If you are the type of person that drives around to transmitter sites and steals things; fuck you. You have no idea the problems you are causing to get a few extra dollars worth of scrap copper.
I have a feeling that most of these copper thefts can be attributed to out of town tower contractors removing old cellular equipment from towers. Notice, only the buss bar and copper ground wire is missing. They did not try to cut the transmission lines. In other words, they seemed to know what they were doing. I have noticed around here that a when a particular contractor, employed by an unnamed large company that rhymes with glint, would work at a site, things would be missing afterwards.
Perhaps it is just a coincidence. I have never been able to catch anyone pinching things. However, if this is you, and I catch you, you can rest assured that I will block you in with my car, then walk down the road and call the police.
I have put off writing anything about this for several reasons. First of all, there is a lot of secrecy surrounding the use of the Voltair magic machine. No one will admit to it, however, I have had several off the record conversations with various engineers. All of this is hush-hush, unofficially off the record and on the QT, so no names, call letters or cities of license can be disclosed.
The general gist of these conversations is this; the Voltair seems to be increasing ratings in some cases and but not others. It is sometimes too early to tell whether the increased ratings are a one time anomaly or something more permanent. In one case, an AC station saw 30% increase in numbers, while a certain talk station saw next to nothing. Results are mixed.
In the credit where credit is due department; the Telos Marketing campaign is has been effective. Again, from a variety of different sources; Program Directors, Market Managers and Sales Managers are “beside themselves,” or “giddy” when the UPS truck delivers the Voltair to the front door. In one case, requiring that “I (the market engineer) drop everything” to get it installed as quickly as possible and “acting like it is God’s gift to radio.” It looks like all those trade publication ads are paying off, $15,000 at a time.
One interesting thing about the Voltair, you can program simulated listening environments such as sporting events, restaurants, kitchens, vehicles, etc. This allows the user to see how their program material is being decoded by a PPM survey device in those types of environments. For example, if you are a sports station, having your program material decode well at sporting events or restaurants and bars might be important.
Of course, we have all seen the confidence display:
So, what does this mean? Perhaps there is an inherent flaw in the Nielsen PPM encoding technology? In the past, PPM has been blamed for the demise of the Smooth Jazz format. I always had the notion that Smooth Jazz was responsible for the demise of the Smooth Jazz format. However, if PPM is indeed causing certain program material to disappear from the airwaves, then it would be a case of the tail wagging the dog. If PPM requires that station owner’s purchase a $15,000 in order to get credit for their TSL and cume, then there is a pretty big problem with the technical aspects of the system.
Of course, there are others that say there is no “Voltair effect.” The Voltair machine is simply a fancy and expensive gizmo that looks good but does not really do anything.
Nielson Audio is having a Webinar on July 21 to address some of the questions regarding the Voltair and PPM encoding for subscribers only. It will be interesting to see what the outcome is.
Excerpt of a memo from a few years ago, during the great recession:
(Redacted) has implemented a consumables reduction program. All consumables; copy paper, toner, note pads, pens, pencils, paper towels, garbage bags, paper plates, plastic flatware, toilet paper, and so forth must be reduced by 25%. (Redacted) is spending far to much on such material which is impacting our financial performance.
My contribution to the effort:
I wouldn’t want the CEO to miss his bonus this year…
Every year, the Maritime Radio Historical Societycelebrates the closing of the last commercial Morse code radio station, which happened at 0001 UTC, July 13, 1999. They do this by re-manning the watch for a few hours in honor of all those who so diligently listened for distress signals on 500 KHz and other frequencies continuously for over 90 years. Your humbleauthor was one of those, who in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s strained to hear, through the static crashes and OTHR, the simple, yet effective combination of SOS sent in Morse code.
Fortunately, after the closure of KPH, the National Parks Service took over the land and preserved the buildings and antenna fields intact. Today, a dedicated group of volunteers maintain these facilities as a working museum. This is the earliest history of radio technology and from this, sprang Amateur Radio, then Broadcast Radio services.
So, if you have the opportunity on July 12 (Sunday, starting at 8 pm, EDT), tune around to some of the frequencies listed below and see how ship to shore communications was handled:
425, 454, 468,480,512
These are duplex frequencies, meaning; the ship transmits on one frequency and listens on to the shore station on another and vice versa.
Those medium frequencies do not carry that far during daylight, however the high frequencies should be heard across the world.
In addition to that, there are youtube videos to watch:
There are more videos on youtube, if one is so inclined.
Those old RCA transmitter look like they are in excellent condition. Somebody has spent a lot of time restoring those units.
Hopefully, one of these years, I will get a chance to head out to San Fransisco during the middle of July and see this in person. It would be nice for my children to see what their old man used to do in what seems like a different lifetime.