RF Shorts – Dec. 2, 2011

FCC looking for comments on Philadelphia antenna restriction petition
The FCC issued a Public Notice (DA 11-1932) seeking comment on a petition for declaratory ruling that an ordinance of the city of Philadelphia is preempted by the Commission's over-the-air reception devices rule. The city's ordinance seeks to limit installation of antennas between the building facade and the street. Responses to the petition are due on December 22, 2011 and the deadline for reply comments is January 6, 2012.

Amateur Radio Operators receive telemetry from NASA's Mars Science Laboratory
Lewis Page writes Radio hams pick up Mars rover Curiosity's signals on TheRegister.com. "Volunteer space-tech enthusiast collective AMSAT was chuffed to announce over the weekend that member James Miller (callsign G3RUH) was able to remotely train the group's large dish antenna at Bochum in Germany onto the right piece of sky to pick up X-band telemetry from the speeding MSL, which took off successfully from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 1502 GMT on Saturday and shortly thereafter separated from the Centaur upper stage to begin its long coast to the red planet."

Metal thieves strike another TV station
Keith Pilat, writing in The Riverside City Buzz Examiner, reports Metal Thieves Take KVCR-TV Off the Air. He writes, "A metal theft at a Riverside County mountaintop antenna site has knocked San Bernardino-based KVCR-TV off the air until repairs are completed. This is the second incident since last weekend. Both thefts hit the station's remote-controlled transmitter on Box Springs Mountain that overlooks Moreno Valley to the south and the San Bernardino Valley to the north." The article says, "The initial theft damaged three air conditioners and a transmitter cooling system that wasn't in use at the time. The station was able to continue broadcasting after the first incident. But in Wednesday night's incident, the thieves damaged the remaining cooling system for the TV transmitter, which caused an automatic shutdown to prevent major transmitter damage." The cost of repairs is expected to exceed $20,000. The station will install a security system, including cameras, by the end of this weekend.

LightSquared Update
Website KansasCity.com published a Bloomberg news report GOP senator says FCC hiding information on LightSquared. It quotes Senator Charles Grassley, the senior Republican on the Judiciary Committee, saying "the Federal Communications Commission is hiding information about its handling of Philip Falcone's LightSquared wireless venture, which faces scrutiny over interference with navigation devices. The FCC needs to stop playing games and make itself accountable." He continues, "This holiday-week document dump and the fact that these documents are already publicly available is a continuation of the FCC's pattern of hiding any actual information regarding the LightSquared waiver."

Website FierceWireless.com has an interesting article by Mike Dano noting Sprint's sprawling LTE plans now include Clearwire and LightSquared--and possibly Dish. He writes, "Perhaps the biggest obstacle to Sprint's wide-ranging LTE vision is obtaining suitable LTE chipsets that could work across Sprint's CDMA operations at 1900 MHz; its LTE operations at 1900 and 800 MHz; Clearwire's TDD-LTE network at 2.5 GHz; LightSquared's 1600 MHz L-Band spectrum; and potentially Dish's satellite spectrum in the 2 GHz band. And that list doesn't include the possibility of such gadgets also accessing Clearwire's existing WiMAX network." He notes "...such chipset gymnastics are not unheard of. Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) managed to obtain chips to support both CDMA and LTE, and Sprint has scored dual-mode CDMA/WiMAX chips."

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.