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Keep Emergency Keys Safe

Bill Sullivan starts out this column with a procedure to improve the accuracy of computer clocks, initially discussed in the May 9 Workbench.

(click thumbnail)This heavy-duty lock hides a surprise inside …Bill Sullivan starts out this column with a procedure to improve the accuracy of computer clocks, initially discussed in the May 9 Workbench.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology offers free software for both Windows and Mac. Bill has been using it for several years and it works well.

Currently, he is running it on his AVTime master machine, to keep the system synchronized to the rest of the world. The free software is available at

Bill Sullivan is the director of engineering for Mega Stations.

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Ed Dulaney is market engineer for Crawford Broadcasting’s Denver cluster of stations. Ed also responds to our May 9 column about the problem with Windows XP time synchronizing being a “non-adjustable” interval.

“That is simply not the case,” he replies. “Although the procedure isn’t straightforward, the time interval is adjustable.” Adjusting the time interval is done through that wonderfully complicated mechanism known as the “Windows Registry.”

To change the time adjustment interval, start the Registry editor by clicking “Start | Run” and typing “regedit” in the field. Once you’re into the editor, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, click on SYSTEM, then go to ControlSet001, then Services, and drill on down to W32Time/TimeProviders/NtpClient.

Under the NtpClient key is an entry called SpecialPollInterval. The default value is 604800 seconds, which corresponds to seven days. Change that interval to your desired value by double-clicking on the entry (or by right-clicking and selecting “Modify”).

(click thumbnail)… a spare key for the transmitter building, when you know the combination!As an example, if the desired update time is two hours, you would enter 7200 into the DWORD value box. Remember that all values need to be in seconds. It’s also important to note that the editor will default to hexadecimal values. Be sure to change that to decimal before you make your entry, or strange things may happen!

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Speaking of “Time and the Broadcast Engineer,” a company known as Timestrip Technology offers a different twist on time.

Its product, the “Timestrip,” was developed primarily for monitoring food freshness, but these strips can be used for other time sensitive non-food items.

Three labels accurately monitor elapsed time, but for different applications. One is for refrigerated items, another strip is used in the freezer, and the Timestrip is used to monitor items at room temperature, up to four months.

Timestrips are unique and inexpensive. Consider this a single use visual alarm clock “label” that can be applied to virtually anything.

Peel off the backing paper of the Timestrip and squeeze the bubble to activate. The adhesive-backed Timestrip can then be applied to whatever is being monitored. How about the length of time a transmitter air filter has been in service?

The first window shows the strip has been activated, then a slowly moving bar will indicate elapsed time, up to four months. Head to the company’s Web site for more information and to order online.

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(click thumbnail)Burk Technology adds site security camera images to their ARC Plus with AutoPilot.How about Fig. 1 for a massive Master padlock? Actually, this heavy-duty lock opens up to reveal a site key or two. For site doors that are fitted with cylinder locks, or in cases where combination locks aren’t desired for each hasp, this heavy-duty key holder works well.

Even if you carry an enormous key ring for all your sites, this Master padlock can hold a spare key, just in case. It is available at larger locksmith or hardware stores.

Thanks to Grady Moates of Loud and Clean Broadcast Science for sharing this tip. Grady can be reached through his site at

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The remote control folks at Burk announced that the ARC Plus can now integrate live security camera images. It’s pretty cool, and it was up and running at the NAB, with cameras mounted in the booth. Burk staff tell us almost everyone was thinking of copper thieves when they saw the demo.

The new capability allows broadcasters to use Burk’s AutoPilot Plus software to monitor feeds from remote cameras, alongside telemetry from the transmission system, or other unattended facilities. By adding security monitoring to the platform, engineering and central monitoring personnel benefit from greater confidence in site security. A sample screen shot is shown in Fig. 3.

And here’s a special offer: Burk Technology will provide a free security camera with any ARC Plus order that includes AutoPilot Plus software. This offer is valid until July 30. More information can be obtained by visiting the Burk site at Click on the special offers, under Shortcuts, on the left of the page.