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Old 04-15-2009, 09:51 AM
Drew Yaussy Drew Yaussy is offline
 
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Default Operating Sat truck - 1 or 2 people

For those of us that have photogs operating sat trucks - Do you use one or 2 photogs when you go live? We currently use one photog for standard microwave shots, but we use 2 when we operate the sat truck. Our reasoning is 1) compliance with FCC regs (they state an operator must be in control of the earth station at all times when transmitting), and 2) the overall complexity of operating the satellite dish and transmitter.

I am getting some pressure to relax this rule, and allow one photog to handle satellite lives. We currently allow one photog when feeding back video.

What are your policies?
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Old 04-15-2009, 10:53 AM
Imachief Imachief is offline
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Who's pressuring you? If it's your ND or GM, you might remind them of the FCC mandates. At my shop we use 2 for all satellite shots. One runs the truck, the other shoots, edits, and does the live. Period. Microwave shots are handled solo.

FCC inspectors have the uncanny knack of showing up in the strangest places; long story, I won't bore you with details. Do you really want to be the unlucky one who has to explain why the station is suddenly getting cited/fined because management wants to "save" a few bucks, and cut corners?

To cover yourself, it might not be a bad idea to ask for management's rationale in writing. That ought to make them think again.
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Last edited by Imachief; 04-15-2009 at 10:57 AM. Reason: spelling errors
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Old 04-16-2009, 08:01 AM
JimmyS. JimmyS. is offline
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Do some research, first. Find out exactly what 'being in control of the Earth station' means before you claim that it's FCC regs.
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Old 04-16-2009, 10:33 AM
Imachief Imachief is offline
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Default There have been numerous discussions about this topic

This has been posted here previously, but here it is again:

TITLE 47--TELECOMMUNICATION

CHAPTER I--FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

PART 25--SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS

Subpart D--Technical Operations

Sec. 25.271 Control of transmitting stations.

(a) The licensee of a facility licensed under this part is responsible for the proper operation and maintenance of the station.

(b) The licensee of a transmitting earth station licensed under this part shall ensure that a trained operator is present on the earth station site, or at a designated remote control point for the earth station, at all times that transmissions are being conducted. No operator's license is required for a person to operate or perform maintenance on facilities authorized under this part.
(c) Authority will be granted to operate a transmitting earth station by remote control only on the conditions that:
(1) The parameters of the transmissions of the remote station monitored at the control point, and the operational functions of the
remote earth stations that can be controlled by the operator at the control point, are sufficient to insure that the operations of the remote station(s) are at times in full compliance with the remote station authorization(s);
(2) The earth station facilities are protected by appropriate security measures to prevent unauthorized entry or operations;
(3) Upon detection by the license, or upon notification from the Commission of a deviation or upon notification by another licensee of
harmful interference, the operation of the remote station shall be immediately suspended by the operator at the control point until the deviation or interference is corrected, except that
transmissions concerning the immediate safety of life or property may be conducted for the duration of the emergency; and
(4) The licensee shall have available at all times the technical personnel necessary to perform expeditiously the technical servicing and
maintenance of the remote stations.
(d) The licensee shall insure that the licensed facilities are properly secured against unauthorized access or use whenever an operator
is not present at the transmitter.
(e) The licensee of an NGSO FSS system operating in the 10.7-14.5 GHz bands shall maintain an electronic web site bulletin board to list the satellite ephemeris data, for each satellite in the constellation, using the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) two-line orbital element format. The orbital elements shall be updated at least once every three days.

[58 FR 13421, Mar. 11, 1993, as amended at 66 FR 10631, Feb. 16, 2001]

So, after doing my reasearch I would submit; if as the operator of the truck you are the person responsible for finding the satellite, accessing and powering up on the correct transponder, then YOU are to stay at the controls during transmission.

However, if your vehicle is equipped with systems allowing the access operators to bring your vehicle up to power on their transponder, and take your "shot" off the satellite, the arguement can be made that they, not you are in control of the earth station. Then, and only then, would I allow my staff to do solo satellite transmissions.

Another question; what does your station's contract with theier satellite provider say? That contract may very well dictate how satellite transmissions are conducted, despite management's thoughts to the contrary.
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Old 04-16-2009, 02:38 PM
JimmyS. JimmyS. is offline
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I totally get what you are saying and wish we coulda sent two photographers to every sat shot when I worked at a TV station. However, no where does it state in the FCC regs that the operator has to be inside the remote station.

The parameters of the transmissions of the remote station monitored at the control point, and the operational functions of the
remote earth stations that can be controlled by the operator at the control point, are sufficient to insure that the operations of the remote station(s) are at times in full compliance with the remote station authorization(s);

This is the closest to stating that an operator must be in the remote vehicle. However, it can be argued that as long as the operator is in control of the site, that is sufficient. Now, if we were to have a long cable run, we sent two photographers on the shot because the 'shooter' can't be in control of the remote site from a long distance away.

Luckily, I don't have to worry about live shots anymore!!!
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Old 04-19-2009, 08:49 AM
Drew Yaussy Drew Yaussy is offline
 
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What I'm taking away from this discussion is that the FCC reg is open to interpretation:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Imachief View Post
(c) Authority will be granted to operate a transmitting earth station by remote control only on the conditions that:
(1) The parameters of the transmissions of the remote station monitored at the control point, and the operational functions of the
remote earth stations that can be controlled by the operator at the control point, are sufficient to insure that the operations of the remote station(s) are at times in full compliance with the remote station authorization(s);
(2) The earth station facilities are protected by appropriate security measures to prevent unauthorized entry or operations;
<snip>

So, after doing my reasearch I would submit; if as the operator of the truck you are the person responsible for finding the satellite, accessing and powering up on the correct transponder, then YOU are to stay at the controls during transmission.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyS View Post
it can be argued that as long as the operator is in control of the site, that is sufficient.
Our sister station has a rule that a single operator can shoot a lock-down live shot with less than 100' of cable run. I think 100' is too long to react to emergencies in the truck, and I am always concerned about leaving a camera on a tripod. That being said, a rule like this opens our newscasts to more flexible live coverage.

So, according to this discussion, the rule is not b&w, but everyone prefers an extra photog for safety's sake, am I right?
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Old 04-19-2009, 09:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew Yaussy View Post
What I'm taking away from this discussion is that the FCC reg is open to interpretation:

Our sister station has a rule that a single operator can shoot a lock-down live shot with less than 100' of cable run. I think 100' is too long to react to emergencies in the truck, and I am always concerned about leaving a camera on a tripod. That being said, a rule like this opens our newscasts to more flexible live coverage.

So, according to this discussion, the rule is not b&w, but everyone prefers an extra photog for safety's sake, am I right?
I'm a former Chief and current devil's advocate. If you were trained properly there shouldn't be any safety issues in the field. I know that people make mistakes when they get in a rush, but if you know what your job is and what to look out for in the field, no one's safety should be at risk, right? (Barring crazy weather) Sending one person to do a SAT shot that has been trained as such, is most of the time sufficient with a less than 100' cable run.
Like I said... It would be nice to send two photographers to EVERY live shot, but that's not going to happen with limited staff.

By the way... If some of you are so concerned with this, don't go to your ND or Chief Engineer, write the FCC and have them interpret the rule.
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Old 04-30-2009, 03:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imachief View Post
This has been posted here previously, but here it is again:

TITLE 47--TELECOMMUNICATION

CHAPTER I--FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

PART 25--SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS

Subpart D--Technical Operations

Sec. 25.271 Control of transmitting stations.

...

(b) The licensee of a transmitting earth station licensed under this part shall ensure that a trained operator is present on the earth station site, or at a designated remote control point for the earth station, at all times that transmissions are being conducted. No operator's license is required for a person to operate or perform maintenance on facilities authorized under this part.

...

(1) The parameters of the transmissions of the remote station monitored at the control point, and the operational functions of the remote earth stations that can be controlled by the operator at the control point, are sufficient to insure that the operations of the remote station(s) are at times in full compliance with the remote station authorization(s);

...

(3) Upon detection by the license, or upon notification from the Commission of a deviation or upon notification by another licensee of harmful interference, the operation of the remote station shall be immediately suspended by the operator at the control point until the deviation or interference is corrected, except that transmissions concerning the immediate safety of life or property may be conducted for the duration of the emergency; and
(4) The licensee shall have available at all times the technical personnel necessary to perform expeditiously the technical servicing and maintenance of the remote stations.

...
I've cut through some of the legal-ese to highlight what, I thought, were the important points to this discussion.

My intrepretation of this is that immediacy is paramount if something goes wrong with the shot. Access calls you and is screaming to power down immediately, for whatever reason, you can't possibly do that if you're at the end of a 100' cable or what have you. If you're set up right outside the truck then I'd venture to say you're fine. But if you're polarity goes way off, or your HPA decides to pump out a few more watts, or your dish starts doing "The Twist" wouldn't you rather have a seperate DSNG operator to handle that while you're shooting or editing?

What I've been taught / told regarding DSNG ops: come TX time, be in the truck at the controls. Period.
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Last edited by csusandman; 06-17-2009 at 06:57 PM.
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Old 04-30-2009, 07:18 PM
JimmyS. JimmyS. is offline
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"trained operator is present on the earth station site, or at a designated remote control point for the earth station, at all times that transmissions are being conducted"

Yep. But, still being devil's advocate... This can be interpretted two ways. What is the "station site" The truck? Or the site that the truck is parked? And if and if the operator is 100' away, he/she is still present right? "Designated control point": Could that be the truck itself or the place where the operator is standing?
See what I'm saying? There are two ways to look at the text. Believe me, I tried to get around it many times... But, when you realize that an attourny is looking at the same words for the station, they will interpret it to benefit the company.

Oh... Here is something you may be able to work with: The licensee shall have available at all times the technical personnel necessary to perform expeditiously the technical servicing and maintenance of the remote stations.
How many of you operators can perform "servicing or maintenance" on your truck? You don't even need a license to operate. But, the station carries an 'overall' license for everyone. Don't you think an engineer with 'maintenace' experience needs to be at the remote site?

Think about that and see if works for your cause. Because nothing else in the code will.
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Old 05-04-2009, 07:49 AM
SamG SamG is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by csusandman View Post
I've cut through some of the legal-ese to highlight what, I thought, were the important points to this discussion.

My intrepretation of this is that immediacy is paramount if something goes wrong with the shot.
What's the definition of "immediate"? 1 second, 5 seconds, 10? How long does it take to walk/run 100' if your phone rings and the caller ID identifies the satellite center? How long does it take the satellite center to tell you about the problem and what they want you to do about it (adjust power, adjust cross pol, shutdown)? What if you're only 50' away?

Quote:
But if you're polarity goes way off, or your HPA decides to pump out a few more watts, or your dish starts doing "The Twist" wouldn't you rather have a seperate DSNG operator to handle that while you're shooting or editing?
Nobody is saying they don't WANT a two person crew. But it's not easy to point to the FCC regs and say it's REQUIRED.

Quote:
As we all know, ENG isn't as big as DSNG 'cause it's local and only affects those in your immediate market whereas DSNG can be nationwide, if not worldwide.
Aside from affecting satellites (and you can cancel out the "twist" by turning your dish controller off), there is really no safety difference between DSNG & ENG... in fact, I'd think ENG is different because of the 50' stick up in the air.

Quote:
That's what I've been taught / told regarding DSNG ops: come TX time, be in the truck at the controls. Period.
That's great. No one hear is faulting you. All Jimmy is saying is the regs don't require someone to be in the truck.
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Old 04-16-2009, 03:36 PM
Drew Yaussy Drew Yaussy is offline
 
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Default let's discuss further

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyS. View Post
This is the closest to stating that an operator must be in the remote vehicle. However, it can be argued that as long as the operator is in control of the site, that is sufficient. Now, if we were to have a long cable run, we sent two photographers on the shot because the 'shooter' can't be in control of the remote site from a long distance away.
JimmyS hits the nail on the head. The rule is up for interpretation. I personally prefer the safety of 2 people for ALL live shots. But I also have to deal with the reality of hard economic times.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Imachief View Post
FCC inspectors have the uncanny knack of showing up in the strangest places; long story, I won't bore you with details.
Please DO "bore" me with details! Give me dates, places, and names. It can only help me make a responsible decision.
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Old 04-16-2009, 03:41 PM
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In the 17 years of working in the news business, I've never had a FCC rep show up at a live shot. At the station, yes. But, not a live shot.
Please tell everyone how and where this happened and how you handled it so that all photographers that run trucks can be aware of this potential disaster.
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Old 04-17-2009, 12:02 PM
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Default Setting up a bad scenario

I say that 2 photogs should be sent on every sat shot.
Even if you are close to the truck when doing your shot, equipment malfunctions. I once had my HPA mysteriously shoot up from 24 watts to 150. I quickly got a call from SES Americom asking what was up. I killed the signal - much to a producers dislike. I WILL NOT be the guy who damages the truck, or worse, the bird.
Aside from that, I think there is a safety issue at play.
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Old 05-26-2009, 02:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyS. View Post
In the 17 years of working in the news business, I've never had a FCC rep show up at a live shot. At the station, yes. But, not a live shot.
Please tell everyone how and where this happened and how you handled it so that all photographers that run trucks can be aware of this potential disaster.

You might not have been at the right stories, or just got lucky. I have run into FCC Freq Cordinators twice in my 8 years of doing satellite operations. One was at the NFL hall of fame in Canton, OH....the other, was at a local story at a school, one of the FCC cord. happened to live across the street and came over to chat and see what was going on. We were the only station there. I know this guy from being around the market, but that wouldn't have stopped him from from shutting it down if something was not right.

A few things to consider. Your stations chief engineer or chief operators FCC license is on the license for the sat truck. If the FCC does catch you, not only would the station get fined, they could loose their license.

The rules are pretty clear.

(b) The licensee of a transmitting earth station licensed under this part shall ensure that a trained operator is present on the earth station site, or at a designated remote control point for the earth station, at all times that transmissions are being conducted. No operator's license is required for a person to operate or perform maintenance on facilities authorized under this part.

The Earth station site...the site is the truck. But, for the sake of argument, if you want to include the live shot area as the site Section 2 says:

(2) The earth station facilities are protected by appropriate security measures to prevent unauthorized entry or operations

Are you doing that? Is there security to prevent unauthorized entry or operations? If I happen to show up at your truck and open the door, is there someone or something there to stop me? If not you are not in complaince.

Ask a laywer and they will agree.
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by satop View Post
You might not have been at the right stories, or just got lucky. I have run into FCC Freq Cordinators twice in my 8 years of doing satellite operations. One was at the NFL hall of fame in Canton, OH....the other, was at a local story at a school, one of the FCC cord. happened to live across the street and came over to chat and see what was going on. We were the only station there. I know this guy from being around the market, but that wouldn't have stopped him from from shutting it down if something was not right.

A few things to consider. Your stations chief engineer or chief operators FCC license is on the license for the sat truck. If the FCC does catch you, not only would the station get fined, they could loose their license.

The rules are pretty clear.

(b) The licensee of a transmitting earth station licensed under this part shall ensure that a trained operator is present on the earth station site, or at a designated remote control point for the earth station, at all times that transmissions are being conducted. No operator's license is required for a person to operate or perform maintenance on facilities authorized under this part.

The Earth station site...the site is the truck. But, for the sake of argument, if you want to include the live shot area as the site Section 2 says:

(2) The earth station facilities are protected by appropriate security measures to prevent unauthorized entry or operations

Are you doing that? Is there security to prevent unauthorized entry or operations? If I happen to show up at your truck and open the door, is there someone or something there to stop me? If not you are not in complaince.

Ask a laywer and they will agree.
Sorry... But, the rules are not clear. That's why this discussion is so long.

Ah yes... The security section. Shouldn't you lock the doors to the truck if you are going to be away from it, anyway? If you don't, that's your mistake if someone enters the vehicle, right? The phrase "appropriate security measures" is the tell all. Just lock the doors. Ask a lawyer.
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Old 04-17-2009, 06:40 PM
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What happens if you are alone and under extreme deadline and do something like knock sombody else off the bird. Two people all the time!
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Old 04-17-2009, 08:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldhuskie View Post
What happens if you are alone and under extreme deadline and do something like knock sombody else off the bird. Two people all the time!
Look... I agree that there should be two operators in a SAT truck. However, if you've been trained properly then you would know not to knock someone else off the bird, and if you do, that's your mistake. Everyday photogs are under extreme pressure... But, that's part of the job. The deadline is absolute and there is no changing it. So, saying that... You understand what your responsibilities are and should do the best job you can, everyday and all the time. That's why you are a news photog, right?
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Old 04-18-2009, 07:54 AM
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Quote:
However, if you've been trained properly then you would know not to knock someone else off the bird, and if you do, that's your mistake.
That does not account for the uncontrolable events you run into. Weather can have a big effect on your uplink. Precipitation and wind are two such examples.
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Old 04-19-2009, 09:11 AM
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Nothing is B&W in this business, each assignment should be evaluated on it's own merit. A single operator could be sufficient if it is a calm environment and nothing goes wrong. Is it your lead or a kicker? Breaking/evolving news or live only closer? Potentially you could get what you pay for, cheap in the field can lead to cheap on-air.

Show some flexibility in the boardroom and management will respond in kind.
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Old 04-19-2009, 03:23 PM
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How about legal liability if something goes wrong and there's a lawsuit?

If you're a part of the chain of command that sent 1 instead of two and something
went horribly wrong. You could be on the losing end of a civil suit and/or OHSA fines.

Would you sacrifice your home and your kid's college fund to look frugal
for the ND/GM?
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