ATTENTION: Please note that the August General Meeting will be a picnic meeting.  Read this newsletter and visit the GARC website for more details.






Digital Television is Coming

By Bob Wexelbaum, W2ILP


Digital TV is actually here now, but in the near future it will not just be a fancy option.  It will be required by FCC regulations.  The transformation to digital TV is definitly a technical improvement over the conventional analog system that has been around since TV became popular.  Digital TV either works perfectly or it does not work at all.  Analog TV which is received from a weak signal or a poor antenna rides on noise.  This is the same type of noise that can be heard on 2-Meters when the squelch is not set and there is significant RF gain.  On TV the noise appears as what is called “snow”., and this is what is seen when mixed with the weak video on the TV display.  To understand what happens if a digital signal becomes weak as you are observing it, you must realize that the digital pixels of a true digital TV receiver are stored in RAM, which acts just the same as the digital memory on a digital camcorder.  As the signal becomes weak the picture freezes…and then  if then as time passes the frozen picture may fall apart, like a jig-saw puzzel in a tornado.  Finally there is a totally blank screen,,,but never is there any snow. 

Aside from the FCC preparing to require every broadcasting station to broadcast digital TV, and every TV viewer to be ready to receive digital TV, the FCC eventually wants to eliminate the over the air VHF TV channels (2-13) and require only UHF TV channels (14-83) to be available for actual on the air broadcasting.  Freeing up the VHF spectrum will provide for a lot of additional emergency mobile services. The entire VHF spectrum is 30-300 MHz. which makes it 270 MHz wide.  Each TV channel requires 6 MHz of bandwidth .. When TV was first developed UHF was at the cutting edge of developmemt and VHF technogy was in its infantsy.. There was a TV Channel 1 where the 6 Meter Ham, band is now located.  Channels 2 ,3 and 4 go from 52 to 72 MHZ, Channels 5 and 6 go from 76 to 88 MHz and Channels 7 to 13 go from 174 to 216 MHz.. Thus 12 TV channels take up a total of 72 MHz. That means that VHF TV now takes up more than 26 % of the entire VHF band!  We can see why the FCC wants to free up the valuable VHF airwaves.  Hams who have used 2-Meters, know the advantage of VHF for local medium range communication.  It has advantages over HF in that shorter non-directional. vertical whip antennas are practical and very large ground planes are not necessary.  HF is troubled, especially at night by distant signals that are unwanted for reliable medium range work. UHF frequencies require more expensive equipment which can not cheaply work with the same power efficiencies as VHF, but UHF is also an option for mobile services.  VHF or UHF NBFM is great for mobile use.


 The maritime mobile users of VHF will need more frequencies, as both commercial ships, small boat owners and the Coast Guard use VHF for the same reasons that Hams do. The avionics users, both general aviation and air transport, continue to need parts of the VHF spectrum for both communication and navigation aides.  Again it is thus easy to see why the FCC wants to free up additional VHF frequencies and get TV off of them.  Another obvious reason for eliminating over the air VHF TV is because fewer people are now using it.  My QTH in Commack is just far away from NYC to be considered a fring area for TV reception, which means tht I can’t get  reliably strong signals using indoor rabbit ears. Most people in my area on Long Island are using cable TV (Cablevision), fiber direct TV (Verizon) or satellite TV.  These systems can supply signals on frequencies that were formely used over the air;  what was once Channel 2 to 83 (at the TV antenna input), as well as many additional TV channels when used with a cable ready TV (which can receive up to 125 TV channels) or a TV provider’s set top box (which can provide as many channels as you may be willing to pay for.), or in the case of microwave direct satellite reception an appropriate down-converter and descrambler  units.   

What about Digital TV?  The FCC has spoken. As of midnight February 17, 2009, all full-powered TV broadcasting stations must stop broadcasting in the analog format and broadcast only in the digital format.  Digital broadcasting can provide improved picture and sound quality.  This can now be appreciated by those who are using larger TV screens and advanced surround sound technology.   What you, as a TV user, need, if you don’t buy a TV set equipped for digital TV, is a set top box that can adapt digital TV to analog TV and feed it into your analog TV antenna input.   The FCC is going to require all cable , fiber and satellite companies to take care of this conversion requirement, by either contiuing to provide analog signals or to distribute set-top boxes that will make the conversion, (as well as any other descrambling and converting functions their present boxes may provide for) at no additional charge to their customers.  For those folks who remain using antennas there will no longer be a need for any VHF TV antennas and on-the air reception will require only UHF antennas.  The FCC has promised to send two $40 coupons to old analog TV set users who use UHF antennas, so that they may convert the UHF digital signals from antennas to analog signals for up to two TV sets.  The coupons are supposed to pay for buying  the required set-top boxes to do the job at retail stores.

            There is going to be a lot of confusion in regard to buying a new TV set or understanding what kind of TV sets people now own.  This is because of terms like “cable ready” and DTV, HDTV, etc. being poorly understood.  Because of this the FCC has required as of March 1, 2007 that any TV set that is shipped by interstate commerce or imported to the USA must contain a “digital tuner”.  This digital ready condition must be made available to the consumers who buy TV sets, and sets without a “digital tuner’ must  require the following to be labled on them:-


This television receiver has only an analog broadcast tuner and will require a converter box after February 17, 2009, to receive over the air broadcasts with an antenna because of the nation’s transition to digital broadcasting.  Analog TV sets should continue to work as before with cable and satellite TV services, gaming consoles, VCRs, DVD players, and similar products.  For more information call the FCC at 1-888-225-5322 (TTY 1-888-835-5322) or visit the Commission’s digital televiaion website at


Therefore after May 25, 2007, all TV equipment sold must be identified at point-of sale if it does not

have an internal “digital TV tuner”   There remains a lot of uncertaintly however as to what may be labled a TV set that is ready for digital TV reception  There is a lot of confusion as to what is meant by DTV, ATSC , SDTV, HDTV. or EDTV.                                                                                                                       


The FCC says that in their documentation a “digital receiver” may be substituted for a “digital tuner”.   As I can understand it; a digital tuner may only mean that a front-end converter box, which is the same a a set top converter, can be included inside of the TV receiver and the remaining circuits of the TV receiver can be the same as the old conventional analog TV set circuitry.  This set up will work OK but will not take full advantage of modern digital TV.  A true digital TV receiver will process the digital TV signal just as a PC or Mac digital computer processes digital signals from a modem and displays streaming video.   The final conversion to analog signals, which drive the display will be made at the TV screen.  In the case of what are called TV monitors, the final conversion to analog may be made in the monitor itself.  The newer flat screen computer monitors ae now equipped with both analog or digital input recepticles.  Modern  TV displays will be no different.  Users will be buying large flat TV displays anywhere from 20 inches (diagonally measured) to large enough to cover a whole wall !   My guess is that the flat screen types will make cathode ray tube screens., and front or rear projection screens obsolete..  There is now some competition between liquid crystal displsays (LCDs) and plasma screen technology.  The larger screens will always be more expensive.  Which ever display technology is best will, in my opinion, eventually become the most economical, becauise whatever warrents the most mass production will be marketed at the most reasonable  prices..  

            Digital TV is more adaptable to multi-casting…Multi-casting means feeding more than one broadcasting channel onto one 6 MHZ equivalent channel by the broadcaster; or.two channels can be combined to produce up to twice the resolution of a single channel!  The latter has already been sucessfully tested in Japan. It is thus equivalent to having an RF input of more than 6 MHz bandwidth!  In addition a user can opt for watching up to four different 6 MHZ equivalent channels at the same time on the large screen monitor and having separate earphone outputs for those who want to listen to the audio from different channels. 

As is done in computers, the digital signal itself can change the protocol of the digital processing system in the TV set to enhanbse various aesthetic apeareances or create 3D illusions.  Viewers may be able to change received signals for slow-motion viewing and have greater flexibility whan recording programs than can be provided by CD recording units themselves.    In short, the flexibility of digital video processing may enable even more possibilities than are being considered now and this can be in the realm of software, that is yet to be developed, that can automatoically alter the TV set’s internal operating and/or processing system.   At this time how much firm-ware updating (if any) may be needed in future TV sets has not been entirely established.

To tell the truth, I never thought that I would live long enough to see the FCC entirely remove the CW

requitrement from Ham tests.  Now I think it might be possible (and almost necessary) to eventually

buy and use a new large flat screern digital TV set, while I am still kicking.   I was never one to heed Crazy Eddie’s call to “GET IT NOW!”.  My time on Earth may be limited, but I can wait to get that fully digital TV receiver with a wall to wall  display.  Heck…When digital cameras with 8 MegaPixel resolutions sell for less than $100.00 some of you guys might be around long enough to rue your early purchases.  




The GARC meeting of Wednesday, August 15, 2007 will not be held at Allen Elseworth Park in Farmingdale.   Instead it will be held at Marjorie Post Park in Massapequa.. See directions for getting there on the GARC website.  It will be a picnic (as well as a retirement party for Pat Masterson) .  All GARC members are invited.  Food is free…so lets have a big turn out…or at least a bigger turnout than we had on Field Day.








      One of the activities we had planned to do this summer was the Lighthouse/Lightship weekend. We didn’t do it last year because we couldn’t get on the Nantucket. So we opened a dialog with a Coast Guard guy to try to get us onto the lighthouse site at Eaton’s Neck. That got us no place, and so Gordon started up again a few months ago to work through his Coat Guard people. Sometimes “going through channels” actually works. Sometimes it takes too long. This year, we had emails flying around for a couple of weeks, and then one of the guys informed us that the site was already reserved for a Red Cross radio club. In fact, it appears they have a long standing reservation. We can’t use the site as we wanted. I sure am curious why the guy from last year, and the folks were emailing to didn’t know about this. It would have been nice if we knew a lot earlier, and we could have made some other plans.  So, GARC will not be doing the activity in 2007, but the Red Cross fellows said they would love it if some of us would visit them at the site during that weekend, August 18th.

  In order to increase attendance at our Summer meetings, we decided to see if a picnic would help. Our August 15th meeting is going to be a picnic at a nice park in Massapequa. See Bob’s notes elsewhere. We also have some information and directions on our web site. Since this is my last regular GARC meeting, some Ham friends from other clubs have said they will stop by to say 73s to me. If you haven’t been to a meeting in a very long time, this will be a good opportunity. Not only will you finally be rid of me, but you get to eat for free. In future months/years, if I do come back to L.I. for any reason, I would certainly try to attend a Club meeting, if you are still having them.

  Last Tuesday, we had our house closing, and it went well. No surprises, thankfully. The buyers were a young couple with two pre-school daughters, and the mother-in-law. The three of them had to sign zillions of mortgage and title papers, and also go back and resign the original contract. It took at least two hours to get out of there. The Jody and I headed straight to Florida with our cat. We stayed till Sunday, then came back to NY, arriving mid-day Monday. We have some doctor’s appointments to take care of, and on Wednesday we have to take her car to the AutoTrain  in Virginia. Then I’ll fly back to NY a few days later, and finish out my work at Grumman in late August. After that I have to tow my Camaro, and the rest of my junk down to Tampa. I will be pretty busy for a little while, but I should be able to find some time to look at our repeater antenna and try to fix it up a little. There might also be some time to take down an old tower for a close friend who doesn’t need it anymore.

  After August, I will no longer be involved in any Club activities. The only thing that I will continue to do is maintain the web site. I am also reasonably sure that we will no longer publish a paper newsletter like we do now. Once I go, we have no access to free repro services. It’s very expensive to print this thing, and it would deplete the treasury if we had to pay the repro costs. It is possible that the Executive Council could find a way to do it cheaply enough, and then you would still see the same excellent newsletter. But I think this might be the last one. At any rate, you should check the web site mid-month to see if a newsletter has appeared there.

 I have thoroughly enjoyed my term as President here, and I hope I did a good job running the Club all these years. I sure am going to miss you all. Come visit me if you ever get to Tampa. 73. KE2LJ is QRT.






Secretary, Karen KC2OPX  (not present)


The meeting was called to order by Pat at 5:24 PM.


TREASURERS REPORT – Ed, WB2EAV          REPEATER REPORT – Gordon, KB2UB                        

Finances continue to be in good shape.                     The Bethpage repeater transmitter seems to be     

                                                                                   weak.  Pat has not been able to get on the roof                       

                                                                                   to check connector, antenna, etc.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

VE REPORT – Bob, W2ILP                                  NET REPORT- Zack, WB2PUE

5 applicants applied.  2 passed General exam,          Propagation continues to be poor for the Sunday

1 passed the Extra exam, 1 passed Tech exam.        morning  40-Meter net.

1 failed   4 VEs were present: AB2NT,                       




Continued discussion of this newsletter when Pat retires and we can no longer get newsletters    reproduced at Grumman.  We also discussed repair of Bethpage repeater.  A letter was written with    regard to another repeater which is now using our Bethpage frequencies.      



Discussing possibility of having a picnic.  Discussing possibility of an activity at Eaton’s Neck     Lighthouse on Lighthouse Day August 17th.  The possibility of a lighthouse day activity was      deemed to be only 50 % probable at this time.



There was no formal program and the meeting time was mostly taken for the above mentioned discussions, however Jack Hayne WB2BED brought in a large RF plug-in coil/transformer, probably from the final RF power amplifier of a military BC-610 transmitter for show and tell.


The meeting was adjoined at 6:15 PM.


40 Meters: 7.289 MHz at 7:30 AM EST Sundays.

2 Meters (via repeaters): 146.745 MHz  (-.600)at 8:30 PM EST Thursdays.

                                           145.330 MHz (- .600) at 9:00 PM EST Thursdays.

[Tone for both repeaters is 136.5 Hz]         (ARES/RAS) Mondays






General Meetings of the GARC are held on the third Wednesday of each month, starting at 5:30 PM.   The meetings will be held at the Allen Ellsworth Park in Farmingdale.  Check the GARC website to be certain of meeting location, which may change after this newsletter, is distributed. Board meetings are held eight days before the General Meeting.   Please note that only the August 15th  2007 general meeting is a picnic meeting to be held at Marjorie Post Park in Massapequa.     




 The web site of the GARC can be found at     Webmaster is Pat Masterson KE2LJ.  Pictures of GARC activities, archives of newsletters, roster of members, and other information about the GARC may be found there including Field Day pictures.  All future newsletters will be available on the website.                                       




The cover story of this newsletter was partially researched on the FCC website. For those who want to read the FCC’s own words you may go to:-





Here is another cryptogram.  This one is for experts, because it is very short.




Solution to the July Cryptogram:- 












20 Years Ago- “CQ DE WA2LQO” – July & Aug 1987 Vol. 59 N0.1&2 CIRC 407

In the newsletter cited above there was a list of all those who attended the Field Day event in each of the years from 1984 to 1987. This list was developed from the sign in boards at each of the Field Days.  It is always possible that some folks forgot to sign in and did not make the list.   The list included 80 GARC members. The following members attended all FDs from 1984 to 1987:  K2AMM, NN2C (WB2VEX), K2CRL, K2MC,  KA2CWS, KA2JJJ, KC2DH, W2DKM, K2DOD, N2DYE, W6GI, W2ILP, W2INJ, W2IVA, K2KSP, K2MFN, K2MFY, WA2MPP, WB2PUE, WB2QBS WB2QDT, K2TGC and W2ZZE .  The following members attended 3 out of the four FDs listed: - AD2D, N2CRD, KA2CWT, KA2PYK, W2DT, and K2KPD.  The following members were able to attend 2 of the FDs listed:- K2AAN, W2BLH, W2QUV, N2CPE, N2EAR, N2EGQ, WA2FGB, N2FUI, N2GCW, K2HPG, KA2IPN, WB2KCT, WA2NDP, W2PL, KB2UB, and W2ZVJ.  The following hams were at least at one of the FDs listed:- KB2ANS, W3BH, K2BZP, AD2C,  N5CIW, W2CJN, W2GJQ, KA2DXU, AE2E, N2EJP, N2FEN, KA2FJG, WB2FMP, N2FYA, N2GCN, WB2GMY, KA2GUI, K2HXB, W2HPM, W2HGV, W2III, WA2ITA, NJ2K, KA2NUZ, WB2PCK, W2PF, KO2R, WA2SUH, KA2TDZ, K2UAT, WA2UVY, WA2UYA,  W2WDD and KA2YTJ.   Contrast that list with the list of those at this years FD.  Look for the calls of those who remain GARC members and those who didn’t make the list when they became silent keys or never made the list because they joined the GARC in later years.  For me..: memories are made of this.


 73 de W2 ILP