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Fresh Solutions to Repel Pests

Also, step-by-step instructions to repairing old RE20 microphones

Fig. 1: Rodent Sheriff mint spray deters pests and smells good too.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could repel rodents, raccoons, roaches and ants all in one fell swoop? 

Stop by your local big box store and look for Rodent Sheriff Spray (shown in Fig. 1). These pests hate the smell of mint, so your transmitter shelter, ATU or storage shed should stay pest-free — and as a nice bonus will smell minty fresh. 


Frank Hertel, principal consultant with Newman-Kees, sent a link to another peppermint refill that works with the Air Wick Plug-In air fresheners. These refills cost less than other methods, and like the spray above keep your buildings pest-free and smelling pleasant. 

Here’s a link to the product:


Joe Geerling is synonymous with engineering in St. Louis. Joe ended 2019 by leaving Entercom St. Louis to become director of engineering for the Covenant Network, also in St. Louis. 

Fig. 2: A helpful resource

He dropped me a line recently about his son Jeff. Jeff is a software programmer and wrote a book entitled “Ansible for DevOps” (Fig. 2). 

Ansible is a simple but powerful server and configuration management tool. Jeff’s book will help those familiar with command line and basic shell scripting start using Ansible, to provision and manage anywhere from one to thousands of servers. The subject matter is increasingly relevant as more and more companies get into cloud computing. The book is available from Amazon for under $20.

Jeff is also an avid podcaster. Joe writes that Jeff wanted to “up” his podcasting game and took an old Electro-Voice RE20 apart in order to replace the internal foam. 

There are a lot of old Electro-Voice RE20 mics being dumped by stations because they no longer sound good, or have started to shed decayed internal foam. Perhaps you have one or two on your shelf.  In most cases, as these mics age, the foam supporting the capsule deteriorates. Although the job to replace the foam is time-intensive, the result is restoring a great-sounding microphone! 

Jeff documented his experience, complete with pictures and step-by-step instructions, on a blog post. Read it here:


I’ve spoken to a number of engineers who have found it difficult to acquire a reliable, versatile FM/AM/NOAA weather receiver. 

The Watch Dog (WD-1) is reliable, versatile and features a real-time RDS decoder, making it a great choice for an EAS receiver. This compact receiver can also be used as a confidence monitor, and even provides an open collector alarm system. If you need contact closures, attach the optional Watch Dog Alarm.  

Contact your favorite broadcast equipment distributor for more information or visit  


Projects engineer Dan Slentz has found a free image and photo editing software for PCs that run Windows. 

Paint.NET features an innovative and intuitive user interface, which includes special effects. There is also an active online community to assist you.

Paint.NET started development as an undergraduate senior design project. It was intended as a free replacement for the Microsoft Paint software that comes with Windows, and the project had a mentor from Microshop.

The software is maintained by some of its creators, and Paint.NET has developed into a powerful yet simple photo editor tool.

Download here:

Fig. 3: An inexpensive document tray with a plastic lid, from Daiso Japan, holds parts while equipment is being repaired.

Richard Parker shared a twist on using muffin tins to hold parts when disassembling equipment. 

The Daiso Japan’s Clear Plastic Document Case, Model A4L, is a clear plastic case with a snap-on top. But if you add a Daiso A4 magnetic sheet on the bottom of the tray, steel screws, nuts, washers and other parts stay put. The magnetic sheet is white, and could also serve as a “white board” for brainstorming during other projects.

Shown in Fig. 3, the plastic tray is available from the Daiso Japan online store and also from Amazon for about $10 for two trays.


Looking for a way to stay educated in broadcast engineering best practices? The Society of Broadcast Engineers webinar archive is an excellent resource for learning the latest in broadcast engineering. 

If you sign up for SBE MemberPlus membership, you’ll have access to all existing SBE webinars, including the Workbench Tips Webinar. 

Head to for more information about SBE MemberPlus benefits and the society’s webinar offerings.


John Bisset has spent over 50 years in the broadcasting industry and is still learning. He handles western U.S. radio sales for the Telos Alliance. He holds a CPBE certification with the Society of Broadcast Engineers and is a past recipient of the SBE’s Educator of the Year Award.