Transmitting from the Troll Bowl

You know you’re doomed to be an RF person forever when you look at this…

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… And just keep thinking “damn that’s cute”.

That’s a Troll auto tracking antenna system for broadcast microwave from a helicopter.

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Swapped this corroded yackage out. So far, so good.

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Hey News Desk, can you hear me now? Good.

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Whose AM DA is this again? North of US 41, just west of 137 Ave...

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I could never do this stuff regularly and am really hoping this project’s done. For a good long time. The Jet A fumes make me feel sick after a while of working around the bird or after being in the air a while. It’s not motion sickness; I literally just don’t get that… it’s the fumes. Yeeech. The weird part is when turbulence rocks the craft, it makes me feel better for a bit??

Can’t explain that one. Dammit I’m a broadcast engineer, not a doctor.

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Good day, sir.

The whirlybird

We’ve had an ongoing issue at work with the helicopter’s MRC microwave transmitter powering down on us. The silly thing is really obtuse; the user interfaces won’t tell us after the fact why it happened. Don’t you love faults like that? It’s almost as great as on ham and other 2 way radio equipment where a high VSWR condition causes the transmitter to fold back its power output but not indicate to the user that this is happening. Come on man…

Anyway here’s the box.

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The remote controller at bottom. The top unit is the N Systems antenna pod controller which allows aiming of the antenna or selection of which receive site to automatically aim at. The NSI antenna’s servos make a comically mad sound as the unit initializes on power up and they seek home position at full tilt.

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The bird at roost.

The fault cannot be replicated on the ground; this has been tried several times with no success. Therefore the only way to figure this out…..

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That’s Hollywood Beach down there.

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I believe this is where parts of “Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny” were filmed, notably the fire truck driving through the dirt road and Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn rafting down a waterway accompanied by “Old Man River” on kazoos.

I Am Not Making This Up. This film is fascinating as hell.

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The A/V box. At right, radios and audio controls. At left, video switches, CCUs for a couple of small Toshiba cameras mounted in the helicopter interior.

Never photographed because I simply forgot: the FLIR pod ‘laptop’ controller. It’s a big chunky panel you actually just rest on your lap while using it, with a damn near fire hose sized cable coming out.

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At about Atlantic Shores Boulevard.

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Suspicious: this isn’t the RF cable for the MRC radio but was installed at the same time and is identical. To be replaced MoNday.

Part of the testing included putting a phone in there recording video of the transmitter front panel. What it revealed was just the unit going into standby and back. No informative messages. Meeehh!! I don’t know if these MRCs keep an internal log file like Nucomm radios do.

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Yeah that’s how you jinx it

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I’m sitting there after a detour through da hood to avoid I-95, 441, and US1 being at a complete standstill thinking, yeah, this isn’t so bad—-

Is that

Is that a wobbling zombie with needle tracks holding a compound bow and aiming arrows at oncoming traffic?! Fuck shit no.

Apologies to whoever’s lawn I tore up taking evasive measures.

Hey Lowly Worm!

Hey Lowly, mind using your one red sneaker to kick this thing east?

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We’re perfectly safe up at Disney World right now and there are no major issues as a result of the storm, but. …. if you don’t have a full tank of gas you’re not getting it.

If you’re at the parks though try the Speedway station near the Magic Kingdom on Buena Vista Boulevard.

I’m all for musical creativity but….

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There’s some kind of bizarre avant-garde Caribbean jazz playing in this restroom, and if all my senses other than hearing were malfunctioning, I’d be inclined to believe that I’m actually shitting rack screws into an upended steel drum while someone throws many timbales down a flight of stairs.

It Fell Out Of The Box Like That!

Really.

Seriously.

A refurb DirecTV Slimline receiver we had in service a while just up and died with no warning. It was opened up and showed no signs of trauma but I saw something everyone else missed….

Hmm. Let’s flip it and see what that is at the edge. It’s probably nothing at aaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Aaaaaaaaa
AAAAAAAAAAAWHATTHEAAAAAAAA

What.

A while back I found these units tended to burn the access card. This appears to be the fix – first, note how far heat would have to travel down those fingers to toast the card. Second, the card is actually heatsinked by a plate above the socket.

Front panel with mystery antenna. Also note the dual die IR LED next to the black lens IR receiver. This is probably used for the unit’s very user – friendly universal remote system.

The rectangles are touch button sensors.

RF filter and very big silkscreen note on where to find power.

The external converter.

Excuse me, I’m going to go wash my hands.

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