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RF Shorts - Jan. 27, 2011

Don't miss Harry Jessell's article FCC's Two-Faced Stance on Broadcast TV in TVNewsCheck for Jan. 21. In commenting on the conditions placed on the Comcast/NBCU deal, he writes, "By requiring the TV stations to broadcast more local, children's and Spanish-language programming, the FCC is implicitly recognizing the continued importance of broadcasting in the media mix." He then adds, "The FCC has never said that broadcasting should go away, but it has certainly implied it strongly. Genachowski has called broadcasting an 'obstacle' to America's broadband future and a train pulling empty boxcars." Read the article for Jessell's excellent analysis of the reason for the disconnect.

I quoted from Cecilia Kang's article on LightSquared's waiver request earlier. She had two other articles in the Washington Post in the past week you may find interesting, Broadcasters, FCC set for showdown on spectrum and TV broadcasters resist FCC proposal to surrender more airwaves. She presents both the FCC and broadcaster sides of the argument, and includes a quote from Ralph Oakley, the fifth-generation leader of family-owned Quincy Newspapers, which has 12 television stations, as saying he has no plans to sell his spectrum. "This is about business, sure, but what happens to the community that relies on us if we keep giving away our bandwidth?"

Even if people are no longer watching TV, as the FCC implies, there is still interest in the antennas used to receive it. Swiss designer Adrien Rovero has created a unique collection of lamp fixtures named Antenna Lights that are shaped like TV antennas.

Conductive patterns applied to adhesive backed plastic and applied to cell phones have been around for a while, accompanied by claims they improve reception and reduce RF exposure. The Cell Phone Power Enhancer is the latest product to get wide spread attention in the technical press this week. See the TMCNet article Engineers Develop Revolutionary Cell Phone Power Enhancer to Protect Cell Users and learn how "The Cell Phone Power Enhancer was designed by highly experienced engineers working at an official research and development facility certified by the state of Nevada. Testing of the Cell Phone Power Enhancer has resulted in demonstrated improvements in battery life and signal reception." The device is also said to guard against electromagnetic radiation. In case you're wondering how this magic patch works, the article explains that it "is powered by a specially developed infusion technology that stabilizes the cell phone's battery between charges using a patent-pending process." I wonder if it could be used to help VHF reception on Mobile DTV devices?

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.