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Posts Tagged ‘Burk Technology’

NAB Show 2016 Recap

Ever been so busy that you cannot dig out?  Well, I’m finally digging out!  I will start out saying that I need more time on the floor and will have to look for ways to weasel more time, but last week it would not have mattered since as the day I returned to work we had a station launch.  Welcome the new Sunny 98.1!  I could start writing on all the things I didn’t get done from my list, but that would be boring, so let’s dive in and see what I did see physically, and what I feel is the number one trend by many.  First the products that stood out to me.

Tieline Technology (www.tieline.com) introduced the ViA.  A compact codec with an new improved user interface.  Designed around the world of IP connectivity the unit has built-in WiFi, a physical network interface, and USB ports for a customer provided USB modem.  If you are familiar with the Report-IT app, then the use of the codec will be intuitive.  The codec comes with 3 XLR type inputs and 3 headphone outputs.  Location of the headphone jacks are next to their respective inputs making it very convenient for all cable runs.  I do see room for improvement, and rest assure I will be in contact with them.  I hope to be able to spend a bit more time with this device when they roll them out.  It is no secret that I’m a Tieline supporter and have tested and evaluated a number of their devices.

Wheatstone (www.wheatstone.com) has acquired Audion Labs VoxPro.  Did you know that?  Yeah, I did.  VoxPro is a very strong and well used phone editor and I am glad someone picked up the product, and they appear to be very serious about it.  They retained the developer, Rick Bidlack, who seems to be getting the support he needs to move the product forward.  VoxPro 5 was released a while back with some improvements, and 5.1 came out just a month or so ago to address some very important issues.  As you can tell, with the release of VoxPro 6, they are standing behind the product.  The physical controller now has a new paint scheme, but enough of cosmetics, the new UI which came out with 5 is looking good in 6.  The ability to detach the hotkeys will make some morning show folks quite happy along with the capabilities to record while playing back.  I have not tried that, but we’ll see how the hardware (PC) handles that work load.  Finally a little multi-track editing capabilities are there for those who want to get more complex in their work.  I have experienced some issues with Windows 8 and 10, and they appear to be OS issues.  I feel for software developers that have to deal with such headaches as Microsoft isn’t making it easy for them!  I am continuing to watch here as I feel there will be more coming soon.

DEVA Broadcast (www.devabroadcast.com) continues to impress me.  Each year at the show I see something new and I just want to try it.  Maybe this year I will be able to get my hands on a couple of their devices.  I could list a whole slew of devices that are new or upcoming and that would be space consuming, so I will give a mini list of what I liked.
Confidence monitoring, both HD and FM in the DB3011 (HD) and the DB3010 (FM).  Both are radio monitors with IP audio streams, so you set them at a site and stream the audio back.  Listing what you can do with these devices will take many pages, so hit their website.  Noteable is you do it at your computer.  You can monitor nearly everything and then some.  They think of almost everything.
Audio processors.  Did you know DEVA does processing?  I did not.  On the floor I spent some time listening, via headphones, and I was quite impressed what a single rack unit box can do.  Look for the DB6400(4-band) and the DB6000(6-band).  Again you can access these via IP and front panel.  The details you can get into is amazing.
Finally the DB7007 Re-Broadcast receiver.  If you are in need of a receiver for a translator site or even a booster, this may be your choice.  It is feature packed and has fail-over to many options like IP stream or even MP3 with a built in SD card slot.  In addition, and an issue some stations have, is RDS re-encoding.  You can get the proper station calls on that station and even the slogans.  Now if we can get one that can re-encode PPM, eh?  Again, this unit can be accessed via web interface to monitor and control.
All the devices come at a very good price point.  If budget is a concern, you may wish to look at these.

Inovonics (www.inovonicsbroadcast.com) is my go to for the space saving INO series of tuners.  Their new 638 is the HD Radio SiteStreamer which is the HD evolution of the 635 FM/RDS SiteStreamer.  All accessible via IP and web interface you now know what is happening at the site with all the data.  A nice feature is polling.  One box will poll your HD, HD2, HD3 in a time frame set by the user all with silence monitoring and alarm notification.  Get that, one box.  I also like their 650 Arron FM Rebroadcast Receiver.  This one introduced the re-encoding of RDS information, and an improved tuner to really pickup that main station if you are way out there or in an area of marginal reception.  I acquired an 808 Justin for diveristy delay on one station.  The box works well.  I have had little time to research on of the other devices out there, but I know they exist.  I feel more enhancements are coming to the 638 than what I saw at the show, so place this on the watch list.

While poking around the booths, the one trend that I picked up was monitoring and control.  IP accessibility at sites have improved with better land and microwave connectivity.  Manufacturers are embracing this.  WorldCast (www.worldcastsystems.com) introduced the WorldCast Manager.  Burk Technology (www.burk.com) introduced SNMP monitoring in their ARC Plus Touch remote control.  Both systems are delving deeper into the SNMP data gathering.  Those with an ARC Plus Touch can upgrade to this capability, those with the ARC Plus only can look into their upgrade package deal.  What is make the life better for Burk users is the SNMP monitoring is now at the local site and you have channel assignment capabilities.  Those of us with the older ARC Plus rely on the AutoPilot software for SNMP monitoring which may be at one location thus requiring an always up data connection.  This upgrade now gives local options and redundancy.

Look for more monitoring and control solutions out there.  I know there are others doing it, I just did not have a chance to visit them.  As operators cut staff and the fact that technology allows for more granular monitoring embracing this will help minimize off-air situations and help with troubleshooting.  Know where a system fails based on status points will quickly show where an issue lies.  Boxes that can communicate with each other will help expedite switching to alternate audio feeds.  If you have not begun to build such a system, you may wish to consider it.

Two days on the floor was not enough for me this year, but I made the best of it.  I enjoy catching up with colleagues year after year.  I like to see what is new, or in reality, what has improved.  New is lacking, but improvements abound, and you can see who is embracing the improvements and incorporating them into their systems.  And, if anyone can find a better, rack mounted, HD radio that displays Artist Experience other than the cheap desktop thing, I sure would like to know about it.  Now get back to work, y’all!

 

Cheers!

Nautel NVLT and Burk Technology Config

December 13, 2013 Leave a comment

One thing I do like to do is help fellow engineers get to a solution to a problem.  It does not matter how small or large.  Even if I can help in the smallest way it feels good.  I’m also feel honored that engineers, companies, and tech support folks actually recommend me to others for help.  In this case, I was able to at least steer a fellow engineer in the right direction.  What we learned, and it may sound surprising, is the Nautel NVLT is DIFFERENT than the NV so much so that Burk has a different PlusConnect-NV for that box.

The rub is the PlusConnect is so new that one of Burk’s own tech support was not aware of it, or made an assumption that was incorrect.  I was not aware of how different the NVLT was until this contact.  After a few email exchanges that stated the Link was there and the ARCPlus was talking with the PlusConnect, there were no readings and the configuration did not take.  I slept on it after giving some Burk pointers.  I began to feel that something was different and directed the engineer to contact Burk and ask for more details.  A couple days later I received a call from him and did I get an eye opener:  Yes, Burk has a different PlusConnect for the NVLT, yes the MIBs are different, yes the firmware is different, and yes the AutoLoad definitions are different.  Well, that explains it all.  Burk shipped the wrong PlusConnect.  Mistakes do happen, but….

I find it interesting that my engineer friend did not learn this from the first tech support person.  Whether he was too new or did not know, a simple “I do not know, let me get back to you” would have sufficed.  It took multiple calls.  There are most likely many reasons for this, so I give them the benefit of the doubt, but still a courtesy call to make sure the proper information was conveyed goes a long way.  After the calls the Burk website (here) has been updated with NVLT firmware and AutoLoad definitions.

Now back to business.

Cheers!

Break-Through, Breaking, Broke, Fixed

December 14, 2012 Leave a comment

That sums up this week.  Break a few things, get good news on an old issue, and fixing stuff.  That’s my life.

Cleaning up is my number one To-Do this week and I can walk into my office now.  Hall cleared, office cleaned up, and Station Logs files for 2013 are made.  (year, really.)  As we progress I got to cleaning up my remote control situation even more and creating automated tasks with macros.  This turned into a 2 day exercise as I had a chat with my pals at Burk Technology with some questions when I find out they posted updates for the ARC Plus firmware, now at 3.0.0.37, and AutoPilot 2010, officially 2.8.4.  Not resisting something “new” I had to update.  All went well except for 2 ARC Plus units.  The configurations I saved prior to the update messed them up when loaded back in!  Doh!  To quote Homer.  I figured that out and loaded configurations I had saved last week when I made a couple of macro changes.  Lesson learned:  Save that configuration as soon as you make a change!  Now I can proceed with some more macro building and some JET flowchart learning.  Yeah, I’m lagging on that.

The break-through is from RCS and our on-going NexGen v. Sage Endec IP control issue.  WE CAPTURED AN EVENT!  I received and email and RCS is working on code to install within NexGen to more closely evaluate why NexGen did not respond to the incoming alert.  We await this little update to the A-serves.  I ask again, anyone else out there doing IP control between NexGen and Sage?  I wish I knew a bit more of the inner workings of this system.  On the other hand I would not want to see that internal road map as the software in its basic form has been around for years!

Broke:  AT&T.  Nuff said?  We’ve had a series of T1 failures.  Some responded to quickly, others just lie in wait to annoy us.  I would suspect our Moseley equipment, but history proofs otherwise.  I do wish Moseley had a better self monitoring system, but the equipment is older and we are looking at upgrading to newer systems.  Bottom line is it sucks to not have line-of-site to transmitter sites so I can use a reliable microwave STL, I want a new 11GHz system so bad with a large bandwidth!  I can dream, can’t I?

As things settle down, other than AT&T, I am now going to sweep the studios and clean up some dust bunnies.  I think I have a battery replacement on an UPS due, too.  Love the holidays!

Cheers!

PS: Glossary for those new to this stuff:

STL = Studio Transmitter Link.  Conversely TSL = Transmitter Studio Link, the opposite path.  In radio we are mostly concerned with getting audio to the transmitter site.  In this modern world with data, along with monitoring/metering, the return path is for this information.

11GHz = 11 Giga Hertz microwave systems, is the band that carries audio, data.  “Classic” STLs are in the 950MHz band with limited bandwidth.  For comparison, 802.11 WiFi routers run in the 2.4GHz band with wireless N also in the 5GHz band.  Wireless mice and keyboards are also in the 2.4GHz band.

 

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