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Dum-Dum Makes You Smart-Smart

Let's visit a neglected transmitter building in the woods. See how many security "issues" you can find

Dave Cox is with BL Broadcasting in Brainerd, Minn. In our Jan. 5 column, he read about the UPS and generator not playing well together. Dave had the same problem in Brainerd. After a number of UPS units and trying to adjust the generator speed, they finally found a solution.

Dave purchased the APC Smart UPS 450. The included software permits an engineer to open up the window for the UPS to be happy with their dirty generator power. Dave reports no problems with the UPS when going onto generator power since making this change.

Hope this helps. If you have any questions, Dave can be reached at [email protected].

. . .

With the spate of reported site break-ins and vandalism, security is a topic on the minds of many engineers these days.

Let’s visit a neglected transmitter building in the woods. See how many security “issues” you can find in Fig. 1.

(click thumbnail)Fig. 1: How many security problems can you find?
Eric Suitter is the assistant engineer at KMLW(FM), Moses Lake, Wash. Eric offers a different twist to the generator/UPS battle. If your UPS doesn’t have a sensitivity adjustment, Eric’s tip might help.

Buy a battery charger appropriate for the batteries used in the UPS, and connect it to an outlet connected only to the generator. Then plug the UPS into an outlet that isn’t on the automatic change over. This way, as long as the generator is running, the batteries remain charged. Quick and simple!

Thanks, Eric, for the novel idea. Eric Suitter can be reached at [email protected].

. . .

Dave Supplee is the northeast regional engineer for Cumulus Media and works closely with Engineering Director Gary Kline. Dave and Gary are proponents of thinking ahead. For them, standard practice includes such steps as adding a spare conduit, “for the future”.

Fig. 2 shows how to ensure the conduit will remain open when you need it.

(click thumbnail)Fig. 2: Use ‘dum-dum,’ a modeling clay-like compound, for sealing unused conduits.
“Dum-dum” is a malleable, clay-like compound available in hardware and electrical supply stores. It does an effective job of sealing openings. In this case, spare conduit pipes won’t become clogged with dirt, leaves or other debris; nor will the conduit fill with water and freeze. Because the compound remains firm but does not harden, it’s peeled back easily.

Dave and Gary haven’t had any rodents eating holes in the material – some sealing materials provide a smorgasbord for rodents – but a steel wool plug sure wouldn’t hurt.

Dave Supplee can be reached at [email protected]; Gary Kline is [email protected].

. . .

O.K., let’s see how you did with our security site issues in Fig. 1.

We’ll start with the door. The lock hasp is broken and the lock is missing. Maybe the owner wanted the site broken into!

The doorknob doesn’t appear to be in such great shape, either. The doorframe has some serious gaps and is also rotten; it probably wouldn’t take but a couple of pulls with a pry bar to yank the whole frame out. But why exert yourself? Whoever installed the door put the hinge pins on the outside. Pop the pins and the door comes right off.

Gaps between the doorframe and the wall invite insects and rodents, too. All cracks should be sealed.

The plywood may be covering a window; again, a pry bar could pop the wooden cover easily. One tip that an engineer used for plywood-covered windows was to string thin wire between the plywood and the wall – if the plywood was removed, the wire was broken and a siren would sound.

Take a look at that flimsy metal plate covering the door. Who knows what is behind it, maybe a hole for a much needed deadbolt! It’s certainly not going to thwart entry; the plate is covered with screws that could be removed easily.

The building is constructed of cinder blocks, so it’s sound, but the entry certainly needs some work.

So, how did you do? Find anything else? Let me know at my new e-mail address, [email protected].

. . .

(click thumbnail)Fig. 3: Install the hasp so it covers mounting screws to deter illegal entry.
Adding a lock and hasp to a gate or door? Reverse the position of the hasp, so the screws are covered by the hasp, as seen in Fig. 3.

You can see that someone has tried to force the gate, and even bent the end of the hasp, but could not get to the screws. The intruder obviously gave up, and moved on to easier pickings , maybe like the door in fig. 1.

Don’t forget to add liquid graphite or lubricant to locks at this time of year. You can find them at any hardware store or locksmith.

Submissions for this column are encouraged, and qualify for SBE recertification credit.