NASB NEWSLETTER             www.shortwave.org

 

May 2009

         

IN THIS ISSUE:         

NASB/DRM USA Annual Meetings

News from  NASB  Membership

DRM  Consortium News

Miscellaneous Shortwave News

 

 

NASB/DRM USA  ANNUAL MEETINGS

 

NASB/DRM USA ANNUAL MEETING REPORT

by David Creel, Far East Broadcasting Company

 

DRM USA ANNUAL MEETING – MAY 7

 

John Stanley reported on the conversion of three Continental transmitters on Saipan to DRM.   They used an exciter designed and built by HCJB with help from Tim Mason.  They had to make numerous adjustments in order for everything to work properly.  After making these adjustments, they were able to achieve a signal to noise ratio of 40 dB.  They moved the screen power supplies out of unit 2 (utility cabinet) into unit 4 (the power enclosure) as recommended by Continental Electronics.  All three screen supplies were moved, but only 2 transmitters were completely modified to operate in DRM mode.  They also modified the low-pass filters.  Modification of the audio cards was required.    They couldn’t quite meet the required spectral mask.  They broadcast only 20 kw on air; 50 kw into the dummy load.  The broadcasts occurred just prior to regular hours; replies were heard from listeners in Germany, Japan, Sweden, and Russia.  They operated in both 5 kHz mode (met required spectral mask) and 10 kHz mode (did not meet required spectral mask).  The 5 kHz mode was done primarily to avoid interference.  The transmitters were reliable and stable; the exciter worked well and was reliable.  Listeners were limited in number, but were excited.  Reception was good, especially in Japan.  The Saipan station is now ready for special event broadcasts.

 

Adil Mina, VP of Continental Electronics, gave a DRM report.  His PowerPoint presentation is available upon request.  In general, transmitter manufacturers are ready for DRM transmissions and have been for 10 years.  The problem is in getting receivers to market.  We are now seeing a breakthrough:  India and Russia have both decided to go with DRM as their mandated digital standard.  India will use DRM for both AM medium-wave broadcasts and for high frequency shortwave broadcasts.  They will replace all analog transmission equipment within a couple of years.  China is still interested in DRM, but India and Russia will be the countries which will actively pursue/push DRM.  As a result, it is hoped that many companies will produce inexpensive receivers for that market.  DRM+ is being tested.  This is an enhanced system which will allow simulcasting on frequencies above 30 MHz (such as the FM broadcast band).  This will provide an alternative to the proprietary and expensive Ibiquity HD Radio (IBOC) system which has been adopted by the United States.  Adil next reported on DRM receivers.  He expressed the need for inexpensive, simple radios.  He wants to see a simple receiver with on/off/tuning only – very basic and inexpensive.  Adil wants to propose an NASB recommendation for industry to come up with a basic affordable receiver.  He guesses that only 5,000 receivers have been bought thus far because they are too expensive.  He brought a UniWave receiver with him for display, but in his opinion, it is too complex and will probably be too expensive.  (The radio has not yet received FCC approval and has not yet been officially released for sale, so the price is unknown.)  Ibiquity’s HD/IBOC system has not “locked up” areas outside of North America, so DRM and DRM+ may become the standard in other parts of the world.  Simulcasting is possible, but is not usually done on shortwave due to transmitter and bandwidth limitations.  (The shortwave broadcast spectrum is quite limited with lots of stations, so regulatory bodies such as the ITU have mandated fairly narrow bandwidth allocations.)

 

Mel Whitten gave a report entitled “WinDRM:  Amateur Radio’s DRM Evolution.”  His amateur radio call sign is K0PFX, and he can be reached at mel@melwhitten.com.  He reported on three versions of DRM which have been successfully used by ham radio operators:  HamDream, WinDRM, and DRMDV. 

 

Gary Barbour of Ten-Tec next gave a presentation.  Ten-Tec was founded by Al Kahn (K4FW 1906-2005) and is located in Sevierville, Tennessee.  The company is now over 40 years old.  They manufacture communications products such as transceivers, receivers, amplifiers, tuners, accessories, enclosures, transmitter kits, etc.  They are also involved in tool & die casting – primarily plastics for their own use, for the automotive industry, etc.  Each year, they sponsor a “Homecoming Hamfest” with a large flea market at the end of September.  Plant tours are also available.

 

John Wineman of the HCJB Global Technology Center gave an update on the DRM diversity receiver which they are developing for use as an STL. They are working with Le Tourneau University students on this project.  The timeline for the project: 2007 – 2008 Project Definition & Sub-system Development and Testing, 2008-2009 Receiver Integration, 2009-2010 Diversity Implementation.  The RF Range will be from 0.2 – 26.5 MHz.   Typical use would be for tropical distribution (3-6 MHz) of programming to local FM stations.  See www.LETU.edu/DRM for further details on this project.

 

A Q&A session was held with NASB Attorney Edward Bailey.  Presently, the NASB board of directors consists of 3 – 6 members.  However, the bylaws can be changed with a simple majority vote.  There has been some discussion about adding a seventh member.  Voting members elect the board, and the board elects the officers.  NASB is a non-profit corporation, but would not qualify as a 5013c which can receive charitable contributions.  It is a trade organization (and thus tax exempt), but it is not able to receive tax exempt contributions.  Typically, expenses like travel to the meetings can be deducted as a business expense.

 

Hanson Professional Services, Inc. next gave a presentation.  They are an engineering and architectural firm which specializes in the design and construction of radio and television facilities.  They have a contract with the US International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) for design, maintenance, and repair of broadcast facilities.  They have also been involved in the following broadcast projects: IBB Kuwait; IBB Tinian (with power plant); Sao Tome; Adventist World Radio (AWR) in Argenta, Italy (never built); Djibouti MW; IBB Bangkok, Thailand; Greece; Algeria; IBB MW and TV in Afghanistan; KGTF DTV (Channel 12 PBS) Guam; Univision in NY; and a TV tower for NYC (shelved).  They are now planning a mast for the top of the new World Trade Center building which will be owned and operated by the Metropolitan Television Alliance.  But, this project will probably not be completed until the middle of the next decade.

 

After lunch, we had a tour of downtown Nashville, a tour of WWCR, and a tour of World Christian Broadcasting’s studio site which provides programming for KNLS in Alaska and for the soon-to-open station in Madagascar.

 

NASB ANNUAL MEETING – MAY 8

 

“The State of SW Listening and Broadcasting in Europe” was presented by Michael Murray, former Secretary General of the European DX Council.  First, a historical perspective was given.  Originally, shortwave radio was the only source of news in Europe.  There were no 24 hour news channels.  With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the fall of the Soviet Union, BBC and others began to cut back on SW in favor of using the Internet. Shortwave is still needed when travelling since it is more convenient to carry a small shortwave set than it is to carry a laptop computer.  There are still a number of stations broadcasting in English from around the world, but not from Europe.  There are now more choices of what to see and hear. DX Clubs in Europe are slowly decreasing in numbers. 

 

Adrian Peterson, a representative from AWR, next spoke.  They have formed a partnership with Radio Miami International for their “Wavescan” DX program.  Radio New Zealand International and Radio Australia are now using DRM as a STL to dedicated receivers for re-broadcasting live on FM in many South Pacific islands.  AWR gets reception reports in their Indianapolis office from many countries in Europe.  They have recently seen an increase in listener responses from South America.  BBC closed out its English services to North America.  Radio Deutsche Welle from Germany has reduced services.  Broadcasters in Europe seem to be favoring the newer services such as the Internet, iPods, cable TV, etc.  His opinion is that these decisions are based more on economic limitations rather than listener preferences.  There is still a lot of analog shortwave broadcasting being done – especially from the US.  There are two major areas where shortwave broadcasts are still making a significant impact:  troubled areas (Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.) and countries which are developing and using shortwave to reach their own people (Burma, Africa, Latin America, etc.).  Listeners are typically young professionals, married, financially viable, and living in country (rural) areas.  Shortwave is still viable for a long period of time.  Europe’s use of shortwave is diminishing (some prematurely), but these decisions have been primarily based on economics.  Some of the European stations are now being used as relay stations for others including gospel broadcasters.  BBC, AWR, and others are doing shortwave surveys.  There is still quite a potential audience in China.  Listenership is harder to determine in Africa, etc.

 

“Sports on Shortwave” was presented by Bruce Baskin who produces the program “World Baseball Today” on WRMI.  He observed that many listeners find it exotic and exciting to hear sports from far-away locations.  Many listeners enjoy hearing broadcasts of baseball, cricket, etc.

 

Don Messer gave a report on “Tests of Digital Radio Broadcasting (DRM) to Cover Alaska.”  The goal is to see if all of Alaska can receive DRM shortwave broadcasts throughout the state at anytime and any day.  They had to get an FCC experimental license to conduct these tests.  Some of the questions that had to be addressed included:  What frequency bands should be used?  How much power will be needed?  The tests are being done in central Alaska.  They are using 10 to 20 kHz channels with various error correction and constellation options.  They are putting in place a receiver network of around 18 sites.  Then, they will conduct field tests.  They plan to report the results to the FCC after a 2 year interval.  Three 100kW transmitters are being used.  The technical specifications: DRM at 10 or 20 kHz wide; 4, 16 & 64 QAM; Coding rate of 0.5 & 0.6 (50% voice or 60% voice), 3 crossed half-wave length dipole antennas (5, 7, and 9 MHz).  The key is using ionospheric propagation.  DRM for long range has been effectively tested and is working well.  Here, however, using high latitude (near vertical incidence) “bounce back” propagation will require careful experimentation.  Modeling shows success up to 10 MHz, but it will require “real world” testing.  Power levels of 10 kW to 100 kW will be used in the tests.  They can probably use 3 antennas below 10 MHz.  Testing should begin by the end of the year.  Up to 4 speech programs can be used in a 20 kHz channel, full stereo in a 20 kHz channel, or quasi-stereo in a 10 kHz channel.  The FCC does not permit broadcasting via shortwave from the US to the US.  In order to conduct regular broadcasts, this policy would have to be modified, or an exception would have to be granted.

 

Allan McGuirl, Jr. of Galcom International made a presentation on solar powered pre-tuned receivers with emphasis on the shortwave model.  He also discussed Galcom’s soon-to-be released Cornerstone FM transmitter and Galcom’s involvement in radio station installations around the world.  He also discussed Galcom’s development of a new generation of receivers which will include an MP3 player and possibly DRM capability.

 

Charlie Jacobson discussed the status of HCJB’s operations in Ecuador.  Due to the construction of a new airport and due to financial considerations, HCJB’s shortwave ministry has been downsizing.  This process is now in its final phase.  By April 1, 2010, all transmitters at the Pifo transmission site will be shut down.  They will maintain 49 meter broadcasts to reach the Andean area and the headwaters of the Amazon River Basin.  This would be done from their high-power AM site.  The number of antennas at Pifo has declined from a total of 31 to 8 at the present time.  The site will eventually be closed entirely.  At its peak, it had 12 transmitters and 31 antennas.  Items for sale (mostly vacuum capacitors) can be viewed at http://www.hsch.de/sale/.  They have 3 – 100 kW HC-100 transmitters.  One will stay in Ecuador for regional coverage as previously mentioned, but the other two will be refurbished and moved to other locations.  All other transmitters will be dismantled and scrapped.  One of these is a 50 kW unit.  One 500 kW transmitter could be updated with a solid state modulator and used as a 250 kW transmitter.  Other equipment currently available includes an antenna switch matrix rated at 500 kW (4 inputs/10 outputs).  An antenna matrix rated at 100 kW (8 inputs/20 outputs) will be available at a later date.

 

Recent events surrounding Madagascar World Voice (the African shortwave project of World Christian Broadcasting) were next discussed by Charles Caudill.  Madagascar had a rather violent coup d'etat recently.  WCB was good friends with the former president.  WCB began hearing of problems in December 2008 through the ambassador.  On January 27th, they found that the rioting had escalated and that their warehouse was attacked at random and destroyed.  The loss is estimated to be between $50,000 and $100,000.  They got a roadblock to protect the actual building site.  The US Embassy advised that their staff leave the country.  They hid equipment and then evacuated the American staff.  They left an 11 man security force in-place.  An army commander then offered to provide protection as long as WCB would provide food.  Work continues at the site; great progress is being made.  They had to reschedule some of the work – especially the electrical work due to the theft of wire.  What about the state of the country?  The new president is in power and is being supported by the communists who were formerly in power.  Things are in a mess.  Tax and customs revenues are down.  Education is in a mess.  Government funds will probably start running empty by the end of this month.  The former president is planning to return with support from other countries.  Everyone is hoping for a peaceful return rather than a civil war.  WCB is trying to keep a low profile and keep doing its business in the meantime.  The population in Madagascar is 50% Christian, 45% tribal, and 5% Muslim.  The new president has no religious affiliation; the old president was Presbyterian.

 

Tom King of Kintronic Labs in Bristol, Tennessee made a presentation about his company which has been in business since 1949.  They are an AM/MW antenna system supplier.  Their products include antennas, transmitter combiners, test loads, tuning units, transmission lines, matching networks, tuning stubs, multiplexers, etc.  They manufacture half-wave & full-wave dipoles, rhombic antennas, baluns, tunable baluns, open wire transmission lines, etc.  They are responsible for the WRMI Corner Cube Reflector design, the ED Media Rhombic Antenna, and the Kinstar low-profile AM antenna.  They also installed the antenna system for KICY-AM in Nome, Alaska.  This is a three tower 50 kW directional array operating on 850 kHz with a special ground system designed for permafrost conditions.  The ground system is installed on the surface rather than “below ground” as would be installed elsewhere.  They also designed the antenna system for HLAZ, FEBC high-power AM medium-wave station in Cheju, Korea.  It is a 6 tower directional array operating at 250 kW on 1566 kHz.  There are three workable patterns.

 

                                                                                -----

Sports on Shortwave

Text of presentation by Bruce Baskin at the 2009 NASB Annual Meeting

 

My name is Bruce Baskin, and I produce a weekly 15-minute program called “World Baseball Today,” which is heard three times a week on Radio Miami International.  “World Baseball Today” covers not only the Major Leagues, but also baseball in Latin America, Asia and Europe…wherever the game is played.  I’ve covered the World Series, the World Cup, the Caribbean Series, the World Baseball Classic, the Asia Series, the Japan Series, the Korea Series, the Taiwan Series, the European Cup, and just about any kind of international baseball tournament there is.  I’m considering covering the College World Series in Omaha this month, although I usually try to keep the program’s focus within professional baseball.

 

Sports have been a part of world band radio broadcasting for decades.  Whether it’s been a cricket match broadcast on a shortwave station in India, American sporting event carried on the Armed Forces Radio Network or a sports update during a national newscast from Australia, sports and world band radio have been connected for decades.  I am not aware that there is any current sports presence on shortwave radio in the United States, which in part motivated my decision to fill some of that void.

 

I started in radio on a 10-watt high school station as a 16-year-old in 1976, and have been a disc jockey, a newscaster, a commercial writer and producer, and a sportscaster over the three decades since.  As someone who had wanted to be a radio announcer since early in grade school, I’ve been fortunate to earn a paycheck at a job I’ve always dreamed of having, although radio has been a lot different than I’d imagined it would be.

 

So, why shortwave radio?  What is it that has made me make a partial break from a fairly conventional radio background and try my hand at producing a weekly program on what can accurately be described as a “niche” medium, especially since the internet is making it more difficult for traditional media like radio to maintain their audience share?

 

One reason is that I’ve always felt shortwave radio was something exotic, all the way back to when I was a kid listening to my grandpa’s old shortwave radio in dad’s garage…listening to stations from all over the world.  Even though I didn’t understand much of what I was hearing, it was exciting to think that you could be broadcasting a program from a studio in The Netherlands or Moscow with someone in the United States hearing it.  It’s still exciting, and as a radio junkie, I’d always wanted to be a part of it.

 

 

I dabbled in producing shortwave programs in the late 1990’s, when I first became acquainted with Radio Miami International and Jeff White, but neither of the two programs I produced lasted more than a few weeks.  In March 2007, I decided to give shortwave another try, but this time I took a new path.

 

By then, I had become a fan of the English sport of cricket, a game often incorrectly compared to baseball, something to me that’s as unfair as comparing apples to oranges.  It might surprise some of you that cricket is watched and played by more people across the globe than baseball, although cricket’s popularity is limited to mostly the United Kingdom and its current or former colonies.  The United States is an exception.

 

Every four years, there is an event called the Cricket World Cup that brings together the top national teams from around the world together for a tournament.  It is very popular among cricket fans, and in 2007, it was held in the West Indies.  As kind of a lark, I decided to look into producing daily one-minute Cricket World Cup updates on Radio Miami International. 

 

Jeff was amenable to the idea, so for 50 consecutive days in March and April of 2007, I produced a sixty-second feature with scores and highlights of World Cup matches along with the next day’s schedule.  To my knowledge, it was the only daily shortwave coverage of the Cricket World Cup from the hemisphere in which it was played.

 

After the World Cup concluded, I converted the daily updates into a weekly World Cricket Today program on WRMI.  The program ran almost 15 minutes, carried original stories on cricket from around the world and across the United States.

 

However, after six months, I determined to change my program from cricket to baseball.  There was more than one reason for doing this, but at the core it was because my true sports passion lies with baseball.  In November of 2007, World Cricket Today became World Baseball Today, and here we are today.

 

The nuts-and-bolts of World Baseball Today are pretty simple, if somewhat time-consuming.  The program has three separate segments:  One on baseball in the Americas, one on Asian baseball and one on European baseball.

 

Since each program has 12 stories (four for each segment), the first order of business is to gather material for the stories.  This involves searching specific websites for 1-2 hours in order to find the major baseball news from the countries I cover.  I’ll gather my stories on a Thursday so as to keep the program content relatively fresh.

 

Then, I’ll generally spend 3-4 hours the next day sifting through the stories and writing original copy for the program.  As you all know, radio is a world measured in seconds, and I have to make sure all the elements of World Baseball Today come together in EXACTLY 15 minutes.  As a result, writing the stories can be a painstaking process not only because of time constraints, but also because I have to determine the length and importance of each story, and be objective about it…it’s not always easy.

 

 

 

The actual studio production of World Baseball Today may be the least-complicated part of the process.   Fortunately, I’m able to use the production studio at the commercial radio station I work for, so long as it’s on my own time and I’m not preventing the station’s business from being done.  I usually go into the studio on a Saturday, when the station is empty.  I’ve prerecorded much of the program elements already, such as the open and close tracks, music beds used on each segment, and promos and public service announcements to separate the segments from each other. 

 

When I begin the production process, I’m concentrating on recording straight voice tracks for each segment, then dubbing in the music beds and adjusting the length of each segment to make sure the finished program times out to 15 minutes.  I’ll use a NexGen program for preproduction before I record the final version of the program into Cool Edit or Adobe Audition.

 

After that, I save the finished product on a thumb drive, take it home and load it onto my laptop.  From there, I upload the program onto WRMI’s server for broadcast Sunday morning, then upload it to my WBT podcast website at Podbean, place the text of the stories on my World Baseball Today blog, then finally send an email to free online subscribers letting them know the new program is ready to read or listen to.  In all, my Saturdays generally last about two hours: One hour to record the radio program, the other for post-production.

 

In the future, I hope to add MySpace and Facebook pages so I can build an audience for World Baseball Today, but it will always be first and foremost a shortwave radio program…everything else is ancillary.  I’m not comfortable doing sales, but I believe I am producing a sellable product  broadcast three times a week on a 50,000-watt radio station in the USA’s ninth-largest market whose signal easily reaches America’s southeastern states as well as Latin nations where baseball is a mania.  I believe there are a lot of sales executives on radio who work with less.  I’d love to find a good salesperson so I could make enough sponsor dollars to underwrite the program’s cost, but World Baseball Today isn’t about money.

 

I became involved with world band radio for much the same reason that brings most of you here to Nashville this week:  There is a certain magic to radio because it’s a medium that can take on a life of its own in the minds of its audience, and there’s a certain magic to reaching across borders and touching our audiences.  You can’t read radio…you can’t watch radio.  You have to LISTEN to radio, and then use your mind to assimilate what you’ve just heard.  That’s where the magic begins.

 

Thank you for letting me speak to you today, and thank you for doing what you do to keep the magic of shortwave radio alive.  I’m proud to be a small part of it.

                                                            -----

 

NASB Urges Development of Simple, Inexpensive DRM Receivers

 

At its 2009 annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee on May 8, the National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters (NASB) adopted a resolution encouraging radio receiver manufacturers “to develop and produce as a high priority simple to operate, inexpensive DRM receivers.”

The NASB resolution applauded the efforts of the DRM Consortium and manufacturers for  introducing several models of excellent receivers to the market, but it added “many of the currently available receivers are priced beyond what the market can bear in Africa, Asia, and other countries outside North America and Europe.” Therefore, asserted the NASB, “there is an urgent need for the availability in the marketplace of simple to operate, inexpensive DRM HF/MW capable receivers.”

Allan McGuirl Jr. of Galcom International, a Canadian company that makes fix-tuned shortwave receivers for many religious broadcasters, announced at the same meeting that its engineers are working to develop a low-cost, no frills DRM receiver, although no details are available yet.

Adil Mina of Continental Electronics gave a general update on DRM and the receiver situation at the joint meeting of the NASB and the DRM USA group.  Technical consultant Dr. Donald Messer gave the group an overview of the propagation experiments that he plans to undertake with the Digital Aurora Radio Technologies regional DRM project in Alaska.  And amateur radio operator Mel Whitten explained how ham operators have adopted a form of digital modulation using a program called WinDRM that is based on DRM technology.

 

In other news from the NASB annual meeting, Brady Murray, Operations Director of shortwave station WWCR in Nashville, was elected to the NASB Board of Directors, replacing retiring board member Charles Caudill, president of World Christian Broadcasting, which operates shortwave station KNLS in Alaska.  WWCR and World Christian Broadcasting jointly hosted the NASB meeting in Nashville.  Jeff White of Radio Miami International was re-elected president of the NASB, and Mike Adams of Far East Broadcasting Co. was re-elected vice president.

 

The Association gave a special award for lifetime achievement in shortwave broadcasting to George Woodard, former director of engineering for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau.

 

Adrian Peterson, International Relations Coordinator of Adventist World Radio, announced that as of June 2009, AWR will be closing its production studios in Singapore due to rising costs.  AWR's DX program “Wavescan” was produced in Singapore, but as of June it will be transferred to the United States under an agreement with WRMI in Miami, which will handle production and distribution of the program to the AWR worldwide network.

 

Two Tennessee-based manufacturers of radio equipment gave presentations at the NASB meeting.  Gary Barbour of Ten-Tec talked about his company's HF receivers; and Tom King, president of Kintronic Labs, showed examples of shortwave and mediumwave antenna systems that Kintronic has built for stations in various countries around the world.

 

During their conference, NASB delegates visited the Nashville-area facilities of WWCR and World Christian Broadcasting.  They heard about how the recent political developments in Madagascar have affected the progress of WCB's new shortwave station Madagascar World Voice.  The organization's president, Charles Caudill, said the civil disruptions following a recent coup d'etat in Madagascar have set back work on the station somewhat, but that the project will continue as planned.

 

Michael Murray, former Secretary-General of the European DX Council, spoke about the state of shortwave broadcasting and listening in Europe.  Bruce Baskin, producer of a weekly program called World Baseball Today on WRMI, talked about sports programming on shortwave radio.  Charles Jacobson of the HCJB Global Technology Center in Indiana updated participants on the gradual dismantlement of HCJB's legendary shortwave transmitter site in Pifo, Ecuador.  Ted Collora of Hansen Professional Services, summarized his company's engineering projects at U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau facilities around the world. 

 

Next year's NASB and DRM USA annual meetings will take place in Canada.  Galcom International will host the meetings in Hamilton, Ontario on May 20 and 21, 2010.  Miami is being considered as the possible location of the 2011 annual meetings.

 

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SHORTWAVE BROADCASTERS  DRM  RECEIVER RESOLUTION

 

The National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters (NASB) desiring to encourage further development and adoption of digital broadcasting in HF bands finds the following:

WHEREAS NASB reaffirms its deep commitment to the importance of maintaining and encouraging a vibrant HF broadcast industry, and,

WHEREAS NASB applauds the efforts of the DRM consortium and manufacturers for continued efforts to promote DRM, and,

WHEREAS NASB applauds receiver manufacturers for introducing several models of excellent receivers to the market, but

WHEREAS many of the currently available receivers are priced beyond what the market can bear in Africa, Asia, and other countries outside North America and Europe,

NOW THEREFORE, NASB resolves and recommends that

            1.there is an urgent need for the availability in the marketplace of simple to operate, inexpensive DRM HF/MW capable receivers and

            2.receiver manufacturers are hereby encouraged to develop and produce as a high priority simple to operate, inexpensive DRM receivers.

ADOPTED THIS 8TH DAY OF MAY, 2009 AT THE ANNUAL MEETING IN NASHVILLE, TN.                                                   -----

 

MINUTES OF NASB BUSINESS MEETING – MAY 8

by David Creel, FEBC

 

The meeting was called to order by Jeff White.

George W. Woodard was recognized for his contributions.

Charles Caudill was recognized for his contributions.

The previous meeting’s minutes and treasurer’s report were approved.

Jeff White and Brady Murray were elected to the NASB Board.

A PowerPoint presentation on the HFCC/ASBU meeting in Tunisia was shown.

A PowerPoint presentation on the next HFCC meeting to be held in Punta Cana was shown.

Allan McGuirl, Jr. spoke on plans for the next NASB meeting to be held in Hamilton, Ontario on May 20 – 21, 2010.  Presentations will be at the nearby Community College.  Nearby attractions include a Canadian War Plane Museum, Niagara Falls, and the city of Toronto.  Accommodations will be in the Community College’s dorm, or for those who prefer something more “upscale,” there is a nice hotel located nearby.  Guests must have a passport or a passport card.  Guests can fly into either Toronto or Buffalo.  It is best to travel from Buffalo to Hamilton by car.  From Toronto, there are numerous choices including bus, train, etc.

A discussion was held on where to meet in 2011:

1.      In Las Vegas at the end of NAB?  This was Adil Mina’s proposal.

2.      In Nashville at the end of NRB?

3.      In Washington DC?  (Someone from the FCC would probably attend.)

4.      In Miami on the Norwegian Sky Cruise Ship for 2 to 3 nights?  The cost would only be around $200 - $300 for three nights (double occupancy) including food.  This would actually be cheaper than on land.  Stops would be in Florida, Bahamas, private island, etc.  There was a motion which was seconded to look into this option for 2011. The motion passed unanimously.

 

The possibility of conducting a shortwave listener survey for North America was discussed.  Robert Fortner has been contacted regarding this matter.  He suggested either:  a publicized web-based survey or a random telephone survey.  Depending on the option chosen, the cost could be as high as $14,000.00.  The idea of splitting this cost with other organizations was discussed.  The idea of contacting another surveying organization, or considering a less expensive approach, was discussed.  The matter was left up to the board for further consideration.

Adil Mina’s proposal that the NASB strongly advocate for simple inexpensive DRM receivers was discussed.  The resolution was approved and will be forwarded to the DRM Consortium for their consideration.

A proposal to make the secretary/treasurer an automatic board member was discussed.  This would require changing the by-laws to allow 7 board members.  Term limits would then apply to the secretary/treasurer.  This proposal was tabled for now because of the term limits issue.

The meeting was adjourned by Jeff White.

 

-----

 

Text of Letter of Recommendation for George Woodard from Kevin Klose and Mike Starling

The following is the text of the letter from Kevin Klose and Mike Starling of National Public Radio, dated April 7, 2009, recommending George Woodard for the achievement award which was presented by the NASB Board of Directors at the 2009 annual meeting in Nashville.

We write to commend to you and your Board of Directors the career in shortwave radio of George W. Woodard, an innovative electronics engineer and broadcast executive from the American heartland, whose life achievements range from theoretical and practical engineering advances of transmitter performance; to visionary leadership of the U.S. government’s international civilian radio services, one of the most important strategic broadcast systems in history.

George has devoted his life to serving humanity through the power of broadcast, with two complementary goals: a) improved efficiency and reliability for radio transmitters of many types; b) improved transmission strategies to reach peoples around the globe who are denied rights of self-government.  Practical engineer and spirited idealist, George has made notable contributions to the electronics industry and to global democracy.

Drawn to radio as a kid, George matriculated at Texas Tech, won a prized job as an undergraduate teaching assistant, and earned a B.S. in electrical engineering in 1962.

Upon graduation, he joined Continental Electronics, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of advanced radio transmitters.  In the period 1962-85, under the tutelage of legendary radio engineer J. O. Weldon, founder of Continental, George was an important designer in high power radio, radar, communications and broadcast transmitter projects.  He was Project Development Engineer for 100kW and 250kW shortwave transmitters; Senior Design Engineer for 2MW medium wave transmitters (later deployed across the Middle East); and Principal Development Engineer in AM stereo, responsible for much of the design of Continental’s AM stereo exciter.  George also was an independent consultant, and authored research papers and presented them at international electronics conferences and in scientific publications, including:

 

“Some Transmitter Performance Criteria for AM Stereo,” presented at N.A.B. conference, 1982;

“Theory, Simulation, and Measurement of AM Broadcast Transmitter Operating Program Efficiency,” presented at the I.R.E.E. conference, Sydney, Australia, 1982;
“Simulating Typical Program Modulation for Measurements of Operating Efficiency and Modulation Capability of AM Broadcast Transmitters,” The Radio and Electronic Engineer, Vol. 53, No. 9, pp 325-328, September 1983;

“Method and Apparatus for quasi-Analog Reconstructions of Amplitude and Frequency Varying Analog Input Signals,” U.S. Patent No. 4,724,420, (Patent to: G. W. Woodard; Assignee: Varian), US Patent Office, Feb. 9, 1988;

“The Importance of High Modulation Indices for Short-wave Broadcasting,” presented at National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters (N.A.S.B.) conference, May 2000.

George’s chapter “AM Transmitters,” in the NAB Engineering Handbook (Editions 7-9) is among the best known industry-wide current narratives of the history and engineering principles of AM broadcast transmission.

His career in public service broadcasting began in 1985, when he became engineering vice president at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc., (RFE/RL) the private, non-profit radio service then based in Munich, Germany.  He took charge of one of broadcasting’s most complex, transmission networks, with high-power SW and MW stations located in Western Europe, Africa, and Asia, broadcasting to the peoples of the Soviet bloc. 

With the decades-long Cold War entering its final phase, George initiated significant consolidation and network upgrading projects to improve coverage, hold down operating costs, and prepare for the historic moment when the Soviet bloc’s jamming of Western radio services might cease, signaling the beginning of a hopeful new era of international cooperation. 

Fittingly, on the night of Nov. 21, 1988, George received a call at home in Munich, that his network operators were reporting all Soviet and some East European jamming of RFE/RL transmissions had suddenly ceased:  “The skies are clear, the jamming has ended.”  A long, costly era of electronic conflict had ended.  George turned the page.

Working with colleagues at the U.S. Government’s own external broadcast service, Voice of America, headquartered in Washington, DC, he began the complex effort to reshape U.S. international transmission capacities for the post-Cold War era.  His leadership was recognized as essential to the mission of all U.S. international civilian broadcasting, and in 1995, he became Director of Engineering for the U.S. Government’s International Broadcasting Bureau, with overall responsibility for the networks supporting VOA, RFE/RL, Radio Free Asia and Radio Marti. While leading modernization and embracing the internet era, George continued advocating the promise of high-powered SW as an economic and social essential in the mix of international broadcast services today.

Once jamming ended in 1988, Radio Liberty’s Soviet listenership spiked to a weekly reach of nearly 35 million people, the largest audience to Western broadcasters, according to analysts at the time.  This substantial listening continued through the next decade, and as the post-Soviet era took firmer hold in international relations, George knew he had completed his mission: inspired by the visions of freedom and self-government that had been transmitted to the closed lands of the Warsaw Pact via SW broadcasters of the Atlantic Alliance, much of Eastern Europe had  successfully made the transition to multi-party, democratic self-rule.  While Russia would continue monopolistic political control, the peoples of the former USSR were learning about democracy every day via the unjammed signals of U.S. and Western broadcasters.  It was time for George to return to his roots.

In 2000, Continental Electronics proudly announced the appointment of George as its new Director of Engineering.  Declared the company’s CEO: "George is…internationally known and highly respected... (He)…brings a tremendous level of knowledge and leadership ability to our engineering staff."  For the next three years, George led Continental Electronics' research and development programs, overseeing the design, production and implementation of all domestic and international customer installations.

Retired in 2003, he continues his active life in the broadcasting dialogue and research, as his articles and commentaries in Radio World attest.  Writing in 2005, George advocated anew for AM bandwidth restriction to compensate for poor h-f response bandwidth in the majority of AM radio receivers.  Forthright, direct, and challenging convention, he declared, “As long as analog AM exists, I think the discussion…is valid.” 

Some months ago, George again added his own clear, forthright voice to an important discussion among broadcasters about the efficacy of SW in the Internet age.  The issue at hand is the shift in strategy that emphasizes local placement on indigenous FM stations via satellite delivery and vigorous Internet streaming -- accompanied by large reductions in SW transmission. Pointing to numerous examples of local authorities in post-Soviet countries shutting down FM stations that carry Western broadcasts, George urged preservation of viable ‘stand-off’ transmission resources – shortwave stations.  Calling on the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors to “enhance and expand” its shortwave capacity, George Woodard made a profoundly accurate statement:  “The U.S. government can afford shortwave radio.”

Now a resident of McKinney, TX, where he lives with his wife, Christina (Tina), George is an exemplary figure in our broadcast history.  We hope you and your colleagues will take the earliest opportunity to recognize and publicly honor his contributions to our nation’s radio industry and our democracy’s ideals.  George W. Woodard is an outstanding practitioner and advocate of shortwave radio – and he has delivered the proof of its importance in our world today – and tomorrow.

Very truly yours,

Kevin Klose
President Emeritus, National Public Radio (NPR);  Former President, RFE/RL;
Former Director, U.S. International Broadcasting
Mike Starling
Chief Technical Officer & Director, National Public Radio (NPR) Labs

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NEWS FROM  NASB  MEMBERSHIP

 

"Wavescan" DX Program to Continue from New Location
News Release from Adventist World Radio May 14, 2009

The final edition of AWR’s DX program "Wavescan" produced in Singapore is scheduled for broadcast on May 31, 2009, with the usual scheduled repeats during the first few days into June. Beginning in the first week of June, Wavescan will be written and produced in the United States for broadcast worldwide.

In the new arrangement, the scripts for Wavescan will be researched and written in Indianapolis, Indiana, and the program will be assembled and produced in the Miami, Florida, studios of shortwave station WRMI/Radio Miami International. QSL cards acknowledging the reception of Wavescan will be available from both WRMI and
Adventist World Radio.

At the end of May, AWR’s Singapore office and studio will be transferred to nearby Batam Island, Indonesia. This move will achieve considerable cost savings for AWR.

Many long-time listeners will remember that the original AWR DX program, Radio Monitors International, was produced in the Poona (Pune), India, studios of Adventist World Radio and broadcast on the domestic and international shortwave services of the
Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation. Beginning in 1984, North American coverage was achieved through the services of Jeff White and his original Radio Earth/Radio Discovery service. Radio Monitors International became Wavescan, and Radio Earth/Radio Discovery became Radio Miami International/WRMI.

The new presentations of Wavescan will be very similar to the earlier editions as produced in Singapore. Each edition will include a station profile on an important or a little-known shortwave station from a historical perspective. There will also be other features from the fascinating world of international radio broadcasting, as well as regular bulletins of DX news. It is intended that the regular DX bulletins from Japan, Bangladesh, Philippines and Australia will be included as usual in these new broadcasts of Wavescan.

Other radio entities are welcome to re-broadcast Wavescan, archive the programs on Internet websites, and reprint items and articles from the scripts and archive the scripts, with the usual attribution to AWR Wavescan and to Radio Miami International/WRMI.

As was announced in Wavescan earlier, the annual worldwide listener contest during the month of June will continue as planned. Listeners are invited to prepare a list and give details and photocopies of 5 QSLs from silent shortwave stations; to submit 3 reception reports on AWR transmissions; and, where possible, to submit 3 suitable radio cards to the “Wavescan” address in Indianapolis.

Adventist World Radio would like to express appreciation to AWR assistant program director Rhoen Catolico for his splendid work on the production of Wavescan during the past three years and to wish him every success with his endeavors as he returns to his homeland in the Philippines. We would also like to express our appreciation to Jeff White at WRMI for mutual co-operation in the areas of international radio broadcasting over the past quarter century, and we are grateful for this new relationship in the production and distribution of the program in his station in Miami.

Jeff White is currently the president of NASB, the National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters USA, in addition to his
management responsibilities at WRMI.

Adrian Peterson is DX editor for Adventist World Radio and a Board Member for NASB, the National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters USA. The address is:

Adventist World Radio
Box 29235
Indianapolis, Indiana 46229 USA
adrian@awr.org

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Kintronic Labs Exhibit at 2009 NAB Show

 

NASB associate member Kintronic Labs, Inc. had an exhibit at the 2009 National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show in Las Vegas showcasing the company's solutions.  Products on display  included digital-ready directional antenna phasing, matching and multiplexing equipment; the Kinstar low profile AM antenna; and the Array Solutions PowerAIM 120 vector antenna analyzer for LF, MF, HF and FM applications. Kintronic Labs also offers shortwave antennas and accessories; ELF, VLF and LF antenna systems and components; transmitter combiners/paralleling units; forced air cooled dummy loads; tower skirt kits; frequency agile mobile AM antenna systems; aluminum, steel or concrete prefab tuning houses or transmitter buildings; isolation transformers for install of FM, STL or PCS antennas on hot AM towers; transmitter and pattern selection control systems; RF patch panels; rigid transmission lines and accessories; standard 19" indoor and outdoor racks; RF contactors with 40-200A and 20-80 kV ratings; fixed and variable RF inductor assemblies; tower lighting and static drain chokes; and a wide range of other RF products.

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Company Profile from DRM Newsletter

Text Box: 	

 
Continental Electronics Corporation

 

As a world-class designer and manufacturer of High-Power Transmitters and Communications Equipment, Continental Electronics Corporation (an NASB associate member) was started in 1946 to build very high power transmitters for the Voice of America.  Our customer list includes short-wave (HF) and medium-wave (MF) broadcasters in over 100 countries, US Navy, US Air Force, and many US scientific laboratories.  We also have more than 2,000 FM VHF Transmitters installed in the US and elsewhere.  Over the years, Continental has demonstrated our expertise in providing RF sources for practically any RF band, from VLF on up through the UHF, microwave, and millimeter-wave regions. 

Continental is a founding member of the DRM Consortium, and has continuously supported and initiated DRM activities in the US as well as North and South America.  Continental’s state-of-the-art Short-wave Transmitters are all available with DRM capability, and Continental supports DRM broadcasters and their activities worldwide. 

Our DRM solutions are not limited to the new DRM-ready Transmitters that we manufacture, but include also the upgrade of installed transmitters from different manufacturers with our Solid State Modulators and DRM capabilities.  We continue to promote DRM with commercial customers as well as many government agencies.  We at Continental strongly believe in the DRM digital solution and stand ready to meet all our customer demands.

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DRM CONSORTIUM NEWS

 

Excerpts from DRM Newsletter April 2009

 

DRM General Assembly in Erlangen, Germany

 

The General Assembly of the DRM Consortium held in Erlangen, Germany was attended by a record number of members and guests from all over the world including the technical directors of the ABU and EBU who expressed their support for the work of the Consortium. The highlights of the meeting included discussions and decisions on the proposed roll out of DRM in countries like India, Russia, China and Brazil, the unveiling of a brand-new DRM+ market study and the launch of a new 'colour-screen' DRM receiver.

 

The new DRM receiver called ‘Di-Wave 100’ has been developed by Uniwave Development SAS. It has all the multimedia features offered by DRM technology including identification by station name, programme information, Journaline, MOT Slideshow and listening time shift. The receiver will be in mass production from April 2009.

 

There was a live DRM+ demo available for members to experience, first-hand, the stunning 5.1 surround-sound quality of a DRM+ broadcast. The General Assembly also adopted decisions on DRM+ communication, structure of members' and supporters' fees and receiver profiles.

 

Asia-Pacific broadcasters keen to know more about DRM

 

A new survey undertaken amongst ABU members (courtesy of ABU and Horst Scholz, DW) shows that there is very high interest and awareness of DRM amongst broadcasters in this region. Almost two-thirds of respondents said they would like to obtain assistance from the DRM Consortium. Half said they were planning to use DRM in the HF bands, 35 per cent said they were planning to use DRM in LF/MF bands in the next 10 years. In all, 58 per cent said they would use DRM if going for digital in MF/LF. Most respondents would use it for national broadcasts and 35 per cent for international broadcasts.  In this survey, 65 per cent of the respondents were public service broadcasters and 12 per cent were commercial. Nearly 40 per cent of the respondents said that they have transmitting equipment capable of DRM broadcast in HF/MF/LF bands.

 

More DRM broadcast to India

 

Voice of Russia (VOR) started an experimental DRM shortwave transmission to India on March, 29th 2009. The VoR programme can be heard daily from 1200 UTC to 1600 UTC on 9445 kHz. The transmitter being used for this broadcast is located in Irkutsk, south east Russia.

 

More variety of content from Bulgarian National Radio

 

Bulgarian National Radio is adding English, German, Russian and French to its regular transmissions on its short wave DRM platform operated by Spaceline Ltd. Besides its regular DRM test transmissions of the Horizontal programme in Bulgarian, BNR is expanding the variety of content transmitted on a regular basis from the Kostinbrod DRM transmitter in order to take advantage of DRM’s benefits and reach new listeners.

 

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MISCELLANEOUS SHORTWAVE NEWS

 

2009 EDXC Conference Update

 

Tibor Szilagyi, Secretary General of the European DX Council, sends this update on the organization's annual meeting in Dublin:

Dear DX--Friends all over the world!  If you book your hotel room (Grand Canal Hotel, Dublin )

through the internet hompage of the hotel:  www.grandcanalhotel.com  you can arrive at lower hotel room rates, like EUR 89,--- / Room / Night.  Please note:  This price is without breakfast, only the room.  The breakfast will cost extra: EUR 11,95 / Breakfast.

 

The EDXC Conference will take place August 28-30 in Dublin, Ireland.  Full details are available at www.edxc.org.  The NASB will be represented there by Mike Adams, our Vice President.

 

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Software for Shortwave Listeners and DXers

Bob Raymond of DXtreme Software (e-mail bobraymond@dxtreme.com) send the following item about his products for amateur operators and shortwave listeners and Dxers:

“DXtreme Software produces powerful and easy-to-use logging applications for radio enthusiasts such as amateur radio operators, shortwave DXers, shortwave listeners, broadcast band DXers, VLF Dxers; VHF, UHF, and TV Dxers.  You can find more information at http://www.dxtreme.com.”

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NASB  Members:     

Adventist World Radio         

Assemblies of Yahweh

EWTN Shortwave Radio (WEWN)

Family Stations Inc.

Far East Broadcasting Co.                                          

Fundamental Broadcasting Network

La Voz de Restauracion Broadcasting, Inc.

Le Sea Broadcasting Corp.                            

Radio Miami International

Trans World Radio

World Christian Broadcasting

World Wide Christian Radio

 

NASB Associate Members:

Comet North America

Continental Electronics Corporation

Galcom International

George Jacobs & Associates

Hatfield and Dawson Consulting Engineers

HCJB World Radio                           

IBB    

Kintronic Labs, Inc.

Richardson Electronics

TCI International, Inc.

TDF

TDP

Thomson  Inc.                        

VT  Communications

 

National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters

10400 NW 240th Street, Okeechobee, Florida  34972

Ph: (863) 763-0281  Fax:  (863) 763-8867    E-mail:  nasbmem@rocketmail.com