FCC "Query" Tools

Dave Doherty dave@skywaves.net
Sat Feb 23 22:14:14 EST 2013

I'd have to agree with Dale.  For looking up data on a station or three, the
Query tools are much quicker to use than CDBS, and they give you quite a bit
more info than you can see online for most CDBS applications.

Dale Bickel (Radio) and Hossein Hashemzadeh (TV) at the Commission have done
a very nice job of maintaining and improving the Query services, which are
based on the old download files from the VAX (pre-CDBS) licensing system. 

One very nice recent addition is scans of the old pre-VAX paper card file
records of some stations.  There's a lot of very interesting history there.
Unfortunately, not all the old card files have been scanned and linked yet,
so it's catch-as-catch-can.

There are also new links to Broadcast Aux Services, like STLs and RPUs, and
to maps and Google KML files.

The key to getting this data is to enter the call sign or facility ID,
scroll down to the output type selector, and select the third option (Query)
in the drop-down box.

The only caveat is that many CDBS online displays are live, while the Query
tools are created from overnight batch processes. At best then, Query shows
you data as of the close of business the previous day.  I have noticed in
the past (not checked recently) that the FMQuery has run as much as two days
behind CDBS, due to the timing of the various batch processes on the servers
used to generate the CDBS and VAX download files. 

Post-2000 applications that were filed in CDBS are available for online
viewing, but anything prior to 2000 requires a researcher to pull the app if
you want to see it.  Even today, 302-AMs (AM license applications) are still
filed on paper.  So there are degrees of difficulty that can vary
significantly from station to station and service to service when you are
trying to extract detailed technical data from the CDBS online viewer.  It's
all there in CDBS, but they haven't brought it out to the public for online
viewing. The Query tools fulfill that requirement.

So if you want to confirm that an app was granted today, you need to check
its status in CDBS.  If you need detailed tech info on a station that has
not made a technical change since 2000, you need the Query tools. 

They are both extremely valuable sources.


-----Original Message-----
From: boston-radio-interest-bounces@tsornin.BostonRadio.org
[mailto:boston-radio-interest-bounces@tsornin.BostonRadio.org] On Behalf Of
Dale H. Cook
Sent: Saturday, February 23, 2013 8:58 PM
To: boston-radio-interest@lists.BostonRadio.org
Subject: Re: WBUR's L-O-N-G Station ID

At 04:22 PM 2/23/2013, Garrett Wollman wrote:

>(2) If you're using "<something> Query", you're doing it wrong.

The Commission's query pages provide extensive information about stations in
a format that is far more useful to me, as a long-time broadcast CE, than
trying to access that information through CDBS.

http://www.fcc.gov/mb/audio/amq.html for AM
http://www.fcc.gov/mb/audio/fmq.html for FM
http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/tv-query-broadcast-station-search for TV

In the output pick list choose the "Query" output, which is most detailed
and includes CDBS links if you need them. For example, a detailed query
output for WBZ provides DA parameters, as well as links to DA pattern data
and an E-field pattern plot.

Dale H. Cook, Market Chief Engineer, Centennial Broadcasting,
Roanoke/Lynchburg, VA http://plymouthcolony.net/starcityeng/index.html 

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