Identify Allocation Problems
     

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Fig. 1: Cavell, Mertz & Associates offers a new service Facilities Activities Reports. Here, a sample page from a report for station WAXQ(FM) in New York.

The site www.fccinfo.com is a service of Cavell, Mertz & Associates. That consultancy has now released a new service called Facilities Activities Reports.

This is a reasonably-priced notification service that provides updated facility information, on a weekly basis, about FCC filings that might affect a particular station. These reports are unique in that possible allocation problems are identified; links take you to the company’s FCCInfo website, providing more detail at the click of a mouse. Consolidated reports for group engineering managers also are available.

A free custom report is available to Workbench readers. To find out more, contact Richard Mertz at (703) 392-9090. Maintain your competitive edge!

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Tim Walker is a contract and projects engineer based in North Carolina. While visiting a client’s station in Virginia recently, he discovered the bird in the station’s transmitter.

Fig. 2: An open air vent lured this unfortunate bird into the PA cavity.
This AM site uses a Wilkinson AM-1000B transmitter, which has an open air exhaust port above the PA tube deck. The avian explorer flew in, against the exhaust, only to land on the RF side of the plate blocking capacitor. It looks like contact with the plate cap of the PA tube cooked its goose. The 1970s vintage Wilkinson AM 1 KW transmitter has a 3 kV plate supply.

The construction of an open exhaust cavity above the PA cabinet would not be permitted today. A piece of half-inch wire mesh placed on top of the transmitter would guard against future intrusion.

Over the years in Workbench, we’ve had every kind of snake and rodent enter transmitters; I believe this is our first bird.

* * *

Greg Manfroi handles engineering for the University of Illinois at Springfield. The station uses a Broadcast Electronics rack-mounted FMi-201 transmitter.

The AC mains circuit breaker in the transmitter opened. To access the breaker, you must remove screws on the side of the transmitter that secure the access cover. However, in Greg’s case, a Harris HT-20 sits next to the BE, blocking access to the screws. Here’s how he solved the problem.

It’s been Greg’s practice to save the rack panels that Middle Atlantic uses to keep their racks from distorting during shipping.

After the breaker opened, Greg installed two of these rack panels on the rear rails of the transmitter rack, leaving 3-1/2-inch spacing between them. He mounted another panel on the front rails.

He then took an 8-foot-long square timber from a local hardware store and cut it in two. Using his long cable TV installer’s drill, he created a hole at the end of each timber. He slid the timbers under the transmitter, and dropped a 5-inch bolt with a stack of fender washers into the holes on each timber to act as stops. The timbers sat on the front and rear panels, wedged in the rear between the rear upper and lower panels. The bolt washers prevented the timbers from pulling out; the transmitter thus was held snugly against each timber.

He then was able to slide the transmitter forward to gain access to the breaker cover screws, using the timbers as rails.

After replacing the breaker, he slid the transmitter back into the rack and reinstalled the rack screws. Greg left the rack panels in place, in case he has to do this again.

* * *

Milan Chepko is with Veni Vidi Video in Georgia. Milan writes with an excellent source for those highly reflective “space blankets” at reasonable prices: eBay.

Recently, Milan bought 15 of these paper-thin, yet efficient blankets for less than $15, including shipping. He placed several in his vehicles and passed some on to friends for emergency use. You can outfit an emergency transmitter site kit for next to nothing. Don’t put it off, it could save your life!

A few years back, Milan used one of these reflective blankets to cover a window that was letting in too much sun in the afternoon. If reflected most of the heat without darkening the room completely.

Fig. 3: The date should be shown as 11/24/10. This was a Y2K problem and was corrected in 1999.
* * *

Remember that wacky picture in the Feb. 1 Workbench of the strange year displayed on the old Sage Endec? It’s shown again here in Fig. 3.

Harold Price from Sage writes to point out that the photo is a real blast from the past, as it shows a screenshot of the “menu.alerts.view alert log” feature on a model 1822 Endec. It shows a Y2K problem in an early version of the Endec software for that model (versions prior to 5.103).

The date should be shown as 11/24/10, but Harold points out that this was an issue only in the display of the old alert log, and would not affect the date shown on the printer log, text crawls, etc. It would also not affect the actual relay of that alert.

The problem was corrected in 1999. The problem is not present on the new Sage Digital Endec (model 3644).

Harold advises customers that the 1822 Endec does contain a user-replaceable coin cell battery, and when it is depleted, the time can reset to 1996. That battery does need to be replaced every 10 years or so, depending on ambient temperature. Replace the battery when the clock reverts to 1996 and you get a “Time BAD” error when trying to correct it.

Thanks, Harold, for some good tips in maintaining your fine EAS product.

John Bisset marked his 40th year in radio in broadcasting recently. He now works with Tieline Technology. He is a past recipient of the SBE’s Educator of the Year Award. Reach him at johnpbisset@gmail.com. He can be reached at (603) 472-5282. Faxed submissions can be sent to (603) 472-4944.

Submissions for this column are encouraged and qualify for SBE recertification credit.


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