Here are two Web sites you'll find useful.
The first, contributed by Sid Schweiger, MIS manager for Entercom in Boston, is the FCC's current inspection checklist. The site is www.fcc.gov/eb/bc-chklsts.
If you are a chief, it's not a bad idea to review this checklist just to make sure everything is in order. Are you a contract engineer? Here's a way to generate additional revenue among your clients. Offer to do a "mock" inspection, using this checklist, to expose any glaring errors or omissions. A $10,000 fine will get the GM's attention, and it seems such fines are being handed out left and right lately.
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Harold Hallikainen offers the most recent FCC broadcast self-inspection report, along with hyperlinks to the cited rules.
Go to www.hallikainen.d2g.com/FCC/FccRules. Scroll down to Part 73 and follow the appropriate links.
Note that within the report, you should not follow the links in the table of contents; they will lead you to the FCC version, which does not have links to the cited rules.
Harold's efforts are appreciated, because you can tie a rule to each potential violation.
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(click thumbnail)Fig. 1: There's tower paint in there - somewhere.
Do you manage your station's tower sites to bring in additional revenue from your "vertical real estate"? Being a site manager can bring its own difficulties.
Fig. 1 shows what happens when contractors are allowed to run their lines unsupervised. In this case, the lines were run on the outside of the tower, obliterating the red and white tower paint with coax "black."
(click thumbnail)Fig. 2: Don't let connections get 'green' with corrosion, whether on a meter or on RF connections in the phasor or coupling unit.
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From our "why didn't I think of that" department comes a really great idea from Norm Laramee.
Norm is the cluster CE for the Cox stations in Tulsa, OK. Over his nearly 30-year career, Norm has designed and built his share of unique problem-solving devices.
One item, created about 10 years ago, is the "Relay Thing." It's a standard Siemon "66" terminal block. Hidden underneath the block and wired to the terminals are 14 DPDT sealed relays. All of the contacts are rated at 5A. Norm builds these in 5, 12 and 24 VDC versions. They can be powered by a small wall-wart supply or any external DC supply. All relays are diode-protected.
To access any relay is as simple as punching down the wires to the appropriate connection on the block. The positive supply voltage is applied only to any pin at row 50. To activate any relay, each relay coil connection is taken to the power supply ground.
The neat things about this product are its obvious simplicity and the fact that it is in a package ("66" block) that is in common use at most broadcast facilities. It's easy to re-program; making changes is as simple as removing and punching down new connections.
Applications include audio and control switching, relay logic for security systems, switching multiple devices at once (ganging relay coils), remote control status or control functions, speaker muting, device switching (skimmer or on-air lights), or automation cue relays for satellite- or automation-originated programs. The list of uses is endless.
The Relay Thing costs $225. If you've priced relays recently, you'll agree this is a good buy. Inquiries can be e-mailed to email@example.com.
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If you started a radio station in your bedroom like I did as a teen, you may have invested in a Voice of Music reel-to-reel machine. The model I had included a built-in PA amplifier tied to the speaker. It was great for remotes.
I'd almost forgotten about this company until I came across the old recorder in my garage. Within the same week, Radio World's Dale Tucker passed on a Web site for the company. A regular newsletter is on hiatus, but back copies can be found at www.thevoiceofmusic.com. Click on newsletters.
Gary Stork maintains this site, and also keeps a large stock of parts, manuals, and bulletins. If you are looking to keep your VM products running, this is the place.
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Got wandering meter readings? Especially for stations not using Delta's TCA RF ammeters, the old thermocouples need good tight connections. Actually, that's good engineering practice for just about anything. As you can see in Fig. 2, there are a lot of connections to keep tight in an AM coupling unit.
Don't let your connections get "green" with corrosion, whether they are on the meter or on RF connections inside the phasor or coupling unit. For that matter, even in an AM or FM transmitter, corroded parts introduce resistance, which causes heating and, eventually, failure.
Submissions for this column are encouraged, and qualify for SBE recertification credit. Fax your submission to (703) 323-8044, or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org