Engineer's Corner
6:26 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

TheEC: Zapped in Narragansett

Not nearly as romantic as "Lost in Austen", but the hefty thunderstorms that roared through Wednesday morning dumped a lot of rain and dropped a lot of lightning, both of which conspired to take RIPR's 102.7FM (and MVYradio's HD2) off the air for an hour or two.

First, it appears there was a lightning strike somewhere along the "leased digital audio line" (from Verizon) that passes audio from our studios to the transmitter site in Narragansett.   It didn't have to be a direct hit, just something close enough to cause the PCAU card (you've seen these before) to be thrown for a loop and shut down.   I arrived to find the "power" LED glowing red (never a good sign) and no audio coming out.   Unplugging and re-plugging the power to the PCAU got "power" back to green, but then the audio was a little quiet and a lot distorted.  Sounded like it was being driven too loud...even though levels were low.  Hmmm.

Second, the Cox Cablemodem internet was offline...no signal from the local central office.  And the backup Verizon DSL modem was switched off.  Wait, what?  That I can't explain, but at least it was an easy fix.  Turn modem back on and POOF!  Connectivity restored, and both RIPR and MVY are back on the air.

A service call to Cox (and a gratifyingly prompt response from the tech) revealed a junction box out on the street had flooded and fried several electronic bits.  After drying it out and replacing some gear, our modem worked great again by mid-afternoon.   The system seamlessly switched itself back to the "primary" internet source from Cox, and the DSL line is still good if needed.

I have a service call in to Windstream/Verizon on the main STL (studio/transmitter link), but for the moment our backup STL...a Comrex BRIC Link internet audio codec...is providing content to 102.7 for RIPR.   (MVY always uses a BRIC Link as their main way of getting audio off Martha's Vineyard to Narragansett.)