Mic Arms, Antenna Brackets and Other Workbench Tips
Robin Cross of KCUR(FM) in Kansas City, Mo., has a novel way of
identifying microphones in his interview studio: Paint the mic arm riser
|Fig. 1:Painted arm risers identify talk-studio
As shown in Fig. 1, the colored
risers make it easy for a board operator to spot which mic is which.
Bright, bold colors like
red, yellow or green work best and are more easily identifiable than colored
windscreens or colored cable. Best of all, using spray paint, you can choose
from a wide selection of colors. Add a swatch under the corresponding fader on
the board, and the issue of pushing up the wrong fader is solved.
Greg Manfroi, chief
at WUIS(FM)/University of Illinois at Springfield, needed to mount an
omnidirectional FM receive antenna on his STL tower. Instead of buying another
side-mount bracket, Greg built his own.
started by purchasing the following: two 10-foot lengths of PVC pipes 1-1/2-inch
diameter; one length of PVC pipe 1 inch in diameter; four U-bolts; and eight
lock washers and nuts.
He cut the 10-foot PVC pipes down to six feet.
These would attach to the tower. He measured the tower legs at the point where
the antenna would be mounted; then he marked the support pieces and drilled
holes for U-bolts to attach them to the steel.
cut the narrower PVC pipe to 34 inches long. This cross-member would be his
mast. To secure it to its supports, Greg made notches for the U-bolts to slip
into, marking and drilling holes where the end of the notches would go. Then
Greg wrapped painter’s tape around the pipe on each end of the drilled holes.
Using the tape as a guide, Greg cut the notches with a hacksaw and assembled
The bracket is sturdy enough for mounting a
lightweight antenna. The PVC pipes cost $12, the U-bolts $6 and the lock-washers
only 80 cents. Total cost: $18.80.
|Fig. 2:Assemble the antenna bracket.
Greg notes that he used electrical PVC pipe
because it is sunlight-resistant. Its grey color blends in with the tower.
My co-workers in the Elenos
Miami service department, Edgar Higueros and Jose Toscano, have another use for
Styrofoam drink cups: Use them to hold equipment hardware.
Small pieces of hardware
such as nuts, bolts and screws can get lost if you don’t keep them in one
place. Pictured in Fig. 5, the cup works well because it is deep. Shaking out
the hardware into your hand is easier than searching for it on a workbench top.
I’ve also seen engineers press muffin tins into service as hardware
organizers. The advantage here is that you have six or 12 compartments in which
to store hardware.
This can be useful when
disassembling equipment with a lot of hardware, or with varying sizes. Each
step of disassembly can have its own muffin tin compartment. Thanks to Edgar
and Toscano for a simple but useful tip.
Marc Mann writes from San Diego that he has started using the P-Touch Labeling
System and marked everything in sight — especially wire leads, connectors and
wall warts as suggested previously in Workbench.
the bracket on the tower.
he says the labels started peeling off within six months or even sooner,
depending on the temperature of the area and the nature of the surface.
further, Marc discovered that he was not using Brother’s commercial-quality label stock.Brother (and others) makes “pro” label stock,
available for various types of surfaces. For example, Marc ended up relabeling
with its product called Flexible ID, which is made for wrapping or flagging
wire and uses extra-strength adhesive.
embarking on such a project, Marc suggests you research the industrial-grade
label stock available for a chosen label machine to avoid premature label
a link to Brother’s label application chart, which we’ve posted at radioworld.com/links. You’ll also find a link to Brother’s industrial
product line, detailing its field service labels.
completed bracket and antenna.
|Fig. 5: Treat yourself to a cup of nuts (and bolts). Use a Styrofoam cup to hold parts during disassembly.
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John Bisset has spent 43 years
in the broadcasting industry, and is still learning. He is SBE certified and is
a past recipient of the SBE’s Educator of the Year Award. He works for transmitter
company Elenos USA.