael Ha, deputy chief of technology at the FCC said he expects the Commission to issue a notice of proposed rule-making (NPRM) "by summer," which will then be followed by a public comment period. 

All broadcast stations (radio and television) that presently utilize C-band satellite for program reception are encouraged to register their downlink site with the FCC. The deadline to register is July 18.

Listed here are detailed instructions, provided by space providers SES and Linkup Satellite, that you can follow to complete registration.

These steps are in response to the recent FCC ruling which determined all C-band downlink Earth stations across the US must be registered with the FCC no later than July 18, 2018. There is a $435 registration fee per C-band downlink. (However, if you are a Non-Commercial Educational (NCE) and your FRN indicates this designation, the $435 registration fee should be waived.)

EAS NOTES 

A reminder that when setting incoming alert filters in your EAS decoders, always set the area to "local area". Local area tab is where the counties in the station service area are selected.

This helps filter alerts that are not for your service area. If you select "all of State" then some alerts not for your area could trigger a outgoing message relay.

JOB OPENING AT MOODY BROADCASTING 

Moody Radio currently has an immediate opening for a chief engineer to care for their West Coast of Florida radio group, full time.

Contact Mark Williames Director of Engineering P: (312) 329-4303.

IMPORTANCE OF GAIN STRUCTURE 

Gain Structure is a term mostly used by professional sound engineers or FOH (front of house) mix engineers. However it should be something the broadcast engineer take note of as well, even in digital operations.

Gain structure is exploiting the dynamic range of audio equipment to its best advantage, to minimize noise and unwanted distortion.

We need to ensure that the gain in each stage of electronic processing within a signal path is optimized to keep the signal level well above the noise floor, but comfortably below the circuitry's clipping point.

Optimizing gain structure where several pieces of gear are connected together is even more demanding, as we need to ensure that every circuit is running at its optimum signal level, while still leaving the appropriate safety margin.

We have mentioned this in previous articles, but it's worth repeating. Start with drawing a signal flow chart for your station; include every device the signal goes through from the console to the transmitter. Next refer to the specification sheet for each device and write down the "clip level" for each one. The lowest clip level for a device in the path becomes your maximum "plant clip level". If the maximum plant clip level is +24 dBm then deduct 12 dB for head room. Your operational clip level will be +12 dBm. 

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