Oh no you didn’t

Another PTek. Another questionable combiner. This one doesn’t even make any damn sense. I’m scared to open up the top of the transmitter to find out why it’s wired the way it is. The resistors are sitting on top of that hand cut piece of random PTFE and will cause a fire if they ever dissipate any significant energy. This is inside an FM2500PS transmitter.

This is a two port Wilkinson combiner that combines together the output of the left two pallets and the right two pallets. Why it’s floating on the thick PTFE slab, I cannot understand— these resistors appear to have the terminal configuration in which one lead of the resistor is the heatsinking base, and the other is the solder tab which just passes right through otherwise. WHY IS THIS BOTH INSULATED FROM AND ELECTRICALLY CONNECTED TO THE HEATSINK??!! Basically, what WILL cause this combiner to blow chunks would be any imbalance between the left and right sides of the transmitter – a single module failure will roast the entire rig. Catastrophically. See video below.

The lower line from each side goes to the start of the harmonic filter network, where they are just unceremoniously smashed together. This is… about the caliber of a badly built CB amp.

Dare I open the top and look around or have I suffered enough torture already??

(edit: yes… sadly I did!!!)

Page spam cut— click to continue. If you dare. I warned you, and Alex Hartman always warns ME not to open these transmitters and look around. But I do anyway. Then my brain hurts. ARGH

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On top of spaghetti, all covered in tape – the 2018 Ford F150.

At work we have a rented F-150 to get up and down the mountains. I was going up to one of our sites, nearing the summit, when I smelled a burning plastic/rubber odor. I opened the hood (easier said than done– the placement of the safety latch is, to use my late uncle’s words, Kardashian) and found the cause after about a minute.

Behold….. Ford wiring.

So I’ve been under the hood of a few modern vehicles. All of them except this have the wiring harnesses protected by plastic tubing. This… uh, they just threw a lot of tape on it.

Interior: they used some kind of vinyl tape instead.

Weird shit.

The burning smell was a loose piece of tape from the harness on the right hanging down into the manifold. I removed it before taking the picture and buried it in the sand because it was actively on fire— it had glowing embers at the end.

What the fuck, Ford?

Incidentally I’m mad at this shitty truck already. It gave me a bloody nose. See, they put this weird aluminum roller in the seat belt buckles that serves only to make them insanely heavy. As I got out of the truck, the retractor brought it up at unnecessary speed to meet my face with an audible CLONK. I’ve seen the same buckles in Kia and FCA vehicles, but they are not anywhere near as heavy (the roller is hollow I guess). The roller makes no sense at all, it doesn’t turn and is loosely mounted. I’m guessing they did this to reduce wear on the fabric? Funny how my Subaru doesn’t have this and there are no signs of wear to the fabric so…. Uhhhh??

I could go on about how much I hate that steering wheel in the background but I’m out of shitposting juice

MicroREKT

I always used to wonder why every time I worked in a radio site I’d find the transmission lines going through the entry panel just goobered in there with silicone sealant or spray foam and the unused pieces of the Microflect / Andrew / CommScope / insert today’s name of the conglomerate cable entry port system lying around unused

Now I understand why and my arms and hands and back and legs all hurt, hours later

Woop Woop the FUCK POINT has been reached, this is as good as I can get this one. You just can’t get these things together if the cable doesn’t wanna go through straight.

No!! You savages!!

I’d seen these photos of the Mt. Shasta Mall food court….

But apparently someone thought it’d be a better idea to throw that beautiful thing down the grinder and cut it off with the blank wall of an Ulta Beauty store.

Even the Orange Julius is gone in favor of yet another SalmonellaWay.

Press F to pay respects.

Tire_Tech_Job_Security.jpg

Les Schwab Tires is a pretty great company, they do free repairs… apparently, even if you didn’t buy your tires there. They’ve fixed a couple of flats for me but their techs keep looking at my tires and asking what the spoony heck I’m doing to them?!

Note the chunks of rubber missing. There’s also a weird scrub texture that’s visible when the tire is clean (when does this even happen aside from 30 seconds after exiting the car wash?)

You can see the wear indicator bars at right. Amazingly this tire has survived to almost its end of normal life.

A fresh new scrub mark. The camera decided to white balance on the very red dust.

So to answer the question of what I’m doing to them, enjoy this shitty moonscape.

This was always a rocky mess, but in places it got worse as the Carr fire passing over shattered some of the rock and made it even more jagged and fugly.

Here’s one of the worst burned areas on the approach to the summit. Whereas some green foliage is appearing in less damaged areas, this remains totally dead. It’ll be interesting to see what pops up again here in the fall when the first rains come down (and how much of this area suffers landslides).

Smoked out…

As I drove into Redding this morning I saw this wall of muck…. visibility dropped to just a couple hundred feet.

The map on purpleair.com confirms my suspicions that I should probably just top up the generator fuel tank and go home early today. This is well beyond “unhealthy”, it’s probably all the way up into “unsuitable to support life, GO AWAY”.

This is the result of the Delta Fire burning north of Shasta Lake. It’s currently 24,558 acres in size and has reached over east to meet the area affected by the Hirz Fire.

 

Interestingly there seems to be exactly *one* PurpleAir sensor in use in Southeast Florida. I thought about getting one at home, but someone right across the street already has one. Maybe adding them at our transmitter sites would be useful…?

The Subaru and Nissan brake light switch… Of DRAMA

The contact that turns on the brake light, turns off cruise control, and triggers the solenoid that lets you shift out of park got all pitted! Ewww. Needless to say this was a show stopping bug… but it died at a gas station in walking distance of a Walmart where I was able to get some CRC QD cleaner and 2500 grit sandpaper and burnish it back to life. Here’s the before state. The contacts are actually proper silver buttons and the switch can be disassembled to clean it.

What a right mess though.

Not sure why the CRC QD cleaner turns my skin all weird looking like that.

The switch has a Nissan logo on it so I’m guessing some Nissan model out there in addition to the 2014-2017(?) Subaru Forester have the same thing.

Why am I suddenly reminded of Winamp?

The Wheatstone 531HD broadcast audio processor has a really Y2K-futuristic look about it, all it’s missing is neon colors and weird shaped non-rectangular windows.

There are two versions of the utility – one is called the Guru interface, the other, uh, isn’t.

First, the non-Guru

The jewel dots are draggable to adjust, and the knob controls are…. those… drag to turn things that have invaded all sorts of audio software

What look like text input boxes aren’t, you have to use the virtual knob / slide fader thing. Weird.

The usual nice meters from the Vorsis platform are available but they pop out as a separate window.

 

So what about the Guru interface?

Best I can tell, it does the same stuff but in a more convenient use of screen real estate.

Interestingly, there is a skin selector dialog. Only one skin is present and there is no real indication on how to modify it. Is this— a good thing or a bad thing? Who knows. Does this processor whip the llama’s ass? Maybe. Gotta play with it a bit more to be sure. It’s interesting how the 31-band limiter interacts with the program content though!

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