a recent SBE meeting, discussion turned to setting up an SNMP
Fig. 1: A satellite
dish mount is repurposed to hold a yagi antenna.
SNMP is Simple Network
Management Protocol; it collects information from network devices
such as printers, switches and servers that are operating on an
Internet protocol network.
With so much of the
newer broadcast equipment offering SNMP capability, this is a useful
skill for a broadcast
engineer. The historical display and
trending of parameters about critical systems — such as nearly
everything you’d want to know about Nautel transmitters — can be
invaluable. Furthermore, if you set up graphs for everything on a
common server, you can look at the whole environment from any
Consider SNMP a
diagnostic tool that gives you a bird’s eye view of your facility
in a hurry. A variety of limited-use and free SNMP software is
Just Google “free SNMP
graphing tool.” You’ll find both Windows and Linux versions, as
well as educational white papers to get you started.
of the best things about writing the Workbench
column is learning how engineers repurpose broadcast gear.
Jim Davies is with
WSUI(AM) and KSUI(FM) in Iowa City, Iowa. When he was doing contract
work for Grinnell College, he had to look for an alternative way to
mount a Scala CL7 yagi antenna because the college was not open to
installing a roof-penetrating mount.
Jim discovered an old
nonpenetrating Associated Press dish mount. AP abandoned these a few
years ago, and this one, shown in Fig. 1, was on the roof of another
station Jim services. Taking it down was a breeze, he says. Just toss
the cement blocks off of the roof and onto the grass.
Installing it on the new
building meant Jim had to lug the eight blocks up a narrow
roof-access ladder. The work wasn’t too bad because, for once, this
spring the day was a bit warm. The mount has a 2-3/8-inch diameter
pipe sticking up, which is exactly what the antenna needed for
mounting. Even though it’s a bit low — only 2 feet off the top of
the roof — the mount worked just fine for this application.
Thanks, Jim, for sharing
Fig. 2: The m!ka copy stand is made by Yellowtec.
These unused dishes have
other uses too. We’ve shared previously that one engineer used the
dish for miking ball games. The circular aluminum mount makes a great
handhold to aim the dish toward the action.
you own a m!ka copy stand? It’s a versatile script holder. The
folks at Yellowtec want to make sure you get long life from the copy
stand, so they’ve offered a few hints for the proper care of
First, the “dos.” Do
use cleaner designed for synthetic material or lukewarm water with a
squirt of dishwashing detergent for stubborn stains. Be sure to use a
clean, soft 100 percent cotton cloth.
As for “don’ts,”
don’t use abrasive detergents when cleaning the copy stand. Don’t
use alcoholic cleaners, household towels or similar paper
products. Don’t dry-wipe the copy stand, as dust particles may
cause scratches. Finally, avoid exposing your m!ka copy stand to
extreme temperature fluctuation.
If you don’t have a
m!ka copy stand, you can find out more by visiting
was at Lowes the other day and noticed that the prices of LED light
bulbs are coming down. These bulbs will not only save energy but
offer long life — perfect for fixtures at transmitter sites or
other locations where the access to bulbs are difficult. Start with a
few and see how they work for you.
to Workbench. You’ll help your fellow engineers, and qualify for
SBE recertification credit. Send Workbench tips to
Fax to (603) 472-4944.
John Bisset has spent 44 years in the broadcasting industry and is
still learning. He handles West Coast sales for the Telos Alliance.
He is SBE certified and is a past recipient of the SBE’s Educator
of the Year Award.