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RF Shorts – June 2, 2011

FCC releases NPRM on CALM Act
The FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 11-84) regarding implementation of the CALM Act. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) says that the CALM Act has directed the Commission to incorporate into its rules "and make mandatory" the standard developed by the broadcasting industry for preventing TV commercials to be transmitted at louder volumes than the programs they accompany. The proposed rules will apply to TV broadcasters, cable operators and other multichannel video programming distributors. The new law requires FCC adoption of the loudness rules on or before Dec. 15, 2011, and they will take effect one year later. Comments are sought on "compliance, waivers, and other implementation issues."

Why Wi-Fi Sometimes Doesn't Work
The U.K. Web site has an interesting article What's killing your Wi-Fi?. Most of the information will be familiar to readers, but did you know that Christmas tree lighting and other household lights can reduce Wi-Fi performance by 25 percent? The culprit is blinking lights and fluorescent lighting, if close to the router. Old television sets are listed as another source of interference. The article has useful tips and tools for improving Wi-Fi performance.

Agreement Eases Mexican Certification of U.S. Wireless Gear reported that United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Mexican Secretary of Economy Bruno Ferrari signed an agreement that will make it easier for U.S. companies, especially smaller ones, to export telecommunications products to Mexico while still maintaining safety protection levels. Mexican regulatory authorities will accept tests performed by recognized U.S. labs to determine whether telecommunications products comply with Mexican technical requirements, according to the article MEXICO: New U.S.-Mexico Telecommunications Agreement Will Ease Burdens on U.S. Manufacturers.

Translator Owner Banned in Florida
In the article Translator owner is banned in Florida reported William Lacy agreed to "quit creeping up towards Miami with his five translators in a new consent agreement with the FCC" and to "totally exit the broadcasting business in Florida." According to the article Lacy would load a portable antenna and power generator in a vehicle, then stop along the highway and transmit for a few hours. According to the article, that would be sufficient to establish a new translator location, and then he would file a "minor" change application with the FCC for the next move.

Towerstream Plans High-Speed NYC Wi-Fi Net
What if all that new spectrum wasn't needed to bring wireless broadband to the masses? There may be an alternative, depending on whether or not Towerstream succeeds in bringing a high speed mobile network to seven square miles of Manhattan via some 1,000 weatherproof Wi-Fi routers. The system is due to be turned on later his month. An article in Business Week, Can Wi-Fi Work Citywide in New York? Towerstream plans to unveil a super-high-speed network in June by Peter Burrows says, "During a demonstration recently on the corner of West Broadway and Broome St. in New York's SoHo district, an iPhone's data speed leapt from 0.35 Mbps to 26 Mbps. That's fast enough to stream high-def video, and much faster than most home connections in the United States." See the article for more on the business behind Towerstream.

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.