RF Shorts for March 27, 2014

LightSquared 1.6 GHz Spectrum Use Approval Anticipated

Phil Goldstein reports in his FierceWireless.com article LightSquared could get FCC approval to use spectrum by year-end, witness says. He quotes Christopher Rogers, a member of the independent special committee specializing in airwave issues, who told U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Shelley Chapman in Manhattan last Wednesday, "I believe they will allow the spectrum to be used terrestrially,"

Regarding concerns over interference to GPS, the article explains: "To mitigate those interference concerns, LightSquared in the fall of 2012 submitted to the FCC a request to combine the five MHz it uses for satellite service at 1670-1675 MHz with frequencies in the 1675-1680 MHz band, currently used by National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration weather balloons. The company would share the NOAA spectrum rather than gain exclusive rights to it. LightSquared would then agree not to deploy a terrestrial network in the 1545-55MHz downlink part of the L-Band."

Goldstein added: "According to Bloomberg, former FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell, who is now a visiting fellow at the Hudson Institute, testified that he believes 30 MHz of LightSquared's spectrum will be approved for use by the end of 2015, and an additional 10 MHz within seven years. LightSquared hired McDowell as a consultant for LightSquared on FCC issues. McDowell said that in making that judgment he used public information, talked with LightSquared executives and relied on his experience at the FCC."

In the article Goldstein explains how this would affect LightSquared's possible emergence from bankruptcy.

FCC Updates Commercial Operator Tickets

Many years ago the FCC required TV stations have an operator with a First Class Radio Telephone license on duty whenever the station was on the air. As transmitters became more stable that requirement was dropped, but the FCC continues to issue Commercial Radio Operator licenses and they remain a requirement for other services.

The FCC recently released a Small Entity Compliance Guide: Amendment of the Commission’s Rules Concerning Commercial Radio outlining the different operator licenses and recent changes to them. Note that the recent changes relate primarily to Radiotelegraph Operator licenses and certificates. The Commission consolidated First Class Radiotelegraph Operator’s Certificates and Second Class Radiotelegraph Operator’s Certificates into a new license class, the Radiotelegraph Operator License.

After the rule changes adopted in FCC Report and Order in WT Docket No. 10-117 (FCC 13-4) take effect, radiotelegraph operator licenses (both new licenses and those issued upon the renewal of an existing First or Second Class Radiotelegraph Operator’s Certificate) will be issued without an expiration date.

The Guide notes other commercial operator licenses are already valid for the lifetime of the holder.

The Guide summarizes recent changes and decisions related to Commercial Operator License Examination Managers (COLEMs).

If you want to see the status of your commercial operator licenses, you can search for them using the FCC ULS Commercial/Restricted Permits License Search page.

Gogo's Ku-Band Satellite Goes Live

Gogo announced this week that the first aircraft of Delta's long-haul international fleet has gone live with Gogo's connectivity service. Passengers on Delta's 747-400 aircraft flying from Los Angeles to Tokyo and from Atlanta to Tokyo will be the first to experience the service.

"Gogo has built and operationalized a network that has the ability to provide connectivity related services to Delta's entire fleet of domestic and international aircraft from regional jets to 777s--almost anywhere they fly around the globe," said Gogo's president and CEO, Michael Small. "Delta will soon have more than 1,000 planes including all two-class regional, domestic and international aircraft flying with Gogo's connectivity services."

Gogo is scheduled to complete the installation of Wi-Fi service on Delta's entire international fleet, including its Boeing 777, 767, 747, Airbus 330 and transoceanic Boeing 757 aircraft operating on international long-haul routes by the end of 2015.

Comments and RF related news items are welcome. Email me at dlung@transmitter.com.

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.