Back in November of 1977 I got my first job in broadcasting, it was with KEMO-TV in San Francisco and I had just passed the FCC First Class exam, on my third try . Back then I worked with Ampex VR-1200s, RCA TR-600s and evenTR-4 VTRs, RCA Telecines and GE and RCA Klystron transmitters. The TK42 studio cameras used 4 ½” Image Orthicons for luminance and 1” vidicons for RGB and it weighed more than I did. When our first ¾” U-matic stopped it was a broken drive belt that the Chief mended with super glue (several times). And the Ampex ACR 25, which could eat a tape faster than you could blink, had enough manuals to fill a hall closet.
Now I can do what the above equipment did, and more, on my iphone, shoot HD, edit and broadcast to the Internet. I produce video tutorials shooting footage on my iPhone and/or a Canon D60 DSLR and edit on a Final Cut Pro system. At the studio the automation system uses three computers and the video server uses another five. There are six satellite dishes on the roof and we use a fiber optic link to the transmitter 30 miles away. We broadcast four SD channels using a Stat Mux. Our transmitter is at Sutro Tower where eleven TV stations broadcast and we just completed a conversion that included new main and auxiliary antennas for all the stations.
Times have changed and broadcasting has to keep up, studios are full of computers, video facility’s cabling has wider bandwidth than most cable TV systems, ATSC M/H sends out IP packets to hand held receivers just to mention a few of the changes. Keeping up with all this is not easy as there really is no school to learn broadcast engineering in all it’s flavors and that’s where TheOnLineEngineer.Org comes in.
During my time in broadcasting I have helped and been helped by many people to understand and work with in this thing called broadcasting. And as is always the case, as I taught I learned even more, which I find very rewarding.
I remember in the past, reading articles in broadcast magazines where some engineer would describe how they had built a new remote control, or a video keyer. Those days are gone but the information you gained from reading them was invaluable. Hearing from engineers who actually worked on the equipment, faced the same problems you did is one of the best ways to learn, unlike today wherethe VP of sales writes articles telling you why you need their newest product.
This is what I hope TheOnLineEngineer.Org can be for this generation of broadcast engineers, a resource of information by and for broadcast engineers, keeping them up-to-date in the ever-changing landscape of broadcasting. From new iPhone Apps for engineers to trouble shooting equipment from RAIDs to IOT transmitters this is what TheOnLineEngineer.Org is all about.
If you would like to contribute please let me know, I believe the more voices heard the better. TheOnLineEngineer.Org is about the future and keeping engineers up-to-date and informed.
Please drop me a line and let me know what you think at Comments@TheOnLineEngineer.org