Saturday, April 23, 2011

"What news from Plymouth?"

Well, so far as I am aware, Plymouth continues to be in Massachusetts. If this situation should change, I hope one of you, Dear Readers, will be so good as to tell me.

News in my neck of the woods has nothing to do with Plymouth at all. However, if you're stuck on Plymouth, I suggest this brief riveting look at the court of Elizabeth I (Plymouth was an English colony during her reign).

Now, the news of your humble polymath-in-the-making. To begin with, Dear Reader, you might be wondering why the promised posts from NAB never materialized. This is because I did not go to NAB, and I will not be going to the Radio Ink Convergence Conference either. In fact, I have been disqualified altogether from the Technology Apprenticeship Program, and that's because I got a job at KTBG and KMOS, the public broadcasting service of the University of Central Missouri. I'm an engineer! This is a very exciting time for me - so much to learn! Interning at KCUR taught me a bit about radio (though here we have to worry about a thing called "short-spacing" which means we have to have a cardioid antenna pattern - more on that as I learn about it) but I know nothing (yet) about TV.

One of the things I'll be doing at KTBG/KMOS is applying my IT experience and knowledge to our setup in broadcasting. So there will be some software development for various projects in between my regular engineering duties. For example, a short-term project I have is to take the output from KTBG's automation system and feed it into our new Inovonics RDS encoder. The encoder isn't installed yet - maybe John (the chief engineer for KMOS/KTBG) will let me do that too. If this encoder is anything like the unit at KCUR (also an Inovonics) I don't foresee a lot of difficulty; Inovonics uses RS-232 to feed data to the encoder, and the command syntax should be documented in the manual. So it's just a matter of parsing out the data from the automation system and presenting it in the proper format to the RDS encoder. No sweat.

This past Thursday, I made a presentation to the local SBE chapter on IP security. You can view it here, and maybe I'll make a blog post that elaborates on these points a little more.

Today, at the Ararat Hambash, I took the test to upgrade my amateur radio operator's license from General to Extra (I had previously upgraded from Technician to General at the end of March) and passed! This means I now have authorization to operate on all bands and modes available to the Amateur Radio Service (certain bands and modes are reserved for operators with a given license class). Of course, I still don't have any equipment, but that will come in time.