Have you ever accidently taken yourself off the air?

A case of PEBKAC (Problem Exists Between Keyboard and Chair)? Tell us about your war stories!
boiseengineer(old)

Re: Have you ever accidently taken yourself off the air?

Post by boiseengineer(old) » Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:35 pm

Dropped a screwdriver down behind a combiner patch bay & nailed a microswitch. 6 stations off.
Same combiner, while setting the "major" VSWR alarm limit got the decimal point off one & did an un-planned VSWR shutdown.
But that was early morning so that doesn't really count, does it?

User avatar
Chris from Milwaukee
Posts: 628
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 12:40 pm
Location: Milwaukee, WI

Re: Have you ever accidently taken yourself off the air?

Post by Chris from Milwaukee » Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:41 am

These stories would make a great War Stories episode on TWiRT. :lol:
Chris from Milwaukee
Feeding Broadcast Engineers Worldwide
(And transmitter salesmen too!)

User avatar
countrykev
Posts: 328
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 3:18 pm
Location: Not Wisconsin, eh?
Contact:

Re: Have you ever accidently taken yourself off the air?

Post by countrykev » Tue Aug 30, 2011 12:13 pm

Leaving the generator in “Manual”.
Leaving the generator in “Manual”.
Leaving the generator in “Manual”.
Leaving the generator in “Manual”.
Leaving the generator in “Manual”.
Just re-reading some of these posts. Along the lines of this post, leaving the transmitter remote setting to "Local."

The fix i see frequently for that is a sign on the back of the transmitter site door with large letters reading "REMOTE CONTROL ENABLED?"
What the heck am I supposed to write here?

User avatar
Deep Thought
Posts: 3159
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2008 9:23 am
Location: La Grange, IL
Contact:

Re: Have you ever accidently taken yourself off the air?

Post by Deep Thought » Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:35 pm

countrykev wrote:Along the lines of this post, leaving the transmitter remote setting to "Local."

The fix i see frequently for that is a sign on the back of the transmitter site door with large letters reading "REMOTE CONTROL ENABLED?"
I leave Post-It notes on the door or light switch to remind myself to put everything back to 'remote'. Far too many "aw......crap" moments having worked all night, cleaned up, crawled into bed and then realized that I forgot to check before I left, which means back to the site. Not a big problem on an FM (unless it is a half day drive to the site) but a big deal for an AM which changes patterns in the morning...and will leave the transmitter OFF
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

User avatar
countrykev
Posts: 328
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 3:18 pm
Location: Not Wisconsin, eh?
Contact:

Re: Have you ever accidently taken yourself off the air?

Post by countrykev » Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:52 am

One of the tower light control manufacturers actually reverts back to "Auto" mode after 17 hours of being placed in a manual night or day mode. The reason? Too many techs were leaving them stuck in one mode after service, driving home hundreds of miles to forget about them, so they built in the fail-safe.
What the heck am I supposed to write here?

boiseengineer(old)

Re: Have you ever accidently taken yourself off the air?

Post by boiseengineer(old) » Wed Aug 31, 2011 2:40 pm

Gates-5 will still mute when in Local but it won't change power level!
DA Tower # 1 ATU didn't last long with 5 KW into the CP instead of the normal 660 watts.
The "Local Control" LED is no-longer green on any of the Harris transmitter around here. They're now a flashing red LED.
(A Harris tech thought that was a great idea, especially if you happen to be color blind.)

User avatar
RGORJANCE
Posts: 1364
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2007 7:48 am
Location: RACINE, WI

Re: Have you ever accidently taken yourself off the air?

Post by RGORJANCE » Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:13 pm

May this aged, wise old fellow suggest a big blinking super bright red LED at the exit door? It would be pretty simple to hook this to the r/c, or the xmttr methinks.

That would get your attention in a hurry as the bright red light hits you in the face on the way out. :idea:

Fossil

User avatar
BroadcastDoc
Site Admin
Posts: 2724
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2007 3:34 pm
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Contact:

Re: Have you ever accidently taken yourself off the air?

Post by BroadcastDoc » Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:30 pm

RGORJANCE wrote:May this aged, wise old fellow suggest a big blinking super bright red LED at the exit door? It would be pretty simple to hook this to the r/c, or the xmttr methinks.

That would get your attention in a hurry as the bright red light hits you in the face on the way out. :idea:

Fossil
Until said Engineer comes back a month later, forgets what the red light is for, and "fixes" it! :lol:
Christopher "Doc" Tarr CSRE, DRB, AMD, CBNE
Help support the Virtual Engineer, use our 1&1 Affiliate link if you need good, cheap hosting.
Virtual Engineer. The Broadcast Engineering discussion forum

boiseengineer(old)

Re: Have you ever accidently taken yourself off the air?

Post by boiseengineer(old) » Wed Aug 31, 2011 8:45 pm

Been saving an old obstruction lamp fixture for that purpose. Some day, maybe.

w4cl
Posts: 478
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 3:04 pm
Location: 1 3/4 meters

Re: Have you ever accidently taken yourself off the air?

Post by w4cl » Thu Sep 01, 2011 6:04 am

About 10 years ago was cleaning up the transmitter building and had a helper from the studio. We had a portable plug in 3k UPS that ran the racks. I told my helper to plug in the vacuum. He did. Into the UPS and I didn't see him do it! I turned on the vacuum and started my work. About 5 minutes later the phone was ringing telling me we were off the air! I did think it was funny that the UPS was beeping until I saw where the vac was plugged in!

User avatar
PID_Stop
Posts: 475
Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:58 am
Location: Syracuse, New York
Contact:

Re: Have you ever accidently taken yourself off the air?

Post by PID_Stop » Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:34 am

w4cl wrote:About 10 years ago was cleaning up the transmitter building and had a helper from the studio. We had a portable plug in 3k UPS that ran the racks. I told my helper to plug in the vacuum. He did. Into the UPS and I didn't see him do it! I turned on the vacuum and started my work. About 5 minutes later the phone was ringing telling me we were off the air! I did think it was funny that the UPS was beeping until I saw where the vac was plugged in!
That brings back a night nearly 30 years ago when I was working master control. Things were pretty quiet: I was alone while everyone else was at supper, and the Muppet Show was on the air, playing off the Ampex VR2000 behind me... that is, until the cleaning kid wandered in and plugged his vacuum into the service outlet on the front of the VTR, generating an impressive flash. (Scared the daylights out of me -- I didn't hear him come in!) Tripped the circuit breaker for the entire machine, which flat-lined our program video. The transmitter didn't like that, and kept switching exciters back and forth until the whole thing finally gave up and shut down. Within a matter of seconds the room became a din of buzzers and sonalerts, alarm lights were flashing, and the phones started ringing. The breaker panel was on the wall behind the VTRs, but the cleaning kid was so mesmerized by the sudden commotion that he wouldn't get out of the way -- finally I "escorted" him out the control room door, locked it, and set about getting stuff turned back on and back on the air.

The vacuum cleaner cord had been patched with every sort of tape imaginable, and was a dead short. I solved that by a decisive application of wire cutters an inch from the unit, figuring that would force them to replace the entire cord, if not the whole vacuum.

Our chief engineer was ticked that I had "allowed" this bozo to take us off the air.

The cleaning company was ticked that I prevented their kid from cleaning the control room, and that I had destroyed their vacuum cleaner.

Some days you can't win. :roll:

User avatar
billcroghan
Posts: 86
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 1:07 pm
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Contact:

Re: Have you ever accidently taken yourself off the air?

Post by billcroghan » Thu Sep 01, 2011 6:39 pm

Do you mean just this week? Accidently brIefly shorted the T1 output rebooting the access audio feed at one of my AM's. About a minute of silence. Some time back I left the TX in Local but not the Remote control. At sundown the phaser switched from the 20 KW day to the 2 KW nit box, while the TX was stil running 20 KW. Cost a capacitor. Now I've found a place in the Nautel where I tap a signal to an external solid state relay to trigger one of those All Electronic $10 strobe lights over near the exit whenever it's in local control. In the past, just wrote REMOTE in large letters on the exit door frame so I wouldn't miss it on the way out.

User avatar
Deep Thought
Posts: 3159
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2008 9:23 am
Location: La Grange, IL
Contact:

Re: Have you ever accidently taken yourself off the air?

Post by Deep Thought » Fri Sep 02, 2011 12:19 am

RGORJANCE wrote:May this aged, wise old fellow suggest a big blinking super bright red LED at the exit door? It would be pretty simple to hook this to the r/c, or the xmttr methinks.

That would get your attention in a hurry as the bright red light hits you in the face on the way out. :idea:

Fossil
I was at a site awhile back where they had a very loud buzzer at the door hooked to the 'local' tally light from the transmitter and a magnetic reed switch on the door. If you try to leave with the transmitter in 'local', you are very efficiently reminded of that before you step outside.
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

User avatar
Shane
Posts: 724
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2008 12:08 am
Location: Omaha
Contact:

Re: Have you ever accidently taken yourself off the air?

Post by Shane » Fri Sep 02, 2011 6:08 am

I was on duty when the transmitter went down. I immediately turned to the Rust dial-up remote and tried to restart the main transmitter. (And for those of you too young to remember [probably not any on this board!] it really had a "dial" on it but it wasn't for making a phone call! This was 30 years ago, BTW, and the thing was old even then but it WAS working properly.) When that didn't work right away I did what I thought I should do which was warm up the auxiliary filaments and then try reviving the main again.

Now I could not get either one of them on the air.

The chief comes strolling in and asks me what did I do NOW? So I explain as above. He says something to the effect that I should have followed the instructions for switching transmitters which dictated that first you must completely shut off the main before you even put the aux filaments on. Yes, it seems backwards, but it's to protect the transmitters from stupid operators, he says, who might accidentally put both of them on. He adds that he didn't design or install this setup and says that NOW he will have to go out to the transmitter to get us back on because this relay ladder locks out everything if you don't follow the exact sequence.

I protest that I could understand a plate lockout, but here you have to turn the A FILAMENTS off before you can turn the B FILAMENTS on?

Yep, that's how it works - don't blame me, he says, I don't like it either but I don't have time to change it. He also allowed that he understood and appreciated my logic but that I was unusual for an operator. (We had that discussion often as I recall. "Trained monkeys" was a term that came up a lot.)

A half-hour later we were back on the air.
Mike Shane, CBRE
---Omaha---

User avatar
NECRAT
Site Admin
Posts: 2923
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2007 9:13 pm
Location: Taunton, MA
Contact:

Re: Have you ever accidently taken yourself off the air?

Post by NECRAT » Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:23 am

All right, seeing that it has been a while since I have posted here, might as well add another one to this pile.

After a power outages from Irene (we were on Gen power for 5 days), went out to the TX site. Noticed the FOX transmitter in alarm mode.
Went into the diagnostics, the only alarm was on the exciter change over, so we were running on Exciter #2, with the auto mode suspended because of a "dual flip"
(In these transmitters, if the exciters flip from A to B then back to A, it goes into a state where it won't auto reset until you flip it back...)

OK simple reset should clear the alarm, and switch the exciter back into auto-changeover mode.

*Reset*

Ca-chunk-Click-Chunk. Yep you guessed, it, not only did it reset, it switched back to exciter #1 as well. Taking us off the air during Prime Time for a minute or so.

Oh, and did I mention that this was during the very highly rated show, GLEE?

Oh, and did I also mention that the transmitter actually feeds 1/3 of our market? (there is no fiber feed to them yet?)

Yeah, needless to say I was almost praying that exctier 1 would just power up, and return the TX back on the air.



Fun times. Fortunatley I never got any feedback from it, which could either be a good sign or a bad sign.
http://www.necrat.us

"Arguing with an engineer is like mud wrestling with a pig. After a couple of hours, you realize the pig likes it"

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest