Field Report: Broadcast Tools Site Sentinel 4

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Two CAT-5e cables are included, one crossover cable for direct connection to a PC to program the various passwords, channel labels and e-mail addresses for recipients, and another direct-connect cable for connection to a LAN or Internet switch. Of course, longer cables can be fabricated if needed. For our installation, I choose to make a slightly longer cable with CAT-5e stranded cable and the Platinum Tools EZ-RJ45 connectors. The pass-through design of the EZ-RJ45 permits a quick check of the strand arrangement to confirm that two or more strands didn't cross over before you crimp the connector.

The included CD has the complete Broadcast Tools product line for future reference along with the PDF file of the installation and operation manual for the device. A separate two-page quick connection reference guide is completely adequate to connect to a PC and make the basic programming, site labeling and initial password assignments.

Performance at a glance
Analog metering for four separate channels
Built-in power loss detector
Contacts for remote power control
Control relays
Euroblock screw terminal connections
Four logic relay interfaces
Optional temperature probe
Status monitoring for four channels
Stereo silence sensor

Programming for Internet

I called our ISP for the uplink to obtain the specific IP address, gateway, sub mask and related data necessary to program the Site Sentinel 4 for Internet connection, once I made the initial decisions for the various metering and status/logic channels. For complete programming the manual shows many options.

For instance, each of our four affiliates is assigned a separate username and password. This permits them to monitor all the metering and alarm channels, but have access to control functions exclusive to their particular network. The power failure alarm is sent to our main ops center in Lansing, with copies to me and engineering associate, Ralph Haines. We can access the site via Internet and determine what action is required. I placed the temperature probe in the exhaust stream for the HPA at the uplink, and connected the power-loss power supply ahead of the UPS ac supply. Separate summary-alarm contacts in the codecs connect directly to the Site Sentinel 4 and are programmed to send an e-mail to the particular affiliate’s engineer and our local engineers. We are planning on adding a Nitrogen low-pressure alarm for the wave-guide in the near future.

Broadcast Tools

Because the four relays in the Site Sentinel 4 can be programmed for on, off or pulse, I use them to reboot those devices that seem to want to lock up for no apparent reason now and then. The connection to these devices is via the Middle Atlantic ac controllers mentioned earlier.

The manual is clear and concise; all questions have been addressed in easy-to-understand language with screen shots of exactly what is seen on a PC monitor. Once all desired changes are made, the final IP address information and must be entered, and power re-boot the Site Sentinel 4 to set that data into its non-volatile memory. The device contains a recessed reset button to return to the factory default settings in the future.

Now we can access the Site Sentinel 4 any time from any PC and change audio sources, check faults, extract an actual alarm/metering log and see at a glance the status of each carrier we uplink at this site. I am looking forward to the Site Sentinel 16, which is currently available. Now that I know how easy the Site Sentinel 4 is to program and the multitude of user-friendly features available, I have already planned on an expansion at the Michigan Farm Radio Network uplink.

Bradford is the owner of Broadcast/Audio Services, Jackson, MI.

Editor's note: Field Reports are an exclusive Radio magazine feature for radio broadcasters. Each report is prepared by well-qualified staff at a radio station, production facility or consulting company.
These reports are performed by the industry, for the industry. Manufacturer support is limited to providing loan equipment and to aiding the author if requested.
It is the responsibility of Radio magazine to publish the results of any device tested, positive or negative. No report should be considered an endorsement or disapproval by Radio magazine.

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