Monday, June 18, 2012
Post from Sh. G Natarajan Retd. Chief Engineer (R&D) Research Department
I am happy to note that AIR Chennai is completing 74 years of service on 16-06-2012. I congratulate the present staff of AIR Chennai!
I was fortunate to serve in AIR Chennai as Superintending Engineer, albeit for a short time, but feel proud to have been associated during those most eventful days from July 1994 to August 1995. Though replacement, up gradation and induction of new equipments are all part of any old station, this period has been noteworthy in many ways for the impetus and support given to all these changes, some of which I am happy to recollect. Most of the staff of AIR Chennai including programme staff gave me good support and I am thankful to all.
We had more than 50 % of the Engineering Shift staff as young women and contrary to my initial fear , they were all very punctual, performed all type of duties and never posed any problem to the administration with any frequent requests for leave or change of duty. A majority of them were made to enjoy their work and contribute willingly.
1. My first priority was to shift the Madras B and Madras C MW services from Guindy Transmitters to already installed transmitters in Avadi about two years back but which were not commissioned for various reasons. After writing a series of letters to Engineer in Chief outlining the urgent need and the several advantages it had to offer, we succeeded with in two months.
2. The replacement of station Transformers, replacement of gears and increase in contract demand was carried out by station staff in a record time as there were several up gradations to follow.
3. The old manual PABX exchange which was in place with severely restricted service was replaced with a 200 Electronic line exchange.
4. The shifting of FM Tr from DDK Chennai TR hall to our own exclusive building in DDK premises along with installation of an additional FM TR and replacement of FM antenna took place during this time. This involved lot of planning and coordination with all the agencies.
5. The Multi track Recording Studio was in advanced stage of installation and was commissioned in Chennai.
6. Digital Audio Tape recording was introduced and program staff were trained and encouraged to use them.
7. The digital dubbing facility was well coordinated with Zonal office for early completion.
8. Computer usage was promoted and all the staff was encouraged to learn as we had a number of 386 and recently supplied 486 computers. Reports were prepared through computers. (Word star at that time). Duty charts prepared in Studios were sent on line (we had modems purchased at Rs 10, 000 each !) to Transmitter and printed there.
9. AIR Chennai was the first to introduce RDS paging in the country. AIR Chennai staff were fully geared to take this great development of that time. We found out a snag in the RDS paging encoder software and gave a modified scheme for reconfiguring the ports and that fully solved the difficulty faced by and complaints received from the service providers in Chennai and other places during the trial period itself. Later 24 hours non stop transmission was introduced along with paging when civil works around the TR was still going on! I stoutly made a case for tapping LT supply for the FM Trs ( as there were long frequent supply failure in the new LT connection for FM Trs ) from HT connection of DDK Chennai ( which was not consuming even contract demand from its two independent feeders billed separately ) and later as Director (TV maintenance ) I pursued the case, with no success . [But I am happy that now days there is absolute give and take between AIR and DD in sharing of all resources for which I stood for [and had even finalized a few matters with tacit / no approval from AIR / DD Dtes!]
10. While there were severe shortage of Melton CTRS in the station and there was an agreed need to supply us 15 more recorders over a year back, there was little done to help us. I was aware of the fact that some thirty CTRs were kept in Zonal office godown for a decade against future projects but which had no prospect of being commissioned soon. It was a near battle for me to ultimately get approval for the release of ten Meltron CTRs from the godown for use by Chennai on loan!
11. We were able to reduce staff requirement per shift ( in what was called then as Group I and Group II studios ) by one person, ( EA or SEA) cutting the age old practice, by proper grouping and distribution in switching consoles and allotment of studios for Transmission thus freeing them for other maintenance and OB works .
12. Apart from an individual’s capacity to perform, the potential to impart his / her knowledge to others, when encouraged, helps others. It also increases his own self confidence. I am happy to say that I could spot a few such staff in AIR Chennai (and later too) and I am happy to note that they are now a big asset to the organization, given the right break at the right time.
13. The TRACT supplied to AIR Chennai was having a teething technical snag with frequent tripping of PA with no indication at all. AIR Bombay or ITI Bangalore, the suppliers, could not help us much. After exhaustive study the problem was confirmed to be in the feed, after testing with a microwave dummy load obtained from the Chingleput earth station. The TRACT was used for the National Coverage of the Thiagaraja Aradhana Festival from Thirivaiyaru in January 1992 with the spare feed airlifted from Bombay just in time
14. I stoutly opposed and did not listen to the recommendation made to me by Zonal office for withdrawal of a memo issued by me to the office bearer of an Association (for the simple fact of his holding that office). I had issued the memo with no other option, after all my efforts to avoid it by repeated consultations and directions to him failed. This only made others to undertake and complete that important OB recording he was unwilling to do more on his own imaginations.
15. There were a few such incidents where I kept the interest of staff, equipment and service foremost than my own interest and I am proud of it to live and recollect to this day!
16. This is a humble piece extremely limited and hence NOT that interesting,!
17. I hope many Great people from Programme, admin, news , artistes and Engineering side will give a more interesting recollection of their memories and contributions of AIR Chennai at national and international level
G Natarajan firstname.lastname@example.org
Retd. Chief Engineer (R&D) Research Department