Faced with wiring up a remote control
panel, Arkansas engineer Rolin Lintag figured there had to be a better way than
mounting the terminal blocks inside the rack, where access would require a
flashlight and patience to check or change wires.
Rolin headed to Wal-Mart. For less than
$6 he picked up a few packs of metal “L” and angle brackets, shown in Fig. 1,
and set to work.
His idea was to mount the blocks to
blank rack panels, then hinge the panels so they would drop down from the front
of the rack. No longer would he have to go through the rear of the rack to get
to his terminal blocks.
Fig. 1: All you need to
hinge rack panels is some inexpensive hardware.
Fig 2: The combination of
bolts, nuts and ‘L’ and angle brackets will be used to secure the rack panels.
Certainly there are fancy panels you
can buy to accomplish this, but not for $6.
Fig. 2 shows the method of
interconnecting the angled steel to the rack. Fig. 3 shows the panels connected
to the makeshift hinges and in the “open” position, so Rolin can gain access to
the terminal blocks.
Fig 3: The terminal
boards are mounted and the rack panels dropped open.
The fourth image shows the panels
closed, in a neat-looking rack.
Rolin writes that he bought the
inexpensive parts himself because he wanted to get the job done right. We’ve
all been there and done that.
Fig. 4: Rack panels in
closed position keep terminal wiring hidden.
Rolin recently was promoted to chief
engineer for the Victory Television Network, a UHF TV network in Arkansas consisting
of KVTN, KVTJ and KVTH. Congrats, Rolin, and thanks for sharing your ingenuity
with readers of Workbench.
* * *
Rich Sweetman is principal in Rich
Sweetman Contract Engineering Services in Iowa. Several years ago, the chief
engineer of a Des Moines radio station group asked Rich if he could help
re-install a counterpoise ground system under the main tower, to replace one
that had been stolen the night before.
Rich learned that this was an ongoing
problem at this AM site. Both engineers had talked to local law enforcement and
requested additional patrols, which the police agreed to do. But a few weeks
later the problem recurred, resulting in more stolen copper.
As the engineers were replacing the
copper, a local farmer showed up, asking what was going on. The chief engineer
told him about the thefts, and added, untruthfully, that the new wire was
copper-coated steel. In reality it was solid copper conductor.
To their amazement, the thefts stopped.
Rich’s assessment: Sometimes a little
misinformation can solve a tedious, time-consuming problem. Rich cannot call
the farmer a thief; but the sequence of events does makes you wonder.
At least the bad guys did not try to
steal the 4-inch hardline feeding the six DA towers. These lines are about 1,500
feet length in total.
During this period, the on-air talent
was required to take meter readings of the antenna system every 30 minutes and
to call local law enforcement if there were any major deviations from previous
readings — all in an effort to catch the thief or thieves.
* * *
David Chenault is general manager for
The Heartbeat of East Texas, KPXI(FM) and KWRD(AM/FM).
He writes to relate that when one of
his networks recently switched satellite frequencies, his stations began
experiencing intermittent dropouts and glitches on the received audio. David
noticed significantly reduced Eb/N0 numbers, and even had
problems acquiring a lock on some of his receivers.
He sent off an email and got a reply
saying some stations had reported similar problems. The network guys asked him
to look at filters or anything that would affect the new settings. However,
every receiver on the dish was having the same issue, an important clue.
After an hour of head-scratching, David
had a hunch. He took a jug of water out to the dish, climbed on a chair and
dowsed the LNB. When he came back in, the Eb/N0
numbers had doubled!
of the sun had been cooking the diode in the LNB on the dish, degrading its
performance. The water cooled the LNB off, restoring normal operation. The
recent change in frequencies apparently had been coincidental.
So now he’s got a sprinkler out and is
regularly “watering” the dish.
Hope David’s tip can help someone else. We always knew
it was hot in Texas!
Contribute to Workbench. You’ll help your fellow engineers and
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firstname.lastname@example.org. Fax to (603) 472-4944.
John Bisset has spent 43 years in the broadcasting industry, and is
still learning. He works for Tieline Technology, is SBE certified and is a past
recipient of the SBE’s Educator of the Year Award.