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RF Shorts: Other Items of Interest - March 25, 2010

In previous issues of RF Report I've mentioned the battle between broadcasters and cable companies in Canada. The CRTC decided to adopt a model very similar to that in the U.S.—broadcasters can charge cable companies a fee for carriage but the cable companies can drop the signal if they don't want to pay the amount the broadcaster is asking for. Some Canadian's approve of the decision: See The CRTC got it (mostly) right by Andrew Coyne. The Winnipeg Free Press has a variety of Quotes on the CRTC fee-for-carriage policy. In these articles I didn't see any mention of a previously discussed plan to allow broadcasters to move to a cable-only distribution method in smaller markets to avoid the expense of building out DTV transmission facilities.

In previous RF Reports I've linked to Brian Dipert's enlightening blog describing his efforts to receive ATSC DTV. The blog has attracted comments from local and non-local broadcast engineers. In his posting this week, Mobile TV: Slow-To-Show ATSC (-M/H) And Qualcomm's Long-Shot FLO TV Dipert gives his comments on Mobile DTV, after winning a FLO TV receiver at CES. He was frustrated at not being able to crack open the case and look inside. I can understand that. The posting is quite interesting. He summarizes it well in this comment at the end: "I suspect that, if the economy continues to slowly-but-surely recover, you'll see a decent amount of ATSC-M/H gear available for purchase this Christmas shopping season. And I sincerely hope that the broadcasters won't squelch their fiscal differentiation-to-consumers versus MediaFLO by attempting to charge extra for ATSC-M/H reception. Then again, though, given content owners' greediness, the broadcasters may not have a choice but to recoup their investments in ways other than traditional advertising revenues."

Finally, I imagine most readers are familiar with HAARP, the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program which uses a large antenna array in Alaska and high-power transmitters to study the ionosphere by temporarily exciting a limited area of it and observing the impact. The research has been controversial, so perhaps it isn't surprising someone is claiming HAARP will lead to an Earthquake Attack on the US By China and Russia. If there is a large earthquake in California in the next 90 days or so, you have been warned.

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.