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RF Shorts for Jan. 24, 2014

Satellite Interference Issues Major Concern at WRC-15
Carol Patton provides a description on the interference battles that C-band satellite users may be facing at the upcoming WRC-15 conference in her article WRC-15: Winning the Spectrum War on

She writes: “Now referred to as Agenda Item 1.1 at the upcoming the ITU World Radiocommunications Conference (WRC-15), some believe the challenges for the satellite industry will be greater than in the past, partly because the wireless industry has learned its lessons from WRC-07 and has been actively lobbying governments to join their side. In response, the satellite community has rolled up its sleeves by launching a worldwide campaign, encouraging everyone that relies on extended or standard C-band to help defend satellite’s position, offer realistic alternatives, and educate governments as to the severe consequences of allowing a global identification of the band for mobile companies.”

Patton discussed this with David Hartsboro, secretary general of the Global VSAT Forum and he noted that satellite manufacturers and users have reported significant interference.

“We started to look into it and gradually, a body of evidence emerged, revealing that the interference could be tracked back to new incoming wireless services. In particular, it was WiMAX services and others that behaved like WiMAX, said Hartsboro. “WiMAX simply overwhelms the satellite's signal. It’s like a steamroller going over the top of the signal, causing such massive interference that the satellite signal essentially drops.

He continued: “The satellite industry is concerned about renewed efforts to identify these bands for mobile companies. Technical studies that were conducted leading up to WRC-07 demonstrated incompatibility between FSS and IMT systems in these bands. Since 2007, there have been no technology developments that change the compatibility analysis, and the ITU-R studies that have been conducted to date by the satellite industry are reinforcing the previous conclusions.”

Patton's article outlines what the satellite industry is planning to do at WRC-15 to protect satellite services.

Apple Patents Automatic ‘Station Tuning’ for Broadcasts and Streams
On Mikey Campbell reported Apple patents automatic 'station tuning' for broadcast and streaming audio, video content. She writes, “While Apple has patented similar technology in the past, such as an invention that allows users to automatically skip commercials, Tuesday's property is more extensive in scope. For example, the auto-tuning patent covers radio broadcasts, television broadcasts, Internet audio and video streams, satellite radio, on-board media and more.”

The technology allows the device to make the decision on when to change channels. For example, if a radio station starts playing an ad, it could switch to another station playing music that matches the user's preferences or even pull content stored on the device if no suitable substitute is available.

“It is unknown if Apple is looking to roll out a feature similar to the auto-station tuning patent in the near future, though the invention would be a good fit for iTunes Radio and purchased iTunes content,” said Campbell “In addition, with the iPhone's advanced cellular data capabilities, an Internet radio/television solution could be a unique entrant into a field already saturated with music discovery services. For example, a user can listen to a playlist populated with their favorite music while waiting for a particular television program to come on, which would automatically begin playback at the appropriate time.”

Comments and RF related news items are welcome. Email me at

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.