Clay’s Corner for April 2023           Providing news and views from a broadcast engineers perspective since September 1986







Welcome to Spring!   At long last the days are getting longer and things are, again, turning green.  Not to forget we jumped to Daylight Time.   Wonder if that debate will ever end?



The Sun is getting a lot more active – with some predicting power outages and other solar related disasters.  Will be interesting to see if there are some impacts on all of the new communications systems we’ve developed in the last few years.   Some are predicting it will mess-with GPS!


For Hams …This is great news as the 10 Meter Band has been open all day for some fantastic, low power DX.    Reminds me of back in the 50’s when my school ham station was a popular place.    We had a 3 element Yagi on 10 meters and had a blast.  BTW, the Club Call was W7SBE!  (Back then the phonetics were Sugar-Baker-Easy) According to the experts, the sun is going to be at a peak for some time.   If you are a ham, time to dust off the old gear and get on the air.    If you are not…You can still enjoy the light show with some predicted stunning auroras.    All you need is – Clear sky and a view to the North.



The big news these days seems to be all about ‘AI’.   Many are racing to see just how this technology can be put to work in broadcasting.   Certainly, the NAB show will be filled with some examples of not only what you can do with it.  Certainly there are some interesting products coming.   Many are concerned that this will have a negative impact on jobs, probably at the same time employers are wondering if it will save money.


One of the more interesting developments has been the ability of a ‘machine’ to communicate with not only us, but with each other.   I keep thinking about how they communicated with ‘Computer’ on Star Trek.   Here we are folks!


We’ve all watched how text-readers have advanced in our daily lives.   My Vehicle will read text messages to me with remarkable accuracy.    My smart phone will do the reverse, turning my voice into text messages.    Who would have thought this possible a couple of years ago?


The NAB show is celebrating 100 years this year.   Time does go fast.   This year the newly constructed – 1.4 mega-sq.ft – West Hall will be put to full use.   Seems not that long ago they opened the South Hall….The one that was on the other side of the highway.    I will not be there this year as I no longer have someone to represent and pay the bills.



The move to eliminate AM Radio from vehicles has certainly raised a lot of stink.  One comment I thought was interesting was ….If Mr. Musk can figure out how to launch spacecraft, you’d think they could figure out how to eliminate RFI in their vehicles.  I suspect that this is more about saving a few bucks in the cost of a car which is all based on the notion that AM Radio is dead.       What’s interesting is how this has become a mission for some politicians. Representative Josh Gottheimer has gone as far a calling on the National Highway Safety Administration to require all automakers, including those that make EV’s to include AM radios.     Too bad the congressman does not feel the same way about having the FCC enforce their own rules regarding devices that create radio interference.


Here’s a question for the brain-trust….I know that Tesla and Ford (and perhaps others) have been in the news for dropping AM from their vehicle radios….What about off-shore makers?

Seems to me that there are electric vehicles being made by various firms – Are they dropping AM as well, or have they figured out how to make it work?


For you that are going to the NAB Convention and are SBE Members a couple of reminders


SBE Membership Meeting, Reception and More at 2023 NAB Show

The SBE Spring Membership Meeting will take place on Monday, April 17 at 5 p.m. at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) in Rooms W216-W218. By attending, you have a chance to win a Blackmagic Design Studio Camera 6K Pro along with a number of other prizes. The first 125 people in the door will receive a pair of SBE-logoed luggage tags. The meeting is being sponsored by Blackmagic Design.

Following the Membership Meeting will be the annual SBE Member Reception in W226 of the LVCC. Members and friends of the SBE are welcome to this one-hour informal gathering that includes free beverages and appetizers. Reservations are not required. A bevy of prizes will be given away, including gift cards and broadcast hardware, courtesy of the reception sponsors.

The SBE booth, LN4, will be located in the North Hall Lobby, just off the Grand Lobby near Lucky’s Restaurant. Booth sponsors include Blackmagic Design, Nemal Electronics and Linkup Communications. A full rundown of SBE meetings and events held during the NAB Show is available on the SBE website.


Dwight Small noted that, apparently, Amateur Radio hobbyists overheard Russian pilots talking about recovering the drone that was recently downed in the Black Sea.   Leading me to wonder why miliary communications are not scrambled or encrypted?    Perhaps this is similar to the reports that the Ukrainian were able to target Russian assets because they were using their cellphones?



I spotted this item on a popular remailer –

Commercial radio is an ADVERTISING business.


Most, if not all of the listeners and even some of the station employees are not aware of, or forget this fact.


My favorite question for new hires at the station is “who are our customers”.

It’s scary how many get it wrong.

They all say listeners.


Listeners are the product.

Advertisers are the customers.


Get that right and you are half-way towards being successful.  Get that wrong and you aren’t going to make it.




For those of you into Morse Code, there is a new book out called ‘The CW way of Life’.   Authored by a resident of Oregon, Chris Rutowski, NW6V.     According to those that given it a read….It’s more than just a history of the original digital-mode.  The author goes into the mechanics of Morse and how it interacts with the human brain and how we are able to turn the dits and dahs into letters, words and thoughts.  You can get it at Amazon.    From my own experience with Morse, I remember watching what I was hearing – automatically- come out of my pencil.  I find it interesting, despite the FCC no longer requiring Morse proficiency, the mode continues to be very popular.







Gordon Moore recently passed.   He was the co-founder of Intel in 1968.   Moore was very well educated having a PhD in Chemistry and Physics.   Intel, by most measures, has been a very successful company.   He is, perhaps, most famous for observing the number of transistors on microchips had, roughly, doubled every year since they were invented.   That prediction became known as ‘Moore’s Law’.





Why would you show a picture of a cell-site when marketing AM Transmitters?


The company is based in Migual, Santiago, Chile.




Later that morning, just south of SR-112 on the Joyce – Piedmont Road.    Had to stop for traffic.


That’s it for this month.

Lord willing, I’ll see you here next month.



Clay, K7CR, CPBE

SBE Member # 714

Since March 1968 / 55 years.