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Remote Site Control
Find the fit for the functionality you need with a plethora of choices
Another example of a more economical remote control is the Sine-Systems RFC1/B. This product has been around for a long time and as such probably falls in the classic category for a lot of broadcast engineers. The most basic configuration consists of the control unit (RFC-1/B itself) and at minimum, one interface panel (RP-8) to occupy at least 3RU. It has (at minimum) eight channels of relay control, plus eight metering inputs (per RP-8). Access is via POTS. DTMF is used to program and control the unit. Up to 80 timed events can be configured. The RFC-1/B can be programmed to perform events corresponding to telemetry input. It can call out in the event of alarm conditions.
Accessory options: Additional RP-8s, status input module SIP-8, audio failsafe AFS-3 and temperature sensor module TS-1/ps.
To make programming an RFC 1/B easier, Hydro Hawk has developed the My Sine. This PC application can also store and manage multiple Sine setups for easier retrieval and loading. The Hawk 2B can be used to provide an IP interface to a Sine setup.
Hydro Hawk also manufactures the Air Hawk, which is a stand-alone remote control. It connects via cellular, Wi-fi and Ethernet, and can be accessed with an iPhone/iPad app. Data is logged, stored and displayed on customizable Trend Charts. Eight analog or status input channels can be monitored with the base unit, and the system is expandable to support up to 100 modules. It includes eight opto-isolated outputs. Customized notification sequences are sent via email or text message with multiple contacts defined for each alarm and delays between notifications.
Finally, there's one of the most economical remote control solutions out there, the TAC-5 from CircuitWerkes. If you don't need telemetry, just actual control functions, then this may be the way to go. Its primary features include:
Five form-A (normally open) relays that can be programmed as latching or momentary. Each relay can be programmed to respond to any of the 16 DTMF tones. One DPDT relay can be used to switch a balanced audio line. All the relays appear on screw terminals. It is POTS accessible, and an up-to-8-digit password can be set for command access, with another password to allow a caller to listen only (no relay command access). It has a built-in audio hybrid with send audio input along with receive audio output. A status input precipitates call-outs by the unit. It is programmed via any DTMF-capable telephone, and it can be mounted on the wall mount or with an optional rack-mount.
It seems pretty clear that the primary design goal of the TAC-5 is to allow a user to remotely control an automation system or other program-source switching. While you are online with the device, the built-in hybrid lets you hear what is going on at the other end. Considering how far-afield some engineers are, this is important because many times you cannot hear the station you are dealing with on the radio. It could simply be too far away.
Remote controls have come a long way from the days when you needed an actual dc continuity circuit from Telco to make it all work. All the telecommunications methods that make our lives easy in other ways have all shown up in these remote control products, thankfully. In this day and age of tight budgets it's important to let the device you obtain precisely fit the functionality that is needed. With all the devices available out there, that should be pretty easy to do.
Innovative Broadcast Systems
Irwin is transmission systems supervisor for Clear Channel NYC and chief engineer of WKTU, New York. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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