The author is assistant chief engineer of WABI. Radio World Buyer’s Guide articles are intended to help readers understand why their colleagues chose particular products to solve various technical situations. This month’s articles focus on remote control systems, signal monitoring and EAS.
We are WABI in Bangor, Maine, part of Gray Television Group. We run three television transmitters, one full-power and two low-power, all with the same programming.
We have two Burk ARC Plus Touch systems. One includes three Plus-X 600s, one Plus-X EM64 and one Plus-X AC-8. The other has a Plus-X 600, a Plus-X EM32 and a Plus-X AC-8.
We also use phone modems in four-wire mode on our STL/TSL analog audio subcarrier trays as a backup for communication if our network link goes down.
We use them to monitor our transmitters located at two different sites. We also use the systems to monitor ambient temperatures and electrical power (including generators), and for security.
I have found the programmability of the system to be flexible, allowing the raw data from the sensors to be used in many ways.
The use of virtual channels and macros gives me the ability to look at multiple sensors to automate complex decisions. The ability to use SNMP as part of the return data and control is very good. The integration of multiple sites within the same program is useful as well.
Another nice feature is the email/text of any alarm, whether critical or warning level, triggerable for every channel, virtual channel, or through the use of a macro. The logging of all inputs/commands/alarms within the system, even when the local monitoring computer is offline and not running AutoPilot, is a good data protection benefit.
I automatically print daily logs for forward power and tower light status, but I can go in and ask the system to print data for any inputs/commands/alarms on any day since the system has been online. This is helpful when we have an intermittent problem and want to see if there is a pattern, or if someone changed a value.
AutoPilot is user-friendly and straightforward to program. I can design multiple pages that cleanly and clearly display the information I want to convey to our master control operators. The ability to have it on multiple computers without having to buy additional licenses is a big plus. If I have a problem on one computer, I can just fire it up on another computer in order to maintain monitoring of our sites.
As far as customer service, it is very good. They are either immediately available over the phone or will get back to me promptly.