Weekly Tech Reminders: Translators, C-Band & More

An excerpt from this week’s Monday Morning Coffee and Technical Notes
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The following is excerpted from the Alabama Broadcasters Association's weekly e-newsletter, Monday Morning Coffee and Technical Notes. Thanks to Larry Wilkins, who puts together the content and has shared it with Radio magazine readers. To subscribe to the newsletter, send an email to lwilkins@al-ba.com, and he will add you to the database.


Because of the explosion of translators in the country, we want to update owners and operators of special FCC rules dealing with translator operations. 

The "Associated Facility" listed on your translator license should be the station that is being re-broadcast, which is not necessarily the licensee of the translator.

With regard to the AM translators recently approved, the licensee of both the translator and the "Associated Facility" should be the same. That is not necessarily the case with older translators.   

The most recent translators for AM stations cannot change the "Associated Station;" it is part of the conditions on the permit.

If the "Associated Station" listed on the translator license is not the same as what is actually being broadcast (and the translator does NOT have the AM broadcast condition) the translator owner needs to file with the FCC requesting approval of the change of station (a simple letter notification is sufficient, but should include demonstration that the translator remains in compliance with the coverage rules — a map is usually used).

Thanks to Stu Graham with GrahamBrock Engineering. He can be reached at rsg@grahambrock.com


The SBE has recommended to the FCC that the U.S. adopt the European allocation plan, put the commercial broadband providers in the 3.4-3.7 GHz band and use the small overlap segment with C-band for local, private 5G networks critical for next-generation manufacturing and industrial applications. 

That is actually workable with C-band in the 100 MHz overlap segment. It leaves the vast majority of the spectrum, 3.8-4.2 GHz, intact with no 5G, the society said. In contrast to other proposals, SBE says nothing is lost for current C-band users with the SBE plan. 5G moves into military radar spectrum, which was already designated years ago for broadband reallocation as part of the National Broadband Plan.


Daylight Savings time ended for most of the states Sunday November 4th at 2:00 AM local time. Engineers should take time to check all their remote-control units that issue commands for power or pattern changes to make sure they are on the correct time.

Sometimes this gets a little confusing, the actual AM license list local sunrise and sunset times in non-advanced time. The FCC has a handy online calculator to help you determine the local sunrise and sunset time for your location.

Any unauthorized departure from an operating schedule will be considered as a violation of the terms of the license. It is the responsibility of the licensee to maintain calibrated time keeping devices, power switching devices and other equipment necessary for the timely change in power to occur as authorized. The Commission requires all stations that are required to make power or pattern changes to have a procedure to verify that it does switch each day.


NMOS (Networked Media Open Specifications) describes how devices can register with a shared registry and how they can query the registry for information about other devices. It supports both central registries and peer-to-peer discovery to allow for smaller setups. Sending and receiving devices register their capabilities and sending devices such as cameras or encoders register the available flows so that receivers can pick them up. 

As an example, consider an IP-enabled camera. Associated with it, there will probably be a Node, a Device, a video Sender, an audio Sender (if it has microphones), and maybe a data Sender (e.g. for position data), and perhaps Receivers for reverse video, intercom and control data.

NMOS uses the term Flow for a sequence of video, audio, or time-related data, which can flow from a Sender to a Receiver or Receivers. A Flow is treated as a resource and has a unique ID.


The ABA Engineering Academy is busy working on the schedule for Engineering Classes and Seminars during 2019. We are excited to announced that the "Continuing Educational Series" of articles will start back up in January. Each month we will offer an paper covering various technical items for broadcast and sound engineers. These will be created with the aid of professional engineers around the globe. Let us know if you have a special subject you wish to have the Academy to cover in the series. Previous articles are available here. 

Also, we are working with the IEEE BTS to host a special ATSC 3.0 seminar presented by Gary Sgrignoli. Dates for all the activities will be posted in this newsletter soon.

Our popular "Art of Mixing Live Audio" seminars will be offered again in 2019. If you have a church that would be interested in hosting one of these one-day seminars have them contact us. It is a great training tool for church sound crews and broadcast engineers as well.