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RF Shorts – March 10, 2011

The blog discusses the threat of an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) disabling electronic systems in End of the World 2013? National Geographic on EMP. The blog refers to a National Geographic Explorer program Electronic Armageddon. "Explorer investigates the science behind the dangers of a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse, or HEMP. Picture an instantaneous deathblow to the vital engines that power our society, delivered by a nuclear weapon designed not to kill humans but to attack electronics. What could happen if an electromagnetic pulse surged to earth, crippling every aspect of modern society's infrastructure? "

Rooftop TV antennas may be a thing of the past in a small town in Portugal. reports on End of rooftop antennae for Castro Marim "The Castro Marim council will invest 100,000 Euros to replace rooftop antennae with free cable channels before summer, to improve the village's appearance." Mayor Estevens said he believes that after the antennas are down, people will have "a different view of Castro Marim; that of a village with harmony in terms of architecture." He noted that "by the beginning of summer we will have completed the operation and we will have freed Castro Marim's rooftops of the antennae, which have held the village captive and made it less attractive."

I previously reported on a bill in Congress that would clear users off of 450-470 MHz and auction it to wireless carriers. An article in the Wall Street Journal by Ben Rooney. Europe Weighs U.S. Mobile Technology discusses the possibility of using CDMA or LTE technology in the 450 MHz band. In the article Harbir Bingh Nat, chief executive of Zapp, Portugal's fourth-largest mobile network operator, said, "Its low frequency means it has very good coverage." The WSJ article explained that Zapp's network is able to cover almost all of the country with 300 towers, while other networks operating at higher frequencies, needed 3,000. And with lowered operating costs, Nat says he's able to exploit "niche plays" that aren't available to the larger networks. Of course, for a given amount of spectrum, more towers mean more sharing of bandwidth and support for a much larger number of devices, although in rural areas, perhaps with the "niche plays" that Mr. Nat is talking about, the system may not need to support as many 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.