The Harris HPX adventure

It’s big. It’s highly efficient, for a tube rig. It can do analog and HD. It runs the damn lowest stack temperature I’ve ever seen. It’s full of Linux. It has… a curiously labelled hidden pushbutton I’m amused and scared of. It confused so many other engineers they called me in to shape it up! It’s… the Harris Broadcast HPX! (GatesAir branded, nowadays.)

And it inspired me to invent…. transmitterwave

This post is very image heavy so I’ll split it to avoid an endless front page on my blog.

The HPX.

Remember when the following tag was <lj-cut text=”Read more…”>? Pepperidge Farm remembers.

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Troublesome Meta Substances.

There are a few substances you should watch out for in the electronics field. No, I’m not talking about lead, not even about beryllium…

  • Unobtainium. This is a substance only really rumoured to exist, yet it’s often the base material for parts in something you’re working on. Nobody can find it now, but there’s always someone, maybe you, who knew where to find the Unobtainium parts… 25 years ago in a tiny shop that’s long gone and replaced by a check cashing store. Unobtainium is known to exist in all three states of matter, but once it becomes gas, it irretrievably escapes ….
A jar of pure Unobtainium, liquid form.
  • Expensivium. While it can be obtained, its scientific purpose is totally unknown. However, Expensivium is the most maddeningly, frightening thing to find as part of an electronic part, for its presence means that these parts will be subject to wild increases in price whenever you need them. Expensivium is usually added to the composition of semiconductors that have been on the market a few years, rf power transistors, high voltage capacitors, wire and cable.
  • Chineseium. A very inexpensive but disappointing element, it has often been unsuccessfully used as a substitute for Expensivium and Unobtainium. Parts based on excessive amounts of Chineseium will usually fail very quickly due to this material dissipating right out of existence. Attempts to refill a system with lost Chineseium will not theoretically work, as in the theories on refilling lost Magic Smoke, for the high concentration of Chineseium will just lead to even more rapid failure.

While Unobtainium, Expensivium, and Chineseium are not directly toxic or harmful to persons, their presence is associated with a scientifically vague yet statistically proven link to migraine headaches and anxiety.

Shenzhen’s Finest

I have a love-hate relationship with the businesses in Shenzhen, China.

On the upside (actually downside?) they are THE one and only place where most electronics come from in the world now.

On the downside it’s a city of thieves and bullshit artists.

Nice try

I laughed upon this arriving. It was supposed to be a black bodysuit I was going to use as the (lazy) beginnings of a Chat Noir costume. What they sent was a tiny envelope with two silicone rubber bands in it.

Since it was an eBay purchase, I’m about 99.9% sure eBay will side with me if the seller balks at a refund. Still, WAFWOT: what a flipping waste of time

true horror.

Today, I witnessed something I’ve never seen before, and something that horrified me.

 

Trump Tower lobby (Miguel Mendez)

I walked into our news control room at work as the satellite feeds were all set up on a vacant podium in the lobby of Trump Tower.

 

We were a few pages* into the newscast when Trump walked out and prepared to speak.

 

The reaction in the room was one of collective disgust, fear, and anger.

 

The fact that we have a “leader” that can universally invoke that is just staggering.

 

I’m flabbergasted that he’s now claiming the “alt-left” is a thing, and a very harmful one at that. Strange that this alt-left didn’t exist until a tweet today, as far as I know, while the alt-right was well established and documented from well prior to Trump’s being elected.

 

I made some very dire and horrible predictions when Trump was being elected. They aren’t exactly mirror image accurate, but there are some horrifying parallels being drawn. Communities are being turned against each other down political, socioeconomic, and racial lines, while Trump taunts a very irresponsible up and coming nuclear war machine in North Korea. The upward distribution of wealth out of middle and lower class communities continues to suck harder every day, causing stock market indicators to soar into the green… A false indication of prosperity while everything stagnates.

 

Where I work, most of the staff are long time veterans. They’ve seen a lot happen around them… Miami burning in the 80s, the Gulf wars in the 90s, Hurricane Andrew, face-eating zombies in Miami, you name it…

 

Nobody could recall ever seeing this same universal reaction of disgust at anyone or anything.

 

That’s a new, horrible accomplishment.

 

*Though the scripts are electronic nowadays and only usually exist within the teleprompter or an iPad, they are still arranged as “pages”. It works, that’s all I know….

The problem with air conditioned cabinets in Florida

These boxes are everywhere around here because certain equipment that needs to be stationed outdoors isn’t happy with the 96 degree F summer outdoor temperatures. They’re an outdoor weather resistant enclosure, with an air conditioning unit attached through one side.

Chill.

Air conditioning units have two functions. They reduce temperature and humidity. The amount of humidity they remove is proportional to the amount of time the unit is in cooling mode.

This cabinet is very well insulated and has a very low heat load… Watch this Nautel loooooaf along…

Standing next to it, I saw that little a/c pack start maybe once every 10 minutes, for about a minute at a time.

 

Brace yourself, the results ain’t pretty.

 

Fungus Among us?!

 

This curious white fungus is attacking rubber parts…

 

 

Various points of moisture or fungus damage…

 

And as an added bonus, open this cabinet on a hot humid day and you’ll be treated to the horrific sight of the equipment becoming soaking wet while still actively running…

 

Insects have been attracted to the cabinet by moisture… This is after a big vacuuming, the junk stuck to the cabinet ain’t gonna yield to that alone…

 

So what’s the solution? I can think of a couple things.

A) do not oversize the air conditioner. This is tricky as heat load is unpredictable and failure to remove enough heat would quickly cause a shutdown or equipment damage.

B) place constantly on LED lights inside to inhibit this mold/fungus growth.

C) use humidity controls on the a/c or a dehumidifier if possible. Not sure if you could easily fit a humidistat to this unit as it’s got its own integrated microprocessor control (hidden behind that piece of filter)… But who knows.

 

 

Oops, guess I should write a TV reception guide

Or buy and resell cheap rabbit ear antennas as a barely legal hack device to fellow millenials

 

Picture stolen from Phil Burks.

 

Yes in the actual article they interview people who can’t believe receiving free to air television is legal

you can’t handle our secrets

 

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