Stormin Protection Products President John Pecore said the Optelator — a fiber optic isolator that eliminates grounding differentials between equipment and demark ground, protecting against direct lightning strikes on phone lines — has been discontinued.
A common application in broadcasting is to protect lines that serve remote monitors at transmitter sites. It also has uses in the automated milking industry — where remote monitoring equipment often suffers from poor connections — and in the military and homeland security, where Optelator protected inexpensive fax machines, copiers and printers, as well as provided isolated phone lines to silos and other military missile launching sites.
John Pecore blamed three factors for the decision: the pandemic, which he said has caused a 65 percent loss of business; increased pressure from his suppliers for parts orders in larger quantities; and a dramatic decline of demand for this kind of product.
“The phone hardline industry has crashed and burned [while] wireless is alive and well,” he said.
In fact the product was scheduled to be discontinued in the late 1990s, but Pecore said a review that appeared at the time in Radio World was followed by a rush of interest. “This product became a great success in your industry, and has been depended upon in radio for many years.”
The company will continue to support users of the Optelator II and the early-generation Optilator with repair services, and can rebuild or replace PC boards, at least until the supply chain has dried up. But no more brand-new units are available.
“Sometimes progress destroys the old, and brings in the new. It is the end of life as we know it for the hardline phone line,” Pecore said.
“One last final words for the radio broadcast industry: Thank you.”
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