Use This Time Wisely

It makes sense to stick around the station to the extent possible now; the weather has turned, and roads are slick November 14, 2016

In this part of fall, it makes sense to stick around the station to the extent possible; the weather has turned, and roads are slick from rain, or perhaps covered with a thin layer of snow. I hope you had time to winterize your remote sites before now.

More than 30 years ago, I worked for a manufacturer (well known at the time but erased from most people’s memories by now). My job was to factory test analog microwave radio links — ones used by telephone companies to carry hundreds of telephone calls. Naturally, we had slow periods during the year. One of the techs, with years of experience on the floor, always kept busy during the slow times, and I learned something taking note of what he did.

When times were slow, he would go through his test cables, making sure all the cable were solid, reliable, and perhaps most importantly, right at hand. He invested time in making sure his work environment (which was a portable workstation that rolled around the factory test area) was 100 percent ready to go. When we got busy, he always got work done efficiently because there were no distractions — no intermittent cables and no missing RF adaptors. He had a place for everything, and of course, everything was in its place.

I’m not the most well-organized or fastidious person, myself, but I do apply what I learned from him. When times are slow, and you’re stuck indoors, get ready for the busy times. Have the right test gear in place; have all the cables you need; and have all the smalls (like adaptors and connectors) in stock and in place. It makes the job easier down the road.

This month in the November issue of Radio magazine, we have another great set of articles for your reading pleasure. First, our facility showcase is about a radio station transmitter site in somewhat of an unusual location in Washington state. Like many transmitter sites in the great northwest, it’s beautiful, but it can be a little tough to get to, especially if you don’t make the last ferry.

At the Radio Show in September, Commissioner Pai brought up the idea of Class C4 as an allocation possibility in our FM bands once again. This month, Jeremy Ruck tells us all about the implications of C4, both good and bad. Some of us are likely to be affected by the inclusion of C4 — I suggest you read this article to get up to speed on the prospect.

There’s more news on FCC policy changes with respect to foreign ownership of radio stations. Lee Petro is back this month, explaining what it all means.

If you are a regular reader of Radio, then you know we often delve into the most complex radio broadcasting technical topics. This month, Dennis Sloatman offers the fourth installment in his series on the use of programmable logic controllers, this time showing you the design parameters of a system that could be built by any of you for any transmitter site that has pressurized transmission lines. Do you want to learn something new? If so, you’re reading the right magazine.

Trends in Technology this month covers broadcast furniture. When building large studios, the furniture is likely to be the second most expensive line item. It’s also the part that most visitors remember, and it has to look good and last for years. If you’re planning a renovation, then this is a must-read for you.

But you’re not done even yet. On the last page, check out our staff iconoclast, the Wandering Engineer. What is the true power of radio? Is it in the number of watts we transmit, or in the way we reach out to people? It’s a fitting end to the election season, too.

 

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