corner http://ripr.org en TheEC: Heartbleed and Donations to RIPR http://ripr.org/post/theec-heartbleed-and-donations-ripr <p>The <a href="http://www.theglobeandmail.com/technology/tech-news/explainer-what-the-heartbleed-security-bug-means-for-you/article17893562/">big news in computing this week is&nbsp;<strong>Heartbleed</strong>​</a>, a serious security problem with secure websites. &nbsp; Specifically, it's a two-year-old bug in the near-ubitiquous OpenSSL (Secure Socket Layer) protocol...most commonly recognized when there's a "https" (instead of "http") at the beginning of a website address.</p><p>It's a big problem, and I'll explain why in a second, but first I wanted to let everyone know that the RIPR&nbsp;donations website&nbsp;<u>is secure</u> and <u>never was vulnerable to Heartbleed</u>. &nbsp; They use a hardware-based implementation of SSL, not&nbsp;OpenSSL.</p><p><strong>So if you have <a href="https://secure.publicbroadcasting.net/wrni/WEB/form.pledgemain">donated</a> or <a href="https://secure.publicbroadcasting.net/wrni/WEB/form.pledgemain">plan to donate</a> to RIPR, you have <u>nothing</u> to worry about in regards to Heartbleed&nbsp;and that donation. &nbsp;Whew!</strong></p><p> Thu, 10 Apr 2014 17:11:41 +0000 Aaron Read 31844 at http://ripr.org TheEC: Heartbleed and Donations to RIPR TheEC: 88.1 Studio/Transmitter Link http://ripr.org/post/theec-881-studiotransmitter-link <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In light of ongoing issues with the Studio/Transmitter Link (</span>STL<span style="line-height: 1.5;">) for </span>WELH<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> 88.1, we have implemented a new </span>STL<span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp; schema. &nbsp; If you heard a lot of </span><a href="http://ripr.org/post/theec-digital-chirps-881" style="line-height: 1.5;">odd audio dropouts on 88.1 today</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, that was the reason.</span></p><p>The good news is that we should have a pretty good temporary solution in place, and a solid path for a permanent solution is on the horizon (tentatively scheduled for mid-March). &nbsp; Best of all, I was able to put in a new(er)&nbsp;<a href="http://www.optimod.fm/">Orban Optimod 8100A</a>&nbsp;audio processor to replace the less-capable&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bswusa.com/Broadcast-On-Air-Processing-Inovonics-718-David-III-FM-Broadcast-Processor-P2989.aspx">Inovonics DAVID-III</a>. &nbsp;There's a little&nbsp;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sibilant">sibilance</a>&nbsp;still, so I need to tweak the settings. &nbsp;But overall the sound should be much louder, fuller, and more consistent.</p><p>Read on for more details...</p><p> Tue, 28 Jan 2014 03:08:11 +0000 Aaron Read 28255 at http://ripr.org TheEC: 88.1 Studio/Transmitter Link TheEC: Browser Extensions that Spy on You http://ripr.org/post/theec-browser-extensions-spy-you <p>Taking a break from broadcast engineering this time on TheEC, and instead we'll look at the other side of my job: computers. &nbsp; In particular, here's a heads-up to a recent story that's lit-up the geekier&nbsp;realms of the internet, but may not have percolated to your inbox just yet. &nbsp;It has to do with BROWSER EXTENSIONS and how they might or might not...probably might...be spying on you.</p><p> Tue, 21 Jan 2014 16:49:01 +0000 Aaron Read 27944 at http://ripr.org TheEC: Browser Extensions that Spy on You TheEC: 1290AM Heard in Norway http://ripr.org/post/theec-1290am-heard-norway <p>We've talked in the past about <a href="http://ripr.org/post/theec-skywave-propagation">skywave propagation</a>, but it's cool when you heard about real-world examples of it. &nbsp; Recently I've gotten several emails from "DX'ers" (Distant Reception enthusiasts) in Europe saying they've been able to hear <a href="http://www.lprri.org">Latino Public Radio</a> on 1290AM all the way across the Atlantic! &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Thu, 21 Nov 2013 21:50:53 +0000 Aaron Read 25177 at http://ripr.org TheEC: 1290AM Heard in Norway TheEC: 91.5 is Back On the Air http://ripr.org/post/theec-915-back-air <p>As of Tuesday November 12th, WCVY is back on the air in limited fashion.&nbsp;&nbsp; As you know, WCVY <a href="http://ripr.org/post/why-wcvy-was-air-few-days">suffered catastrophic damage to its equipment and facility from a roof leak during a thunderstorm in August</a>.&nbsp;&nbsp; The entire space had to be gutted to the concrete walls, and new electrical wiring and drywall installed.&nbsp; Much of the transmitter gear either took direct water damage (e.g. electricity shorting out) or took indirect water damage (e.g. rust and other corrosion), and eventually a lot of it failed completely.</p><p></p><p>We have put a temporary setup in place with a donated 30 watt transmitter on loan (with the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antenna_gain">antenna array's gain</a> factor of 2.1, it's really more like <strong>63 watts</strong> of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effective_radiated_power#FM_example">Effective Radiated Power</a>), and a special radio that's tuned to 102.7FM (there's a high-gain FM antenna on the rooftop tower) and puts out the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:RDS_vs_DirectBand_FM-spectrum2.svg">composite signal</a> directly into the new transmitter.&nbsp;&nbsp; This effectively makes 91.5 into a "repeater" of 102.7FM.</p><p> Tue, 12 Nov 2013 18:43:01 +0000 Aaron Read 24695 at http://ripr.org TheEC: 91.5 is Back On the Air ARRRR - Pirate Broadcast on 102.9FM http://ripr.org/post/arrrr-pirate-broadcast-1029fm <p><strong>UPDATE 01/21:&nbsp;</strong>Multiple letters sent with no response, and the pirate's still broadcasting. &nbsp;A letter has been mailed to the FCC's Enforcement Bureau. &nbsp; If you are an RIPR listener to 102.7 and you have experienced interference due to this pirate, you can&nbsp;<a href="http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/bccomplaints/unlic.html">submit your own letter to the FCC</a> as well.</p><p></p><p><strong>UPDATE 12/19:&nbsp;</strong>The pirate has been found! &nbsp;Well, we're pretty sure we have found the pirate. &nbsp;Using a directional antenna and a signal meter, we triangulated the position to a house a few blocks from the <a href="http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=cr&amp;CRid=104470">Locust Grove Cemetery</a> in South Providence. &nbsp;</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">A letter of notification of interference to RIPR was mailed to this address several weeks ago, but apparently this pirate doesn't care as there's still an illegal broadcast on 102.9 from this location.</span></p><p></p><p><strong>UPDATE 11/5:&nbsp;</strong>Thanks to a fellow engineer who informed me there is a <strong>pirate broadcasting on&nbsp;102.9FM</strong> and that is likely the source of the interference people have reported (see below). &nbsp;Quite possibly the atmospheric changes made it worse, but the bulk of the problem is likely the pirate.</p><p> Thu, 17 Oct 2013 16:39:04 +0000 Aaron Read 23358 at http://ripr.org ARRRR - Pirate Broadcast on 102.9FM TheEC: More Fiber in RIPR's Diet http://ripr.org/post/theec-more-fiber-riprs-diet <p>As all RIPR fans know, we are an <a href="http://www.npr.org">NPR member station</a>.&nbsp; That means we get a lot of our programming from NPR, the BBC, and other providers, via our <a href="http://www.prss.org">satellite dish</a>.&nbsp;&nbsp; The dish is medium-sized as dishes go, but it&rsquo;s pretty big in real terms: 3.7 meters (12ft) in diameter.&nbsp;&nbsp; There&rsquo;s quite literally nowhere to fit a dish that large at our studios in 1 Union Station, so instead it was installed out at our 1290AM transmitter site in North Providence (we still own 1290, but we lease it to <a href=" Tue, 15 Oct 2013 07:00:00 +0000 Aaron Read 23007 at http://ripr.org TheEC: More Fiber in RIPR's Diet Why WCVY was Off the Air for a Few Days http://ripr.org/post/why-wcvy-was-air-few-days <div>When you’re a broadcast engineer, you get used to receiving calls at odd hours proclaiming things that tend to fall outside the bounds of “normal.” &nbsp; It’s just the nature of the job. &nbsp; But even your intrepid engineer can be surprised sometimes. &nbsp;Friday morning, August 23rd, was one of those times.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><br><br>That morning I got a call informing me that WCVY, our 91.5FM signal for much of Kent County, was off the air.<br><br>Why was it off the air?<br><br><a href="http://www.abc6.com/story/23231541/storm-causes-damage-to-coventry-high-school-roof">The roof collapsed and rain got in</a>.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><br><br>Say what?<br>&nbsp;</div><div> Wed, 04 Sep 2013 06:53:00 +0000 Aaron Read 21030 at http://ripr.org Why WCVY was Off the Air for a Few Days TheEC: Air Conditioning at 102.7FM http://ripr.org/post/theec-air-conditioning-1027fm <p><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_conditioning">Air conditioning</a>.&nbsp; Cool heaven for those who have it, blazing hell for those who don't.&nbsp; It didn't used to be terribly common in broadcast engineering, but it's become moreso in the last ten years.&nbsp; The reason is that, more and more, <a href="http://omniaaudio.com">audio processors</a>, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RBDS" target="_blank">RDS encoders</a>, <a href="http://www.comrex.com/products/briclink.html">audio encoders/decoders</a>, studio/transmitter links, <a href="http://burk.com">remote control systems</a>, and even the <a href="http://nautel.com">transmitters themselves</a>, have all become increasingly "computer-like" with <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrated_circuit" target="_blank">IC's</a>, hard disk drives, power supplies, electrolytic capacitors and the like.&nbsp;&nbsp; All things that fail quickly when operated in temperatures above 80 or so, and the warmer it gets, the faster they fail!<br> Wed, 14 Aug 2013 13:23:17 +0000 Aaron Read 20046 at http://ripr.org TheEC: Air Conditioning at 102.7FM TheEC: "Normal Accidents" http://ripr.org/post/theec-normal-accidents <p>Most people have heard of the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Mile_Island_accident">"Three Mile Island" nuclear power plant accident of 1979</a>.&nbsp; But it's famous among engineers for being a "<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normal_accident">normal accident</a>", in that there wasn't any one thing that nearly caused a meltdown of catastrophic proportions...it was a series of little things inside a highly complex system that all happened as part of "normal" operations.&nbsp;&nbsp; None of which, by themselves, was terribly problematic.&nbsp; But they all happened at once, and that <em>was</em> a problem.</p><p> Wed, 24 Jul 2013 23:56:37 +0000 Aaron Read 18972 at http://ripr.org TheEC: "Normal Accidents"