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Does Your Transmitter Run on 66 Vac?

October 23, 2016 Leave a comment

Friday and my family was in L.A. I was planning on taking the train up to meet with them as it as Grandma’s birthday, but it was contingent on how the week was heading. South, that is where it was heading!
Sitting at the my desk doing a couple of things the the silence alarm goes off.  Not just one, but two stations collocated.  For that to happen their are only two things that will cause that, main STL to the site or power.  I quickly switch one to the our Aux site, the other I poke at and switch STLs.  Back on.  Off to the site I go.  Mind you I get a low power warning, and both transmitters were on at about 3kW each.  Each transmitter is a Nautel NV20, the very ones that I have posted about before.  In addition a get an high room temperature alarm, so HVAC is down.

I get to the site.  Sure enough the TV station’s generator is running.  I open my door and greeted with hot air.  My lights work, but two of 3 UPSs are beeping away running on battery.  Looking at my surge suppressors, two phases are missing!  Yes, two, and one NV20 was on.  I had turned one off earlier when I switched that station to an Aux site.  Out comes the Fluke and I start measuring the phases.  One is running fine at 120V, the other two are running 66V.  One rack is powered while the other two are on battery.  I make provisions to route power to equipment in a backed up rack preparing for the batteries to die.  I look at the transmitter running.  3.6kW TPO and the status tells me 2 phases are missing.  All I can say is, “wow.”  I had a similar incident years ago with a single phase loss, but this time 2!

Once I had my stuff stable, I noticed the power company, SDG&E, was already outside on the street.  Ah, they were doing something and it went wrong.  Of course the guy in the truck had no update nor did he know where the issue was.  The guys at the fire station, following protocol, had moved their trucks out and were talking with another SDG&E person.  Eventually 3 trucks were up the street.  Within about 45 minutes of being on site, power was restored.

Chalk another one up to Nautel.  The power distribution and fold-back on the NV20s worked flawless.  Needless to say, my HVAC recovered and all other equipment survived the trauma.  Let’s see if the rest of the weekend remains quiet.

 

Cheers!

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Categories: Equipment, Nautel, NV20 Tags: , , ,

NAB Show from the Field

April 11, 2013 4 comments

I am  back at work and recounting what my feelings are about the NAB show.  Of course all of this is from the floor perspective as I do not have the money to attend all the fancy talks or events.  I usually get all that stuff later, so maybe I can read something interesting and relay my thoughts on them later.  As for the show, for me it was mediocre in a good way.

Let’s talk first of the show itself as this is the mediocre aspect.  As I am in radio, yes I admit it, the much to do about nothing TV and video is not high on my list.  Don’t get me wrong as there are really cool things going on in the video and TV, it is not my main focus.  With that in mind all the hype is on video and TV with very little on radio, and all of it is the SAME propaganda.  Does anyone ask if it is really relevant?  Do I care about 4k TV and video?  No.  I wear glasses and much of it is wasted on me.  I’m not even a 3D fan as it is far from realistic and plain lame.  Personally I would rather see more pertinent, realistic things on both sides, radio and TV like IP technology (which was there) and transport.  How to make it happen.  The sessions cover the details of these things, but it would be nice to see and talk in a booth on how it works.  I’m an hands on guy, so “feeling” it gives me a better idea of how well it may work in the real world.  On that note, what did I find cool?

Let’s start with the Radio Magazine’s Pick Hits (in no particular order)
1.  DEVA Broadcast DB4004.  FM Radio Monitoring Receiver.  Yup, that is exactly what it is.  Too many features to write up, so visit the website.  I like the measurements with history.  WEB and FTP, so there is a NIC installed.  Web browser is embedded as is the FTP server.  Email alerts, SNMP.  Almost everything is configurable.  I talked with Todor Ivanov, GM, and he was very passionate about his products.  It shows.  Now if iBiquity will talk with him it will be HD ready.  He is prepared and ready to roll with it as soon as the love comes.2.  Nautel.  I attended the Nautel Users Group on Sunday and was introduced to the new Omnia Direct for the NV transmitters.  Yes, digital composite direct from the Omnia 11 to the NV.  All NV’s shipped with version 4.0 firmware is capable, any upgraded to version 4.0 will be ready.  Speaking of that, version 4.0 firmware will ship soon.  I talked with Kevin, customer service manager, and I expect it soon to test on “older” rigs (my 4 year old NV20’s).  I look forward to trying that out.
Did I mention they introduced a new TV transmitter?
3.  Tieline.  The latest from Tieline is the Merlin Plus IP Codec capable of doing 6 simultaneous remotes.  Place one at your studio and have up to 6 simultaneous mono remotes.  Did I mention just 1 box at the studio?  Connect with Report-IT and/or your G3 Field Units or iMixes.  Not a bad idea for facilities that do a lot of off site live stuff.
In addition to this product, Tieline is also incorporating Opus codec technology.  The standard is open source, so no licensing fee.  Great for the end user.
4.  Audion Labs VoxPro 5.  I put this here because I am a VoxPro plant.  It works.  Air talent likes it and low maintenance.  Look for version 5 to be released this summer.
5.  Arctic Palm Datacasting.  I like this product.  I want this product, but I can’t get it just yet.  Send your data to RDS, HD, Facebook, Twitter, etc.  Look for the Artist Experience if/when this gets going.  It supports TagStation now.  I think this is a great product for a centralized data distribution point.  Stations that simulcast should take note.
6.  Elenos.  A new 3kW transmitter in 2RU with excellent efficiency.  Anyone else?  Though FM only, the digital modulator is ready for HD once the details with iBiquity is worked out.  As a company, Elenos is another one that shows extreme passion for what they do.  They are proud of their products and they will SHOW you.  They will also talk with you and LISTEN.

Last, and least, is what is up with the new Harris Broadcast logo?  I’ve asked this and I got many of the same response.  I’m not sure what it represents (a TV?), but my first impression was a little more reactive.  In any case, Harris does have a major presence and continues to build good product.  One drawback is they are trying to do everything, and to me that doesn’t work.  A certain “alliance” comes to mind.

Many of the products out there are good.  So, from that aspect the show was good.  I still wonder about HD radio.  As any who reads my blog or follows me on Twitter or Google+, I’m not a huge fan.  I do have 4 signals in HD and we started our HD2 with more to come.  What bothers me is I know of 3 instances where I was told point blank that they (manufacturers) are waiting for iBiquity.  Either to give approval or help to find the proper solution.  If the company that owns the standard is dragging, do you want or need to wait?
I also felt that on the floor there was a lack of passion.  I know of a few companies that are very passionate, as mentioned above, but many that are there because they need to show their wares.  I also felt as if the cold shoulder was being given out freely this year.  One booth, well know name, dismissed my presence.  No one made an effort to talk.  Come to think of it, there were a couple of booths like this.  This is so wrong for many reasons, so beware expecting business or repeat business.  Radio is so into themselves I feel that if you are the outspoken or outcast, there is not place for you.  Could this be part of the radio industry problem?

On a cool note, if you wandered back and saw the DJI booth, you saw a very cool product.  Drones!  The small Phantom is ready to fly and ready to hold your GoPro Hero camera.  The S800 is an 8-rotor job that accommodates a camera gimbal with 3-axis stability.  One may ask why  so cool?  I mentioned to two engineers what I think this would be great for an engineer:  basic tower inspection.  If you need a quick look at a tower or antenna, fly one of these things up (need to check on range) and take pictures.  Analyze on the ground and then determine if you need to hire a crew to get more details or repair an issue.  I want to test to see if one of these can fly within the RF environment or at reduced power.  In any case, cool product, and potential good use.

I do look forward to next year.  I also made notes on what I think I should or will study up on as it becomes some prevalent to the industry.  Most of the technology is IP.  I have much more to learn on that.  I’ll continue to update all I learn as I gather information.  Till next year’s NAB show, see you in the social media space and the blog!

Cheers.

Friday Update: 9/17/2010 (For lack of a better title!)

September 17, 2010 Leave a comment

I figured I would update all on the workings that occurred while we were concentrated on our Studio M build.  As of today, Studio M is a big success.  I think I’ll post some progress pictures on the website as soon as I can.  (I have an issue at work with FTP uploads, damn firewall.)  Today is the first day with live audience in the studio.  They squeezed 20 people in the room.  HVAC is holding up.  They are loving it.  Comfort level is good.  He’s commenting on it as I write.

While we were working on this thing there has been other items that needed taking care of.  One is our Nautel V1-D.  Believe it or not, our front panel overlay, which has the buttons for On/Off and LED display indications seemed to cause mysterious Off commands resulting in shutting the transmitter off.  In reviewing the schematic and doing the troubleshooting with our friends at Nautel, the Off switch is paralleled with the remote Off command.  This makes sense in terms of being able to override the remote and shut the transmitter down if necessary.  Do to what I believe was thermal expansion and contraction we had random off-air situations do to the transmitter receiving an Off command.  We eliminated the remote control as the cause leaving the overlay.  Once the overlay was bypassed, the issue went away.  A new overlay has been installed and all is well now.

You ask, “Overlay?”  Yes.  It is an interesting design in that the switch is not a big, square switch, but something similar to a keyboard micro-switch, for lack of a better description.  As it is part of the physical front panel, there is no way to replace or fix the switch.  I am curious now if this issue will begin to surface again as the box ages.

As if we had nothing else to do, we did a software upgrade on the NV20s.  We moved from version 2.7 to version 2.8.3.  We had no issue with 2.7, per se.  We did have one, just one, occurrence where one, and only one, NV20 had an off-air situation.  We took a data hit on our T-1 STL which caused a loss of AES audio briefly.  The exciter did not recover, so we had a transmitter on the air with no audio.  Very weird.  After an exciter reboot, all was good.  This issue would probably never occur again, but as a precaution we updated the software as there is a fix for this rare situation.  Only three known occurrences of this from what I have heard, and of course I would be one of them!

Update on the Harris Flexstar issue.  We’ve been running the beta firmware for months now without incident.  Our diversity delay drifts a bit, still.  Our center frequency drifts a bit (last measurement was +270Hz).  The real thing is we have not been off the air due to an exciter lock.  No RF muting.  I would say we have made significant progress on that one.  As things slow down, I will request the release version of the firmware and complete the cycle.  At this time, if it ain’t broke, don’t mess with it.

Last, be assured I will post some details on our Studio M build.  What we use and how we overcame some situations.  The final decision is whether I write it up for a trade.  If this is the case, then I cannot have a previous post on that that.  Stay tuned.  Hope you all are enjoying updates as I file them.

Cheers!

Categories: Equipment, Management, Nautel, NV20

Weely Roundup

Well, as the economy goes, so does the number of projects that get done. What do you do when things slow down? I like to catch up on documentation and one thing that really gets boring, inventory. I am also working on a couple of ideas that need to be researched before I make the budgetary plan. Sure it may not be for a couple of years, but it is fun to keep up and look into potential time-saving projects.

This week we had a Harris Flexstar exciter failure. Coincidentally, and if you have been following my tweets, it occurred about the same time our T-1 went down. The T-1 repair was at a B-box mid-span though AT&T testers showed it out our site. The tech dispatched showed it at the CO end. Go figure. Anyways, the XLR input board seems to have an issue on the exciter. No AES audio in the main nor the aux inputs. The analyzer says the audio is there and our axillary transmitter is on the air, but the Flexstar is not happy. My new parts should be here tomorrow. We’ll see if this is the only failure. I have a feeling I will be sending the box in for factory repair.

On the other side, I upgraded our Nautel NV20’s to version 1.3. Many of the minor things mentioned before are fixed. They even incorporated a screen saver. Some cosmetic changes makes the AUI look a bit better. One of these items is the Local/Remote button. It is not a split button and shows green on the half that is currently engaged, i.e the half that says Remote is green when in remote mode. Also fixed is the saving of profiles. The boxes will no longer put the profile being saved on the air.

Enco “fixed” their PADApult software and we are running PAD data on the older version of the Exporter. I don’t really know why the product was not compatible with the older versions as there are more out there than the the latest 4.2.

As for the Exporter 4.2, IBiquity has fixed the left/right channel swap and we await the software update from Nautel. Still have to wait for everything. Good thing HD is not that important.

DaySequerra has had our first M2.2R for over a week now. I still do not know if the fixed receiver board solves our RFI issue. When I know, you will know.

Phew. Have a good week!

All Is Well with Nautel NV20’s

Without getting into the details of version information as that is proprietary with Nautel, I will say we discovered a little issue with the controller on the NV20’s. Needless to say the issue did not cause much of an problem as more of an annoyance. It was a controller reset with no explanation. Random with no warning this reset would occur. I can say now that we worked this out as Nautel works on the next major release of NV software.

It is quite interesting to work through these issues and provide the information necessary to catch it and fix it. I feel good that we got it as quickly as we did. Tech support on Nautel’s side was awesome. If you find your NV series transmitter randomly dropping you off the air for 2 seconds and cannot find the explanation you better give Nautel a call. The fix is there. Get it.

I did drive our friends nuts as I was able to corrupt the AUI software on the transmitter itself. The fix was to ship me a new compact flash card with the “good” files in tact. Did the NV20 operate in this “mode”? You betcha. We had full remote control through the our remote control and we had full control via IP. If you are worried about such things as this with software based systems, you should be relieved to know that the important information is contained on the controller and does not fully rely on the computer running the AUI .

Great job Nautel. I look forward to the next major release so I can break that!

PS- Look forward to a Field Report coming to a trade near you.

Categories: Equipment, Nautel, NV20 Tags: , ,

Nautels have arrived

December 24, 2008 Leave a comment

Finally the NV20s arrived. I must say Nautel packs them very nicely.
They fit in place pretty well. I hope to have the FM-Only on by 12/31.
The local delivery crew could have done better. Seems no one knows how to deliver transmitters.
Have a Merry Christmas!

Categories: Nautel, NV20
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