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RF Shorts for March 29, 2013

Correction and Update
I have a correction and an update to last week's RF Report:

• Apologies to Mark Colombo (a.k.a. Trip Ericson of fame) for misspelling his last name in last week’s FCC Receives 80 Incentive Spectrum Auction Reply Comments.

• Mohu notified me that the specifications for the Jolt antenna amplifier I described last week are available on the Amazon product page for Jolt. Key specifications are a noise figure of less than 2 dB, a minimum gain of 15 dB, and an output third-order intercept (IP3) of 37.5 dBm (more than 5 Watts if true). The amplifier covers low- and high-band VHF and UHF. I'm getting one of the Mohu Leaf Ultimate antennas using this preamplifier and I'll see how it works in locations where 4G interference has been a problem.

FCC Grants Waiver for Ham Use of TDMA Above 30 MHz
The ARRL, reported that the FCC Grants ARRL’s Request for Temporary Waiver for TDMA Systems.

“The FCC also noted that allowing FXE and F7E as phone emissions and emission type FXD as a data emission is unlikely to result in inharmonious emission types being used in the same segments of the frequency bands. We also conclude that allowing amateur stations to transmit these emission types is consistent with the basis and purpose of the amateur service, specifically to continue to contribute to the advancement of the radio art. We conclude that good cause has been shown for temporary waiver of Section 97.3(c)(5) to allow amateur stations to transmit emission types FXE and F7E as a phone emission and Section 97.307(f)(8) to allow amateur stations to transmit emission type FXD as a data emission. We therefore waive these rules accordingly, conditioned on the outcome of the pending rulemaking proceeding.'”

Specific details are available in FCC Order DA 13-542, “In the Matter of AMERICAN RADIO RELAY LEAGUE, INC. Request for Temporary Waiver of Sections 97.3(c)(5) and 97.307(f)(8) the Commission’s Rules to Permit Use in the Amateur Radio Service of Single and Multiple Time-Slot Time Division Multiple Access Telephony and Data Emissions.”

Charter Communications Refuses to Air Antennas Direct Ads
A U.S. News and World Report by Associated Press writer Jim Salter said Charter refuses ads for TV antenna maker. “At issue are three 60-second spots that Antennas Direct of Ellisville, Mo., sought to air in the St. Louis market through Charter Communications on ESPN, the History Channel and other cable networks. The ads encourage viewers to cancel cable and save money by buying an antenna.”

Antennas Direct has details in its Antennas Direct Blog. In the blog, Richard Schneider, president of Antennas Direct, says, “After publicly proclaiming the over the-air movement as nothing more than a farce, Charter is finally acknowledging OTA as a legitimate competitor to cable. When a multi-million dollar antenna company can strike fear into the heart of a 7 billion dollar giant, you know your message has merit.”

Home Depot Marketing Winegard TV antennas
Here's another example of increasing interest in off-air TV reception--Winegard announced this week Home Depot Now Selling Winegard Digital TV Antennas to Meet Growing Demand for Free HDTV Viewing in Communities. Home Depot will be selling Winegard's Flatwave indoor antenna and the FreeVision outdoor TV antenna. The Flatwave is an unamplified antenna that measures 12 x 13-inches, larger than some of the other flat antennas, which may help with VHF reception. The FreeVision outdoor antenna looks somewhat like a small batwing antenna with crossed dipoles in the front and three reflectors in the back. I described the new amplified FlatWave antenna earlier this month in Winegard Announces New FlatWave Antenna With Low Noise Preamp. I couldn't find any data sheets for the FreeVision antenna.

“Rapid changes in antenna technology now give consumers access to the highest rated digital programs without monthly programming fees,” said Grant Whipple, Winegard’s National Sales Manager Grant Whipple. “Home Depot is a perfect retail store for the FlatWave and FreeVision, because most customers are do-it-yourselfers and these digital antennas are easy to install--buyers can have the highest quality free HDTV and channels not available from pay TV providers in minutes. The FlatWave is an indoor antenna that can be placed anywhere for the best reception and provide near Blu-ray quality picture. FreeVision is an ultra-compact outdoor antenna that can be installed outdoors or in an attic, so homeowners don't have to struggle putting it on a roof.”

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

Doug Lung

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.