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RF Shorts – Sept. 1, 2011

How A Chopper Camera Operator Spends His Time
Ken McQuillan writes about A Day in the Life of a News Chopper Camera Operator on The article describes operations on a news helicopter shared by Fox 2, Local 4 and ABC 7 in Detroit.

Elgato Introduces TV Tuner for iPad2
There is now a TV tuner accessory for the iPad 2. CNET's Joe Aimonetti has the story in Elgato's EyeTV Mobile iPad 2 TV Tuner announced. He writes, "And the best part of this gadget is that you don't need an Internet connection to get a TV signal." He saved the worst part for last: "Unfortunately for customers in the U.S., the EyeTV Mobile iPad 2 TV Tuner is only available in Europe at the moment, for a price of £99.95, about $166. We will be sure to let you know when it comes out in the States."

CTV Montreal Switches to Digital Transmission
The article Canadian TV makes the switch from analog to digital describes this week's DTV switch-over for CTV in Montreal. One interesting aspect of the changeover was that a retired technician was brought back to shut down the analog operation. "George Lee earned his rest after putting in four decades as a technician at CTV Montreal. However, his services were required again as the station switched to digital." Lee commented, "It brings back memories, seeing the old guys." The article also offers some practical advice to viewers on making the switch to DTV.

Hauppauge Aero-M on Linux Update
Trip at reported he successfully got the Hauppauge Aero-M working under Linux and is very pleased with the results. Thanks to Kernellabs developers Michael Krufky and Devin Heitmueller and the folks at Hauppauge for making this happen.

There is still some more work to be done before the code is merged into the main Linux kernel, but experienced Linux users may want to visit the Kernellabs site to get a head start.

FCC's Genachowski Snubs Broadcaster's Hurricane Assistance
Hurricane Irene raked the U.S. East Coast last weekend, leaving death and widespread destruction in its wake. As always, radio and television broadcasters came to the forefront by staying on the air to provide emergency information and reassurance to the millions of persons living in the affected area. The efforts of these broadcasters were praised by the National Association of Broadcasters and others, but the FCC's Chairman Genachowski had little to say in this regard after the massive storm had passed.

An FCC press release issued on Sunday, Aug. 28 had only this to say:

"We are pleased that current reports indicate no 9-1-1 center is without service, and we have received no reports of public safety communications outages. Overall, broadcast and radio are largely unaffected, though in North Carolina a significant number of cable customers are out of service."

The release Statement from FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski on Response and Recovery Efforts Post-Hurricane Irene focused on cell phones, with the note to "Tune-in to broadcast and radio news for important news alerts."

This is in marked contrast to the statement from the National Association of Broadcasters Statement on Broadcasters' Coverage of Hurricane Irene which stated:

"NAB salutes broadcasters from the Carolinas to Maine who did a remarkable job this weekend keeping citizens informed during Hurricane Irene. While cellphone, electricity and cable system outages were occurring up and down the East Coast, broadcasters were a trusted resource that millions of Americans relied upon for accurate information. Our stations used a combination of 'boots on the ground' reporting and social media to keep citizens informed, proving our contention that broadcasting and broadband are complimentary services. As we work with policymakers on a broadband policy that best serves local communities across the U.S., NAB will continue to make the case that no technology can replace broadcasting's 'one-to-everyone' lifeline role in an emergency."

All Access Music Group's Website described the impact of the storm on area radio media in Hurricane Irene Downgraded As It Moves Past New York; Radio Comes Through.

Another FCC news release FCC: Important Tips To Communicate During Emergencies for Residents Preparing for Hurricane Irene focused primarily on how to keep your cell phone working during the storm and etiquette for not blocking congested networks. Broadcasting gets one mention:

"…if you lose power in your home, try using your car to charge cell phones or listen to news alerts on the car radio."

During emergencies, when the FCC activates the Disaster Information Reporting System use it to keep the FCC updated on the status of your station during an emergency. The FCC Website outlines the advantages of keeping them up to date. I used it to update the commission on the condition of our stations in the area last weekend and found it easy to use.