Family Radio’s WYFR shortwave service will be ending on June 30, 2013.
WYFR 50 years
Shortwave transmitting is very expensive, and no doubt, competing IP distribution technology and diminishing returns on such investment must play a factor in this decision. Family radio has been struggling ever since the world did not end as predicted in 2011.
We purchased four of these inexpensive Loftek IP cameras; one has, apparently sprung a leak:
Water ingress, Loftek Nexus 543 IP camera
These are supposed to be fully weatherproof outdoor cameras. They have a one year warranty from the manufacture, so this should be an easy replacement under warranty. Still, it involves climbing up on the roof to retrieve, then sending the defective unit back to the manufacture, etc. All the while, we are down one camera.
I guess this is what can be expected from an inexpensive camera. The units that are still on line are working great.
The security camera system at WICC has been installed for a month or so. The greatest feature of this system is the Blue Iris monitoring software. Two weeks ago while I was out there, we calibrated the motion detection on all four cameras. The results are astounding; there are least two red foxes, six to seven white tailed deer, and on the weekends, the place is busier than Grand Central station.
The night time images are interesting, people with flash lights walking down the beach at 1 am and a naked guy causally strolling by the front gate at midnight. I will never go to this site at night without the police. Never, so don’t even ask. This is a video of a fence hopper with a can of spray paint in his hand:
Likely he was intending on some site beautification. His friend is out of the frame to the left when the cameras are spotted. A few seconds later both can be seen running away on the North facing camera. I find that rather funny. This is a still picture:
Blue Iris screen shot
On the right hand side of the screen, one can see all of the triggered events from all of the cameras. The Blue Iris software is great, it can handle up to 64 IP cameras and has all sorts neat features; color coding cameras, record on motion, night time sensitivity settings, ability to NAT the camera interface to the public network, etc. The Blue Iris also has an iPhone and Android client which will allow remote access to the Blue Iris server and the server can be set up to push events to the mobile device. At $9.99, the app is a little pricey, but for high security situations, it might be just the ticket.
We also need to get some signage warning of trespassing and video surveillance and post them on the fences and buildings.
I have just finished putting back together this PRE BMX III console.
PRE BMXIII analog audio console, reassembled
We basically ripped the guts out of this unit and in doing so, I was reminded of how well these things are built. The PRE BMX series consoles were truly wonders of audio engineering. It is a testament to their ruggedness and serviceability that so many of these units are still in use twenty to thirty years after they were manufactured.
This console suffered some pretty bad water damage to the backplane:
PRE BMXIII module backplane
Which was replace, along with many switches and buttons. The Mic2, Mic3 and CD1 modules seemed to have taken most of the damage, there were several logic ICs and IC sockets that needed to be replaced on those modules. Of course, this was not inexpensive; the parts were somewhere north of $3K plus about 40 man hours of labor… that adds up fast.
The good news, I think that the studio was back in service last night.
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…
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.