NASB  Newsletter
February 1998

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SHORTWAVE BROADCASTERS, Inc.
P. O. Box 8700, Cary, NC  27512  USA 
Ph:  (919) 460-3750               Fax: (919) 460-3702               E-mail:  nasbmem@rocketmail.com


 
 NASB NINTH ANNUAL MEETING

The meeting will be held on Friday, May 8 at the Holiday Inn, 1489 Jefferson Davis Highway in Arlington, Virginia. This is the Crystal City Metro stop, the first stop from the newly named Ronald Reagan National Airport.  Registration will begin at 8:30am.  Registration fees per organization are $50 for the first person and $25 for each additional person.  If you wish to stay at the Holiday Inn you can request a special price of $112.98 per night for one person and $122.98 for two persons by calling 1-800-483-7870. When making your reservations you will need to tell the registration clerk you are with the National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters.  The cut-off date for reservations for this special price is April 7.

The program will begin at 8:45am, and will include informative speakers on such important subjects as:

  * Digital Broadcasting for Shortwave.
  * WRC '97 How it will affect Shortwave Broadcasters.
  * The HFCC: What it is and how it functions.
  * International Broadcasting in the 21st Century.
  * The HFCC  What it is and how it functions.
  * Digital Radio Mondiale.

The meeting concludes with lunch at 12:30pm. Hope to see you there.


INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING AS WE ENTER THE 21st CENTURY

In the last NASB Annual Meeting George Jacobs spoke on this topic.  He is convinced that shortwave broadcasting will still be around and important by the year 2010.  He sees nothing on the horizon to replace the directness of shortwave broadcasting. No National agreements are needed, there are no toll gates, and it enters directly into the home by the recipient's choice.  Satellite direct broadcasting may be widespread by 2010, but the price of receivers will undoubtedly be higher than that of currently available shortwave radios.  New shortwave receivers perform better, cost less and are easier to use, so sales continue to increase.
 
In 2010 the relative cheapness and the directness of shortwave will still be there, But...who will the audience be?  Certainly there  will still be the casual hobbyist, language student and those who listen only during political crises.

But for the "Need-to-Know" listener, who listens to shortwave for reliable information because they live in a closed, controlled society with unreliable local media or no local media at all, the situation is changing.  In much of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union there has been a proliferation of regular AM and FM stations, decreasing their need for shortwave.  But in places like China, parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America, there will still be many listeners who have no other source of reliable information. Also, more and more special interest groups, including religious, cultural and political, are coming on air, and their audiences will continue to grow.  This listenership may decrease by 2010, but it will still be substantial.  If your programming meets the needs of the devoted/dedicated listener, he/she will still be there in 2010.
 


DIGITAL RADIO MONDIALE

Dr. Robert Everett, Project Manager for the DRM on loan from the VOA/IBB, spoke at a special session of the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Washington, D.C. on February 2.  He  clarified a number of questions concerning DRN, a world consortium dedicated to forming a single world standard for digital broadcasting in the AM bands below 30mHz.  Its members, according to Dr. Everett, are broadcasters, network operators, transmitter and receiver manufactures as well as software developers and organizations in standards and regulatory activities.

Why is digital radio so important?  It has a number of advantages:

  * Much higher reliability
  * Superior stereo audio  quality, rivaling or exceeding analog FM
  * Better immunity to co-channel and adjacent channel interference
  * Improved area coverage using much less power
  * Greatly lessened or almost eliminated fading problems
  * Low-cost adaptation of modern existing broadcast equipment to
    digital operation

Some requirements as set down by the DRM:

Receivers shall be very user-friendly in that many users may be illiterate or have only a basic education.

Digital AM receivers should have the capability to tune dynamically to the frequency of the optimum channel of a specified program, so that if the program on its primary frequency fades or is being interfered with, the receiver can tune to another channel with the  same program, ideally without audible interruption.

The design and implementation of the system shall include the capability for a gradual transition from classic AM broadcasting to a totally digital broadcasting future.

There are three or more competing high level developmental projects in digital AM.  DRM's purpose is to make sure that there will only be ONE system and ONE standard.  Different systems competing on a world-wide basis for the market would probably suffer the same fate  as stereo AM and preclude digital radio from becoming a significant means of communication.

Three of the systems in development are:

Skywave 2000 AM System by Thomcast  This was essentially designed at the outset for shortwave broadcasting.  The transmitter will handle analog and digital simultaneously without interference.

The Voice of American and the JPL Labs in Pasadena, California have developed a single channel system which has considerable promise and is much better than current shortwave.  It cannot transmit both analog and digital at the same time.  With additional development it is felt that either of these two systems can obtain 12 to 15kHz audio bandwidths.

The Germans have developed a different system.  A 400 watt digital medium-wave transmitter using this system has the same day-time coverage as a 2.5kw AM transmitter.  However, at night the analog signal coverage is much less, whereas the digital signal coverage stays about the same.  This is because it is much more difficult to cause interference to a digital signal than it is to an analog one. This system cannot simulcast analog and digital at the same time,
but uses an adjacent 10 kilohertz channel for analog.
 
 



 
CONGRATULATIONS from TED HANEY,  NASB President

CONGRATULATIONS are in order for a job well done for Ed Bailey and Tulio Haylock, each of whom served on the NASB Board of Directors for over seven years, from February 1990 to May 1997.  Each has made significant contributions to bringing the NASB to the place and stature it enjoys today, not only among shortwave broadcasters and government agencies in the U.S., but in international circles as well. Both men were among a key group of private sector shortwave broadcasters who met in New Orleans in September 1989; the purpose was to explore the formation of a National organization to represent the interests of FCC licensed international broadcasters.
 

Ed Bailey served as NASBís first President from 1990 to 1997.  He has been perhaps the key person in establishing new contacts and maintaining good working relationships with the FCC and other government agencies dealing with international shortwave.  He was an official U.S. delegate to the WARC '92 Conference in Spain, and served with distinction at that international conference.  He later served as chairman of the IWG-5 working group in preparing the U.S. position for WARC '97 in matters related to shortwave.

Tulio Haylock has also served the NASB from its first formal meeting in May, 1990.  He served as Treasurer during those early years when financial reports were printed in red ink only.  He also oversaw publication of the Newsletter, ensuring that it served as a communication vehicle among the members, as well as promoting new members.

Both men richly deserve our heartfelt, Thanks for a job well done!
 
                                                                                            Ted Haney,  President
                                                                                            National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters, Inc.


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