Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


Conduit, Hangers Suspend Wire Reels

Also, a website that can tip scrap dealers about stolen copper and help broadcasters track it, too

Fig. 1: Wall-mount closet brackets hold reels of wire.

Fig. 2: A close-up of the bracket used to suspend wire reels. Salem Twin Cities Engineering Manager Steve Smit shared his video doorbell in our Jan. 20 Workbench column, and he now sends us another idea.

Seen in Fig. 1, Steve used readily available closet supports to keep his wire reels organized. A close-up in Fig. 2 shows a piece of conduit that lies in the closet support. This permits the wire reels to turn easily without the wire twisting as it’s spooled out.

What’s nice about Steve’s solution is that the center rod can be removed easily, so wire spools can be changed or added. Choose a smaller diameter piece of conduit or pipe, so most wire spools will fit. Mount the brackets up on a wall, and the wire spools are out of the way, yet ready when you need them.


Fig. 3: Suspended on-air lights identify which studio mics are in use. In our Feb. 3 column, Horace Wong of Entercom San Francisco showed how he tied studio silence sensors to ceiling-mounted strobe lights outside each studio, providing an efficient warning when a station was off the air.

Educational Media Foundation’s Manager of Studio Operations Jonathan Obien had a bit different take using “On Air” lights. With multiple production studios running down both sides of a hallway, Fig. 3 shows how Jonathan and his team suspended the lights on poles, outside each studio. This way it’s easy to see if the mics are in use in any studio — and it’s more efficient than flush-mounted wall mounting.


Fig. 4: Copy the drawing of this Left-Hand/Right-Hand nut for your air staff to ponder! Frank and Dave Hertel of Newman-Kees RF Measurements and Engineering in Evansville had some fun at the drafting table, designing the “nut” pictured in Fig. 4. Frank asks where he can buy a box of these Left-Hand/Right-Hand nuts in 6-32 size.

Townsquare Media’s Ben Davis replied, “The same place you can buy a radiator cap for a ’68 VW Beetle.” That, and turn signal fluid, which you’ll find most reputable auto parts stores keep in stock.


Malaysia’s Paul Sagi sends us a link to a new type of compact fan. Designed for computers, but small enough to use in equipment rack applications, the Silencio FP Series by Cooler Master focuses on quiet performance and reliability. Life expectancy is 160,000 hours. Paul suggests taking advantage of these low-noise characteristics to provide additional cooling as needed in your studios.

The newly patented driver IC provides less vibration and low operating current, which saves on power consumption. The Silencio FP fans also come with protections against fan jams, and an auto-resume function after any blade obstructions are cleared to help protect the blades and motor. For information, search for Cooler Master Silencio fans. Models range from $20 to $100.


Fig. 5: Home page of Art Reis, principal of RadioArt Enterprises, just experienced a doozy of a copper theft at one of his contract stations in the Joliet area. The station was hit with a burglary of copper wire, strap, a Delta OIB-3 and an oscilloscope. The theft occurred over the weekend of Jan. 9–10. The loss was discovered the following Monday morning. A police report has been filed.

Specifically, the stolen copper included about 6,000 feet of #10 soft-drawn, uninsulated copper wire on six large reels, and approximately 100 feet of 6-inch .032-inch strap.

In the course of alerting many of the local scrap dealers about this, one tipped Art to, a website for scrap dealers, alerting them of the possibility of stolen property.

You must register on the site to use it, providing an email address and a password. After that, in the event of a theft from one of your facilities, you may file an incident report. Be sure to include any police report file numbers and a thorough description of the stolen property. Alerts are sent to virtually all scrap yards within a 100-mile radius of the theft site. This is a nationwide service.

This is an idea whose time is way overdue. Perusing the page, there have been more than 17,500 alerts posted. This includes not only copper strap and wire, but cell tower batteries, Cat-5 wire, steel conduit, even kitchen sinks. There are approximately 20,500 users registered. But the most gratifying statistic is the recovered property amount is closing in on $2 million.

Art writes that he hopes you never need the site, but by registering, you’ve taken your first step to thwarting this kind of activity.

Contribute to Workbench. You’ll help your fellow engineers and qualify for SBE recertification credit. Send Workbench tips to [email protected]. Fax to (603) 472-4944.

Author John Bisset has spent 46 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.