Fig. 1: A side view of the reset switch. Generally speaking, we’ve all benefitted from the presence of computers at the transmitter site. Many transmitters now have computer hardware built right in.
One company that has taken advantage of the processor’s power is Nautel. Its AUI screen monitors almost everything in the transmitter, which is beneficial to the engineer.
If you maintain a touchscreen Nautel transmitter, Crawford Denver Chief Engineer Amanda Hopp says you may have had issues from time to time with the monitor screen responding slowly, if at all. When she encountered this, Nautel gave her a simple solution: Short the reset terminal on the control board to ground.
When you open the front of the NX50, the top board has a row of wires going into screw terminals. One is the reset terminal, and one is ground. Anytime she had the issue, Amanda would take a short wire and carefully touch the screw for the reset terminal to the screw for ground. While this worked, it was a little dangerous. She could have touched something else and caused a problem.
Amanda’s solution was to buy an SPST momentary pushbutton switch, pictured in Figs. 1 and 2. She installed it in line across the terminals (ground and reset). Some heavy solid buss wire, soldered to the switch’s terminals and covered with heat shrink, keeps the switch firmly mounted and insulated. Now all they have to do is push the button and the AUI will reboot.
Note that Amanda’s problem is only with the local AUI screen on the transmitter. Any remote querying of the AUI is fine.
Radio World also checked in with Nautel about this.
Fig. 2: Easily installed and pressed to reset the Nautel AUI screen. The company’s John Whyte tells us: “While the early releases of our NX and NV Series had some minor memory leaks that might have resulted in sluggish AUI performance over time, subsequent firmware releases have gone a long way to minimize these issues. In addition, a reset functionality has been added to the AUI. These improvements apply to both the NX Series and to the NV Series. In addition, most NV Series transmitters have a hard AUI Single Board Computer reset button on the control card in the event you can’t get to the soft reset screen.
“It is probably worth noting that Nautel designs its transmitters so that the AUI is a non-critical element of RF transmission.”
Reach Amanda Hopp at [email protected].
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Engineer Paul Sagi, a frequent contributor to Workbench from Malaysia, sent along a couple of comments about previous tips.
The first concerns the use of urinal cakes to keep mice and snakes out of equipment, such as AM antenna tuning units. Paul suggests you check the ingredients before you buy; make sure the cakes are para-dichlorobenzene, not naphthalene. Lengthy exposure to naphthalene can induce cataracts.
With reference to drawing programs, Paul writes that the key combination of “Alt+Print Screen” will copy the active window, which can then be pasted to the Microsoft Paint program that comes with Windows. The image can then be cropped or resized as needed.
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Speaking of computers and IP networks, recall that in the Feb. 1 issue, Frank Hertel offered us a means of finding available IP circuits.
Todd Dixon, an assistant engineer at Crawford Broadcasting’s Birmingham facility and fellow RW contributor, reads Workbench regularly and enjoys reading how other engineers solve problems.
Fig. 3: Yet another device to prevent multi-site padlocks from locking you out.
He wrote me to add a nice tool to the one Frank suggested. It is called Angry IP scanner (http://angryip.org/w/Download). There are versions of the program for Linux, Mac or Windows. The newer versions require Java. The older version is only a 120 kb download!
Angry is a network scanner, quick and efficient. If you are permitted to hook up your computer and get an IP address, you can quickly scan a subnet and find out which IP addresses really are available and which are not.
But Angry does a lot more than that, allowing you to explore ports and so forth. Todd uses it for what Frank suggested. An added benefit is that it does read beyond the initial network segment. Best yet, if you are not permitted to hook up your own computer to the client’s network, the program is small enough to be placed on a thumb drive and executed from there.
The screenshots page (http://angryip.org/w/screenshots) gives an idea of how the program performs. Thanks, Todd, for taking the time to send such a useful tip — especially suggesting the thumb drive!
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Winston Hawkins is project manager for the Positive Radio Group, based in Blacksburg, Va. He sends in Fig. 3 as another method to maintain access to your site and not get locked out by other tenants. We’ve shared various ideas about this in the past.
To open the gate, you remove your lock and pull up on the vertical bar until the locking pin is pulled up through the hole from which you removed your lock. This gives you access without the chance of someone locking the gate behind you.
Contribute to Workbench. You’ll help your fellow engineers and qualify for SBE recertification credit. Send tips to [email protected]. Fax to (603) 472-4944.
Author John Bisset has spent 44 years in the broadcasting industry and is still learning. He is SBE certified and is a past recipient of the SBE’s Educator of the Year Award.