NRSC Measurements Are About More Than the Mask

Don’t forget harmonic suppression, faulty equipment and more
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The author is president of Maine Engineering Associates Inc.

Responding to the commentary by Larry Langford, Radio World Nov. 7 issue, in which he proposes elimination of NRSC mask measurements for AMs, the writer might be surprised to learn how many “modern” equipment chains annually fail the equipment performance measurements, under FCC 73.44, which requires not only proof of compliance with the NRSC mask, but more importantly the harmonic suppression requirements, which can result in interference outside of the NRSC mask.

[Read: Let’s Toss Another Expensive and Useless Rule!]

He might even be as shocked as broadcast engineering consultants, with regard to how many also routinely fail the annual AM EPM requirements, regardless of how current the equipment, and irrespective of NRSC compliance. In fact, what he calls “museum-like” equipment often performs better in that regard, due to its inability to reproduce the kind of interfering signals that the latest-and-greatest, “weaponized” modern equipment can transmit with ease.

FCC 73.44 actually governs much more than NRSC, and as such protects even the writer from either actual interference, or interference complaints, and/or FCC fines. Eliminating the NRSC mask in itself will do little to reduce the cost of an annual EPM for 73.44 compliance, because the NRSC measurements part can now be largely an automated process, but the certifying engineer has approximately the same costs in terms time and travel, labor, and amortization of equipment, in making the also-required, out-of-band (including harmonics) measurements.

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