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Weekly Tech Reminders: Translators, Thunderbolt 3 & More

An excerpt from this week’s Monday Morning Coffee and Technical Notes

The following is from the Alabama Broadcasters Association’s weekly e-newsletter, Monday Morning Coffee and Technical Notes. Thanks to ABA’s Larry Wilkins. To subscribe to the newsletter, email[email protected].


Last week we made mention of the change in the FCC rules covering permissible locations for FM translators used by AM stations. As a follow up, here is a more detail description of the change.

Basically the FM translator can be located any place where the translator service contour of 60 dbu (1 mV/m) is within the 2 mV/m contour of the AM station or 25 miles from the AM transmitter, whichever is more.

Even if the station’s 2 mV/m contour only extends about 12 miles out, you will be able to locate a translator at any point as long as the edge of the translator service contour remains within 25 miles of the AM station.

FM translators are still limited to 250 watts ERP and are still subject to interference scrutiny from existing stations (full power, translator and LPFM).

[Read: FCC Schedules Auction for Mutually Exclusive Translator Applications]


If you going to connect any external device to a computer, normally it would require some type of a port. Most common is USB (Universal Serial Bus), but there are others such as Firewire, Mini Display Port and Thunderbolt.

Computer hardware developers are working towards a “one type port fits all” system. Thunderbolt 3 is the latest version of Thunderbolt, and it uses the same design as the familiar USB Type-C connector.

Thunderbolt 3 allows for connection speeds up to 40Gbps, double the speed of the previous generation, USB 3.1 10Gbps, and DisplayPort 1.2. It also offers USB speeds of up to 10Gbps, and it can connect up to two 4K displays, outputting video and audio signal at the same time. It also supports DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0, and 10GbE fast networking. Plus, Thunderbolt 3 is backwards compatible to Thunderbolt 2.


The Television repack is underway with the first phase of stations due to be completed by 11/30/18. If you are keeping a playbook we have compiled a database with all the television stations in Alabama along with their status in the repack schedule.

We ask that all television engineers review this list and let us know of any errors or changes. It is available here and will also be updated and posted on the ABA web site shortly.


The National Association of Broadcasters annual convention is coming up April 7th – 12th at the Las Vegas Convention Center. It appears from all the reviews, that this year will focus on everything IP! Great advancements are being made by all vendors to create, transmit and receive everything via IP.

If you have never been to an NAB Convention, this should be the year to go. Not only will you be able to view, first hand equipment and services from over 1700 vendors but also you can network with 100,000+ other broadcaster professionals like yourself.