GREEN BAY, Wis. — In today’s world, with today’s technology, it seems broadcast engineers are expected to be on top of issues at their stations before everyone else even knows about them. I find myself in that situation more often than not. With the workload not getting any easier, we look for tools that can help, especially with remote control.
Screenshot of Burk AutoPilot customized for Relevant Radio network operations.
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One tool I use to help me stay connected to my transmitter sites is the ARC Plus from Burk Technology. The latest in remote control systems from Burk seems to have all the new things you’d like and the same older features you can expect. I like the email alerts and the mobile-friendly web access. Yet, when the internet goes down at a site, I can still dial-in through the POTS line. I’ve even used the POTS line to dial in and restart the internet.
If I’m at the office, I use the AutoPilot software on my PC to connect to all of my sites at once and get a quick snapshot of what is going on everywhere. The custom view builder allows me to put the critical status and meters from each site on one screen. When I’m out of the office, the web interface gives me an easy way to access each site through the internet on my smartphone or any browser. From there, I can check the alarms and run macros. The web interface includes a mobile version that works well on both Android and iPhones, from my experience.
Doing transmitter logs by hand has become a thing of the past for my stations. Each week AutoPilot emails me and the stations’ staff a custom built log for each station. It highlights any out-of-tolerance meter readings and displays any status changes in an easy-to-read report.
Installing the system was fairly simple. If you’ve installed one of the older Burk remote control systems, you’ll find there is a lot more IT work to be done. Programming the unit was easy with the AutoLoad Plus software. Macros are now done using drop-down menus, basically eliminating errors in programming syntax.
There are a number of useful accessories available to interact with the ARC Plus. In the past, most remote control systems were limited to meter and commands. I use the Plus-X AC-8 with eight remote-controllable outlets to cycle the power on many devices remotely. The Plus-X EM32 Environmental Monitor is a great add-on with temperature, flood, motion and smoke alarms. It sure is nice to have those sensors when you need them. I’ve personally averted disasters with the flood and smoke alarms installed at sites with the EM32.
Bottom line, this product works. I would recommend it to any station wanting complete remote control over their facilities. Burk continues to add to and improve its products. They just rolled out SNMP capabilities. I’ve just started to test that, but I’m excited to see what new features this will bring and what new devices will be able to communicate with the ARC Plus.
For information, contact Matt Leland at Burk Technology in Massachusetts at (978) 486-0086 x700 or visit www.burk.com.