December 2013
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Things Radio Engineers say

We are a strange group sometimes, I will admit. However, some of the things I hear my fellow engineers say are rather humorous, even to me. Apropos nothing at all:

Toyota Prius?  I would be caught dead in one of those things.  I want a car that belches black smoke and the tires squeal when I step on the gas.

When connecting a satellite feed which was silent but supposed to be carrying live programming:

That was not as loud as thought it would be.

When discussing working overseas in various locations:

When I was in the Philippines, they have this stuff called baloot or bolute or something.  It is a partially incubated chicken egg.  You break it open and the embryo is in there.  It was like eating a chicken abortion.

Things said to the general manager:

But it can be fixed, you just haven’t written a big enough check yet.

Yes, I am aware that we are off the air.  Unfortunately, every time I start to work on the transmitter, the general manager calls to ask if I am aware that we are off the air.

When discussing the qualities of various car rental agencies:

If it is a rental, no need to be gentle

An irate FCC inspector, upon getting lost while trying to find an AM monitor point. The license was rolled up into a tube and he was smacking the dashboard of the car with it:

Is this your license, or is this a joke?

After a DJ explains why she did not put the back transmitter on the air:

You are off the air, I don’t know how you could mess things up more than that

There are many more, I am sure after I post this, I will add to it.

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9 comments to Things Radio Engineers say

  • My boss the other day “You can’t see any audio coming from that device”.

    (He meant you can’t see it on the meters, but funny just as such.)

    Then there is the quip about Dikes. Ask any young gun technician under 30 to grab your dikes, they look at you cross-eyed. (followed up with the “where did that term come from?”)

  • Paul Thurst

    Dikes = Diagonal Cutters. In the military they were call TL33’s, which stood for “Tool, lineman, type 33”

  • Tom Wells

    I’ve a few pair of the telco dikes with the wire stripping circle cut notch, and
    I’d feel lost without having a pair available pretty much every waking moment.

  • Bill Draper

    Another DJ explaining why he didn’t put the transmitter back on the air.This from a late night phone call many moons ago:

    ELMER- (overnight jock) : “The transmitter is off the air”.
    ME : “Go to the remote control panel and hit Plate On.”
    ELMER: “I can’t. The record is ending and I have to read a live spot.”

  • Chuck Kelly

    Or when calling the telco central office to report a copper loop failure, they check it, and say “The problem is leaving here OK”

  • Emergency phone call from one of our less swift master control operators.

    Me, groggy early AM… “Hello”
    Her “Hi Mike, Sorry to bother you. But I was looking at the transmitter computer, and the reverse power is at 0%, and I was concerned there was an issue”.
    Me “No, that’s good, as long as the forward is above 90”
    Her “Yes, it’s at 96%. But the reverse is 0, shouldn’t it be higher?”
    Me “Nope, it shouldn’t. It’s good”

    Nothing like being woken up early in the morning to be told your transmission system is running correctly.

  • Paul Thurst

    @Chuck, that’s funny. After all, the phone company is never wrong 🙂
    @Mike, at least the guy is paying attention.
    @Bill, I think I would have said “Okay, I will wait for you to finish.”

  • Noel MacClanahan

    First part time job at a 10Kw Am while in high school…the chief comes in and says “You see those two big glowing tubes through the front panel of the transmitter? If you see them get really red and the glass on the panel starts melting…use that technique that x-ray technicians use and LEAVE THE ROOM.”

  • Mental vaporlock:
    The main screen of the remote control display (an ancient Moseley, which originally ran with a wonderful, custom-hackable, hyptertext-like DOS-based interface, until IS insisted all DOS boxes had to go away forever) has only 2.5 buttons per transmitter — the big VHF is just ON/RESET and OFF, the little UHF has ON, OFF and RESET. MC operator calls me at home: “LPTV is off!”
    “Did you reset it?” (Mind you, the operators have a couple of “comic book” guides that show and describe every button (7), meter (7) and indicator (8) on the panel. Most of their cars have more complicated controls.)
    “I don’t know how!” (He’s worked there over a decade. He’s been talked through this before.)
    “Click on the RESET button. When it asks ‘Are you sure?’ click on ‘YES.'”
    “Okay, but it didn’t do anything.”
    “Now click on ON, right above RESET.”
    “It wants to know if I’m sure!”
    “What should I do?”
    “Click on ‘YES.'”
    “I did but it’s still not on.”
    “That’s going to take three minutes.” (As short as I can force the control ladder, which expects to be running an IOT, a nasty big power tube. They’re long gone but the time and trouble of jeeping three PAs for instant-on isn’t worth it. It’s never taken less than five minutes for the rig to come up in the entire 20-year history of that transmitter.)
    “Will you stay on the phone?”
    (Really?) “No, I’ll turn my TV on. If it doesn’t come back on in time, I’ll call you.”

    Of course, these days we sometimes have to run a “trouble” crawl if there’s a transmitter off the air for very long: one subchannel runs on two different transmitters and all of them feed three cable companies and one satellite provider directly from the studio! Totally ruins the old joke about “announcing we’re off the air.”

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