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Here’s Another of Those … Uh, Things

Tell Me What You Think This Is

(click thumbnail)Fig. 1: Take a guess as to what this device is.Any thoughts on what Fig. 1 is? We’re sure Guy Wire has an idea; but we’d like you to weigh in with your thoughts. E-mail your suggestion to [email protected].

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Marc Mann writes from San Diego that an article in the Sept. 24 issue, “ISDN Can Help Generate Studio Rentals,” referred to the practice of creating a “studio” using, among other things, “egg-crate foam on the walls.”

This reminded Marc of loss of life that occurred when flammable and toxic “egg-crate foam” was used at The Station nightclub in Rhode Island several years ago.

Articles regarding the fire mentioned that investigators blamed flammable, polyurethane egg-crate style foam on the walls and ceiling of the club for fueling the blaze.

Marc poses a good question: How many radio stations unwittingly have this type of material in their own studios right now?

I’m sure you would agree that most professionals wouldn’t think twice about utilizing this type of foam if they knew its inherent danger of flammability and toxicity when ignited. Marc writes that he trusts the author did not mean to imply that readers should use anything less than properly fire-rated soundproofing product.

So what are some alternatives? Gone are the days of carpeting the studio walls — or are they? Tell me your thoughts. Also, what reputable soundproofing manufacturers do you recommend? Are there ways that station personnel can easily identify potentially deadly pseudo-soundproofing foam products?

We’ll see what our readers have to say. Write to me at [email protected].

(click thumbnail)Fig. 2: A used ambulance makes a roomy remote truck …
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What better use for the old ambulance in Fig. 2 than to turn it into the station remote vehicle … or the Jambulance?

There’s no question this remote vehicle gets attention. Quantum Broadcasting in Cape Cod is the proud owner. Thanks to their chief, Joe Jarjoara, for passing along the photo.

(click thumbnail)Fig. 3: … and an excellent Jambulance.
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At a recent Ennes Workshop co-sponsored by the Connecticut Broadcasters Association and the Connecticut Valley Chapter 14 of the SBE, we had a good discussion about promoting engineering.

The engineering manager for the Citadel/ABC Radio Cluster in New York City, Kevin Plumb, told me he’d put together a spreadsheet with management’s names and numbers, reduced it to wallet size and laminated it. Each was distributed to station managers.

In addition to names and cell/home numbers, he included station hotline numbers and transmitter site info and numbers.

This is a great example of an engineering department taking a step to keep everyone organized. Now there is no excuse for not calling the hotline if a programming problem develops; all the managers have the number. Does the sales manager hear station interference on the way to work? There’s a contact name and number he can refer to.

The only drawback, Kevin says, is that cards have to be updated periodically as staff and cell numbers change; but this is a small price to keep everyone in the loop.

This information in the hands of your co-workers may be invaluable in an emergency; the effort also demonstrates your care for the station. Take 10 minutes, head to your local copy center and enjoy a pleasant reaction from your GM. Budgets are evolving, and now is a good time for that little “extra” that makes the engineering department shine.

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Sources of engineering formulae, like those found on the sites of transmitter manufacturers and equipment reps, are helpful.

Recently on the SBE listserv, Senior Master Sgt. Chris Bailey weighed in with a site that is unbelievable in scope. Bookmark

This is a compilation of every kind of calculation imaginable. Need to figure out the right size dropping resistor for an LED? Look under electronics. Pouring your own concrete pad? Head to the “Civil” tab and enter the length, width and depth. You’ll instantly get the volume of concrete required.

In addition to chemical, plastics and structural tabs, there’s a finance tab that will do mortgage and car payment calculations. If you really want to get depressed, throw some numbers in the retirement calculator and see how much you’ll have to save for retirement.

I guarantee you’ll spend some time on this site and I suspect you’ll use it for future projects. Thanks to SMSgt Bailey, a wireless systems superintendent who serves with the 256 Combat Communications Squadron of the Washington Air National Guard.

(click thumbnail)Fig. 4: Pay close attention to connectors exposed to the elements.
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It’s that time of year: time to inspect outdoor connections. A visual inspection will ensure that your waterproofed connections are really waterproof. See Fig. 4.

Make an inspection of satellite dishes and rooftop antennas; if you are in an area that gets hit by winter, do it before the weather turns sour. It doesn’t take long and the findings might just save you some off-air time.

Thanks to RJ Perkins with Emerson College’s WERS for noting the problem, and repairing it — but not before snapping a picture for Workbench! We love pix.

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Don’t forget to let me know what you think Fig. 1 is. Write to [email protected]