RF Shorts – Nov. 3, 2011

More on the Mohu Leaf
Last week I reported on Time Warner's rejection of an ad for the Mohu Leaf antenna that said you didn't need cable to get TV. HDTV expert Pete Putman describes his experience with the Mohu Leaf in the HDTV Magazine article Biting the Hand that Feeds You. He writes, "I've had the Leaf for a few months now and can say that it works very well for UHF TV reception--certainly no better or worse than any other collinear antenna system I've tried--and does a passable job on high band VHF DTV stations, if they are strong enough. It's reasonably priced at $45 and includes free shipping, so you really can't go wrong with it."

I tested an unamplified Mohu Leaf antenna briefly in Los Angeles and found it performed as well or better than the Artec AN-2A amplified flat antenna. I didn't have an opportunity to do extensive testing, but VHF performance, even without the amplifier, seems on par or better than the AN-2A, probably due to the significantly larger surface area on the Mohu Leaf. It did not perform as well as my Terk HDTVa indoor log-periodic antenna with rabbit ears, even when the Terk's preamplifier was switched off; however, the Terk required more careful alignment and obviously took up much more space.

FCC Sets Cable Encryption NPRM Comments Dates
The FCC issued a Public Notice (DA 11-1799) announcing comment and reply comment deadlines for the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the basic service tier encryption proceeding. The deadlines are Nov. 28, 2011 for comments and Dec. 12, 2011 for reply comments. The proposed rules cover digital-only cable TV systems, but the number of these systems is likely to increase as use of analog-only TV sets decreases. If you watch cable TV on a ClearQAM TV set without a set-top box, this NPRM could affect your choices in the future even if you subscribe to a premium tier.

NCTA Voices Concerns Over National EAS Test
Deborah MacAdams presents an interesting twist on the national EAN test in her article Some Cables Can't Run Nov. 9 EAS Test Crawl, Lobby Sought Postponement. One piece of good news for everyone--the FCC shortened the test from up to 3 minutes to only 30 seconds. See the FCC Emergency Alert System Nationwide Test web page and scroll down to the question "How long will the test last?" The answer is "We anticipate the test will last approximately 30 seconds."

The Magic of Ka-band
I've written previously about the potential of broadband over Ka-band satellite as an alternative to conventional Ku-band SNG trucks. However, one of the concerns with the use of the Ka-band is the increased potential for rain fade due to the higher frequencies. Voice & Data discusses the potential for Ka-band and techniques for working around fades in the article Satellite Communications: The Magic of Ka-band – Ka-band high-throughput satellites have arrived and will be the mainstay of to¬morrow's communication needs by Vidyut Kak. He writes, "To overcome the constraints of spectrum and at the same time provide higher throughput is a daunting challenge, which the evolving satellite technology has mastered very well. The other equally challenging task is to reduce cost per bit and make satellite technology further affordable to the plethora of users across businesses and individuals. Both of these one-time seemingly insurmountable challenges have been very well answered by the emergence of Ka-band satellites on the horizon. Today satellites like Hughes' Jupiter are designed to deliver 100plus Gbps of throughput, something unheard of a few years back."

Balcony Antenna Rights Explored
You've heard stories about landlords preventing installation of satellite or TV antennas. The Los Angeles Times looks at another situation – Must tenants let landlord install equipment on their balcony?. The short answer, from the article, "Use of a portion of your rental property for the benefit of another person or company is generally considered an easement. You have no duty to permit an easement to place the telecom equipment on the balcony that is included in your rental property, unless your rental agreement gives that permission to the landlord." The article also discusses access to the equipment through rental property.

Doug Lung

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. As vice president of Broadcast Technology for NBCUniversal Local, H. Douglas Lung leads NBC and Telemundo-owned stations’ RF and transmission affairs, including microwave, radars, satellite uplinks, and FCC technical filings. Beginning his career in 1976 at KSCI in Los Angeles, Lung has nearly 50 years of experience in broadcast television engineering. Beginning in 1985, he led the engineering department for what was to become the Telemundo network and station group, assisting in the design, construction and installation of the company’s broadcast and cable facilities. Other projects include work on the launch of Hawaii’s first UHF TV station, the rollout and testing of the ATSC mobile-handheld standard, and software development related to the incentive auction TV spectrum repack.
A longtime columnist for TV Technology, Doug is also a regular contributor to IEEE Broadcast Technology. He is the recipient of the 2023 NAB Television Engineering Award. He also received a Tech Leadership Award from TV Tech publisher Future plc in 2021 and is a member of the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society and the Society of Broadcast Engineers.