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Use Privacy Slats to Deter Vandalism

Also, Rolf Taylor explains air filter MERV ratings

Fig. 1: Privacy slats reduce visibility of your facility’s assets. Insert them in your chain link fencing.

It’s hard to steal what one can’t see. Broadcast engineer Ernie Nearman says chain link fence privacy slats, pictured in Fig. 1, provide inexpensive insurance.

The slats are available in a variety of lengths, up to 8 feet high. Find them at Lowe’s, Home Depot and online. Although green is pictured, the slats come in several colors.

The job of weaving the slats through your chain link fencing is a little time-consuming; consider it a chance to enjoy the great outdoors. The slats come packaged 78 to a bundle for around $110.

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If you’re inclined to shop online, a company called FenceScreen has a much wider selection. They even offer faux hedge slats that consist of 3-mil PVC green pine needles which, at a distance, look like you have a hedge around your tower — a hedge topped with barbed wire!


Frank Hertel, like many engineers, owns the Siglent Model SDG 1075 Function Generator. It’s a great tool. But Frank finds that from time to time it will glitch its settings when it’s turned on. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does, you can get lost in the menu tree. This is especially true when a menu changes to Chinese.

Fig. 2: The Siglent Function Generator is a useful tool but may bring English-speaking engineers up short when it switches to Chinese, as at right.

To help solve the problem, Frank generated a utility settings flow chart, seen in Fig. 3. Most issues can be resolved from the utility settings mode. The chart also helps navigate through numerous button pushes as you step through the menu. Of particular importance are the purple selections on the right; note the selection that chooses English. Owners of this instrument will want to copy this flow chart and keep it handy.


Frank also submitted a link to an interesting and useful product: the Reliance Products Collapsible Portable Toilet.

At one time, the FCC Rules and Regulations required that transmitter sites include restroom facilities! This goes back to the days when transmitter sites were manned 24/7.

Times have changed, and few sites provide such creature comfort when the need arises. This portable product can be left at a transmitter site, or stowed in a contract engineer’s vehicle. The Reliance Products Collapsible Portable Toilet costs less than $50 and is available from Amazon. It weighs only 5 pounds and folds down to 5 inches when not needed. It has a 300-pound weight capacity. On the Amazon site, enter the product name in the search block.

Fig 3: This flowchart, developed by engineering consultant Frank Hertel, will help owners of the Siglent Model 1025 navigate the menu.


Rolf Taylor is an engineer with a multinational IT firm. He writes in to offer some tips on air filters and air conditioners.

With respect to air filters, not only will dirt affect the heat transfer capabilities of the evaporator coils, that dirt also provides nutrients that encourage the growth of algae. As we’ve mentioned before, the algae can cause clogs and overflows of the condensate drain, leading to some of the worst HVAC problems — especially if a studio or transmitter is underneath.

Periodic coil cleaning isn’t a bad idea, and Rolf recommends that you perform that maintenance procedure when changing over to the high-efficiency filters. Get the gunk out, and keep it out! Drip pan tablets to prevent algae growth are available at the big box stores and are good insurance.

Finally, don’t fall for the myths about the higher-efficiency filters creating an obstruction to air flow. Pleated filters have more surface area, which compensates for the increased air resistance the filter material causes.

One thing you will notice is that as the MERV filter rating goes up, there are more pleats to compensate. In fact, 3M high-end “purple” filters have less air resistance than their “red” filters, due to considerably more pleats.

By the way, MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. It ranges from 1 to 10, and is used to compare air filter efficiency. The higher the number, the fewer dust particles or dirt can pass through the filter.

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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 CPBE certification with the Society of Broadcast Engineers and is a past recipient of the SBE’s Educator of the Year Award.