Cable management for the modern radio station
The proliferation of audio over digital cable has made the transportation of audio as well as voice, data, and control easier and more effective. However, these cables have also brought new industry standards and techniques that ensure proper installation in every instance.
When addressing cable management, integrators and engineers should always consult a manufacturer's specifications before installing, as the bend radius associated with individual cables tends to vary by manufacturer. Coax cables, if used, should never be kinked, although they are more tolerant of tighter bends than high-speed data cables. Twisted pair cable, while not completely eliminated from radio facilities, typically has a standardized bend radius of 1.5" (3" diameter).
Before cables can be effectively dressed internally, cable entry should be priority one. When running cable into an enclosure from the top of the rack, choose an enclosure with a wide-open top or a removable service panel to accommodate a cable drop from the plenum to maintain a proper bend radius. Enclosures with an upformed base provide additional interior room at the bottom of the enclosure for cable management and coiling of unused wire. When used in conjunction with a riser base system, installers can pass cable runs below each enclosure or from one enclosure to another when enclosures are ganged.
Within an enclosure, vertical lacer strips should be used to ensure that power and signal cables are kept separate and that a cable's pull force never exceeds 25lbs, as excessive pull can compromise connections and alter a bend radius. When managing cables vertically, consider using Velcro cable fasteners for CAT-5e and CAT-6 cables as cinching a cable too tight can affect the cable's capacitance.
Horizontal lacer strips should also be used to provide cable strain relief and ensure the correct bend radius when crossing cables from one side of the rack to the other. Integrators should use offset lacer bars for positioning cables close to the rear of the unit for cable strain relief or when managing multiple horizontal cable bundles at different depth positions. A telescoping lacer bar system provides added flexibility and functionality, and can be installed side-to-side or front-to-back, in addition to accepting vertical lacer bars and power strips.
For technical guides and additional information on proper cable management, visit www.middleatlantic.com
Amoscato is the broadcast sales manager of Middle Atlantic Products.
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