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Let’s Have a Cabinet Meeting

Kitchen-type shelving offers several advantages in radio facilities

Mark Voris is engineering manager for Spirit Catholic Radio’s KVSS(FM) Omaha/Lincoln, Neb. He got tired of crawling around on the floor underneath consoles, dealing with studio punch blocks; so when he wired his main control room, Mark relocated the blocks to eye level and enclosed them in a cabinet.

As you can see in Fig. 1, the wiring is hidden until access is needed.

Although limiting access is not a concern at Spirit Catholic Radio, Mark notes that if you have curious staffers or junior engineers who can’t leave things alone, you can drill kitchen-type cabinets for door locks, to keep curious eyes (and hands) out.

The cabinet can also serve as a bulletin board.

Mark also sent in a shot of his remote “go” bags, seen in Fig. 2. These zippered canvas bags hold all the gear needed for a remote. Find them at big-box hardware stores. Toolmaker Stanley makes the version Mark uses. The zippered bags are trademarked as FatMax. Great ideas, Mark!

Fig. 1: A kitchen cabinet hides your punch blocks yet makes them accessible.Fig. 2: Mark’s “go bag” holds all the equipment for remote broadcasts.


Engineer Jim Heim enjoyed our discussion of transmitter venting. He recalled being dispatched to an FM station in Oregon. It was using a 20 kW grounded-grid transmitter, which was going through finals at a rapid rate.

Fig. 3: Fader8 is a compact cleaning kit. The first thing Jim noticed was difficulty in opening the transmitter room door. The second was that the system had an exhaust vent but no companion intake vent. Instead, there was an in-wall air conditioner. The air in the room seemed thin, but cool.

Jim never did convince the owner that airflow was way more important than cool room air.

One winter at Jim’s home base station in Portland, he got the bright idea of using waste heat from a Collins FM transmitter (a pair of diplexed 10 kW PA amps) by disconnecting the vent on one of the amplifiers which went up to a roof vent, and letting the warm air blow into the control room. The top of the vent was curved so that nothing could blow in … he thought.

During a snowstorm, Jim got a call that the transmitter was down to quarter-power. When he entered the mountaintop transmitter building, Jim saw a big pile of snow on top of the PA amp. A strong east wind can blow snow pretty much anywhere it wants!

Jim Heim now makes his home in Southern Pines, N.C.


Fig. 4: Everything needed for remote equipment cleaning maintenance. Icon Digital USA offers a compact and portable “first aid cleaning kit” for faders, pots and switches. The kits provide 200 ml of a higher-quality cleaner/lubricant, cleaning swabs and a case. The long-lasting formula does not require recleaning of gear.

Order the $69 kit from


The popularWorkbench column is built around your ideas. Help fellow engineers — and qualify for SBE recertification credit while you’re at it. Send tips to [email protected]. Fax to (603) 472-4944.

Author John Bisset has spent 45 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.