RF Shorts for April 5, 2013

JetBlue and ViaSat Test Fly-Fi on the Ground
ViaSat high speed Internet will be coming soon to JetBlue flights. Check out the test van in Zach Honig's Visualized: JetBlue and ViaSat test Fly-Fi in-flight WiFi... from the ground on Engadget.com. Honig writes, “That white dome atop the van, which is similar to the device that'll soon be mounted on JetBlue's fleet, maintains a constant connection by rotating instantly as the van moves -- if the vehicle's heading changes, the antenna array will turn, too, so it's always pointed directly at the sat in the sky. You may have seen ViaSat's van driving down Southern California's freeways, but the rig has just arrived in Orlando, for some additional testing a few degrees away from the company's Carlsbad home. Assuming all goes well here, you'll be shooting around the web courtesy of Fly-Fi in no time at all.”

SimpleTV Looking Beyond Broadcast
Techcrunch.com writer Ryan Lawler reports Simple.TV Raises $5.7 Million From New World Ventures To Move Beyond Its DVR Box. I've previously written about Simple.TV, a set-top box that can pick up and record over-the-air TV and then stream it to different devices – Android tablets, iPads, and Roku devices, for example. Lawler says “According to founder and CEO Mark Ely, Simple.TV is looking to find ways to take its discovery and access platform and expand beyond just broadcast content through a digital antenna. It’s also looking to include cable content and over-the-top content from services like Netflix and Hulu as part of a broader consumer-facing opportunity.”

FCC Adopts Rules for Sharing 800 MHz Band with Mexico
Coordinating use of spectrum near the Mexican border can be complicated so it was encouraging to see the FierceMobileGovernment.com article FCC final rule details U.S.-Mexico spectrum sharing by Molly Bernhart Walker. When I first saw the article I wondered if it had to deal with the incentive auctions or other spectrum affecting broadcasters. It turns out, however, that it deals with the 800 MHz cellular band, specifically the Fifth Report and Order (DA 13-586) regarding the new 800 MHz band plan for the U.S. - Mexico Sharing Zone. Walker writes, “The rule specifies effective radiated power and antenna height limits for stations authorized on U.S. primary channels in the sharing zone, as well as maximum power flux density requirements of stations primary to Mexico or those on co-primary channels. According to the rule, channels 231-315--all of which fall within U.S. primary access--will be reserved for public safety licensing. High density cellular systems operating in the 800 MHz band are prohibited on these channels, says the rule.” The FCC 800 MHz Report and Order was adopted in July 2004 and coordination efforts started soon after that. Let's hope the coordination for stations being repacked as part of the Incentive Auction process moves faster!

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.