Tag Archives: Benn Kobb

FCC Audio Programming Inquiry: Implications for HF Broadcasting

Many thanks to Bennett Z. Kobb, Kim Andrew Elliott, and Christopher Rumbaugh for authoring “Comments of the High Frequency Parties” that is now filed with the FCC.

Update: please also check out this FAQ.

Here’s the introduction:

The Public Notice in MB Docket 18-227 requests comment on “whether laws, regulations,
regulatory practices or demonstrated marketplace practices pose a barrier to competitive
entry into the marketplace for the delivery of audio programming … [and] concerning the
extent to which any such laws, regulations or marketplace practices affect entry barriers for
entrepreneurs and other small businesses in the marketplace for the delivery of audio
programming.”

The Commission’s Rules do pose barriers to entry and unnecessarily restrict the licensing
and delivery of programming by International Broadcast Stations.

These rules originated in a period when the government utilized or countenanced privately owned, high-frequency (HF, 3-30 MHz) broadcasters as voices against foreign adversaries.
The rules prohibit stations directed primarily to U.S. audiences. They impose detailed
language, announcement, advertising and record keeping practices, require monitoring of
foreign market particulars, and mandate a minimum DSB transmission power level that is
excessive for domestic service and textual and image content.

These and certain other obsolete restrictions are overdue for review and revision or deletion.[…]

Click here to download and read the full document as a PDF.

Click here to check out the FAQ regarding the HF Broadcasting Filing.

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Report from the 2017 Radio Preservation Task Force meeting

SWLing Post readers might recall that, last year, I had the distinctly great honor of presenting at the 2017 Radio Preservation Task Force meeting at the Library of Congress.

Several readers have asked me to share my experiences at the conference, so I’ll note the conference highlights here.

I attended all three days of the conference. The first day (Thursday, November 2) was held at the Woodrow Wilson Center and focused on Cold War broadcasting. It goes almost without saying that this was absolutely fascinating.  I learned a great deal. One of the day’s recurrent discussion themes, for example, focused on the keen awareness of those inside the Iron Curtain that they had been regularly subjected to propaganda.  In other words, the Cold War somehow created very discerning news listeners savvy enough to separate fact from fiction quite skillfully––an ability that many fear may (unfortunately) be eroding among today’s media audiences.  

That afternoon, SWLing Post reader, Phil Ewing, took me on an amazing tour of NPR’s new headquarters [thanks SO much, Phil!].


Later that afternoon at NPR, I attended an event celebrating NPR’s founding father and mission creator, Bill Siemering.  Bill and I co-presented at the Winter SWL Fest in 2011, and I admire him greatly both as a journalist and as an individual; I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to be at this event held in his honor.

Friday and Saturday sessions were held at the Library of Congress and were equally riveting as they covered nearly every aspect of radio preservation.

Here’s our panel just a minute before the forum began.

I was on the Digital Curation panel along with Charles Hardy (West Chester University and National Council on Public History), Jonathan Hiam (New York Public Library), Matt Karush (George Mason University and Hearing the Americas), Elena Razlogova (Concordia University) and Mark Williams (Dartmouth College and Media Ecology Project).

The discussion was dynamic, and to my pleasure, our Radio Spectrum Archive was quite the hit. The sincere interest in this project was beyond encouraging.  Indeed, after my presentation, I wasn’t able to address all of the questions from those in the audience because there were so many in line to speak to me about it; eventually the LOC had to re-arrange the room for a televised event, the 50th anniversary of the Public Broadcasting Act.

But there’s more.  And it’s a great ending to our story, which is really only a beginning: via Alex Stinson with the Wikimedia Foundation, I was introduced to the Internet Archive team last month, whom, to our profound delight, has wholeheartedly agreed to support the Radio Spectrum Archive by giving us nearly unlimited space to store our massive collection of spectrum files.

In a word?  This conference was brilliant. There simply couldn’t have been a better outcome for the Radio Spectrum Archive and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Many thanks to the entire RPTF team, especially Director, Josh Shepperd, for putting this spectacular event together.

I’ve been invited to a couple other archive conferences as a result of the RPTF meeting, and I’ll give these some consideration.  Regardless, I know this: I’ll make room in my schedule for the next RPTF conference. No way am I missing it!

And at the next conference I look forward to speaking to each one of those people with whom tight scheduling prevented my speaking at this one. After all, it’s this kind of enthusiasm that assures the Radio Spectrum Archive’s future.

If you’d like a more in-depth report of the RPTF conference, check out this article in Radio World (via Richard Langley). If you’d like to learn more about the Radio Preservation Task Force, check out their website by clicking here.

Many thanks to my buddy, Bennett Kobb, who also gave me a tour of the brilliant LPFM station, WERA (96.7) in Arlington, VA–what an incredibly dynamic station and staff!

Ulysses E. Campbell (left) and Bennet Kobb (right) in the studios of WERA.

I’d also like to thank my friend Kim Elliott for generously hosting me during the multi-day event. Even modest accommodation in the DC area is very expensive–no doubt, Kim’s hospitality made the conference a reality for me. Thanks again, Kim!

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WINB to add new transmitter

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Benn Kobb (AK4AV), who notes:

This routine FCC HF announcement indicates that it has received an application from WINB.

http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2017/db1213/DOC-348229A1.pdf

According to Ms. Ghavami, the FCC’s engineer on HF broadcast matters, the application is to add a transmitter to the existing station, for which a new construction permit is required.

Thanks for the tip, Benn!

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New Experimental Radio Station: Skycast (WI2XER)

Skycast

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Benn, who writes:

[Skycast (WI2XER)] is a station in the Experimental Radio Service, licensed under Part 5 of the FCC Rules.

Benn provided the following details:

Licensed 3 March 2016: SKYCAST SERVICES LLC WI2XER 0809-EX-PL-2015

New experimental to operate in HF bands from 13.87 MHz to 21 MHz to pursue significant advancements in the state of telecommunications technology.

Farmingville (Suffolk), NY

www.skycastservices.com

License:
https://apps.fcc.gov/els/GetAtt.html?id=173579&x=.

Explanation, redacted:
https://apps.fcc.gov/els/GetAtt.html?id=170747&x=.

Note location of receivers, stated in section 6.

Explanation of redactions:
https://apps.fcc.gov/els/GetAtt.html?id=171385&x=.

Benn continues:

HF operations in the ERS are rare. I have been following ERS for years.

Applicants in this service are required to describe their experimental program, but can ask the FCC to withhold certain details from public disclosure. That is the reason for the redactions.

The actual purpose of this Skycast is not obvious from the available documentation, but some intrepid investigation may reveal it. SWLs should listen for these operations. The company said that the receivers are in Western Europe.

Experimental stations are not supposed to directly generate revenue. There are occasional exceptions. Most ERS stations are for defense and security related developments, specific demonstrations or academic research.

Readers: please comment if you have any information about this station or its service. Any reception reports/notes would also be welcome!

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PortableSDR: The Holy Grail of portable SDR transceivers?

PortableSDRMany thanks to my buddy, Bennett Kobb (AK4AV), who shares information about the PortableSDR, one of five finalists in The Hackaday Prize.

PortableSDR creator, Michael R Colton, describes his project on Hackaday:

“The PSDR is a completely stand-alone (no computer needed), compact, Portable Software Defined Transceiver (hence the name, sorta). Originally designed for backpacking use by Ham Radio operators. It includes complete coverage up to about 30Mhz (plus 144Mhz), it has a 168Mhz ARM processor, color display, and an innovative interface.

Vector Network Analysis (which includes antenna analysis) and GPS functions are included.

The entire design is Open Source. The electronics are designed and laid out to be easy to understand and tinker with. In addition to source code, schematics, board layout and parts lists, articles and videos describing the theory of the design are being created.”

He includes this video of his working prototype:

I will certainly follow this project with interest. I love the fact that PortableSDR has such a small form factor, yet still manages to include room for a battery, display and CW paddles.

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