Posts Tagged ‘SAS’

Step Forward, Then Back

Another week has gone by and wouldn’t you know it, that exciter of last week made me take a step back.  That Superciter was working just dandy on the bench when I shut down on Friday of last.  I had it up to 30 watts running happy as a clam (wherever that phrase came from) into a load.  All afternoon it ran until I pulled the plug for the weekend.  Come Monday of this week, Mr. Murphy struck.

As usual with these things, I felt I should run another bench test before calling this exciter good.  Plugged it in and let it run.  It started out just fine at 30 watts.  I’m happy that nothing changed while it sat doing nothing for a weekend.  We all need time off.  I wander through the shop while doing other things.  I walk right by the bench late morning and stop.  Take a couple steps back and look at the forward power.  16 watts!  Huh?  Fan is working and I pop the top open.  Not heat.  Shoot, it’s even sitting under an air conditioning vent.  Time to pull it apart and take the test point readings.  I start to see a couple of anomalies, though for the most part all readings were good.

I sit down with the schematic and refresh my brains on the previous week pointers on what drives what and who and where.  Take a couple more readings as I watch the power drop down below 10 watts.  Something is failing and failing slowly.  No faults, just no power.  OK, if those don’t get enough drive what happens?  I’m starting to get the feeling there is a drive issue.  Why it didn’t show last week is interesting.  I have a brief email exchange with GatesAir.  I describe the situation and how it changed from last week.  The same conclusion that something is not giving enough drive.  We are going t concentrate on the RF drive produced by the FM Synthesizer board.  I have a couple of parts ordered, so we wait until they arrive.  Let’s see if this takes care of it.

In the meantime, we had our annual fire inspection.  Meetings.  A last minute invite to Al Salci’s (of SAS fame) presentation of AVB (Audio Video Bridging) was a highlight.  Great presentation if you get a chance to witness it.  At least I had time off from wrestling with that exciter!  Every week is a learning experience, so take advantage when you can.  Next week more meets and greets.  Let’s see what I learn and maybe even get an exciter repaired.


Categories: Equipment, Management Tags: , , ,

Wow, We’ve Been Busy

December 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Real quick to catch up. If you have been following my tweets, when I remember to tweet, we have changed automation systems at our facilities. Per corporate request we installed the RCS NexGen (formerly Prophet) system. It was an interesting ordeal from the initial planning to the final results. The bottom line, and to quote the RCS installer, “That was smooth.” It is great to have an awesome staff (only 3 of us) to make this happen. One quick pat on the back here: No GPIO in the installation; we run console control via IP and we also have IP control of our Sage Digital Endec. With IT there (thanks JR) we are sucking in our traffic and surf reports. Shoot the surf report is pushed from the guy’s iPhone! All automatically. We had fun making this stuff up! I will make an effort to blog some details here shortly.

I know, promises, promises. I can only try! Cheers!

Categories: Equipment Tags: , , ,

Studio B Complete, NexGen Install Continues

October 21, 2011 Leave a comment

2 1/2 days and the production studio is back in service. SAS Rubicon installed. No issues there except for the basic neuron misfires one has when over worked. Change the address on that module you moved! Doh! Anyways, I digress. Installed we are running and we even have audio from NexGen in the room. I don’t think I’ve had a smoother console install and equipment swap. Even the reduction of the hole in the furniture went smooth.

We continue to beat out NexGen. We can get audio out of the thing, but we are fighting these KVM extenders. Labeled Dell FX-100s, they are not supported by Dell. They work when they work, but when a little change happens, like a reboot of computer, you have to reconfigure them. Thanks RCS for selling us those. We will beat it down, though. We always do.

More later.

Tech Week Review: I’m Tired

October 14, 2011 1 comment

This week was a full week if there ever was one.  We managed to dodge a bullet in the power department, survived another AT&T T1 failure, rebounded from an RCS mess, and finished the first steps of a studio upgrade.

Power.  We take it for granted.  A normal facility would have enough available capacity to grow.  Here we do neither.  This is tied into our RCS NexGen installation where we had to add  a server room to accommodate the hardware intensive system.  (not our choice, but we do what we do.)  The facility was built in the mid-80’s for two stations.  Today it house 4 stations, a minimal amount of production space, and a tech center that was expanded to handle the PPM equipment.  The tech panel is connected to a generator and is only capable of 40 Amps, max.  The limit is the generator which we cannot do anything about, yet (future project and story will accompany it), at 12.5kW.  We are max-ed out on the panel with only 5 Amps of headroom on two phases and 0 Amps on the third phase.  With a bit of juggling and shedding non-critical equipment, racks, and even production rooms, we managed to fire up all 18 server class computers and their peripheral equipment.  Mr. Goldberg would be proud of this accomplishment.

Since I dropped the RCS NexGen mess into this and it is associated with this hell, we received the equipment and it was NOT configured with IP addresses which we were told was done.  We were also not given instructions on the Dell FX100 KVM extenders which even Dell does not support.  We ended up finding out that Dell re-brands them under the model FX100 and they actually come from a Canadian company of which our IT dude contacted.  We find they are obsolete and no longer manufactured.  He did receive instructions and got them to work!  We can now proceed on learning how this beast runs and begin to deploy such beast.

On that note, in conjunction with the RCS project we are upgraded a production room.  It is finally getting equipped with a SAS Rubicon console.  Finally all our main facilities will be on the same system.  This was a project that has been postponed for 3 years!  I had the furniture modified to accommodate the smaller frame, a PR&E/Harris Legacy console was removed, and a new Rubicon 16 installed.  The console was up and running by the end of the day as I pre-configured it between the other headaches of the week.  All we need to do is finish connecting peripherals and attend to details.  I am the resident expert on SAS having installed 8 consoles in our facility, one configured as a split-console. One issue that has arisen in this installation is the Telos Console Director.  The display starts out good, but then messes up.  Operation is not an issue, just the display.  Next week begins with a call to Telos to see what I can do to verify anything unusual.  I know the cable from the I/O to the director is good and I know the Desktop Director works just fine.  Interesting that I seem to have issues with Console Directors.  I still have no resolve on my other two that just go stupid and shut down.  A mystery that needs solving!

In the middle of this fun was our routine T1 outage from our friendly folks at AT&T.  This came in the middle of our power management project.  We finally got to deal with a tech that knew what he was doing.  He was baffled by the fact that the circuit was down hard for 2 hours with no signs of problems before or after in the logs.  He proceeded to tear out the circuit and test all the way back to the CO.  He found 80 Volts of cross-battery and had new pairs assigned.  Let’s see how long we go this time.  This circuit has issues at least 3-4 months, and each time AT&T says it tests good.

I did manage to make it to the SBE meeting to hear what Nautel has to offer in the future.  Now there is a company I have not problems with at the moment.

I continue the installation of the Burk ARC Plus system as time permits.  All projects are running together now and two of our stations have gone into live broadcast mode.  We do the best we can to cover everything, it just means we delay projects to accommodate them.

On that note, it was tiring this week.  It took time off today and spent time with my daughter.  We attack next week and fit all in everything in between 3 live broadcasts.  Busy is good, it just makes it difficult to do it right and in the time allotted.  Have a great weekend!


Categories: Equipment, Management Tags: , , , , ,

When The Economy Attacks

This was a tough week. The economy strikes again. I witnessed the layoff of 13 full-time employees and a handful of part-time employees. All good people.  It seems every radio group has now seen what the economy has done, and we all must take up the slack as we move forward. Even with this tragic event, there is work to be done. In my case a lot.

This week I went live with our new Sage ENDECs. I have the air chain switching setup within the SAS router and all the handheld RC-1 controllers work. I now need to implement automation control, but that is up in limbo as we wait to see if and when we get our new system. I will have a temporary solution within the next couple of weeks.

On that note I am not impressed by the input controls of the ENDEC. There are 5 inputs to use, but you can’t use them the way you want. Sage gives you schemes to use them the way they think they should be used. I have called and expressed my concerns, but they go unheard. The main headache is their required 1 second closure for the box to work properly. Anything less and it acts different and creates a gotcha. The SAS closures are roughly 300ms. Using Scheme 1 instead of a RWT it starts a 15 minute hold timer before running the test. Not very intuitive. Why we cannot program how the inputs work is beyond me, especially since the box is network accessible. And the answer is yes, I am looking for ways to “hack” in and control the box via something other than their web GUI.

I also cleaned up a Harris/PR&E Impulse console. I had to order a handful of new switches. I must stress if coffee is spilt into a console, just tell us. I was able to clean things up on the PC board and luckily the solder pads were intact. I was suspect of the ribbon cable connector. I used Deoxit and made sure all the contacts got burnished. I sparyed air through to get any extra residue and cleaner out of the connector. The console is up and running for morning show production. Now if I could drop a little SAS Rubicon in there….

Now that this stress week is over I can attack details and do some digging. Some days I wish I could program so hacking wasn’t such a chore. At least it is fun to dig! 

Have a good weekend.

Posted from WordPress on NookColor

Categories: Equipment, Management Tags: , , , ,

NAB Convention Is Upon Us!

I sit here gathering up my “notes” and listening to my Blues channel on Pandora; NAB is around the corner. No way, it is here!  I leave tomorrow!  Wow.  I have an agenda.  The company has an agenda.  The show has an agenda.  My job is to make them all mesh.  Of course it will not prevent me from doing some “vendor disruptions”.

I need to visit vendors regarding remote controls.  Burk, Audemat, and Davicom come to mind.  Any other suggestions?  I’m familiar with Burk.  I like the concept and white paper by Audemat, though some reports from the local boys across town will curl your hair.  Davicom I’ve seen via web meeting and should be usable.  How far do I want to go?  This could be fun.

We will attempt to crash the NexGen, so be prepared RCS.  We like to dig and we want to push buttons; simultaneously.  We did this to WideOrbit and they passed.  Others failed in an endless loop in the past, so maybe everyone is robust compared to then.  Should be fun.

I will be at the NUG (Nautel Users Group) on Sunday.  Hey, that app you posted in the Waves newsletter does not work through VPN.  I look forward to seeing what’s new and how things are.  I also want to see the advanced AUI presentation.

To bad Verizon won’t be there.  Maybe even HTC and Samsung.  No VPN through hotspots?  NAT issue?  Come on, now.  How do we run our stuff securely, leave it on an open network?  Security first, people.  If WiFi is available on the floor or nearby, I will be happy to show you a VPN connection w/VNC to my Nautel transmitters on an eReader, a.k.a. cheap tablet.

I will be talking with SAS (Sierra Automated Systems) regarding my system and integration with our next automation system being mandated by the company.  (I’ll elaborate later, and will be a subject of review)  I  have a studio upgrade coming.

Tieline will get a visit.  I see a new box and they did not send me one to play with.  Does that mean I  can break it at the show?  Also I noticed an application to manage the Tieline remote gear.  Well, where is it?  I know I have 8 boxes I could manage.  I like pushing updates.  I also like to add and subtract profiles as necessary.  Let’s have at it!  Oh, and where is the Android app?

I will visit Sage and ask to tear about the Digital Endec.  EAS and CAPS is coming and we are to upgrade this year anyways.  Just a few questions and a look at the box.  This is the one we have decided on.

I’ll visit with Studer as they want to meet with me regarding consoles.  This is not a formal thing, but would be cool if it led somewhere.  I am quite happy with my SAS Rubicons and SLs.  If it leads to anything, it is design, like I know anything about that; I install and make ’em work.

It just piles up.  I notice a hard time for Audemat.  Hopefully we are discussing remote control and not that stupid Golden Eagle box.  I had to reboot that thing 3 times yesterday just to get diversity delay readings!  Ouch.  The multipath at the studios isn’t much help either.

I think I will swing by Harris and tell them that my Flexstar dropped off once again without any reason.  Once in 1 year is a major improvement!  Of course a week after that occurred I get an email talking about their new transmitters.  WT>>>>  I have a “young” transmitter, I cannot get another.  There is other competition out there!  😉  (See my article in the Waves newsletter….) I want to see the STL solutions provided by these guys, too.  This means I will be visiting Moseley, too.  I have Moseley and Intraplex.

Gosh, I just remembered I wanted to look at some audio test gear and modulation monitors that work.  The ones I have are in a word, worthless.  They will make good air monitors for HD, though.

I will hit the usual suspects as time permits.  I have a lot to do with only 2 days on the floor.  I’m a bit disappointed I may not get to see interactive and video.  I want to delve into some of that and see what ideas I can come away with.

Hope to see you all at the show!  Walk up and smack me if you wish to talk.


Studio M Goes Live!

September 15, 2010 Leave a comment

This morning we went live from Studio M at 6:00am PDT. The transition went smooth. The combination of automation conditions, cross-point control, and humans came together and we did it!

As you may have guessed or if you read the blog, we are an SAS house. This studio consists of a Rubicon SL-24 & a Rubicon SL-8 in a split console configuration. We currently use the Enco DAD system on which we run an older version (long story). We have 3 touch monitors on this computer, one extended to the producer. We have the Audio VoxPro with 2 controllers, 2 monitors. Call screener appears on 3 monitors.

It flies. We like it. Now I get to do my job. More later. Gotta run!

Categories: Equipment Tags: , ,
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