About a month ago, I dropped my phone on my way out of class, this is the result:
HTC Droid Incredible with a little bit of wear
Now, that looks bad, I’ll admit, but the phone works just fine. It is my three year old HTC Droid Incredible and I have just customized it just the way I like. I was going to replace the front touch screen but after reviewing several youtube videos, that process looks like a right pain.
Unfortunately, every time I take it out of my pocket somebody invariably says: “Oh my God, what happened to your phone?” My strategy of late is to grab the phone and say “WHAT! WHAT!” while turning it over frantically to find some critical flaw, then look questioningly at the person.
Most often, the other person will look at me and figure out that I am messing with them. Some do not.
Especially when that sink is located on the second floor, above the studio on the first floor. ‘Tis but a small thing really, one of those little details, but in light of the sink also being clogged, it becomes very significant. That, coupled with the fact that the building is uninhabited at night and disaster is afoot.
The water was running slowly all night…
Wet ceiling tiles
It filled up the sink. It ran across the floor. It soaked the carpet. It seeped into the sub floor and out of the ceiling on the first floor and then into this nice Pacific Recorders BMX III console.
Pacific Recorders BMX III console, draining
Pacific Recorders BMX III console, draining/drying
You know that burning electronic/plastic smell? Yeah, that’s it, mixed with stale funky water, wet wood and a nondescript mildewy odor; that is what the room smells like. Very pleasing. The furniture below the console was soaked too:
Studio furniture after water damage
Some of the input module edge connectors; they didn’t fair so well:
PRE BMXIII burned edge connectors
The backplane for the power supply buss has to be replaced and these switches with the water bubbles in them, they have to go too:
Pacific Recorders BMXIII buss select switch full of water
We dried out the furniture with an industrial strength hair dryer. By three PM we had unsoldered all of the bad parts and cleaned off the modules and the console back plane.
Parts for repairs are on order from Mooretronix. I doubt this will be repaired before next Tuesday.
Somebody came in and was all “awww, this sucks bla bla bla.” Well, maybe, but I get paid by the hour and frankly, there are much worse things that I could be doing…
It is time, once again, to replace some very old Pacific Recorders BMXII consoles. The Pacific Recorders consoles were very expensive when new, but after 30 years of continuous use, have more than paid for themselves. The replacement console of choice for this installation is a SAS Rubicon. I have installed these units elsewhere and they are the modern equivalent of the PRE BMX.
The heart of the Rubicon system is the 32KD router. Routed audio systems can save a lot of time and effort in a large studio facility installation. Not having to run and terminate multiple analog and digital trunk cables between rack room and studio is a huge deal in a six or ten studio installation project.
The SAS 32KD router and Rubicon console system uses a serial TDM buss to communicate and transport audio around. This is a simpler system than packet switched IP data. Basically, the console surface is a very large, fancy computer control interface. Here are some pictures of the start of the project:
New Studio room, furniture installed
This is the view from the entry door. The furniture was placed last week and the counter top cut in for the console. The furniture is made by Studio Technology. The pile of yet to be installed equipment:
New studio equipment to be installed
For monitors, we are using the Tanoy 602p near field monitor placed on the table top above the computer screens. This studio will not have a turret. Turrets used to be necessary to hold things like cart machines and CD players. These days the CD players are used so infrequently that it was decided to put them in the side rack under the counter top. Turrets also take up a lot of counter top space that can be put to better use.
New studio punch blocks
Punch blocks and power connections. The red outlets are isolated ground UPS type, the back outlets are feed by the emergency generator power panel. All electric wiring is inside of metal conduit. The punch blocks are the inputs to the SAS RIO link unit, one 16 pair analog audio cable and ten category 5e shielded cables. The cat 5e is used for computer and TDM data buss to the router.
New Studio Rubicon console
The SAS Rubicon console cut into the counter top and protected by plastic sheets.
Rack room with 32KD routers. This facility has 9 studios total plus a news room with three work areas.
SAS 32KD router on line
The SAS 32KD router. All audio from the automation systems, satellite feeds and other sources is connected directly to these units. This unit is on line for other studios that have already been converted to the SAS gear.
This is a Youtube video of the Nautel webinar regarding the NV and NX 4.0 firmware release. I missed the original, live version due to other commitments. For your viewing pleasure (55 minutes):
The upgrade seems a bit lengthy, but well worth it. Do not be scared away by Linux, which is a wonderful operating system. Once one understands some basic Linux commands, the operating system itself is very intuitive. I’d recommend anyone with interest in IT and networking to have a basic grasp of Linux and other open source software.
Sometimes it is the little things that catch the eye. When I was installing a Nautel transmitter recently, I was admiring the circuit boards used for the transmitter controller. I have seen a few circuit boards that are functional, but leave a little to be desired in the form department. Does it really matter? Perhaps not, but often times those tiny, almost insignificant details come back to bite you. Little things like having the voltage regulator pins correctly placed or putting a toggle switch on the correct side of the board. I have seen both mistakes from another, well known transmitter manufacturer.
Nautel NV controller board
Anyway, these are a few photographs of some well designed, well laid out circuit boards.
Controller board, NV transmitter
This is the main controller board.
NV controller board surface mount components
Surface mount components.
NV controller board
Nautel XR harmonic filter, part back part is the circuit board
Part of the harmonic trap for the XR series transmitters.
It really is the little things that make big differences. A circuit board under a cover that few people will ever see may seem like a very small and insignificant detail, but I notice and admire these things…
Light posting this week as finals are here. This semester was one of the more challenging not just academically, but personally as well. Work hours, an illness in the family, children’s sports schedules, and other general life happenings have made it interesting to say the least. Thank you to all my loyal readers who check in on a daily basis, send thoughtful e-mails and comments and general encouragement.
The summer work schedule is shaping up, so there will no doubt be many more radio engineering stories forth coming. At this thing we do here, we are approaching three milestones at the same time; first is 1,000,000 page views, the second is 600 posts and finally, in the end of June it will be 4 years of bloggin’ for your humble scribe. It is fun, I most certainly have learned new things, made new contacts, acquaintances and friends from all over the world.
Thanks, as long as you guys (and girls) keep reading, I’ll keep writing.
I found this video called Empire of Noise about broadcast radio jamming. It seems to be about ten years old and is a post cold war documentary about the jamming of radio signals by the USSR, Warsaw Pact counties and China. It is an interesting look into the extent and expense that governments will go to to suppress counter thought and ideas.
The video is quite long, and there are stretches of jamming noise that can be annoying, but perhaps that is the point. It is worth the time if interested in history and radio broadcasting. You know what they say about history; those that do not understand history are destined to repeat it.
A few of the highlights:
The former Soviet Union had the most extensive jamming network of anyone on Earth. There were groundwave jamming centers in eighty one Soviet cities which consisted of approximately 10-15 transmitters each in the 5 KW covering the medium and shortwave frequencies.
Each groundwave jamming station consisted of a transmitter site and a receiver/control site. The receiver site possessed lists of frequencies to monitor, when objectionable material was heard, the jamming transmitters were turned on.
There was a skywave jamming network consisting of 13 jamming stations with 10 or more 100-200 KW transmitter in each. There were some transmitters in the 1,000 KW power range. These were located in Krasnodar, Lvov, Nikolaev, Yerevan, Alma-Ata, Grigoriopol, Sovieck, Novosibrisk, Tashkent, Khanbarovsk, Servdlosk and Moscow (some of these names may have changed). These operated in a similar fashion to the groundwave jammers.
After sign off of government stations, Soviet jammers sent a blanketing signal on the IF frequency (most likely 455 KHz) of receivers to effectively block them from receiving any station while USSR government stations were off the air.
Baltic states had 11 jamming stations with approximately 140 transmitters
Ukraine had approximately 300 Jamming transmitter.
Warsaw Pact countries had extensive medium frequency jamming networks.
It is estimated it takes about 20 times the transmitted power to jam any one signal.
The entire jamming network was hugely expensive to equip and operate, costing several tens of millions of dollars per year.
It is interesting that the US position in all of this was:
Everyone has the right to seek, receive and impart information through any media and regardless of frontiers. Jamming of radio broadcasts is condemned as the denial of the right of persons to be fully informed concerning news, opinions and ideas.
Sounds perfectly reasonable. The free exchange of ideas and information over the internet is something that should be guarded carefully and should not be restricted or censored. Perhaps somebody should inform congress.
My apologies. As of late, there have been several service disruptions on this site. In speaking with my web host, they have identified the following issues:
On Thursday 4/11 and 4/18 between 6-10 am local time (1000-1400 UTC) the server that hosts engineeringradio.us was subjected to a DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack, where approximately 200,000 login attempts were made per hour from 90,000 different IP addresses. This was part of a greater attack on WordPress websites.
On Wednesday 4/24 there was another DoS attack of a more limited and focused scale around 3-4 pm time frame
On Tuesday 4/30 beginning at 5 am, (0900 UTC) there was a server issue which returned an error 404 message to anyone trying access the web site. The .htaccess file was somehow corrupted, which later caused a error 500 message. This outage lasted until approximately 2 pm (1800 UTC) when the .htaccess file was reloaded.
I have taken several steps to secure the web server and web site against intrusions and other attacks. A distributed DoS attack is very hard to track and combat, the best course is to beef up security policies and weather the attacks when they come. I have contemplated moving this website to my own server, but that is more work than I have time for right now. Perhaps at some future point, if reliability continues to be an issue, I will do that.
With the pending LPFM filing window in October, I decided that perhaps I could spread the information to some local groups that might want to put a community radio station on the air where I live. Back over a decade ago, there were a couple of local commercial AM and FM stations in the area, but they moved out of town to a larger city some 24 miles to the east. If local legend is to be believed, the AM station was very popular, with its studios and offices over the local pharmacy. That station is now running 24/7 comedy, which given the area, is ironic almost beyond words. As it stands now, this is one of those rural areas that, on paper, looks well served by several different radio stations. Truth is, there are radio signals receivable here, but there is no local radio. The last time anyone from those previously local stations had a meaningful thought about the respective Cities of License was months if not years ago.
With all this in mind, I first approached a local community non-profit group. They seemed mildly interested, but expressed doubt about finding a studio location. Their basic take was, we can help, but we want others involved. Seemed to be a lukewarm, but understandable and not totally unwarranted response.
I then approached the local school board. The idea was to get the high school involved with the station broadcasting sports events and teaching kids how to do play by play and perhaps other types of radio shows. They fainted interest at first, then decided that they didn’t have the staff to deal with a broadcast program and there were other excuses like “liability issues.”
I then approached the local governments (two different towns) who were almost openly hostile to the idea. While they didn’t say as much to my face, they rather implied that it would be a waste of time and the town(s) were not interested.
I have approached other local groups, which don’t seem to be interested at all.
Has radio lost its mojo with the local population? Are we who still remain in the radio business simply fooling ourselves into thinking that somehow this is important? I don’t know.
The hazards of rural LPFM; large area, few people, generalized indifference.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
~1st amendment to the United States Constitution
Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. To be your own man is hard business. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers
~Universal Declaration Of Human Rights, Article 19
...radio was discovered, and not invented, and that these frequencies and principles were always in existence long before man was aware of them. Therefore, no one owns them. They are there as free as sunlight, which is a higher frequency form of the same energy.