Friday, September 24, 2010

Barnraising: Day 1

I got up this morning around 0700, hit the shower, and went to "Debbie's Lil' Restaurant" in Hudson for breakfast with a couple of other barnraising folks. One of them grew up in the Champaign-Urbana area - a place I spent several years - which was pretty cool. He was a WEFTie for several years - another connection we share.

After breakfast I volunteered to help out with the web streaming of the various workshops. There are four web streaming kits, but they don't all have the same hardware. Three of them are using Behringer UB1202 mixers and a PC or Mac laptop to stream to an Icecast (or Live365 in one case) server. One of them is using a Marantz digital recorder where the line out goes to a PC streaming to the Icecast server. Every session was recorded with a single condenser mic.

The barnraising is largely a DIY thing when it comes to equipment. People bring what they have. So it's only to be expected that there will be a serious diversity of equipment. That doesn't make it easy, though. I had to run around to try and find 1/8" to 1/4" headphone adapters that I could plug into the headphone output of the board, for example, as none were supplied. Later, I realized that it was better to start up the media player on each laptop - that way whoever was monitoring could hear the audio as a listener would hear. Of course, it ended up that no-one was monitoring, because there was only me to do it, but it's good practice for tomorrow's and Sunday's sessions.

After I had the web streaming set up, I went to Pete Tridish's workshop on building tiny transmitters. The transmitters were based on the designs of Tetsuo Kogawa. There weren't enough materials to go around, so I worked with a group of two other folks. We got as far as getting the resistors soldered on. :)

After dinner I went over to the Cannonball Factory to hear the spoken word performers. There was a Finnish girl there who read a poem entitled "The Brothers-in-Law". The poem itself I don't remember enough of to comment on. However, she read it first in Swedish (she's a member of the Finnnish minority who are native Swedophones) and I was struck by the almost musical quality of the words.

There were two sets of spoken word performers. I left in the middle of the second set and walked over to the station to see if they needed any help over there. They were wrapping up for the night, so I went into the studio to hang out for a bit. At first I thought I was hearing some weird experimental music, but in fact it was the feed from the Cannonball Factory - the third set was a set of hip-hop performers, and the volume levels were considerably higher than the previous sets. This caused the broadcast (well, webcast) to sound like shit, so I went back and turned down the gain on the streaming PC.

After that, I went back to the crash space and went to sleep.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Barnraising: Day 0

I got into Hudson about noon and met up with Chuck, a fellow barnraising attendee who was raised in KC, but now lives in San Antonio. Chuck and I waited around a while, and eventually someone from WGXC came and took us from the Albany airport to Hudson. This someone was an engineer, in fact, and he gave me a few salient facts:

WGXC will be transitioning from an LPFM station to a 3.3 kW ERP FM. They have an Energyonics 1.5 kW transmitter and a pair of log-periodic antennas. Not a whole lot of ERP, but it's a start.

At any rate, when I got to Hudson, I got a brief tour of the studio then went over to St. Mary's Academy, where a lot of the workshops are being held. I helped out with a couple of things, including setting up the stage for the speakers, then got assigned to KP duty. ;)

I think that I will not be sleeping out at the farm where I had arranged a couch surf. Instead I will stay in Hudson. I think I'll get more of the experience this way.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Off to the barn raising!

That's right, Dear Readers, I'm going to the WGXC barnraising! I'll try and post some from the event itself. I'm really looking forward to it!