Random Noise

Notes from the editor.

Random Nosie: July 2021

July 22, 2021
By
Dennis Thompson

Dennis Thompson

 Hello Radio, and TV, and all the ships at sea.

A reminder that our Newsletter advertisers help us defray SBE Chapter 66 operating costs by with their support. So please support them as well. You will notice a new business card ad this month for RB Engineering. Headed up by Rusty Burchfield, providing Radio, TV, RF, Satellite, Computer Networking, RF site safety and more. Be sure to ad the RB Engineering information to your files. Here is a L I N K to a recent project that Rusty was involved with.

Also note (if you read this in time) there will be an SBE Webinar discussing Drones for tower inspecting. See the link and information in this Newsletter. SBE members receive a discount.

I hope you have survived all the ‘attacks’ that have headed your way. Thwarting the Covid-19 attack has become easier thanks to 18 months of practice. The recent cyberattacks, perhaps not so easy. Some broadcasters have been the target of these attacks. Not long ago, Entercom (now Audacy) and Salem Media Group were hit. More recently Cox Media was hit with a ransomware attack. What to do to prevent against the threat of Randsomware?

Here are the US Governments suggested five best practices to significantly reduce the threat of a successful cyberattack:

1. Backup your data, system images, and configurations, regularly test them,
and keep the backups offline:

Ensure that backups are regularly tested and that they are not connected to the business network, as many ransomware variants try to find and encrypt or delete accessible backups. Maintaining current
backups offline is critical because if your network data is encrypted with ransomware, your organization can restore systems.

2. Update and patch systems promptly:

This includes maintaining the security of operating systems, applications, and firmware, in a timely manner. Consider using a centralized patch management system; use a risk-based assessment strategy to drive your patch management program.

3. Test your incident response plan:

There’s nothing that shows the gaps in plans more than testing them. Run through some core questions and use those to build an incident response plan: Are you able to sustain business operations without access to certain systems? For how long? Would you turn off your manufacturing operations if business systems such as billing were offline? 

4. Check Your Security Team’s Work:

Use a 3rd party pen tester to test the security of your systems and your ability to defend against a sophisticated attack. Many ransomware criminals are aggressive and sophisticated and will find the
equivalent of unlocked doors.

5. Segment your networks:

There’s been a recent shift in ransomware attacks – from stealing data to disrupting operations. It’s critically important that your corporate business functions and manufacturing/production operations are
separated and that you carefully filter and limit internet access to operational networks, identify links between these networks and develop workarounds or manual controls to ensure ICS networks can be isolated and continue operating if your corporate network is compromised. Regularly test contingency plans such as manual controls so that safety critical functions can be maintained during a cyber incident.

Join the SBE66 gang this Thursday July 29th at Mitsui Buffet in Clovis for the monthly meeting, where the only thing being attacked will be delicious food by your chopsticks.

 

Random Noise May 2021

May 22, 2021
By
Dennis Thompson

Dennis Thompson

 Hello Radio, and TV, and all the ships at sea.

As we are approaching the halfway point of 2021 I hope everyone is surviving the up and downs of the industry. You know, the ups: Time to head to the hill for some transmitter work and generator refueling. The downs: time to crawl into the racks to find replace/check/add that cable(s).

June is busting out all over, hailed the Rodgers and Hammerstein song. Soon the masking requirements for California will end and perhaps we will bust out of our Zoom gatherings to a suitable watering hole for the monthly SBE meetings. The NAB2021 will be busting out in Las Vegas in October (9-13) and has now opened registration for the long awaited busting out. Check out NAB2021 H E R E.

The FCC is busting out a rate increase (approximately 8%) in the annual station fees charged to broadcasters. See chart below:

 

And the EAS NPT is still scheduled for August 11 2021 to make sure that things aren’t busted. Unless something big busts before then. If so, look for a rescheduling.

Drones are busting out all over, too. Check out the SBE’s upcoming Webinar (July 29) on how to use drone technology to keep your antenna/tower system from getting busted.

Finally, SBE Secretary-Treasurer Steve Dresser, who has never been busted in his life, so I’m told, has the latest scuttlebutt on the Central Valley FCC happenings right here in this Newsletter. Remember that our Newsletter advertisers that support SBE66 are always available with their services, so please check them out. Their expertise just might keep something in your facility from getting. . . uhh, busted.

 

Random Noise: April 2021

April 29, 2021
By
Dennis Thompson

Dennis Thompson

 Covid-19 restrictions are changing, restaurants are opening for (limited) indoor dining, and more of the population are receiving the vaccination(s). The SBE66 meetings may become less virtual and more actual—but not this month. Join SBE66 for the April meeting via ZOOM on Thursday April 29th at 12:00PM (noon). Look for the accompanying email to this Newsletter for the meeting link and information.

“What we have here, is failure-to-communicate”, said a famous movie actor. On April 26 FEMA said the same thing. On April 26, 2021, the Required Weekly Test (RWT) from IPAWS was transmitted with an incorrect signature. The test messages had a mismatch between the digest inside the message, and the digest computed by receivers. This is a part of the validation for an alert, and checking it is required by FCC Rule 11.56(c): The FCC says that, “EAS Participants shall configure their systems to reject all CAP-formatted EAS messages that include an invalid digital signature.” So, in theory, you should NOT have received this week’s RWT. If your received logged it, it should have said: “digital signature invalid.” All EAS devices should have rejected the test. The error affected all units, Sage Endec, DasDec and Trilithic. Some facilities have reported that their systems were configured correctly, but they still got the test. What say you? Our EAS box at the FM station where I work, did not receive the usual Monday morning alert. Check out the EAS Update story in this Newsletter for more information.

Also, The has FCC issued a Public Notice to announce the effective date of the FCC’s 2019 Report and Order on RF Exposure. This requires all stations to do an evaluation no later than two years of the RF Exposure on the site. It goes into effect on May 3rd. New and modified stations must do the evaluation immediately.

How good is your old reliable table-top tube set and long wire antenna? The FCC has released its latest census of broadcast facilities. As of March 31st, there are 4,546 AM and 10,895 full power FM stations with 2124 LPFM, and 8521 FM translators and boosters. That should keep you busy DXing in front of the magic eye tube for a few evenings at least. Hope to catch you in one of those tiny zoom boxes.

If you can’t find the accompanying email, here is the information for the upcoming Thursday (April 29th 2021) ZOOM meeting:         Meeting ID: 817 7628 3417   Passcode: 970358    

Random Noise: March 2021

March 20, 2021
By
Dennis Thompson

Dennis Thompson

Hooking up to the March SBE66 ZOOM meeting is just a (few) clicks of your mouse away. Join us, won’t you?  more…

Random Noise February 2021

February 21, 2021
By
Dennis Thompson

Dennis Thompson

The realization that COVID-19 has been with us too long just hit home. I noticed that I’m wearing last years face covering. I hate being out of fashion. more…

Random Noise

December 29, 2020
By
Dennis Thompson

Dennis Thompson

It is the last day of the year and my new year’s resolutions are to keep an ample supply of face coverings, remember to wash my hands, and safely distance from others. I should not have any problem keeping any of these, as I have had plenty of practice for the last nine months. What will the new year bring? You can count on a new FCC commissioner, Ajit Pai will be stepping down. Radio Disney won’t be the happiest place on earth, they will cease operations in Q1 2021. Location, location, location. . .that prime spectrum real estate in the 3.7-3.98 GHz band — a portion of the C-band, is going to net the treasury in excess of 70 billion dollars. NAB2021 isn’t happening in April, it has been moved to October (not holding my breath). There is possibly a vaccination (or two) heading your way. And the new normal has replaced the old normal, even though no one can remember quite what normal was and if they would recognize it, if and when it does return.

We will be attempting our new normal once again, as the SBE zoom-room will be open at noon on Thursday December 31st. Look for an accompanying email to this letter for the link.

 

Random Noise

October 24, 2020
By
Dennis Thompson

Dennis Thompson

Greetings from somewhere. It’s still 2020, but if you have made it this far you’ll probably do OK for the rest of the ride. more…

Random Noise

April 27, 2020
By
Dennis Thompson

Dennis Thompson

Greetings! Just a reminder, that since it appears likely that our next few chapter meetings may be in the form of a Zoom video conference, more…

Random Noise

October 21, 2019
By
Dennis Thompson

Dennis Thompson

Because of the recent PG&E outages, I hope you are not reading this by candle light . . . more…

Random Noise

May 28, 2019
By
DENNIS THOMPSON

Dennis Thompson

Join SBE 66 on Thursday May 30th for the monthly meeting and hosted lunch presentation at the Mitsui Buffet in Clovis. Joining us will be Buck Waters, Sales Manager at Broadcasters General Store (BGS) and Paul Kriegler, US Sales Manager, Radio Processing at Omnia. SBE 66 Chairman Jaime Gonzalez is out of town so look for Vice Chairman Tom Whitlock to be wielding the come-to-order gavel.