How Not to Lock Yourself Out
Last issue I
told you about a fun panel discussion at the Wisconsin Broadcaster’s Clinic called
“What Is It?”
1: What is it?
Cumulus Rockford CE John Huntley offers Workbench readers a chance to weigh in. Take a look at Fig. 1. What
is it? Can you sleuth this out? Read on for the answer!
* * *
Urban is the chief operator for KUT(FM) Radio at the University of Texas at
Austin. Brian writes that sites with multiple
tenants often are secured by chains with padlocks looped together, so each
tenant has its own lock. It’s a great system — until someone puts locks around
your lock and you have no access. (Enter the bolt cutters!)
engineers use a common combination lock; but then you have no control over who
gets the combination.
Brian uses a device we featured about 10 years ago that
lets everyone use his or her own lock, with no chance of locking anyone out.
It’s called the Stymielock and is made by a company in North Carolina. You can
find more information at the Radio World links page, radioworld.com/links.
* * *
And the tips for the tower site just keep on comin’.
This next idea is from projects engineer and consultant Len
Watson. When replacing a Lapp-type AM base insulator, toss a couple of Styrofoam
packing peanuts in the bottom.
Don’t pack it tightly; use just a couple. Here’s
why: If the weep hole does clog and you don’t catch it, at least freezing water
will compress the peanuts, instead of shattering the insulator. (Len also warns
not to use the salted variety of peanuts!)
Consultants’ websites contain lots of good
information; Len’s site is no exception. Visit www.scopefocus.com.
* * *
These O-rings work great for securing the VAC pop filter; find them at www.grainger.com.
Several engineers and I recently discussed how
to secure items like loose power supplies or utility boxes to remote gear.
Most everyone uses hook-and-loop fastening such
as Velcro, mostly because the strips are easy to cut and place, and they usually
hold well. However, after a remote season your fastener may be losing its grip.
Heat in particular may cause adhesive to deteriorate. The next thing you know,
whatever was supposed to be fastened isn’t.
Robin Cross of KCUR(FM) asked if I’d tried
Power-Grip, used in the music industry to hold foot pedals for musicians. Power-Grip
comes in strips measuring one inch wide by one meter long. It, too, uses a self-attachment
scheme, mating to itself so you don’t need a male and a female strip. But the
secret is in the adhesive.
Application is simple, but first you need to use a rag and a
solvent like lighter fluid — outdoors, in a well-ventilated space — to remove any
prior adhesive. Once you’ve got clean metal, apply the Power-Grip strips. It
takes 24 hours for the adhesive to cure; after that, those utility boxes will
Head to radioworld.com/links
for a great informational video and ordering information.
|Fig. 3: Slip the O-rings over the frame to keep the pop filter secure.
* * *
4: A secure pop filter.
Robin also offers a suggestion for engineers
using VAC-RE20 microphone pop filters
(www.popfilter.com). These can become loose over time. To cure that,
Robin orders the O-rings pictured in Fig. 2, from Grainger. Slip the rings over
the frame, as seen in Fig. 3, for a finished product and a pop filter that
He adds that it is
common for his microphone arm/boom hardware to loosen. His solution is to find
the least permanent thread-lock compound and use it on the ends of the bolts
after securing the nuts.
* * *
Thoughts on Fig. 1?
John says it was a very windy day. Some kind of cross-field polarized antenna?
Better get a grip on that mount! What appears from the ground to be some odd kind of antenna mount is in
fact an antenna bay; its mount has slipped, allowing it to sag toward the
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Author John Bisset has spent 43 years in the broadcasting industry and
is still learning. He is SBE certified and is a recipient of the SBE’s Educator
of the Year Award. He works for Elenos USA.