To establish a benchmark of individual strengths, the National Certification Committee created the concept of Specialist Certifications. To apply for a specialist certification, you must currently hold certification on the Broadcast Engineer, Senior Broadcast Engineer, Professional Broadcast Engineer or Broadcast Networking Engineer Certification level. Exams are three hours and consist of 50 multiple-choice questions. One essay-type question will be selected for each designation. Each essay question is worth 20 points.
8-VSB Specialist (8-VSB)
The SBE Program of Certification designed the 8-VSB Specialist Certification to help evaluate an individual’s ability to perform the necessary tasks to keep facilities operating properly. The exam will cover these areas of competency: transport stream, audio (AC-3), video (MPEG-2), PSIP, DTV standards documents and transmission systems.
ATSC3 Specialist (ATSC3)
The new level of certification was developed by the Society of Broadcast Engineers Certification Committee with direct assistance from the Advanced Television Systems Committee for input on suitable information to include in the exam. The Certification Committee also worked with several SBE members with direct experience installing ATSC 3.0 systems. The exam covers a mix of practical application and technology standards.
AM Directional Specialist (AMD)
The SBE Program of Certification designed the AM Directional Specialist Certification to help evaluate an individual’s ability to perform the necessary tasks to keep facilities operating properly. AM radio stations can operate as non-directional with a single tower or directional using more than one tower. While both require knowledge and skill to maintain in proper working order, the directional antenna system involves a higher degree of skill and understanding of RF theory.
The exam will cover the operation, maintenance and repair of a directional antenna system. These are the tasks common to the station engineer charged with maintaining these systems. The exam will also gauge a person’s knowledge of AM radiators, understanding of the principles of phase addition and cancellation, familiarity with the various components used in a directional antenna system, and ability to correctly make necessary measurements and take proper procedures to make repairs and adjustments to the system. In addition, the exam will cover the FCC rules concerning directional operation, test equipment and safety procedures.
Digital Radio Broadcast Specialist (DRB)
The SBE Program of Certification designed the Digital Radio Broadcast Specialist Certification to help evaluate an individual’s ability to perform the necessary tasks to build and keep facilities operating properly. It will qualify an individual’s knowledge of digital radio broadcasting including audio processing, studio-to-transmitter links and transmission of multi-channel digital program streams.
The specialist exam will include knowledge of importers, exporters, the various methods of combining analog and digital transmitters to antenna systems, delivery of digital audio signals and data to transmitter sites, transmitter emission mask measurements, AM and FM FCC rules, monitoring of digital signals and bandwidth requirements for AM antenna systems.