AaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAA

there are no words. Someday I will try to come up with words in the process of writing a notice of retirement, but that day is not today.

The really fucked up one is an Armstrong tube transmitter from the mid 1990s.

The tape wadded splices are in the ~8000 volt plate supply. Also in this collection, a Nautel that ate a BNC lead that then ate several expensive RF transistors.

🎶 I am barely breathing, I can’t find the air 🎶

feeling exceptionally cyberpunk might delete later

or not because this is just perfectly me

Nautel nightlights.

Weird old Italian STL receiver I put in service after a nice new Armstrong XLink went deaf

Additional folderol. The crazy manifold is a concoction by Steve Wilde. The voltage reading on the service panel at exactly half voltage is from the days that PG&E lied to us and said the power was fine while wires sizzled away downed in the snow

Help Wanted in Engineering and Oppression Prevention! uh

I’ve addressed some pretty out there engineering job openings in the past, but this one is the strangest I’ve ever seen. Please go ahead and grab a glass of water and drop a couple of Alka-Seltzer in it, because you may need it. I’m going to inline my comments in a nice shade of cyan reminiscent of P2 phosphor.

KBOO is Hiring: Chief Engineer

Published date:
Thursday, February 7, 2019 – 11:59am

Please submit resume and cover letter with the answer to the question “Why is KBOO Important” by March 4th, 2019 11:59 pm to engineerhire@kboo.fm 

I’m sorry but what— this is one of the strangest, most pretentious things I’ve ever seen on an application. This is not a standard cover letter by any means. This is just W E I R D

or mail/bring your resume and cover letter to: Station Manager 20 SE 8th Ave. Portland OR 97214

KBOO Community Radio Department: Operations

Job Title: Chief Engineer

Reports to: Station Manager Employment

Status: Exempt

danger, will robinson

Hours: 40 hours per week

Positions Supervised: Live Events Engineer, IT Systems Admin Contractor, Transmitter / Translator / STL / EAS Contractor, and Volunteers

Revised: January 2019

General Description: To oversee and maintain the technical operation of KBOO’s studios, its transmitters and translators at an optimum level.

Qualifications

  • Broadcast engineering and electronic experience necessary.
  • Ability to work with, train and assist a diverse group of people and the ability to explain technical matters to non-technical beginners.
  • Experience in installation, modification, maintenance and repair of broadcasting equipment, including but not limited to: CD players, digital audio equipment, cassette recorders, computer hardware and software, audio mixers, microphones and telephone systems.
  • Driver’s license and vehicle for travel to transmitter / translator sites.
  • Ability to improvise and achieve results with materials and resources on-hand.
  • Knowledge and experience working with analog and digital equipment.
  • Computer skills.

So far, so good….. though I worry about this being an exempt position. This gets REALLY nasty when you’re required to work more than 40 hours a week, but do not receive any compensation for it. But now, all aboard the WOO TRAIN

Essential Functions

  • Identify and address institutional and individual acts of oppression at KBOO. Ensure there is interruption of the oppression, follow-up and support for those impacted as well as documentation/record keeping of the incident.

I’m sorry.

What? This is very strange, but it continues—

  • Work to implement KBOO’s affirmative action policy in recruiting, training and maintaining volunteers.

This is a very strange task for an engineer – serving as a volunteer coordinator, but at least it’s not asking one to fight oppression…. whatever that implies….

  • Maintain signal and audio quality.
  • Act as Chief Operator in maintaining FCC logs and required documentation.
  • Maintain broadcasting equipment in good working order, including studio equipment and system phones, transmitters and translators.
  • Coordinate with staff for the station’s audio equipment and studio needs, including purchasing and soliciting bids.
  • Supervise the IT/Systems Admin Contractor.
  • Supervise the Transmitter / Translator / STL / EAS Contractor.
  • Supervise and provide support and backup for Live Events Engineer.
  • Work with other staff to coordinate training for engineering volunteers.

So are you coordinating volunteers or are you not coordinating volunteers?

  • Guaranteed 24-hour emergency engineering support for the station, either in person or by delegation to qualified engineering volunteers and contract engineers.

oh, that’s where the “exempt” part gets ya.

  • Coordinate with staff to plan and implement engineering budget, including long-term strategic planning for engineering needs.
  • Coordinate facilities maintenance at tower and translator sites.
  • Participate in engineering projects as assigned by station manager (i.e. production room remodels).
  • Oversee engineering aspects of new transmitters / translators (i.e. planning and project implementation).
  • Lead/staff the engineering committee meetings. Generate agendas each month and ensure there are committee minutes that are put up on the web within 5 days of the meeting.
  • Attend technology operating team and staff meetings.
  • Other duties as assigned.
  • Keep KBOO in compliance with FCC rules and regulations relating to engineering and technical issues.

Salary

This is a full-time position with a starting salary $31,426.38/year. The employee shall be eligible for annual step increases subject to conditions in KBOO’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Okay, wait. 24/7 on call…. salaried exempt… under 32k a year…. in PORTLAND? How do they expect one to live like that?

Probationary Period

Any person hired will be required to join and pay dues to CWA Local 7901 after 90 days. There is a six month probationary period. This period is not to be construed as a contract.

Wait, this is….. union…..

WHO APPROVED THIS COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT AND WHY ARE THEY NOT ON FIRE? Please make them be on fire. Thanks.

Benefits

Benefits include medical and dental coverage, disability and life insurance, and credit union eligibility. This position also offers paid vacation, sick leave, and 11 paid holidays per year, in accordance with KBOO’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. FSLA-exempt employees receive paid compensatory time off. Eligibility for the pension plan is one year after the date of hire.

Nice benefits under that Collective Bargaining Agreement, but WTF IS WITH THAT SALARY?!

Working Conditions

KBOO has over 150 hours per week of local programming, produced by volunteers who need to be trained on studio equipment. KBOO is a union shop and all (non-management) staff are members of Communications Workers of America (CWA) – Local 7901. All employees are expected to provide time to answer questions and to help volunteers learn. The engineer is called upon on a daily basis to help volunteers with using the studios and equipment. The engineer conducts workshops to train people as engineering volunteers. The engineer will work, coordinate efforts, and learn from contract engineers on special projects. KBOO’s environment is hectic and stimulating. You must enjoy working with a wide diversity of volunteers.

Funny, it sounds like most of your time as the salaried engineer will be volunteer too after those 40 hours a week. I really wonder what the collective bargaining agreement says about that. Then again, it really sounds to me like it’s the most watered down piece of junk ever. Alas…..

We have an air studio, three production rooms, multiple digital editing stations, and other rooms used for live public affairs and music. The engineer’s office also doubles as a workshop and contains some of the transmission and phone equipment. We have two STL’s (station links) to our tower with main and backup transmitters.

There are other engineers in Portland with a wide range of experience, both volunteers and contract hires, which you may work with and learn from.

And they might take pity on your predicament and try to find you jobs in their far better organizations, I’d like to hope—

KBOO has regular membership drives. They require an intense amount of time and coordination. The engineer must provide technical assistance as necessary during these drives.

BAHAHAHAHAHA AND HOW. My experience with these at another station was pretty much that it was two weeks of 14 hour days.

Workplace expectations at KBOO radio include: effective verbal and written communications; conflict de-escalation; skillful volunteer relations and utilization; capable project management; work-area organization; response to phone calls and correspondence; teamwork and cooperation with other employees, volunteers, and Board members; furtherance of KBOO mission, goals and values; meeting attendance and participation; capable departmental budgeting; and punctuality.

Equipment Used

KBOO equipment ranges from vintage analog audio player/recorders, 40-year old transmitters and mixing consoles to state of the art, networked digital broadcast consoles. There is heavy usage of all this equipment. You must repair as necessary and ascertain the need for new purchases within a somewhat limited budget.

Keep in mind…. at under $32k/year…. and the maintenance and repair is probably 40 hours a week in and of itself.

KBOO is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer, Women and People of Color are encouraged to apply. Discrimination because of age, race, religion, color, sex, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender presentation, class, creed, physical or mental disability is prohibited.

Meanwhile, I just can’t even. This position will HOPEFULLY remain unfilled until they refine it severely to actually make it worth someone’s time and effort to fill it.

picture unrelated

PissTek Again

We had some crazy winter storms and the site I lovingly call Shit on a Shingle lost power. When the power came back after a couple days, the station didn’t.

Found this little derpshit howling away as usual with no output. Front panel buttons and remote interface were unresponsive. Power cycled it and the controls came back but still no output. I warmed it with a space heater for a while and if fully returned to service.

I know some transmitters don’t like extreme cold, but this thing had only reached about 34 degrees at the lowest.

It had a really shaky start too, the front panel indicated 1750 watts forward 0 reflect, but no PA current, and it wasn’t audible on the air. I set it to 500 and it was audible for about a block down the road. As incoming snowstorms chased me from the site I heard it just gradually chatter and wheeze back onto the airwaves.

Hello, Transmitter Fairy, what do I have to leave under my pillow for you to leave me a nice Nautel VS2.5?

Please don’t disturb the kitty on the pillow.

This is, incidentally, the same site where the combiner horror used to live. Yeah, that one that never worked at full power until the whole system was sent out for service for a few months then exploded after less than a day on air.

Occupational Hazards

…. When you walk into the studio at like 11 PM, NOBODY else is there, and you’re carrying a huge armload of tools… you walk past a studio door where a long quiet outro of a song has been playing out and suddenly THIS COMES BLASTING OUT

….. in other news I now know exactly which sockets are missing from the socket set and just how far down the hallway they can roll when I FREAK OUT AND THROW EVERYTHING TO THE FLOOR IN SURPRISE WTF

I’ve never been to The Beadman. It sounds like a pretty neat store honestly, but damn if THAT part of their radio ad sounds like nothing else reasonable in this known freaking universe

Mmm, Galvanic Corrosion Burger

I don’t know where they came from but somehow this facility was ~blessed~ by having some aluminum transmission line adapters in use.

Here’s one (a gas block with pressure fitting) sandwiched between flanges made of brass and nickel plated(?) brass…. similar to about 99% of all these fittings I’ve seen in service.

But wait, aren’t those a little far apart in galvanic potential?

Maaaaybe.

To the tune of Sisters Of Mercy – This Corrosion

Gack. Note the first inner lip around where the polymer insulator is seated. This is where the RF connection is actually made. The well around it only holds the sealing ring.

No thanks.

Broadcast Engineer: (n) A person who fixes all the shit the manufacturer fucked up by design.

Broadcast Tools SS8.2 WideOrbit fun

So as I found following a long epic battle with the dumb thing, the dip switch settings in the manual make no sense.

Turn on 4, 5, 6, and 10, all others off. Otherwise, the GPI inputs will not respond.

This is contrary to what is in the manual.

Picture semi related. Shrek is life, Shrek is love