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TUCoPS :: Radio :: flip1.txt

The Flip Side, by Michael Folk 05-95




The Flip Side #1  Copyright April 1995

Michael Folk
810 Dalewood Drive
Villa Hills, Ky. 41017
(606)341-2543
mfolk@tso.cin.ix.net
michael.folk@f115.n108.z1.fidonet.org

     Welcome to the first of what is hoped to be a short lived series of
discussions of alternative views.  Why short lived?  With a little bit of luck,
many of the opinions which are often presented as facts within the pages of The
ACE will become tempered to the point that a published alternative viewpoint
will not be required.  Of course, the Republican House might also abolish the
FCC soon in the interest of less governmental regulation.

     For quite a while, I have heard a number of free radio operators and ACE
members voice disbelief at some of the statements which are made within the
pages of the ACE.  My goal is not to point fingers of blame but to allow those
who disagree a forum to present alternative views.  Your comments are welcome.

     A most distressing recent development is the new non-enablement doctrine
established within the DIALOGS column.  Sounds like a neo-liberal politically
correct newspeak term for censorship.  Many of the various Fake Radio Is Not
Radio USA Italics Parenthesis, etc. stations have developed programs.  Some
have issued QSL's and at least one has announced a maildrop.  One in particular
only seems to QSL via a PSE QSL listing in the ACE.  That avenue has however
been closed off.  What's next, a refusal to log sideband signals because some
consider them inappropriate?

     On the topic of DIALOGS, kudoos are due to Nick Grace for a very
professional presentation.  The new banner headings, the use of 3 letter months
instead of numerics and the propagation information has greatly added to the
changes begun by the former editor.  Although some suggested in the past that
DIALOGS wasn't broke so why fix it, the new look is welcome by many readers.

     We are a bit confused by one column which first suggests that comments and
constructive feedback are welcome but then states that any disagreement will be
round filed.  Much seems to be made of stations who have been around for 10
years.  A recent broadcast started out with the announcement that they had been
on the air four years.  Later in the program, it was announced that this was
show number 9.  Hmmmm.  Which would you rather classify as a "hero", someone
who comes on once or twice a year for 30 minutes or a station such as Solid
Rock Radio or NAPRS who can be counted on time after time for great signals and
programs and frequently to boot!

     Attention please.  Would all of the stations in the vicinity of 6955kHz,
6875kHz and 7415kHz please suspend operations.  (That's everyone except KDED
who used 6966Khz in February)  We have been informed that you do not have "good
taste or class" nor "enough intelligence to find their own niche in the
spectrum."  It seems that some suggest that if you follow someone else on a
frequency there is something wrong with building an audience.  If lining up on
a frequency creates a shooting gallery for the FCC, why is it that not all of
the Insanity broadcasters were busted?  Could it be that they did not all
publish a schedule with a time, frequency and date which was sent to the FCC?

     Next we have comments directed to the AM vs. Sideband debate.  Instruments
have proven time and again that the audio output from a sideband transmission
exactly matches the waveforms of the audio from an AM transmitter.  Yes, it
takes a little bit of skill to tune a sideband signal but I've seen a third
grader master the technique.  And why is the word drift used with sideband
signals?  Anyone familiar with electronics should realize that the drift in
signal is associated with the warm-up of the tubes in a transmitter.  It has
nothing whatsoever to do with sideband or AM.  Modern solid state sideband
signals are rock solid and less drift prone than tube produced AM signals.  I
guess if we launch a crusade against sideband, we should also start a jihad
against anyone using tube transmitters.
     
     One operator has reported an interesting experiment.  A program was aired
in sideband and almost 20 reports were received.  All indicated good signal
levels, s5 to s8.  A second show was aired immediately following the first. 
The tapes were run through a normalizing processor to insure that the amplitude
of the source signal was a constant.  Although propagation can change very
quickly, the two tapes were run as close in time as is possible.  The only
change made was switching the transmitter from sideband to AM mode.  Only one
report was received for this AM transmission.  It came from one person who
logged both the AM and the sideband broadcasts.  The sideband signal was
described as "booming in" while the AM transmission which lost a significant
amount of its power developing a carrier was described as "weak".  You be the
judge.  Would you rather hear a sideband signal or not hear a weaker AM signal?

     From comments received by a technician at one of the 41 meter powerhouse
operations, they do indeed listen to the frequency prior to sign on.  Another
myth destroyed by actual data.  Several people have indicated an interest in
obtaining the data which supports the statement that 41 meter stations might
skew attempted DF-ing by the FCC.  If this is so, wouldn't one have to believe
that the RTTY and WEFAX signals on 43 meters have the same effect?  

     Another interesting experiment has been conducted involving interference
with digital signals.  In a demonstration of its equipment, Motorola mixes a
voice and music signal on top of its data signals.  A trained DX ear was quoted
as saying that the voice and music completely overwhelmed the data signal to
the point where the data was inaudible.  Guess what?  The filters were easily
able to automatically cut out the "interference" and the machines on the other
end received the data without error.  I suspect the "more intelligent
operators" would quickly realize that these machines are not going to call the
FCC to report interference when they don't even hear any.

     One final comment has been received regarding the cry for operators to
move down into the 90 meter and medium wave bands.  Rather than abandoning 41
and 43 meters, many operators have merely moved into earlier UTC operating
hours when the MUF still supports propagation.  One major concern is the
antenna.  A resonant dipole for medium wave or even a vertical is just a tad
bit more involved than a simple and relatively short 40-something meter dipole.

     Got a question or concern raised by information in the ACE?  Send your
divergent views so that information may be shared by all and growth based on
knowledge may be obtained.  See you next month. 


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