December 2011
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The head smasher

I have worked in hundreds of transmitter sites over the years; AM, FM, TV, HF, Two way, Paging, Cellular, etc.  So many, I have lost count.  The one thing that is always annoying is equipment that is suspended from the ceiling at just the wrong height, AKA: The Head Smasher.  It does not matter if warning signs are posted, I’ve seen them marked with black and yellow caution tap, and so on.  If it is installed low enough for somebody to hit their head, contusions will result.

3 1/8 inch motorized coax switch mounted

3 1/8 inch motorized coax switch mounted

Thus, when it came to install this motorized 3 1/8 inch coax switch, there was only one way to do it.  Installing it the other way would result in a head smasher behind the backup transmitter because the ceilings are low.  The problem with this style mounting is how to get to the motor and clutch assembly for servicing.  There is but one inch of clearance between the top of the coax switch and the transmitter room’s ceiling.  If servicing is needed, the entire switch would need to be removed, resulting in lots of extra work and off air time.

3 1/8 inch motorized coax switch cover

3 1/8 inch motorized coax switch cover

So, an idea was formed.  Why not cut the switch cover in half and put some hinges on it.  The cover itself is made of aluminum.  I was able to carefully mark it out and cut it with a jig saw.  Then, I attached a set of hinges on the back side and a set of latches on the front.  It now opens like a clam shell.

3 1/8 inch coax switch cover modification

3 1/8 inch coax switch cover modification

Now, when access is needed to either the motor or clutch, the cover can be opened up and removed.  Unless the actual RF contact fingers burn out, there should be no need physically removed the switch for servicing.

3 1/8 inch coax switch cover, modified

3 1/8 inch coax switch cover, modified

Cover replaced.  This will not have to be removed very often, in fact, I have known some coax switches that never need service.  Still, having the ability to quickly get the cover off and do some basic repairs is a good thing.

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1 comment to The head smasher

  • Great thinking. When I was doing more RF work I had run into too many instances where the only thought was to get things put together with not about future maintenance or service needs. Had others thought about things like your solution to access the works of the motorized switch it would have saved engineering staff time, and likewise, possibly saved the station money.

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