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This Jacket Keeps You Toasty Warm

And other tips to prevent winter engineering woes

Looking for the ultimate in winter jackets? Take it from our northern neighbors, heated jackets are the way to go.

Anchorage’s Koahnic Broadcasting DOE Charles Sather suggests you consider a jacket like the Milwaukee M12 series.

These jackets use carbon fiber heating elements to heat core body areas, and one version is shown in Fig. 1. Using the same Lithium-ion battery packs that power Milwaukee tools, seen in Fig. 2, the jackets have adjustable heated panels controlled by the pushbutton breast switch pictured in Fig. 3.

Best of all, they are machine washable and dryable — after the battery pack is removed!

The jackets are available at the big box hardware stores and online. Just Google “heated jackets.”


Steven Donnell of New Hampshire Public Radio recommends that engineers put together a “Winter Go-Kit” or travel case, which can be as simple as an old laptop bag filled with necessities. In addition to some everyday items for winter weather, Steven usually keeps an extra pair of heavy socks.

Fig. 4: A handy “frozen lock key.”

He keeps a small butane torch or lighter in there too, as well as in his winter coat. The lighter in Fig. 4 is a triple burner meant for lighting cigars. Steven calls it his “frozen lock master key.”

Among some of the “all season” things that Steven includes is an AC wall wart and cigarette lighter to USB adapter and cable(s) to charge his cell phone. He also travels with one of those battery-to-USB chargers. As a backup to his cell phone, as a ham, he always carries a compact handie-talkie as his emergency “call home” tool.


From Hall Communications headquarters in Pennsylvania, Senior Vice President of Engineering Edd Monskie offers a caution now that winter is here and many stations have realigned their satellite dishes.

Edd only had one time in the last 25 years when there was enough snowfall to affect the dish signal. Now that stations have changed to the new satellite position, Edd’s dish is going to be a big scoop for holding snow of any amount.

There are various methods to deal with snow, from treatment of the dish surface, to heating coils, to covers, or covers with some type of a heated blower from behind. None of the solutions is perfect. Edd has chosen to use the covers on the dishes at this point, and we’ll see how they work.

Before the heavy snows arrive, have a plan in place so programming isn’t lost because of “snow fade!”


Fig. 5: A useful studio “warning” sign for guests.

“The Cruz Show,” heard mornings on KPWR, “Power 106 Los Angeles,” owes much of its success to its many listeners and guests that participate on the program each day.

With today’s multimedia focus, Chief Engineer Saul Perez shows the sign that is posted outside the air studio door. Fig. 5 informs those entering the studio they may appear on-air, their voice may be used, and their image may appear in video or still photography. A fair warning to visitors, and good protection for the station.


Keysight Oscilloscopes has posted a series of tutorials on YouTube about the selection of active and passive oscilloscope probes. In under five minutes, you can learn a lot about testing with oscilloscope probes, plus, view several other tutorials.

Here’s the YouTube link:


Indianapolis Broadcast Engineer Roberta Ecks agrees that the threaded hex standoff used as a ground binding post, mentioned in our May 12 column, works fine in a pinch, but most hardware stores have small parts bins with single-quantity knurled nuts in a variety of sizes. Brass 6-32 knurled nuts are under $10 for a quantity of 25 at McMaster-Carr.

Contribute to Workbench. You’ll help fellow engineers and qualify for SBE recertification credit. Send Workbench tips to [email protected]. Fax to 603- 472-4944.

Author John Bisset has spent 48 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.