Control Your DA Over the Web - Radio World

Control Your DA Over the Web

With an eye toward HD Radio, a number of AM stations are considering transmission site upgrades this summer.
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(click thumbnail)Fig. 1: Mounting switches? Bill Ryall's welded transfer switch brackets can speed the job.

(click thumbnail)Fig. 2: With plumb switch mounting, coaxial runs are simplified.

(click thumbnail)Fig. 3: Switches can be mounted vertically with this bracket.

(click thumbnail)Fig. 4: Polish station vehicles to keep your station image clean. Dustin Laird does the duty here.With an eye toward HD Radio, a number of AM stations are considering transmission site upgrades this summer.

In the case of 30-year-old narrow-band directional arrays, the upgrade may be comprehensive. If you think that not much has changed in the world of phasors and control systems, Tom King, president of Kintronic Labs has a surprise.

The Kintronics Model KTL-WAC/PLC/24VDC Web-accessible directional AM antenna system, transmitter and pattern selection controller brings phasor control to the Web.

This control system allows for the station staff to bring up a replica of the front panel of their station directional antenna control system via a browser. The system permits operator selection of a transmitter or pattern with one click of the computer mouse, hence providing the ultimate in operator accessibility to a station antenna system operation. Of course, access to the controller Web port will require a user-defined password.

Using a software-driven programmable logic controller to emulate standard relay logic, this controller will require significantly less rack space than a standard relay logic controller.

Additional features of this system include a customer-specified alarm notification via e-mail; alarm history; automatic pattern and/or transmitter switching with atomic clock synchronization; custom operational reports in a variety of formats; and easy configuration for up to 12 towers and five patterns.

Other features that are provided on any Kintronic Labs pattern control system include key-operated interlock bypass to permit transmitter operation into a dummy load; provisions for transmitter RF mute, antenna safety interlock and dummy load air interlock; failsafe switching logic utilizing the transmitter RF mute to prevent switch movement with RF applied; and an adjustable-duration switching window for solenoid protection and to permit operation of any type of RF switch.

You can learn more about the Web Accessible AM DA System by heading to www.kintronic.com.

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It's nice when a problem is solved by a new product but even better when it's a broadcast engineer who has identified a need and the solution.

Many engineers have been forced to build their own mounting brackets for hanging heavy RF transfer switches. Nassau Maine's Bill Ryall has taken the project one step further, with his boss' encouragement.

Over the years, Bill's company William Ryall Woodworks has built a variety of wooden copy stands for Tony Gervasi's Nassau Radio group to use as it built new studios. But Bill also welds steel angle iron to form vertical and horizontal mounting brackets for transfer switches. Nassau has standardized on the Dielectric series of 1-5/8 and 3-1/8 inch switches for their transmitter sites, but the brackets can be drilled for any switch mounting pattern.

Fig. 1 shows an 1-5/8 switch mounted with the ports horizontal. The mounting bracket can be fastened to Kindorf, Unistrut or similar brands of framing, or simply mounted with lag bolts. Bill includes mounting hardware for the switch and an instruction sheet.

Fig. 2 shows the 3-1/8 inch switch, also with the ports horizontal. Note how easy it is to run straight transmission line runs when the switch is plumb. Bill recommends a laser level, found at Lowes or Home Depot, to ensure the transmission line runs are level.

A box-like bracket is used for vertical switch mounting (ports in the vertical plane), shown in Fig. 3.

Of course, you can spend your time manufacturing a bracket out of Unistrut. But the time constraints that a transmitter project brings make the ready-made welded variety a great way to increase your efficiency. The transfer switch mounting bracket runs about $200.

Want more information? Head to Bill's site www.ryallworks.com.

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Jay Harrison is the general manager for Accent Radio Network. An avid reader of Workbench, he offers yet another program that will set your computer clock. In fact, this program can make corrections once if minute if you wanted that kind of accuracy.

Best of all, the program is free.

Here's the link: http://ravib.com/timesync/.

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Summer months are prime ones for remote vehicles. It's also important that as these traveling billboards roam they put forth the best impression. What better way than by keeping them clean?

Entercom Scranton Market Chief Lamar Smith is a frequent source of neat Workbench tips. He suggests getting a high school or college student to maintain your fleet of remote vehicles over the summer.

Shown in Fig. 4 is Dustin Laird, who has worked part time for the cluster for several years, while going to school.

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Last time, we provided a starting point for inspecting the outside of the transmitter site. For best results, perform that procedure quarterly, if not monthly...Now let's move inside. What follows is a basic list that an entry-level technician can use. Whether you're at the site for a routine inspection or to troubleshoot an emergency, this advice will serve you well.