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Digital Issues Dominate Engineering Sessions

Next-gen IP-based audio, HD Radio RF mask compliance measurement, and the new HD Radio Embedded Exporter are some of the major topics covered during the Engineering Conference on Thursday and Friday.

Next-gen IP-based audio, HD Radio RF mask compliance measurement, and the new HD Radio Embedded Exporter are some of the major topics covered during the Engineering Conference on Thursday and Friday.

First up is “Next-Generation IP-based Audio,” Thursday, at 8 a.m., moderated by Tag Borland, Logitek Electronic Systems. He’ll explore developments in the sharing of live audio over computer networks.

“It is an exciting time in our industry,” said Borland. ”New technology and standards are making it possible for users to share their real-time audio as widely and easily as they now share e-mail.”

“High Bandwidth Capacity RF STL/TSL Connectivity,” is next, 9 a.m., with Lawrence Miller of Schwartz, Woods & Miller and James Moody, James Moody and Associates. High-bandwidth studio-to-transmitter, studio-to-studio and transmitter-to-transmitter connectivity problems will be explored.

The first of two IBOC panels is slated for 10 a.m.–noon, titled “HD Radio Measurements Workshop.” Moderator David Maxson, Broadcast Signal Lab, said the RF masks for IBOC are Power Spectral Density Masks. PSD is measured in power-per-unit frequency — dBm/kHz.

“Measuring digital signals is more complicated than measuring analog signals,” said Maxson. “Digital signals have a noise-like quality that challenges the measuring instrumentation and the person measuring.”

“The Radio Show measurement session will show how to make a proper PSD measurement against the mask,” said Maxson. “It will offer new insights about measurement techniques.”

Thursday finishes up with “The Embed-ded Exporter Technical Panel,” 2 p.m.

Moderator David Layer, NAB, said the Embedded Exporter technology developed by iBiquity Digital and four transmitter manufacturers — Harris, Broadcast Electronics, Continental and Nautel — is a real step forward.

HD Radio stations use the Exporter to combine multicast audio channels and advanced data services along with a station’s main audio channel into a format suitable for transmission.

“These new devices are lower-cost, smaller, and achieve a much higher degree of reliability than the previous-generation Exporters since they are no longer based on a PC architecture,” said Layer. “In addition, the Embedded Exporter architecture gives the manufacturers greater opportunity to differentiate their products from one another.”

Representatives from the four transmission manufacturers complete the panel.


The “High-Power IBOC Technical Panel” kicks off Friday at 8 a.m. The session covers the optional FM IBOC digital power increase sought by a consortium of 18 broadcast groups, commercial and noncommercial.

In their filing to the FCC, proponents said the up to 10 dB increase is needed to better match the IBOC coverage area to FM analog and to make the digital signal more robust.

Session moderator Geoff Mendenhall, Harris Broadcast Communications Division, said, “Attendees will gain a better understanding of the coverage benefits derived from increased HD Radio sideband power and the implementation choices available to aid in facilities planning.”

The session “The HD Radio EPG Project,” 10 a.m., refers to an Electronic Program Guide, one of the advanced features supported by the IBOC system. Session moderator Rick Ducey, BIA Financial Network Inc., said the EPG is a project targeted by the NAB FASTROAD (Flexible Advanced Services for Television & Radio On All Devices) technology advocacy program.

“Unlike television or Internet services, users seeking content on broadcast radio are limited largely to ‘seek’ and ‘scan’ buttons,” said Ducey. “With HD Radio multicasting roll-outs, the task of understanding ‘what’s on’ radio in a market or from receivable stations in adjacent markets becomes even harder for listeners. Broadcast radio needs an easy EPG interface for listeners to help it be competitive with other audio services.”

An 11 a.m. session, “Copper Theft at Broadcast Sites,” moderated by Sterling Davis, Cox Communications, rounds out the engineering slate for the day.