Some may wonder in my last post I mentioned a case where the transmitter needs to be off in 3 minutes.. Most interpret this as 3 hours for TV and 3 minutes for AM radio but as you can see this is not stated clearly in this document, a 3 minute shut down is possible with a cell phone or regular phone and a remote that will allow call in such as a Gentner 3000 or Any of the Broadcast tools units.
In addition to a regular dial up connection, a network IP connection to site allows a back up method of control.
Here is the FCC on “unattended operation” its always good to review the case “when no one is home”.
Unattended Operation of Radio and Television Broadcast Stations
In 1995, the Commission adopted the Report and Order in MM Docket 94-130, 10 FCC Rcd 11479 (1995) [ PDF | Word ] which permitted radio and TV broadcast stations to be operated without a person standing by to monitor the transmitter’s operation (“unattended operation”). This action was taken to permit licensed broadcast stations to take advantage of advances in station monitoring equipment and the inherent reliability and stability of today’s transmission equipment. However, questions have arisen as to how the relevant rule sections (47 CFR Sections 73.1300, 73.1350, 73.1400, 73.1820, 74.734, and 74.1234) apply in particular circumstances. The Audio Division, Media Bureau, in coordination with the Enforcement Bureau, has prepared this question-and-answer sheet to address these inquiries.
Q1: Notification to Commission: Am I required to notify the Commission when a broadcast station begins unattended operation of its transmitter?
A: No. Notification is not required when a station begins unattended operation of its transmitter. See 73.1300
A: No. The Report and Order had no effect on the main studio requirements for radio and television broadcast stations. The “unattended operation” refers to a lack of human monitoring of the transmitter itself, not the entire station. Radio and TV stations, with the exception of low power television stations and FM and TV translator and booster stations, and also excepting those stations for whom waiver of the main studio rules was granted, are still required to comply with the main studio requirements of 47 CFR Section 73.1125. Note, however, that the rules do not require the main studio staff to monitor an unattended broadcast transmitter.
A: No. At the present time, the Commission does not require the installation of automatically adjusting monitoring and control equipment (referred to in the Commission’s rules as an Automatic Transmission System or ATS) before a station employs unattended operation of its broadcast transmitter. If automatically adjusting monitor and control equipment is not employed, suitable equipment must be employed which is expected to operate within assigned tolerances for extended periods of time without constant human monitoring. See 47 CFR Section 73.1400.
A: Yes. A dedicated telephone line (using the public switched telephone network) to the transmitter site is one which is used for the sole purpose of interacting with the broadcast transmitter and monitoring equipment. Pursuant to 47 CFR Section 73.1350, it may not be used for other purposes during periods when it is in use for transmitter monitoring, alarms, or control. However, the telephone line may be used for other purposes during periods when the transmitter is being monitored and controlled by other means, e.g., by a person at the transmitter site.
A: The personnel designated by the licensee to control the transmitter must have the capability to turn the transmitter off at all times, or include an alternate method of taking control of the transmitter which can terminate the station’s operation within 3 minutes. See 73.1350(b)(2). An example of a system of this type, independent of automatic equipment, would be equipment to turn the transmitter off when the studio-to-transmitter (STL) link is turned off by personnel at the studio. This short response time is intended to cover those rare instances where the malfunctioning equipment may be posing a threat to public safety, e.g., by causing interference to a land mobile based emergency radio system.
In general, the licensee or permittee must correct any malfunction which could cause interference or turn the transmitter off within 3 hours of the malfunction. Some malfunctions, however, must be corrected within 3 minutes. Examples of situations requiring termination within 3 minutes are operations posing a threat to life or property, or that is likely to significantly disrupt operations of other stations (such as spurious emissions or operations substantially at variance from the authorized radiation pattern), unless the power is sufficiently reduced in that period to eliminate any excess radiation. See Sections 73.62 for AM stations and Section 73.1350 for AM, FM, and TV stations, as revised in the Report and Order in MB Docket 03-151, FCC 07-97, released May 25, 2007 [ PDF ].
A: The answer depends on the level of automation employed by the station, as follows:
Q7: How do the unattended operation rules apply to my FM translator or booster station or my low power TV station or TV translator or booster station?
A: Unattended operation for low power TV stations and TV translator and booster stations is covered by 47 CFR Section 74.734, while unattended operation for FM translator and booster stations is covered by 47 CFR Section 74.1234. These rule sections require the following:
Q8: Transmission System Control Point: How and When do I notify the Commission of the establishment of a Transmission System Control Point location?
A: The location of a transmission system control point, or remote control point, other than at the transmitter site or at the main studio, must be sent by letter to the following Media Bureau locations:
Video Division (1800E) (Television)
at the FCC, Washington, DC 20554 within 3 days of the initial use of that point. Please include the station’s call sign and Facility ID number with any notification of the transmission system control point address and provide the telephone number at that control point. Post Office (P.O.) boxes are not acceptable addresses. The rule does not preclude the establishment of multiple transmission system control sites, or set a limit on the location of these sites. Notification is not required if personnel can be contacted at the main studio site or transmitter site during all hours of operation. See 47 CFR Section 73.1350(h) (formerly subsection (g)). For clarity, we ask that when notification is made of a new transmission system control point, the letter contain a list of all the remote control points currently in use: this will make clear whether a previously notified control point remains valid.
A: A station, attended or unattended, must establish suitable monitoring procedures of its equipment and maintainance schedules for the station and indicating instruments to ensure that the equipment is operating properly. See 47 CFR Section 73.1350(c). The FCC does not prescribe any particular procedure or schedule interval for a station to use. Operating and Maintenance Logs for Broadcast and Broadcast Auxiliary Stations, BC Docket 82-537, 54 RR 2d 805 (1983). We suggest that any procedures established be reduced to writing to provide proof that monitoring procedures exist. Please note that indicating instruments must comply with the requirements of 47 CFR Section 73.1215.
Licensees and permittees should be aware that the Chief Operator of the station, whether attended or unattended, is responsible for weekly inspections of log entries and the additional information required by 47 CFR Section 73.1870(c).
A: Yes. The station should take care to record each failure, out-of-tolerance condition, or corrective action (including calibration of automatic devices) made to the transmission system equipment, including monitoring and control devices. See 47 CFR Section 73.1820(a) and (a)(1).
Sections 73.1800 and 73.1820 state that the entries in the station log should be made by the person designated by the licensee to take charge of the transmitting equipment. Automatic equipment may be used to record entries for the station, provided that the requirements of 47 CFR Section 73.1820(b) are met by the recording device. Station logs must be kept at least 2 years. See 47 CFR Section 73.1840 for additional information regarding retention of station logs.
EAS activations, and EAS equipment taken out of service for repairs, must be logged each time. See 47 CFR Sections 11.35 and 11.53(b)(14). . FM and TV translator and booster stations are not required to comply with the EAS requirements of Part 11. For more information concerning EAS, please see the Internet pages at http://www.fcc.gov/eb/eas/.
Log entries must be made of any malfunction or extinguishment of tower lighting, or any notification made to the FAA of the same, and a log entry should be made when normal functioning resumes. See 47 CFR Sections 17.48, 17.49, and 73.1820 (or 47 CFR Section 74.734 for low power TV stations and TV translator and booster stations, or 47 CFR Section 74.1234 for FM translator and booster stations). Visual observations to verify proper operation of the tower lighting must be made once a day, unless an automatic alarm system is installed to notify the station of any malfunction (see 47 CFR Section 17.47). While daily observations are no longer required to be logged, we strongly suggest that the station do so.
For FM, TV, and most AM stations, changes to and readings of metering equipment are not required to be logged. However, AM directional stations without an approved sampling system must log the meter data called for in 47 CFR Section 73.1820(b)(2) every three hours. Operating and Maintenance Logs for Broadcast and Broadcast Auxiliary Stations, BC Docket 82-537, 54 RR 2d 805 (1983).
This information sheet should answer most questions dealing with unattended operation of broadcast stations. In the event that a particular question is not adequately answered by this information sheet, or poses an apparent conflict with the rule section, please refer to the specific rule section(s) for guidance.
This document is available on the Internet at http://www.fcc.gov/mb/audio/bickel/noonehome.html.
Additional information about radio broadcast stations may be obtained from the Audio Division at (202)-418-2700, or by viewing the Audio Division’s Internet Web pages at http://www.fcc.gov/mb/audio/.
Additional information about television broadcast stations may be obtained from the Video Division at (202)-418-1600, or by viewing the Video Division’s Internet Web pages at http://www.fcc.gov/mb/video/.
Information from the Enforcement Bureau, including Broadcast Self-Inspection Checklists for AM, FM, and TV stations, can be obtained from the Internet at http://www.fcc.gov/eb/ or by calling (202)-418-1110.
Dale Bickel firstname.lastname@example.org